The Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt, was probably the largest and most significant collection of writings during that period. For years I assumed that the world lost this treasure because of a single catastrophic fire that destroyed everything in a short period of time. The truth is actually more disturbing, while the Library, or part of it, was accidentally burned during a civil war it is clear that the intellectual energy was deliberately ousted and subverted, and that was then followed by an extended period under funding and a general lack of support.

Sound remotely familiar?

It’s starting to feel like someone has now set fire to our public digital library and deliberately ousted people whose priority and purpose was to preserve the safety and integrity of the public archive. One could argue that privately funding a public archive is problematic, but that is a discussion for another day. I am also not sure how to process some of the specific business decisions, I just know that the outcomes have produced a brutal catalogue of offenses, and whether we like it not, the fire has been lit.

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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash



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