Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 617.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 06:56:08 +0100
From: Patrick Durusau <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Iraqi National Museum Tragedy
The news about the easily preventable looting of the Iraqi National Museum
in the New York Times this morning was quite depressing. I have no
expectation that the current US administration will be any more attentive
to cultural artifacts in subsequent foreign adventures. Rather ironic that
the robber barons of the 19th century funded any number of preservation
efforts in the area but those who follow in their footsteps have no sense
of culture at all. If it is not sold on a futures exchange or is a market
for US goods or services, it is simply unworthy of preservation.
Hopefully the shock of this loss will spur efforts to digitize entire
artifact and manuscript collections with replicated copies around the
world. It is obvious that we cannot rely on national governments to protect
the common cultural heritage of civilization, so I suggest that scholars
and academics take matters into their own hands. Writing protest letters
and calling elected officials will do less good than imaging a single
manuscript for replicated storage at multiple sites around the world. For
every artifact or manuscript imaged and replicated, the chances of its
total loss due to the excesses of any national government is greatly decreased.
Suggestions for spurring such work forward?
-- Patrick Durusau Director of Research and Development Society of Biblical Literature email@example.com Co-Editor, ISO Reference Model for Topic Maps
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