2

Pre-historic times

Abstract:

Why do we sometimes call ancient collections of information archives and sometimes libraries? This is the question raised in this chapter. Due to misunderstanding of the concepts and for practical reasons, people and scholars have through the ages preferred libraries. We still suffer today from this misunderstanding. Based on our knowledge of the clay tablets of the ancient city-state of Ebla and the numerous witnesses of the probably more than 700 000 scrolls of Alexandria, this chapter argues that in reality, all information from before 1000–500 BC is in fact archive material. When oral traditions were written down on papyrus and parchment, which happened in the first millennium BC, libraries were established ...

Get Libraries and Archives now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.