Monday, January 3, 2011

History of Writing and Libraries

I'm finally posting again after the holiday rush.  :)

I decided to start with a review of my LIS 604 course, which focused on the history of writing and libraries.  We spent most of our time covering libraries and books in the Western world, focusing on Europe and the United States after looking at ancient civilizations (Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, etc.).  Here is a summary from my midterm.

Books used in course:  History of Libraries in the Western World by Michael H. Harris & Dahl's History of the Book by Bill Katz

One glaring omission in both books we read had to do with the Americas before Columbus.  The lack of information on writing and books from the native tribes of the Americas really bothered me.  So much so that I decided to write my final research page on the topic.  I ran out of time, so I didn't get to cover North America.  However, I did do an overview of South and Central America before Columbus.  Here is the paper.  Let's hope I did that link correctly.  I'm still learning this whole blogging thing. 

The most interesting bit, at least to me, is the part focusing on the Inca of South America.  For years it's been assumed that they did not have a writing system.  This makes them a rarity in successful civilizations.  Their use of quipas was likened to the use of abacuses/abaci in other civilizations.  However, modern research is starting to suggest the quipas may have been more, but there's nothing conclusive that I've found as of yet.

The papers I've posted are on Google Documents.  You may have to sign in to view them.

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