New BPH support blog

Wouter J. Hanegraaff, professor and coordinator of the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents program at the University of Amsterdam has created a new blog specifically for the situation at the Ritman Library. The first post contains a list of academics who have signed the petition (I posted something similar yesterday)  This will likely be the place to follow the situation as it continues to unfold.

Follow it at The Ritman Library Must Be Preserved. Spread the word.



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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Egil,

    while I empathize with the western esotericism community threatened by a loss of significant library, I still wonder whether it is important to sustain physical book deposits in the age of digitalization. Wouldn’t it be easier to scan the books and allow a world-wide access to the texts? I think the researchers as well as the books would benefit from this strategy. Furthermore, the availibility of the texts wouldn’t be endangered by shifts in the owner’s financial moods.
    Of course, a library is more than information deposit. It’s a meeting place and institution supporting unique specialists. Still, I think, the Western Esotericism group at UoA would well assimilate these people and might take over some of the library’s social obligations as a part of the various colloqia, conferences, summer-schools, workshops and other events.
    Anyway, even if UoA couldn’t fully compensate for the social aspect of BPH a loss of meeting place can be hardly termed as irreparable damage.
    But, maybe I’m missing out some crucial component which makes physical deposits special and indispensable…


    • Hi Matus, thanks for the comment.
      In fact, the BPH had been forging links with governmental institutions and other libraries to participate in a prestigious Dutch digitalization project called Digital Humanities. Sadly, this is one of the projects which now seem to be made impossible, by the dissolution of the library, its staff (which possess the intimate knowledge of the collection), and the possible sell off of 60 % worth of the collection by the bank. There’s no guarantee that those works that get sold will be made public again.
      Digitalization/physical library is not an either or situation, rather, the presence of an open and competent institution is something of a requirement to start digitalization. Also, as you point out yourself, the material aspect of these books should not be forgotten either.

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