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February 2nd, 2005 · No Comments

This morning the girls and I enjoyed Kathryn Lasky’s The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, the story of scholar and librarian Eratosthenes and how he calculated the world’s circumference more than 2000 years ago.

I haven’t written about Technorati tags since the announcement last month but I have been trying to read the discussions happening among various blogs and within blogs such as Many2 Many.

While reading about the talented Eratosthenes today I started to wonder what he would think, were he alive today, and able to participate in the various discussions on tagging taking place….

In addition to being a great questioner, Eratosthenes was a terrific list maker. He liked making lists. It was a good way to organize information so it could be shared with other people. He made a list of all the important dates in the history of Greece. […] He also made a list of all the winners of the Olympic Games.


And two thousand years ago, books were handwritten on scrolls of animal skins or papyrus, paper made from a tall grass that grows along the Nile. In the library at Alexandria, there were seven hundred thousand papyrus scrolls and forty librarians who, just like modern-day librarians, helped readers find what they were looking for and kept the materials in order. Each scroll was rolled up on a painted stick and tied with a colored string with a name tag attached. Often the scrolls were tucked into clay jars or simply placed on wooden shelves. There was a lot of rolling and tagging and tying that had to be done to keep a library as large as the one in Alexandria in order.

Now there’s an illustration of tagging, literally: seven hundred thousand scrolls rolled, tied and tagged. I think Eratosthenes would have a lot of fun if he were alive today.

Tags: books

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