Streaming Media

Location

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania

Event Website

http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/lectures/scienceinfo_program.html

Start Date

25-2-2017 9:45 AM

End Date

25-2-2017 11:00 AM

Document Type

Presentation

Description

Steven Witt, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Creating the International Mind: Promoting Peace and the Global Society through Books, Dialogue, and Cultural exchange 1917-1938

In 1918, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) worked to disseminate legal, cultural, and historical knowledge throughout the world. These efforts aimed to put an end to war by encouraging international understanding and developing cosmopolitan perspectives that emphasized transnational connections and de-emphasized nationalism. This global educational program was part of a well-funded and highly organized operation aimed to universalize global perspectives through an internationalism that would yield peace through cultural understanding and new forms of global governance. This paper will examine the role of the CEIP in developing transnational networks through libraries, publishers, and universities, anticipating the rise in the power of information networks and civil society groups to effect change on a global level.

Lynn Ransom, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Ernest Cushing Richardson: An American Librarian in an Internationalist Age

In 1897 at the 2nd International Library Conference held in London, the American librarian Ernest Cushing Richardson claimed "the evolution of mankind was ... an evolution in mind or knowledge. Since this evolution was characterized not by individual action but by coordinated action among many as represented in books, collections of books (i.e. libraries) were the instrument of cooperative knowledge and therefore the primary factor in human evolution." This sentiment captures in a nutshell how Richardson, one of the foundational leaders of modern librarianship, understood the transformative power of libraries in propelling mankind toward the highest standards of human development and social order by making the human knowledge accessible to every citizen of the world. His beliefs, largely shaped by such figures of the internationalist movement as Paul Otlet and Henry La Fontaine, made him a natural leader in the efforts to internationalize the practices of library and information science. His great success, the realization of the National Union Catalog in the 1920-30s, was a direct product of those efforts. Despite his successes, however, few today have heard of Richardson. Not long after the successful completion of the National Union Catalog project, Richardson and his ideas for universal access to the world's knowledge fell out of favor, and he was more or less forgotten by the profession he served so passionately for much of his life until his death in 1939.

This paper will consider the arc of Richardson's career as it paralleled the rise and demise of internationalist utopian ideals that were crushed in the years leading up to the second World War. It will look specifically at one of Richardson's greatest failures, a project to catalog the world's premodern manuscript books, and contextualize it in the context of internationalist thought and practice in order to shed light on what happened to an idealism shared by many in Richardson's time that arguably shaped librarianship as we know it today.

Comments

YouTube recording of Steven Witt begins at 2:09.

YouTube recording of Lynn Ransom at 33:44.

Share

COinS
 
Feb 25th, 9:45 AM Feb 25th, 11:00 AM

Session 5: Ordering the Universe of Information (cont)

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania

Steven Witt, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Creating the International Mind: Promoting Peace and the Global Society through Books, Dialogue, and Cultural exchange 1917-1938

In 1918, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) worked to disseminate legal, cultural, and historical knowledge throughout the world. These efforts aimed to put an end to war by encouraging international understanding and developing cosmopolitan perspectives that emphasized transnational connections and de-emphasized nationalism. This global educational program was part of a well-funded and highly organized operation aimed to universalize global perspectives through an internationalism that would yield peace through cultural understanding and new forms of global governance. This paper will examine the role of the CEIP in developing transnational networks through libraries, publishers, and universities, anticipating the rise in the power of information networks and civil society groups to effect change on a global level.

Lynn Ransom, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Ernest Cushing Richardson: An American Librarian in an Internationalist Age

In 1897 at the 2nd International Library Conference held in London, the American librarian Ernest Cushing Richardson claimed "the evolution of mankind was ... an evolution in mind or knowledge. Since this evolution was characterized not by individual action but by coordinated action among many as represented in books, collections of books (i.e. libraries) were the instrument of cooperative knowledge and therefore the primary factor in human evolution." This sentiment captures in a nutshell how Richardson, one of the foundational leaders of modern librarianship, understood the transformative power of libraries in propelling mankind toward the highest standards of human development and social order by making the human knowledge accessible to every citizen of the world. His beliefs, largely shaped by such figures of the internationalist movement as Paul Otlet and Henry La Fontaine, made him a natural leader in the efforts to internationalize the practices of library and information science. His great success, the realization of the National Union Catalog in the 1920-30s, was a direct product of those efforts. Despite his successes, however, few today have heard of Richardson. Not long after the successful completion of the National Union Catalog project, Richardson and his ideas for universal access to the world's knowledge fell out of favor, and he was more or less forgotten by the profession he served so passionately for much of his life until his death in 1939.

This paper will consider the arc of Richardson's career as it paralleled the rise and demise of internationalist utopian ideals that were crushed in the years leading up to the second World War. It will look specifically at one of Richardson's greatest failures, a project to catalog the world's premodern manuscript books, and contextualize it in the context of internationalist thought and practice in order to shed light on what happened to an idealism shared by many in Richardson's time that arguably shaped librarianship as we know it today.

https://repository.upenn.edu/science_of_information/sessions/session/7