The Web Archiving Team and our colleagues in the Digital Content Management Section asked this question during an open house for attendees of the American Library Association’s annual conference, where we had a table set up to share information about our work.
As an ice breaker, we asked everyone who visited our table to write down their earliest memory of the internet on yellow post-it notes, and by the end of the night, we had over a hundred.
My father loved books more than anything else in the world. He owned about 11,000 of them at the time of his death, in March of 2021, at 83 years old.
There were books in his living room and bedroom, books in the hallways and closets and kitchen. Sometimes I stop in the center of my own home like a bird arrested in flight, entranced by the books that line my walls. I live in a small Manhattan apartment, and I, too, have books in the living room, the bedroom, the hallway, the closets.
Often, I stare at them because I’m puzzling over their geography. I wonder if I’ve placed any book in the wrong spot, according to an emotional map I’ve made of my bookshelves. As I gaze at the titles, the associations come tumbling out.
Tennessee Williams’s Memoirs is next to a biography of Patrick Dennis called Uncle Mame, because Williams and Dennis had many things in common: Pathos. Cruel fathers. Spectacular female characters. A Dictionary of Yiddish Slang & Idioms is next to Heartburn because, however secular Nora Ephron was, her humor comes from deep within her Jewishness.
The Lord of the Rings is between Time and Again and Rosemary’s Baby because I like how they form a triumvirate of fantasy stories that have nothing in common save my personal opinion that they are the finest of their genre. (Many would argue that Rosemary’s Baby belongs in horror, not fantasy, but my system allows for the blurring of these lines.)
A baby zebrafish is just half the size of a pea. A recent look inside its transparent brain, however, offers clues to the far bigger mystery of how we remember—and how we forget.
In an experiment that yielded insights into memory and the brain, a team of researchers at the University of Southern California taught the tiny creature to associate a bright light with a flash of heat, a temperature change the fish responded to by trying to swim away.
Using a custom-designed microscope, the team then captured images of the animals’ brains in the moments before and after they learned to associate the light and the heat. It’s the first known look at how a living vertebrate’s brain restructures itself as the animal forms a memory.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item...
“You’ll want to read this,” my wife said, handing me the Sunday Boston Globe.
The cover story that week in late September 2020 was about a 62-year-old woman who had colon cancer that had metastasized. She died in a local hospital; her husband was also in poor health and could not take care of her at home. After she died, he moved into an area facility.
Reading of someone so close to my own age succumbing to a highly preventable disease was a bit unsettling. The dateline, however, was the reason my wife had given me the paper.
The story was from my hometown in Massachusetts, and the facility where the husband now lived was down the street from my childhood home. When I was a boy, we joked, far too easily, about “putting” people there when they got old. In later years, the joking ended when my father had to stay there briefly as his health began to fail. My brother then passed through its doors on his way to the final stop in a VA hospital.
The couple in the story had struggled for survival in the neighborhood where I grew up, and one of them, as the Globe put it, had experienced “the kind of death all too typical for people who work hard jobs for modest pay,” dying “too young … and too hard.”
Central to these criticisms is a nostalgia for an idealized past that always makes the present seem terrible. Some of this is manipulation by political charlatans. But sincere concerns come from some political and economic elites, especially those who are products of a class transition and advancement through education and relocation. They are concerned about the anger of the “forgotten places” where they grew up.
“My best memory of the library was when my twin boys found the nonfiction section. They were around three years old and obsessed with dinosaurs and sharks. The squeals and excitement that came from them that day is etched in my brain. You would have thought they hit the jackpot!”—Bridget K.
“My grandmother founded her town’s library and then was head librarian for many years. I would often spend the night at her house as a child, and would go to the library with her after hours while she caught up on paperwork. There was something so magical about being free to explore that wonderful place on my own in the dim light, with no chairs scraping, doors opening, or voices murmuring. The wonderful scent of paper and ink…I felt like it was my own special world. I have always found great comfort in books and in libraries, and it was no great surprise to anyone when I grew up and became a school librarian!”—Laurie T.
You must be logged in to post a comment.