Friday, December 21, 2007

There Is Nothing New Under the Sun

I'm a big fan of the study of history. I firmly believe that you can't really know where you are if you don't know how you got there, whether the “you” is an institution, a profession, a country, etc. But the more history (broadly conceived) I study, the more I come to realize that it's true that there is nothing new under the sun.

Today's illustration of that fact comes courtesy of the Authors League of America, which is the source of the following passage. I have changed the words in brackets; your challenge is to guess what the quote was originally about and the year in which it was published. (Answer below.)

[Scanning] is not an extension of the normal library function. It is obviously a publishing function; it is publishing. Libraries managed to operate for many hundreds of years before the discovery of the camera; there is no reason why they cannot continue to function without [scanning]—at least of copyrighted books. Nor is there any reason why any reader who does not wish to buy a book (or cannot find a copy available) should not do what readers have done throughout library history, go to the library and read the book there.

Got your guesses? Scroll down for the answer.

The quote is from 1963 (as quoted on page 72 of this book) and both of the replaced words are "photocopying."

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