【AP】A Chinese star chart thought to date from the 7th century AD which maps the heavens with an accuracy unsurpassed until the Renaissance period, according to French experts who carried out the first detailed analysis of the chart, which will be released Monday May 3, 2004. The spectacular Dunhuang star chart is the oldest manuscript star map in the world and is one of the most valuable treasures in astronomy.
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"Sacred" - an exhibition at the British Library in London shows what the three monotheistic religions share
Sacred texts are an essential part of all religions. Sometimes they are supposed to be the word of God, sometimes the writings of an holy figure such as a prophet. Because of the importance of these texts they have often been presented in lavish and ornamental ways. It's without question that some of the most valuable books ever made contain religious texts. Such beautiful objects are the inspiration for an exhibition currently being held at the British Library in London. The exhibition "Sacred" lets the public enjoy such wonders as a priceless fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls and one of the oldest surviving texts of the Torah, but more than that, the exhibition uses these texts to show something more - how much the three main monotheistic religions - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - have in common. (Report: Martin Vogl)
According to a study commissioned by the British Library, 90% of newly published work will be available digitally by this time.
Only half of this will also be available in print form, with just 10% of new titles available only in print.
It represents a "seismic shift" in the world of publishing said British Library chief executive Lynne Brindley.
For its part, the British Library aims to spend the next three years developing the infrastructure necessary to store, manage, preserve and provide access to digital material.
|Part of our collection of so-called ephemera includes labels from food tins and old theatre tickets. This provides valuable social information and it may be that blogs play that sort of role in future |
British Library spokesman
"In many ways digital material is more fragile than physical material and if we don't manage it effectively it won't survive for future generations," said Ms Brindley.
The new collection will include both items "born digital" and those that have been digitised, such as Shakespeare's Quartos and newspapers from the 19th Century.
The British Library's collection already covers every information format from oracle bones to kilobytes and it is determined to provide the same infrastructure for holding a national collection of digital items as it does for its 160 million strong collection of books, manuscripts, sound recordings, patents, stamps and maps.
The system for digital storage has been designed to be tamper-proof. There will be at least three copies of everything. An offline copy will be stored separately in case of a catastrophic system failure.
Part of the move towards a digital collection will involve the archiving of websites and there is a challenge here for the library to decide what to preserve and what to leave to cyberspace.
"We need to identify websites of national significance, such as those of the main political parties at general election time," said a spokesman for the British Library.
Down the line the archive could include blogs as well, he said.
"Part of our collection of so-called ephemera includes labels from food tins and old theatre tickets. This provides valuable social information and it may be that blogs play that sort of role in future," he said.
In 2003 the British Library secured legislation that ensured its legal right to a copy of every book and periodical published in the UK was extended to non-print media, which includes CD-ROMs and electronic journals.