Temples of Knowledge

Oh wow…

Travel Between The Pages

I first ran across the exceptional architectural photography of Ahmet Ertug earlier this year when I was at the Hermitage Museum store in Saint Petersburg. His book on the dazzling palace museum was extraordinary. Now he has released his latest book titled “Temples of Knowledge, Historical Libraries of the Western World”.

The beautiful volume offers a visual tour of some of Europe’s grandest libraries. The terrific book visits thirty historic institutions in Ireland, England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, and Portugal.

The first edition is limited to 400 hand bound volumes. There’s also a portfolio edition of unbound photographs. Both are issued by Ertug & Kocabikyik Publishing in the U.S..

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Baghdad Books

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Despite enormous obstacles—think bombs and bureaucracy—a 25 year-old Baghdad bibliophile has succeeded in launching both an indie bookshop and a bookmobile. Ali al-Moussawi has had a life-long passion for reading and books. With the help of friends and a like-minded Facebook group, he opened a small bookshop in a Baghdad mall and also purchased a truck to provide mobile book services around the city that was once the literary capital of the Arab world. Most days, you can find the Iraqi Bookish bookmobile at the University of Baghdad, but if you can’t visit in person, you can follow Ali on Facebook.

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That Old Book Smell

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As a life-long book collector and a long-time bookseller, I have always loved that special woody, floral, dusky aroma that only emanates from books with age. But what precisely is “that old book smell”? The journal Heritage Science has published an article on research that aims to answer the question.

“The Historic Book Odour Wheel, a novel tool representing the first step towards documenting and archiving historic smells” divides the old book aroma into eight catagories—Chemical/Hydrocarbons, Earthy/Musty/Mouldy, Fishy/Rancid, Fragrant/Vegetable/Fruit/Flowers, Grassy/Woody, Medicinal, Smokey/Burnt, and Sweet/Spicy.

The research,conducted by the University of London’s Institute for Sustainable Heritage, hoped to assist archivists in identifying which books were most in need of protection and preservation. Scientists have long understood that the old book smell is created by the degradation of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the binding, paper, ink, and glue of antiquarian books, but a systematic classification of the odors has been…

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