Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Information literacy" in 1725

“In the use of the [library] it is not sufficient that someone be thus handed the book, but [rather that] he is able to secure precisely that book which agrees with his capacity and from which, depending upon the nature of his studies, he can get the most use.  To this end, must the historia litteraria of the book, the use and virtue and finally modus excerpendi [(mode of excerpting) from it] be taught.  [And] finally, how [the student actually] uses it and what he excerpts from it [must] also be examined.  Which is one of the soundest [(reelsten)] and most useful things for [the attainment of] learning, of which there is for the most part a lack in beginners, who wander around at universities or else in public libraries [(und sonst in publiquen bibliothequen) for] many years before they learn to recognize without being led by the hand [(ohne Handleitung)] the books and how to use them [(die Bücher und den Gebrauch derselben)].”

     Royal Joachimsthal Gymnasium librarian Jacob Elsner in March of 1725, as quoted in Christian Ritzi, "Bibliotheca Joachima:  zur Funktion von Gymnasialbibliotheken im Wandel der Zeit," in Das Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium:  Beiträge zum Aufstieg und Niedergang der Fürstenschule der Hohenzollern, ed. Jonas Flöter & Christian Ritzi (Bad Heilbrunn:  Verlag Julius Klinkhardt, 2009), 264 (261-294).  Ritzi is himself quoting Friedrich Carl Köpke, Geschichte der Bibliothek des Königl. Joachimsthalschen Gymnasiums nebst einigen Beilagen:  Beilage zum Jahresbericht des Königl. Joachimsthalschen Gymnasiums Ostern 1830 bis Ostern 1831 (Berlin:  1831), 9.

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