Thomas Harrison's Arca studiorum : A Search Engine in an Age of Notebooks. Essay review of Alberto Cevolini (ed.), Thomas Harrison: The Ark of Studies (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2017) xiv+142 pp. EUR 60,00 (cloth). ISBN 9782503575230.

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Yeo, Richard
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2020
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Alberto Cevolini has published the first English translation of an anonymous Latin manuscript of 1640 which proposed a specially designed cabinet that stored notes on loose, and transportable, slips of paper. The inventor of this “Arca studiorum” (Ark of Studies) declared that this “machine,” as he also called it at least once, came from “a sort of divine enlightenment,” resulting in “a new method—that, for as much as I know, has never been used before now—for finding at my pleasure all the things I have read, heard or thought.” In explaining this method, he contrasted it with past and current ways of taking notes, usually in the form of excerpts copied into notebooks, especially commonplace books. His procedure, he said, could “repair and compensate the damage done to life” by these other habits. Cevolini’s extensive and valuable introduction makes a different, but also a strong, claim: namely, that the physical design and conceptual rationale of this invention constitute a patent for “the first search engine of the modern age

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Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
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43
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2
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Historical studies
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Yeo, R, Thomas Harrison's Arca studiorum : A Search Engine in an Age of Notebooks. Essay review of Alberto Cevolini (ed.), Thomas Harrison: The Ark of Studies (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2017) xiv+142 pp. EUR 60,00 (cloth). ISBN 9782503575230., Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2020, 43 (2), pp. 295-304
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