From Alexandria to Google: The Mythic Quest for Universal Libraries
Talk by Prof. Ken Hillis
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Wilson Special Collections Library
5 p.m. Exhibition opening | Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room
5:30 p.m. Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203
“From Alexandria to Google: The Mythic Quest for Universal Libraries” will be the title of a talk by UNC professor Ken Hillis on Feb. 27 at UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library.
Hillis will trace Google’s quest to organize the world’s information through a lineage of mathematicians and metaphysicians, from the Atomists of ancient Greece to medieval philosopher Ramón Llull, from science fiction writer H.G. Wells to the contemporary wizards of search. Hillis will uncover the magical thinking that undergirds online search and draw on the lessons of the library at Alexandria and the Tower of Babel to offer a cautionary tale in the mythic quest for universal libraries.
The talk celebrates the opening of the exhibition The Encyclopedic Impulse in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room. The exhibition marks the three-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Denis Diderot, editor and principal author of the great eighteenth-century Encyclopédie, which sought to bring together and disseminate the world’s knowledge.
Hillis is professor of media and technology studies in the department of communication studies. He is co-author of the recent book Google and the Culture of Search (Routledge, 2012). His other books include Online a Lot of the Time (Duke University Press, 2009) and Everyday eBay (Routledge, 2006).