Robert Darnton

Robert Darnton

Biography

Author Profession: US Historian
Born: May 10, 1939
Age: 77 years old
Birth Sign: Taurus

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Robert Darnton quotes

People sometimes announce that we have entered 'the information age' as if information did not exist in other times. I think that every age was an age of information, each in its own way and according to the available media.

The fact that I spend a lot of time in the 18th century doesn't mean I'm not concerned with the 21st.

Thanks to modern technology, we now can deliver every text in every research library to every citizen in our country, and to everyone in the world. If we fail to do so, we are not living up to our civic duty.

I would not minimize the digital divide, which separates the computerized world from the rest, nor would I underestimate the importance of traditional books.

We are living in one of those rare moments in history when things may come apart and be put back together again in ways that will determine the future for decades or more, despite the endless innovations of technology.

People think that when you use Google you're finding exactly what you need, but really, you need expert help.

I believe we should celebrate new possibilities of combining the printed codex with electronic technology... The information ecology is getting richer, not thinner.

Digital data are more fragile than printed material.

I arrived from Harvard, where I had studied philosophy and the history of ideas, with a bias toward literature and formal thought.

I worked for a brief spell as a journalist, but soon I discovered that I didn't want to be a journalist - I wanted to be a historian.

It's important to make clear to all the schools at Harvard the central role of the library.

Texts are always in flux.

The American revolutionaries believed in the power of the word. But they had only word of mouth and the printing press. We have the Internet.

The notion of 'history from below' hit the history profession in England very hard around the time I came to Oxford in the early 1960s.

We need librarians who can handle this tremendous jumble of information that is in cyberspace.

All of us are citizens in a republic much larger than the Republic of America. It is the Republic of Letters, a realm of the mind that extends everywhere, without police, national boundaries, or disciplinary frontiers.

As a graduate student at Oxford in 1963, I began writing about books in revolutionary France, helping to found the discipline of book history. I was in my academic corner writing about Enlightenment ideals when the Internet exploded the world of academic communication in the 1990s.

As president of the American Historical Association, I started a programme to make dissertations into e-books in 1999. Before I knew it, I was involved in other electronic projects. Harvard invited me to become director of the libraries in 2007.

I want to continue to strengthen Harvard's fabulous collections in old printed material, but at the same time, I want to help Harvard move into the world of digitized information.

I was very fortunate to be elected to the Society of Fellows at Harvard, which is, in effect, a small research center where you are given three years to do whatever work you want.

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. John Lennon

One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood. Agatha Christie

You can live your life angry, bitter, mad at somebody or even guilty, not letting go of your own mistakes, but you won't receive the good things God has in store. Joel Osteen quotes

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