How the Index Card Cataloged the World - The Atlantic


41 bookmarks. First posted by cradock 17 days ago.


Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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6 hours ago by mjbrej
How the Index Card Cataloged the World - The Atlantic via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2j859GD
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5 days ago by craniac
Index Card Object Lesson
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5 days ago by hockendougal

Carl Linnaeus, the father of biological taxonomy, also had a hand in inventing this tool for categorizing anything. An Object Lesson.

The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy.

The Swedish scientist is more often credited with another invention: binomial nomenclature, the latinized two-part name assigned to every species.

species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, and kingdom.
enlightenment  tool  nature  knowledge  epistemic  botany  research  history 
8 days ago by aries1988
"The act of organizing information—even notes about plants—is never neutral or objective. Anyone who has used index cards to plan a project, plot a story, or study for an exam knows that hierarchies are inevitable. Forty years ago, Michel Foucault observed in a footnote that, curiously, historians had neglected the invention of the index card. The book was Discipline and Punish, which explores the relationship between knowledge and power. The index card was a turning point, Foucault believed, in the relationship between power and technology. Like the categories they cataloged, Linnaeus’s paper slips belong to the history of politics as much as the history of science."
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10 days ago by heidigoseek
On the invention of the index card as a means of keeping track of large quantities of information, which the author attributes to Linnaeus, who began using slips of paper of a standard size for each new species.
science  history  indexing  cataloguing  information  informationoverload 
11 days ago by johnmfrench
How the Index Card (& Carl Linnaeus) catalogued the world
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12 days ago by maverickny
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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12 days ago by fogus
RT : The act of organizing information is never neutral or objective, writes
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12 days ago by joegermuska
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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13 days ago by fintelkai
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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13 days ago by urbansheep
Carl Linnaeus, the father of biological taxonomy, also had a hand in inventing this tool for categorizing anything. An Object Lesson. Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list.
13 days ago by AnthonyBaker
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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13 days ago by Shurs
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13 days ago by sbmandal
The act of organizing information is never neutral or objective, writes
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15 days ago by anneheathen
RT : The act of organizing information is never neutral or objective, writes
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15 days ago by kcarruthers
The act of organizing information is never neutral or objective, writes
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15 days ago by wlanderson
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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15 days ago by mapzen
"How the Index Card Catalogued the World"
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15 days ago by peterjblack
RT @AdrienneLaF: “The act of organizing information—even notes about plants—is never neutral or objective.”
16 days ago by copystar
The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy. But like all information systems, the index card had unexpected political implications, too: It helped set the stage for categorizing people, and for the prejudice and violence that comes along with such classification....

In 1767, near the end of his career, Linnaeus began to use “little paper slips of a standard size” to record information about plants and animals. According to the historians Isabelle Charmantier and Staffan Müller-Wille, these paper slips offered “an expedient solution to an information-overload crisis” for the Swedish scientist. More than 1,000 of them, measuring five by three inches, are housed at London’s Linnean Society. Each contains notes about plants and material culled from books and other publications. While flimsier than heavy stock and cut by hand, they’re virtually indistinguishable from modern index cards....

Thomas Harrison, a 17th-century English inventor, devised the “ark of studies,” a small cabinet that allowed scholars to excerpt books and file their notes in a specific order. Readers would attach pieces of paper to metal hooks labeled by subject heading. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the German polymath and coinventor of calculus (with Isaac Newton), relied on Harrison’s cumbersome contraption in at least some of his research....

Until the mid-19th century, the backs of playing cards were left blank by manufacturers, offering “a practical writing surface,” where scholars scribbled notes, says Blair. Playing cards “were frequently used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, or business cards,” explains Markus Krajewski, the author of Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogs. In 1791, France’s revolutionary government issued the world’s first national cataloging code, calling for playing cards to be used for bibliographical records. And according to Charmantier and Müller-Wille, playing cards were found under the floorboards of the Uppsala home Linnaeus shared with his wife Sara Lisa. ...

The act of organizing information—even notes about plants—is never neutral or objective. Anyone who has used index cards to plan a project, plot a story, or study for an exam knows that hierarchies are inevitable. Forty years ago, Michel Foucault observed in a footnote that, curiously, historians had neglected the invention of the index card. The book was Discipline and Punish, which explores the relationship between knowledge and power. The index card was a turning point, Foucault believed, in the relationship between power and technology. Like the categories they cataloged, Linnaeus’s paper slips belong to the history of politics as much as the history of science.
index_cards  media_archaeology  via:shannon_mattern 
16 days ago by jfbeatty
The index card was a product of the Enlightenment, conceived by one of its towering figures: Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist, physician, and the father of modern taxonomy. But like all information systems, the index card had unexpected political implications, too: It helped set the stage for categorizing people, and for the prejudice and violence that comes along with such classification....

In 1767, near the end of his career, Linnaeus began to use “little paper slips of a standard size” to record information about plants and animals. According to the historians Isabelle Charmantier and Staffan Müller-Wille, these paper slips offered “an expedient solution to an information-overload crisis” for the Swedish scientist. More than 1,000 of them, measuring five by three inches, are housed at London’s Linnean Society. Each contains notes about plants and material culled from books and other publications. While flimsier than heavy stock and cut by hand, they’re virtually indistinguishable from modern index cards....

Thomas Harrison, a 17th-century English inventor, devised the “ark of studies,” a small cabinet that allowed scholars to excerpt books and file their notes in a specific order. Readers would attach pieces of paper to metal hooks labeled by subject heading. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the German polymath and coinventor of calculus (with Isaac Newton), relied on Harrison’s cumbersome contraption in at least some of his research....

Until the mid-19th century, the backs of playing cards were left blank by manufacturers, offering “a practical writing surface,” where scholars scribbled notes, says Blair. Playing cards “were frequently used as lottery tickets, marriage and death announcements, notepads, or business cards,” explains Markus Krajewski, the author of Paper Machines: About Cards and Catalogs. In 1791, France’s revolutionary government issued the world’s first national cataloging code, calling for playing cards to be used for bibliographical records. And according to Charmantier and Müller-Wille, playing cards were found under the floorboards of the Uppsala home Linnaeus shared with his wife Sara Lisa.
index_cards  media_archaeology 
16 days ago by shannon_mattern
“The act of organizing information—even notes about plants—is never neutral or objective.”
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16 days ago by KMcGrane
Like every graduate student, I once holed up in the library cramming for my doctoral oral exams. This ritual hazing starts with a long reading list. Come exam…
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17 days ago by bcamper
How the Index Card Catalogued the World via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2j859GD
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17 days ago by stephenfrancoeur