Anyone who has known me for longer than, say, fifteen minutes knows I’m not a huge fan of religion. However, as a historian, I can’t deny its effect on humankind and upon history. Preserving the past is very important to me if for no other reason that it’s pretty damn hard for a historian to write about history when there’s no written history to write about.
Another facet of both history and science is that fundamental insights can come from surprising sources. Consider that E=mc2 was figured out by a guy working as a patent clerk. So it is in the best interests of humanity to make as much as you can available to the public eye for reading, study, and inquiry. So projects like Codex Sinaiticus really flip my bit and give me that little shudder when I see what someone can do with a relic of the past when they apply modern technology to it.
The Codex Sinaiticus is the earliest surviving Christian Bible. It’s around 1,600 years old and contains some fascinating insights into the Christian religion. There are passages in the Codex that show where verses were changed, altered, returned to their original form, and then amended again. For religious scholars, it’s a fantastic source. And now everyone with a computer can see it and look through it online.
Seriously, good people of the library world, you have an opportunity to page through a book that’s well over a thousand years old. If that doesn’t make you jittery, then get out of this profession. I want to work around people with passion.