Mental Floss

Real-Time Feed of British Library Book Activity

Hannah Keyser
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As a testament to the amazing breadth and depth of their stacks, the British Library produced

Issues to Readers

, this 10-minute film featuring the real-time feed of activity as patrons borrow, return, and request books. Each entry is evocative and intriguing—like "Darwin's coat-tails," or "History of beauty"—but essentially nonsensical without context. However for bibliophiles, the overall effect is truly soothing and hypnotic. The video was produced as part of the

Living Knowledge

campaign which "sets out the British Library’s vision for its future development as it looks ahead to 2023, the year of its 50th anniversary as the national library of the United Kingdom." Through modernization and publicity efforts, the project seeks to make the library’s “intellectual heritage accessible to everyone, for research, inspiration and enjoyment.”

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