According to thesaurus.com, an archivist is a guardian of knowledge. How cool is that? Like those movies The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. I only saw the Quest for the Spear (there are two more that I didn’t see), and while I thought it rather silly, illogical and somewhat stupid, I enjoyed the idea. The Librarian goes out into the world to retrieve ancient artifacts and priceless pieces of history to keep them safe in the Library.
The idea that the Librarian is retrieving artifacts, as opposed to knowledge itself is interesting. I would think that a Librarian would attempt to preserve ancient manuscripts or other forms of information rather than artifacts. To me, information is more vulnerable than artifacts. If an artifact is lost, there can still be a record of what it was and what purpose it served, so that the artifact is not entirely lost. However, information can be lost completely. Although the information can be written down, if the written record is destroyed, then it can be changed, remembered incorrectly or lost altogether. This has happened in the past, most famously with the information in the Library in Alexandria. That is one of the reasons why I love the easy access to and reproduction of knowledge in today’s day and age.
I saw a book title once that I found very scary, it was called, “The Last Book in the Universe.” The book is set in the future at a time when there are no more books. I didn’t read the book so I don’t know where it went from there, but the premise itself was enough to make me dislike technology such as the Kindle. Once the information is purely digital, it can be adjusted, abridged and otherwise distorted from the original. I don’t know if books will ever be ‘extinct,’ but if they are, I think so much of value will be lost.
P.S. Funnily enough, the TV show Warehouse 13 has a similar premise without the library aspect. Secret Service agents hunt objects of power, (such as a a Bio-energy vehicle created by Thomas Edison, the guillotine that beheaded Marie Antoinette, Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod, and many more), which are then stored in Warehouse 13.