Discussion:
"53 linear miles of shelving" - Vatican Secret Archives
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occam
2018-05-07 08:07:40 UTC
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How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?

quote:
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."

The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.

Full article from The Atlantic here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives-artificial-intelligence/559205/
grabber
2018-05-07 08:32:52 UTC
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Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
Seems an easy one to me. You measure shelf space in metres. Six 3-metre
shelves arranged one above another provide 18 metres of shelf space. I
don't know where the 30 metres comes from.
occam
2018-05-07 09:07:07 UTC
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Post by grabber
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"?  A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
Seems an easy one to me. You measure shelf space in metres. Six 3-metre
shelves arranged one above another provide 18 metres of shelf space. I
don't know where the 30 metres comes from.
'30 meters' comes from clumsy editing.
Janet
2018-05-07 14:27:49 UTC
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Post by occam
Post by grabber
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"?  A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
Seems an easy one to me. You measure shelf space in metres. Six 3-metre
shelves arranged one above another provide 18 metres of shelf space. I
don't know where the 30 metres comes from.
'30 meters' comes from clumsy editing.
I thought it was another cover-up lie by the Vatican.

Janet.

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Bart Dinnissen
2018-05-07 20:59:29 UTC
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Post by Janet
Post by occam
Post by grabber
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"?  A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
Seems an easy one to me. You measure shelf space in metres. Six 3-metre
shelves arranged one above another provide 18 metres of shelf space. I
don't know where the 30 metres comes from.
'30 meters' comes from clumsy editing.
I thought it was another cover-up lie by the Vatican.
Janet.
Ah. You want row 113-344, that's 231 meters times 6, so that's probably a two-year pass, no?
That will be 300.500.000 lira. Cash, please.
Post by Janet
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Richard Tobin
2018-05-07 21:58:33 UTC
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Post by Bart Dinnissen
Ah. You want row 113-344, that's 231 meters times 6, so that's probably a two-year pass, no?
That will be 300.500.000 lira. Cash, please.
Not Lira. The Vatican issues its own Euros.

-- Richard
Joseph C. Fineman
2018-05-08 00:50:07 UTC
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Post by grabber
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
Seems an easy one to me. You measure shelf space in metres. Six
3-metre shelves arranged one above another provide 18 metres of shelf
space. I don't know where the 30 metres comes from.
I once saw a library's shelf space expressed in "cubic acres". A
6-dimensional building, presumably, with plenty of space, but pretty
easy to get lost in.
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||: For God forgives, and men forget. :||
Peter T. Daniels
2018-05-07 13:04:01 UTC
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Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
?? Six shelves three meters wide are 18 meters of shelves. Where could 30
have come from?
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives-artificial-intelligence/559205/
What do you think the "VSA" holds on its 53 miles?

At a guess, perhaps everything it was not considered proper for a good
Christian to see -- such as the incomparable holdings of "Oriental"
manuscripts that were scavenged by the peripatetic Jesuits.

And surely also their famous collection of pornography, which presumably
comprises only a very small part of what's on the Index.

When did the modern concept of "classified information" arise?

When a document is declassified, do you suppose it physically moves from
one archive building to another?
Jerry Friedman
2018-05-07 13:04:25 UTC
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Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
I agree with grabber.
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
As the article and the Wikipedia article explain, the archives are
secret in name only. Over 1000 researchers a year are given access,
with restrictions, and the article is about a project to OCR the
manuscripts, using trained AI to interpret handwriting, and make the
transcripts publicly accessible. However, all material from after 1939
and material on cardinals' personal matters after 1922 is still secret,
so the limit is much like Britain's 50-100 years.
Post by occam
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives-artificial-intelligence/559205/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Secret_Archives
--
Jerry Friedman
Stefan Ram
2018-05-07 13:19:23 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
As the article and the Wikipedia article explain, the archives are
secret in name only.
OED also gives for "secret":

|b. Of a place: Removed from the resort of men; retired,
|remote, lonely, secluded, solitary; hence, affording privacy
|or seclusion. Also rarely of time. Chiefly arch.
Stefan Ram
2018-05-07 13:29:26 UTC
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Post by Stefan Ram
|b. Of a place: Removed from the resort of men; retired,
To "keep or remove from the resort of men" in the sense of
denying access to people is so rare that the only other
example I am aware of is Shakespeare:

DUKE
But she I mean is promised by her friends
Unto a youthful gentleman of worth,
And kept severely from resort of men,
That no man hath access by day to her.

- Two Gentlemen of Verona
John Varela
2018-05-07 20:56:32 UTC
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Post by Stefan Ram
Post by Jerry Friedman
As the article and the Wikipedia article explain, the archives are
secret in name only.
|b. Of a place: Removed from the resort of men; retired,
|remote, lonely, secluded, solitary; hence, affording privacy
|or seclusion. Also rarely of time. Chiefly arch.
And if one were to put something in such a place, it would be
secreted.
--
John Varela
John Varela
2018-05-07 20:54:10 UTC
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Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vaticans walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives-artificial-intelligence/559205/
--
John Varela
Jerry Friedman
2018-05-07 21:53:36 UTC
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Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
...

To me, a shelf doesn't have tiers; the tiers are the shelves. So
I mentally changed "A three meter wide bookshelf with 6 tiers"
to "A three-meter-wide bookcase with six shelves." However, Google
knows of people who refer to the whole many-shelved furniture item
as a bookshelf.

In a library those can be "the stacks", but do people refer to
one "stack"?
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter T. Daniels
2018-05-08 02:32:12 UTC
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Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
...
To me, a shelf doesn't have tiers; the tiers are the shelves. So
I mentally changed "A three meter wide bookshelf with 6 tiers"
to "A three-meter-wide bookcase with six shelves." However, Google
knows of people who refer to the whole many-shelved furniture item
as a bookshelf.
In a library those can be "the stacks", but do people refer to
one "stack"?
"Range" fits in their somewhere -- it might be the singular of "stack."
Can one vertical shelving unit be a "bookcase" even though it's not
physically distinct from its neighbors?

Quinn C
2018-05-07 22:18:50 UTC
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Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
Companies that sell shelves specify their width and depth, but no
length. That's what I thought, but I quickly confirmed it with one US
and one UK retailer.
--
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Guess who owns it?
- Tell me it's not that bastard Donald Trump.
-- Gilmore Girls, S02E08 (2001)
Tony Cooper
2018-05-07 23:41:27 UTC
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On Mon, 7 May 2018 18:18:50 -0400, Quinn C
Post by Quinn C
Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
Companies that sell shelves specify their width and depth, but no
length. That's what I thought, but I quickly confirmed it with one US
and one UK retailer.
If you asked for a 6" deep shelf, would you be surprised if they asked
you how long a shelf you wanted?

I doubt if the Vatican went to the U-Shelve-It! store for those
shelves. They were probably made by hand by an order of woodworking
monks.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Tony Cooper
2018-05-07 22:21:01 UTC
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Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vaticans walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives-artificial-intelligence/559205/
Of course. 53 linear miles of shelving is the total of the length of
all the shelves if laid end-to-end. The depth - how wide they are
from wall to front - is not a factor in the statement.

To incorporate both figures would provide the number of square meters
(or yards, or feet, or whatever) of shelving.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Horace LaBadie
2018-05-07 23:14:50 UTC
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Post by Tony Cooper
Post by John Varela
Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
To me, the width of the shelf is the distance that it projects from
the wall, and distance along the wall is the shelf's length. So,
what you describe is not a three-meter-wide shelf, it is a
three-meter-long shelf.
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vaticans walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archi
ves-artificial-intelligence/559205/
Of course. 53 linear miles of shelving is the total of the length of
all the shelves if laid end-to-end. The depth - how wide they are
from wall to front - is not a factor in the statement.
To incorporate both figures would provide the number of square meters
(or yards, or feet, or whatever) of shelving.
If all the girls attending the Yale prom were laid end to end, it
wouldn't surprise me, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.
Horace LaBadie
2018-05-07 23:12:46 UTC
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Post by occam
How do you go about quantifying "53 linear miles of shelving"? A three
meter wide book-shelf with, say, 6 tiers counts as 30 linear meters or 3
meters?
You would prefer board feet?
Post by occam
"The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door
to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA
houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries."
The second phrase "dating back more than 12 centuries" also puts a
perspective on current state secrecy laws. Normally classified
information in the UK has a shelf-life of 50 - 100 years, beyond which
documents are either declassified or destroyed. 12 centuries makes the
Vatican the most secretive state on the planet.
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/04/vatican-secret-archives
-artificial-intelligence/559205/
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