In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Werner Glas and Hans Gebert were both at the Rudolf Steiner Institute, then located in Southfield, Michigan. The e.Librarian — then affectionately known as “the bearded one,” or “that guy over there” (see photo) — was fairly new to Anthroposophy at that time, and was constantly bombarding both of the “G-men” with questions like, “Do you remember where Steiner said such-and-such?” Or, “Was it in this lectures series, or that lecture series that Steiner referred to blah-blah?”
At that time, the e.Librarian had over 15 years of experience in developing databases for computers, so it was suggested to Dr. Glas that a database be created with all of Rudolf Steiner’s works in it. This database could be used as a reference tool by the Anthroposophical Community. As a side benefit, it would free up time for him as it would keep me busy and out of his hair — that elicited a smile and a pat on the shoulder.
He said this would be a very large project, considering the amount of data, and that there were no electronic copies of any of Steiner’s writings at that time. But he did think it was a worthy effort, and that it should be someone like the “bearded one” to tackle it. Other folks at the Institute thought it would be a great thing to do, though very time-consuming.
At first, the writings were typed in — my being the worst 2-fingered typist in the world didn’t help — and it was indeed a slow process. There were about 100 Steiner books in my library at that time, and it looked like an endless job! As the technology grew, and hand-held scanners became available, the books were scanned electronically and converted to text. The technology may have grown, but it was a long way from what it is today. Character recognition was primitive then, and it took hours just to get cleanly scanned pages, and more hours correcting and proof-reading each document.
Finding and buying older Steiner translations was one of the perks of this job. Haunting Mayflower books was a great pastime, and traveling around, seeking out the odd bookstore to rummage through their shelves was a real treat, too. You never know what you’ll find: I went into a small bookstore in Hollywood, Florida where they only sold used paperback books, specializing in mysteries. I came out with about 30 old Steiner paperbacks from the 60’s and 70’s! More »
Many people have asked “what is the intent and/or purpose of this Archive” — or words to that effect. This document should answer almost all of those questions. Other questions will be tackled as the need arises.
What we have here is a Library: just like the community-based libraries that are all over the world, we have books, reference materials, and various printed media for use by its patrons. We also have the tools necessary to find the information that is sought by those patrons. Be it catalogues, indexes, or whatever, the tools are in place. Also like your local library, we are striving to provide what is of interest to the “community”, and to supply the newest and best tools.
The simile continues in that all of the materials presented for patron use are either purchased, or have been donated. The “community” is invited to take advantage of this wealth of information to better the individuals, and ultimately, strengthen the “community”. This will “rub off” on the adjacent communities, and … Well, you know how it goes? We all affect one another.
We are a type of lending institution. Our offerings are for the use of the patrons, not to be kept, but to be returned so that others can take advantage of the materials. If you want to have your own copy of some of what we offer, we suggest that you buy that item. We encourage everyone to create their own library by buying those books, pictures, or other items for themselves. The rule is: use, don’t abuse. More »