This was the early version of Google. Using these humble wooden drawers, generations of scholars and researchers, desperate students and cunning spies, despairing parents and fanatical bibliophiles, and every other shape and size of reader delved into the depth and breadth of human understanding.
Something worth considering: Google contains only a fraction of the knowledge once cataloged by card catalogs. Technology has digitized and indexed only that which is easy to digitize and index; most journal articles, newspaper articles, books, scientific papers, notebooks and other written material are still confined to physical forms, and unknown to Internet search engines.
How I miss card catalogs.
The humble card catalog was the early version of Google. These wooden drawers held the wonder’s of the world’s past and the future of the universe.
Kentucky is not exactly noted for a close association with science. The Creation Museum, in Petersburg, Kentucky, not only opposes most of modern science, but most of modern religion, claiming the Earth was created in six days of 24 hours, roughly 6,000 years ago.
Yet downtown Louisville boasts a remarkable roadside sign that presents, on one side, a metaphoric clock showing the history of planet earth and, on the opposite side, twelve different views of planet Earth as tectonic plates broke apart Pangaea and created the continents we know today.
A clock showing the entire history of Earth, compressed into a figurative twelve hours, with humanity occupying a tiny, tiny sliver. The presence of human brains on the sign is probably not an accident. Click on the image for a larger view.
The evolution of planet Earth over time, shown in twelve different maps on a roadside sign in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Click on the image for a larger view.
NOAA is the world’s leading publisher of original content on the Internet. Not collected from others, but direct publishing. Every day, NOAA instruments, programs, projects and people push a steady stream of environmental, technical and scientific information out to the U.S. public. These commemorative coins were issued to honor NOAA’s history; the patch is just a patch.
Cloth patch showing the NOAA logo. Few people know NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.
Front of the NOAA coin struck for the 200th anniversary of the founding of the oldest part of NOAA.
Back of the coin showing some of the many scientific and technical activities NOAA pursues.
Front of NOAA coin showing the logo in two shades of blue, the stylized gull, and text around the edge.
Back of NOAA coin honoring National Ocean Service,