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Helen Hogg - Astronomer and Faculty Stephen Leacock - Humorist and Graduate Elsie MacGill - Engineer and Graduate
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University of Toronto
U of T Great Past

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Picture of Robarts Library in 1972  


U of T Libraries
When contemplating our submission to the time capsule, we wanted to collect items that would both describe the library as it is today and amaze and astonish those opening it in two hundred years time. In the future, would there still be physical entities called libraries, or would information flow out of the ether into some kind of personal receptacle that people could carry with them and which could receive information anywhere? Would these people looking at the items in the time capsule find the whole idea of a library with stored knowledge within its walls quaint?

We decided, therefore, to put into the capsule two screens of information. The first screen contains information, such as size of the budget, extent of holdings, number of loans, number of computers and number of electronic journals, which would give those people in the far off future an idea of both our physical size, but also that a shift has just recently started to occur to electronic information and access.

The second screen demonstrates that at this point in our history we have holdings that span the centuries, from papyrus dating from the second century A.D. to full text searchable electronic databases that are being created and added to at this very moment.

In this way, whatever the future that our descendants will inhabit, they will see a snapshot of the library at what may be a transformation point. Equally possible, of course, is that we will look still very familiar to them. We can only wait to see which scenario will unfold.

U of T Libraries Information
UT Libraries Web site
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