• Conrad Gessner (1515-1565): Cat.

    From: Historiae animalium (Lib. I De quadrupedibus viviparis), Zurich: Froschauer, 1551. CC: Marseille Bibliothéque Municipale

Learning is about knowledge, right? But what kind of knowledge would that be? Is it important to know, who the next German Chancellor will be, that is develop prophetic skills based on solid statistics? Without doubt. Other forms of useful knowledge are, for example ten different ways to say “I love you”, or simply, “thank you”; or finally, to know about the date when the second world war came to an end, that is historically proven facts. In Zurich in the 16th century, all three approaches had their moment, and one was particularly taking dominance: Storing, archiving, organizing, in one word, collecting useful snippets about facts and data, and make them available for later use by grouping them and pinning them down according to topics of interest. This is, what this project is about, and I will explain how 16th century academic information management worked, by focusing on post-reformatory Zurich and its theological seminary.