The Electronic Scriptorium

But technology, not spirituality, has brought me to the monastery. I’ve come to observe the postprayer ritual. An hour and a half after morning song, the monks boot up IBM clones with 386 processors. (Only the prior uses a 486.) Silence and order, the constants of monastic life, still dominate, but for the next four hours, they will be punctuated by the hushed whir of hard drives, the clickety cadence of keyboards, the hum of the network server.

Don’t ask how I wound up so deep in Wired’s archives, but I did, and I found this wonderful little story about the modernization of the scriptorium: monks typing up records for libraries throughout the nation, doing the work of digitizing records before OCR even began to be common.

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