The ambitious Google plan to digitize 100,000 historic texts in Belgium

In September, a fleet of secure vehicles will come to a 17th-century building in Antwerp, Belgium, to receive a heavily protected cargo, and then escape with the goods to a confidential location and not revealed. The booty? Five thousand rare, centuries-old books, on their way to a real 21st-century treatment! Recently, the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library and the Plantin-Moretus Museum, both in Antwerp, announced a partnership with Google Books aimed at digitizing more than 100,000 historic works over the next three years. For Google, this is the third initiative of…

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The New York City’s cemetery where ships go to die

As with the legendary elephants’ graveyard, ships go to die at Rossville on Staten Island, although this wasn’t always the original intent of the space. Squeezed between Staten Island and New Jersey is Arthur Kill waterway (“Kill” is merely a dutch word for “creek”, in this case not as creepy as it sounds) and the Witte Marine Equipment Company. Since the 1930s, the company would dredge, salvage, and resell materials from the wrecked and disused vessels of the New York and New Jersey waterways – the space originally being called…

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Shipley Glen Tramway: a historic funicular tramway in England

We are in the wooded Shipley Glen, near the village of Saltaire in the English county of West Yorkshire. Originally built and operated as a way to ferry Victorian thrill seekers to and from an amusement park built at the top of a wooded valley, the tramway has served several generations in a variety of capacities. Opened on 18 May 1895 by Sam Wilson, a local publican, showman and entrepreneur, the tramway runs between Baildon and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire, two villages at opposite ends of the…

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Point of Ayr Lighthouse in Wales: an enchanted landscape and a keeper who never left it.

We are along the north coast of Wales. As the sun sets and the sea sweeps in across Talacre beach the lighthouse often seems to float on the waves in a mysterious and beautiful optical illusion. Correctly known as the Point of Ayr Lighthouse, but also named “Talacre Lighthouse”, it was originally built in 1776 to help guide ships away from the nearby sandbanks and provide a bearing for the great port of Liverpool to the northeast and mark the Mersey Estuary and the River Dee. Unusually for a lighthouse,…

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