For decades, professional discussions and disciplinary literature in the library and archival studies fields have examined the distinctions between libraries and archives in significant detail. These conversations often focus on the differences in organizational functions, collection types, intended audiences, and the ultimate societal role institutions fulfill within the broader ecology of information, culture, and education. Professional identity is inextricably tied to what one does, and for archivists and librarians this is traditionally defined by the materiality and spatial context of our everyday work surroundings. To many library and archives professionals, the steady erosion of these distinctions in the digital age might feel like a uniquely modern phenomenon that elicits both consternation and excitement. Yet the blending of information worlds—the recombination and repurposing of information objects—toward greater individual, communal, and social utility is a practice as old as written communication itself. In Libraries Before Alexandria: Ancient Near East Traditions, we...

You do not currently have access to this content.