Sometime in the 8th century BC, Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria, created a library at his palace in Nineveh in Mesopotamia. Ashurbanipal was the first individual in history to introduce librarianship as a profession. We know of at least one “keeper of the books” who was employed to oversee the thousands of tablets on Sumerian and Babylonian materials, including literary texts; history; omens; astronomical calculations; mathematical tables; grammatical and linguistic tables; dictionaries; and commercial records and laws. All of these tablets were cataloged and arranged in logical order by subject or type, each having an identification tag.
The Great Library of Alexandria, created by Ptolemy I after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, was created to house the entirety of Greek literature.It was notable for its famous librarians: Demetrius, Zenodotus, Eratosthenes, Apollonius, Aristophanes, Aristarchus , and Callimachus. These scholars significantly significantly to the collection and cataloging of the wide variety of scrolls in the library’s collection. Most notably, Callimachus created what is considered to be the first subject catalog of the library holdings, called the pinakes. The pinakes contained 120 scrolls arranged into the ten subject classes; each class was then subdivided, listing authors alphabetically by titles.The librarians at Alexandria were considered the “custodians of learning”.
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