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posted by mrpg on Saturday April 08 2017, @09:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the smells-like-knowledge dept.

A 'Historic Book Odour Wheel' which has been developed to document and archive the aroma associated with old books, is being presented in a study in the open access journal Heritage Science. Researchers at UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage created the wheel as part of an experiment in which they asked visitors to St Paul's Cathedral's Dean and Chapter library in London to characterize its smell.

The visitors most frequently described the aroma of the library as 'woody' (selected by 100% of the visitors who were asked), followed by 'smoky' (86%), 'earthy' (71%) and 'vanilla' (41%). The intensity of the smells was assessed as between 'strong odor' and 'very strong odor'. Over 70% of the visitors described the smell as pleasant, 14% as 'mildly pleasant' and 14% as 'neutral'.

In a separate experiment, the researchers presented visitors to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with an unlabelled historic book smell - sampled from a 1928 book they obtained from a second-hand bookshop in London - and collected the terms used to describe the smell. The word 'chocolate' - or variations such as 'cocoa' or 'chocolatey' - was used most often, followed by 'coffee', 'old', 'wood' and 'burnt'. Participants also mentioned smells including 'fish', 'body odour', 'rotten socks' and 'mothballs'.

Cecilia Bembibre, heritage scientist at UCL and corresponding author of the study said: "Our odour wheel provides an example of how scientists and historians could begin to identify, analyze and document smells that have cultural significance, such as the aroma of old books in historic libraries. The role of smells in how we perceive heritage has not been systematically explored until now."

Will our grandchildren recognize the smell of diesel, or oil?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09 2017, @06:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 09 2017, @06:14AM (#491095)

    Oh, and this is getting off-topic, so I separated it out, but one phenomenon I think you'd see under UBI... Rather than sitting in their little boxes watching tv until they take up russian roulette to alleviate the boredom, some will turn to cooperative farming.

    You'd have a small group of people owning shares in a farm, pooling some percentage of their UBI to cover property tax, upkeep, and consumables, and committing their own labor to produce their food; the aim would be principally subsistence for the members, rather than profit, but any surplus would of course be sold and the proceeds returned to members as a dividend. Between better food, a nicer place to live, and a lot less boredom, many people would find it a much better choice than the box farm, hard work notwithstanding; and depending how available the job-destroying automation that precipitated this mess is, it may not be all that hard of work, either. (Farm work isn't exactly easy right now, but it's different work at different times of the year -- I'd really rather have that variety than a similarly labor-intensive job where I do the same thing every week year-round.)

    It's not clear whether that sort of farming (and individual homesteading, etc.) really counts as "employment" or not; I'd put them in group 2, but you could argue that I should have added a 4th group for individual or cooperative "self-sufficiency". (I mean, it's not really self-sufficient if you need the UBI check to make ends meet, but I haven't got a better word...) And the great thing is, land that is marginal for true self-sufficiency at small-scale (i.e. it yields enough to feed the farmers, but not enough surplus to reliably cover expenses) becomes quite livable when the expenses are paid by UBI; this in turn means if it does become a phenomenon as I expect, it won't be self-extinguishing by driving up prices on the best farmland.