The various uses of notebooks throughout history will be explored at the ___Notebooks and Note-takers: da Vinci to Darwin___ symposium at the State Library of Queensland from July 17-19.

Convenor Professor Richard Yeo from the Centre of Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University says today we take it for granted notebooks of various kinds are used in people’s lives.

“We use them to record information we don’t want to forget, but not necessarily items we wish to memorise. Our emphasis is on noting for later retrieval, a process enormously aided by digital technology,” he said.

“In early modern Europe notebooks were a part of daily life for literate, educated individuals. Yet they were not seen as substitutes for memory, but rather as prompts for material that should be stored in memory.

“Biographers would kill for access to the private notes of their subjects; and when available, such manuscripts attain a sacred status, as in the case of Leonardo da Vinci’s loose notes, scribbled in mirror writing on some 6000 surviving pages.

“Our understanding of the development of Charles Darwin’s thinking would be impoverished without the notebooks in which he sketched ideas on evolution at least 20 years before he could bear to utter them in public.”

Professor Ann Blair from Harvard University will present the opening public lecture tomorrow, July 17 at 6pm. Professor Blair teaches early modern European history, intellectual and cultural history and the history of the book.

WHAT: Notebooks and Note-takers: da Vinci to Darwin Symposium

WHEN: July 17-19

WHERE: State Library of Queensland, Brisbane