The Rosetta Disk Online – 1,500 Languages In A Browser Window

Guest post by Aaron Muszalski

Thanks to the rather clever folks at The Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project, you can now explore the contents of their Rosetta Disk in your browser window.

Inspired by the historic Rosetta Stone, the Rosetta Disk is intended to be “a durable archive of human languages” as well as “an aesthetic object that suggests a journey of the imagination across culture and history”. Made of nickel alloy (with a 2,000 year life expectancy), the physical Disk is three inches across, and micro-etched with over 13,000 pages of language documentation, covering over 1,500 languages.

[On the front side of the disk] the text begins at eye-readable scale and spirals down to nano-scale. This tapered ring of languages is intended to maximize the number of people that will be able to read something immediately upon picking up the Disk, as well as implying the directions for using it—‘get a magnifier and there is more.’


The online version allows viewers to zoom into, and scroll through the entire contents of both sides of the disk, and easily read pages of information which, on the physical disk, are only .019 inches, or half a millimeter, across.

image by The Rosetta Project & photo by Lincoln Smith

Aaron Muszalski
Aaron Muszalski