A New Effort to Measure the Condition of Collections

Heritage Preservation, Inc., in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, ALA, and others, is undertaking a large-scale survey to determine the condition of U.S. library, archive, museum, and historical society collections:

A new Heritage Health Index, aimed at measuring for the first time the condition of the nation\'s collections . . . is under preparation by Heritage Preservation Inc. A survey is being developed in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and with major funding from the Getty Grant Program. During the project\'s 15-month developmental stage, said Heritage spokeswoman Kristen Overbeck, the organization will convene focus groups, including representatives of organizations like the American Library Association, \"to determine what we want to measure and the best way to capture it.\" The actual evaluation, which could launch in late 2002 and measure collections every four years, lacks funding at this point. . .

[More from Library Journal (registration now required).]


Library Urged to Remove Books

Someone from the Associated Press writes...

\"The works of three Western authors should be removed from the Springdale Public Library, according to one complaint, because their books contain \"pornographic, sexual encounters.\" The library board will discuss the request at a Sept. 12 meeting. The complaint said the works of Jon Sharpe, Jake Logan and Tabor Evans could have a harmful effect on readers.\" more... from The Dallas Morning News.


Cal State\'s New E-books Lending Program Less Restrictive

Besides the fact that there\'s an awful line in here that reads, \"California\'s state university system has written a new chapter in how to lend e-books,\" it seems that Cal State has figured out a way to lend one e-book to more than one individual at a time. This is, of course, thanks to NetLibrary. more... from Wired News.

Library of Rare Tibetan Texts to be Available Online

Independent scholar E. Gene Smith, widely credited with preserving much of Tibet\'s literary heritage, is working to
make his massive personal library of rare texts available online:

Crammed into bookshelves and piled onto tables, about 10,000 long, narrow tablets wrapped in red and gold fabric pack the corners of a North Cambridge duplex. Printed from hand-carved wood blocks by monks over the last millennium, these looseleaf books of mulberry-husk paper feature, in ornately lettered and occasionally illustrated Tibetan characters, the mystical poetry of Milarepa, the astrological theories of Asian scientists, and the religious teachings of the great lamas of the ages. Over four decades as an itinerant archivist with a passion for preservation, a Mormon convert to Buddhism named E. Gene Smith has amassed a rare collection of the endangered Tibetan Buddhist canon: some original writings of Buddha, early commentaries by Indian Buddhists, and the writings of Tibetan Buddhist sages over the last 12 centuries. . .

[More from the Boston Globe. Smith\'s efforts to date can be seen at the site of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center.]


New Book Drop Checks in Books

The National Library Board in Singapore receives 200 suggestions a month. However, they liked one patron\'s suggestion so much, they developed the idea and patented it. The idea was a book drop that uses radio frequencies to detect returned books.The story doesn\'t say if the patron will receive any money from the patent, which has interested libraries from New Zealand, Australia, and Scandinavian countries. Definitely \"good value for money,\" as is the new Public Service slogan.


The Grand Complication

For The New York Times, DT Max writes...

\"The use and abuse of order is the subject of Allen Kurzweil\'s engaging new novel, \"The Grand Complication.\" We try to keep life under control by cataloging it, only to find that what gives it its meaning is its refusal to be pinned down. To live well is to make room for confusion. This moral is given us through the story of Alexander Short, a New York librarian, who, overwhelmed by life; his parents deceased, a wife he can no longer talk to, an apartment in a neighborhood overrun by crack, has taken refuge in rules.\" more... Don\'t forget your free required subscription Here.


Questia\'s New Marketing Approach to Include a Librarian

For The Houston Chronicle, Tom Fowler writes...

\"Questia Media will be accompanying millions of high school and college students back to school in the coming weeks with a full complement of TV ads, direct mailers and Internet marketing. The company is also making a librarian available to TV shows to talk about back-to-school preparations, which will naturally include a suggested subscription to Questia.\" more...

Internet Access, Filtering and Monitoring

I stumbled across this one earlier today and it contains some great information. Cindy Curling, Electronic Resources Librarian for a Washington DC firm, did an informal survey of librarians and others on issues of privacy and filtering, and the responses and related comments are very interesting. I recommend taking the time to read the entire article and exploring the included links. Although the title mentions law libraries, specifically, the information contained in the article goes far beyond that. According to the author herself, \"I found the comments and opinions above to be interesting, and more importantly, thought provoking. I was especially surprised at how few librarians had any influence in the development of their firm/school/agency\'s Internet access policy...\" more...

BL Considers Corporate Sponsorship of Library Posts

The Independent has this story on possible new funding sources for the British Library. Possibilities include corporate sponsorship of individual posts, like a university endowed chair. Other ideas include postcards, a \"Railtrack wing\", and inviting, \"private investors to build and run new facilities.\"


The FTAA vs. Intellectual Freedom

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a call to the public to
protest the inclusion in the Free Trade Area of the
Americas (FTAA) treaty of language that grants even
greater control to publishers of intellectual property than the Digital Millenium Copyright Act:

While Russian graduate student Dmitry Sklyarov potentially faces five years in prison under the first criminal prosecution of a controversial new US law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) passed at the request of Hollywood in 1998, its backers are now busily exporting overseas its dangerous legal theories of excessive copyright protection at the price of civil liberties. Worldwide public intervention is immediately necessary to restore freedom of speech as a value promoted by free societies. . .

The public comment period ends 8/22. The complete press release can be found here . Thanks to Slashdot.


Collection Development: SIC or NAICS?

Jan Bissett and Margi Heinen write...

\"It\'s been a slow journey. Okay, we\'ll admit it. It started with curiosity and collection development. With most everyone examining print collections for web replacements, often with a critical eye on dates, coverage and duplication, even reference collections are being questioned. And there\'s really no need to keep that SIC Manual, is there? It\'s over ten years old and it\'s been replaced with the NAICS, so can\'t we use that shelf space for something else, or better yet, use the web? And the answer is, of course, yes and no.\" more... from LLRX.

American Scholar Donates 20,000 Books to Gambian Library

Dr. Sulayman Nyang, a professor of African Studies at Howard University , is donating 20,000 books from his personal collection to the University of Gambia library:

Prof Nyang . . . made this pledge last Thursday at a reception organised in his honour by the vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia. Speaking at the reception Prof Nyang said, \"I think the University of The Gambia has a humble beginning but like a mustard seed that is planted and cultivated properly, it could very well develop into a massive hope tree and there will be many birds building their nests on this tree. Those of you who are actively involved in helping plant, water and cultivate this seed of potential academic development in this country will be remembered by future generations of Gambians, Africans and human beings from the other parts of the world.\"

[More from allAfrica.com.]

More Woes in Freeport

It looks as though the political turmoil in Freeport, (IL) has extended far beyond the issue over the new library. Now, the public is taking its turn at criticizing the political institution, which includes the library board, mayor and city council. Although the article doesn\'t discuss specifically the issue of the library, the author does make some good points about leadership in general which seem worthy of sharing. This is the stuff library schools should be teaching. more...

City of Houston Closing Digital Divide

The City of Houston, TX has launched a campaign to close the digital divide by offering free e-mail addresses and use of free computer software for all residents. There are already about 1,000 computers available for use in libraries and police stations. The article also mentions the fact that corporate giving to technology programs may be waning in light of economic slowdown. Looks like libraries are still the only game in town. more... from USA Today


Portland, OR is Kid Friendliest

USA Today has an article on the most kid friendly city in the US. A group called Zero Population Growth ranks cities every year based upon a set of seven quality of life factors, one of which includes access to libraries. Of the 239 American cities ranked for this year, Portland, OR takes home the prize. Thanks, in part, to their great library service. more...


Rebuilding a Library From War\'s Ashes

The Jaffna, Sri Lanka public library, a bastion of Tamil culture destroyed during that country\'s civil war, is being rebuilt:

On a fateful night 20 years ago, Sinhalese police officers rampaged through this town\'s public library, one of the great repositories of the Tamil people\'s history and culture, and committed an act of ethnic vandalism that helped set this country on a path to civil war. They stormed into the grand public rooms of one of South Asia\'s finest libraries and set 97,000 volumes ablaze.

Rare old manuscripts written on palm leaves and stored in fragrant sandalwood boxes, miniature editions of the Ramayana epic from the children\'s section, yellowing collections of extinct Tamil-language newspapers — all were consumed in a roaring conflagration that convinced many Tamils that the Sinhalese were out to annihilate their very identity. . . Now, finally, the library is being rebuilt here in the Tamils\' cultural capital. It is a hive of activity, with workers laying bricks and plastering over the bullet holes. . .

[More from the New York Times (registration required).]

Museum Stocks Web with History

For Federal Computer Week, BJ Ramos writes...

\"With more than 3 million artifacts and a mere 750,000 square feet of exhibit space, the National Museum of American History turned to the Web and partnered with an online investment site to share more of its collection with the public. The result, being unveiled today in Washington, D.C., is HistoryWired billed as a virtual tour of a few of the museum’s favorite things. The 450 initial offerings, selected by museum curators, include famous, unusual and everyday items.\" more...


Merritt Fund Helps Librarians in Need

Jim Kuhn writes \"It\'s hard to believe, but after more than thirty years of assisting librarians, there are still those out there who don\'t know about the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.

And what they don\'t know ... can\'t HELP them.

A sister organization to the American Library Association, the Merritt Fund gives unique aid to librarians who face:

· Workplace discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, age, disability, or place of national origin;

· unfair employment practices;

· professional and personal adversity due to their defense of intellectual freedom.

Since its inception in 1970, the Fund has provided over $80,000 in grants to support librarians in their fight for intellectual freedom and professional integrity. Some of the individuals who received grants include:\"



Ultimate Bathroom Reading

Ananova has this important announcement: A German company will soon print novels on toilet paper. Although most will be works whose copyright has expired, they have been approached by a living novelist. The new product will be unveiled at next year\'s Frankfurt book fair.

Free Speech Advocates Actually Like this Idea

For The Seattle Times, Catherine Tarpley writes...

\"The King County Library System is tightening its rules on Internet access to prevent children from viewing pornography or other objectionable material on library computers. The 41-branch library system is installing software that would make it impossible for children to use unfiltered computers, which can access all Internet sites, if parents make such a request. Parents can notify the library system if they want their child to have filtered Internet access or no access at all. Children whose parents have not expressly asked that their access be restricted will have free use of all library-system terminals.\" more...



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