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For the first time, the Library of Congress is streaming some of its vast collection of sound recordings of popular music, speeches and comedy online for free.
National Jukebox at LOC here.
When Jim (James Fallows, regular columnist on temporary book leave) asked us to send him some biographical information, I mentioned that during my five-year stint at the U.S. Library of Congress, I had worked for several obscure non-library-service outfits, one of which was funded by the CIA. At that time, in the late '60s and early '70s, there were numerous peculiar units stuck around LOC -- in basements, in the stacks, in odd corners. For almost a year, another group I worked for was tucked away beneath the gorgeous ceiling of the Great Hall during a major overhaul of the Reading Room. Why was all this stuff located there? Well, that's where the books were.
My second job at LOC was with a group called the International Organizations Section. When I first arrived, I was struck by how many of the employees spoke English as a second language or were fluent in a number of languages. My immediate supervisor spoke and read Greek; one of my eventual friends was a Czech who also spoke Polish (he taught me how to pronounce "Zbigniew Brzezinski"). There were upward of a dozen desks, arranged in a block. The real feature of the big room, though, was a huge tub file filled with index cards and card dividers. -- Read More
Washington Post : The Madison Building at the Library of Congress in Washington has reopened Friday after being briefly evacuated because of a small electrical fire in the basement.
The fire broke out in the morning and was contained to a basement. D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says the fire stemmed from an electrical problem involving a generator, but the exact cause has yet to be determined.
U.S. Capitol Police say there were no injuries and no immediate reports of damages. The building on Independence Avenue was evacuated and neighboring streets were shut down.
Additional details from The Hill.
The elusive "LOC Nest Monster", a Cooper hawk that had been roosting in the rotunda of the Library of Congress' Main Reading Room for the last week, has met her match. The hawk that has been avoiding capture inside the LOC was finally corralled Wednesday morning by bird experts. Report from NBC Washington. Click READ MORE for video.
Bird experts struggle to free a hawk from the dome of the main reading room. The hawk, nicknamed "Shirley" by staff members, has been trapped in the Library of Congress since Wednesday. (The bird has been recently fed and is in no immediate danger.)
The Library of Congress tonight joined the education department, the commerce department and other government agencies in confirming that the ban is in place.
Although thousands of leaked cables are freely available on the Guardian, New York Times and other newspaper websites, as well as the WikiLeaks site, the Obama administration insists they are still classified and, as such, have to be protected.
Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)
A recent study found that making books available to low-income children had a significant impact on preventing the reading gap.
On NPR this morning, W. Ralph Eubanks reminisces about visiting the bookmobile as a child. He is the author of The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South and Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past and Director of Publishing at the Library of Congress.
"When I feel the summer heat steaming from the pavement, my childhood memories of the bookmobile provide a cooling sensation to my spirit. This feeling came back last summer on a visit to Chicago when I happened upon a parade of bookmobiles of various ages. There it was: an old Ford grille with big, round headlights that was a dead ringer for the bookmobile that stopped at my house as a child. "
More from NPR.
This week in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress is gathering its "Digital Preservation Partners" for a three-day session -- one of a number of such meetings the library has been holding under a broad initiative called the "National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program." Its multi-year mission is "to develop a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations."
It's what Dan Gillmor of Salon calls a non-trivial task, for all kinds of technical, social and legal reasons. But it's about as important for our future as anything I can imagine. We are creating vast amounts of information, and a lot of it is not just worth preserving but downright essential to save. Gillmor's role this week, and at a workshop he joined last year, is to be thinking about the news.
Paul McCartney confessed he was "slightly nervous" in the leadup to Wednesday's big concert at the White House, where President Barack Obama was presenting McCartney with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
An all-star cast lined up to perform at the East Room tribute concert, including the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Stevie Wonder and Jerry Seinfeld. Also to appear: Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, White Stripes singer and guitarist Jack White and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. McCartney himself was to perform as well.
McCartney, 67, is the third recipient of the Gershwin prize, awarded by the Library of Congress. It is named for the songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin, whose collections are housed at the library. Previous recipients of the Gershwin award are Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.
McCartney played a private concert at the library on Tuesday, and said he'd grown up listening to music by the Gershwin brothers. Librarian of Congress James Billington credited McCartney for "symbolizing and humanizing the global soundscape," with his music and his activism around the world.
Those not lucky enough to snag tickets to the East Room gig can catch the concert July 28th, when it's televised on PBS' "In Performance at the White House." AP story.