Rare Books

Egyptians Remain Vigilant Guarding Libraries & Museums

From Discovery News: Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

UPDATE: Sun Jan 30, 14:40pm EST: In a faxed statement, Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that a total of 13 cases were smashed at the Egyptian museum, adding that other sites are at risk at the moment.

New Librarian for Yale Beinecke Library

The new year is bringing a new librarian to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library according to the Yale Daily News.

Edwin C. Schroeder will serve a five-year term as Librarian of the Beinecke and Associate University Librarian, which began Jan. 1. Schroeder has filled a number of positions of increasing responsibility in Sterling Memorial Library and Beinecke library since arriving at Yale in 1989. He began as a catalogue librarian in Sterling, and most recently has been head of technical services for Beinecke library since 2004.

University President Richard Levin notified the Yale community of the appointment a Dec. 20 email, just five weeks after the death of University Librarian and former head of Beinecke library Frank Turner GRD '71.

“E.C. looks forward to building on Frank Turner’s accomplishments,” Levin said in the e-mail. “We look forward to sustaining the unique excellence of the Beinecke.”

Levin added that Schroeder, who was the chair of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, brings an “impressive breadth of rare book and managerial experience” to his new post.

Koran Written in Saddam's Blood

Koran written in Saddam Hussein's blood: Iraqi leaders don't know what to do with it. From Huff Post Books.

Buyer Beware, Stolen LDS Books May Have Led to Bookseller's Murder

Tragic story out of Salt Lake City. Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of bookseller Sherry Black who was killed in the shop she ran with her husband, B&W Billiards and Books, 3466 S. 700 East.

"She was physically beaten and stabbed more than once," Keller said. "Her wounds did cause a considerable amount of blood loss at the crime scene."

The Deseret News has learned about a transaction in which Black purchased rare, stolen LDS books from a Juggalo gang member with a history of making threats. The incident occurred in February of 2009.

Lorin Nielsen, 20, was arrested and charged with stealing books from the Bluffdale home of his father, who is a polygamous church president. Nielsen pleaded guilty in April 2009 to theft, a third-degree felony, and theft by deception, a second-degree felony. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

In March 2009, Nielsen's father told detectives he had noticed some rare LDS books missing from his home library, according to police reports. He reviewed security camera footage and saw his son removing the books on Feb. 20, when he had been at the home for a funeral. The home also functions as a church meeting place.

When the father showed the video to his son, Nielsen admitted taking the books and said he sold them at Black's B&W Billiards and Books store, police reports state.

Out of Many, One. Exhibit on the Religions of Abraham at the NYPL

The sweep of the new exhibition at the New York Public Library — “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” — is stunning. It encompasses both an elaborately decorated book of 20th-century Coptic Christian readings and a modest 19th-century printing of the Gospels in the African language Grebo. There are Korans, with pages that shimmer with gold leaf and elegant calligraphy, and a 13th-century Pentateuch from Jerusalem, written in script used by Samaritans who traced their origins to the ancient Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The library’s Gutenberg Bible is here, as well as its 1611 King James translation. The first Koran published in English is shown, from 1649, along with fantastical images from 16th-century Turkish and Persian manuscripts in which Muhammad is pictured with other prophets, his face a blank white space in obeisance to the prohibition against his portrait.

Out of many, one. That could well be the motto of this ambitious exhibition. It focuses on “the three Abrahamic religions” — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One of the main sponsors of “Three Faiths,” is the Coexist Foundation, whose aim is “to promote better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims.” (The other main donor is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.) The display is on view through Feb. 27 at the New York Public Library.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

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.)

Before There Was Betty Crocker...

...there were a number of notable cookbooks; those extant are pictured on the pages of the today's blog entry at Booktryst.

In 1474 the Italian humanist Bartolomeo Platina (1421-1481) compiled and published in Rome the first printed and dated cookbook, De honesta voluptate et valetudine, Libri de arte coquinaria, haute cuisine, Libro novo (Of Honorable Pleasure and Health), a monument to medieval and Renaissance cuisine. In Latin, it was reprinted in many subsequent editions, and translated into Italian, German, and French (it was a best-seller in Paris). In 1475 Platina was named Vatican librarian by Pope Sixtus IV.

Eleven years later, in 1486, Küchenmeisterei (Cooking Mastery), a book sometimes and erroneously attributed to Gutenberg (out of business since the late 1450s, his print shop taken over by his financial partner, Johann Fust, after a lawsuit in 1455), was published by Peter Wagner (f. 1483-1500) in Nuremberg.

See more at Booktryst.

Another Kind of Ephemera...Bookplates

The latest posting on Confessions Of A Bookplate Junkie (Lewis Jaffe, who has been a collector for thirty years).

What Is To Become of Kafka's Manuscripts? Kafka's Last Trial

A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. Lengthy (ten page) history and explanation of all the players in the disposition of the works of Franz Kafka; article by Elif Batuman in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

A Look Back at the History of Print and Publishing (or It's Always Been a Tough Business)

Change of pace from the more frequent 'death of print' stories here on LISNews.

This one's about the birth of print; a discussion of the newly published book by Andrew Pettegree, "The Book in the Renaissance" with Tom Scocca of Slate and the Boston Globe.

In the beginning, before there was such a thing as a Gutenberg Bible, Johannes Gutenberg laid out his rows of metal type and brushed them with ink and, using the mechanism that would change the world, produced an ordinary little schoolbook. It was probably an edition of a fourth-century grammar text by Aelius Donatus, some 28 pages long. Only a few fragments of the printed sheets survive, because no one thought the book was worth keeping.

“Now had he kept to that, doing grammars...it probably would all have been well,” said Andrew Pettegree, a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews and author of “The Book in the Renaissance,” the story of the birth of print. Instead, Gutenberg was bent on making a grand statement, an edition of Scripture that would cost half as much as a house and would live through the ages. In the end, struggling for capital to support the Bible project, Gutenberg was forced out of his own print shop by his business partner, Johann Fust.

The article continues in a question and answer format here.

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