Rare Books

Saving Manuscripts

Father Stewart is a Benedictine monk at a small Catholic university in Minnesota. For the past several years he has also been the director of a project to find and digitize manuscripts held in monastic communities in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

Since 2003 he has overseen the imaging of some 17,500 manuscripts. Over the decades, the museum has made a photographic record of more than 110,000 manuscripts — an estimated 35 million pages’ worth — shifting from microfilm to digital imaging as the technology has evolved. Lately it has run 15 to 20 projects a year.

http://chronicle.com/article/A-Monk-Saves-Threatened/49283/

Rare Darwin book found on toilet bookcase

"A first edition of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking Origin Of Species, which languished for years in a toilet, will go under the hammer this week, on the 150th anniversary of the book's publication." Read more from the The Independent,

Syria: Islam's Most Important Library to Reopen in Aleppo

After decades of neglect, one of Islam’s most important libraries is about to reopen in Aleppo, offering scholars access to some 70,000 books and rare works of art, and shining a light on a centuries-old tradition of learning. Aleppo, Syria’s second city, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, outdone only by Damascus. It has also been a centre of scholarship for millennia, especially for the three Abrahamic faiths.

Islamic scholarship, in particular, thrived there during the Middle Ages.

Read more about it at: http://arabdetroit.com/news.php?id=1011

Rare Chinese Books

Harvard College Library and the National Library of China have agreed to digitize one of the largest collections of rare Chinese books outside of China, according to The Associated Press. The aim is to increase access while reducing the amount of physical contact with the Harvard-Yenching Library’s 51,500 volumes, some more than 1,000 years old and covering subjects like history, philosophy and drama.

Full story

Longer, more detailed story at the Boston Globe

WWII G.I. Returns German Books to Archives

After 64 years, veteran Robert E. Thomas returns books that he took from a salt mine in Germany during WWII that contained national treasures hidden by the Nazis. Both books were incunabula, one written in Latin and one in German. The National Archives facilitated the transfer.

Story and video from The Washington Post.

Bed Bugs Lead Library To Destroy Rare Books

Rare Book Lover Banned From Library

DENVER -- Who knew bed bugs could be book worms?

The Denver Public Library had to quarantine and fumigate four areas at the main branch in just the past three weeks because of bed bugs, KMGH-TV in Denver reported.

The tiny insect is being spread by a customer trying to preserve rare books, but ironically it's because of his actions that the books now have to be destroyed.

"Some of the bed bugs fell out of those materials that had been returned," said Denver Public Library spokeswoman Celeste Jackson.

The infected books came from 69-year-old Denver resident Roger Goffeney. He checks out historic books, some 200 years old, and helps archive them online in an effort called the Gutenberg Project.

Read the whole story.

Google Lets You Custom-Print Millions of Public Domain Books

Wired's Epicenter blog details the latest venture to come out of Mountain View CA, public domain books printed on demand.

"What’s hot off the presses come Thursday? Any one of the more than 2 million books old enough to fall out of copyright into the public domain.

And now Google Book Search, in partnership with On Demand Books, is letting readers turn those digital copies back into paper copies, individually printed by bookstores around the world."

Sheik of Bookbinders

Not even a civil war could stop the old bookbinder of Beirut

Riyad is a man who gives context to this city in which I have lived these 33 years Saturday, 12 September 2009

They call him "Sheikh Tijlid" – Sheikh Binder – because he is the oldest and the most honoured bookbinder in Beirut.

There are only five left in Lebanon, repairing old newspapers, handwritten 17th-century Korans, ministry archives, cutting and pasting and then modelling fine leather covers and impressing on that wonderful soft leather the title of each volume in gold leaf. Riyad Shaker al-Khabbaz lives for his bunker of an office with its ancient iron presses, its century-old steel Arabic typeface from Germany, France and England. Some of his presses come from the homes of priests – who were the bookbinders of Beirut in centuries past.

He hands me a Koran, written in black and red ink, the margins adorned with yet more handwriting, interpretations of the sura – 300, 400 years old? – and he tells me about his client. "He is a man who greatly loves a Lebanese woman and he wants to give this to her as a gift. It is worth $100,000."

Read more about it at
:

It Takes All Kinds...First Folio Thief Arrives at Court in Style

A man accused of stealing a Shakespeare folio valued at £3m arrived for a court appearance in a horse drawn carriage; report with video at BBC.

Raymond Scott, 52, of Wingate, County Durham, was dressed in Highland tartan and was accompanied by a bagpipe player at Durham Crown Court on Friday.

He faces charges relating to the theft of a first folio that went missing from Durham University Library in 1998.

Google OS & Librarians

Google is set to debut an operating system based on Chrome. (via New York Times). Ishush has a brief analysis that suggests this is good for the 'biodiversity' of the web climate, citing Jaron Lanier's criticism that "software makes us stupid..." but maybe an OS built by a company whose name has been made on "organizing the world's information" will be a natural fit for libraries?

Syndicate content