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A librarian at Oxford's Bodleian Library has unearthed the earliest-known book dust jacket. Dating from 1830, the jacket wrapped a silk-covered gift book, Friendship's Offering. Silk bindings were very vulnerable to wear and tear, so bookselllers would keep them in these wrappers to protect the binding underneath. When you bought the book you would take the wrapper off and put it on your shelves, which is presumably why so few of these covers have survived.
Unlike today's dust jackets, wrappers of the early 19th century were used to enfold the book completely, like a parcel. Traces of sealing wax where the paper was secured can still be seen on the Bodleian's discovery, along with pointed creases at the edges where the paper had been folded, showing the shape of the book it had enclosed.
The jacket had been separated from its book, and had never been catalogued individually. It remained hidden until the library was contacted by an American scholar of dust jackets looking for the earliest known example.
The intrusion of the Internet into archiving technology is a very interesting and novel issue. Previously, archivists collected personal correspondence and diaries. Paper, while degradable, already has maintenance techniques. However, the recent onslaught of technology has given people various online resources through which to express themselves, like Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, and various other blogs.
Ever heard of the the Flickr Commons? The goal is to share the treasures of the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. Flickr photographers are invited to help describe the photographs they discover in The Commons on Flickr, either by adding tags or leaving comments.
The newest member of the Commons is the D.C. Public Library, with some wonderful old photographs of our Nation's Capitol. The collection features historic images of D.C.’s buildings and federal memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, historic houses, and street scenes, portraits of past presidents and other prominent Americans.
Here's a scene from one hundred years ago, the inauguration of President Taft.
An interesting article on new issues arising from the increasingly digital artifacts of writers.
"'Once we learned how to preserve paper, we were good,' says Naomi L. Nelson, interim director of the manuscript, archives, and rare-book library at Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library. 'That really hasn't changed a lot. With computers it's a whole different ballgame.'"
In addition the article touches on some interesting areas of intellectual property (or the uncertainty of it):
"Information that lives inside a writer's personal hardware — like the data on Mr. Updike's floppy disks or Mr. Rushdie's hard drives — may not have physical dimensions, but it is at least attached to a single device that is owned by somebody. 'It's physically here,' says Mr. Kirschenbaum, gesturing toward a shelf of Apple Classic computers, donated to the Maryland institute by the poet Deena Larsen. 'I can wrap my arms around it.'
Not so with e-mail and social-media content. These are not programs run on individual computers; they are Web-based services, hosted remotely by companies like Facebook and Google. The content exists in an ethereal mass of data known in information-technology circles as 'the cloud.' There, Mr. Kirschenbaum says, 'you get into this wilderness of competing terms of service.'
With more and more information being stored on the Web, it is no longer clear who owns what."
German industrialist Oskar Schindler’s list of 801 Jewish workers he helped escape death during World War II has been discovered by a researcher at Australia’s New South Wales state library. The list will be displayed at the library and online from Monday.
The researcher found the carbon typescript copy of the 13- page list among six boxes of research notes and newspaper clippings belonging to “Schindler’s Ark” author Thomas Keneally that were donated to the library in 1996, the library said in an e-mailed statement. Library spokeswoman Vanessa Bond confirmed the discovery in a phone interview in Sydney. Bloomberg.com.
In this article a scholar relates some experiences of doing research in archives. When he tells people about his many years of research they sometimes ask why anyone needs to go to the archives at all, since everything is now on the Internet.
Au contraire, he reports.
After his most recent foray to a Parisian library he writes, “Nearly every day I found something new in the archives, whether a detail about the families or finances of the principal characters, a twist in the legal case, or another piece of information that shed a little more light on the controversial affair. Each discovery was a reminder of how much is hidden in the vast yet incomplete archive of the human past — how much has been lost for good and how much, even in the digital age, still depends on the paper, parchment, or papyrus record.”
Less than two weeks after its dedication, the new state archives building closes today, the latest consequence of the state's budget struggles.
The $38 million building, named after longtime lawmaker Polly Rosenbaum, opened late last fall and was dedicated in mid-January.
But on Tuesday, agency Director GladysAnn Wells announced the closure. It was the only way she could figure out how to carve $1.45 million from the $2 million remaining in the budget of the state Department of Library, Archives and Public Records, Wells said.
The building that houses the Historic Archive of the city of Cologne, with documents up to 1,000 years old, partially collapsed yesterday. The building was an unremarkable 20th-century structure -- photos show the front half as a pile of rubble -- but no word on the fate of the valuable archives it contained.
A century from now our handwriting may be legible only to experts. The author of a book on the history of handwriting says that handwriting is declining so fast that ordinary, joined-up script may become as hard to read as a medieval manuscript. “When your great-great-grandchildren find that letter of yours in the attic, they’ll have to take it to a specialist, an old guy at the library who would decipher the strange symbols for them,” she says.
The article closes with this comment. “Our descendants may struggle to read our letters, but they’ll never even see most of our texts and e-mails.”