Report backs PDF variant for long-term archiving

The UK's National Archives has welcomed a report that backs a variant of Adobe's portable document format standard as a reliable way of preserving documents for future use.

However, the organisation has warned that other file formats will need to still be monitored and considered, as the PDF/Archive (PDF/A) standard can only be one part of a long-term archiving policy.

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been

Attention DeadHeads: It was announced today that the University of California Santa Cruz will house the archives of one of America's best-loved rock groups, The Grateful Dead.

Three decades worth of archival materials - from business records to stage backdrops - has been donated by the band to the school's McHenry Library , where a room called Dead Central is being dedicated to a beloved band dubbed "the largest unofficial religion in the world."

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal joined Dead drummer Mickey Hart and guitarist and singer Bob Weir in a buoyant press conference this morning at San Francisco's aging Fillmore Auditorium, the Geary Street birthplace of the San Francisco's psychedelic scene and the site of 51 Dead concerts. In honor of the event, Blumenthal was given a tie-dyed T shirt.

"All of this stuff doesn't belong to us - it belongs to the culture that spawned us," said the graying Weir, dressed in a sports jacket, T shirt and Birkenstocks. "It seemed like getting it into a campus archive, with access to the people in the community that gave rise to this, was the right thing to do."

Pittsburgh City libraries guard books worth millions

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Takes A Peek At the special collection rooms at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh's Hillman Library.

"Things that are easily identifiable as valuable, they are removed from the general collection," said Lance Lugar, a librarian and archivist in Hillman's special collection department. "We want them to be seen. We just don't want them to be stolen."

Document Traffickers

This Smithsonian Magazine article tells the stories of people who stole historical documents from libraries and archives, and how they were eventually caught. It is interesting to see that eBay is not only an easy way to sell the stolen goods, but also the means by which many thieves are tracked down.

Histories: When the internet was made of paper

"Histories: When the internet was made of paper" 22 March 2008 From New Scientist Print Edition.
Many libraries have the print edition of New Scientist. If your library is one of these, you will enjoy this article.

"For some, the highlight of a trip to Belgium is a visit to an ancient brewery or a demonstration of diamond cutting. When Australian Boyd Rayward travelled to Brussels in 1968 there was only one sight he wanted to see: a disused university anatomy theatre. Unusual? Perhaps, but Rayward was a graduate student in library science, and the cobwebby old theatre with leaking skylights housed something he had to see before it vanished forever. Inside the gloomy theatre, Rayward found piles of papers and archives that had remained untouched since 1944. These were the last remnants of the Mundaneum, a vast and visionary attempt at an immense proto-internet made from the most unlikely of materials: 3-by-5-inch index cards." -- Read More

Oldest human voice recording!

We all hear growing up that the first recording of a human voice is Thomas Edison's "Mary had a little lamb." However, this may not be true. Audio historian David Giovannoni, has discovered a recording that predates Edison's by 17 years. Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville used a phonautograph to create this artifacts.

Helen Keller photograph

This is from last week, but still very cool. Researcher's have uncovered what they believe to be the earliest known photograph of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. It was donated to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, by a man whose mother had played with Keller one summer. An interesting piece of history rediscovered!

Archivists block release of Clinton papers

Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.
That archivists' decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.

Email Is Changing the Way We Communicate and Historians Are Worried

There's a treasure-trove of computer-generated communications sitting out there amongst business, government and significant people that is not available to historians and biographers. There is no way to access, manage and use it. So, what's the problem? Apparently, it's the future. Without these digital communications, generations who follow will lose opportunities for valuable insight and understanding as to the who, what, why and how of our lives, says Peter Gottlieb, State Archivist of Wisconsin. The Rest Of The Story.

UK Councils struggling with e-archives

One From The UK The first national survey of local authority archive services has revealed that arrangements for the permanent preservation of digital records are presenting a significant challenge for councils.

National Archives, the organisation which sets standards and supports innovation in information and records management, found that local government is a long way behind Whitehall in making arrangements for digital preservation. None of the more than 100 councils taking part in the Local authority archive survey has an operational digital preservation system.

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