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How Archivists Helped Video Game Designers Recreate the City's Dark Side for 'L.A. Noire'

How Archivists Helped Video Game Designers Recreate the City's Dark Side for 'L.A. Noire'
Earlier this week, video game enthusiasts and fans of L.A. history cheered the release of Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire, a police procedural game noted for its faithful reproduction of Los Angeles circa 1947. To recreate a city now hidden beneath 64 years of redevelopment projects and transformed by age and expansion, production designers with the game's developer, Team Bondi, consulted several Los Angeles area archives.

Gaming the Archives

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
May 23, 2011, 5:13 pm
By Jennifer Howard

There’s no shortage of fabulous archival material lurking in college and university collections. The trick is finding it.

Without good metadata—labels that tell researchers and search engines what’s in a photograph, say—those archives are as good as closed to many students and scholars. But many institutions don’t have the resources or manpower to tag their archives thoroughly.

Enter Metadata Games, an experiment in harnessing the power of the crowd to create archival metadata. A team of designers at Dartmouth College, working with archivists there, has created game interfaces that invite players to tag images, either playing alone or with a partner (sometimes a human, sometimes a computer). Solo players think up tags to describe the images they see; in the two-player scenario, partners try to come up with the same tag or tags.....Read the rest here....

In Elite Library Archives, a Dispute Over a Trove

In Elite Library Archives, a Dispute Over a Trove
In a move that has turned scholarly heads, Paul Brodeur, a former investigative reporter for The New Yorker, who donated thousands of pages of his work to the library, is demanding that the papers be returned. He claims that an institution renowned for its careful stewardship of historical documents has badly mishandled his.

The charges are roiling the genteel world of research archivists, who usually toil in dust-jacket obscurity, and inciting a lively debate about which pieces of the past are worth preserving.

Vatican Library on 60 Minutes

Probably the closest most of us will ever get to this incredible collection.

Watch it here

Nixon Library To Take the Spin Out of Watergate

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- History is being restored at the Richard Nixon Library, where the Watergate exhibit once told visitors nearly four decades after the scandal led to his resignation that it was really a "coup" by his rivals.

For years the library exhibit that retraces the former president's notorious saga was a target of ridicule, panned for omissions and editing that academics and critics said shaped a legacy favorable to the tainted 37th president.

On Thursday, archivists will present a revamped and expanded version of the exhibit at the Yorba Linda CA library, a $500,000 makeover they say is faithful to fact, balanced and devoid of political judgment.

"What we tried to do is lay out the record and encourage visitors to come in ... and draw their own conclusions," said Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives.

More from the AP.

Lost Jewish Texts Show Up in New York

As the Nazi's power grew in the early 1930s, a Jewish librarian living in Frankfurt published a catalogue of of 15,000 books he'd collected.

When the war hit, large portions of the collections disappeared, a frighteningly common occurrence with Jewish literature and writing in Germany just before and during World War II. Yet somehow many of these books made their way to America, to the shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute where they were recently re-discovered.

More from the New York Times.

Preserving a Unique Kind of Ephemera...Bumper Stickers

Though she’s seen thousands of bumper stickers, Whitney Baker isn’t all that interested in what they have to say. She’s more interested in keeping them around for a long, long time.

She’s a conservator for the KU Libraries and took a five-month sabbatical to go around the country to look at bumper stickers, and she’s learned a lot about how to preserve them for others.

During her research, she found that the history of bumper stickers points back to Kansas. Many credit Forest Gill, a screen printer from Kansas City, Kan., with developing the idea. He founded Gill Studios Inc., which today operates out of Lenexa. Gill’s son-in-law, Mark Gilman, today is chairman of the board for the company.

He said Gill developed an adhesive paper sticker to replace cardboard signs tied to bumpers that were beginning to gain popularity at the end of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Though many have said the concept can be traced back to Gill, that’s not something the company has definitively established, Gilman said.

Check out the thumbnail gallery and Baker's video about the collection now housed at the Spenser Research Library at Kansas University.

Building a Large-Scale Print-Journal Repository

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Academic libraries in the western part of the United States are one step closer to having a large-scale regional trust for print-journal archives. The University of California libraries announced last week that it has received a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to implement plans for the Western Regional Storage Trust, or West. The grant is about $700,000, according to Brian E.C. Schottlaender, the university librarian at UC-San Diego and a key member of the planning team....Read more here

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.

Scientific Data Stewardship

Lessons Learned from a Satellite-Data Rescue Effort

Article in the September 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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