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Exposing Hidden Collections: A White Paper and Working Conference

"The ARL Special Collections Task Force is convening a conference September 8-9, 2003, at the Library of Congress to explore the challenges of providing access to uncataloged and unprocessed archival, manuscript, and rare book materials."

"Barbara Jones (Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) has compiled a white paper that lays out the problem, the opportunities, and some recommendations for how our communities might proceed to enhance access and use of these collections. The white paper will be the focus for the discussions at the conference. See "Hidden Collections, Scholarly Barriers: Creating Access to Unprocessed Special Collections Materials in North America's Research Libraries". (from ARL)

Digital citizens

Charles Davis writes: "Digital citizenship could soon be a fact of life if the government gets its way. Paper records of births, deaths and marriages - the
legal bedrock of individual identity - are to be phased out in England and Wales. Cradle-to-grave records will be stored on a new
database - and the only proof of who you are will be digital. Full Story"

Fancy a vomiting hippo ring tone from the British Library

Charles Davis writes "From The Story at
The BBC: The sweet birdsong of the nightjar, the roar
of a lion or the grunt of a hippo could soon replace the trilling and
beeping of mobile phones.
The British Library is offering mobile telephone operators some of its 100,000 recordings of
the world's birds and beasts as alternative ring tones. "

Newspaper \'Archive\' Run by Scottish Gent.

Charles Davis writes

If anyone ever doubted Malcolm Forbes\' maxim
\"retirement kills more people than hard work ever
did\", they should meet...71-year-old [John Druce].
Since officially retiring, he has run Historic
Newspapers for the past 15 years in Newton Stewart,
Dumfries and Galloway, which he claims is now the
world\'s largest archive newspaper business and the
largest archive of English language newspapers
outside of the British Museum.

Read the full story.

A little research found a photo of John Druce [.pdf] who won a \"Britsh Small Business Champion\" award in 2002.

See also, the Historic Newspaper\'s website which is largely tailored to selling clipping from old newspapers. Hmmm...

Hi-tech imaging could reveal lost texts

Charles Davis writes "From the story at
The BBC where a unique library of medieval manuscripts, devastated by fire during World
War II and considered lost by scholars, could be restored using technology
developed to study the surface of planets.
The medieval library at Chartres, France, was destroyed in an allied bombing
raid on the evening of 26 May, 1944.
The collection, then housed in an annexe of Chartres town hall, comprised
around 2,000 medieval books and parchments, many of which dated to the 12th Century.
The library was considered a national treasure and a good proportion of the works were unpublished.
After the fire was quelled, volunteers moved in to save what they could from
the smouldering ruins."

Plan to microfilm national archives documents

The Times Of India Reports the Friends of the National Archives of Malta are embarking on the painstaking and ambitious task of putting on microfilm thousands of documents dating back 200 years.

A number of the documents, particularly those that deal with the early British period, are in dire need of conservation.
The Friends said: "A silent, relentless destruction of our collective memory is taking place as inks fade, papers crumble, film stocks deteriorate, and electronic codes degrade. Once information is lost, no quantity of resources or new technologies will restore gaps in our knowledge about ourselves."

Lunch boxes delight research team

A fun one from tennessean.com on The Smithsonian Institution feasting on free lunch boxes and more, courtesy of Nashville's Aladdin Industries.
Two representatives of the national museum yesterday dug through the archives of the company that for almost a century provided lamps and lunch kits to America.

Ancient Arabic manuscripts from Timbuktu go on view

Here's An Article on a small sample of texts from the Haidara library is on view at the Library of Congress.
The delicate pages were not bound, but stacked and stored in tooled-leather cases. Documents on display, selected from some 23 books brought to the Library of Congress to be microfilmed, include works on astronomy, mathematics, Islamic law, religion, and business ethics.

It is an unprepossessing exhibit, and like most exhibits of documents, there's something inert about pages of old script lying under glass. The collection, however, is anything but inert, and it is at the center of great scholarly excitement.

Treasures sold for £1

Charles Davis noticed ARCHIVES from Liverpool's world-renowned reference library are being sold off for as little as £1.Academics are furious that the library service is "practically giving away' gems that they claim are vital and irreplaceable research materials.

Also check out a Reply posted to the ARCHIVES-NRA list.

Saving the future now

Saving the future now is an interesting commentary from over at FCW.com on how documents are increasingly "born digital," and the problems that creates for long term preservation.
, Eduard Mark, an Air Force historian, wrote in an April 24 online discussion with other historians that the system to maintain federal records has "collapsed utterly."

"It will be impossible," he continued, "to write the history of recent diplomatic and military history as we have written about World War II. Too many records are gone, and with [them] public accountability of government and rational public administration."

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