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In Vintage Maps, a Japan Bygone Floats Lyrically Online

"For half a century, a rare and extensive collection of historical Japanese maps spanning hundreds of years have been stored in the East Asian Library at the University of California, revealing their secrets only to those few who had received permission to handle them. Now, through state-of-the-art imaging technology, anyone can view these fragile maps online, at www.davidrumsey.com/japan. "

"So far, 210 maps - some dating back almost 400 years - from the 2,300-piece collection are online. The collection, which will be available for viewing in its entirety within two years, includes 252 maps of the city of Edo (now Tokyo), 79 maps of Kyoto and 40 maps of Osaka spanning the years 1600 to 1867. Many are woodblock prints on handmade paper. The collection also includes a map from 1710 depicting the center of the world as the source of four great rivers of India, and a 40-foot scroll map of the roads of Japan in 1687." (from The New York Times)

Watergate papers sold for $5 million

\"In one of the largest such purchases in American history, the University of Texas at Austin has bought the Watergate papers of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for $5 million, the university announced today.\" (from MSNBC)

University of Texas gets Watergate papers

Jen writes "The Watergate papers of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will be housed and made available for study at the University of Texas at Austin in a $5 million deal Announced Monday.

The school said it is paying Woodward and Bernstein to archive the documents, enough to fill about 75 file boxes, at its Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

"

Beethoven\'s Ninth manuscript could fetch £3m

Charles Davis writes \"The final manuscript of Beethoven\'s Ninth Symphony, scribbled with the composer\'s revisions and comments, including splutters of rage at the unfortunate copyists, will be auctioned in London next month, estimated to make up to £3m.
Sotheby\'s head of manuscripts, Stephen Roe, described it yesterday as \"an incomparable manuscript of an incomparable
work, one of the highest achievements of man, ranking alongside Shakespeare\'s Hamlet and King Lear.\"
It is a sale to make collectors swoon: last year a single leaf of a Beethoven manuscript, entirely in his own hand, was sold to a private American collector for £1.3m almost 10 times the highest estimate - which makes the estimated £3m for the 575 pages of the complete Ninth quite a bargain.
More at
The Guardian \"
Jen Young points to CNN As Well.

WV State College Makes Benin Archive Available

Steve Fesenmaier tells us that:

"West Virginia State College, an unusual land-grant college established for African-American students, has made an archive of Benin materials available. Hopefully students and scholars will use it."

According to the article:

"The West African country of Benin does not produce very many documents, but the ones that are printed will be housed in a small room on the main floor of West Virginia State College’s Drain-Jordan Library.
Besides economic reports, agricultural studies and laws, the Benin Collection includes films, newspapers, photographs and a live computer link to the catalog at the National University of Benin."

Lost library emerges after 2,000 years

Charley Hivey was first in with This CNN Article on the long-buried Villa of the Papyri, one of Italy's richest Roman villas, which opened to the public this weekend almost 2,000 years after it was submerged in volcanic mud.

Hundreds of scrolls have been carefully opened and many others could be read in the near future thanks to digital and scanning technology.

The scrolls, which looked like sticks of charcoal when they were first discovered, have mostly turned out to be works of Greek epicurean philosophy from the first century BC.

Oldest Human History Is at Risk

Jen Young points us to This NYTimes Story all the archaeological sites in Iraq.
They say 10,000 have been identified, but only a fraction have been explored. Any of them could change what we know about human history, as past excavations have done. Some have already revealed the world's earliest known villages and cities and the first examples of writing.

Access to Archival Databases

"NARA has launched a powerful new research tool called Access to Archival Databases (AAD). AAD will give researchers the opportunity to search selected archival databases directly through the Internet..."

"The Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System gives you online access to electronic records that are highly structured, such as in databases. The initial release of AAD contains material from more than 30 archival series of electronic records, which include over 350 data files totaling well over 50 million unique records. The series selected for AAD identify specific persons, geographic areas, organizations, or dates. Some of these series serve as indexes to accessioned archival records in non-electronic formats. The AAD system does not, however, support quantitative or statistical analysis of data." (from NARA News and Events)

Millions of personal records lost

Charles Davis writes "
Public records on microfiche
containing millions of personal
details have gone missing from
Bristol Central Library.
Up to 1,400 fiches that relate to
births are missing, as are 1,000
relating to marriages and 1,000
to deaths.
One microfiche was said by the
library to hold "hundreds" of
details.
They were discovered to be missing when users at the library began tracing their family history.
The library has estimated that it will cost £20,000 to replace the missing microfiches.
Full Story

"

Florida Ponders Fate of Historic 2000 Ballots

The NYTimes Says the Florida ballots are still there, nearly six million punch cards and their chads, stowed in boxes, stacked on pallets, wrapped in plastic.

The state has kept them for two years, as federal law requires. Now that the time is up, a pressing question for state officials here is: What do we do with these things?

"This is the most controversial presidential election in modern history — an election that was viewed by the world for 36 days and ultimately decided by the Supreme Court," said Julian Pleasants, a history professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's an important series of events that should be saved for future generations."

Thanks to Jen Young for this one.

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