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 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 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."

Scholars Archive Artifacts in a Multimedia Digital Library

This Story takes a look at scholars at New York University who have been pushing hard to expand its digital library to include myriad content types -- from electronic journals to sound and moving images.
The university uses a highly integrated set of technologies to help support its digital library.

What they can't find can get you 20 years

Here's a Article on when it is perfectly permissible to purge old e-mails, files and the like. They say there are circumstances in which doing that can earn you a 20-year stint as a guest of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Why? Because the legal community has recognized that computer records are key to many investigations and prosecutions.

Archivists say computers have no sense of history

Archivists say computers have no sense of history, spotted by an alert reader, covers InterPARES. That's short for International research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems.
They are searching for "electronic amber," a digital equivalent of the resin that has preserved fossilized insects for millions of years. They hope to have a prototype system for "persistent archives" in a year or two.

It's a challenge that makes the Y2K computer problem look like "a piece of cake," according to Carlin.

Have there been enough Holocaust documentaries?

Steve Fesenmaier writes "Americans seems to be obsessed with making documentaries about the Holocaust. Have there been enough? As a programmer for the WV Jewish Film Festival for more than two decades, I think that there have been enough...but like this article says, there are always amazing new stories.
PS Have there been enough films about WW II? Compare.... "

The National Archives and Records Administration's skills gap

SomeOne writes "This One From says The National Archives and Records Administration lacks the technical experience necessary to find a way to deal with the growing number of electronic records created across the federal government, a new report warns.

Having long served as the government's primary custodian of paper documents, NARA does not have the IT know-how needed to understand the management of electronic records, according to an interim report by the National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board.



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