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J. P. Morgan Library's John Bidwell Talks about Curation & Such

Before he became the first name of a bank, J. P. Morgan was a Wall Street mogul who, a century ago, bequeathed his collection of 14,000 or so rare books to what his son would transform into the Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue. Since then, the collection has grown to about 80,000 printed books, supervised since 1999 by John Bidwell, 63, the Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings. He majored in history at Columbia University, and received his master’s at Columbia’s School of Library Service and his doctorate in English from Oxford. Dr. Bidwell commutes from Princeton, N.J., where he lives with his wife, Andrea Immel, a curator at Princeton University Library.

What makes a book rare: There are plenty of books that are valuable and not rare, and plenty of books that are rare and not valuable. Example: The Morgan is celebrated for being the one institution in the world for having three Gutenberg Bibles. You might say it’s not extremely rare because there are 50 known copies in various states of completeness in the world. On the other hand, we have plenty of early books that are the only known copy in the world, some of them deservedly so.

Library rat: I’ve had no other job but to work in libraries since I was a college undergraduate. As soon as I realized it was time for me to go back to graduate school, I knew I wanted to work in rare book libraries, and that’s all I’ve done.

More from The New York Times.

Internet Archive Launches Physical Archive - Brewster Kahle makes case for preserving books

The Internet Archive’s latest project is launching a Physical Archive to store and preserve books and historic materials.

You can read all about it on Brewster Kahle's blog
http://blog.archive.org/2011/06/06/why-preserve-books-the-new-physical-archive-of-the-intern...

Why preserve books? The new physical archive of the Internet Archive

Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitized versions become more available. This is an important time to plan carefully for there is much at stake.

Interesting piece at Teleread about the Internet Archive preserving physical books.

Who Should Digitize (And Who Should Profit From) a Nation's Newspaper Archives?

Google announced last week that it was shutting down its News Archive Project. Akin to the massive Google Books project, this was a plan to digitize the world's newspaper archives and make them searchable online. But if you're worried about the digitization and preservation of British newspapers, fear not. As The Guardian reports today, the British Library is moving forward with its plans to digitize some 40 million newspaper pages from its vast 750 million collection.

Full piece

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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