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Audit shows records at National Archives at risk

An audit prompted in part by the loss of the Wright Brothers' original patent and maps for atomic bomb missions in Japan finds some of the nation's prized historical documents are in danger of being lost for good.

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records and the National Archives is backlogged with hefty volumes of records needing preservation care, the audit by the Government Accountability Office found.

Full article

For Baseball Archivists, a Tag Ends Every Play

There are more than 500 possible tags to choose from, and among those chosen at that moment were “ground out,” “from knees,” “last out,” “premier plays,” “milestone call” and “hugging.”

Strangely, one tag not offered was “no-hitter.” Maybe soon.

This is how baseball’s archives are created now — not by merely storing videotapes on a shelf, as it has been done for decades, but by a team of “loggers” whose job is to watch every game as it happens (2,430 during the regular season, and up to 41 in the postseason) and add computerized notes on every play, no matter how ordinary.

“Your archive is only as good as what you know is in it,” said Elizabeth Scott, M.L.B. Productions’ vice president for programming and business affairs.

Full article in the NYT

What Is To Become of Kafka's Manuscripts? Kafka's Last Trial

A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. Lengthy (ten page) history and explanation of all the players in the disposition of the works of Franz Kafka; article by Elif Batuman in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Original Nuremberg Laws To Be Transfered to National Archives

From The Washington Post: The National Archives said Tuesday that a California library is transferring to the Archives the two original sets of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazis' spare, anti-Semitic manifesto endorsed by Adolf Hitler that helped lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

The laws are being transferred by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, where they have been held since they were placed there by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in 1945.

Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945.

Each set of the 1935 laws is typed on four pieces of paper, said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. One set is believed to have been signed by Hitler.

One section, the so-called "laws for the protection of German blood and German honor," forbade such things as marriages between Jews and Germans, and extramarital relations between Jews and "subjects of the state of Germany."

A Look Back: Watergate Exhibit Becomes a Point of Contention at Nixon Library

Now that the Nixon Library is controlled by the National Archives, some library supporters have firmly objected to how the incident that caused Nixon to leave the presidency is presented there.

The National Archives put together searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1. But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted. The Foundation does not have veto power and by law serves only in an advisory role. The final ruling will be made by officials of the National Archives within the next few weeks.

The foundation’s objection has left the exhibition in shadows, both figuratively and literally. The sign says “Please excuse our dust: We are currently building a new Watergate gallery.” New York Times reports.

Guardians of the nation's attic

Guardians of the nation's attic
The National Archives keeps watch over 10 billion historical records. And its treasure hunting team keeps watch over collector shows and EBay for the scraps of valuable history that have been stolen.

LOC and Partners Preserving the Internet

This week in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress is gathering its "Digital Preservation Partners" for a three-day session -- one of a number of such meetings the library has been holding under a broad initiative called the "National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program." Its multi-year mission is "to develop a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations."

It's what Dan Gillmor of Salon calls a non-trivial task, for all kinds of technical, social and legal reasons. But it's about as important for our future as anything I can imagine. We are creating vast amounts of information, and a lot of it is not just worth preserving but downright essential to save. Gillmor's role this week, and at a workshop he joined last year, is to be thinking about the news.

Documents Headed from National Archives to Nixon Library

YORBA LINDA CA– Family photos, gifts to President Richard Nixon and some 40 million pages of documents from his administration were made available for the first time Thursday at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda.

The artifacts were shipped earlier this year from the National Archives facilities in Maryland. Nixon Library Director Timothy Naftali said about 50 percent of the collection is still being processed.

Pam Eisenberg, AV technician at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, has been busy cataloging films and gifts recently consolidated into the collection. One of her favorites film clips is President Nixon meeting a tennis team, which was edited into the movie "Forrest Gump".

"This is the first time that people in California will have access to the documents," Naftali said. "It means that high school and college students and scholars can have hands-on experience working with primary source materials from the Nixon era."

Thursday's opening of the library's research room drew local journalists. On Friday, the library was set to release nearly 100,000 documents, many from the files of former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who worked in the Nixon Administration, and video oral histories. It is the first local release of materials.

Relax, Legal Scholars: Bobbleheads Are Safe at Yale

The oldest item in Yale Law School’s rare book collection is a 1,000-year-old fragment of a medieval manuscript bound inside an Italian guidebook for notaries. The newest is a bobblehead doll depicting William H. Rehnquist, 16th chief justice of the United States.

Fred R. Shapiro, an associate librarian, explained the latest acquisition: “A hundred years from now, if someone wants to study the bobbleheads, where will they go? There needs to be an archive.”

And so the Lillian Goldman Law Library, which probably has the best collection of rare law books in the world after Harvard and the Library of Congress, is now the official repository of bobbling likenesses of a dozen Supreme Court justices.

Full story here.

Copying Federal Videos for Online Archive

The International Amateur Scanning League has taken it upon itself to copy as much federal video as it can and put it online. Above, Carl Malamud conceived the project.

Full story here

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