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Preserving a Unique Kind of Ephemera...Bumper Stickers

Though she’s seen thousands of bumper stickers, Whitney Baker isn’t all that interested in what they have to say. She’s more interested in keeping them around for a long, long time.

She’s a conservator for the KU Libraries and took a five-month sabbatical to go around the country to look at bumper stickers, and she’s learned a lot about how to preserve them for others.

During her research, she found that the history of bumper stickers points back to Kansas. Many credit Forest Gill, a screen printer from Kansas City, Kan., with developing the idea. He founded Gill Studios Inc., which today operates out of Lenexa. Gill’s son-in-law, Mark Gilman, today is chairman of the board for the company.

He said Gill developed an adhesive paper sticker to replace cardboard signs tied to bumpers that were beginning to gain popularity at the end of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Though many have said the concept can be traced back to Gill, that’s not something the company has definitively established, Gilman said.

Check out the thumbnail gallery and Baker's video about the collection now housed at the Spenser Research Library at Kansas University.

Building a Large-Scale Print-Journal Repository

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Academic libraries in the western part of the United States are one step closer to having a large-scale regional trust for print-journal archives. The University of California libraries announced last week that it has received a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to implement plans for the Western Regional Storage Trust, or West. The grant is about $700,000, according to Brian E.C. Schottlaender, the university librarian at UC-San Diego and a key member of the planning team....Read more here

Egyptians Remain Vigilant Guarding Libraries & Museums

From Discovery News: Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

UPDATE: Sun Jan 30, 14:40pm EST: In a faxed statement, Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that a total of 13 cases were smashed at the Egyptian museum, adding that other sites are at risk at the moment.

Scientific Data Stewardship

Lessons Learned from a Satellite-Data Rescue Effort

Article in the September 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

The Live-In Librarian

When Dave Sheppard helped out in the Warren (IL) High School library as a teenager, he didn’t know he would one day live in a library. However, on Saturday, Sheppard will be introduced to the community as the new librarian at Oneida’s (IL) Greig Memorial Library, and the first male in a lengthening list of live-in librarians.

Local taxes and other funding add up to a small library budget, so the library board’s solution continues to be an offer of living quarters plus a small salary.

Sheppard, who also works full time at Walmart, and his wife, Lois, will move into the library sometime after the holidays. A Gerlaw native, Sheppard and his wife have lived all over the Midwest, but currently live in his parents’ former home, a 130-year-old house in Gerlaw. They previously owned a paperback exchange bookstore in Monmouth which was behind the Warren County Public Library.

As he provided a tour of the six rooms on the upper level of Greig Memorial Library on Wednesday, Sheppard seemed comfortable with the concept of living in a library, an option that had not occurred to him before his response to the ad for his new position.

Dream Job for 91 year old Librarian

Herb Jorgensen stands alongside a shiny, red 1931 Packard -- a stereotypical gangster car built when he was 12 years old.

Gazing across the car collection, the 91-year-old archivist for the Blackhawk Museum knows he's enjoying a car buff's dream job.

The Blackhawk Museum, the brainchild of Blackhawk developer and car collector Kenneth Behring, opened its doors in 1988. Now affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the museum boasts two spacious buildings and about 100,000 square feet of upscale exhibition space that plays host to a rotating display of nearly 100 automobiles.

For the past 22 years, Jorgensen has overseen the building of the museum's modest-size research library, a collection that currently stands at approximately 100,000 publications. Many are in excellent condition, while others, including a 1904 Auto Car magazine, have covers that are a bit dog-eared and showing their age. All of them, however, provide a glimpse into the history of a machine that has changed the world.

"It probably is as good a library on old cars that you'll find anywhere," Jorgensen said. Story from Contra Costa Times.

Schomburg Center in Harlem Acquires Maya Angelou Archive

Schomburg Center in Harlem Acquires Maya Angelou Archive
a total of 343 boxes containing her personal papers and documents — have been acquired by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The trove has notes for Ms. Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”; a 1982 telegram from Coretta Scott King asking her to join a celebration at the King Center; fan mail; and personal and professional correspondence with Gordon Parks, Chester Himes, Abbey Lincoln and her longtime editor, Robert Loomis.

The acquisition is to be officially announced on Friday by New York Public Library officials at a news conference with Ms. Angelou, said Howard Dodson, the executive director of the Schomburg.

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.

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