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3 Million Pounds of History

A great profile in the New York Times of the trials, travails, and impressive holdings of the Municipal Archives of the City of New York.

The collection — three million pounds of material, ranging from the original 1654 Dutch sales slip for the purchase of Coney Island, to a trove of stereoscopic Victorian pornography assembled by an antivice crusader — has weathered centuries of profound neglect. It has been appallingly lodged in a succession of makeshift spaces, including a city pier and the attic of a fire-prone pizza parlor. . .an improbable thing has happened as archivists have made these records available to scholars in recent years: New York City\'s history has been rewritten.

Mr. Gates\' Xanadu

Ryan writes: \"Interesting article from front page of (the early edition, the one I bought at the subway station on Saturday afternoon) Sunday\'s New York Times on the burying of the Bettmann photo archives in Pennsylvania for the remote/merely-theoretical(?) enjoyment of the generations to come. Raises the question of archives for archives\' sake, why have \'em if we can\'t use \'em, private property vs. public\'s claim on cultural legacy. I didn\'t know much about the state of the Bettmann archives before I read this--

Full NY Times Story \"

Free Speech Movement Archives

Good Ol\' slashdot pointed me to This
article
from the San Francisco
Chronicle
on The remains of the fabled 1960\'s
Free Speech Movement.
They have 35,000 pages online now. They say
the text has been entered by hand by workers in India.

Check out the
FSM-A Site to
see what you missed in the 60\'s.

This weekend was also the FSM Symposium at UC Berkeley.

Microfilm or Paper?

A couple more reviews of \"Libraries and the Assault on Paper\" By Nicholson Baker, I may have to read this one after all.
Mark sent along
This NY Times Review and you can find another at NYBooks.com.

If you haven\'t heard, Baker says primary sources should be preserved and that the trashing them is a crime.

\"I\'ve tried not to misrepresent those whose views differ from my own, but I make no secret of my disagreement; at times, a dormant prosecutorial urge awoke in me, for we have lost things that we can never get back.\"

Digitizing Archives Not So Easy

Millions of books in the Library of Congress have deteriorated to the point where they can\'t be lent to users without risking irreparable damage.

Centuries-old print newspaper archives have been replaced by blurry reels of outdated microfilm degraded from years of overuse and time worn chemicals. [more...] from Wired News.

Is U.S. History Becoming History?

The workings of government in the first decades of the information era have been poorly recorded, archiving experts say. Years of valuable public records may have already been lost, creating a gap in the country\'s historical record.

Archivists, government watchdog groups and investigative reporters worry that unless the problem is solved, the lack of information could make it more difficult to hold government officials accountable for their decisions and policies. [more...] from Wired News.

Libraries and the Assault on Paper

Two stories on \"Doublefold: Libraries and the Assault
on Paper\", a book that has some harsh words for some
library practices. The NY Times Story includes words from
James Billington, the librarian of Congress.

The
SunTimes
also has a Book Review and further
comments on the book.

Care of AV Materials For Broadcasting

Here\'s An Article I found on a part of librarianship
I\'m not sure I even knew exsisted.

They say content preservation is the main problem in
the management of audio-visual archives, and present
various options for taking care of your archives. Lots of
nice fancy charts and graphs in this one.

Medici Family Library and Archives

Lee Hadden Writes:
\"Today on Morning Edition from National Public Radio was an account of
the Medici Family Library and Archives, and their work to catalog this
unique and enormous collection of Italian history.\"

The archive is a collection of virtually
every letter sent or received by the Medici court and covers alot of Italian art and European history. They Hope to have the project complete by 2012, it takes up over a Kilometer of shelf space!

The
Medici Archive Project has a website: medici.org

Diverse Collections

Private Passions, Public Legacy is the first full-scale display of a collection of 447 rare books, manuscripts, and maps from the estate of Paul Mellon.

The Tiny Rosenbach Museum at 2010 Delancey Place in Philadelphia, that sounds like a neat place. They\'ve staging exhibitions of some relevance to its collections

Studying Malcolm X A Columbia Universtiy project delves into black leader\'s life and papers.

\'\'Very few historical figures are more powerful in death than in life, but Malcolm is one of them,\'\' Marable said, sitting in his book-lined office. \'\'How do you explain it? How does a man go from Public Enemy No. 1 to white America - to having his image engraved on a US postage stamp?\'\'

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