International

Difficult Situation For Libraries In United Kingdom Continues

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has issued a media advisory calling on cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt to act to preserve libraries in the United Kingdom. A full statement by CILIP President Brian Hall is available as a PDF document that was released as part of Save Our Libraries Day on Saturday, February 5th. The Voice for the Library coalition also has a report posted on Save Our Libraries efforts that took place Saturday.

Google Art Project

Google has done search, email, documents, video, and now...

Art.

From the Alte Nationalgalerie of Berlin to the Metropolitan in New York to the National Gallery of London, Google has taken extremely high resolution images of some of the most famous artwork and put it online. View the artwork online and create your own gallery of favourites.

Learn more at the Google Art Project.

Situation at the Library of Alexandria - Photos

From the Library's own website, the Director's Statement, eight photos and video of youth guarding the library.

Saving the New Library of Alexandria

From the New York Review of Books:

Located near the site of its ancient predecessor, in the heart of historical Alexandria, the remarkable Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the new Library of Alexandria, which opened in 2002, has been uncomfortably close to the turmoil that now wracks Egypt, and especially Egypt’s cities. First a suicide bomber attacked one of Alexandria’s Coptic churches on New Year’s Eve, killing 21 Egyptian Christians and injuring a hundred (including several Muslims worshipping at the mosque across the street). Now, for the past week, tens of thousands of young Egyptians have taken to the city’s streets, calling for more freedom, more jobs, lower prices, and democracy, unfazed by a harsh government crackdown and episodes of violence in which some three dozen Alexandrians have been killed. So it was a great relief to read the message “To our friends around the world” from Ismail Serageldin, the director of the Library, who reports that when unrest broke out on Friday, a cordon of young people rushed to surround the Library complex (which includes conference halls and a planetarium) and protect it from vandalism.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #140

This week's episode is a cross-cutting, interdisciplinary look at the violation of the knowledge ecology perpetrated in Egypt. Practical discussion is presented as to circumventing the disruption of Internet access as well as SMS/MMS messaging as seen there. Implications for information architecture are also discussed. Related links: Xubuntu Project Lead Approved Mashable: Egypt Protests Deutsche Welle: Egypt Protests Media Network: Egypt Protests Renesys: Egypt Leaves The Internet The Other McCain: Egypt Protests The Register: Egyptian Media Crackdown Al Jazeera English: Egypt Leaves The Internet Al Jazeera English: Online Activism Fueling Protests Caroline McCarthy: No such thing as a "social media revolution" Committee to Protect Journalists: Egypt Leaves The Internet The Register: Vodafone acknowledges shut down order Librarian Phoebe Ayers: Egypt Protests Infodisiac: Egypt access to Wikipedia disappears The Associated Press: Egypt Leaves The Internet...and fails to quell protests! Media Network: Radio Netherlands Worldwide to target increased broadcasting at Egypt The Associate Press: The Day Part of the Internet Died RFC 1930: "Guidelines for creation, selection, and registration of an Autonomous System (AS)" Ars Technica: How Egypt Fractured The Internet RIPE Network Coordinate Centre stats on Egypt traffic Project Gutenberg's CD & DVD Project for offline access LOCKSS MirrorBrain FLDIGI QSSTV TOR Project: Egyptians Switch En Mass To The Onion Router TOR Project: Downloading for Ubuntu

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LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #140 / Burning Circle 17 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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.

A Ray of Hope in Tunisia...Previously Banned Books for Sale

From The Irish Times:

LOOKING OUT the window of her bookshop on Avenue Bouguiba, where two dozen curious faces are pressed against the pane to catch a glimpse at her latest display, Selma Jabbes is a picture of quiet satisfaction.

The crowds outside the Al Kitab bookshop are staring at a selection of newly arrived titles under the heading Livres interdits , a selection of books banned under the regime of deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and now freely available for the first time.

Most concern Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi, political repression, Islamism and corruption in the regime.

Al Kitab is still awaiting delivery of its first order of banned books from Europe; those in the window were donated by readers and put on display “to give an idea of how we suffered here”, says Jabbes, a softly-spoken woman greeted by name by many of her customers.

Under Ben Ali’s rule, booksellers required a visa from the interior ministry for every work they wanted to import, and the process could take several months. The list of sensitive subject matter was long and ever-changing, but virtually every foreign title that touched on the president or his entourage, or which denigrated his policies, was strictly prohibited.

The Lights Are Going Out

Things are apparently developing in Egypt. There is an unconfirmed report that Egypt is totally offline. The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted to Identica about a separate report about the Internet being cut off in Egypt. Caroline McCarthy at CNET notes that Twitter is presently being blocked in Egypt. Later reporting by Elinor Mills at CNET notes that blocking is on the rise in Egypt and Associated Press reporters are unable to communicate. Nina Shea at National Review Online's group blog The Corner notes that these reports of disruption are not anomalies which is echoed by Matthew Shaffer there as well. Agence France-Presse notes that cellular telephone service is disrupted in addition to the reports of Internet disruption.

The situation in Egypt, much like the recent case in Tunisia, illustrates fundamental flaws in the nature of Internet access. Even though the system is purportedly designed to route around outages like this, failure seems to be easily caused. In conjunction with the proliferation of computer sound cards and software like fldigi, the deployment of radiofax service by outside powers to distribute information may be advisable. Examples of what this might look like are available online. Though such would have required specialist equipment twenty years ago that method for information distribution can take advantage of consumer-grade computer and radio hardware.

This situation continues to develop...

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The Lights Are Going Out by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

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