International

Norway is digitizing its whole library

The National Library of Norway is planning to digitize all the books by the mid 2020s.

Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library's holdings.

By law, "all published content, in all media, [must] be deposited with the National Library of Norway," so when the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people's language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years.

The whole story is at The Atlantic.

Waterstones Response to Amazon's Drone Delivery Plans -- O.W.L.S.

Originally posted by Birdie -- technical problems were causing embed not to work. She had the following comment with original post -- Hilarious response by Waterstones to Amazon's "Prime Air" concept of drone book delivery. Got to love the closing line.

Huge Thefts from Girolamini Library with a Librarian in the Plot

Big story from Naples Italy via The New York Times. Here's the perp, Marino Massimo De Caro, now on trial.

It was one of the most dramatic thefts ever to hit the rare-book world, the disappearance of thousands of volumes — including centuries-old editions of Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo and Machiavelli — from the Baroque-era Girolamini Library in Naples. Now, prosecutors at a trial here are trying to show how such a wholesale violation of Western cultural patrimony could have taken place.

The very man charged with protecting these treasures, Marino Massimo De Caro, a politically connected former director of the library, is accused of being at the center of a network of middlemen, book dealers and possibly crooked conservators — all part of what prosecutors say is a sometimes corrupt market for rare books in which much is spent and few questions are asked. Apart from Mr. De Caro, 13 others are charged, including a priest.

Some interesting backstory on the theft here and and here from the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #256

An Ancient Library and Advice from the Buddha

Fascinating piece in the New Yorker about an ancient Chinese library in Dunhuang, unearthed about one hundred years ago, and where scholars are now in the process of digitizing thousand year old Chinese manuscripts.

A portion of the article equating print with prayer...

"The paper items preserved in the Library also shed light on the origins of another information technology: print. The Diamond Sutra, one of the most famous documents recovered from Dunhuang, was commissioned in 868 A.D., “for free distribution,” by a man named Wang Jie, who wanted to commemorate his parents. In the well-known sermon that it contains, the Buddha declares that the merit accrued from reading and reciting the sutra was worth more than a galaxy filled with jewels. In other words, reproducing scriptures, whether orally or on paper, was good for karma. Printing began as a form of prayer, the equivalent of turning a prayer wheel or slipping a note into the Western Wall in Jerusalem, but on an industrial scale."

The Most Loyal Patron

From The Telegraph, UK:

Louise Brown, 91 (NOT the first IVF baby), has read up to a dozen books a week since 1946 without incurring a single fine for late returns.

She borrows mainly large print books because she is partially sighted, and has almost worked her way through her local library's entire stock.

Library staff in Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, say the pensioner's rapacious reading habits over 60 years could earn her a place in the record books. Mrs Brown, a widow, said: "My parents were great readers and I've always loved books. I started reading when I was five and have never stopped. I like anything I can get my hands on." She said her favourite genres are family sagas, historical novels and war stories, but added: "I also like Mills and Boon for light reading at night." She said she had read too many books to have a favourite or top five, but if she had to choose a preferred genre it would be family sagas or historical novels.

Louise Pride, her daughter, said: "She has aids to help her sight and usually borrows large print books. But the trouble is she has read nearly all of them in the local library. She still finds time to ready a newspaper every day and to watch TV."

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #253

This week: THE BRAZIL INCIDENT

Yes, the repercussions from the NSA spying revelations continue. Now we are seeing looming growth in the fracturing of the Internet with the imposition of national boundaries. Even OCLC may be impacted by this. We take a few minutes to discuss the situation and its implications.

A brief news miscellany is also presented.

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More Libraries for Libyan Cities & Villages

Dateline Tripoli, Libya -- The Libyan government has signed contracts to equip and furnish 94 pubic libraries and cultural centers in 22 Libyan cities and villages.

The Minister of Culture Mr. Hbib al-Amin told reporters on Saturday that he signed implementation orders with a number of Libyan companies these centers and libraries to be finished this year.

The cost of these projects is 6.6 million Libyan dinar and come as part of this year cultural projects.

The items will be included in the contracts are office furniture, computers, printers, photocopiers, internet service, air conditioners and stationery.

For those wanting to know more about the country, here's the Library of Congress site (albeit dated pre-Gaddafi's death).

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh is the elephant headed god in the Hindu religion, and is a heavenly patron of libraries. Ganesh invented the alphabet, and broke off his right tusk in order to make the first pen. The capital stroke used in Sanskrit letters is made in his honor.

An image of Ganesh is usually placed over the entrance to a library in India.

Something of interest to those who are in to studying library lore.

A Bookish Haven for Americans in Paris

Little known to tourists, the American Library in Paris has existed since books were first sent to WW1 doughboys. Here the LA Times gives us perspective on both the history of the library and its current operations. Here's the library's website.

Like every library in the world, it is challenged by changing reading habits. “I’ve understood all along — every library understands this — that if all you’re doing is warehousing books and being a lending library, you’re going to die,” director Charles Trueheart, a former foreign correspondent from the Washington Post says. “You’ve got to offer people all kinds of other stuff, now that they may be going for books in another way. ... And our programming is not just authors, but it’s art appreciation, music, fashion, education, politics, current events.”

The library also contracts with U.S. universities to provide services to American exchange students and compiles study material for French students seeking accreditation as English teachers. Indeed, for all its appeal to Americans in Paris, the library has plenty of French members and supporters.

“There are a lot of French people who are very serious about keeping up their English, and they come to events in English at the library,” says author Diane Johnson, who has lived off and on in Paris for decades and chairs the library’s Writers Council, composed of such colleagues as Julian Barnes and Adam Gopnik.

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