Academic Libraries

McCarthy Senate Investigations Transcripts Now Public

Senator Joseph McCarthy called nearly 500 witnesses
before his subcommittee and made them answer all
sort of invasive questions about their loyalty to the US
and/or allegiance to the Communist Party. The
transcripts of most of these interviews were sealed for
50 years and have just been made available
, in annotated form, all 4,200 pages of

"the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
held extensive hearings, in both executive and public
session, that focused on the U.S. Information Libraries
worldwide. It examined the books that the libraries
stocked, and called some of the authors to testify.
During the course of the investigation, chief counsel
Roy Cohn, and chief consultant David Schine,
embarked on a highly publicized tour of the overseas
libraries in major European capitals...

...the State Department ordered the
removal of any books by Communist authors or
Communist sympathizers from the Information
Libraries' shelves. Hundreds of works of fiction and
non-fiction were discarded, and some were burned."

[The libraries contained the poetry of Langston
Hughes, who was questioned by the committee.]

Florida considers what to do with infamous ballots

Jen Young spotted This One @ CNN on what to do with the 6 million ballots from the last election. Should the ballots hanging chads and all, be destroyed or saved because of their historical significance?
Many election supervisors in Florida's 67 counties want to get rid of the ballots because they take up so much space. Miami-Dade's are in taped-up cardboard boxes stacked to the ceiling of a warehouse, while Palm Beach County's 2000 election records sit on three 5-by-5 foot pallets, each of them 6 feet high.

Library goers: sleep, study - shut up already

A Fun Little Column from The Daily Northwestern on loud people in the library.

"I am speaking on behalf of the Quiet People, those poor introverted souls who for some reason cannot study without some modicum of quiet."

Schools profit from publicly funded research

Jen Young noticed a CNN Story on the thorny issue of university patents, many of which stem from research paid for with public funds.
"It's an embarrassment," Cleveland State University intellectual law professor Michael Davis said of the law that allows universities to patent and profit from government-supported research. "The government paid for all of the research and development. Taxpayers are essentially paying twice."

Web-cheats on notice in Australia

Australian IT Says 3 Australian universities have joined a consortium offering web-based plagiarism checks on all student essays and submissions, and are deploying software to scan student essays.

Melbourne's RMIT and Wollongong and Western Sydney in NSW have signed up to the consortium run through Victorian software and library group Caval Collaborative Solutions. New Zealand's Auckland University has also signed on.
Each will pay between $US13,000 ($21,000) and $US25,000 for the annual service, using US Turnitin software. It is understood the universities will begin using the software from next semester.

National Libraries/National Identity

Luis Acosta writes "This Washington Post commentary by Princeton historian Robert Darnton compares the burning of Iraq's National Library to the destruction of other great libraries throughout history, including the burning by the British Army of the Library of Congress in 1814.

"Libraries and museums are not temples for ancestor worship, but they are crucial for the task of knowing who you are by knowing who you were. That kind of knowledge must be continuously reworked. Destroy the possibility of replenishing it, and you can strangle a civilization."

"How will the Iraqis fuse a national identity out of the diverse cultures that have come apart with the destruction that has robbed them of their common past?"

Hitler's Forgotten Library

Steve Fesenmaier writes "The Atlantic has a most interesting story for librarians and biblio-therapists. The books that constitute the Hitler Library were discovered in a salt mine near Berchtesgaden—haphazardly stashed in schnapps crates with the Reich Chancellery address on them—by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in the spring of 1945. "

Bidding for Fame

Lee Hadden writes " There's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal concerning
the selling of the Watergate archives to a university library. He says The Woodstein Watergate archive will keep some astonishing company at the Ransom
Center: a Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed in English (a history of Troy dated
1473), one of 11 copies of "Songs of Innocence" hand-colored by William Blake. In a
collection that includes 30 million literary manuscripts and a million rare books,
the list of treasures, and dross, is boundless.

But any museum or library would covet a Gutenberg; it was the genius of the
well-heeled Ransom to focus on collecting 20th-century writers' papers, which made
Austin the first stop for anyone selling a more contemporary collection. Manuscripts
of Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence (plus his moccasins)
can be found there. And of course the center's curators have to guess at future big
names and buy accordingly. It's like a futures market in reputations.

Read more about it at: (Subscription required).


Iraq National Museum Looted

Luis Acosta writes "The New York Times reports on "what is likely to be reckoned as one of the greatest cultural disasters in recent Middle Eastern history," the pillaging of the National Museum of Iraq, where "at least 170,000 artifacts [were] carried away by looters."


In Vintage Maps, a Japan Bygone Floats Lyrically Online

"For half a century, a rare and extensive collection of historical Japanese maps spanning hundreds of years have been stored in the East Asian Library at the University of California, revealing their secrets only to those few who had received permission to handle them. Now, through state-of-the-art imaging technology, anyone can view these fragile maps online, at "

"So far, 210 maps - some dating back almost 400 years - from the 2,300-piece collection are online. The collection, which will be available for viewing in its entirety within two years, includes 252 maps of the city of Edo (now Tokyo), 79 maps of Kyoto and 40 maps of Osaka spanning the years 1600 to 1867. Many are woodblock prints on handmade paper. The collection also includes a map from 1710 depicting the center of the world as the source of four great rivers of India, and a 40-foot scroll map of the roads of Japan in 1687." (from The New York Times)


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