Academic Libraries

Millions of personal records lost

Charles Davis writes "
Public records on microfiche
containing millions of personal
details have gone missing from
Bristol Central Library.
Up to 1,400 fiches that relate to
births are missing, as are 1,000
relating to marriages and 1,000
to deaths.
One microfiche was said by the
library to hold "hundreds" of
details.
They were discovered to be missing when users at the library began tracing their family history.
The library has estimated that it will cost £20,000 to replace the missing microfiches.
Full Story

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Treasures of a Passionate Collector

Jen Young sent along A NYTimes Travel Article on The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens - a grand institution that encompasses a world-class library; fine, far-reaching art collections including Constable landscapes and elegant French clocks; and encyclopedic botanical gardens on 207 rolling green acres - is mind-boggling in its riches.

Florida Ponders Fate of Historic 2000 Ballots

The NYTimes Says the Florida ballots are still there, nearly six million punch cards and their chads, stowed in boxes, stacked on pallets, wrapped in plastic.

The state has kept them for two years, as federal law requires. Now that the time is up, a pressing question for state officials here is: What do we do with these things?

"This is the most controversial presidential election in modern history — an election that was viewed by the world for 36 days and ultimately decided by the Supreme Court," said Julian Pleasants, a history professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's an important series of events that should be saved for future generations."

Thanks to Jen Young for this one.

Medieval treasures lost to public

Charles Davis writes "A
telegraph.co.uk Story on a £20 million appeal to open to the public a priceless nmedieval library - whose works include an eye-witness account of the Battle of Hastings - has collapsed in an acrimonious dispute.
Senior members of the fund-raising committee at
Cambridge University have resigned and donors
have withdrawn their pledges from the Parker
Library Appeal at Corpus Christi College, the home
of one of the world's leading collections of
manuscripts dating from the sixth to the 16th
centuries. "

Recording History and Taking Part at the Same Time

Jen Young noticed A Neat One from The NYTimes on Columbia University's 9/11 Oral History Narrative and Memory Project.
What began as an effort to record history while it was fresh became more than that. It turned into an extended journey into the nature of memory itself, and a testament to the enduring power of the oldest, simplest human communication form: one voice in a room, telling a tale of how it all came down.

"I was less a historian than a participant," said Temma Kaplan, a professor of history at Rutgers University who did 18 interviews. "I wanted to be comforted, and confronted, not quite a voyeur but to be part of what was going on."

Mister Peeps ready to answer questions

"Question board mascot Mister Peeps invites anyone to ask a question."

"Started by a librarian, the question board has been a part of the Undergraduate Library Reference Services since 1972. The original question board is in the lower level of the Undergraduate Library. An online question board was created in 1997."

"Students submit questions anonymously to reference services, so there is no way to communicate with answer-seekers, said David Ward, Undergraduate assistant librarian." (from The Daily Illini)

Book a good read - in 11 years

Jen Young sent over This One on the Nuremberg Chronicle, that has gone on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Each fortnight one page will be turned in the Latin edition, which features more than 1800 illustrations – including biblical scenes and views of towns and maps printed from 645 woodblocks.
With a page being turned every 14 days, it will take about 11 1/2 years to read the book.

Two rare materials thieves apprehended, one sentenced.

I feel like Jack Webb! (or possibly Ed O\'Neill.) Reader Charles Davis sent in three different stories about individuals apprehended in thefts of rare materials. In brief:

  • Michael John Williams of Baltimore, Maryland had stolen Revolutionary War documents. Police tracked him down through the antiques dealer he had sold them to.
  • John Charles Gilkey of San Jose, California had used a stolen credit card to purchase a first-edition copy of The Grapes of Wrath. He was apprehended when he tried to pick up the package.
  • Neil Winstanley of London, England had stolen or damaged several priceless books while working in the Middle Temple law library. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.

Click below for more of the stories and links to the full content.

Michigan Library gets exhibit of biblical proportions

Bob Cox noticed This One on The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, opening next Sunday at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Up to 225,000 visitors are expected to come see some of the world\'s oldest biblical manuscripts, in an exhibit running through June 1. Tourism officials expect scroll-seekers will pump at least $5 million into the local economy, and the museum expects to earn close to $1 million above costs.

\"microsound\" in California libraries

Today\'s edition of Studio 360 on NPR showcases an emerging art form called microsound. In an interview, microsound artist Steve Roden discusses one of his sound installations, placed in a library. His exhibition and performance history lists two shows in California libraries, and he sounds like an interesting avant-garde artist and performer.

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