Academic Libraries

WV State College Makes Benin Archive Available

Steve Fesenmaier tells us that:

"West Virginia State College, an unusual land-grant college established for African-American students, has made an archive of Benin materials available. Hopefully students and scholars will use it."

According to the article:

"The West African country of Benin does not produce very many documents, but the ones that are printed will be housed in a small room on the main floor of West Virginia State College’s Drain-Jordan Library.
Besides economic reports, agricultural studies and laws, the Benin Collection includes films, newspapers, photographs and a live computer link to the catalog at the National University of Benin."

Stanford project puts student work online

"The idea makes so much sense, it might serve as a standard for all graduate school courses: Create a Web-based library of original student research -- especially if the topic has long been neglected."

"With that in mind, Stanford Law School Professor Barbara Babcock, two sharp librarians and dozens of students have done exactly that, generating an extensive archive of unique biographies of important but forgotten women in law."

"It's already attracted widespread interest from other scholars -- and some descendants of these historic figures." (from Mercury News)

Two Alabama Academic Libraries Building Projects

steven bell writes:

"The Mobile Register has a good article that profiles library building projects at the University of South Alabama and Spring Hill College. Quotes from both library directors and Helen Spaulding are included. The gist of the article is that academic libraries need buildings that respond to the wants and interests of the academic community - hence more computers, more ports, more food and beverages, etc. File this one under "response to deserted buildings".

Lost library emerges after 2,000 years

Charley Hivey was first in with This CNN Article on the long-buried Villa of the Papyri, one of Italy's richest Roman villas, which opened to the public this weekend almost 2,000 years after it was submerged in volcanic mud.

Hundreds of scrolls have been carefully opened and many others could be read in the near future thanks to digital and scanning technology.

The scrolls, which looked like sticks of charcoal when they were first discovered, have mostly turned out to be works of Greek epicurean philosophy from the first century BC.

More college students giving textbooks a pass

One From The St. Louis Post-Dispatch on students reluctance to buy books for class in college.
The National Association of College Stores, which estimates that about 20 percent of undergraduates nationwide aren't buying, renting or otherwise acquiring the books their professors expect them to have. In surveys, only about 42 percent of students have told the association they think textbooks are necessary.
One student says she uses the library to the extent possible, reading texts that professors have put on reserve there or checking them out. She calculates that by doing so, she spent only about $100 buying books this semester.

Oldest Human History Is at Risk

Jen Young points us to This NYTimes Story all the archaeological sites in Iraq.
They say 10,000 have been identified, but only a fraction have been explored. Any of them could change what we know about human history, as past excavations have done. Some have already revealed the world's earliest known villages and cities and the first examples of writing.

Access to Archival Databases

"NARA has launched a powerful new research tool called Access to Archival Databases (AAD). AAD will give researchers the opportunity to search selected archival databases directly through the Internet..."

"The Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System gives you online access to electronic records that are highly structured, such as in databases. The initial release of AAD contains material from more than 30 archival series of electronic records, which include over 350 data files totaling well over 50 million unique records. The series selected for AAD identify specific persons, geographic areas, organizations, or dates. Some of these series serve as indexes to accessioned archival records in non-electronic formats. The AAD system does not, however, support quantitative or statistical analysis of data." (from NARA News and Events)

Perspective: Research at Penn

"The library is talking about a pizza box advertising campaign. They're half kidding, but touting self-promotion and stretching for solutions is exactly the idea."

"It's the battle between Google and the library -- and Google just might be winning."

"I had a senior history major in the other day asking how to use [library] research databases," Assistant Director for Research and Instructional Services at Van Pelt Library, Marjorie Hassen says. With four years of Ivy League college under his belt, not to mention a reading and writing intensive history major, "you'd think he would have done a lot of research before." (from The Daily Pennsylvanian - Thanks Genie)

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
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


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.


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