Academic Libraries

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.

Lifting the Lid on a Treasure Chest

Jen Young points to a A NYTimes Story on a collection of literary and cultural treasures at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, part of the University of Texas.
Scholars know the Ransom Center as one of the world\'s pre-eminent research libraries, but until now the public has caught only fleeting glimpses into its rich chambers. That will change in April when the center opens its first galleries.

Copyright Issues Relevant to the Creation of a Digital Archive

\"As libraries move into the digital age, they increasingly face copyright and other intellectual property questions. Creating digital surrogates and using digital technologies to make copyrighted works available to the public raise many issues. For American librarians, June Besek\'s essay is a most welcome tool. She has analyzed the issues that librarians must address as they are asked to make decisions about what may be made available to their patrons in digital form, and in an unbiased way she has described these issues and their implications. Additionally, she has identified areas where there is much uncertainty and recommended further studies to narrow the issues and to suggest constructive solutions.\" (from CLIR)

Art History Without Slides

Jen Young sent along This story on profs that have done away with slides and traditional projectors in favor of an expensive but promising alternative: images stored on the college\'s computer network and digitally projected into lecture rooms.
With the new technology they can zoom in on images, juxtapose them, and call up information about them, all through a computer and touch-sensitive screen built into her lectern.
They say Yale\'s slide library has already stopped photographing artworks from textbooks to display on the image library\'s walls, except when specifically requested by professors. That\'s one of several sacrifices made to free librarians for cataloging, a process that represents the bulk of the work in building digital collections.

Lifting the Lid on a Treasure Chest

\"During a rehearsal for \"A Streetcar Named Desire\" at the Barrymore Theater in New York more than half a century ago Marlon Brando dropped his address book.\"

\"I beg you return this,\" he had written inside the cover. \"I lost eight others already and if I lose this, I\'ll just drop dead\"

\"The finder, however, did not return it. Today it is part of a collection of literary and cultural treasures here at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, part of the University of Texas. (from The New York Times)


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