Academic Libraries

At Peabody Library, a damaging tale

A clogged pipe at the Johns Hopkins University's Peabody Library sent water seeping through five floors of historic books, damaging as many as 8,000 volumes from the 17th to 19th centuries, officials said yesterday.

Workers from a New York restoration company rushed to the renowned library on Mount Vernon Place yesterday to move the books into two 53-foot freezer trucks to be transported to the company's facility near Rochester. There, they will be subjected to high-technology freezing processes intended to dry them and undo as much of the water damage as possible.

Full Story via Gary Price's

A Library Unlocks Its Attic

One From The LATimes on the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, home to a staggering trove of papers and artifacts from thousands of writers, artists, musicians, actors and others.
For decades, scholars have rummaged here in solitude and wonder, sorting through a collection laid out something like a bottom desk drawer eight stories deep. But now, for the first time in its improbable 46-year history, the center has a clean, well-lighted place to show off its massive holdings for a wider audience. And as an increasing number of libraries nationwide begin to behave more like museums, this Austin building may stand as a hint of things to come.

Microfilm's trump card: it tends to last

Blake writes "'Archivists who stick with the old
`I'm a technology geek, but we have to be cautious' Microfilm's
trump card: it tends to last.
Simcoe County archivist Bruce Beacock sees digital technology as a
modern convenience with a limited shelf life.
"It's access technology, not preservation technology and we don't know how long the
machines will be around to read it," said Beacock, who heads up the oldest county
archives in Ontario.
Full Story."

Shanghai Museum pays 4.5 million dollars for 'lost' calligraphic collection

Charles Davis writes "More at
Yahoo News:

The Shanghai Museum has paid
4.5 million dollars to retrieve a calligraphic collection which experts termed the most significant event in cultural relics preservation since communist China was founded in 1949.
The four-volume "Chunhuage Tie' (Model Letters from the Imperial Archives in the Chunhua Reign) was bought from a US collector
after mysteriously disappearing in the 1940s, the China Daily said Monday."

What is Permanent in the Digital Age?

This is supposed to be a paperless society, but many of us still
like to hold a piece of paper in our hands.
To me, a piece of paper means permanence, whereas an e-mail does not.
Here’s proof: Yesterday, I accidentally deleted all the e-mail messages on my
computer. Everything was gone because I touched a wrong button.
And that wasn’t the first time it happened. I did the same thing a few months

The article raises some issues that we're all familiar with, but also poses an interesting point about the creation of content in the digital age. Because documents are generally replaced by new content when edited, will we see fewer drafts of important documents in the future?

There's no mention, though, of hidden data in the digital world. (e.g. hidden metadata in Tony Bliar's document or unstripped jpegs.)

Read the full story [from Kingstown Whig Standard]

History On The Chopping Block

Me writes "Christian Science Monitor 7/28/03
History on the chopping block
By Beth Joyner Waldron
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – How do you place a dollar value on history?
That's the daunting question faced by state-operated historic sites
nationwide as they get short shrift in the financial crisis slashing state
How skillfully each state crafts an answer will determine the value our
society places on remembering the past.
Here's The Story."

In DSpace, Ideas Are Forever

jen writes "From The NYTimes Story:
The libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are earnestly bookish (2.6 million volumes and 17,000 journals) but increasingly digital (275 databases and 3,800 electronic journals). And just as e-mail dealt a blow to snail mail, digital archives are retooling scholarly exchange. A number of universities, from the California Institute of Technology to M.I.T., are creating ''institutional repositories'' designed to harness their own intellectual output. M.I.T.'s archive, perhaps the most ambitious, is called DSpace ("

See Also:The OSU Knowledge bank.

Dynamic localisation of books and collections

No idea how I ran across this one, but, The Oulu University Library, in Finland, has built in Dynamic localisation of books and collections.On the ground and first floors of the Main Library customers can use map-based guidance with their PDAs or portable computers to locate the books or collections they are looking for. The guidance is based on dynamic localisation which uses localisation technology developed by Ekahau Ltd. The localisation system requires a compatible WLAN-card and the SmartLibrary software.

At present the localisation system covers the collections on the ground and first floors of the Main Library, which are divided into 160 shelves and call numbers according to the call number scheme used in the library. The system looks up the correct shelf in the database and shows its location to the user.

They have a Demo in PDF-format, and Here's A Release by the company that set things up, Ekahau.

MIT returns documents to state

News From Massachusetts where they say Kurt Hasselbalch, curator of the Hart Nautical Collections, stumbled upon a cache of late 18th-century state documents, many bearing the signature of John Hancock.

He believes the documents were loaned in 1941 to the Hart Nautical Museum to augment the inaugural exhibition of the Forbes Whaling Collection. Everything changed when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and MIT went into war emergency mode. The documents were put into a file and the loan was forgotten. Another war, 60 years later, delayed its return to the state last year.

Sacramento environmentalist's collection of slogans goes to Smithsonian

Bob Cox notes The Sacramento Bee Reports the Smithsonian owns tens of thousands of buttons, mainly from electoral campaigns, but has recently been working to broaden its collection of late-20th century memorabilia.
They just scored the nation's largest known collection of environmental political buttons -- 1,600 round metal disks that had been steadily collected over three decades by a Sacramento activist, Jerry Meral, who agreed to donate them to the museum last year.


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