Academic Libraries

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)

Watergate papers sold for $5 million

\"In one of the largest such purchases in American history, the University of Texas at Austin has bought the Watergate papers of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for $5 million, the university announced today.\" (from MSNBC)

University of Texas gets Watergate papers

Jen writes "The Watergate papers of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will be housed and made available for study at the University of Texas at Austin in a $5 million deal Announced Monday.

The school said it is paying Woodward and Bernstein to archive the documents, enough to fill about 75 file boxes, at its Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.


Beethoven\'s Ninth manuscript could fetch £3m

Charles Davis writes \"The final manuscript of Beethoven\'s Ninth Symphony, scribbled with the composer\'s revisions and comments, including splutters of rage at the unfortunate copyists, will be auctioned in London next month, estimated to make up to £3m.
Sotheby\'s head of manuscripts, Stephen Roe, described it yesterday as \"an incomparable manuscript of an incomparable
work, one of the highest achievements of man, ranking alongside Shakespeare\'s Hamlet and King Lear.\"
It is a sale to make collectors swoon: last year a single leaf of a Beethoven manuscript, entirely in his own hand, was sold to a private American collector for £1.3m almost 10 times the highest estimate - which makes the estimated £3m for the 575 pages of the complete Ninth quite a bargain.
More at
The Guardian \"
Jen Young points to CNN As Well.

ARL Annual Salary Survey for 2002-03 Published

"The Association of Research Libraries announces the publication of its Annual Salary Survey. The report analyzes salary data for all professional staff working in the 124 ARL member libraries during 2002-03. Data were reported for 9,469 professional staff in the 114 ARL university libraries and for 3,804 professional staff members at the 10 nonuniversity ARL institutions. The university population is generally treated as three distinct groups: staff in the general library system, staff in the university medical libraries, and staff in the university law libraries." (from The Association of Research Libraries)

Unfortunately, The report is not available online.

New Allies in the Fight Against Research by Googling

"Ronald J. Granieri is doing what he can to keep his history students out of the quagmire of misinformation known as the World Wide Web. Two years ago, when he
started using Blackboard's software to post assignments, handouts, and materials for his courses at Furman University, he added a link to a page of library resources. It was a small effort, perhaps, but he favors anything that leads his students away from Google and toward vetted scholarly material."

"Students have this idea that there is no difference between searching on the Web and searching in the library," says Mr. Granieri, an associate professor of history at Furman. He hopes that making the link between library materials and his course site -- a locus of research activity for his students -- will introduce them to new and better sources of information and help wean them away from search engines." (from The Chronicle of Higher Education)


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