Academic Libraries

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.

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 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.


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