Libraries' DIY crowdsourcing brings museum collection to life

The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History’s collection of 130,000 specimens offers more than meets the eye.

Detailed data accompanies nearly every item in the museum’s collection. Though rich in information that could yield promising avenues of research, data collected by hand can be difficult to search and analyze.

From Libraries' DIY crowdsourcing brings museum collection to life | Iowa Now

Slowly improving Copyright clarity

Like all Smithsonian museums, all online content is subject to institution-wide ‘Terms of use‘. This governs the ‘permitted uses’ of anything on our websites, irrespective of underlying rights. These terms are not created at an individual museum level but are part of Smithsonian-wide policy. You can see that whilst these terms allow only ‘allows personal, educational, and other non-commercial uses’ they encourage the use of Fair Use under US Copyright law.

From Slowly improving Copyright clarity | Cooper Hewitt Labs


Attack in Tunisia

The BBC covers the attacks at the Bardo Museum in Tunis where at least eight people including tourists have been killed.

In South Florida, A Lover and Donor of Unique Books

It all started with his work as a library volunteer. From The Sun Sentinel:

For Arthur Jaffe, books weren't just to be read. They were to be treasured as works of art. Jaffe, who donated a lot of money and his vast collection of hand-crafted books to Florida Atlantic University, died Sunday. He was 93.

Though he passed away this week, his legacy will live on through the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts at FAU's Wimberly Library, where he spent 13 years as curator before retiring in 2011. The collection has grown from Jaffe's original donation of 2,800 handmade books to 12,000 today.

The Jaffe collection includes children's pop-ups, wood cuts and lithographs. There are several versions of the Bible, classics like "Moby Dick" and "Hamlet," and more unusual volumes, such as "Ghost Diary" by Maureen Cummins, a rare book made of glass. Even after retiring in 2011, he continued to visit the center on a regular basis. In 2012, he launched a project that seemed unusual for the book arts center: a documentary on the tattoos of FAU students.

"Here was a 91-year-old looking at all these tattooed kids and saying, 'they're all walking books,'" Cutrone said. "Sometimes you think of older people as being set in their ways, but that was not Arthur. He was willing to see the other side of things."

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian's Design Museum Reopens

From The New York Times:

On Friday, Dec. 12, 1902, Andrew Carnegie moved into his just-finished home at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, with his wife, Louise, and his 5-year-old daughter, Margaret, to whom he handed the key. Carnegie lived there until his death in 1919; Louise until hers in 1946. Margaret was married there but moved next door. When she died in 1990, her childhood home had long since become headquarters for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

Lovely slideshow on the renovation by Gluckman Mayner Architects which include a new, wide-open gallery space, a cafe and a raft of be-your-own-designer digital enhancements.

The Architecture of American Literacy

Article from CityLab about Washington, DC's Spy Library proposed additions to the classic Carnegie Library. The request however was denied by District preservationists.

Across the nation, the libraries that Andrew Carnegie built have been transformed and reused as historical museums, city halls, art centers, and even bars and restaurants, sometimes by dramatic means.

It is a testament to Carnegie's philanthropic investment in cities—the largest in U.S. history—that so many of these buildings are still in use. Yet no one can say exactly how many are standing now.

"As far as I'm aware, the last person to conduct an inventory of Carnegie libraries was Theodore Jones, back in 1997," says Ron Sexton, librarian for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Almost 20 years later, Jones's book, Carnegie Libraries Across America: A Public Legacy, still offers the best estimate to a question that may not have an exact answer.

Marks of Genius at The Morgan Library & Museum

In a New York Times review by William Grimes, entitled "A History of Awesome in One Room", the JP Morgan Library's new exhibit from Oxford's Bodleian Library is described as featuring "some of the loftiest texts ever recorded"; the poetry of Sappho, the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Shelley's Frankenstein and an illustrated score by Felix Mendelssohn.

"Marks of Genius” works hard at its theme. Stephen Hebron, the Bodleian’s curator of the exhibition, carefully traces the changing meanings of genius since antiquity in a concise but wide-ranging catalog essay. The exhibit runs through mid-September at The Morgan Library.

Nazi Era Book Left in Illinois Library Book Drop

From The Chicago Sun-Times: LaGrange Park Public Library officials are brimming with curiosity over who dropped off a rare book stamped “Secret!” from notorious Nazi Commander Hermann Goring, which is now under study at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

“It’s a great mystery,” library director Dixie Conkis said. “We had the book in our possession for a while not knowing quite what to do with it, but felt that because it was marked ‘secret’ it was probably a rather important book.”

The book, “1938-1941: Vier Jahre, Hermann Goring-Werke,” likely was left in the library’s book drop. It easily could have been discarded if not for Ursula Stanek, circulation services director, who grew up in Mannheim, Germany. The book sat on her desk for several weeks in the spring until she noted the inside cover was stamped “Geheim!” meaning “Secret!” with letterhead from Goring, the Nazi state secrete police commander.

Thanks to the librarians, the book now has a permanent home in Washington DC's Holocaust Museum, which had only previously had a reprinted copy.

I am a Pole and Ulysses, Side by Side

from NPR:

Talk show host Stephen Colbert's foray into children's books has landed him alongside some exalted literary company.

A playful new exhibit at Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum & Library pairs priceless material by James Joyce and Maurice Sendak with, um, perhaps less valuable items used by Colbert to write "I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)."

Colbert's pens, beer bottles and lunch remnants are certainly not the usual fare for the Rosenbach, the Philadelphia institution that houses the only complete manuscript of Joyce's "Ulysses."

But museum officials say the display reinforces their mission to engage and inspire visitors with collections that include papers from Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker and Miguel de Cervantes.

"If I can do that by having Stephen Colbert make a joke about 'Ulysses,' why not?" said Rosenbach director Derick Dreher.


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