October 2001

Re-inventing the wheel

I\’ve been meaning to post this story for a while as it annoyed me so much when I first read it, I even contemplated writing a letter to the editor. In this recent story, The Stanford Daily describes Bookshare, an initiative set up by students last year. The students relate how they came up with the idea;
\”[we] were sitting in our room, staring at our full bookshelves and feeling depressed over the amount of money we had spent on textbooks for one quarter\”
So, they came up with a radical solution: create an alternative to buying books at the campus bookstore by setting up an online database of books available for students to loan out to one another for a fixed period of time.
Apparently other University campuses are interested in the system, which is described as being \”based on Napster\”. The system is being expanded to Movieshare, Gameshare and CDshare. Sound familiar? Can anyone say \”library\”? Argh! Anyone else feeling this frustration? Don\’t they realise what libraries are there for?

Harry Goes Long

is reporting
some details on the new Harry Potter movie.

It\’s 152-minute 13-seconds long, the bad news is
Chris Columbus directed it, you may know him from
such crappy films as, Bicentennial Man, Nine Months
Adventures in Babysitting.

The studio has spent more than $125 million
making the film, already has two sequels in the
pipeline and has rights to Rowling\’s planned
seven-book series. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer\’s
Stone makes it world premiere in London on Sunday
under Rowling\’s original British title, \”Harry Potter and
the Philosopher\’s Stone\”. Meanwhile, the studio has
already begun preproduction work on bringing
Rowling\’s second novel to the big screen. In fact, Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is due to start
shooting on November 18 on the same soundstages
as the original.

The World Of Dot.com Libraries

This Article by Philippa Dolphin, investigates the
world of dot com libraries, one of which claims to
transport students to a ‘place where confusion
becomes understanding’ for a price, of course.

Librarians can learn a thing or two from the for-profit
libraries about marketing, I think.

Going Way Back

Cliff writes \”I tried using it, but it\’s way popular, and so I couldn\’t get in…Here\’s the news realease on it:


Free Service Enables Users to Access Archived Versions of Web Sites Dating from 1996.

They did archive LISNews from back a year or so, though not the Original Version of our site.

The rest of the release follows, for those who missed it before.

Cliff writes \”I tried using it, but it\’s way popular, and so I couldn\’t get in…Here\’s the news realease on it:


Free Service Enables Users to Access Archived Versions of Web Sites Dating from 1996.

They did archive LISNews from back a year or so, though not the Original Version of our site.

The rest of the release follows, for those who missed it before.

SAN FRANCISCO (October 24, 2001)

The Internet Archive [ http://www.archive.org/ ], a comprehensive library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, today launched the Wayback Machine, a free service allowing people to access and use archived versions of past web pages. For the first time, all members of the public will be able to search and view the Internet Archive*s enormous collection of web sites, dating back to 1996 and comprising over 10 billion web pages.

The service, which was unveiled tonight at a ceremony at the University of California at Berkeley*s Bancroft Library, is available at web.archive.org. To use the Wayback Machine, visitors simply type in a URL in the provided search box, select a date, and then begin surfing on an archived version of the web.

³In 1996, we created the Internet Archive because we felt it was critical to preserve a permanent record of this historically significant new medium for the public,² said Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle. ³To date, the Archive has catalogued over ten billion web pages that might otherwise have been lost, giving us both a record of the origins and evolution of the Internet, as well as snapshots of our society as a whole around the turn of the century. For our fifth anniversary, we are opening up the Archive to the public by launching the Wayback Machine, so that everyone can travel back in time and view the Internet as it was in the past future.²

Since 1996, when the Internet Archive was founded in order to create a permanent collection of digital material for the public, the Internet Archive has been storing and recording web pages. Collaborating with institutions including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, the Internet Archive*s comprehensive library of the Web\’s digital past comprises 100 terabytes of data and is growing at a rate of 10 terabytes per month, eclipsing the amount of data contained in every library in the world including the Library of Congress, and making it the largest known database in existence.

³By keeping an historical record of what Web sites looked like and how they evolved over time, the Internet Archive is an invaluable resource for journalism educators, academic researchers and people who just want to see how the media and our culture marked important historical events,² said Paul Grabowicz, Director of the New Media Program and Assistant Dean at Northgate UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. ³Now, thanks to the Archive\’s new Wayback Machine, everyone has the opportunity to revisit, study and enjoy these important \’first drafts of history\’.²

About the Internet Archive The Internet Archive was founded in 1996 in order to build a digital library and other cultural artifacts in digital form, with the purpose of offering permanent and free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. The Archive holds a collection of archived web pages, dating from 1996 and comprising 100 terabytes. Since 1999, the Archive has expanded its collections to include: a September 11 television and online catalog; an Election 2000 online library; archived movies from 1903-1973; and other documents. Located in San Francisco, the Archive is a 501(c)(3) public nonprofit whose benefactors include Alexa Internet, AT&T Research, Compaq, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, Prelinger Archives, Quantum DLT, Xerox PARC, the Library of Congress, and the National Science Foundation.

[http://www.archive.org/wayback/press_kit/press_release.html ]


A Cathedral of Comfort for Nonbelievers

Bob Cox says The LA Times has a Story on the role of the library in a religion-free life.

The author can\’t turn to god, so he turned to the library for help.

\”When it comes to the library, I\’m orthodox. I relish its quiet and contemplative spaces. Other of its precincts, however, vibrate with a noisy sense of mission–the cultivation of young people, the encouragement of community mindedness–much in keeping, as chief librarian Susan Kent puts it, with a young, teeming city\’s need for \”an energetic place of possibilities.\”

What’s A hapax legomenon?

Have I ever told you how much I love Metafilter?

This Metafilter Post is a great discussion on
typing random words into Google to see what comes
back. It turns out there is a name for only getting one
result from a search engine (I know, it doesn\’t happen
much), hapax legomenon, is a word or
phrase of which there is only one recorded use.

They point out it\’s also being used in the context of
search engines, and that makes perfect sense to me.
They also point out an interesting web-only thing:

\”The beauty thing about a hapax legomenon is
that once you talk about it, it no longer exists. Once
google indexes this page, \”i am joe\’s spleen\” will return two
hits, and the hapax legomenon is no longer.

So, once google crawls this, and mefi, this will no
longer be a Hapax Legomenon!

Will Franzen Be Crushed by Oprah’s Big Cold Shoulder

Val writes \”
Salon\’s Laura Miller reports on the rift between \”The
Corrections\” author Jonathan Franzen and Oprah.

From the story…

\”He told the Oregonian that he had considered turning
down the show. \”She\’s picked some good books,\”
Franzen said in an interview posted on Powells.com,
\”but she\’s picked enough schmaltzy, one-dimensional
ones that I cringe, myself …\”

Read more.


Early English Book

Lee Hadden writes: \”Annanova has a story where an Early English comic verse is offered to the British archives in lieu of inheritance taxes.
Widow Edyth\” was written by Walter Smith, a servant in the house of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) in 1525, and part of the action of the story takes place at More\’s home in Chelsea. It has ribald humor that compares to
Chaucer\’s \”The Wife of Bath,\” and is one of the rarest of early English tomes. Almost all the characters in the book, with the exception of the Widow Edyth, can be identified as real people who lived in Tudor England,
and gives insights into \”the social manners and mores (sic) of the period.\”

Sir Thomas More was executed by King Henry VIII in 1535, and subsequently beatified in 1886, and canonized by the Catholic Church as a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935.

Read more about it.

A Librarian as a Sleuth in Hot Pursuit

Susan Benning was king enough to pass along This Review of \”Underneath the Lintel\”, a monologue by Glen Berger that opened at the SoHo Playhouse yesterday, from The NYTimes.

It\’s about \”a Dutch librarian, a fussbudget with the personality tics of the shy, small-minded and eccentric, a man whose life\’s focus is making sure no one tries to get away with leaving overdue books in the library\’s overnight return bin.\”