June 2008

The Department of Forgetting: How an obscure FBI rule is ensuring the destruction of irreplaceable historical records

Alex Heard, the editorial director of Outside magazine at Slate:

But isn’t the FBI destroying only junk? I doubt it. Ernie Lazar, an independent researcher in California whose particular interest is in far-right groups, sent me a list of “destroyed” responses he’s received over the years from FBI headquarters and field offices. There are dozens. We’ll never know if they were significant—they don’t exist anymore—but they sure look interesting to me.

What’s Doin’ Over At LISWire.com – The Librarian’s News Wire

It’s been a while since I pointed to LISWire.com – The Librarian’s News Wire. You can grab the main LISWire RSS Feed Here. You can subscribe to one of our mailing lists and check out all the other feed options Right Here.

Here are the latest releases posted. If you spot anything interesting in your travels, let us know!

Registration fee waived for librarians attending Atlanta Book Show
— http://liswire.com/node/104/

Code4Lib Journal, Issue 3 published
— http://liswire.com/node/103/

LexisNexis® Introduces New Content, Functionality to Intellectual Property Solutions
— http://liswire.com/node/102/

Houston Public Library Goes Live with Evergreen
— http://liswire.com/node/101/

Free Travel Writing Contest Sponsored by Smart Poodle Publishing
— http://liswire.com/node/100/

The Survey of Academic Libraries, 2008-09 Edition is out Now
— http://liswire.com/node/99/

Elsevier Foundation Seeks Grant Proposals for Innovative Libraries and New Scholars
— http://liswire.com/node/98/

U of C funds Open Access Authors Fund
— http://liswire.com/node/97/

Publishers Implement New Tracking Service for Authors
— http://liswire.com/node/96/

Marshall Public Library Selects Evergreen and Equinox
— http://liswire.com/node/95/

IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Library Program Funding Announcement for 2008
— http://liswire.com/node/94/
— Release posted by Blake on June 22nd 2008 08:28

Chilling Tales of the Great White North
— http://liswire.com/node/93/

FictionDB Opens Its Site to Book Lovers Everywhere
— http://liswire.com/node/91/

Librarians in Brubaker Theft Case Are Named

This article from the Calgary Sun names two librarians, one in Canada and one in the US, who help to nab rare book thief James Lyman Brubaker, whose theft of over $21,000 of books was reported yesterday on LISNews.

One is Ada-Marie Atkins Nechka, of the U of Calgary’s MacKimmie Library, and the other is WWU’s Rob Lopresti, a librarian at Western Washington University in Bellingham and an amateur mystery writer. Lopresti discovered Brubaker attempting to sell the materials on ebay.

Felicitations on some good detective work.

U.S. copyright renewal records available for download

For U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963, the rights holder needed to submit a form to the U.S. Copyright Office renewing the copyright 28 years after publication. In most cases, books that were never renewed are now in the public domain. Estimates of how many books were renewed vary, but everyone agrees that most books weren’t renewed. If true, that means that the majority of U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 are freely usable.

How do you find out whether a book was renewed? You have to check the U.S. Copyright Office records. Records from 1978 onward are online (see http://www.copyright.gov/records) but not downloadable in bulk. The Copyright Office hasn’t digitized their earlier records, but Carnegie Mellon scanned them as part of their Universal Library Project, and the tireless folks at Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly typed in every word.

Thanks to the efforts of Google software engineer Jarkko Hietaniemi, we’ve gathered the records from both sources, massaged them a bit for easier parsing, and combined them into a single XML file available for download here.

Read George Carlin’s books for comedic brilliance

It’s one of our favorite conversations. It starts as, “Who’s the funniest person ever?”

I always correct the premise to, “Who makes you laugh the hardest?” There could be some guy in a dorm at Montana State University who does this hysterical routine about pizza boxes, and we just don’t know about him.

Some of my friends say Richard Pryor. Some say David Letterman. I have one buddy who swears that Don Rickles cracks him up like none other.

My answer: George Carlin, with Moe of the Three Stooges close behind.

Full article here.

Peace: The Biography of a Symbol

As the boomer generation moves onward through the milestones of life, 1960s nostalgia holds tremendous meaning today. And nothing more eloquently symbolizes the counterculture era than the peace sign. How did this simple sketch become so powerful an image? Peace: The Biography of a Symbol tells the surprising story of the sign in words and pictures, from its origins in the nuclear disarmament efforts of the late 1950s to its adoption by the antiwar movement of the 1960s, through its stint as a mass-marketed commodity and its enduring relevance now.
As the symbol’s popularity blossomed, so did an entire generation, and author Ken Kolsbun’s expertly selected images—from his own collections as well as a variety of historical archives—illustrate both the sign itself and the larger history that it helped to shape. Drawing on exclusive archival interviews with Gerald Holtom, the late creator of the symbol, Peace recounts its birth and goes on to build a historic portrait using both iconic and rarely seen photographs.
Link to book: Peace: The Biography of a Symbol

Birmingham’s ugly library gets protected

A library once condemned by Prince Charles as an incinerator more suitable for the burning of books is in line for listed building status.

Birmingham’s bulky Central Library is in line to receive grade listed status, despite being described as a blot by the local council.

The move, which would make the building difficult to demolish, should be greeted with ‘dismay and disbelief’, the Civic Society said.

The group added that attempts to get the library listed will impede the progress made in changing the city’s image.

Full story here.

Christian Novel Is Surprise Best Seller

The NY Times Looks At “The Shack,” Thousands of readers, regular churchgoers, have helped propel “The Shack,” written by William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk in Gresham, Ore., and privately published by a pair of former pastors near Los Angeles, into a surprise best seller. It is the most compelling recent example of how a word-of-mouth phenomenon can explode into a blockbuster when the momentum hits chain bookstores, and the marketing and distribution power of a major commercial publisher is thrown behind it.

Montanasilver Dunnit

A sharp (but unnamed) librarian at Western Washington University did the job of putting two and two together; a) maps and plates cut out of rare old books and b) someone named ‘montanasilver’ selling same on ebay…

Now James Lyman Brubaker, 74, of Great Falls MT has plead guilty in federal court Monday to charges that he stole (a lot of) rare library books with the intent of re-selling them. A search warrant was obtained and executed at the Brubaker residence based on the WWU investigation. During the search, law enforcement discovered approximately 1,000 books of which 832 were suspected of being stolen from university libraries in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and Alberta Canada.