When October Books, a small radical bookshop in Southampton, England, was moving to a new location down the street, it faced a problem. How could it move its entire stock to the new spot, without spending a lot of money or closing down for long?
The shop came up with a clever solution: They put out a call for volunteers to act as a human conveyor belt.
What yet-unwritten stories lie within the pages of Clara Barton’s diaries, writings of Civil Rights pioneer Mary Church Terrell, or letters written to Abraham Lincoln? With today’s launch of crowd.loc.gov, the Library of Congress is harnessing the power of the public to make these collection items more accessible to everyone.
You are invited to join the Library of Congress via crowd.loc.gov to volunteer to transcribe (type) and tag digitized images of text materials from the Library’s collections. People who join us will journey through history first-hand and help the Library while gaining new skills – like learning how to analyze primary sources and read cursive.
Finalized transcripts will be made available on the Library’s website, improving access to handwritten and typed documents that computers cannot accurately translate without human intervention. The enhanced access will occur through better readability and keyword searching of documents and through greater compatibility with accessibility technologies, such as screen readers used by people with low vision.
“The digital divide was about access to technology, and now that everyone has access, the new digital divide is limiting access to technology,” said Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired magazine.
Book thief detective Ken Sanders tells us how he spent three years of his life hunting down a local book thief and organising the sting that led to his arrest. Sanders has been interested in books since his early years and runs a rare books store in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has seen some very unique publications pass through, including works by Everett Ruess, a poet who walked into the wilderness of Utah in 1930 and has never been seen since.
MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press have both announced plans to start selling their ebook collections directly to libraries by creating their own distribution platforms.
The publishers previously did not have a mechanism for selling to institutions directly. Instead, access to ebooks was largely brokered through third-party acquisition services such as EBSCO, ProQuest, OverDrive, Project Muse and JSTOR.
“State agencies generally have a preference for large corporations rather than individuals because there’s always a revolving door between state agencies and corporations that are in the same area,” Oliver speculated, though he said it’s unclear why any preferential treatment to Ancestry might have been given.
This is not the first time Reclaim the Records has sued a state or local government over rejecting a FOIL request, although its legal strategy for compelling states to give over records for genealogy research is new. They’ve successfully used this technique to get genealogy records like the New York City Marriage Index for 1930–1995.
Now available through the Stanford Libraries’ SearchWorks catalog, Spotlight gallery, and the Cantor’s website, this archive – of 3,600 contact sheets and 130,000 images – provides a unique ability to view the world through the lens of Warhol’s 35mm camera, which he took with him everywhere he went during the last decade of his life. The collection, which is the most complete collection of the artist’s black-and-white photography ever made available to the public was acquired by the Cantor from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. in 2014.
Perhaps people living in medieval societies were less preoccupied with the intricacies of other minds, simply because they didn’t have to be. When people’s choices were constrained and their actions could be predicted based on their social roles, there was less reason to be attuned to the mental states of others (or one’s own, for that matter). The emergence of mind-focused literature may reflect the growing relevance of such attunement, as societies increasingly shed the rigid rules and roles that had imposed order on social interactions.
The Library of Congress just cut the ribbon on the National Screening Room, an online trove of cinematic goodies, free for the streaming.
Given that the collection spans more than 100 years of cinema history, from 1890-1999, not all of the featured films are in the public domain, but most are, and those are free to download as well as watch.
Archivist Mike Mashon, who heads the Library’s Moving Image Section, identifies the project’s goal as providing the public with a “broad range of historical and cultural audio-visual materials that will enrich education, scholarship and lifelong learning.”
The effects were most marked when it came to literacy. Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels. Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off. The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.