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Why preserve books? The new physical archive of the Internet Archive

Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitized versions become more available. This is an important time to plan carefully for there is much at stake.

Interesting piece at Teleread about the Internet Archive preserving physical books.

Who Should Digitize (And Who Should Profit From) a Nation's Newspaper Archives?

Google announced last week that it was shutting down its News Archive Project. Akin to the massive Google Books project, this was a plan to digitize the world's newspaper archives and make them searchable online. But if you're worried about the digitization and preservation of British newspapers, fear not. As The Guardian reports today, the British Library is moving forward with its plans to digitize some 40 million newspaper pages from its vast 750 million collection.

Full piece

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How Archivists Helped Video Game Designers Recreate the City's Dark Side for 'L.A. Noire'

How Archivists Helped Video Game Designers Recreate the City's Dark Side for 'L.A. Noire'
Earlier this week, video game enthusiasts and fans of L.A. history cheered the release of Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire, a police procedural game noted for its faithful reproduction of Los Angeles circa 1947. To recreate a city now hidden beneath 64 years of redevelopment projects and transformed by age and expansion, production designers with the game's developer, Team Bondi, consulted several Los Angeles area archives.

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Gaming the Archives

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
May 23, 2011, 5:13 pm
By Jennifer Howard

There’s no shortage of fabulous archival material lurking in college and university collections. The trick is finding it.

Without good metadata—labels that tell researchers and search engines what’s in a photograph, say—those archives are as good as closed to many students and scholars. But many institutions don’t have the resources or manpower to tag their archives thoroughly.

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In Elite Library Archives, a Dispute Over a Trove

In Elite Library Archives, a Dispute Over a Trove
In a move that has turned scholarly heads, Paul Brodeur, a former investigative reporter for The New Yorker, who donated thousands of pages of his work to the library, is demanding that the papers be returned. He claims that an institution renowned for its careful stewardship of historical documents has badly mishandled his.

The charges are roiling the genteel world of research archivists, who usually toil in dust-jacket obscurity, and inciting a lively debate about which pieces of the past are worth preserving.

Vatican Library on 60 Minutes

Probably the closest most of us will ever get to this incredible collection.

Watch it here

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Nixon Library To Take the Spin Out of Watergate

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- History is being restored at the Richard Nixon Library, where the Watergate exhibit once told visitors nearly four decades after the scandal led to his resignation that it was really a "coup" by his rivals.

For years the library exhibit that retraces the former president's notorious saga was a target of ridicule, panned for omissions and editing that academics and critics said shaped a legacy favorable to the tainted 37th president.

On Thursday, archivists will present a revamped and expanded version of the exhibit at the Yorba Linda CA library, a $500,000 makeover they say is faithful to fact, balanced and devoid of political judgment.

"What we tried to do is lay out the record and encourage visitors to come in ... and draw their own conclusions," said Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives.

More from the AP.

Lost Jewish Texts Show Up in New York

As the Nazi's power grew in the early 1930s, a Jewish librarian living in Frankfurt published a catalogue of of 15,000 books he'd collected.

When the war hit, large portions of the collections disappeared, a frighteningly common occurrence with Jewish literature and writing in Germany just before and during World War II. Yet somehow many of these books made their way to America, to the shelves of the Leo Baeck Institute where they were recently re-discovered.

More from the New York Times.

Preserving a Unique Kind of Ephemera...Bumper Stickers

Though she’s seen thousands of bumper stickers, Whitney Baker isn’t all that interested in what they have to say. She’s more interested in keeping them around for a long, long time.

She’s a conservator for the KU Libraries and took a five-month sabbatical to go around the country to look at bumper stickers, and she’s learned a lot about how to preserve them for others.

During her research, she found that the history of bumper stickers points back to Kansas. Many credit Forest Gill, a screen printer from Kansas City, Kan., with developing the idea. He founded Gill Studios Inc., which today operates out of Lenexa. Gill’s son-in-law, Mark Gilman, today is chairman of the board for the company.

He said Gill developed an adhesive paper sticker to replace cardboard signs tied to bumpers that were beginning to gain popularity at the end of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Though many have said the concept can be traced back to Gill, that’s not something the company has definitively established, Gilman said.

Check out the thumbnail gallery and Baker's video about the collection now housed at the Spenser Research Library at Kansas University.

Egyptians Remain Vigilant Guarding Libraries & Museums

From Discovery News: Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

UPDATE: Sun Jan 30, 14:40pm EST: In a faxed statement, Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that a total of 13 cases were smashed at the Egyptian museum, adding that other sites are at risk at the moment.

Scientific Data Stewardship

Lessons Learned from a Satellite-Data Rescue Effort

Article in the September 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

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The Live-In Librarian

When Dave Sheppard helped out in the Warren (IL) High School library as a teenager, he didn’t know he would one day live in a library. However, on Saturday, Sheppard will be introduced to the community as the new librarian at Oneida’s (IL) Greig Memorial Library, and the first male in a lengthening list of live-in librarians.

Local taxes and other funding add up to a small library budget, so the library board’s solution continues to be an offer of living quarters plus a small salary.

Sheppard, who also works full time at Walmart, and his wife, Lois, will move into the library sometime after the holidays. A Gerlaw native, Sheppard and his wife have lived all over the Midwest, but currently live in his parents’ former home, a 130-year-old house in Gerlaw. They previously owned a paperback exchange bookstore in Monmouth which was behind the Warren County Public Library.

As he provided a tour of the six rooms on the upper level of Greig Memorial Library on Wednesday, Sheppard seemed comfortable with the concept of living in a library, an option that had not occurred to him before his response to the ad for his new position.

Dream Job for 91 year old Librarian

Herb Jorgensen stands alongside a shiny, red 1931 Packard -- a stereotypical gangster car built when he was 12 years old.

Gazing across the car collection, the 91-year-old archivist for the Blackhawk Museum knows he's enjoying a car buff's dream job.

The Blackhawk Museum, the brainchild of Blackhawk developer and car collector Kenneth Behring, opened its doors in 1988. Now affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, the museum boasts two spacious buildings and about 100,000 square feet of upscale exhibition space that plays host to a rotating display of nearly 100 automobiles.

For the past 22 years, Jorgensen has overseen the building of the museum's modest-size research library, a collection that currently stands at approximately 100,000 publications. Many are in excellent condition, while others, including a 1904 Auto Car magazine, have covers that are a bit dog-eared and showing their age. All of them, however, provide a glimpse into the history of a machine that has changed the world.

"It probably is as good a library on old cars that you'll find anywhere," Jorgensen said. Story from Contra Costa Times.

Schomburg Center in Harlem Acquires Maya Angelou Archive

Schomburg Center in Harlem Acquires Maya Angelou Archive
a total of 343 boxes containing her personal papers and documents — have been acquired by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The trove has notes for Ms. Angelou’s autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”; a 1982 telegram from Coretta Scott King asking her to join a celebration at the King Center; fan mail; and personal and professional correspondence with Gordon Parks, Chester Himes, Abbey Lincoln and her longtime editor, Robert Loomis.

The acquisition is to be officially announced on Friday by New York Public Library officials at a news conference with Ms. Angelou, said Howard Dodson, the executive director of the Schomburg.

Audit shows records at National Archives at risk

An audit prompted in part by the loss of the Wright Brothers' original patent and maps for atomic bomb missions in Japan finds some of the nation's prized historical documents are in danger of being lost for good.

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. government agencies are at risk of illegally destroying public records and the National Archives is backlogged with hefty volumes of records needing preservation care, the audit by the Government Accountability Office found.

Full article

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For Baseball Archivists, a Tag Ends Every Play

There are more than 500 possible tags to choose from, and among those chosen at that moment were “ground out,” “from knees,” “last out,” “premier plays,” “milestone call” and “hugging.”

Strangely, one tag not offered was “no-hitter.” Maybe soon.

This is how baseball’s archives are created now — not by merely storing videotapes on a shelf, as it has been done for decades, but by a team of “loggers” whose job is to watch every game as it happens (2,430 during the regular season, and up to 41 in the postseason) and add computerized notes on every play, no matter how ordinary.

“Your archive is only as good as what you know is in it,” said Elizabeth Scott, M.L.B. Productions’ vice president for programming and business affairs.

Full article in the NYT

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What Is To Become of Kafka's Manuscripts? Kafka's Last Trial

A tale of eccentric heirs, Zionist claims, a cat-infested apartment and a court fight the author would have understood all too well. Lengthy (ten page) history and explanation of all the players in the disposition of the works of Franz Kafka; article by Elif Batuman in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Original Nuremberg Laws To Be Transfered to National Archives

From The Washington Post: The National Archives said Tuesday that a California library is transferring to the Archives the two original sets of the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the Nazis' spare, anti-Semitic manifesto endorsed by Adolf Hitler that helped lead to the extermination of 6 million Jews during World War II.

The laws are being transferred by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, where they have been held since they were placed there by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. in 1945.

Gen. Patton presents the infamous laws to Huntington chairman Robert A. Millikan in 1945.

Each set of the 1935 laws is typed on four pieces of paper, said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. One set is believed to have been signed by Hitler.

One section, the so-called "laws for the protection of German blood and German honor," forbade such things as marriages between Jews and Germans, and extramarital relations between Jews and "subjects of the state of Germany."

A Look Back: Watergate Exhibit Becomes a Point of Contention at Nixon Library

Now that the Nixon Library is controlled by the National Archives, some library supporters have firmly objected to how the incident that caused Nixon to leave the presidency is presented there.

The National Archives put together searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1. But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted. The Foundation does not have veto power and by law serves only in an advisory role. The final ruling will be made by officials of the National Archives within the next few weeks.

The foundation’s objection has left the exhibition in shadows, both figuratively and literally. The sign says “Please excuse our dust: We are currently building a new Watergate gallery.” New York Times reports.

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