Friday, November 21, 2014

Russian wikipedia

Russia (meaning Putin) plans to have its own version of Wikipedia. I smiled when I read this. Russia apparently believes that info about Russia needs to be fair and accurate and that it can do it better job of this than anyone else. Hmmm.  When I was at UM Library School the reference profs told us how the books from the USSR constantly had changed as people were "removed" from history. So the UM staff pasted the new pages over the old pages so you could see how reporting [d]evolved with time and regimes. Eventually, the Soviets sent people to rip entire sections out of the UM's  books on the USSR in order to remove the past history that they no longer approved of. What a sad history. Read more about it here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Steichen's photographs of the 1920s-1930s on exhibit

Archivist brings boxes of notable photographer Edward Steichen's prints made for major fashion magazines from the Conde Nast  archives in NY. [CN is a premier media company that creates some of the world's major magazines, mostly fashion.] The article says the photographs haven't seen the light of day in decades since they were created in the 1920s-1930s. I think not, but the title draws you to read the article. I think the archivist looked at them, and probably sleeved them, identified them, and inventoried them, too. The archivist clearly knew where they were located and was able to retrieve them for the journalist. I doubt the archivist appreciates the title of the article. The archivist is not named. I feel for the archivist, don't you?

A lot of the images involve big name female stars of the period wearing designer clothes because this pre-dates major models and the magazines knew they needed someone who looked good and comfortable on/with the camera. There are also some major male writers and politicos featured as well as some of Steichen's more artistic images. Some of the photos are currently exhibited at London's Photographer's Gallery until Jan. 18th. No word as to what will happen with the photographs after the exhibit. Will they be sold, pitched, returned to their archives and recognized for their worth, or what?

Here's a link to the Gallery's exhibit

Read more of the article here

If you want to know more about the fashion magazine industry leader noted above click here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Anonymous and the KKK

Anonymous. They really mean action, don't they? They attack full force out of nowhere. They are a force to be reckoned with. I admire their guts.

After the KKK blogged that it would hurt people who protested in  Ferguson, Missouri, and we all know what happened there, a white police officer shot an unarmed black youth, and the racial unrest that continues, which leads you to believe it has been happening for decades, Anonymous took over the KKK's online presence, exposing members via their FB accounts with addresses, phone numbers, work places, the names and ages of their kids, and even photographs of KKK family members.

Anonymous says it is not acting against free speech, but instead against the physical threats the KKK promised to protesters as a hate group. The KKK members have now been completely publicly exposed for the first time ever. I wonder if anyone will attack the KKK members now that they have been forced out of their sheets. Maybe they will be afraid for the first time in their lives. It is interesting that Anonymous did this, and that they went so far as to even include the KKK children. They are children, but they are children who are being brought up to hate and propagate hate. If I were their parents I would be afraid for them and for myself.

As an archivist at an archives which holds several sets of KKK membership cards from the 1920s, clearly identifying people, their spouses, occupations, and general addresses, this current exposure is new and different. The few membership cards of the past, found in various states, have usually been found decades after most members are dead. They are usually found by accident after an KKK ex-officer dies having forgotten to dispose of the records. Now, Anonymous has exposed current, active KKK members, some of them with young children. Very few KKK members have been arrested while active over the years, and not all of this personal, identifying, familial information was widely dispersed to the public. This is a historic event of revelation and must be infuriating and probably terrifying to at least some KKK members.

What are the implications of this Anonymous action? Will the KKK be arrested by the feds for threatening to hurt people for trying to invoke freedom of expression, or for hate crimes or for impeding civil rights? Will the KKK retract their threats? Will they in turn be threatened or attacked? Will they ask for protection? If they are attacked, will Anonymous be blamed? It must tick the KKK off to be exposed and not have a direct, known target to go after and intimidate or beat up. If the KKK tries other online means I hope that Anonymous re-exposes them. Will Anonymous take over other hate groups' accounts? Too bad they can't hit ISIS. Maybe they are trying, who knows? This is a very interesting development in online media control of hate groups. I'll bet the NSA, the feds, and local law enforcement are trying to figure out who is doing what and how to react to it. Oh wait...they've apparently been trying to do that for some time now. Local and state MO officials do not seem to have a clue. I'm thinking that they might benefit from classes on public servant hood, humanity, and basic communication skills.  Who or what will Anonymous hit next and why? Read more about it at

Researching what your ancestors did in WWI

Hail to Europe which is making a really big deal out of remembering WWI and making available and known  to  the public many archival sources documenting people of that era. This is an interesting online step-by-step set of instructions about how to conduct your own family research for WWI veterans if you are from the UK. It is very similar to how you conduct American research, same types of records, sources, and research plans. Many American  enlistment or draft forms  are now available as well as other vital records (birth, marriage, death record) on Searching is not as easy as it is portrayed to be in tv commercials, but it is way easier than it was when you had to use microfilm on the old hand crank microfilm readers which didn't print or copy or download. Read more about it here

how old does a Microsoft tech have to be?

A boy who is five passed the Microsoft tech exam. This amazes me. Clearly, this little boy is not spending time with Disney. He uses words to describe questions on the test that I don't use myself. His dad coached him about the types of questions that would be on the test, but the boy passed it by himself. He is the youngest ever to take and pass the test. Makes the rest of us feel old. I hope he is more well-rounded than he sounds. To understand a motherboard at age 5...hmmm. I bet the child psychologists are having a field day with this case.  Maybe he is computer's equivalent of a Peter Hawking or physics' Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  Read more about it here

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WWI Ulster photographer

Photographs of a WWI Ulster unit, taken illegally by a unit member (George Hackney) who survived the war, donated to an archives, have been found by the news and are showing an interesting view from a soldier's perspective. Individual cameras were outlawed, but he managed to keep one throughout the war and clearly some of his mates knew it. They fought in the Battle of the Somme. He was actually able to photograph some moments of the attack and Germans surrendering. See more here

Monday, November 17, 2014

US planes collecting thousands of data location info from phone

I'm sure you heard or read about this over the weekend on the news. If you didn't, please read this.  A plane flying over a large population centers, cities and airports, can pick up location info on millions of cell phones. This is great to catch criminals and terrorists, but the data is also collected for millions of innocent people on the ground. Civil libertarians have a big issue with this. I do as well, but I would give up my issues if the terrorists were caught. It is currently allowed due to existing laws against criminals and terrorists.  If this can be done over a population center in the US it can be done over foreign population centers as well.  Maybe the NSA is already doing it elsewhere, who knows? I think the fact that this was reported means it has happened for some time and it was kept quiet until now, probably because someone or some organization threatened to reveal it. Read more about it here