Thursday, December 18, 2014

the hack of Sony and the fallout

Sony got hacked by North Korea, not just the stupid "Interview" movie, but lots of confidential emails, and apparently a future plan of Snapchat, and who knows what else? Now the movie is not being shown because of threats of another 9-11 event in theatres that show the movie. Sony is reeling, everyone associated with it is affected to some extent, as are movie theatres and viewers that see or show Sony movies.  It is clear that it was a sophisticated tech group from NK that hacked into Sony. They had to have Chinese support. It is amazing that such a country as NK could do this and the effective pernicious extent of the hacking. Now that the investigators are sure who was responsible, what is the next step? Will the US push sanctions against China and/or NK? Maybe limit all American movie access to them? I'm sure Sony is thinking, "what we need is a super techy who can send something their way. " Perhaps it is on the way already. If NK (really China) can do this to a major American corporation, you know they could do it for others, they just used  "Interview" as an excuse. Which company or corporation will be next? Read more about it here

Christmas 1945

Happy holidays. The Clarke archives has 25 collections with some mention or documentation of Christmases past. Remembering our troops, here’s one from a WWII soldier.

Pvt. Harley Whelpley served as a private in Company C, 167th Engineers Construction Battalion in France and Belgium in 1944. He may have been from Mich. No further information is available on him.

The collection (1 folder) includes V-mail correspondence from a soldier in France and Belgium during World War II, Nov. 30, 1944-Feb. 18, 1945, to friends, Mr. and Mrs. (Pearl) John Riegle of Gobles (Mich.). Whelpley wrote about receiving correspondence, Christmas packages, and Valentines cards; sleeping with other soldiers in small rooms and in a cubbard he turned sidewise; and trying to find a church to attend for service. The letters include one original (Nov. 30, 1944). The rest of the correspondence are photostatic copies.

Vmail and envelopes

Dec. 7, 1944
Dear Pearl & John,
Received  two letter from you this week  Was sure glad to get them. We are beginning to receive some of our Xmas packages. They don’t last long but they certainly do taste good. …Mud is our big problem & it makes plenty of work! but every foot is closer to the good old USA so we don’t mind it.  We are eating well & sleep pretty good. … Yours truly, Harley

Dec. 11, 1944
Dear Pearl & John,
Received your swell Christmas package tonight. It was the only one in our squad & we sure had a lot of fun opening it. I needed all the things except the cigs and I suppose they were the hardest to get. The fudge was the best we ever had. At first I read the labels on the cans & everybody thought it was some kind of vitamin product. We all enjoyed the food and thank you very much.
We’re in a different place every couple of days. Right now we have two nice rooms. It’s a[sic] triple crowded always is so don’t mind that. Well must sign off.  Thanks again for the swell package,
Yours truly, Harley

Nov. 30, 1944  from Harley letter showing cut from censors

Navaho nation forced to buy sacred items

Members of the Navaho nation went to Paris to buy at auction sacred items that the Paris Drouot auction house refused not to sell. The auction house refused to postpone to allow time to verify if the objects had been stolen. Although opposed to buying the items, the tribe bought them as a last resort. Also auctioned were items the Hopis did not want auctioned. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clifford the Big Red dog creator dies

In honor of the Clarke's children's lit collection I note that Norman Bridwell, the creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog series, has died. What a wonderful series! We have some of the originals in my home, you know the kind where the only colors were black, red and white from the late 1960s. The Clarke has a Clifford and the circus book (I bet I donated that) and a kit. There is another Clifford book upstairs in the Park's children's lit collection. Read more about him at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tutankhamun exhibit restored

With funds from the EU, Egypt has restored a substantial part of its museum, including that showing the Tutankhamun tomb exhibit. It is hoped that the 7-year restoration will help restore Egypt's tourism business which the country desperately needs. See cool images and read more about it here

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why UT doesn't want to report what it paid for Marquez's archives

Earlier this month there was an announcement that a major writer's papers  from Columbia were coming to an American archives. I felt very ignorant because I had never heard of the man, Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  much less read his literature. He won a Nobel Prize for heaven's sake.  Now there is a bigger article about his archives in the news because the university refuses to report what it paid for the archives, fearing the disclosure may cause the price of archives to increase and make them unattainable for many archives.  I'd be surprised if the archives/library didn't use their Friends of the Library/Archives to gather funds to purchase the archives. It will be interesting to see if they will be forced to disclose or not. Marquez's archives is large, encompassing 50 years of materials with  manuscripts of 10 of his major books. It will be housed at the University of Texas's Harry Ransom Center, which also has the archives of "renowned Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. In 2005, the Ransom Center bought the papers by reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the Watergate scandal for $5m (£3.2m)."  Interesting. So do we think Marquez's archives sold for more than $5 m? 
At the Clarke most of our archives are donated for free. This is true at most archives, at least in the US.  Those collections with high appraisal value, like the Hemingway collections  at the Clarke, are purchased through special donations through our Friends of Library. Most of our other collections are not appraised by appraisers but by archival theory as to their permanent historical research value.  UT is right, it probably will drive up the cost of major collections, but most libraries can't afford to buy major collections with high appraisal value unless major donors offer to do so. Read more about Marquez's archives and UT  here

Friday, December 12, 2014

internet access and equality report

Report finds (access to) the Internet is available in have countries and not in have nots, making it less free and more unequal. This is very similar to a statement we archivists have about have and have not institutions and their access to supplies, info, training, and the web. Here's a cool map showing tha Africa, parts of Asia and the pacific islands are have nots. Of course, there is access and then controlled access to consider. Read more about it here