Showing posts from February, 2011

A library as an example of greatness

In a recent CNN post, A New Arab World is Coming... by 2 female authors noted that the new Arab world is coming whether the US is involved or not. With a mostly under 30 and educated population, the revolutions, if they succeed, will likely change many Arab nations in many ways. One of the few places in which an individual's hard work was notably rewarded and in which nepotism and bribes seemed to play a small role was the new Library of Alexandria. Staff there worked 60 hours/week and the library became and is a recognized showcase of changing exhibits, presentations, art, culture, music, etc. Men and women there are working together for a better future and a better now. Imagine if this happens throughout the Arab world. A library provides the example of what they can achieve. Hopefully they will allow inter-library loans from their vast collections! To read this thought provoking article click here����…

New collections coming in all the time

The end of last week we received 2 new manuscript collections. The first was 1 cubic ft. about the founding of CMU's Biological Station on Beaver Island. Matthew Hohn was the first coordinator and remained coordinator until he retired from CMU. Some of his topical files are included. The materials were saved from the dumpster. We already have a collection of Hohn's slides. The second collection is approximately 45 cubic ft. and documents the history of St. Charles, MI, from steamers to its coal industry and other topics in videos, oral history interviews and transcriptions, images, writing, and maps. This collection is precisely documented and mostly in binders. It was quite an effort to unload it from the van and move it into the shelves. The boxes were just big enough to not fit on the cart shelves or the stack shelves.  Thanks Romey and Frank!

Interesting letterhead in Jonathan Boyce lumber collection

Jonathan Boyce's company generated and received a wide variety of personal and business correspondence, mostly financial in nature. Companies in the late 19th century often have gorgeous and interesting letterhead. Three examples from 1896 are attached for your viewing pleasure.

lost lingo survives in the archives

One of my new student volunteers, Romey Rodriguez has begun processing a box of the Jonathan Boyce lumber records. In 1895 correspondence there were repeated requests for "bill stuff."  We searched for a definition and on his own initiative Romey checked Googlebooks and found reference to it in a court case involving a lumber company. "Bill stuff" is lumber, probably cheaper grade, paid for by cash. Why pay in cash instead of by check like they paid for the rest of the load? What were they doing? Something under the table? Another phrase we've run across in the collection is a set of initials F.O.B. which stands for free on board, meaning that the seller pays for the transportation of the goods and loading costs.... This term, F.O.B,. I've seen before in other turn of the century (19/20th) business records. This term is in usage in some businesses today. Some terms we run across are no longer in common usage; they were once part of the American vocabulary a…

Archives 101 class may happen as early as Jan. 2012

I heard yesterday that my syllabus for an introduction to archives, archives theory and hands on experience with archives has passed through several committees. If all continues it will be offered beginning in Jan. 2012 at CMU! Yours truly will be teaching. I'm thinking of inviting some of my archives pals to come and talk about different archival concerns or topics or their own shops. it will be a 500 level course offered through the History Dept. The introduction to the Museum Studies program, taught in fall, will be a requisite for the class. I can't wait! It is hoped that students who take this and the Museum intro class will have practical, hands on experience that will help them get a job when they graduate. The class will be taught in the Clarke to expose students to the archives facility and the collections therein.

Great Britain trying to close public libraries and related Hitler UTube video

I saw this article about the British government trying to close approximately 400 libraries in Great Britain due to  budget deficits. A massive Save Our Libraries campaign is occurring to fight this. Part of the fight is a video depicting Hitler closing British libraries. Warning-this ad has some adult language. It makes some very good points-close the libraries, limit access to information, then the public reads only what you want them to read and they no longer think for themselves. There are numerous other videos online, related to fighting for children's library services, etc. For information on the closing of libraries due to budget deficits click here  To see the Hitler UTube ad click here

e-books citation problems and its impact on our lives

In Library 197 classes we tell students how to find citation protocols on the library's website and how and why it is necessary to use them. Good by plagiarism. The Chronicle of Higher Education had an article on Feb. 9, 2011 by Tushar Rae about the problems of citing with e-books. Kindle has no page numbers. Sony Reader "flows text" so there are no page numbers. Other e-book sources have similar problems Academics are taking this hard. How do you cite something properly without a page number? MLA suggests "using section and paragraph numbers, if available." I'd cite the page number on this, but my computer lists it only as p. 1 of 4. Some suggest doing away with page number citation and using "l" for location. Don't they know that according to the new cataloging standard RDA you aren't supposed to use abbreviations? Quick, someone at LC tell them this!  One person thinks digital books will be used predominately in the future and within fi…

The New Library of Alexandria

In the last few years, Egypt has built a new Library of Alexandria, in memory of the once greatest library in the ancient world. The ancient library was destroyed by Christians because it had pagan materials in it and stood on the grounds of a pagan temple. What an example of tolerance! The new library was protected by youth and staff during the revolt in Egypt. They are my heroes. For a report on its status now made to the Carnegie Organization click here, Besides its fascinating architecture, its exterior resembles a sundial, and gorgeous physical setting, the library is a stronghold for arts and thought, for banned books, and has the largest digitized collection in the world of Arabic writing. It also has multiple rotating art exhibits and galleries. It is a bulwark against backwards and extreme thought. For more about the library and to see gorgeous images of it a…

Elephant leaving for UP and who knows where else?

"Tiny" the elephant Rebecca Zeiss created for my exhibit on circus/carnival history in Michigan, is soon leaving for Boniface Art Center in Escanaba, where it will be featured in the Skerbeck exhibit, opening in April 2011.  "Tiny" is nearly 9 feet tall. I hope he arrives in 1 piece. Everyone is teasing me about him lying against a wall in the hall waiting for UPS. I'm glad part of the exhibit from here will go there. I also offered some of my Skerbeck posters and advice. I am so excited about the exhibit! The Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson is considering a future exhibit on the Lewis Bros. Circus. There is also discussion about a circus exhibit occurring at the Castle Museum, Saginaw. After my exhibit, Saginaw Valley State University Library had an exhibit on the Flying Melzoras. It was great! Again, I look forward to these exhibits. My idea to stage a circus/carnival exhibit has excited people and spread. I wonder if Ella will want Tiny? Maybe he'll develop…

Have you heard about the National Archives Digital Archives?

A Washington Post article by Lisa Rein of Feb. 4, 2011 reported that the Digitial Archives project for the National Archives was identified last summer by the Government Accountability Office as "the government's most troubled infomration-techonology investments." Project costs are now increased to $1.4 billion and may go 41 percent over the original budget. Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded $317 million to create the archives of electronic records 6 years ago.  The archives was planned to house and make publically accessible billions of permanently historically valuable electronic records (e-mails, e-files, databases, and audiovisual files) required by law to be preserved. However, the archives now will only allow searching by subject lines, not a fully searchable database. All of us archivists and reference librarians know how popular that will be with the public's desire and unrealistic expectations to have everything searchable online. With the plethora of issues…

Revolutions/wars and their effect on national archives and museums

I am watching the revolution occuring in Egypt on the news and online. The people who surrounded the Egyptian Museum in Cairo risked their lives to protect the mummies and ancient artifacts stored and displayed there. They are national heros in my mind. Although some damage occurred, guards have since been posted. So often in revolutions and wars, information in the national archives and museum/s is destroyed, stolen, or damaged. The lost of national archives in Poland, much European documentation of Jewish lives and organizations, and Jewish owned art and other properties during WWII are other prime examples of  how nationally historic information and materials "disappeared" in wars. We hate to think of King Tut's funerary objects and mask being carried off, but the lost of the documentation of any national archives or museum collections is terrible. I hope for as peaceful a resolution as can happen in Egypt, without futher damage to the people or the collections.