Showing posts from March, 2011

Off To ER workshop

I'm off for the rest of the week to Providence, RI, for a SAA electronics records workshop. More on this next week.

Which page am I on? Kindle gives up and adds page numbers

Awhile ago I wrote about how the lack of page numbers with certain e-sources were causing academics citation nightmares. People were actually discussing amending how sources are cited.  A CNN article of March 17 notes that Kindle has decided to add a page number feature. Apparently too many people complained about a lack of page numbers. Now, if you want the page number, you can access it at will. All of us can breathe calmly once more. The reality is that even though people like e-sources, they still need old-fashioned page numbers. For the article check CNN.  Please note (no page # necessary):   I will be gone through Sat for an Electronic Records Management workshop so no new posts until next week.

Einstein's archives to be digitized

Hebrew University of Jerusalem is beginning about a 1-year project to digitize over 80,000 of Albert Einstein's papers with a $500,000 grant. The papers document his scientific work, ideas on public and political issues, and his private life.Einstein was one of the founders of the Univ. in 1918. How wonderful that his work will be accessible by the public! I recently saw a tv special on Marie Curie and her scientific papers and personal materials are so radioactive that they cannot be accessed for use by anyone. Even her cookbook is radioactive because she brought samples of her work home with her in test tubes and the radioactivity affected everything in her home she used regularly. What a pity! To see more on this article about Einstein's papers being digitized in the Jerusalem Post click here

SAA protests Hungarian surveillance files de-accessioning

The Society of American Archivists (SAA), the national archival organization's leadership, on behalf of the membership, has protested the Hungarian Ministry of Public Information and Justice's recent decision to de-accession records of the secret police and Ministry of the Interior. The police and Ministry of the Interior staff victimized many people with illegal surveillance over the years. Hungary's plan is to return the documents to the victims who will probably quickly destroy them. SAA believes that while the acts of the secret police against the people were a violation of their basic rights, and supported a brutal regime, that the likely destruction of the records will effectively conceal the crimes of the police and regime, and thus prevent research into the crimes and possible prosecution of the police and government. How interesting. If the files are destroyed, nobody can prove that such crimes ever happened. This example illustrates brilliantly the importance of …

US Military blocks websites

According to a CNN article of March 16 the US military temporarily "blocked access to a range of popular commercial websites in order to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery effort."  So for all of you out there who think the Internet is free and nobody can control it, remember the US Dept. of Defense is one  of the founders and major share  holders of the internet, and can control access to it. 13 major sites were blocked including YouTube, Google, Amazon and Ebay as well as Pandora and Myspace, among others. What would we do if all sites were blocked? To read the article click here

Japanese archives

I am so traumatized looking at the terrible events happening in Japan. My prayers are with the Japanese people and all those trying to help them. Such a tragedy on so many levels! I wonder how many archives have been lost or severely damaged. I am hoping through a friend with a Twitter connection to a friend in Japan who survived the quake and tsunami to find out and let you all know. If anyone else knows anything about Japanese archives, please let me know.

Washington state's "the other national archives"

Just read an interesting article in Archival Outlook, in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue, titled Born Digital, about Washington State's Digital Archives. The state received funding for a new building in Dec. 2002,and  software, and technology equipment, and have since created what is called  "the other national archives", a digital repository of electronic records of long-term legal, historical and/or fiscal value, and fragile, valuable paper records. After a 1-year pilot program they expanded to include all 39 WA counties. Since 2008 they have become a central repository for the following states, OR, ID, MT, AL, NV, CO, LA, IN, and NC. They currently have nearly 100 million records online and had more than 275,000 record retrievals (online) in Nov. 2010. Amazing statistics! The article does not say what their annual budget is, how many scanners they have, how many staff they have, or what degrees and experience they have. I would like to know. Wouldn't we all? Also, most of …

Jefferson's biblical scrapbook to be conserved

Thomas Jefferson apparently constructed his own Bible scrapbook with bits and pieces he selected from English, French, Latin and Greek language Bibles. It is now difficult to open due to the binding. The scrapbook will be conserved so it can be opened by its current owner, the National Museum of American History, and it will be scanned. I bet historians will love to review what he included and chose to disregard. TJ also rewrote parts of the Bible when he did not like how the language flowed. To see the book and read the article from March 11 on click here:

Secret NJ information mishandled

According to a NYTimes article by Richard Perez-Pena of March 9th, the State of New Jersey failed to completely erase information of a sensitive nature from computer drives it gave to an equipment dispersal facility (warehouse) last year. 32 drives contained personal information, 6 of the drives had Social Security numbers, one had confidential memos written by a judge. Personal information about children, including investigations of abuse, was not erased.  The problem was caught by the NJ Comptroller's Office which  investigated whether warehouse staff followed the rules to disperse the computer equipment properly as far back as 2007. They did not. This has probably happened before in NJ and likely in other states. How scary is that?  I wonder if the people who should have erased the information or the warehouse people be prosecuted? The state is working on new processes to handle these information issues. The article can be read at

What archivists do behind the scenes, and the students who help them

In the last few weeks one of the Clarke student employees, Kyle, has been a tremendous help to me and other staff behind the scenes. He and I spent a few days coordinating and putting away art and archival collections that had been used in recent exhibits. Kyle has organized empty boxes, boxes of supplies, and with another student, Hannah, he moved heavy boxes of rolled maps off a map cabinet top which they were bending to another location. Over the years, these things expand and end up in various locations. Now we have better use of the space. Shelf reading of miscellaneous vertical files, photos, postcards, oversized periodicals, newspapers, and manuscripts is a huge job Kyle is undertaking. It is because these jobs are effectively completed on a regular basis that the reference staff can find and locate materials when patrons request them. Behind the scenes work is important so the Clarke can function in a timely and effective manner. Thanks Kyle and Hannah! I should also mention t…

print books versus e-books or "gadgets"

I saw an interesting article about World Book Day in The Telegraph from the UK dated March 3, 2011 stating that about 6 in 10 teens read e-books compared to reading paper books. They are reading electronically on a wide variety of  "gadgets", what a perfect British word for e-options!  Books remain a favorite of adults and teens at this point. UK adults said their favorite book to read as teens was the Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, which I've never even heard of much less read. Perhaps I'm in another age range. So I wonder in 10 years if we will be celebrating e-book day or if it will still be book day but everyone will be reading e-books? What will the future bring? I love to feel a book in my hand and turn the pages. For articles, I love the ease of e-article retrieval, but I find to really learn the material I need to print off a paper copy and underline and take notes.  That is how I learn, by writing on paper. It still works for me. We all learn differently, but …

archival projects in MI

In recent days I have heard that there are a number of community archival projects underway, one in Marshall and one in Marquette. Marshall's will involve the processing and cataloging of historical paper-based and of several institutions in the community and the creation of manuals and processes for future volunteers to continue in the path of the archivist hired for the project.

400th anniversary of King James Bible

Here's a HuffPo article on the KJB I found interesting with a listing of excellent quotes, that all will recognize, which are part of our vernacular language. Happy bd KJB! What an effect you've had on the world of books, religion, and culture. How sad we haven't a humungous KJB at the Clarke. To read the article click here

social media's effect on peer-reviewed journals

The Chronicle of Higher Ed of Feb. 20, 2011 had an article entitled Social Media Lure Academics Frustrated by Journals by Jennifer Howard which notes that increasingly social scientists and humanists are using popular social media as research tools rather than the standard academic databases with peer-reviewed articles. They (or some of them) are even advocating for an end to peer-reviewed journals (prj)! If you are a dean or provost, please sit down and catch your breath now. Breathe, breathe...  It is and always has been easier to publish online rather than in a prj because anyone can post anything to the Internet no matter what kind of rubbish it is. Publishers are worried. Well, this is nothing new. Prj articles are necessary if you are trying to earn tenure and maintain an academic teaching position. Until that requirement ends, prjs will continue to exist in some format. The article ends admonishing librarians to get involved with the process. As long as students and profs use p…