Showing posts from September, 2011

New York book store owner nabs man who stole from NYP Library! Yippee!

Ok, the title says it all, except the line in the story where the bookstore owner explains how important public libraries are and how he detests those who steal books from them. For more read the article. This guy should be recognized by ALA and NYPL.

thoughts about e-info in the IV treatment room

Some of you know that my son is ill and receiving IV treatments at the hospital through Sunday. He is improving. So, sorry for the few posts this week. I'm struck by the work of our wonderful IV nurse. Everyone gets a new label on their wristband daily, which is scanned. All check in daily information prints out of the computer. Every bag of blood, sodium, and medicine has a barcode and is scanned. People of all ages are getting various types of IV treatments. Children in PJs with IV poles are walking the halls. Meals are scanned, patient records are scanned. Wrists are scanned when people leave the hospital for home. Today we are all like boxes of cereal. Scannable. Our nurse says the paperwork, not 3 rooms of patients, takes up most of her time. It is all computerized. Blood pressure and temperature is computerized. How things have changed. And how this affects all those medical records and reports! I remember when nurses wore white and caps and shook thermometers to get the mer…

archival information comes on all formats, even paper bags

Just read in the Jerusalem Post about an elderly man who died in 1978. Before he died he donated to Yad Vashem a long prayer he wrote from memory for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah Musaf) while in Auschwitz in 1944/45. He gave up his bread ration to get a pencil and some cement sacks made of paper on which he wrote the prayer.  He later chanted it, giving hope to other inmates. What faith that took, no food and faith in that hell. This story also reminds me of all the materials and formats on which information comes into the archives: paper, photographic, electronic, animal skins, stone, beads, metal, wood, canvas, cloth, we have it all. And, too, all the things I write notes on, such as sticky notes, the backs of envelopes, various types of paper, paper bags (I don't call them sacks unless they have potatoes in them), my child's agendas and homework pages, sometimes napkins, kleenex, scrap paper, junk mail. I've also been note to write in ink, crayon, marker, pencil,…

Japan defense company cyber attacked

Is "cyberattacked" a word yet? It ought to be. There are a lot of cyber attacks happening these days. It seems to me that an intensive effort is being made to attack governments, companies, and especially defense companies. Japan's #1 defense company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was attacked on more than 80 of its servers and computers in August 2011. People were apparently tricked into visiting fake websites and logged in, giving up their log in information, this is a spear phishing attack in tech terms. The US believes China is responsible: China denies it is responsible. According to a BBCNEws article of Sept. 20, 2011, the main target of the attacks was a shipyard in Nagasaki which builds destroyers, a Kobe company that builds submarines and nuclear power station parts, a Nagoya plant which makes guidance and propulsion systems for rockets and missiles, and another defense contractor IHI was hit as well, but IHI apparently had sophisticated enough systems that it has…

Interesting MI Labor Day medal

Here is an interesting Labor Day celebration medal from Baraga, MI, recently found in our Display Items. DI is another phrase for stuff that is more like artifacts and miscellaneous than we care to admit. It says around the perimeter, 8 hours to work, 8 hours to play, 8 hours to sleep. The inner scroll over the arm with the hammer translated from the Latin Labor Omnia Vincit or Hard work conquers all!  The medal was created in N.J. Yet, the back is when it gets really interesting. Please note the swastika, statement "Carry this with you always and have good luck," and other good luck symbols, a 4-leaf clover, horseshoe, wishbone, and is that a wizard?  that last one is a new one for me. He rather looks like Santa. I contacted my good friend up north, Erik Nordberg, to see if he had other such medals in his collection, and he says no.  Does anyone else have a similar medal? I figure the swastika had a long run as a good luck emblem at least through the 1920s.Labor Day became …

Interesting digitizing issues

Recently we've had two donors approach us about digitizing endeavors. One wants to loan us a scrapbook to be digitized. The issue is the various formats and materials, copies and originals in the collection. Most are not identified. How much identification do we give these materials so someone can find them in a timely manner? That is one staff meeting. Another staff meeting will be over another donor who wishes to donate 8,000-10,000 digital images. In what format shall we try to save them in so they can be accessed and saved into the future? How will we describe them? Most people do not understand the access issues and the amount of metadata required to distinguish one item from another, the vocabulary decisions necessary, nor the time it takes to do this. I'll let you know what the results are.

Christie's to auction WWII Enigma machine

With all the encoding of finding aids I do today, at least 25% of every day, I read with interest that an Enigma machine from WWII will be auctioned the end of Sept. The article notes its importance in WWII, crediting it and the decoding at Bletchley Park with perhaps shortening the war's length by as much as two years. The Dutch created the machine, which is a predecessor to our modern computers, which the Germans then wisely grabbed for military use. Last Nov. an Enigma machine sold at auction for 67,250 British pounds.  Thousands of Enigma machines may still exist. They are of interest not only to WWII fans and historians but also to anyone studying "early science, mathematics, history and computing instruments." So, if you want an Enigma, you better contact Christie's now. For more on the article click here

International conf calling for papers

new Jackie Kennedy tapes

On Tues evening  I watched the Diane Sawyer interview with Carolyn Kennedy and the broadcasting of archives tapes and films on Jackie. A few months after her husband was killed, she talked about various world leaders, living under scrutiny in the White House, her husband, their relationship, etc. Sometimes she is pretty harsh, towards feminists, women leaders, and a number of national (presidents and their wives) and world leaders. Carolyn talked about how she could have edited the tapes, taped when Jackie was still mourning, but that would have destroyed the veracity of the tapes. Good for her. The interview was long and interesting. Lots of archival footage, movies, and the tapes. She noted that she had no political opinions of her own, only her husband's and that notably strong women were probably lesbians. She said her husband wanted a woman who looked up to him, and she wanted a husband to look up to. It's fascinating. We must remember the context of the time. She later b…

Polish archives website

Meandered onto the Polish Archives website. Pretty nice. Nice examples of historic documents and images 12th century (church related) forward. See the documents and images here  Then click on the link where it talks about 2 central repositories to vist the main site with blog. There are buttons there to select the English language version. I was excited to see Archival Campaigns, but it came to naught. I imagined images of archivists keeping those who don't care about history at bay with historic boxes. There is a link for exhibits, and some for research in local areas of Poland.

Can't type? Become a security risk at work

Cyber thieves are exploiting typos people make while typing email addresses by setting up web domains with commonly mistyped names. In the past 6 months, 20 GB of data has been seized through this manner. The types of data captured was not reported in the article I read, but I assume trade secrets, account #s, etc., are desirable. An estimated 30%  of Fortune 500 corpns may be at risk. Why just 30%? Only 30% do their mail that way? I think not.  The problem begins when corporations use part of their name for both a corporate home and staff email.  Messages that would have bounced without a parallel web domain to go to now are now received by the cyber thieves at their imposter domain. I have to admit that is pretty smart cyber thievery. I wish I could do that with my paper or e-junk mail. Wouldn't that be great? Have it go to a parallel cyber address!  Anyway, this article does not answer all my questions, but it is interesting, especially if one thinks about not just the big comp…

new 9/11 exhibt at NY State Archives

NYSt. Archives has a new online exhibit of images of Ground Zero mostly taken from flights overhead in Sept.-Oct. To view this exhibit click here

Hacked NBC Twitter feed and 9/11

On the Sunday evening news, and this morning in CNN online, there is a report that the Twitter feed of NBC News was hacked by an offshoot group of Anonymous called Script Kiddies. They sent a false message that a hijacked plane had crashed at Ground Zero in NYC. I can understand the desire for "transparency" in confidential information, which Anonymous says it is all about, but  to send such a notice on Fri immediately before the tenth anniversary of 9/11 is just sick and totally irresponsible. This is lying to a mass audience about acts of terror. It could have caused mass panic across the nation and especially in NYC. Apparently they are getting a huge kick out of being able to do something sick. The group is also believed responsible for the false report that Pres. Obama was killed that was hacked into the Fox Twitter account in July. What will they report next?  For more about this, click here…

Whitney circus family 1888 letterhead found

Am very excited to find in the midst of miscellaneous display items, Michigan circus letterhead from 1888 of the Whitney's New Enterprise Circus, Museum, and trained animal Exposition. The content of the letter is unimportant, to the postmaster about a $1 being taken from the mail. It was written by a J. B. Isenhart for the Whitney family.  He is not listed in any of the information I have about the circus, nor is he in the federal census for MI. The envelope and paper are gorgeous and the paper has a full back design Sights-- and Scenes under Canvas for Little and for  ("adults" is implied).  Images include acrobats, lion, tents and crowds, clowns, ticket office, man in a balloon, children, adults, and what is probably a tiger.  Lovely.

The circus was based from 1878 to 1903 in Imlay City, Michigan. Originally, they were from New England. George was a performer by the age of 15 and operated a minstrel show beginning in 1861 with his wife. He and their son C(harle…

Sept. 11 broadcasts archived and available online

on Sept. 11, 2001 a nonprofit library, Internet Archive, collected 20 tv broadcasts from around the world demonstrating international shock and horror as well as compassion concerning the horrific events in the US. These videos are available online in 30-second segments. There is a drastic before/after change in the broadcasts. For historical analysis purposes this information is valuable. I hope someone is converting it to as stable a medium as possible. You can see the videos at the organization's webpage Understanding 9/11. To learn more about the organization and the article about the webpage click at

temporary position open at Clarke, funding for job ends 6/30/2012

For more info see

Gadhafi files now available to the world - every dictator's nightmare!

CNN today has an article and video of Gadhafi's inner sactum showing captured records. Rebels allowed news media to see the ex-dictator's files with which he and his family, notably his bro-in-law, maintained control of the population. Some files were shredded, while others remain intact.  Some paper are orders to "erase" people from a database, while other files provide in-depth information on people, whether they are killers or those to be killed is uncertain. I hope the rebels are smart enough to preserve and maintain the records so their authenticity can be verified for future use in prosecuting the people who once ruled and terrified the nation. Also, I hope that these records can be used to trace some of those who are missing, so at least their families will finally know what happened to them. Beside the human cost, I bet all sorts of interesting arrangements and purchases will eventually be revealed, within the nation and with exterior associates. All the othe…

Australia condemns Wikileaks leak

Wikileak released more than 130,000 confidential US diplomatic cables.  Wikileaks says this makes the info available online but Australia's Attorney General finds that a cable from Jan.2010 named 23 Australians linked to terror groups, possibly compromising Australian national security. I guess the question is will it comprise national security or not, in the long run or short run? Wikileaks apparently described the NY Times as "drooling, senile and evil." I disagree. The NYTimes crosswords on Sun are definitely evil and difficult, but the paper in general is superior to most in the excellence of its coverage, research, and writing.  To read more about this article in the BBC News yesterday, click on