Showing posts from December, 2011

Christmas approaches

As Christmas approaches and CMU goes on break, the students and I have concluded a huge amount of processing, filing, labeling, inventorying, and organizing this term. Two very large collections, the Challancin Circus Collection and the Jonathan Boyce Collection, are processed, just need some labels and one needs a catalog record. We have cleaned the room and it is finally beginning to smell good. It smelled like mildew and mold a lot this term. All my student helpers and interns have done a marvelous job. I am lucky to have them. Also, as term ends and I wrote letters of recommendation for students to get into other colleges and pursue master's degrees, I saw one of my old student processors who has just earned her MA and found a beginning job at MSU. Congrats Jeni Russell! I am so proud of my students and their accomplishments. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and that the New Year is better than the old. No more posts until school begins in January.

Yale returns Incan remains and other artifacts to Peru

Yale has joined the long list of universities and museums returning artifacts and human remains taken 100 years ago or more from their home turf. Peruvians, who have long waged a battle for the returns, are very happy. Read more about it here

Pirate flag or where did the term "Jolly Roger" come from?

A rare red pirate flag is being exhibited in England. Jolly Roger is a bad  translation of the French term for the color of the flag. To see the flag and enhance your knowledge of pirate flags click here. It is never to late to learn!

new way to reassemble shredded documents, worry in war and for archivists

Archivists shred certain documents with personal information on it after set time periods based on records schedules. For example, signatures, social security and student ID numbers, grades, etc.  Now a CA company has software that can easily and quickly reassemble pages that have been shredded. What does this mean for the future of shredding? Will we now have to incinerate? I remember seeing shredded government documents that Iranians had reassembled by hand painstakingly over years. This may mean we shall have to "withdraw" certain information using other means. Check out this neat BBCNews article from 12/7/2011.

Manuscripts and artifacts of failed polar expedition 1910-1913

Capt. Scott's 1910-1913 journey to the South Pole failed, but artifacts and manuscripts of his team's efforts are on display in Britain at Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute Museum and tell of the fascinating and horrible tale of death and near discovery. They were beaten in their efforts by a Norwegian team. Scott's last journal detailing his imminent death and the death of other team members, as well as other items are on loan from the British Library which rarely loans them out. Interesting article and video. Click here to read/see more

Scottish laser scanners to digitally map Quing tombs

Historic Scotland and Glasgow School of Art will digitally map the Eastern Qing Tombs. a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the resting place of China's last ruling dynasty, its emperors and more than 100 of their concubines. As the tombs fade, their information, art and cultural heritage will be digitally preserved. This in BBCNews Dec. 6th. I can see this application for so many aspects of art, culture, archaeological finds, natural environments that are threatened or endangered. Fascinating. Then hopefully it will be made available so that people all over the world who can't travel to the Tombs can view these wonders and appreciate the cultural significance of them not just for China but for world culture. For more information and video click here

Cool rich Frenchman's turn-of-the-century house opened as museum

Here's something for the museum types among us. This is so cool. Rich and single Louis Mantin of Moulins, France, wanted to be remembered so he stipulated that after his death in 1905 his mansion would be closed for 100 years then reopened as a museum. Everything is original. plumbing, art, nicknacks, private art collection with Egyptian artifacts. Check it out at

Pres. Obama pushes digitizing of federal government records

A week ago Mon., Pres. Obama encouraged increased and better use of digital records to increase efficiency and ultimately save money in federal government offices. There is a question of where the funding will come from to digitize the records. For more on this major development in modern government record keeping click here.

FB ineffective in linking libraries to students

Interesting professional librarian article that has determined that, guess what? At least in IL, most students don't link to a university library through FaceBook. It proved ineffective in connecting to them. They may like it, but most comments were actually made by staff. I'm not surprised. As soon as technology inundated libraries, everyone at CMU was asked to use as much of it as possible, especially in classes and websites. We've been doing this the last few years with blogs, emails, FB. I asked, when are we going to evaluate what is effective and what isn't? Nobody answered. We are still doing it. There has been no evaluative process.  It's like doing all kinds of extra statistics. Do we really need to do all this? Is it effective? It all takes time and takes you from other projects. When enough professional research is published proving some of technology is more effective in some situations than others, management may react. Until then we are all doing alot …

BND files of ex-Nazis shredded

The BBC News, which I love, reports that in 2007 the BND (German Intelligence Service) shredded files of 250 BND employees who once were in the Nazi SS or Gestapo. That was not very intelligent; sneaky or sly perhaps. Apparently they did not follow appropriate records scheduling or there would not be the stink about it. Four historians were and are investigating the files into the BND's Nazi Roots. According to the German news agency website Spiegel, 10% of BND recruits during the Cold War were previously SS members. Some of the files were those of war criminals and they say the destruction of the files wasn't intentional. Really? I find that rather difficult to believe. The destroyed files are 2% of an archives the historians are researching now. There was some notation that files were destroyed or folders in boxes did not match the inventories and finding aids or they would not have known. Some of the documents related to a wanted Nazi, Former SS Captain Alois Brunner. Alois…

what a town once read from manuscript library ledgers now a database

This is from a historians, librarians and archivists discussion list via that I'm on. There is an article in Slate about  "What Middletown Read, a database that tracks the borrowing records of the Muncie Public Library between 1891 and 1902." The ledger was kept by the town's librarian Kate Wilson. She not only kept track of who read what books and when, but also kept a lot of demographic and personal information about the patrons. So you can tell who was working class and what they read and how old they were, etc. It's quite fascinating. To read on click here