Showing posts from November, 2013

most expensive book in the US

First book printed in America,  the book of psalms, used by the Puritans, just sold at auction for 14.2 million. The church that held it sold it to raise money for its various charitable endeavors. To read more about it click here

Anonymous hacks Singapore site

The prime minister of Singapore's website was hacked by Anonymous in protest of new rules concerning licensing of websites that report on various topics of interest in Singapore to a large readership, in other words, suppression of debate, communication, and information sharing. Anonymous also recently hacked a newspaper in Singapore which Anonymous alleges published false stories. To read more about it click here

more on the Google lawsuit

US Authors will appeal the case of copyright infringement that Google just won. What is important to understand is that materials whose copyright dates were prior to a certain year or for which the author did not give copyright permission were not scanned totally by Google, only parts of the text were made available. Copyright in the US last for 70 years after an author's death. For example, as part of the National Digital Newspaper Project, newspapers dated 1922 and earlier are being digitized. That was 90 years ago. The writers of the various articles and the newspaper producer are  dead now. So, it is  out of copyright. If you find the available part of interest, then you can buy the item or check it out of a library. Does Google increase its traffic, yes, but so it also exposes more material to a much broader audience than probably would have accessed the publications otherwise. This is very interesting. Even with this ruling, copyrighted materials still cannot be completely d…

early Irish nationalism collection donated in Ireland

A 400-item collection of correspondence and photographs of important early-20th c. Irish nationalist Eamon Donnelly has been donated by his family to help others understand the impact of early nationalists such as he and his particular efforts. It continues to amaze me that no matter how many and what type of collections are found in archives and museums, that there are more out there somewhere waiting to come home to an archives for the public to use. How many collections of interesting manuscripts and art are in private hands that are privately owned and therefore the public has no access or ability to learn about that side of history?  For more information see

Google wins lawsuit

A very important development occurred over the weekend: Google won a case its been fighting since 2005 against the US Authors Guild about massive copyright infringement in the digital library project. The judge sided with Google noting the scanning project was "fair use" and that it provides "Significant public benefits." This will have to be included in discussions of fair use and copyright. There was an agreement in 2008 which was thrown out in 2011. Another agreement was reached in 2012. This latest version denies the copyright claim of the US authors. By April 2013 more than 30 million works had been scanned by Google to be included in its digital library. To read more about it click here

Jackie's pink suit

The pink suit with navy trim that Mrs. J. Kennedy was wearing the day her husband was assassinated in Dallas is now available for researchers to see in the National Archives. To date, nobody has requested to see it. Donated by Mrs. Kennedy in 1964, a deed of gift was finally signed by her daughter Caroline in 2003 asking that it be kept unavailable for viewing until 2103. Only the hat and gloves are missing. What an, unfortunately and sad, iconic American artifact, like Lincoln's last chair. The suit and her hose are still covered in blood. She refused to clean up after the shooting, noting that she wanted to show what had been done. We have some clothes in the Clarke, but none documents a national murder. We have a couple early CMU cross country shirts. I'm stunned at how small they are. Apparently, the male student population was once pretty tiny. Most donated CMU artifacts are in CMU's museum. To read more about the pink suit and the story surrounding it, click here: 

Copyright and downloading sites

For the first time, BitTorrent traffic is down in the US. So what does that mean? This is a file sharing network where you can download files bit by bit, either legally or illegally for pirated sites. Does this mean illegal use of copyrighted material is declining or not happening? No. People are using other means.  Use of NetFlix and You Tube remains high  and accounts for 50% of all net traffic in the US. In Europe, use of BitTorrent is still high. Recently, copyright holders have been and are fighting internet piracy with more gusto and actual policies compared to previous years. In the UK, 28 sites have been blocked, many of which use BitTorrent. In the US, copyright holders now have a Six Strikes system since March, in which a person gets 6 changes to stop infringing copyright with warnings, and then the site is blocked. France has a similar policy. Other countries will no doubt follow. To read more about it click here

some of the world's most beautiful libraries

Here's some eye candy for librarians, archivists, book lovers, and those sick of looking at words on their computer monitors. Enjoy these images of some of the world's most beautiful libraries. The Type A in my wonders, yes, but how effective are they? Just because you look good doesn't mean you function well. Click on

genetic heritage in European bones

I think bones are so cool! Tests on a number of skeletons in Germany, the early crossroads of Europe, have determined that European genetics are more complex than originally thought. Scientists now believe hunter gatherers and farmers co-existed a lot longer than previously thought. Also there were a lot of influx from the middle east into Europe. So all that white Anglo-Saxon stuff is really garbage. Read all about it here

Updated! stolen art from WWII- two stories

Sorry dear blog readers. I was out for a week with a sick kid.

Here's an interesting bit of news. I have had several blogs about returned, stolen art and artifacts. Here's article about Dutch museums. Not long ago they looked at art they accessioned from 1940 to present to see if any had been forcibly taken from Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. Some art was identified at that time for descendants of previous owners to claim. Now, 400 museums have completed a search of art they accessioned 1933 to present.  Different art has been identified for descendants to claim. To read more about it click here

Another related story in the news is that of a collector's son who had a Munich apartment full of art, over 1500 piece valued at over 1.5 billion, some of which was previously unknown, and some of which was thought to have been destroyed in WWII. This art was definitely taken from Jewish owners, collectors, and artis…

pile waiting to be processed

With fall allergies, I was out for a week with everyone in the house was sick except the dog. I don't know why the dog doesn't get sick. Maybe we should all eat dog food which is secretly packed with anti-oxidants.  When I returned to week, this lovely pile was waiting for me. How many times this has happened to me over my career I cannot tell you, but it always does.

So what is this stuff?
First, on the bottom there is a cubic foot box full of copy film negatives of MI railroad related images courtesy of one donor. This is one box which is to be added to 10 cubic feet of copy negatives, plus a hard drive full of digital images and descriptive metadata, and, more is coming sometime (no specific date) soon. The total collection is over 20,000 images. The images we have so far received are visible on 2 computers in our reading room. We are hoping the libraries IT staff can build a link between the descriptions and images to assist patrons.

On top of that are several binders of f…