Showing posts from October, 2017

Halloween postcards

Halloween is nearly here! Here are some historic Halloween postcards, 1900-1933. Some of the postcards have more imagery we associate with Halloween today than others.

last of the JFK assassination papers will be released today

NARA will release the remaining papers concerning the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy today. Most of the information has already been released at least partially and is redacted.There shouldn't be any big surprises or additions to existing knowledge, but it is Kennedy and the conspiracy theorists are still alive so it is a big news item. Here's the latest update and I'll update as I hear more during the day.

All current presidential papers (and by that I mean information in all formats) fall under the control of NARA because of the Presidential Record Act. The papers are part of a records schedule and after a set period of time, each series is prioritized and scheduled for when they should be processed and become available to researchers. Some series …

CMU. Language Arts collection

Prof. Susan Griffith recently donated 1.25 cubic ft. (in 2 boxes) of digital files I printed out on the CMU Language Arts collection. The collection includes curriculum and other committee meeting minutes, correspondence, graphs, and other information about CMU's language arts program. English Language and Literature is among the oldest programs at CMU.

Here are some images:


Courtney has been processing the Michigan Outdoors Writers Association (MOWA) collection since the term began.  The collection includes clippings, photographs, publications, minutes, correspondence and memos, lists of members, and incorporation documents.

MOWA was founded in 1944 for "the development and wise utilization of all our natural command a campaign of education of the people to the urgent need for conservation of our wildlife and of natural resources and pledges the dissemination of vital information."

Courtney is definitely making progress. Here are some images:

proof of what we suspected with collected bulk social media data

As some of us have long suspected, UK spy agencies admitted that they collected bulk personal data from social media on suspects and the general public and shared it with foreign governments and corporate partners. The sharing aspect was revealed for the first time in a report in a legal case brought by Privacy International after learning in March 2015 that bulk personal datasets were collected on both suspects and the general public. It is still unclear whether or not the data sets were somehow intercepted or companies gave information to the surveillance  agencies. Read more about it here

U.S. Presidents born in October

I was wondering which U.S. presidents were born in October. The answer is quite a few.

The Gettysburg Battlefield National Park has a list: John Adams (on the 30th), Rutherford B. Hayes (on the 4th), Chester Arthur (on the 5th), Theodore Roosevelt (on the 27th), Ike Eisenhower (on the 14th), and Jimmy Carter (on the 1st). For more information see

If you are interested in researching any of the presidents, the Clarke has a variety of collections, in various formats, that document the U.S. Presidents.

Twitter changes

In an effort to stop unwanted sexual harassment and violence of various types in social media, Twitter will have some new rules concerning "unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence." This time the change is a reaction to an overwhelming response from mostly women via #WomenBoycottTwitter, after Twitter blocked Rose McGowan's account after she said Harvey Weinstein had raped her, and then posted a private phone number. Twitter said the reason it blocked her account was because posting the phone number violated its rules. A serious questions is, is that really why she was blocked, or was there a push from industry insiders to limit her ability to use social media to communicate about the alleged crime?  She then petitioned other women to tweet. Their responses were immediate, numerous, and powerful:  "The hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter became the number one global trend on the social media platform…

FB to share Russian data from our last federal election

FB is going to share detailed info with US congressional committees, including fake accounts and ads, pages they link to, information about who was targeted. Ads and fake accounts were removed by FB, although some of the fake accounts may have become real accounts, which are not removed. More than 10 million people on FB saw more than 3,000 ads. FB also took steps to prevent those who put up the ads from profiting from it and from foreign influence affecting US elections. If they influenced the election they profited. Read more about it here

Kaspersky software and US government info: a sad, ongoing hacking tale

Here's an interesting timeline of events.
2014: Israelis breached Kaspersky's corporate systems and implanted multiple back doors to gather data.

Kaspersky cyber security software, which is used widely internationally and was in 2014 used by approximately 24 US government agencies, including State, DOD, Energy, Justice, Treasury, and the military.

After the Israelis breached Kaspersky, they discovered Russians were hacking into US government classified info sites. The Israelis reported the Russian hacking to the NSA with specific documentation proving that it was happening. The article does not state the date they reported the Russian hacking, but I'm going to assume it was politically smarter for them to report it sooner rather than later, probably in 2014 or early 2015.

June 2015: Kaspersky engineers discovered and reported an intruder in their systems. Israel was not named in the report. At the time, Israel was not included in the UN Security Council Iran nuclear…

CMU. School of Music collection updated

One of my volunteer processing students, Ashley Blackburn, recently finished added boxes of bound CMU. School of Music collection, mostly programs of musical events, to the existing collection, which grew to 15 boxes (7.5 cu.ft.) from 2 boxes (1.25 cu.ft.), 1904-2017. We are now proofing the encoded finding aid. Boxes, labels, finding aid, OCLC and LMS catalog records have been amended. This was a month's worth of work. Good job Ashley!


A female Chilean biochemistry graduate student experienced  grad science labs in her university which lacked sufficient equipment for all college students to conduct scientific experiments. She added sensors to smart phones to provide students with equal access to conduct scientific experiments using the phone. Her program, created with a software engineer, is called Lab4U. Initially used in Chile, the use of Lab4U is spreading internationally. It helps provide access to students in poorly funded countries or schools to conduct scientific experiments. Lab4U is democratizing teaching and learning science and increasing access to scientific learning, and it allows students to easily repeat and relive the experiments. It doesn't require a lot of explanation, nor a lot of equipment. To see the brief, inspiring video click here

help for archives hit by natural disasters

Great suggestion from SAA to help archivists hit by natural disasters. SAA Foundation’s National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives, which provides grants of up to $2,000 to archives in need. Here's a list of related organizations, funding sources, and other resources. For more information see

Anglo-Saxon settlement unearthed

During prep work for a wind farm, the remains of a large, multi-layered Anglo-Saxon settlement active from 8th-14th centuries, has been found. It is located near the burial place of Anglo Saxon kings, Sutton Hoo, one of the most significant Anglo Saxon treasure site found by archaeologists. 400  archaeologists are working on 500 sites distributed along a 23-mile stretch of highway where the wind farm will eventually reside. For a brief, cool video see If you want to be visually stunned check out Sutton Hoo here

recent U.S. disasters and recovery

I was thinking of Hurricane Irma recovery today. A friend in southern Florida still does not have internet or tv in her apartment and might not for several weeks. She has to drive to a coffee shop a bit away from her to get internet. Here are some recent updates on the situation.

As of Oct. 4th the federal government, FEMA, is now going to pay more, up to 90% of the bill, for hurricane cleanup, garbage pickup, helping the state and local governments bear the cost burden, which doesn't mean more garbage will get picked up quicker, just that the locals and state won't pay for it all. FEMA checks may take years to arrive. For more information see

Related to this there was a big debate about the pickup of garbage in gated (private) communities, about who was responsible for the payment because FEMA does not reimburse for private property. Some counties were picking it up, some were offering gated community members option…


Two recent items about Facebook.

Facebook is going to make it harder for non-Americans to mess with our democratic elections. More than 3,000 Russian linked ads, paid for by Russians, ran online and are now being turned over to  U.S. investigators. It is clear that Russia influenced the election. See a short video here

Also, Facebook is going to build one of its new data center in Virginia, pumping $1 billion into the state. Other new centers are being built in Texas, New Mexico and Ohio.  It already has data centers in Oregon, North Carolina, and Iowa. This is going to change access to information in those states, increase construction, support and tech jobs, increase social justice and equality in those states, and increase the standard of living and also diversity. It will be interesting to see it happen. Read more about it here…

Cataloging In Alma/Exlibris

Still working on how to do original cataloging in our new library management system, Alma/ExLibris. So much to learn, so many changes. I'm considering buying a stuffed toy to hug on particularly challenging days.


Finishing the rehousing of Russell Kirk's papers

Claire has been busy since fall term began rehousing the last half of the Russell Kirk papers. Here is her work to date. Now she's down to the odd formats and a final rechecking of the finding aid, which will takes some time this week.