(Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App) is a website that links to more than 300 libraries in the world. Each one of these contains medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free. The DMMapp is a product of Sexy Codicology
, an independent project focused on medieval illuminated manuscripts and social media. It maintains a great blog about medieval manuscripts
, especially those that are available online.
A day in the life of New York City's public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people. Why Libraries Matter.
CREW stands for Continuous Review Evaluation and Weeding
, and the manual uses “crew” as a transitive verb, so one can talk about a library’s “crewing” its collection. It means weeding but doesn’t sound so harsh. [more inside]
Bonfire of the Humanities.
"Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections
of ancient manuscripts
. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West Africa’s most mythic locale." [Via] [more inside]
In honor of National Library Week
, Oxford University Press is making all of its non-journal products available online for free
for the week of April 13th-19th, 2014. This includes the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Handbook series. [more inside]
Welcome to a tumblr of wonders.
Special Collections, archives, and libraries have many wonderful items, but getting to them all can be a bit like trying to walk into Mordor, unless you have unlimited time and grants. But now, thanks to Tumblr, you too can explore collections around the world, and one of the best comes to us from the University of Iowa. Want a Hamlet quote on a miniature book that unfolds into a tiny Globe Theatre? Of course you do. Actual flying squirrels
? Adventure with Alice
! Get close to illuminations
? Catch a glimpse of hipster frames circa 1504
More awesome librar* tumblrs inside. [more inside]
The book on Wood-Frame House Construction
(with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks
. They're public domain. [more inside]
“I was there in Moscow for a year and a half, without anything, we thought we were going there for only a few days. I didn’t even have a coat with me. But the Rebbe had a policy: You don’t come back until you come back with the books.”
Burma's Lucky Bibliophile
When the Ministry of Information’s director general visited Ye Htet Oo’s library in 2010, it could have been disastrous. Ye Htet Oo, then a recent college graduate, was running his new library in downtown Rangoon on the sly, without approval from the former military regime, and was told he could face three months in jail for every book he lent without permission from the censorship board. Unable to get a library license from the government, which saw libraries as a way to spread subversive ideas, he fronted his operation as a bookshop but kept a collection of unapproved library books hidden in a back room. Then one day, unknown to the young bibliophile, the ministry’s director general—who has since become the deputy minister of information and President Thein Sein’s spokesman—entered the “bookshop” and walked straight into the secret room. [more inside]
The folks at Mellow Pages
, a community-run library/salon
in Brooklyn (recently profiled in the NYT
), have put together a how-to guide for building a similar kind of space in your neighborhood: short version here
, long version (and Google Doc) here
"On a beautiful sunny day last week,
the Turning Over a New Leaf
project team decided to take a day off from the office to visit a spectacular chained library in the small town of Zutphen
(located in the eastern part of the Netherlands). Built in 1564 as part of the church of St Walburga, it is one of only five chained libraries in the world that survive ‘intact’—that is, complete with the original books, chains, rods, and furniture."
Guantánamo prison library for detainees. [tumblr]
New York Times reporter Charlie Savage
set up a Tumblr dedicated to cataloging some of the books available in the Guantánamo prison library for detainees.
When it first surfaced in 2005, it was hailed as 'the most important Galileo find in more than a century'
. Then, in June 2012, news broke on the Ex Libris mailing list
that the unique 'proof copy' of Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius
containing his original drawings of the Moon was in fact a highly sophisticated forgery
. The full story is still unclear, but the finger of suspicion points at Marino Massimo de Caro
, who in his brief reign as director of the Girolamini Library
in Naples removed thousands of rare books
in what has been described as a 'premeditated, organised and brutal'
sacking of the library. Meanwhile, experts are still marvelling at the quality of the forgery: "We’ve seen missing pages replaced in facsimile, but no one dreamed that an entire book could be forged, something that is now more easily possible because of modern technology."
In theory: the unread and the unreadable
- "We measure our lives with unread books – and 'difficult' works can induce the most guilt. How should we view this challenge?"
My 6,128 Favorite Books
- "Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder."
What really concerns librarians; what do they discuss
when they self-organise and decide for themselves? After the inaugural UK event
, the second
UK Librarycamp, with around 200 attendees, was recently held; reflections by Frank Norman
, Carolin Schneider  
, Sarah Wolfenden
, Amy Faye Finnegan
, Shambrarian Knights
, Jennifer Yellin
, Jenni Hughes
, Bookshelf Guardian
, Amy Cross-Menzies
and Simon Barron
, and by one of the organisers
. [more inside]
The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word
in the English language; Shakespeare's folios
, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
, exploded; Constantine XI
, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War
, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard
, in abundance; and definitive discographies
of Every. Artist. Ever...
All this, I repeat
, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext
cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be. [more inside]
On the day he turned thirty-eight, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
retired from public life to the tower of the Château de Montaigne
, there to spend the next ten years composing an assay
of his life's experience. That his mind might thrive, he turned the tower into a "Solitarium"
and its top floor into a sumptuous library
, lining its round walls with some 1,500 books
. Even the roof beams were made to bear his thoughts: on them he inscribed 46 quotations, here
collected and translated.
, a free website for periodicals, books, and videos. Search
. [more inside]
The Library: [SLYT]
A film by Sergey Stefanovich. A journey through Duncan Fallowell's library which has spilled over into every available space and become an art installation in its own right. With the writer talking.
Upheaval at the New York Public Library
: an article in The Nation which looks at the current state of the NYPL, and highlights many of the problems facing public libraries across the United States.
is an exhibition at New Haven (Connecticut) libraries that contemplates our personal, intellectual and physical relationship to the library as this venerable institution—and the information it contains—is being radically transformed by the digital era. Some examples: Untitled (Suburban Homes)
by Erica Baum, Hurricanes
by Chris Coffin, and Chinese Library No. 46
by Xiaoze Xie.
The Library of Congress
(1:30m), a tour documentary by C-SPAN.
Medicine in the Americas is a digital library project that makes freely available original works demonstrating the evolution of American medicine from colonial frontier outposts of the 17th century to research hospitals of the 20th century. [more inside]
It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
an augmented reality app for shelf-reading library stacks, from Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG!
Is a library without books still a library?
Newport Beach library is considering closing its original library and replacing it with a community center that would offer all the same features — except for the books.
"The finished Strahov library panorama
, released Tuesday on Martin’s website, is a zoomable, high-resolution peek inside one of Prague’s most beautiful halls, a repository of rare books that is usually off-limits to tourists... Martin’s panorama lets you examine the spines of the works in the Philosophical Hall’s 42,000 volumes, part of the monastery’s stunning collection of just about every important book available in central Europe at the end of the 18th century — more or less the sum total of human knowledge at the time."
The library of King Matthias I of Hungary, the Bibliotheca Corviniana
, was "the second greatest collection of books in Europe in the Renaissance period, after that of the Vatican." Destroyed following the 15th century Turkish invasion of Hungary
(despite the efforts of Matthias' vassal Vlad III the Impaler
), a few surviving codices have been digitized
by the National Széchényi Library and the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
. [more inside]
is a small, simple and likable free library of classic literature and philosophy MP3 audio downloads
Ancient books inherited in private family libraries could change our knowledge of late mediaeval arab culture, but most are hidden in private libraries.
Gripping article about the unknown treasures that may be lurking in Mauritanian family libraries, considering the little that has already been found, resistance to cataloguing and problematic future if the region continues to be destabilised. How the manuscripts are famous in the muslim world.More on the open libraries and archive efforts.
Some years back on bbc i saw an explorer track down some ancient ethiopian christian manuscripts to an ethiopian monastery, only to be shown some burnt remains from a fire a few months back. What treasures must lurk in this continent, and with digital cameras, how easy to document them without damage or intruding on their owners! Being christians, there are pictures
and some history.
Harvard University finished in 1986
construction of the Harvard Depository
, a mysterious storage facility in a publicly undisclosed location 30 miles from campus where large tracts of land are less expensive than in Cambridge. While the facility was originally intended to store Harvard's least-used volumes, it is now home to 45 percent of Harvard's collections. David Lamberth, chair of the Library Implementation Work Group, calls it a "precise warehouse" for which the term "library" would prove inaccurate.
has a new collaborative open source website that aims to catalog every book ever published. About
the project. The vision is one Wiki page for every edition
of every work
with description details
Book of the Month
is a feature that the University of Glasgow Library has been running for over a decade now. The format is simple, a single book is selected from their collections, written up and accompanied by pictures, maps and photographs scanned from the books. With over a 100 books to select from, it's hard to know where to start, but anywhere is good because they're all lovely. Still, here are a few, Charles Darwin's The Expression of the emotions in man and animals
, a beautiful 15th century illuminated copy of Livy's Roman history
, Treatises on Engines and Weapons
, Valentines and Dabbities
, The Birds of Australia
, Facts and Observations on the Sanitary State of Glasgow
, Ibn Jazla's The arrangement of bodies for treatment
and finally, The Curious Case of Mary Toft
, MetaFilter superstar
is a library that schoolteacher Luis Soriano Bohorquez of La Gloria, a small town in northern Colombia, carries around on his donkeys Alfa and Beto. Another video of Biblioburro
by Al Jazeera English. Here's
some further footage
. [Biblioburro previously]
William Gass's personal library
. The photos accompany this article by Gass
about his love of books -- specifically about collecting them over his life and "living in a library." [more inside]
: "This book so deeply resonates with your soul that if a potential partner finds it risible, any meeting of minds (or body) is all but impossible." [more inside]
The Worlds Best Books
(1909), One Hundred Best Books
(1916), One Thousand Books for a Village Library
(1895), The Book Lover, a Guide to the Best Reading
(1889), The Choice of Books
(1905), A Thousand of the Best Novels
(1919), Comfort Found in Good Old Books
(1911), A Guide to the Best Historical Novels
(1911), A Guide to Historical Fiction
(1914), and lots more..
Citations on the fly. WorldCat previously
, the world's online largest catalog of library holdings, got its own Facebook page
in early 2008. That was pretty cool, but now WorldCat has upped the ante again by introducing another Facebook app called CiteMe
. Using CiteMe, Facebook users can look up any item in WorldCat (there's over 1 billion of 'em) and get its properly-formatted citation (choose from APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, or Turabian styles) instantly. For more than a few citations, you can still build a bibliography of any size in your favorite style, directly on the WorldCat site