Al Fry is an old-school eccentric, mostly from the pre-internet days. He lives (or lived) out in Idaho, which was his home-base for distributing Fry's Incredible Inquiry's Catalog, covering "technology, alchemy, weird science (PDF), Tesla, anti-gravity, occult, crystal power, and other fascinating fringy topics." And then there are his videos, including Hidden World History and Strange Beings 1, narrated by A. H. Fry himself. His videos have been collected a few times over on YouTube (1, 2). And he has written about making tipis.
Old music is outselling new music for the first time in history - 2015 marks the first year that catalog albums, albums over 18 months old, outsold newer ones in the US.
Listen, I don’t care if they were made in Buckingham Palace by whipping egg whites between Kate Middleton’s asscheeks. They’re still marshmallows.
Scans of every Girl Scouts catalog from 1917 to the one for 2015.
On September 30th, OCLC ended support for Accessions List and Catalog Cards. What does this mean? It means they will no longer be supplying such cards to libraries, special collections and information filers. Partially filling the gap are suppliers of blank cards e.g.   . Also, books about cards.
With F. A. O. Schwarz's iconic 5th Avenue store closing for good last week (Gothamist photos), why not look back at the 1911 Spring And Summer catalog and the conversation effort to preserve the catalog at the Cooper Hewitt design museum..
America's favorite in-flight purveyor of ridiculousness, SkyMall, has filed for bankruptcy, blaming the increased use of electronic devices on planes for the drop in sales. [more inside]
Search Engine Land (December 27, 2014): "The Yahoo Directory, the core part of how Yahoo itself began in 1994, officially closed today, five days ahead of when Yahoo had said the end would come." The Internet Archive save of Yahoo for October 1996. [more inside]
Abandoned Republic: Before its current incarnation as the Gap's dressier cousin, Banana Republic sold military surplus and safari-style clothing. [more inside]
I write for SkyMall (SLTP)
American electronics chain Radio Shack's dismal sales are resulting in a plan to shutter as many as 1100 of its stores. But let's look back to a happier time for the company, starting with their first catalog in 1939 and continuing through the decades: a fascinating stroll down memory lane at the Archive of Radio Shack Catalogs.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Dawson's Creek was on TV, No Doubt was on the radio, and teenage girls across America wanted every single thing in the dELiA*s catalog. Going on 20 years later, those girls are women. Women with scanners and style websites. Women who remember. [more inside]
Peter Scott (February 14, 1947 - December 30, 2013) worked in the Systems Department of the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada) Libraries from 1976 to 2005. One of the early library weblog writers, Peter is most well known for HyTelnet, an interface for Telnet services he developed from 1990. In his 1991 video, Peter demonstrates a later version of HyTelnet, while an archive lists the resources available through the service. [more inside]
From Retronaut, please enjoy these stylish selections from the 1990 J.C. Penney Christmas Catalog. Come for the Beetlejuice pajamas, stay for the "ice-washed" denim overalls.
"If you've ever read a silver age comic book in your life, chances are you've seen the ad for World Wide Diamond Co., once located in windy wacky Chicago IL. And if you sent away for one of their smallish, 48-page, newsprint mail order catalogs then you absolutely uncovered a world of REAL hidden treasure!"
Electronic Toys From Holidays Long Past (274 picture SL imgur gallery)
Francesco Marciuliano (writer of the comic strip Sally Forth) presents The Catalog of Unfit Toys, mixed in among many other random amusements and strange humor at the blog for his webcomic Medium Large (oh yeah, and there's a cat: cat poetry, that is - parts 1, 2, 3). [more inside]
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]
Christmas and Toy Catalogs: 1942-1992 (Warning: heinousness inside). But wait, there's more vintage Christmas advertising.
"These are sample layouts from a fullsize reproduction of the entire 2007 IKEA catalogue, leaving only color and structure. With an estimated 175 million copies distributed in 2006, the IKEA catalogue is thought to have surpassed the Bible as the most published print-work in the world." [more inside]
A wryly humorous take on the "...exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs." If your life isn't quite perfect enough, fear not - the secret lives of Catalog People are revealed here!
The Biblioctopus Catalog can be as entertaining a read as some of the rare and antiquarian books that the Beverly Hills, Calif., shop sells. An entry for a $3,300 first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea asserts that the book is “as stubbornly immortal as those plastic baby diapers that won’t biodegrade.” Although Catalog 44 was mailed earlier this month, I have only been able to find links for Catalogs 20, 22, and 34. (previously)
In 1968 Stewart Brand launched an innovative publication called The Whole Earth Catalog. It was groundbreaking, enlightening, and spawned a group of later publications.The collection of that work provided on this site is not complete — and probably never will be — but it is a gift to readers who loved the CATALOG and those who are discovering it for the first time. [more inside]
A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work. The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter to the Institut de France.
The Encyclopedia of Life [previously] is E.O. Wilson's dream become reality. It has been online since February of 2008, aiming to catalog the currently known 1.9 million species on our planet. You can also add text, images, video, comments, and tags. [ FAQ • Video Introduction • Tutorials ]
"Then there are the classification errors, which taken together can make for a kind of absurdist poetry. H.L. Mencken's The American Language is classified as Family & Relationships. A French edition of Hamlet and a Japanese edition of Madame Bovary are both classified as Antiques and Collectibles (a 1930 English edition of Flaubert's novel is classified under Physicians, which I suppose makes a bit more sense.) An edition of Moby Dick is labeled Computers; The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts falls under Technology & Engineering. And a catalog of copyright entries from the Library of Congress is listed under Drama (for a moment I wondered if maybe that one was just Google's little joke)." —Linguist Geoffrey Nunberg on Google's little metadata problem.
The Virtual Laboratory - A collection of essays, biographies, instruments and trade catalogues (e.g. experiment kit) from between 1830 and 1930. I must warn you that some of the films are a bit disturbing. Check out the eerie sounding vowel experiments in the audio section too.
Dave Chalmers has just launched PhilPapers, a directory of nearly 200,000 online papers in philosophy. This is a jawdropping and amazing resource for philosophical research. For evidence of the scope of this project and the care that has been given to it, see the taxonomy of philosophy that was developed for the site.
OCLC, owners of WorldCat, are getting greedy. It's now demanding that every library that uses WorldCat give control over all its catalog records to OCLC. It literally is asking libraries to put an OCLC policy notice on every book record in their catalog. It wants to own every library. It's not just Open Library that's at risk here -- LibraryThing, Zotero, even some new Wikipedia features being developed are threatened. Basically anything that uses information about books is going to be a victim of this unprecedented power[ ]grab. It's a scary thought. [more inside]
I See Dead People's Books (wiki) is an impromptu project by LibraryThing members to catalog the libraries of famous dead people, from Tupac Shakur to Ernest Hemingway to John Adams. Many more in the works, anyone is able to create a dead library with all the attendant features of LT.
Brilliant bookshelves by color. What's that? You can't find The Scarlet Letter? Did you look under lipstick red? [more inside]
Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back. No one under 30 will really get it...
You got your Rube Goldberg machine in my department store catalogue. (Or the other way around, I'm not sure.)
Wishbook Web. Christmas catalogs scanned in their entirety from the 1944 Wards Catalog (152 pages) to the 1985 Sears Catalog (648 pages!). The site looks like it was built circa '97, but the scans are quite interesting. via - Similar posts to this one: 1, 2.
The Prelinger Library is a small privately owned "public library" in San Francisco with the unique philosophy that browsing library stacks can reveal new knowledge, if the books are arranged for browsing. This is counter to most public libraries who rely on computer terminal searching, databases and the Dewey Decimal system to atomize books and subjects, with stack browsing a sort of random after effect, and in some places--like the Library of Congress--normally not even allowed. Now a (real) public library in Arizona has joined the revolution and claims to be the first public library in the nation to drop the Dewey Decimal system. Instead, books will be shelved by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books. The demise of the century-old Dewey Decimal system is overdue, county librarians say: "People think of books by subject. Very few people say, 'Oh, I know Dewey by heart.' "
Long un-updated, but still chalk full of anarchist theory, The Spunk Library (catalog indexes on upper right). Of possible interest to metafilter users: Maybe a "group" discussion dominated by two or three people ISN'T.
The Zobo! Spanish-American Chess Men! Where can you find these amazing products, including Sanitary Belt Pads the Toilet Mask, or a handy goat harness, at amazing, rockbottom prices? The Sears, Roebuck Catalog, of course. Everything you could need for the modern American family! They did houses (1, 2) even. Starting in 1888 and mostly selling watches, this venerable institution of consumerism spent its first 10 years rapidly growing and adding products, lasting for over 100 years before finally folding in 1993. The catalog still stands as a detailed historical document of what the average American would buy to get through life. They make a fun collector's item, too (1902 available on CD-ROM as well). [ This post inspired by the 1902 Sears, Roebuck Catalog blog. ]
The Office of Human Radiation Experiments, established in March 1994, leads the Department of Energy's efforts to tell the agency's Cold War story of radiation research using human subjects. We have undertaken an intensive effort to identify and catalog relevant historical documents from DOE's 3.2 million cubic feet of records scattered across the country. Internet access to these resources is a key part of making DOE more open and responsive to the American public.
LibraryThing. Like Flickr for your books.
Zinc Panic is an archive of Japanese robot culture, documenting everything from the '50s to the present. From cataloging the genera of characters on shows such as Giant Robo and robography of people like Tezuka Osamu, to the latest robo news. See also Rocket Punch Go! [Via Engadget]
Farewell, Whole Earth magazine? A lament at worldchanging.com: "... spawn of the amazing Whole Earth Catalogs, source of the WELL, first to mention in print the Gaia Hypothesis, the Internet, Virtual Reality, the Singularity and Burning Man (or at least so the legend goes), the place where folks like Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold found their voices, and where a whole generation of young commune-kid geeks like myself learned to dream weird... " [via Smart Mobs]
Critics call Abercrombie & Fitch catalog soft porn. I can't comment on the catalog itself, since I haven't seen it; I just had to laugh out loud though when I read this sentence: "Boycott organizers contend the company... is wooing younger customers and using sex to popularize its image." Oh, the horror! Also striking was A&F's spin on it, calling it " the Norman Rockwell of 2001." Clearly, a divide in perceptions. Can anyone who has seen the offensive/inoffensive material in question explain why it is/isn't any different from the marketing practices of, oh, say, everyone else?