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Treasures unburied

Libraries' Surprising Special Collections. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 3, 2009 - 44 comments

Europeana

Europeana is the new EU digital library. It gives multilingual access to two million digitized books and other items of cultural and historical significance held in over 1,000 institutions in the 27 EU states. There will be 10 million by 2010. Soon after its launch the website froze, its servers overwhelmed by over "10 million hits an hour".
posted by stbalbach on Nov 20, 2008 - 21 comments

Biblioburros

Luis Soriano, with his donkeys Alfa and Beto, brings books to small villages in Colombia.
posted by The corpse in the library on Oct 20, 2008 - 16 comments

Where billionaires shop to build their libraries

Jay Walker's Library was just profiled by Wired [via], but they failed to mention where many of those books came from. Big players like Maggs, Simon Finch and the Baumans still compose most of the rare book world. (Heritage is gone but Michael Sharp got four of their employees.) They're all excellent places to shop if you're building an Überlibrary, but, if you're Jay Walker, you start with Phillip J. Pirages. [more inside]
posted by nímwunnan on Oct 8, 2008 - 30 comments

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket

Library Finds is seriously beautiful photography and explication of little-seen gems in the library stacks, from a self-confessed "techie, not a librarian, who is quite fortunate to be surrounded by books everyday". From the green to the teal and now to the blue.
posted by donnagirl on Sep 26, 2008 - 18 comments

Assessing digital formats for preservation and use

Sustainability of Digital Formats : a repository of mostly technical information about digital content file formats related to storing images (moving and still), text, sound and websites
posted by Gyan on Aug 29, 2008 - 9 comments

Literary Voyeurism

Writer's Rooms, portraits of the spaces where authors create: Martin Amis. Simon Armitage. Diana Athill. Jane Austen. Berly Bainbridge. JG Ballard. John Banville. Nicola Barker. Ronan Bennett. Alain de Botton. William Boyd. Raymond Briggs. Charlotte Bronte. Carmen Callil. Jung Chang. Roald Dahl. Charles Darwin. Margaret Drabble. Geoff Dyer. Anne Enright. Joshua Ferris. Jonathan Safran Foer. Margaret Forster. Antonia Fraser. Michael Frayn. Esther Freud. Simon Gray. Mark Haddon. David Hare. David Harsent. Seamus Heaney. Russell Hoban. Eric Hobsbawm. Michael Holroyd. Siri Hustvedt. AL Kennedy. Judith Kerr. Rudyard Kipling. Hanif Kureishi. Penelope Lively. David Lodge. Michael Longley. Hilary Mantel. Eamonn McCabe. Charlotte Mendelson. John Mortimer. Kate Mosse. Andrew Motion. Julie Myerson. Edna O'Brien. Andrew O'Hagan. Adam Phillips. Caryl Phillips. Craig Raine. Ian Rankin. John Richardson. Michael Rosen. Will Self. George Bernard Shaw. Alan Sillitow. Posy Simmonds. Helen Simpson. Ahdaf Soueif. Graham Swift. Adam Thirlwell. Colm Toibin. Claire Tomalin. Sue Townsend. Barbara Trapido. Rose Tremain. Sarah Waters. Jacqueline Wilson. Virginia Woolf. (Step into the reading room for a wee bit more...) [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Aug 8, 2008 - 28 comments

Libraries: Let them eat cake

You're planning on baking a cake, but you're bored of your plain old square pan, round pan, or bundt pan? If you live in the US Midwest, it's very possible that your nearby library allows you to check out cake pans. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Jul 30, 2008 - 52 comments

A cautionary tail

The end of Moore’s influence came when, years later, she tried to block the publication of a book by E. B. White. Watching Moore stand in the way of “Stuart Little,” White’s editor, Ursula Nordstrom, remembered, was like watching a horse fall down, its spindly legs crumpling beneath its great weight. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 14, 2008 - 30 comments

"Schools should continue to require library research so they can see how old folks used to Google stuff."

The continuity I have in mind has to do with the nature of information itself or, to put it differently, the inherent instability of texts. In place of the long-term view of technological transformations, which underlies the common notion that we have just entered a new era, the information age, I want to argue that every age was an age of information, each in its own way, and that information has always been unstable. Let's begin with the Internet and work backward in time.
The Library in the New Age by Robert Darnton, historian and Director of the Harvard Library. A wide-ranging overview of the status of libraries in the modern world, touching on such subjects as: journalist poker games, French people liking the smell of books, bibliography at Google, news dissemination in the 18th Century, book piracy and the different texts of Shakespeare. Some responses: Defending the Library of Google, The Future in the Past and Librarians Need a Better Apologetic.
posted by Kattullus on Jun 1, 2008 - 22 comments

Cabinet of Curiosities

Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities features strange and surprising things from the rare book and manuscript collections of the Beinecke Library in Yale, including death masks, the philosophy of origami, the real adventures of Tintin, famous people and their pets, and American transvestite magazines from the 1960s.
posted by verstegan on Apr 11, 2008 - 12 comments

I See Dead People's Books

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.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 14, 2008 - 22 comments

From Abati to Zoppio: historic Italian texts

OPAL Libri Antichi from the University of Turin offers over 3,000 books as free, open PDF files. Most of these date between AD 1500 and 1850 and most are in Italian, with many in French. They tend to be plain books with few illustrations. A few English titles are present, including David Hume's 1800 Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul; several texts by William Wycherley such as Love in a wood: or St. James's-Park (1735); and Richard Lassels 1686 work The voyage of Italy: or, a compleat journey through Italy with the characters of the peaple, and the description of the chief towns ... (volume 2) - an early travel guide. The PDFs are unsearchable plain scans. via this thread in the W4RF forum which contains hundreds of links to free online historical documents
posted by Rumple on Mar 10, 2008 - 3 comments

paper's hero: bill blackbeard

"Bill Blackbeard is a writer-editor and the founder-director of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, a comprehensive collection of comic strips and cartoon art from American newspapers. This major collection, consisting of 2.5 million clippings, tearsheets and comic sections, [spans] the years 1894 to 1996... [more inside]
posted by ethel on Feb 20, 2008 - 3 comments

Harvard boosts open access for faculty publications

Harvard's Faculty of Arts & Sciences voted unanimously last week to mandate "Open Access" to published articles - a first at a U.S. university, though the dean will apparently grant a waiver to anyone who wants to opt out. More to follow? Peter Suber's Open Access News is tracking reactions. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Feb 17, 2008 - 24 comments

Visit your friendly local zine archive!

Housing, preserving, and providing access to these small-scale, homemade rags that document some corner of [often do-it-yourself and punk rock] culture, zine archives can be found via independently operated centers in Georgia (physical library in construction), New Orleans (myspace link, www address out-of-commission), Florida, Minneapolis, Denver, Cambridge, Olympia, Chicago, Seattle and... [more inside]
posted by ethel on Jan 19, 2008 - 21 comments

Literacy and voting patterns

Library usage, newspaper circulation, and educational attainment are primary factors used by researchers to determine the 'most literate cities.' Minneapolis has regained top honors from Seattle, though both cities have ranked at the top since the original study in 2003. Other studies here and here show minor shifts in the intervening years. Most relevant now is that there seems to be a correlation between literacy and voting patterns. [more inside]
posted by Rain Man on Dec 28, 2007 - 42 comments

Tomb of tomes

An obscure 1911 British law requires a copy of every published book, journal, newspaper, patent, sound recording, magazine etc.. to be permanently archived in at least one of five libraries around the country. The British Library has the most complete collection and is currently adding about 12.5km of new shelf space a year of mostly unheard of and unwanted stuff. A new state-of-the-art warehouse is being constructed with 262 linear kilometers of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment. It is not a library, it is a warehouse for "things that no one wants." BLDG Blog ponders on what it all means.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 4, 2007 - 60 comments

Your book is in another castle...

The Library Arcade features one surprisingly entertaining flash game about pleasing library patrons, and one less entertaining, but probably more directly applicable, game about shelving. You can also try to discover the cause of a mysterious disease using your research skills in an arcade-like game [username: Tammy, password: Allgood]. More on the discussion of the role of games in libraries.
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 12, 2007 - 26 comments

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library

Almost 1700 Carnegie Libraries (wikipedia) were built in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, from Pennsylvania to California, from Florida to Oregon, and almost every other single place in between . (Scotland, too!) Some of them are still in use as libraries. Others aren't. This person is trying to collect post cards of as many of them as possible.
posted by dersins on Aug 23, 2007 - 23 comments

hot library smut

Sure, reading is great, but books are fun to look at, too
posted by nuclear_soup on Jun 21, 2007 - 37 comments

Enemies of Books!

Librarians as Enemies of Books
via the delightfully uptight Steve Mauer at BookMine.
posted by carsonb on Jun 7, 2007 - 66 comments

Public libraries with Online Content

Public libraries with Online Content: Residents of Missouri can get a free account at the Kansas City Public Library that will let them access digital databases including the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and downloadable audiobooks. Residents of the Empire State can get a digital library card at the New York Public Library to access a wealth of digital databases. (The rest of us can get a NYPL card for $100.) And the Boston Public Library will give digital access to most of the above, plus JSTOR and (sigh) the Early American Imprints collection of nearly everything printed in North America to 1820. Unfortunately you have to show up at a branch of the BPL and prove Massachusetts residence to get your card. Your turn--what other public libraries offer access to subscription online information databases?
posted by LarryC on May 24, 2007 - 31 comments

things found in books

Librarians and book collectors have many tales about ephemera left in books. While the legend of the bacon bookmark may be among the more pervasive reports of strange finds, a smallpox sample is probably the most bizarre. There are blogs and discussion boards that record other makeshift markers. Some readers prefer designated over spontaneous markers. Mirage Bookmark has an extensive collection of bookmark ephemera, with Bookmark of the Week and Bookmark Collector also offering noteworthy collections.
posted by madamjujujive on May 9, 2007 - 68 comments

Don't mind me, I'm dead.

What they didn't teach us in library school. An article written by a former public librarian in Salt Lake City, concerning the dilemmas of dealing with the homeless. [via alternet]
posted by hydatius on Apr 3, 2007 - 132 comments

Marlowe? Marlowe who?

Fairfax County Public Library system ditches the classics. If titles remain untouched for two years, they may be discarded--permanently. "We're being very ruthless," boasts library director Sam Clay.... Books by Charlotte Brontë, William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have recently been pulled.
posted by caddis on Jan 4, 2007 - 99 comments

hurf durf book eater

"Learn me to read, book lady.... Please if you learn me, I won't be lonesome any more. I broke my back last year. It wan't mended yet." A look at WPA Travelling Libraries. See also: Free traveling libraries (Wisconsin), Lighthouse libraries (Coastal U.S.), Blue Trunk Medical Libraries (Africa), Bus Libraries (China), a few miscellaneous mobile libraries, and this one from the 16th Century. And yes, there's some YouTube.
posted by jessamyn on Dec 16, 2006 - 10 comments

...515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” ...

Banned Books Week -- 25th anniversary year. How to deal with a challenge, what you can do generally, and of course, lists, and more lists. Captain Underpants is a more recent entry, i notice.
posted by amberglow on Sep 25, 2006 - 42 comments

Work abroad! See the world!

Help wanted: must be eligible for government secret clearance, and willing to forget everything you learned about intellectual freedom in library school.
posted by lovecrafty on Sep 22, 2006 - 15 comments

Which ones have happy endings?

Red-Hot and Filthy Library Smut. Scanned photos of the insides of some of the world's hottest, youngest and dirtiest libraries. Some of the best from the book by Candida Hofer.
posted by geoff. on Aug 22, 2006 - 40 comments

The Dewey Donation System

The Dewey Donation System is site that helps re-stock libraries devastated by Katrina, by posting wishlists of Louisiana and Mississippi libraries and letting anyone buy books for them. Cool looking site, to boot. [via mefi projects]
posted by mathowie on Jun 27, 2006 - 20 comments

Gaki No Tsukai

"...this clip of a Japanese show called Gaki No Tsukai stands out not for what it includes, but for what it lacks - talking and screaming. It takes place in a studio made up like a library, with the participants (including Kickboxing champion Ernesto Hoost) stifling their laughter, screams of pain and retching noises, just like any student did in their own junior high school library." [youtube video, text shamelessly lifted from wfmu]
posted by Armitage Shanks on May 18, 2006 - 25 comments

DSpace digital repositories

Well over 100 universities around the world have set up searchable digital repositories to make available journal articles, datasets, theses and other academic materials using the DSpace repository system. DSpace at MIT alone hosts over 11,000 theses. Also, the software running the sites is freely available and open source.
posted by cog_nate on Feb 22, 2006 - 12 comments

No Libraries Left Behind

"How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?" Good question. As noted in an earlier post, the EPA is one of the agencies that is facing cuts to finance BushCo's America. How? By shutting down its network of libraries and its electronic catalogue.
posted by 327.ca on Feb 17, 2006 - 16 comments

Radical Militant Librarians Buttons Selling Like Hot Cakes

While Not All librarians are "militant radicals" apparently we're not all your "stereotypical librarians" either. Incensed by the USA Patriot Act and irate over a memo between FBI agents, the American Library Association debuted a button at its annual midwinter meeting, which winds up in Texas today at the Convention Center. Boasting that its wearers are "Radical Militant Librarians," the button was one of the convention's biggest sellers.
posted by Blake on Jan 25, 2006 - 68 comments

GWOT in the Stacks

[TotalitarianismFilter] Don't be asking your college librarian for a copy of that Little Red Book to do a class assignment, or your parents might get a visit from the good folks at the Department of Homeland Security. More evidence that the Bush administration cannot restrain itself when granted enhanced surveillance powers.
posted by digaman on Dec 17, 2005 - 97 comments

Commonplace books

The paper analogue of the blog is not the diary, but rather the commonplace book. With the availability of relatively cheap paper beginning as early as the 14th century, people began to collect knowledge in commonplace books. Bits of quotes, reference materials, summaries of arguments, all contained in a handy bound volume. This merchant's commonplace, for example, dates from 1312 and contains hand-drawn diagrams of Venetian ships and descriptions of Venice's merchant culture. An English commonplace dating to the 15th century, the Book of Brome, contains poems, notations on memorial law, lists of expenses, and diary entries. John Locke devised a method for keeping a commonplace. Thomas Jefferson kept both legal and literary commonplaces, and owned a copy of Sir John Randolph's legal commonplace, published in 1680.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Nov 18, 2005 - 23 comments

FBI's Surveillance Grows by 100X

The FBI knows you're reading MetaFilter. [WashPost link]
posted by digaman on Nov 7, 2005 - 96 comments

First Patriot Act Library Records Enforcement

The FBI has issued the first demand for library records under the Patriot Act. The library in question is somewhere in Bridgeport, CT. The ACLU is seeking an emergency court order to lift the FBI gag order, but they've been instructed by the gag to keep the person whose library records being sought (i.e., their client) a secret. What the ACLU has revealed is that the client is a member of the American Library Association (clearly, a front for terrorism). If any MeFites are interested in digging up additional details on this and start making calls, here's a good place to start. What indeed would the FBI consider so threatening?
posted by ed on Aug 26, 2005 - 57 comments

Library ELF > Email and RSS Notifications for Your Libarary Material

Library Elf is a nifty free service that tracks all of your library books. It sends you emails and/or delivers RSS notifications when your books become due, shows you a list of all books you currently have out, and lets you know when that book you wanted is available. It supports multiple cards per account, so you can track all books for the whole household. Also, do everyone in your community a favor-- see if your library is listed and, if it isn't, request that they add it.
posted by juggernautco on Jun 25, 2005 - 35 comments

Brilliant

Book-readin' bad guys This makes me safer already, knowing the feds are spending their time checking on who's reading about Osama bin Laden. Just &*##$@! brilliant work.

Law enforcement officials have made at least 200 formal and informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001, according to a new study that adds grist to the growing debate in Congress over the government's counterterrorism powers. In some cases, agents used subpoenas or other formal demands to obtain information like lists of users checking out a book on Osama bin Laden. (snip)
posted by etaoin on Jun 20, 2005 - 68 comments

redlightgreen

This is good From RLG, an international not-for-profit organization of libraries, museums, and other research institutions, comes this incredibly useful research tool. Start with as vague a query as you like, it'll provide an ordered list of search limiters to help you zero in on the resources you need in a far more organic and rapid fashion than similar tools I've seen. An invaluable resource for students, librarians, and the curious.
posted by Grod on Apr 27, 2005 - 10 comments

The Amazing Sinking Library

Indiana University's main library is not sinking. Neither is the University of Waterloo campus library, but what about the University of Calgary's Mackimmie Library? If the University of Nottingham's Jubilee library is really sinking, readers better grab their snorkels. But guess what — The University of Nebraska at Omaha library is actually sinking, and the University of Las Vegas Lied Library came this close. This library sunk into an ancient burial site, and now it's haunted! Finally, is it art? Or does Melbourne, Australia have the greatest sinking library ever? See Snopes on one of the most persistent of urban legends — the amazing sinking library.
posted by taz on Mar 9, 2005 - 36 comments

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest

"For 500 generations they flourished until newcomers came... much was lost; much was devalued, but much was also hidden away in the hearts of the dispossessed." Much that is now available in image and in writing at the University of Washington's "American Indians of the Pacific Northwest" Collection.
posted by jeffmshaw on Dec 6, 2004 - 5 comments

Faceted hierarchy as killer app

Recently we've all been thinking about flat (or better, faceted) hierarchy web apps that organize email, photos, bookmarks, and general knowledge. The common threads are metadata (tags, categories, labels) that enrich relationships within and hence searchability of large collections. But besides marketroid hype (buzzwords, snark) and a computer that plays Twenty Questions what else can we do and study using faceted data structures: searchable culture references in The Simpsons, library science, computer filesystems, A.I. development, models for human memory and cognition?
posted by fatllama on Dec 5, 2004 - 46 comments

Top 1000 Library Books

"Libraries are rich, deep, resources for preserving cultural heritage and indispensable resources for the communities they serve.” OCLC, a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization, has compiled a list of the top 1000 titles owned or licensed by its 50,000+ member libraries. There are sublists by subject, a cross listing with a banned books list, and some fun facts, including the supremely annoying one that the highest listed living author is Jim Davis of Garfield fame (#18).
posted by donnagirl on Nov 30, 2004 - 16 comments

Clinton Presedential Mobile Home

From the vantage point of my office window, one might wonder: "Presedential Library, or world's largest mobile home?"
This part of the country hasn't seen modern architecture like this, Newsweek lamented....the Clinton presidential library is an architectural tour de force that introduces the Midsouth to a structure more significant than anything it's ever seen. ..but from the vantage point of the Interstate 30 bridge, to the average columnist or cross-country trucker, didn't it kind of look like a trailer?"

For Arkansas, the grand opening of the center — which houses the Clinton Library — will be one of the biggest events in the state's history. All former presidents and President Bush will attend.
posted by thisisdrew on Nov 5, 2004 - 25 comments

Collect Britain

Collect Britain - The British Library portal site for collections, themed tours and virtual exhibitions, including Literary Landscapes, and Lost Gardens (several pages use flash). [via monkeyfilter]
posted by jb on Oct 26, 2004 - 1 comment

Check (it) out

netLibrary. "We offer the only comprehensive approach to eBooks that integrates with the time-honored missions and methods of libraries and librarians." Want an account? If your library system is a participant, go to the site from on a library computer, create an account, and you can then log in remotely too. Interesting! [via soup du jour of the day.]
posted by mwhybark on Oct 6, 2004 - 12 comments

Connolly 100 updated

100 key books “Cyril Connolly chose 100 key books from England, France and America first published between 1880 and 1950 to represent ‘The Modern Movement’.”

This site asks: “How does the list look now, in the first decade of the 21st Century?” “an additional list of key books is needed for 1950 to 2000. What should be included and why? Does Connolly's selection criteria need adjusting [just England (when so many of the books are from Ireland), France and America!] and if so how should this be done, remembering that Connolly was very precise in delineating the list as Key books, not best books?”
posted by Grod on Sep 17, 2004 - 18 comments

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