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Oxford University Press Celebrates National Library Week

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]
posted by jedicus on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

 

The Book, the Medium and the Library.

Medium has made available the first book-length content (perhaps) on its writing platform. Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World by R. David Lankes is cited as a 164 minute read. For works of this length, Medium offer a feature for bookmarking where you have read to. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 20, 2014 - 3 comments

Remember, if approached by a librarian, keep still. Do not run away.

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]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 26, 2013 - 13 comments

It's open just two hours a day, and only in the summer

For you to borrow, some libraries have to go begging: NPR story about public library funding, featuring MeFi's own jessamyn. (previously)
posted by mark7570 on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

Here we glimpse a future in which all mysteries are solved

Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Jun 8, 2013 - 5 comments

The Last of the Great Chained Libraries

"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."
posted by brundlefly on May 18, 2013 - 18 comments

Digital Public Library of America launches their beta today

Today at noon eastern time, the Digital Public Library of America launched its beta website... The Digital Public Library of America, having worked since 2010 to try and find ways to organize and group an array of disparate digital resources, finally launches it's beta today. While it's come under some criticism from parts of the library community, the DPLA is moving forward by providing both access to resources and an API upon which existing libraries can build their own tools. Previously on the blue.
posted by griffey on Apr 18, 2013 - 15 comments

Public Libraries: Stealing Authors' Paychecks?

"We can't give everything away under the public purse. Books are part of the entertainment industry. Literature has been something elite, but it is not any more. This is not the Roman empire, where we give away free bread and circuses to the masses."
UK children's author Terry Deary (Horrible Histories series) on Britain's public libraries. Neil Gaiman and others respond.
posted by Rykey on Feb 22, 2013 - 104 comments

"Some remarkable Books, Antiquities, Pictures and Rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living."

Musæum Clausum is a catalog of invented books, pictures and antiquities written by 17th Century Englishman Sir Thomas Browne. It is a fantastical and witty meditation on the ravages of time on literature and other works of man. The Musæum Clausum is perhaps the finest example of the invented, or invisible, library, a genre which seems to have originated with Rabelais. The genre has been of special interest to Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog (older posts), where he has written about the invisible libraries of writers such as Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, H. P. Lovecraft and invisible libraries in video games. The natural medium for invisible libraries might be pictures, and Musæum Clausum inspired a suite of etchings by Erik Desmazieres.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 31, 2012 - 30 comments

Montaigne's Library

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.
posted by Iridic on Oct 11, 2012 - 22 comments

The Preserved Silent Animation project, part of the UCLA Digital Library Program

"Although best-known for its restoration of feature films, UCLA Film & Television Archive has been preserving animated films for more than three decades, with over one hundred titles to its credit. The short subjects, trailers, and promotional films presented here provide a representative sampling of that work. They have been preserved from best-surviving and sole-surviving 35mm nitrate and 16mm prints, showcasing many forms of animation spanning the entire silent film era." The UCLA Preserved Silent Animation project, one of over 80 collections made available through the UCLA Digital Library Program.
posted by cog_nate on Aug 30, 2012 - 4 comments

The Library of Utopia

"Despite the challenges it faces, the Digital Public Library of America has an enthusiastic corps of volunteers and some generous contributors. It seems likely that by this time next year, it will have reached its first milestone and begun operating a metadata exchange of some sort. But what happens after that? Will the library be able to extend the scope of its collection beyond the early years of the last century? Will it be able to offer services that spark the interest of the public? If the DPLA is nothing more than plumbing, the project will have failed to live up to its grand name and its even grander promise."
posted by davidjmcgee on Jun 7, 2012 - 10 comments

Melvil Dewey Rap

Hi! My name is Melvil Dewey! Nice to meetcha, how you doing? (SLYT). Meet the International Library Hip Hop Superstar and Library Journal Mover and Shaker (literally). 597.3 - SHARKS!
posted by carter on May 3, 2012 - 5 comments

An Institution in Transition

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.
posted by codacorolla on Dec 5, 2011 - 40 comments

Library Science - Exhibition at New Haven Libraries

Library Science 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.
posted by carter on Nov 15, 2011 - 2 comments

Why should I have to wait for a damn robot to get me my book?

"Librarians that are arguing and lobbying for clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending library as warehouse as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario." Though not everything a library collects is a scannable book or document. [more inside]
posted by cashman on May 16, 2011 - 62 comments

As long as they're vertical, it's all right.

It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
posted by shakespeherian on May 3, 2011 - 37 comments

This book goes there, that book goes there

ShelvAr: an augmented reality app for shelf-reading library stacks, from Miami University Augmented Reality Research Group (MU ARRG!).
posted by steef on Apr 19, 2011 - 25 comments

Mediaeval Arabic Manuscripts in Private Libraries in Mauritania

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.
posted by maiamaia on Jul 27, 2010 - 13 comments

Of course you realize this means war!

Libraries and commercial publishers have struggled with each other over the skyrocketing costs of academic journals for years. As costs have increased more rapidly than library budgets, the libraries have had to cut journal subscriptions and other acquisitions. The recent recession has necessitated further cuts. Against this backdrop, Nature Publishing Group told the University of California that next year subscription prices would increase 400 percent, with the average annual cost of a journal increasing to $17,479. UC Libraries fought back with a combative letter to UC faculty suggesting that faculty should consider boycotting the journals, and cease submitting or reviewing articles for these journals. NPG responds, saying that UC currently pays unfairly low rates, and that "individual scientists, both within and outside of California are already suffering as a result of [UC]'s unwarranted actions."
posted by grouse on Jun 10, 2010 - 62 comments

The first attempt at organizing all the world's information

Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire may sound like a dry website, but its subject and content is fascinating. In the 7th Century BC King Assurbanipal of Assyria built a library that was to contain all the world's knowledge. Destroyed by the Medes in 612 BC, the library was not rediscovered until the 1840s. 28000 clay tablets written in Akkadian have been found. 1600 can be read online, all translated into English. It's a somewhat overwhelming amount, but there's a lovely highlights section, which even includes pictures of the pillow-shaped writing tablets. For a thorough overview, you can listen to the In Our Time episode about the Library of Nineveh. The most famous text to have been found in Nineveh is undoubtedly the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story of its decipherment and the controversies that ensued, is interesting in its own right.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 25, 2010 - 24 comments

Stolen Descartes letter found at Haverford by Dutch scholar's online detective work

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.
posted by LobsterMitten on Feb 26, 2010 - 21 comments

Book of the Month

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.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 18, 2009 - 6 comments

Constipation is murder! and other gems from early advertising of the West

The University of Washington Library's Early Advertising of the West, 1867-1918. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Aug 12, 2009 - 24 comments

DON'T YOU KNOW THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM?

The Rangeview Library District in Adams County, Colorado, has become the first library system in the US to drop the Dewey Decimial System in favor an in-house, word-based cataloging system. Termed "WordThink", the replacement is based on BISAC, "a retail-based standard for organizing materials[, s]imilar to what you might see in a bookstore." Library Journal's treatment of the switch.
posted by 7segment on Jun 8, 2009 - 48 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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, it worked in Hicksville

A guide for librarians wishing to integrate comic books into their regular holdings for young adults, and the case for it. Via Linkfilter.
posted by Hildago on May 26, 2004 - 13 comments

Celtic Digital Library

Celtic Digital Library.
posted by hama7 on Apr 30, 2004 - 3 comments

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web. Many links to interesting sites - African liberation movement posters, Charles Babbage, Braniff Airways history, daily life in Sierra Leone 1936-37, the photography of Eamon Melaugh, Frank & Marshall College from the air, all the way through to ZYX: a selection of ABC books. Via thinking while typing.
posted by plep on Mar 10, 2004 - 2 comments

Marginalia and Other Crimes

Marginalia and Other Crimes: I’ve always had an intense hatred for people that deface books, and if they're my books, the intensity is doubled. But imagine the atrocities the average librarian faces every day... Witness this display of damaged and defiled books from the Cambridge University library, with attached sarcastic commentary. The horror! Not for the squeamish.
posted by chrisgregory on Jan 8, 2004 - 48 comments

Gut The Libraries

Interesting Column by Tim Whitaker, editor at Philadelphia Weekly, who "kind of jests" someone should order the main branch of the Free Library at 19th and Vine streets gutted, all the passé books written by the long since dead and decayed--books that nobody looks at anyway, thrown out, and replaced with computers.
This could be done over a long weekend, and the new Free Workstation Center of Philadelphia would open. Thousands of city residents who'd been priced out of the Information Revolution for well over a decade would rush to the free computers to experience the online rush that comes with access to the WWW.
He says Amazon's new service "search inside the book" is the first glimpse of a full-bore revolution in the way research will be conducted and books will be distributed in the future that spells the death of libraries.
He bounced this idea off of Steven Levy, a Philadelphia native who writes about technology for Newsweek, and he says "It's not that crazy, The future of libraries is a hot topic with librarians all over the country."
"Once the Web has become a full-service digital archive of the whole wide written word, it'll only be a quick innovation or two before we'll have the technology to order and bind books on our own home book-printing systems. Ebooks will finally become reality. Libraries will become mini-museums, where old books are kept under glass, relics of the pre-"inside the book" revolutionary age."
posted by Blake on Nov 20, 2003 - 22 comments

One hell of an overdue fine

So, we all know the Patriot Act allows for the monitoring of library and computer usage. Big deal, right? I mean how many people can they watch and what are the odds?

Maybe not as good (or bad, depending on your view) as you might think,"A St. John’s College Library visit by a former public defender was abruptly interrupted February 13 when city police officers arrested him about 9 p.m. at the computer terminal he was using, handcuffed him, and brought him to the Santa Fe, New Mexico, police station for questioning by Secret Service agents from Albuquerque."
posted by cedar on Feb 26, 2003 - 45 comments

Sell The Public Libraries

Sell The Public Libraries Llewellyn says many public libraries have been a disgrace for decades, and, like most public institutions, they are architectural monstrosities.
"They have terrible hours, which they blame on underfunding. Their selection is often severely limited, vacillating between being out of date and carrying only the latest, tackiest bestsellers. Others have gradually purged all books that offer ideas the ruling regime rejects."
It gets MUCH worse! Past threads have shown the average Mefite to be a fan of public libraries, this guy, is to say the least, not.
posted by Blake on Aug 24, 2002 - 48 comments

Want to cut taxes? Eliminate libraries.

Want to cut taxes? Eliminate libraries. NY Times story (yeah, yeah, reg required, sorry) talks about a ballot initiative in Stevens County, Washington that may totally eliminate its libraries. (more inside...)
posted by PeteyStock on Aug 20, 2002 - 67 comments

Can Dumbing Down Save Our Libraries?

Can Dumbing Down Save Our Libraries?
An intersting story from The Sunday Herald that says libraries are facing a stark choice: modernize or die.
The author say we just can't win, if we put in a bank of computers we are accused of dumbing things down, if we demand silence in the reading rooms and purchase books that aren't "popular" we find ourselves charged with elitism.
He says the public library has an altruistic purpose of making knowledge freely available through the printed word. The trouble is that those high principles were undermined by the librarians themselves. Facing a revolution in communications, they tried to become all things to all people.
He focuses on England, but I think many of these issues are international. Are public libraries out of date?
posted by Blake on Aug 12, 2002 - 26 comments

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