Sunday, March 02, 2008

Links & Reviews

- The Council on Library and Information Resources has released a white paper on "Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization," written by Ola Rieger, interim assistant university librarian for digital library and information technologies at the Cornell University Library. There is an executive summary here, and the full report is available in PDF here. Rieger's paper "describes four large-scale projects—Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project—and their digitization strategies. It then discusses a range of issues affecting the stewardship of the digital collections they create: selection, quality in content creation, technical infrastructure, and organizational infrastructure. The paper also attempts to foresee the likely impacts of large-scale digitization on book collections." Recommended reading, with some excellent recommendations that libraries ought to take into account as we move forward.

- In the Guardian, Claire Tomalin has a delightful and fascinating essay on the staying power of John Milton's poetry.

- Laura at bookn3rd comments on my post about personal bookshelves, adding her thoughts on unread books and storage while providing a fun clip from "Black Books."

- fade theory notes a moving sale at the New York Review of Books. A nice chance to pick up a copy of Robert Kirk's Secret Commonwealth (my review here) or some other goodies.

- Paul Collins adds a few suggestions to the Oddest Book of the Year contest (remember, you have a few more weeks to vote in the poll for that).

- Shannon Bowen at the University of Wyoming is soliciting responses from "historians, educators, and other researchers" to a survey regarding "the effectiveness of radical new methods for making archival resources available to scholars and the public."

- Scholar/bibliography Michael Pollak (1918-2008) has died. His obituary is posted here.

- At Slate, Witold But the work that really drew me in was trying to save articles from deletion. This became my chosen mission. ... I stopped hearing what my family was saying to me—for about two weeks I all but disappeared into my screen, trying to salvage brief, sometimes overly promotional but nevertheless worthy biographies by recasting them in neutral language, and by hastily scouring newspaper databases and Google Books for references that would bulk up their notability quotient." He says he got over the compulsion, but his concluding paragraph puts that in doubt: "Someone recently proposed a Wikimorgue—a bin of broken dreams where all rejects could still be read, as long as they weren't libelous or otherwise illegal. Like other middens, it would have much to tell us over time. We could call it the Deletopedia." Some things never change. Also see this post from The Millions for more on Baker's essay and Wiki-activity.
Well, why don't you mix the useful with the pleasurable? That is, say or do what you like but why not make some money on the damn thing?" In short, what's going to happen remains entirely unclear.

- Many outlets have reported this week on the discovery and reconstruction of a partly-burned diary documenting life in the Warsaw ghetto from the beginning of 1943 through mid-1944.
- Roger Gaskell has posted a new catalog [PDF] of stock and new acquisitions. It includes a copy of Stelluti's 1630 Persio tradotto in verso sciolto e dichiarato, with "the first illustration made with the use of a microscope in a printed book," as well as many other fascinating works. A nice production.


- Over at Critical Mass, Mary Ann Gwin reviews Daniel Walker Howe's What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle award. There are also links at the end of Gwin's post to other reviews of Howe's book.

- Ed Pettit
reviews a new edition of Robert Mongomery Bird's Sheppard Lee, Written By Himself for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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