Sunday, April 26, 2009

Links & Reviews

- The World Digital Library went live this week, with 1170 items from 25 institutions. I spent some time last night browsing the site, and like it quite well. Among the items I found there was Richard Mather's copy of the Bay Psalm Book (via the John Carter Brown Library). I've added the link to the scan to the book's LT record.

- From the University of Barcelona, a revamped online database of printers' devices, containing 2182 images from 1372 printers. Great for browsing!

- News broke this week of a fun Ben Franklin find: Alan Houston has discovered in the BL a cache of long-lost copies of Franklin letters from the mid-1750s, concerning Braddock's expedition into Pennsylvania, among other things. The letters, copied by Thomas Birch, will be published in April's WMQ. Coverage also from the Washington Post. I know exactly the feeling Houston's talking about - it's pretty amazing.

- In the WSJ, Stephen Marche writes about missing literary works (like Shakespeare's 'Cardenio') and why they tantalize us.

- OCLC's making another power-grab. Tim has the details, and the follow-up, including links to some really good Library Journal pieces on the subject. Some really questionable stuff going on over there, I have to say.

- Brian Cassidy's trying out a new experiment on Twitter: cheepreads. Check it out.

- Some movement in the Rolland Comstock case this week: lawyers for Comstock's ex-wife Roberta have filed a motion to preserve a collection of photographs which apparently were an issue between the Comstocks prior to Mr. Comstock's murder in 2007. The motion, part of a wrongful-death suit against Roberta Comstock filed by her daughter Faith Stocker, contends that the photos "constitute important potential evidence in this matter and should not be destroyed as they potentially provide evidence of possible alternative motives relating to the death of Rolland Comstock." The contents of these photographs is unknown.

- The Internet Archive has jumped into the Google Books settlement, telling the judge charged with approving the settlement that the deal would compromise IA's ability to compete with Google. Full letter here.

- Via LibraryJuice, a revealing Chronicle story about the key question these days of what happens to digital archives when they change owners. Just another scary element of our brave new world, I fear.

- At McSweeney's, Robert Lanham offers up an "Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview." Scary, but hilarious.

- Steven Johnson has an essay extolling the virtues of e-books in the WSJ; the New Yorker's Thessaly La Force says not so fast. Of course I don't buy the "e-books won't work because they're not pretty" argument either ... if that becomes our only line of defense, we lose.

- Amazon has strengthened its requirements for selling "collectible" books. But it looks like their commission fees for high-end items may be problematic.

- The Simpson sale in New Zealand was a big success, netting some $470,000 (NZ).

- An online exhibit of fore-edge paintings at the BPL. [h/t Bygone Books Blog]

- Mary's posted some updates at the Adams Papers Catalog blog this week - lots of proofreading going on up there these days!


- At Reading Archives, Richard Cox reviews Anthony Grafton's new book, Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West. Can't wait to read this one myself, actually.

- Ingrid Rowland reviews Bruce Redford's Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England for the NYRB.

- Also in the NYRB, Hugh Eakin reviews two new books on the antiquities trade: James Cuno's Who Owns Antiquity? and a collection of essays (also edited by Cuno), Whose Culture?

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