Sunday, February 13, 2011

Links & Reviews

- The Massachusetts Archives has recovered a 1775 Joseph Warren letter probably stolen decades ago. It had ended up in the James S. Copley library, and when archivists noticed the listing in the auction catalog, they arranged to purchase the letter for $8,000. J.L. Bell notes that the postscript, instead of referencing Henry Knox as suggested in many of the news articles, probably refers to "General Thomas" (Dr. John Thomas, commanding the troops at Roxbury when Warren wrote).

- More from Ed Pettit on the potential closure of the Poe House in Baltimore. If you haven't yet, make sure you sign the petition calling for a restoration of funding.

- New carbon-dating tests suggest the mysterious Voynich Manuscript was written on parchment dating from ~1404-1438, about a hundred years earlier than previously thought. More from the Daily Mail.

- Lots of wonderfully bookish things going on on the West Coast this week. Rebecca Rego Barry has dispatches from the California Book Fair (Day 1, Day 2); Ian Kahn's had a series of posts covering the Pasadena Book Fair, the CODEX Foundation Symposium, and the CA Book Fair in San Francisco (start here, then go here and here); Richard Minsky posted about CODEX on the FB&C blog (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4); and Chris Lowenstein has another Pasadena report here.

- Whitney Trettien did a great job with the Google/Bing search kerfuffle, noting that publishers of dictionaries, maps, and other reference books have often done things similar to what Google did in order to identify copyright thieves.

- Bob Fleck at Oak Knoll has a fascinating post about the process he went through to reprice all of his books after running them through vialibri to find out today's "going rate."

- The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was profiled in the WSJ this week. In other Egypt news, reports this week indicated that thefts from the Egyptian Museum may have been worse than previously reported.

- Another fond remembrance of Brian Jacques, from Alison Flood in the Guardian.

- The National Library of Finland has launched a new game-based crowdsourcing effort for text verification of its digitized newspapers and periodicals.

- Also on the crowdsourcing front, the Transcribe Bentham project has added 1,200 more documents to the queue for transcription.

- Harvard University has joined the HathiTrust.

- Sad news out of Portland, OR this week, where Powell's announced layoffs of 31 employees.

- New blog! Antipodean Footnotes, from Anthony Tedeschi in Dunedin, NZ. Link added. [h/t @john_overholt]

- From the Chronicle, a report on how e-books without page numbers were causing scholars headaches. A day later, Amazon announced that an upgrade to its Kindle software will give readers a choice between "real" page numbers and its location numbers.

- An interesting new database: London Lives: 1690-1800. Searchable transcriptions of some public records for the period. [h/t @Boston1775]

Reviews

- Ben Tarnoff's Moneymakers; reviews by Michael Washburn in the NYTimes and Carolyn See in the WaPo.

- Andrea Wulf's The Founding Gardeners; review by Jonathan Bate in the Telegraph.

- Maya Jasanoff's Liberty's Exiles; reviews by John MacKenzie in the Scotsman; Michael Kenney in the Boston Globe, and Brendan Simms in the WSJ.

- A whole slew of recent books about the King James Bible's 400th anniversay; review by Arnold Hunt in the TLS.

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