Sunday, February 03, 2013

Links & Reviews

I've been reorganizing my books this weekend, after finding myself terribly frustrated when I couldn't immediately find a volume I wanted. Lots of moving and re-ordering and getting distracted by things I'd forgotten I had (and thus, great fun!).

- Two new arrests in the de Caro thefts: Bologna-based bookbinder has been arrested, charged with obscuring ownership marks in the books stolen from the Girolamini library. A man who acted as go-between for the thieves and the buyers of stolen books was also arrested.

- From Garrett Scott at Bibliophagist, a great ~1880 broadside from a Croyden flat earth group offering a £1,000 prize for anyone who could offer a "public and practical defence" of Newton's theory of gravity.

- The Boston Public Library has received an anonymous $500,000 gift to fund cataloging and conservation of its rare book collection.

- In the Chronicle this week, Geoffrey Nunberg looks back at the Radcliffe Take Note conference last November.

- Early this week some incredibly disturbing reports emerged from the Malian city of Timbuktu, where thousands of Arabic manuscripts were believed destroyed when retreating Islamist militants set fire to the Ahmed Baba library. As the week went on, the news improved: although the library building was damaged, the vast majority of the manuscripts seem to have been saved. More reports: Time, Simon Tanner, The Atlantic, The New Yorker.

- From Eleanor Shevlin at EMOB, "Digital Tools: Image Matching within Printed Materials."

- Kathryn Gucer guest-posts at The Collation on the Folger Library's impressive collection of mazarinades.

- Norman Foster's plans for the NYPL central branch got panned by Michael Kimmelman in the NYTimes this week.

- Over at Sarah's Books, a visit to an (unnamed) used bookstore where she found some great books and listened to the clerk's "familiar tales of woe."

- The Litchfield, CT Historical Society has launched a fantastic new database of those who attended Tapping Reeve's law school and Sarah Pierce's female academy.

- The Vatican Apostolic Library has uploaded the first 256 manuscripts of some 80,000 they plan to eventually digitize.

- Rhode Island marks 350 years of its colonial charter this year. A new website includes some interesting contextual essays.

- Emma Rothschild's book The Inner Life of Empires now has a very nice online complement, with maps, glossaries, notes and more.

- Alexis Madrigal writes in The Atlantic on Defoe's plague writings as a way to help us understand new media (newspapers were the "next big thing" right then).

- In Latham's Quarterly, Laurent Merceron writes on ergot poisoning.

- The Folger's Heather Wolfe, in New Zealand to teach at Dunedin Rare Book Summer School, spoke to Radio New Zealand about paleography. Listen here.

- A German auction house posted images of a poisons cabinet disguised as a book, which sold for 5,200 Euros.

- Via the new Slate history blog, the N-YHS looks back at the time when a committee tried to persuade the Society to back a move to change the country's name.

- Michael Dirda has posted his final American Scholar column (sadly).

- By far the most chuckled-about phrase in the bibliotwitterverse this week appeared in Jeffrey Rotter's Atlantic Cities post on data visualization in 19th-century census charts (which is quite interesting). The following sentence caused more than a few of us to think "say what, now?" when we read it: "While researching the spread of Chinatowns in New York City, he discovered a trove of maps and charts in a musty backroom of the Library of Congress web site" [italics are mine].


- Michael Dean's I, Hogarth; review by Andrea Wulf in the NYTimes.

- Christoph Irmscher's Louis Agassiz; review by Rebecca Stott in the NYTimes.

- Susan Brigden's Thomas Wyatt; review by Alastair Fowler in the TLS.

- Roseanne Montillo's The Lady and Her Monsters; review by Deborah Blum in the NYTimes.

- Jenny Uglow's The Pinecone; review by Megan Marshall in the NYTimes.


~*sim*~ said...

ooh, organizing books! what kinds of schemes/themes are you following in putting things on the shelves?

and, thanks for the link to heather's radio interview. makes me proud to have her on my committee and to have learned paleography from her :-)

JBD said...

Oh goodness, it's quite a project! The sub-sections I've pulled out/organized so far include Bermuda/Caribbeana books and other things that I've needed for reference recently; books on book thefts/forgeries/hoaxes; bibliographical series (Studies in Bib, the Oak Knoll series, &c.); all the multivolume book-history sets; college/university histories; auction catalogs; all the Liberty Fund Natural Law & Enlightenment Classics books and a bunch of other series things that had been scattered throughout. Next it'll be separating out all the rest of the "books on books" from the remainder of the herd and then sub-organizing those (just how I'll do that, TBD). Then I'll be able to start organizing the rest of everything else. It's a process :-)