Sunday, November 01, 2015

Links & Reviews

- Proquest unleashed a major storm of outrage this week, first canceling and then restoring the Renaissance Society of America's EEBO subscription. Ellen Wexler covered the story for the Chronicle, and her piece contains good comments by Bethany Nowviskie, among others. Wesley Raabe asked librarians or scholars to consider posting their institutional purchase costs, to provide some transparency in EEBO pricing. Mitch Fraas pointed out the Hathi Trust ESTC collection, which currently contains more than 10,000 scanned titles. John Overholt, writing on Medium, argues "Together, we can FrEEBO," maintaining—quite correctly—that even with the walkback, "we ought to take this as a wakeup call. There is literally no reason for these centuries-old books to be the monopoly of a commercial publisher who owns not a single one of them." Let's make it happen.

- In the NYTimes Magazine, Bee Wilson profiles food historian/librarian Barbara Ketcham Wheaton for her work on a database, "'The Cook's Oracle,' in which she intends to log every recipe, ingredient and technique in the vast majority of all the cookbooks published in America and Europe."

- Historian Lisa Jardine died this week at the age of 71. See the Telegraph obituary for a good overview of her life and work. I also recommend Jacqueline Rose's remembrance.

- Kenyon College's The Collegian covers the publication of Travis McDade's new e-book about the David Breithaupt thefts, "Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI, and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library."

- Another tranche of 50+ Rare Book School lectures (most from the early 1980s) are now online, at the RBS Lectures page or through your preferred podcast intake method (search "Rare Book School" in iTunes, Soundcloud, &c.).

- The Library of Congress has acquired 681 photographs of public libraries from the collections of Robert Dawson, who from 1994 to 2015 photographed more than 500 American public libraries.

- UVAToday highlights the digitization of selected volumes from the McGregor Library, housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

- Tim Carmody writes for Slate about the efforts of the NYPL Labs.

- The director of the Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature has reportedly been detained by Russian authorities on charges that "some of the library's materials are meant to 'incite hatred' toward the Russian people."

- From Jan Marsh in the TLS, "William Morris and the demise of printing."

- Erik Eckholm reported for the NYTimes about the Harvard Law School Library's creation of an open-access database of American case law (by guillotining bound volumes and scanning 40 million pages). Karen Beck pointed out that the books from the library's Historical and Special Collections were scanned separately using a non-destructive method.

- Biographer Claire Harman believes that an 1843 Charlotte Brontë sketch, thought to be of a fellow boarding school student, is actually Charlotte herself, drawn while looking into a mirror. She's included the finding in her new biography of Brontë, out this week in the UK.

- The November Rare Book Monthly is out, and it includes pieces by Bruce McKinney on "Collecting on a Budget," Michael Stillman on the discovery of that Billy the Kid photograph, and Susan Halas on bookseller responses to McKinney's "clearing the backlog" proposal from last month.

- Bookseller Ed Maggs seeks assistance with the identification of a quirky c.1900 library catalogue.

- The 2016 "Blooks Wall Calendar" is now available from About Blooks (exhibition coming up at the Grolier Club in late January).

- An 18th-century German secret society's cipher book has been cracked, revealing the text to be rules and initiation rites.

- Authors Bradford Morrow and Nick Basbanes will talk book collecting and forgery at Swann Auction Galleries on 5 November. Full details here from Rebecca Rego Barry at Fine Books Blog.

- There's a good overview of last week's APHA conference on the Princeton Graphic Arts Collection blog.

- NEDCC has announced the expansion of their audio preservation services.

- Alberto Manguel's NYTimes op/ed "Reinventing the Library" is worth a read, though I don't think it's full on the mark all the way through.

- From the Romantic Textualities blog, a post on methods for teaching James Macpherson's Ossian.

- The Copyright Office has granted limited DRM-breaking rights for additional electronic devices, Cory Doctorow reports for Boing Boing.

- Missed this last time: Susan Glover, former keeper of special collections at the Boston Public Library, has officially been fired, the Boston Globe reported. She was on administrative leave from 20 April through 1 October. Beth Prindle has been appointed acting keeper of special collections.


- Michael Eamon's Imprinting Britain; review by Keith Grant at Early Canadian History.

- Peter Ackroyd's Wilkie Collins; review by Sara Paretsky in the NYTimes.

- Stacy Schiff's The Witches; reviews by Jean Zimmerman for NPR, Jane Kamensky for the NYTimes (if you only read one, read this one), Alexandra Alter for the NYTimes.

- Shirley Jackson's Let Me Tell You; review by Danny Heitman in the CSM.

- Tom Lewis' Washington; review by Scott W. Berg in the WaPo.

- Umberto Eco's Numero Zero; review by David L. Ulin in the LATimes.

- Lisa Morton's Ghosts, Roger Luckhurst's Zombies, and Sharla Hutchinson and Rebecca A. Brown's Monsters and Monstrosities from the Fin de Siècle to the Millenium; review by Jonathan Barnes in the TLS.

- David Mitchell's Slade House; review by Anna Russell in the WSJ.

- Valerie Lester's Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World; review by Barbara Basbanes Richter at Fine Books Blog.

- Sarah Vowell's Lafayette in the Somewhat United States; review by Ethan Gilsdorf in the Boston Globe.

- John Palfrey's BiblioTech; review by James Gleick in the NYRB.

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