Sunday, July 27, 2008

Links & Reviews

- Raymond Scott has been quieter this week, but Paul Collins weighs in on that Sunday Mail article I mentioned last weekend (noting, correctly, that the newspaper was wrong in saying that the First Folio was printed on "goatskin" - it's on paper - and the statement Scott's Cuban contact that he gave Scott "an old copy of The Tempest" might not rule out the First Folio: it's the first play in the Folio, and since the general title page wasn't present ...).

- Robert Darnton's NYRB essay "The Library in the New Age" (which I discussed here) has prompted some letters in the NYRB, which are posted here with Darnton's reply. Jean-Claude Guédon (Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Montreal) notes the importance of the OCA and the key role that libraries and librarians should play in promoting open-source digitization projects. Darnton agrees in his reply, and then goes further: "[C]orporate interests, flawed copyright laws, unfair restrictions on fair use, and many other obstacles block the public's access to this public good. By removing those obstacles, the United States Congress can clear the way for a new phase in the democratization of knowledge. For my part, I think congressional action is required to align the digital landscape with the public good."

- Richard Cox is also headed to the coast of Maine for vacation - may he enjoy it as much as I did!

- Some two thousand books from the personal library of British P.M. William Gladstone sold at an Edinburgh auction for a total of more than £65,000. Another auction, with another 2,000 books, will be held in October.

- Off the Shelf notes that the BPL is hosting a small exhibit, "All the World's a Page: 400 Years of Shakespeare in Print" in the third-floor rare book room. The show runs through 30 September, and I'll have to go by soon and see it.

- From BibliOdyssey, frogs and their various constituent parts from August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof's Historia Naturalis Ranarum Nostratium (1753-1758), and some "after Catesby" natural history illustrations by G. Edwards.

- In the TLS, a profile of the British publisher Collins' "New Naturalist" series.

- For The Guardian, Andrew Dalby comments on the best books about lost and threatened languages. His own latest book is Language in Danger.

- In the NYTimes, the first of a projected series of articles on "how the Internet and other technological and social forces are changing the way people read." This seems to be the in-vogue debate of the summer.

- From the Bangor Daily News this week, horrifying news that the library of Swan's Island, Maine burned to the ground after a lightning strike. "Candis Joyce, the library’s director, said the library contained more than 10,000 books. Historical items included records from local quarries, weather data and ferry logs, she said." All concerned all the library the center of their community, and plans are to rebuild and reconstitute as soon as possible. Awfully sad to hear of this, but particularly so where clearly the library was a really important part of peoples' lives.

- In The Times, Alex Mostrous reports on the unveiling of a digital version of the Codex Sinaiticus, which is projected for completion by next year.


- Ophelia Field's The Kit-Cat Club: Friends Who Imagined a Nation is reviewed by Peter Ackroyd in The Times, Jonathan Keates in The Telegraph, and Jane Stephenson in The Observer. Sounds like a good one, I wonder if it'll be published on this side of the Pond.