Sunday, May 17, 2009

Links & Reviews

- New blogs added to the sidebar (and to my Google Reader): Travels in Hypercollecting, and the National Heritage Museum blog. I always appreciate knowing of new (or new to me) blogs - good stuff!

- In The Times, Nicholas Clee muses on the future of the book (or, more particularly, the shop trying to sell new books in an age of Amazon and discounters). He's unenthused by the new Espresso Book Machine at Blackwell's, calling it "an oversized photocopier with extra bits."

- Jessamyn West notes with great glee (rightly so) the news that Cornell has removed restrictions on its public doman reproductions. The full guidelines are here.

- Jim Watts passes along a really fascinating WSJ piece on digitizing ancient manuscripts.

- Another big biblio-news story out this week was word that journal mega-publisher Elsevir has admitted "a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship." The Progressive Librarians Guild weighs in, saying in part "it is the responsibility of librarians and their organizations to expose the conspiracy between Merck and Elsevier to distort medical research and subvert the peer review process. If it is not the responsibility of information professionals, what does it mean to say that we are advocates for our user-communities?" They're absolutely right. [h/t Library Juice]

- Via Laura, a fantastic smackdown of Arianna Huffington at the Got Medieval blog. She's a bit confused about book history, it seems.

- Applications for the 2009 New Scholars Program at the Bibliographical Society of America are due 31 July.

- In a series of posts [starting here] at Boston 1775 this week, author Ray Raphael and J.L. Bell examine the question of which individuals can most productively and usefully followed through the Revolutionary period. A good discussion, with some very interesting possibilities.

- Nick Basbanes weighs in on the USF Flap, saying in part "You know you're in trouble when you read a quote like this: 'Father Privett also questioned how many students visit the Rare Book Room.' When an administrator starts to justify his thinking by suggesting that special collections are a luxury that nobody is using, guess what, you're already on the slippery slope."

- Colin Nicolson's first volume of The Papers of Sir Francis Bernard, covering 1759-1763, will be officially launched on Thursday, 21 May at the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. [h/t Boston 1775]

- Rick Ring reprints a 1940 Lawrence Wroth review of T.J. Holmes' bibliography of the works of Cotton Mather (and of his earlier bibliography of Increase). Wroth: "It has been the intention of this review to imply that the Holmes bibliographies of Increase and Cotton Mather are not far from being the chief monuments of American bibliography. Perhaps it is better that the words should be said forthrightly. Our admiration for the knowledge, skill and noble industry of Mr. Holmes is unbounded." And the works have stood the test of time; I still use Holmes on a fairly regular basis.

- Paul Collins finds the collections of a recreated Victorian village, for sale online.

- In the NYTimes, Paul Dizikes has an essay about the 2001 return of a Darwin first edition to the BPL after 80 years.

- UMass Amherst will digitize some 100,00 items from its W.E.B. Du Bois collection thanks in part to a $200,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation. [h/t C&RL News]


- David O. Stewart's Impeached is reviewed by Bruce Kucklick in the WaPo.

In the Times, Phil Baker reviews Reif Larson's The Selected Words of T.S. Spivet.

- Michael Caines reviews a new historical novel, Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, which takes as its main character Thomas Cromwell, sometime chief minister and fixer for Henry VIII.

- In the CSM, a Kevin Harnett reviews a new compilation volume of Edmund S. Morgan's works, American Heroes.

- One I missed last weekend: in the LATimes, Carmela Ciuraru reviews Iain Pears' Stone's Fall.

- In the WSJ, Charles Harrington Elster reviews John Sutherland's Curiosities of Literature, which sounds like it fails potential but it failed Mr. Elster's smell test for certain textual deficiencies (among them, he says, a "torrent of typos"): "Did some angry computer, intent on biblioclasm, assault the manuscript just before publication? This is one literary mystery, I suspect, that will never be solved."