Saturday, October 13, 2001

Reinette F. Jones' "African-American Librarians in Kentucky":

Kentucky was the first North American state to establish a free public library exclusively for African Americans. The library, located in Louisville, Kentucky, was managed by Thomas Fountain Blue, the first African American to manage a public library. The establishing of the Colored Library and Thomas Fountain Blue's Apprentice Training Program was the beginning of librarianship and libraries for African Americans in Kentucky.

Much of the recorded history of the Kentucky African American librarian centers around Thomas Fountain Blue and the Louisville Free Public Library. Few librarians know of this history or its continued path; therefore it will be told here, again. The history of Kentucky's African American librarians is not a separate history, nor is it a remaking of history. Rather it is a part of the history of Kentucky and all its librarians.

More. Thanks to the University of Kentucky's World Wide Web Subject Catalog.

New to me - ODLIS: Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science. An entry:

half uncial
The last stage of the Roman period in the development of Latin calligraphic handwriting (5th to 9th centuries), identified with the English scholar Alcuin of the palace school of Charlemagne, in which nearly all the letters were based on minuscule forms. Compare with uncial.

From Western Connecticut State University.
Ready, 'Net, Go! Archival Internet Resources:

This service is an archival "meta index," or index of archival indexes. That is, from here we refer you to the major indexes, lists, and databases of archival resources. From them you can link to almost every archives and archival resource in the metaverse.

I just received Andrew Glenn Kirk's The American Environmental Movement and the Conservation Library (University of Kansas, 2001) as a gift (thanks Sarah :)

Denver's Conservation Library was established in 1960 as a repository for environmental and conservation documents. In chronicling its history, Andrew Kirk also traces the cultural history of American environmentalism as viewed through the lens of this unique institution. He tells how this library created by an older generation of technophobic men evolved into a cutting-edge laboratory for alternative technology research run by young women, mirroring tumultuous changes in American culture and social movements over the past four decades.

If anyone is interested in putting together an informal email book club around this title, drop me a line.

Friday, October 12, 2001

The indefatigable Bernie Sloan has begun compiling a bibliography on the digital reference interview.
Retired journalist John Richards has been awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in Literature for his campaign to save the apostrophe:

A British man who launched a campaign to save the apostrophe has been awarded an Ig Nobel Prize. The Ig Nobels, an annual spoof on the Nobel Prizes, recognise some of the more improbable contributions to research and discovery.

John Richards . . . was honoured for his "efforts to protect, promote and defend the differences between plural and possessive".

Mr Richards scours shops and businesses in his home town of Boston, Lincolnshire, in search of missing and misplaced apostrophes. His newly-formed Apostrophe Protection Society has so far persuaded the local library to remove offending punctuation from its "CD's" sign.

More from the BBC. Lawrence W. Sherman took the prize in psychology for his paper "An Ecological Study of Glee in Small Groups of Preschool Children".

Video of ethnobotanist James A. Duke's recent Library of Congress lecture on herbal medicine,"A Tale of Two Gardens."
New Zealand's Author's Fund is in trouble:

The Government was accused yesterday of dallying over a report on the Authors' Fund, which compensates writers for having their books held free in public libraries. Writer Fiona Kidman recently resigned from Creative New Zealand in protest over problems with the authors' fund.

Green MP Sue Bradford said the Government's lack of action over the fund was making it impossible for New Zealand writers to make a living. "The Authors' Fund has been severely neglected over the years and is now basically in crisis," she said.

More from The New Zealand Herald

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Fluxus games at MASS MOCA:

First organized in the early 1960s by the artist and graphic designer George Maciunas, Fluxus developed into a loose and diverse association of artists with similar ideas about art and its place in society. Fluxus artists drew upon Dada, Duchamp's readymades, Surrealism, Futurism, and the music of both John Cage and Spike Jones to champion everyday actions and experiences as just as meaningful as "high" art. For Fluxus artists, play undermined the seriousness of high art in its humor and irreverence and encouraged participants to celebrate everyday actions instead of static, valuable art objects. Since games can be humorous, invite physical or mental participation, and belong to the realm of popular or low art rather than high art, they were a perfect match for Fluxus. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Fluxus artists made countless games, from larger, multiple-player events to smaller, more individualized objects. This exhibition presents over seventy Fluxus games and game ephemera by seventeen artists gathered together for the first time.


The Swarthmore College Library Peace Collection:

The Peace Collection was established in 1930, when Jane Addams of Hull House in Chicago donated her papers and books relating to peace and social justice to Swarthmore College. Since that time, the Peace Collection has gathered and preserved for scholarly research the materials of persons and organizations who have worked for nonviolent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution between peoples and nations. The Collection now contains over:

*200 major manuscript collections
*2,500 smaller manuscript collections
*12,000 catalogued books and pamphlets
*400 periodicals currently received
*2,500 back titles of periodicals
*1,700 microfilm reels
*38,000 of photographs, posters, graphics, . . . .and other items
*Thousands of audio visual items


No direct library connection, but too great to go unmentioned: artist Naomi Dagen Bloom challenges you to keep some earthworms in your kitchen:

Of the many immodest proposals I have floated, the notion of red wiggler worms in every kitchen is the most challenging . . .

Yet that is what I want you to do. Kitchen composting is an incredibly satisfying pursuit: its everydayness, ritual quality fills an enormous empty space for those of us living in dense, urban places who have wished to find a direct way of caring for the earth.

Picture yourself after dinner. It has been a hard demanding day in the City. But now you can descend into the dark...touching the rich, dark vermicompost, releasing the memory-filled odor of damp earth---taking you into forests and the prehistoric past . . .

Full details available at Cityworm. Bloom's interactive installation "This Dirt Museum: The Ladies' Room" opened at the Queens Botanical Garden on 10/6.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

A report from the Danish National Library for the Blind on their effort to make the Web accessible to patrons:

A blind person usually uses a computer with some assistive software called a screen reader (in Denmark it's mostly JAWS), which can transform all text on the screen into either a speech synthesis (so the user hears the content on the Web site read aloud) or a Braille display (so the blind user can read with his fingertips). The fact that the assistive software can only transform text does not mean that you cannot use pictures on an accessible Web site. But it does mean that you have to put alternative text on the picture, or on any other non-textual element.

It is also very important that you don't have any functions on your Web site that can only be controlled with the use of a mouse. Blind people and many physically disabled people are completely unable to control a mouse. Therefore it should always be possible to access all functions with the keyboard . . .

More from Computers in Libraries.

University of California's clerical union is backing librarian Jonnie A. Hargis, suspended for sending a mass email critical of U.S. foreign policy:

Mr. Hargis's message, which went to the recipients of the original message, accused the United States and Israel of waging their own terrorist campaigns against civilian Iraqis and Palestinians . . .

The Coalition of University Employees, in the grievance it filed, argues that administrators denied Mr. Hargis his free-speech rights and unfairly singled him out for punishment, said Liz Go, an organizer with the union. In the grievance, the union asks the university to apologize to Mr. Hargis, compensate him for the pay he lost during his suspension, and require managers and employees at the university to undergo diversity training.

More from the Chronicle of Higher Education with thanks to NewBreed Librarian.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

The ALA Washington Office, the Association of Research Libraries, and the American Association of Law Libraries have issued the "Library Community Statement on Proposed Anti Terrorism Measures":

The Library Associations listed below call upon our Nation's leaders to move cautiously in proposing new laws and regulations aimed at terrorism. We are concerned that some of the legislation proposed thus far threatens the rights of the public and undermines the confidentiality that is crucial for the flow of information needed for the provision of library services and, most importantly, for the vitality of our democracy.

More (PDF). Library Journal has a brief report on the issue of the statement (registration required).
"A World Out of Touch With Itself"
From Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner:

When violence becomes so prevalent throughout the planet, it's too easy to simply talk of "deranged minds." We need to ask ourselves, "What is it in the way that we are living, organizing our societies, and treating each other that makes violence seem plausible to so many people?" ...even if you reject religious language, you can see that the willingness of people to hurt each other to advance their own interests has become a global problem, and it's only the dramatic level of this particular attack which distinguishes it from the violence and insensitivity to each other that is part of our daily lives.

We may tell ourselves that the current violence has "nothing to do" with the way that we've learned to close our ears when told that one out of every three people on this planet does not have enough food, and that one billion are literally starving . . . We may tell ourselves that the suffering of refugees and the oppressed have nothing to do with us - that that's a different story that is going on somewhere else. But we live in one world, increasingly interconnected with everyone, and the forces that lead people to feel outrage, anger, and desperation eventually impact on our own daily lives.

More from Journal. Thanks to wood s lot.

Forty members of the editorial board of Machine Learning have stepped down to protest the journal's subscription fees:

The forty people whose names appear below have resigned from the Editorial Board of the Machine Learning Journal (MLJ). We would like to make our resignations public, to explain the rationale for our action, and to indicate some of the implications that we see for members of the machine learning community worldwide.

The machine learning community has come of age during a period of enormous change in the way that research publications are circulated. Fifteen years ago research papers did not circulate easily . . . Times have changed. Articles now circulate easily via the Internet, but unfortunately MLJ publications are under restricted access. Universities and research centers can pay a yearly fee of $1050 US to obtain unrestricted access to MLJ articles (and individuals can pay $120 US). While these fees provide access for institutions and individuals who can afford them, we feel that they also have the effect of limiting contact between the current machine learning community and the potentially much larger community of researchers worldwide whose participation in our field should be the fruit of the modern Internet.

More with thanks to the UAI maillist archive and Slashdot. The Journal of Machine Learning Research has been founded to provide an free alternative to the MLJ.

Monday, October 08, 2001

The case (briefly) for the use of open source software in libraries:

"Libraries and open source software are a natural fit. Both promote learning and understanding through the dissemination of information."

Moreover, adds [University of Arizona librarian Jeremy] Frumkin, libraries share many of the values espoused by open source developers, not least their sense of communal purpose. "It is this sense of community that allows libraries to work together, either in consortia or in other ways, to help each other out—and to limit replication of work. OCLC's WorldCat (and the concept of copy cataloging) is a prime example of this."

Indeed, one of the Association of Research Libraries' "Keystone Principles" states, "Libraries will create interoperability in the systems they develop and create open source software for the access, dissemination, and management of information."

More from Information Today. Thanks to oss4lib.
Beautiful photos by Rogue Librarian Carrie Bickner of one thousand paper cranes given to the New York Public Library's Donnell Central Children's Room by the staff and patrons of the Albany Public Library .

Sunday, October 07, 2001

From "Cultivating Compassion to Respond to Violence: The Way of Peace", Thich Nhat Hanh's statement on the 9/11 attacks:

"The violence and hatred we presently face has been created by misunderstanding, injustice, discrimination, and despair. We are all co-responsible for the making of violence and despair in the world by our way of living, of consuming and of handling the problems of the world. Understanding why this violence has been created, we will then know what to do and what not to do in order to decrease the level of violence in ourselves and in the world, to create and foster understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness. I have the conviction that America possesses enough wisdom and courage to perform an act of forgiveness and compassion, and I know that such an act can bring great relief to America and to the world right away."

More from the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

To mark the occasion of National Poetry Day (10/4), the BBC broadcast ten specially commissioned poems, including Amarjit Chandon's "The Journey":

I lean my head
against the window of the Tube -
It's cold as a friend's handshake on a winter evening.
Nose touching the ear of a lover
greeting in the hallway
Mother's hand feeling my burning forehead.

All trains clatter the same everywhere.
With the same coolness
carry you off to the terminus
sooner or later.

You can read, and hear the authors reading, the poems here.