Saturday, November 24, 2001

The interesting story of Jeanette Kamman and the Kamman-Dale Library for Orphans, courtesy of

Also worthwhile is Grace Glueck's article on the renovation and opening to the public of the Evergreens (apologies for the second New York Times link in as many days.)

Thursday, November 22, 2001

[New York Times (registration required)]

While Ashcroft and company assault federal depository libraries, germ warfare instruction manuals sell freely at gun-shows:

At the "Crossroads of the West" gun show here last weekend, weapons dealers sold semi- automatic rifles and custom-made pistols, and ammunition wholesalers unloaded bullets by the case. But perhaps the most fearsome weapon for sale in the cavernous, crowded exposition center was a book.

Next to the Indian handicraft booth, Timothy W. Tobiason was selling printed and CD copies of his book, "Scientific Principles of Improvised Warfare and Home Defense Volume 6-1: Advanced Biological Weapons Design and Manufacture," a germ-warfare cookbook that bioterrorism experts say is accurate enough to be dangerous.

Mr. Tobiason, an agricultural-chemicals entrepreneur from Nebraska with a bitter hatred for the government, said he sold about 2,000 copies of his self-published book a year as he moved from gun show to gun show across America. The book, which includes directions for making "mail delivered" anthrax, suggests that the knowledge necessary to start an anthrax attack like the one that has terrorized the East Coast is readily accessible . . .

Thanks to Booknotes.


Lynne Cheney's Academic Blacklist:

Largely lost in the recent mountain of domestic and international news was the release of a report by a conservative academic group founded by Lynne Cheney, the vice-president's wife. Quoting professors and university officials, the report calls them "the weak link in America's response to the attack." This accusation arises in part, according to the report, because some faculty "refused to make judgments. Many invoked tolerance and diversity as antidotes to evil."'s Sharon Basco interviewed Hugh Gusterson, one of the professors quoted in the report.

Thanks to Metafilter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

OK, working on the blog is just too good a procrastination tool to give up, so I'll probably be updating SEMI-regularly even through the dark end-of-the-semester weeks . . .

Both the Canadian Library Association and the Bibliographical Society of Canada celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1996 - to mark the occasion they produced Women in Canadian Librarianship and Bibliography, a tribute site to "10 women who have made significant contributions to the development of library services and bibliographical research in Canada." Included is a personal favorite of mine, Marie Tremaine.

Thanks to my comrades at LISnews. Also highlighted are the achivements of Canadian women in activism, and the book trade.
[Allentown Morning Call]

Librarians, Others Alarmed by Order to Destroy Data:

Every year, tons of federal documents get shipped to libraries across the country — including ones at Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College and Bucks County Community College — so the public can use the information its government collects.

Two or three times a year, these libraries — called federal depository libraries — are asked to remove or return certain documents. Usually, it’s because of an error, out-of-date information, or a report that was inadvertently sent.

But a recent government order caught some local librarians by surprise and made the people who spend their professional lives providing information to others a bit uneasy . . .

Lehigh Valley librarians appear to be knuckling under despite their misgivings . . .
When Works Pass Into the Public Domain

A handy chart that includes information on the impact of recent copyright legislation.

Thanks to NewBreed Librarian.

Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Off-topic [The Guardian]

The Rehabilitation Will Not be Televised:

A sad update on the life and times of Gil Scott Heron

'I don't think it's addictive," Gil Scott-Heron told the Village Voice last July after his court appearance for cocaine possession. "I think it's only psychologically addictive. But I haven't had enough money to get any. I think you have to have quite a lot of money to get psychologically addicted to those things."

Even a man with the verbal agility of 52-year-old musician, poet, author and activist Scott-Heron couldn't make that defence stick. Whatever the nature of his addiction, or the state of his personal finances, he had been wrestling with an on-off cocaine habit for many years when he was arrested on New York's Amsterdam avenue in November last year in possession of 1.2g of powder cocaine and two crack pipes . . .

Scott-Heron's story . . . is not the stuff of rock mythology. It's a messy tale of poverty, creative paralysis and the mundane horrors of thousands of drug addicts whose fates do not make headlines on MTV News. Most depressing is the fact that a man who spent 30 years dispensing advice to black America - about escaping the ghetto, taking control, dodging poverty's pitfalls - ended up ignoring it.

Keep Up to Date on Free Online LIS Journals:

Information Research is maintaining this list of links to the latest issues of 18 journals.

Thanks to Library Stuff.
Robot Wisdom tipped me off to this photo of some impressive-looking D.I.Y. satellite dishes (made from recycled paint cans) for sale on a Kabul street.
[Yahoo News Singapore]

Al-Jazeera Correspondent Detained by U.S.:

Qatar's Al-Jazeera satellite channel said one of its correspondents in the United States was detained by police while covering the US-Russian summit in Texas.

"American police detained Al-Jazeera's Washington correspondent Mohammad al-Alami while he was covering the US-Russian summit in Texas," it said in an on-screen announcement.

Alami, whom Al-Jazeera contacted by telephone, said he was detained at Waco airport from where he was to travel to Crawford for the summit between US President George W. Bush and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Monday, November 19, 2001

Well, it didn't take long . . .

[Los Angeles Times]

Government Orders Federal Depository Libraries to Destroy Documents:

The document seemed innocuous enough: a survey of government data on reservoirs and dams on CD-ROM. But then came last month's federal directive to U.S. libraries: "Destroy the report."

So a Syracuse University library clerk broke the disc into pieces, saving a single shard to prove that the deed was done.

The unusual order from the Government Printing Office reflects one of the hidden casualties of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: the public's shrinking access to information that many once took for granted . . .

Threads on the subject are shaping up at Slashdot and Kuro5in. I agree with jij that this is one of the most disturbing bits in the article:

"Indeed, chemical and water industry groups are lobbying the Bush administration to curtail regulations providing public access to the operations of public facilities, data that environmentalists say are critical to ensuring safety."