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Number 5 in the History of my Archive in 10 Objects, is this triple set of bird studies from early 1977.
|Buzzard, Kingfisher, Long-Eared Owl. Watercolour on paper, 1977|
I was 17, I was about to leave school and start a foundation course at the now-gone and much lamented Bournville School of Art, I was full steam ahead for a career in illustration, the world of graphic art, experimentation and adventure awaited.
But all that was in the future - in the meantime I was generating some income from selling these kinds of traditional studies in a local giftshop/framing gallery in Mere Green. The owner, Mrs Gameson, was extremely supportive of my work and gave me wall space to display and sell pictures of wildlife and familiar scenes of Sutton Coldfield, in watercolour (as here) or pen and ink. Gameson Gallery also managed me as an artist on commission - word of mouth recommendations led me to draw many of the big houses on the private estate in Four Oaks, I'd cycle with sketchpad and ink bottle to anywhere that wanted a drawing - unfortunately this came to an end when one customer returned their house sketch, upset that I'd included the washing on her line in the drawing.
Virtually everything I painted at that time was sold by the gallery, but these three studies survived because they were a birthday gift to my mum in January 1977. I believe they were amongst my first attempts to paint in pure watercolour (that is, just paint, no pen lines).
I carried on working with the Gameson Gallery even after I started my Foundation course, right up until I left for Manchester, Mrs Gameson gave me my first ever one-man (or one kid!) exhibition, mostly wildlife paintings. My parents were particularly proud of this and my father was disappointed when I drifted away from such work. Being an artist in the eyes of my father was to paint attractive pictures, exhibit them, sell them and put them on the wall. He could never really get to grips with my choice to be an illustrator rather than a gallery fine artist, there was a suspicion I was under-selling my talents. I'll always remember him saying "when are you going to paint a proper
picture I can put on the wall?" By "proper", he meant a landscape, seascape or genre oil painting. But eventually he did come round to understanding my creative path.
The fact remains though, of all the work I created and showed my parents over all these years, the one thing that never left their walls, on display without a break for nearly forty years from 1977 until 2016, were these three bird studies.
I always wonder what became of Mrs Gameson...
Number 4 in this series of 10 Images from my Archives found at my dad's house is my old typewriter... and I mean old typewriter!
|Corona Model 4 portable typewriter, 1924 pattern|
When I was 16 I discovered the work of the Golden Age illustrators (Rackham, Dulac, Heath-Robinson, Stratton etc). In fact it was a re-discovery really as my mum had kept a couple of compendiums from her childhood that had been illustrated by these artists, but I rarely saw those. It was only in the mid-70's that I began seriously examining children's illustration, Arthur Rackham's work in particular began transporting me to realms of the imagination. Gradually my artwork at school began to take on the iconography of old fashioned ethereal fairy tales, anthropomorphised animals and so on. By the time I reached 6th Form I knew I wanted to be a children's book illustrator, so it was only natural I'd also pursue writing too.
My first attempts at writing children's books had been laughable copies of Enid Blyton adventures, written by hand when I was around 13.... none extended past the first chapter! But by 1977 I was serious, and so managed to persuade my parents to buy me a typewriter.
Of course, what I had in mind was a modern, zippy electric typewriter that I could churn out pages of manuscript. But, ever watchful for a bargain, my mum spotted an ad for something second-hand, and what I ended up with was a Corona 4 manual machine, released onto the market in 1924. I remember the day we picked this up from a big old house on the private estate, I didn't quite know what to make of it - this wasn't hi-tech! though I fell in love with it's look.
I'd never touched a typewriter before in my life, so the fact the ribbon feed was rusty, you had to bang down the keys so hard it made your fingers ache, or that the 'e' was slightly misaligned didn't bother me, I had no other experience to compare to so just got on with it - it was the only way for me. I felt I was following the route of the great writers, rather than obsolete, it was 'classic'.
While other 18-year olds were discovering pubs, I spent most of my free time typing out my first manuscript In Search of Summer Gold
- my one and only attempt at a novel - a long, pretty unpublishable tale of anthropomorphised mice and fairies in the 18th century, a mix of The Wind in the Willows
meets The Lord of the Rings
, with a good dollop of Brothers Grimm and Peter Pan thrown in for good measure. And of course I illustrated it with highly derivative pen drawings. From a professional level it was not very good and was turned down by two publishers before I eventually shelved it .... but at least it taught me to type!
Later on I used the Corona to type up my degree thesis, and in the early '80's the first issues of the Norwich post-punk fanzine/magazine The Blue Blanket
... banging those keys down with a satisfying smack! smack! smack!
as they hit the ribbon, it was the perfect instrument on which to take out frustrations with the world. But thereafter it was retired, and I've never attempted to write a novel again.
It took a battering in the years I used it, 35 years in my dad's loft has not been good to my old stalwart either, but I was very glad to rediscover it there.
Number 2 in the discoveries made at my dad's house from long hidden archives of my work. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd ever see this picture again, but there it was, in my dad's loft, warts and all, the very first drawing I ever attempted in pen and ink, from 1975, aged 16.
|School project: The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson, copy of an engraving in The Graphic, after the painting by John Collier. Pen & Ink with watercolour on paper. 73cm x 51cm. 1975. |
Prior to this drawing I'd worked steadily but quietly at school on assigned projects. It was acknowledged that I was "good at art", but this was post modernist, late hippy mid 1970's, most of the art classes were light on drawing skills, heavy on texture and tactility, I found little to inspire me. Batik tshirts? Organic bio-plant patterns? Yeuk! No, I wanted to draw! Draw people! Things!
Away from school however I'd long since discovered the joy of the BIC biro, and filled old unused school exercise books with drawings, copied or inspired by WW2 Commando
comics. After my dad bought me a couple of Adrian Hill guides to drawing and sketching I'd taken a sketchbook with me everywhere I went, and on every holiday over the previous year filled it with directly observed sketches from life in biro. This was all entirely independant from school. Finally a confrontation with a school bully ended up with the contents of my school bag scattered across the classroom floor, and my sketchbooks were discovered by my form tutor (and art teacher) Al Sayers.
Everything changed from then on. My wonderful art teacher Jackie Asbury (where is she now?) introduced me to a dip pen and a bottle of indian ink for the first time, and told me to draw something challenging. A 19th engraving of Collier's The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson
seemed to fit the bill. I knew absolutely nothing about Henry Hudson or John Collier, or for that matter pen and ink drawing, but I set to and produced this clumsy, tentative piece, little knowing that pen and ink was to become my chief medium for the next 40 years.
Well, this is what I wanted it to look like....
|The source engraving, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson, after the painting by John Collier|
It's embarassing - those terribly badly drawn hands... it bears little resemblance to the source image, how could I hope to reproduce an engraving with a dip-pen? I had a lot to learn, but it was a start, and I never looked back.
For the first in the Museum of My Archive in 10 Objects (apologies to Neil MacGregor and the British Museum) I bring you a sketch of our house, drawn just before my 17th birthday from our back garden during the sweltering summer of 1976.
|23 Butler's Lane from the Back Garden Rotring pen and Winsor & Newton ink on paper, June 1976. |
We lived in Butlers Lane, Sutton Coldfield from 1970 until the end of 1977, this was the house where I grew from child to teenager.
It was a corner house and significantly bigger than any of our previous (and subsequent!) homes. My parents bought it for a bargain, it hadn't been altered since it was built in the 1920's and was in desperate need of complete modernisation, much of which my dad did himself. I still have clear memories of when we moved in - there were slate fossils of ammonites and other pre-historic sea life left in the kitchen from the previous owner, also a big, black cast iron built in range, and in one of the bedroom cupboards an old clockwork railway set. All were disposed of very quickly in the urgency to fix up the house, much to my regret!
The reason this is the first in my History
is because this house is where it all started, this is where I really embraced a love of history and of art, where I began drawing in earnest. I've more fond memories of this house than any other.
One of the best things about it was the long extended back garden, which had two large trees and several smaller ones (not visible in this drawing), a rock garden and an allotment at the bottom, which my grandfather cultivated when he later moved in with us. I shared a bedroom with my brother (on the whole amicably), on my side of the room my dad built a study alcove which we were supposed to use for homework, but which I actually used mainly to paint Napoleonic soldiers. Airfix model aeroplanes hung from the ceiling in an eternal dogfight. On my brother's side of the room was a large cardboard cut-out of Marc Bolan, Roger Dean posters and a fur trimmed record player. We gone on okey. My sister always had her own room, bedecked with posters of Black Sabbath and David Bowie. The house was easy walking distance to school and local shops at Mere Green, a bike ride from Sutton Park, and just a couple of minutes walk from Butlers Lane train station, which gave us access to Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. In the summer I'd cycle the opposite direction along country lanes out towards Lichfield.
From this distance in time it seems a pretty well perfect place to have grown up. I loved this house.
This wasn't the first time I'd drawn it, nor would it be the last, but this particular image seems to me to sum up a perfect summer at one of the happiest and most carefree times of my life.
My dad was the last of his generation in our immediate family. One of the consequences of his passing has been the sorting out of all the nooks and crannies of his house, which revealed a lot of things I'd completely forgotten still existed. Not only parental items we grew up with from childhood, but also things left behind by us kids as we moved on in life. As the artist of the family I've by far been the worst offender - when I set off to art college all my school art work was consigned to my dad's loft, where some of it stayed for 40 years. Even when my parents moved house, they loyally took my old artwork with them.
Other bits and pieces were thrown, but artwork was sacred, even the scrappiest of work. To this was later added my degree course sketchbooks (though I threw away most of my finished course work when I left Manchester), bags of artwork from my London studio days, and various bits and pieces from the 21 years I lived in Japan, including every single letter I wrote home to my parents.
They kept it all. Yellowed, damp and foxed from all those years in my dad's loft, great wads of the stuff. And now it's all in my possession again.
This is in addition to my dad's creative life - the contents of his little art studio room, his oil paints and other materials, some of his paintings, boxes of books and postcards that inspired him (largely seascapes, the Impressionists and Victorian genre painters). Plus his collection of First World War books, and most importantly for me, our family archive of photos and documents - as the family genealogist I worked a lot on these with my dad's encouragement, painstakingly identifying faces, scanning and photoshop restoring, compiling and researching our family history, these are all in my safe keeping now.
So I've been buying new storage furniture for a major reorganisation.
When I left Japan I came back to the UK pretty well empty handed, in grief over my wife's death I threw away virtually all artwork except children's book illustrations, abandoned my furniture, household items and record collection, and sold off 2/3 of my books. I brought very little back from Japan, It was a new life coming back to England, I wanted to start afresh, not be burdened by the weight of a previous existence. I regret throwing so much away now, but it did stand me in good stead over the numerous times daughter and I moved house.
But now with the arrival of all this material I'm in a bit of a dilemma what to do with it all, not the family archives, but particularly my old artwork. My dad's occasional paintings are one thing, but my adolescent stumbling art attempts? Some of these ancient works are truly embarrassing, for the prosaic subject matter as much as anything - what was I thinking? It always surprised me that my parents were more interested in displaying my immature work on their walls rather than my professional illustration career. But age has given this work a resonance and unique significance I can't ignore. It's now an archive, I can't throw it away, it's history!
..... some of it I'm quite proud of actually, these were important stepping stones.
So, inspired by Neil McGregor's successful BBC/British Museum tie-up series A History of the World in 100 objects
, I'll share a few bits and pieces of in a History of my Archive in 10 Objects
Coming up is Object Number One....
Read the rest of this post
A portfolio sample from WAY back. Kind of a self portrait/studio scene. Certainly some bears in the background sketches (and even a decorated trash can) that recall my first story submission for Practically Perfect Pajamas
:) While I've never really done a book with quite
this much detail, there is something about it that I really love. Enjoy!
By: By JENNIFER SCHUESSLER,
The items include letters by Washington and a map of Walden Pond drawn by Thoreau.
By: Deb Larson,
When I first started researching the early 1800's for my American historical, I took plenty of notes. I was very careful to site the title, copyright dates, volume, author, and what library I was researching from. I even kept track of the page numbers I found important information. I wanted to make sure when I posted my Bibliography at the end of my novel, I would have all the accurate documentation. Well, I succeeded in accomplishing that, but it didn't take long for me to realize I needed another system to keep track of the information I acquired. You may need an organizing system as well.
After shuffling through notebooks, copied pages from books, and numerous notations in my own handwriting, I knew it would be quicker in the long run to index what I had already found. My system started out much like an inverted pyramid. I used topic titles such as: Indian Tribes, Routes, Military, Rivers, Towns: Indian/White, Maps, Laws Passed, etc. This was done well before excel was a household word.
Within any topic title I kept several folders, for instance the Indian Tribes I researched were many and varied from culture to culture. My story included real people in our history so details became very important. The Pawnee Indian Tribe was very different from the Shawnee, yet they knew of each other and cross referencing became even more important. Color coding worked well in keeping my notes accurate and easy to verify if I had a question that needed answering. I didn't want to state something as simple as the Pawnee were friends with the Potawatomi if they were in fact sworn enemies or had no contact with them during that era.
Timelines, as we've mentioned this week, are very important. When doing a historical about a real person (and well known) it's never good to have him in one part of the country in a your story when history has him in another place. I documented where my character was over a three year period and although I sometimes forgot and the writing took over, it was easy to search through my notes and sigh with relief when he was where I needed him to be.
Research may be tedious, yet once organized it will save hours of time for any writer. My system may not work well for you, but what ever system you develop, it will prove its worth as you write your story.
I always thought I would write more about Indians of the midwest since I acquired so much information, but I never have. Yet, I'm not willing to throw my notes away. Maybe someday I will revisit those archives.
What works well for you in note keeping or researching a special topic for your book? Tell us your secrets on keeping organized.
Til next time ~
By: Erica Olsen,
Blog: Librarian Avengers
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Recently I’ve been importing the ancient Librarian Avengers archives to live within WordPress. Because the site goes back to…hrm… 1997, there’s some data munging to do.
Right now I’m concerning myself with the period after Graduate School, when I moved to Ithaca, NY for an ostensibly-cool digital library fellowship. I couldn’t talk about how much I hated it at the time so the entries are mostly tangential to the work I was doing, but there’s still some fun stuff.
Importing ancient blog posts involves a bunch of tagging, titling, category-setting, and general modernization. I’ve been progressively making my way through the old posts, adding images, fixing spelling mistakes, and generally adding a bit of polish.
Part of the reason I’m taking on data scrubbing as my One Designated Personal Thing to Do this evening, is that today has been a study in helplessness. My daughter has a (small) fever. It’s the first time she’s been sick, and I’m trying to direct my need to control something (anything!) in a positive direction.
Also, cleaning data is pretty therapeutic after some of the body fluids I’ve encountered recently.
- Shh. “The Library” is the subject of the Freebase Data Mob I’m a librarian by ethnicity, if not profession these days,...
- Another Data Mob at Freebase – Ethnicity Wanna enrich some data? Got OCD? Tired of trying to...
- Freebase Hack Day II: The Return of Hack Day Librarian? Data junkie? Obsessive compulsive? Come to the Freebase hack...
Blog: Joe Silly Sottile's Blog
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Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is thepoetry editor and creator of my favorite poetry website: www.yourdailypoem.com,and a first class poet. What she promises is that the poems she shares dailywill “not be boring.” I think she certainly fulfills that promise each day,while championing a website with TLC, whose cup run-eth over with inspiration,resources and poetry interaction. The quality of the poems she presentsencourages readers to leave behind positive poetry comments and seek more poems(written by the same author), thus affirming the daily poet’s path and writing process.
Jayne is a“poetry missionary” converting the skeptics to believers in the power ofpoetry. Go to her website, read a sample of the poems in the archives, and youwill discover that poetry can be “outrageous,inspiring, hilarious, heartbreaking, uplifting, sobering, and surprising.”Then sign up for a free daily poem delivered to your e-mail box. You will haveno regrets.
Want to know more about Jayne? You can find this biographical sketch on her website:
If you wander into the archives, you might even stumble on a poem of mine in the archives...
Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is the author of four books of poetry that focus on family life, one of which has remained consistently in print for more than twenty years. An award-winning copywriter and freelance journalist, Ferrer speaks frequently at women’s and book events; her poetry and articles have appeared in publications ranging from Boca Raton Magazine to Christian Parenting Today. Jayne lives in Greenville, South Carolina; learn more about her at www.jaynejaudonferrer.com.
Since this month is National Poetry Month, Jayne showcases a month's worth of poem that even extra special. Subscribe and see for yourself.
Blog: Joe Silly Sottile's Blog
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Sehen Dilkush Gamhewa
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Each month of I have a free Monthly Poetry Contest for kids all around the world. The boy above, Sehen Dilkush Gamhewa has won three times. He's a young and gifted poet. He has his own web page, too. As long as my website exists, all winning poems will be in my archives to read and enjoy once again. And, of course, the winner has bragging rights. That is to say, any poet that wins the monthly contest should feel very proud of himself or herself. Congratulations, Sehen!
Poetry Contest Winners
December Poetry Winner:
by Sehen Dilkush Gamhewa
Lyceum International School — Nugegoda
Country: Sri Lanka
Christmas AlphabetAll of us are waiting for this day
Bells are ringing all over
Candy bars everyone gets
Delighted children run everywhere
Everyone celebrates this special day
Feeling happiness all around
Getting a lots of presents
Houses are decorated
In and out people go
Jesus, the Christ child was born on this special day
Keeping a lot of glory
Lighted candles illuminate houses
Making cards for everyone
No end of happiness
Opening presents and being surprised
People are pleasant
Quietly huddled at night
Rejoicing this day
Sharing gifts with others
Very beautiful sceneries are everywhere
Winter is coming
X-mas trees stand in the house
Young and old enjoy this day
Zeal we show at this time
(Joe's commentary: Co
The year was 1936: truly the golden age of jungle animals in Hollywood.
Wild! Animal! Actors!
Actually, we don’t know if that’s even true. But H.M and F.M. Christeson’s Wild Animal Actors lets us believe in a world where life was simpler, young ladies could match stripes and argyle patterns without fear, and the paparazzi followed Jalmers, the South American Puma, as he prowled around town shamelessly crashing fancy luncheons.
Jalmers, the South American Puma
(That girl on the left was so not having this.)
The featured animals in this book include an elephant, a tiger, a lion, two pumas, a rhino, and a penguin. Lest you think these profiles are all Hollywood puff pieces, Wild Animal Actors reveals that Jiggs the Chimpanzee (co-star to Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and at least six different Tarzans) often stole jam jars and was prone to tantrums, just like a tiny Mel Gibson.
The penguin thespian was known as “One-take-Oscar,” who “always does his bit perfectly the first time, but refuses to go through that same bit again that same day.” This earned him a whopping $125 a week, or nearly 450 fish in 1930′s prices. (We did not make this up. It’s really in the book.)
Oscar the Penguin
Really it was all we could do to keep from scanning every last image in this book and sending them to one of our favorite weird photo blogs. But it’s Friday, and we have our summer books to get to, so we’ll leave you with this vision until Monday:
Anna May, the Elephant
Happy reading, and have a good weekend!
0 Comments on From the Archives: Wild Animal Actors as of 1/1/1900
Maybe it’s our tendency to romanticize the past as better-then-the-present, but it often seems that Vancouver was genuinely hip and cool a few decades back, before it was trying to vie for the world-spotlight by packaging itself as hip and cool. This archive site is a nice find, particularly in light of the embarrassing and horrific cuts to the arts announced here in BC (from an annual $47.6M to $3.6M).
Ruins In Process is a research archive and educational resource that brings together still and moving images, ephemera, essays and interviews to explore the diverse artistic practices of Vancouver art in the 1960s and early 1970s. Drawn from private collections and archives as well as public sources, it uses the capacity of the internet as an ideal medium to present the interdisciplinary activities and technologies that emerged at that time. With hundreds of images, texts, audio and video recordings, Ruins In Process will reward repeat visits and ongoing research.
Pictured above is “Vancouver Art Gallery curator Doris Shadbolt sitting on a electronic sound sculpture by Dennis Vance. The work entitled “Fat Emma” was featured in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s exhibition Direction 69. “Fat Emma” was a fiberglass module that picked up various radio stations through movement.” I just love this.
Posted by Luc Latulippe on Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog |
Tags: archives, Art, history, Vancouver
I really enjoyed this article about Google buying up the Paper of Record digital news archives and then “disappearing” it somehow. The timeline is a little unclear and it’s back online for now, but as Google figures out how to monetize it and researchers yowl about lack of access, it raises some pretty interesting issues about scholarship. As information ownership changes hands — and I think if we weren’t talking about Google here we’d be talking about someone else, so it’s not really about them — data can literally disappear either behind a paywall or just gone. Particularly poignant in this case is the comment (sorry no permalink) on the Inside Higher Ed story by Bob Huggins the original founder/creator of the archive discussing what’s happening with the archive now.
When exactly does the cat fight end? It slays me to see the great American Us versus Them debate rage on( I comment as a Canadian). As person who pioneered the digitization of newspapers in the world with our company, Cold North Wind, I fail to see how this acrimony between Academics and Google helps ‘joe public’ access the public record. I have stated on numerous occasions that the newspaper represents ‘our’ only record of daily public life for the past 500 years with a special emphasis on the word “public”… I have been through the grinding wheels of both Google and many public institutions whose goal it seems is to preserve and present history from Newspapers. Both have let me down.
Sometimes we tell people that things live forever on the internet and that anyone can find them (so don’t post that picture of yourself drinking alcohol, young man), but I want to highlight how some important things from just a couple of months ago are becoming impossible to find. If we’re not careful, the haystack is going to disappear, never mind the needle.
For example, take the discussion that happened on Twitter during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting just under two months ago. The Meeting had a hashtag for tracking content (#alamw09), and almost everyone used it most of the time. There was a lot going on in that tag, so much so that I thought it was a tipping point for the Association in terms of communication tools. I even debriefed what happened on Twitter for ALA staff afterwards so that they’d be able to see the patterns.
But try to find that discussion now, and it’s almost impossible. Most people (including me) rely on Twitter’s search engine (which was formerly called “Summize” and run by a different company until Twitter bought it). If you search Twitter now for the #alamw09 hashtag, you get exactly one page of results (yesterday there were two), and only a couple of those tweets were actually posted during the event itself. If you look up #alamw09 at hashtags.org, you’ll get more results from the Meeting itself, but there’s still only one page, and you had to have manually followed the hashtags.org Twitter account for them to have tracked your tweets, so even if you could see older results than what shows, it would be an incomplete archive at best. Search Technorati for #alamw09 and you get eight blog posts. Ironically, you can get most of the public tweets from Midwinter by searching FriendFeed
looking for anything from #ala2008 on Twitter, although there again FriendFeed saves the day
, but for how long?
So for all of our aggregation attempts of that Twitter content, they may only work in the moment for the moment. It turns out they’re miscellaneous *and* searchable in only one place (for now), a pretty bad combination in hindsight. Thank heavens I favorited in Twitter so many of the alamw09 tweets, although that’s still not ideal. I have to manually page through them to find the ones I want, and I already have 35 pages of favorites.
After Midwinter, I tried to start moving my #alamw09 favorites into Evernote so that I’d be able to search and group them, but I haven’t had time to complete that process, and I just can’t seem to train myself to add new tweets there as I favorite them. The ratio of effort between clicking on a star and filling out a few words of metadata is just too much in the middle of my day, so this looms as a project in my future if I really want to save this stuff. Even then, there’s no guarantee Evernote will stick around, but at least I can export from it.
So if you were using a hashtag to aggregate content, thinking it would be easier to find it all again in the future, think again. You’re going to have to do something more proactive and manual than relying on Twitter’s search engine or Google. You’ll have to decide what level of ephemeraliness you’re comfortable with for that conversation, because you may not be able to get back to it if you let someone else manage access to the archive. In this context, it’s a shame so much of the conversation has moved away from blog comments (where individuals can openly archive it) to Twitter and FriendFeed. And if you’re a government or archive organization looking to preserve this kind of digital content, the stakes are getting raised on you.
Am I missing any other options for finding past hashtag conversations? Please tell me yes in the comments.
Addendum: Potential ideas for archiving - you could subscribe to the RSS feed of a hashtag in an RSS reader and export them, right? Or subscribe to the RSS feed via email? Other ideas?
By: Jessamyn West,
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I had been holding off on linking to the Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person video/blog post because I have mixed feelings about the idea generally even though I know it was a big hit when they showed it off at the conference. Then it hit MetaFilter and I found the discussion there helped me not only flesh out my own feelings about it but gave me a look into how other professionals from different perspectives saw it. Most notably, I was interested in this comment by Larry Cebula who works for Washington State and runs an award-winning northwest history blog.
I work for the Washington State Digital Archives. We have something like 80 million documents, mostly from Washington State counties, online and add millions more per month. After years of resistance the counties are really hopping aboard and have become great fans of our service.
But still we get these complaints and worries. It is even worse with archives than museums because so many county and local archives count on revenues for access to fund their offices. We are about to put up thousands of cases from county courts, some dating back to the late 1800s. But the county insists that we display only the top half of the first page of each record–and charge 25 cents a page for users to even view the records beyond that first half page! It is anti-democratic and eliminates many of the potential advantages of digital history, but there you have it.
Slightly related librarian topic over at AskMetaFilter, a question about questions: What questions do library users most often ask?
Just got this in my inbox this morning and figured I’d share. I edited a little bit and added some hyperlinks, also suggested that BPL needs an announcement blog along the lines of the nifty one at NYPL Labs.
Hi Jessamyn and Alison,
Thanks for blogging about our Flickr presence last week… your influence was greatly felt (to the tune of 2,500 hits on the day of your post, with virtually no other publicity at all).
I wanted to let you know about a couple of this week’s developments:
- In response to comments on Jessamyn’s blog, we’ve gone ahead and opened up all of our items to tags and comments from any Flickr user; we welcome/encourage/request any and all submissions. We’ve made the photo titles more meaningful as well, instead of simply using our digital accession numbers.
- In addition to the 1,227 items posted last week, we’ve added 4,523 really cool vintage postcards of New England, geotagged by the location pictured (and therefore viewable on our map). It’s so cool that I’d probably lose a lot of productive time playing with this stuff if it weren’t my actual job to play with this stuff.
- We’ve got two or three more collections identified for uploading in the very near future, with plenty more to come after that.
- We’re still waiting to see if Flickr will let us use the “No known copyright restrictions” license that they created for the Flickr Commons pilot project.
If you feel like any of this is newsworthy enough to treat your readers to a followup, we can always use a little pre-launch publicity. :-) Either way, I’ll be sure to keep you both posted as the project continues to grow.
Michael B. Klein
Digital Initiatives Technology Librarian
A President’s Day link for you. An NPR story about some recently surfaced photos of Lincoln’s inauguration, via MetaFilter.
The Library of Congress had discovered unseen photos of President Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration. They’d been housed at the library for years, hidden by an error in labeling.
Peter Hirtle has a great post over at the LibraryLaw blog about the Smithsonian’s attempt to control reproduction and subsequent use of the materials they have made available digitally and online, many of which are in the public domain. A group called Public Resource decided to push the envelope on the Smithsonian’s terms of service, specifically their copyright notice, and downloaded all 6000+ images and made them available on Flickr where they still are. Hirtle questions the legality of what Public Resource has done, but also questions the copyright that the Smithsonian asserts.
Again, I wish the Smithsonian didn’t try to assert control over its images. And while I think that Public.Resource.Org crossed the line, it is ridiculous that anyone else can now take any of public domain images Public.Resource.Org has distributed and do whatever they want with them. (Any contract limiting use of the images can only be between the Smithsonian and Public.Resource.Org.) That is just one more reason why repositories should focus on providing good services to users, rather than attempting to establish monopoly control over images from their holdings.
Update: I made this for you.
The joy of short weeks, Friday is here before you know it! Here are some links to distract you from your work.
Finally, a balanced look at e-books.
The joy of tabs.
Show Tango some love. (more…)
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This is an old drawing. It may look a little familiar, I reworked it for the earlier pinboard drawing. It's one from the archives. 1993, in fact. The only drawing I have from that period. The only drawing I made in that decade, I believe. I always seem to revisit the same old themes in my drawings. I wonder what that's about? Anyway, this one is for Tim and for the good old days.