14,000 drawings of the French Revolution posted online

french revolution CHOP

Guillotines and numbing satire figure strongly in an archive of images from the French Revolution, made available by Stanford University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France

About 14,000 high-resolution images are in the set, which is divided into Parliamentary Archives and Images of the French Revolution and neatly organized by event and category. [via Hyperallergic] Read the rest

Play a digital version of a lost "perception-altering" Freemasonry board-game

Jason writes, "'The Bafflement Fires' is a digital recreation of a Freemason board game from the 1950s." Read the rest

We have a memory problem

Video games have an issue with memory. Sometimes development and culture within the medium ends up locked in obeisance to nostalgia, an assumed audience of pixel art and chiptune fans who really just want a Final Fantasy VII remake or yet another Legend of Zelda. At other times it's like we can't remember the past five years of history, routinely hailing "firsts" that have certainly been done before, or treating well-trod debates as if they were new conversations each time they simmer to the surface again.

According to the Internet Archive's Jason Scott, much of games' history risks being lost to the winds. So does a lot of writing and criticism -- a lot of us former contributors to storied magazine Edge just found out a lot of our online content has simply disappeared in the latest migration.

And as much as folks like me lament the lack of women's voices in games, or the absence of mainstream interest in games as a sophisticated form, the accomplished J.C. Herz was writing sophisticated game columns in the New York Times just 15 years ago, and I never even knew til recently. She also, like me, wrote a memoir of the 90s internet during the 1990s, not unlike my own recounting published just a couple years ago. We also have the same big curly hair. Anyone's time paradox gone missing?

"Older software is hard to get to,” Scott said. Today, game developers could very well be throwing away history. "The thing about game and computer history is that it's both adored and ignored," he added.
Read the rest

No future for you: cultural institutions can't afford to play along with pointy-headed bosses

My new Guardian column, Go digital by all means, but don't bring the venture capitalists in to do it, is an open letter to the poor bastards who run public institutions, asking them to hold firm on delivering public value and not falling into the trap of running public services "like a business." Read the rest

Library of Congress wants your Halloween/Dia de los Muertos/All Saints Day/All Souls Day photos

Trevor from the Library of Congress writes, "The American Folklife Center at the LOC is inviting Americans participating in holidays at the end of October and early November to photograph hayrides, haunted houses, parades, trick-or-treating and other celebratory and commemorative activities to contribute to a new collection documenting contemporary folklife." Read the rest

Get 2600's archives from 1987

Emmanuel Goldstein from 2600 Magazine writes, "Volume 4 of The Hacker Digest has been put into PDF format, comprised of issues of 2600 Magazine from 1987."

This was the first year that 2600 adopted the digest format. For the first time ever, a hacker magazine would show up on newsstands and in bookstores around the world. New concepts such as cellular phone fraud and electronic mailboxes for $20 a month were introduced to the public and scrutinized in the pages of 2600, while traditions like the letters section, payphone photos, and 2600 meetings were in their infancy. The hacker spirit from these early issues is remarkably similar to that of today: defiant, curious, and overflowing with data.


(Thanks, Emmanuel!) Read the rest

As Office of US Courts withdraws records for five top benches, can we make them open?

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced that they are removing the archives for 5 important courts from their infamous PACER system. PACER is the ten-cent-per-page access to U.S. District and Appeals courts dockets and opinions." Read the rest

How It Works …. The Computer (Ladybird books, 1978)

I found a copy of one of my favorite childhood books about computers. And now you can enjoy it too!

Vatican digitizing archives

Some poor devil has to scan in thousands of handwritten documents over the next four years—it's no wonder bags of cocaine are being intercepted by foreign customs on the way there. Read the rest

Discordian archive rescued from dumpster, now online

Groucho Gandhi writes, "'Crackpot Historian' Adam Gorightly (the current Keeper of the Sacred Chao) saved the archives of Discordian co-founder Greg "Malaclypse the Younger" Hill from the literal dustbin of history by swooping up the Hill archives as they were about to be tossed in the dumpster. Srsly!

"Why is this important? Greg Hill (thru Discordianism) created the first proto-zine, The Principia Discordia, and the precursor to the Creative Commons licensing scheme, first known as KopyLeft, All Rites Reversed. Now Adam Gorightly is taking the Discordian Archives and releasing them."

Historia Discordia (Thanks, Groucho!) Read the rest

Public Resource kickstarting free, open publication of the world's safety standards

We've written often about Carl Malamud, the rogue archivist who has devoted his life to making the world's laws, standards, and publicly owned information into free, accessible, beautiful online documents. Now, I'm pleased to help him launch an ambitious, vital Kickstarter project aimed at raising at least $100,000 to turn the world's public safety codes into thoroughly linked, high-quality HTML documents (presently, many of the 28,040 public safety codes that Carl and public.resource.org have put online exist as scanned bitmaps that can't be searched or linked). The project involves a careful re-typing of all that scanned material and re-tracing of images and formatting them as vector-based SVG files.

Carl and his colleagues have fought in the courts for their right to publish the law that we, the people, are expected to follow. They have passed on lucrative careers in the private sector to devote themselves to public interest, public spirited work that makes the sourcecode for the world's governments available at our fingertips. The work they are doing unlocks untold billions in value -- from being able to ensure that your weekend DIY rewiring project meets code and won't burn down your house, all the way up to giving workers in deadly factories in Bangladesh access to the laws that are supposed to be honored in their workplaces.

$115 gets you a copy of their giant, amazing book of global safety standards, but there are interesting and awesome premiums at price-ranges from $10 (public acknowledgement on the Wall of Safety) to $475 (the Big Box of Propaganda!). Read the rest

Freelance archivists raising funds to preserve precious manuscripts rescued from fundamentalists in Timbuktu

Tony sez, "In 2012, under threat from fundamentalist rebels, a team of archivists, librarians, and couriers evacuated an irreplaceable trove of manuscripts from Timbuktu at great personal risk. The manuscripts have been saved from immediate destruction, but the danger is not over. A massive archival effort is needed to protect this immense global heritage from loss. That's why we launched an Indie-go-go campaign."

Libraries in Exile is sponsored by T160K, an international initiative forged in the evacuation of these treasures from Timbuktu and dedicated to protecting and preserving them until they can be returned to their home. It is the center of a growing global family who have pledged to this urgent effort.

Funds contributed to this project will be used to purchase moisture traps, archival boxes, and the additional footlockers required to safely store these manuscripts, as well as to cover the significant labor effort required to unbox and re-pack the manuscripts for preservation.

Timbuktu Libraries in Exile Read the rest

Letters to Newtown: digitally archiving sympathy cards sent to town after school shooting massacre

Digitally archiving half million cards, letters, and drawings sent to the town of Newtown, CT after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Take a trip through the Grateful Dead Archive Online

UC Santa Cruz launched the Grateful Dead Archive Online last Friday with tens of thousands of items. But it wouldn't be a Grateful Dead archive if all you could do was look at stuff, so you can also:

Add your own photos and stories - you can even tell us a story over voicemail. • Use the map to search for things related to a particular Dead show and venue - like photos, backstage passes, and envelopes that fans sent in to request tickets, and tapes from performances hosted at archive.org. • Read Dick Latvala's original notebook from 1978 describing and commenting on fan tapes • See Jerry and Bob with a tiger - and send us a comment if you can identify the two other folks in the photo! Our team has done a lot of work to get as many names on these things as possible, but did I mention the "tens of thousands of items" thing? It's a big job, and we appreciate your patience as we work to get comments posted and metadata updated.

We've logged visits from 97 countries so far (Hello there in Moldova, Montenegro, and Malaysia!), and as of yesterday the average visit lasted four minutes and twenty seconds, which we can't help but interpret as a good omen. The messages we're getting from the community have been full of warmth and love - of course! - and we're pleased as punch to be able to open up this collection to such a great (grateful?) bunch of fans, scholars, and researchers. Read the rest

Canada's national archives being dismantled and scattered

A reader writes,

The Canadian government is slowly doing away with Canada's ability to access its own history.

Library and Archives Canada's collection is being decentralized and scattered across the country, often to private institutions, which will limit access, making research difficult or next impossible. It should be noted that Daniel Caron, the new National Archivist hired in 2009, doesn't even have a background in library nor archives but, a background in economics.

"The changes and cuts are being justified by reference to digitization. A generous estimate is only 4% of the LAC collection has been digitized to date -- a poor record that will be made worse by the cuts announced on April 30, 2012, which reduced digitization staff by 50%."

Save Library & Archives Canada Read the rest

Publishing America's for-pay, private laws - legal piracy

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

On March 15, Boing Boing kindly allowed me to use this august forum to serve notice on 7 government officials and 10 of the CEOs of the $1-billion/year industry of standards people. The issue was privately-developed public safety standards that were incorporated into U.S. law, but only available by paying big bucks. We asked the government and the standards people to send us their comments by May 1 as to why the law shouldn't be available for all to read.

There have been no such comments received, so today we're making available for public inspection 317 legally-mandated documents, most of why have been previously unavailable on the net. To properly document this open source release, Tim O'Reilly, Jennifer Pahlka, and the 2012 Code for America fellows joined me in an Internet town hall.

Although Public.Resource.Org received no comments from the standards people, this doesn't mean they haven't circled the wagons. Tuesday [today], the Department of Commerce is hosting the CEOs of the biggest standards bodies in a big standards summit. We asked to participate as did a number of other public interest groups, but we didn't make the cut.

Although all these Standards Development Organizations are non-profits, they do quite well for themselves. In fact, the 5 nonprofit CEOs attending this meeting (which is conveniently not webcast and isn't taking questions or comments from the net), the average salary is $633,061. The standards people claim they need the money, but I don't think they need nearly as much as they're making and, in any case, you can't have a democracy if the citizens don't know what the law is.

Read the rest

Where the wild west booze bottles ended up

An update to the saga of Marty's dad's collection of handmade wild west whisky bottles: they've been acquired by the Autry National Center. They'll be part of a 2013 special exhibition on the wild west in pop culture. Yee-haw! Read the rest

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