The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) was started by Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing in 2008. They obtained the original analog tape drives from lunar missions in the '60s, which were literally covered in dust in a farmer’s barn, and they also got their hands on a complete collection of Lunar Orbiter analog data tapes that held a full set of all images carried back to Earth by the five spacecraft that flew between 1966 and 67.
Amazing, historic stuff. But all of these old media formats are fragile, and preservation can be a long and tedious process.
Cowing and Wingo funded the archival effort themselves in the beginning, then secured some funding from NASA. But the NASA funding was modest, and has run out; the guys have been funding the project themselves, and they don't have the resources they need. They have exceeded the requirements of NASA’s funding, but just haven't been able to retrieve and digitally archive all of these irreplaceable historic space images—yet.
The (New York Public Library) Manuscripts and Archives Division is offering an (unpaid) internship to aid the Digital and Project Archivists for the Timothy Leary Papers for the Spring 2013 term to students from a Master’s program in librarianship, archival studies, or preservation with an interest in the born digital materials in the papers.
The Papers document the life of Timothy Francis Leary (b. 1920, d. 1996), American psychologist and Harvard professor, who, through his studies regarding the use of psilocybin and LSD, went on to become an advocate for mind-altering drugs, eastern philosophy, sexual liberation, cyberspace and the cyberpunk genre. He was a prolific writer, lecturer, and counterculture icon (1960s - 1990s). The Papers contain material from notable figures, such as Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass), William S. Burroughs, David Bryne, Larry Flynt, Allen Ginsberg, Keith Haring, Gerald Heard, Abbie and Anita Hoffman, Albert Hofmann, Aldous and Laura Huxley, Jack Kerouac, Art Kleps, and G. Gorden Liddy. The Papers include over a hundred floppy disks created or collected by Leary in a variety of formats.
I happened upon this mini-library in my neighborhood and am so impressed with the movement that Little Free Library has started that I am getting one together for our street. The concept is simple: put a charming box full of books in a public place, encourage people to share them and to contribute their own.
From their FAQ:
If this were just about providing free books on a shelf, the whole idea might disappear after a few months. There is something about the Little Library itself that people seem to know carries a lot more meaning. Maybe they know that this isn't just a matter of advertising or distributing products. The unique, personal touch seems to matter, as does the understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books. Leaving notes or bookmarks, having one-of-a-kind artwork on the Library or constantly re-stocking it with different and interesting books can make all the difference.
Little Free Library sells pre-made mini-libraries or will show you how to build your own.
Check out a couple of my favorites from around the country:
Above, "Dixon crossing Niagara below the Great Cantilever Bridge," U.S.A., 1895-1903. And you can make your own, with Stereogranimator, a new project from
NYPL Labs. Stereogranimator is " a tool for transforming historical stereographs from The New York Public Library's vast collections into shareable 3D web formats."
The librarians of Occupy Wall Street saw their carefully catalogued collection of over 5,000 books and archive of original writing, art and other material from the historic protest destroyed by the NYPD. There were early reports (spun and promoted by the office of NYC Mayor Bloomberg) that the library had been carefully stowed in a nearby lockup from which protesters could claim it. But these claims were overstated -- the books were indeed largely destroyed or missing, along with laptops, shelves and other library equipment.
As Xeni mentioned, OWS's librarians are rebuilding, and they're soliciting donations of books for their collection. Tachyon, who publish my essaycollections, alerted me to this when they wrote to ask if I minded them donating copies of my books to the effort (the answer was an enthusiastic yes!).
You can donate to the library by posting books to:
The UPS Store
Re: Occupy Wall Street
Attn: The People’s Library
118A Fulton St. #205
New York, NY 10038
Some collateral damage in the police raid on Occupy Wall Street: over 5,000 books comprising the #OWS library have been thrown in the trash. I visited the library yesterday and interviewed one of the volunteer librarians who slept in the book-filled tent at night and helped patrons find reading material and conducted information literacy work during the day.
The Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted the eviction all night: “NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history … Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster.”
The Fayetteville Free Library is installing a hackerspace/fablab with 3D printers, CNC routers and other equipment, available free to the public as a community space for making. The project is led by librarian Lauren Smedley, who is basically MADE OF AWESOME.
Earlier this year, MAKE Magazine’s Phillip Torrone wrote a provocative article asking “Is it time to rebuild and retool libraries and make ‘techshops’?” In other words, should libraries join some of the other new community centers that are being created (such as General Assembly which we covered yesterday) and become “hackerspaces” or “makerspaces”?
“Yes!”, says librarian Lauren Smedley, who is in the process of creating what might just be the first maker-space within a U.S. public library. The Fayetteville Free Library where Smedley works is building a Fab Lab — short for fabrication laboratory — that will provide free public access to machines and software for manufacturing and making things.
So far, the Fab Lab is equipped with a MakerBot, a 3D printer that lets you “print” plastic pieces of your own design. The potential for 3D printers to revolutionize manufacturing as we know it is huge: imagine being able to design and then manufacture — or “print” — whatever you want. Moreoever, imagine the tools of manufacturing being in the hands of everyone, not just giant factories (and remember, since this is a public library, this is really putting the technology in the hands of everyone, not just those that can afford a membership at a traditional hackerspace).
Daniel Krause interviewed me in Booklist about my DIY short story collection, With a Little Help, on the occasion of that book being listed in the Ingram catalog, which'll make it easy for libraries to get copies. — Cory
An anonymous sculptor has been leaving gorgeous carved-book sculptures in Scotland's libraries, along with little notes of encouragement. Some are left out in the open; others are hidden away and may have sat a long time before being discovered.
Having been on display in the Scottish Poetry Library for a few months, the poetree is now kept behind the counter for safety, but if you ask nicely I'm sure they would let you have a look.
The National Library's gramophone is in a display case near the front door.
The Filmhouse's cinematic diorama is currently not on display.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre's dragon is probably going to estivate during the Festivals to avoid any possible manhandling by infant hordes but will surely make a return in the autumn.
Jack sez, "A year in the gathering, JG Ballard's archive - or the closest that is likely to exist - opens at the British Library and contains, amongst other treats, multiple versions of manuscripts for Crash, letters, notes and an outline for an unwritten novel."
In line with his wishes, much of the archive comprises the progress of his texts, which are all here – with a few exceptions – as drafts, manuscripts or typescripts. But there is also plenty of personal and family material: photographs, postcards, faxed interviews. In May I was privileged to have had a sneak preview while it was still being catalogued by the archivist Chris Beckett, partly because I'm writing a book about Ballard. As it's entirely composed of artefacts – Ballard never owned a computer – perhaps this is the last solely non-digital literary archive of this stature.
For Claire Walsh, Ballard's partner, the manuscripts of Crash are the highlights (she objected to her name being used in a first draft and Ballard changed it to Catherine). "The feeling of it being written when it was red-hot in his mind," she says, "and the handwritten changes, I think are absolutely fascinating."
Steamed Punk sez, "The Troy Michigan Public Library has been saved, thanks in no small part to some very generous Boing Boing readers. Our beloved library has struggled to find a reliable funding source in these difficult times. Yesterday residents approved a dedicated funding source for the next 5 years. It passed with almost 60% of the vote. Most of the work was done by people young and old who live here and benefit directly from the library. However, there were many people from all around the world who supported our efforts and helped us overcome those who had worked to defeat the last two funding source proposal. As a spokesperson for the people in this city who value our library, I want to say a huge and heartfelt thanks to all those who helped us about in any way shape or form. I hope that your generosity is returned to you 100X over. Power to the Happy Mutants!"