The story of how sf writer and editor Judith Merril founded Toronto's astounding sf reference library and changed the city

My middle-school used to take us on field trips to the Spaced Out Library, the Toronto Public Library's science fiction reference collection founded by legendary author, critic, editor and activist Judith Merril, who emigrated to Canada after witnessing the police brutality at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Read the rest

Print of "lost" britcom discovered in Nigerian basement and restored with X-rays and laser-cutters

In the early days of TV, it was routine to tape over the recording medium after the initial air-date, which means that no video record exists of many of the pioneering moments in television. Read the rest

After 8 years of archiving, the Library of Congress will stop ingesting the Twitter firehose

In 2010, Twitter gave the LoC a copy of every tweet sent since the first one in 2006, and the Library embarked on a program to archive every public tweet sent on the service -- but that will stop after Dec 31. Read the rest

A deep dive into the race to preserve our digital heritage

Science Friday's beautiful "File Not Found" series looks at the thorny questions of digital preservation: finding surviving copies of data, preserving the media it is recorded upon, finding working equipment to read that media, finding working software to decode the information once it's read, clearing the rights to archive it, and maintaining safe, long term archives -- all while being mindful of privacy and other equities. Read the rest

How killing Net Neutrality irreparably harms public libraries and the communities they serve

New York Public Library president Tony Marx presides over the largest public library system in America, in a city where 2,000,000 people lack broadband internet access, so he understands as well as anyone the way that libraries bridge the digital divide, a divide that gets deeper and more daunting every day, as key services and opportunities move online. Read the rest

UK authors and librarians' open letter to Education Secretary: stop closing school libraries!

I remember the day I realised that my daughter's London school had no library, the shock I felt, the sense that the cuts had gone beyond the bone, and that kids were being deprived of something critical -- and then the discovery that then-Education Minister Michael Gove was planning to spend a fortune distributing Bibles to schoolchildren with his name embossed in metal foil on the cover. Read the rest

The stairs in a viral sensation public library in China run with blood, and its "books" are just sheets of aluminum screened with pictures of spines

Starchitect-designed Tianjin Binhai Library is a viral sensation; the Dutch firm MVRDV incorporated a soaring, six-storey spherical atrium with undulating floor-to-ceiling shelves served by striking, irregular white stairs. Read the rest

A viral "angriest librarian" explains why America needs libraries now more than ever

When New Yorker columnist/blowhard Andre Walker "Nobody goes to libraries anymore. Close the public ones and put the books in schools", librarians all over the net gave him what for, and one of the best responses came from self-described "Angriest Librarian" Alex Halpern, a student librarian in Portland, OR, whose tweetstorm went viral. Read the rest

Challenge Racist Narratives with Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors, a New Book and Teaching Tool

Pre-order Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors through Kickstarter to help cover the expensive printing costs of this 272-page, full-color, story-based book and increase accessibility by charging an affordable list price. Donations are tax deductible. Books will ship before the holidays. Check out the Kickstarter HERE.

Portugal passes the world's first reasonable DRM law

Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more. Read the rest

How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian's donation on a stupid football scoreboard

In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium. Read the rest

An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published 1923-1941

Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it's never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to "forever less a day" and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, "orphaning" them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to). Read the rest

London's amazing underground infrastructure revealed in vintage cutaway maps

Londonist's roundup of cutaway maps -- many from the outstanding Transport Museum in Covent Garden -- combines the nerdy excitement of hidden tunnels with the aesthetic pleasure of isomorophic cutaway art, along with some interesting commentary on both the development of subterranean tunnels and works and the history of representing the built environment underground in two-dimension artwork. Read the rest

Preserving electronics: vermin, leaky batteries, melting rubber, brittle plastics, dribbly capacitors, fungus and dust

Benji Edwards's guide to preserving vintage electronics is a fascinating look into all the ways that even solid-state gear can go off in long-term storage: a lot of stuff (batteries, capacitors and even rubber) can leak viscous, electronics-destroying liquids; plastics break down in UV light; mold and corrosion eat your gear from within; spiders, crickets and roaches make their nests in old gear; and of course, dust gets everywhere. Read the rest

Burbank! I'll see you tonight at 7PM at the Buena Vista library

My Walkaway book-tour is basically over, but I'm taking a little victory lap tonight at my local library, the Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library. Hope to see you there! Read the rest

Toronto's amazing science fiction library, the Merril Collection, has a new head librarian

It's been decades since I first discovered my love of science fiction on a school trip to the "Spaced Out Library," the public science fiction reference collection founded by Judith Merril -- that day, I met both Merril (who went on to be a mentor to me) and Lorna Toolis, who has just stepped down as head of the library, which grew in stature and changed names, becoming the Merril Collection of Science Fiction. Read the rest

The world's libraries tell the W3C that DRM is bad for the web

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is the respected global body representing libraries all over the world; in an open letter to the World Wide Web Consortium, the organization says the recent decision to standardize DRM for the web has undermined the web's openness and the ability of libraries and other public institutions to fulfill their important social role. Read the rest

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