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February 7, 2010

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Video roundup (or: No, this blog isn't dead!)

February 25, 2009

Here are some recent videos that have been brought to my attention – they may be relevant to your interests!

  1. Atelier: Ex Libris

    As a bookbinder and manuscript restorer specializing in medieval bindings it is a joy for me, now and then, to make small versions of historical bindings for myself or for treasured friends, as in fact, this one is. I decided to make this clip as the most beautiful part of the book is not what you see (as is usually the case) but what is hidden in countless hours of work underneath the surface which you will never see. The work, seen and unseen, took approximately 50 hours.
    The clip will take you through all of the steps from just after the paper was painstakingly torn individually and laid into quires to the completion of the clasps. It is modelled after a 15th Century Gothic binding.”

  2. PBS’s American Experience: “A Class Apart: A Mexican American Civil Rights Story
    This originally aired on Feburary 23rd, but you can watch the whole thing online right now! It includes archival materials from the Center for American History and the Benson Latin American Collection. At least a couple of Kilgarlin students have worked for the Benson, including the talented Sarah Norris. In addition, many other students have done treatments on items from the Center for American History.  Also, this episode is narrated by Edward James Olmos, aka Admiral Adama from Battlestar Galactica, aka star of the most-awesome-film-about-a-math-teacher, “Stand and Deliver“.
  3. Drop-lining of the big, stinky map of Evanston
    While interning at the Northwestern University Library, I’ve had the pleasure of working on not only the oldest, but also the largest and stinkiest map of Evanston I’ve ever had the (mis)fortune to smell. This map was not only filthy (dirt, insects AND bird poop), it was varnished, lined and shattering like Blagojevich’s political career. Special Collections conservator Susan Russick (also a Kilgarlin alum) has been leading the treatment, and after we washed the map, she taught me how to do a “drop lining” using a stick and a pasted-up sheet of Japanese tissue. That’s her climbing onto the table, since I am too short to lift the stick up high enough to get the tissue onto the table all the way.

ATTENTION: if anyone has any videos they’d like to have thrown onto the great stage that is the internet, PLEASE send them to me, or post a comment.

I heard it on NPR: Web Security Words Help Digitize Old Books

August 15, 2008

I heard an interesting story on NPR about a service called reCAPTCHA that has harnessed the power of the masses (and the internet) to improve the OCR output for digitized books available on the Internet Archive as well as old issues of the New York Times.

From the reCAPTCHA website:

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can’t read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here’s how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

You can listen to the NPR story here.

Librarian video roundup!

July 16, 2008

At last!  Videos of this year’s ALA Book Cart Drill Team Championships are online!  This was one of the not-to-be-missed events of ALA…lucky me, I snagged a seat in the 2nd row and what a ride it was!

In first place were the “Well Stacked Sci-brarians” from the Santa Monica Public Library.

More videos after the jump…

John Frederick Peto, Painter of Book Carnage

July 10, 2008

During my recent trip to California for the ALA 2008 conference, I visited several of the museums in San Diego’s Balboa Park. One of my favorite paintings I saw that day was at the Timken Museum of Art – it was a work by John Frederick Peto, an American tromp l’oeil painter. Titled “In the Library”, the painting depicts a sad and sorry collection of ragged books. In fact, many of Peto’s paintings depict groups of abused tomes sorely in need of a conservator’s loving touch.  He is also fond of depicting paper ephemera and photographs mercilessly given the “bulletin board” treatment.

John Frederick Peto, "Take Your Choice"

John Frederick Peto, "Take Your Choice"

New from the NEDCC: Preservation Education Curriculum

July 10, 2008

[Photo by Flickr user wallyg used in accordance with a Creative Commons license]

I had the opportunity to sit in on a couple of preservation discussion groups at this year’s annual ALA conference. One of them was the “Preservation Instruction, Education and Outreach Discussion Group (PIEDOG)”, which was moderated by PIEDOG chair, Adrienne Bell. During the discussion, Lori Foley (Director of Field Service for the NEDCC) announced the launch of a new website devoted to providing a free resource for preservation education. The project was funded by the IMLS and will be composed of 13 three-hour courses, available for free from the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s website.

“For the first time, instructors at graduate schools of librarianship and archives can find lesson outlines, resources, activities, assignments, and images – all in one place.

Lesson plans cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to Preservation
  • Context for the Cultural Record
  • Strucutre and Deterioration of Paper-based Materials
  • Structure and Deterioration of Multimedia Materials
  • Building-wide concerns
  • Collections Care
  • Survey and Assessments
  • Treatment Options
  • Preservation Reformatting
  • Creating Sustainable Digital Collections
  • Building a Preservation Program
  • Disaster Planning”

You can access the Preservation Education Curriculum from the NEDCC’s website. They also have a comprehensive “Preservation 101″ online course available.

PSA: No French fries in the library!

April 26, 2008

Passive Aggressive Notes

Originally uploaded by Miss Martini

A library-themed gem from Passive Aggressive Notes.

Can finals be over yet?

Just Peachy

April 25, 2008

Check out Jeff Peachey‘s fledgling blog (at the urging of Brenna Campbell).

What's in a name?:how to convey the idea that you preserve books and paper, not whales (though whales are nice too)

January 3, 2008

If you haven’t already, go read Beth Heller’s latest blog entry.  A short snippet to get the gist:

My question to you: how do you describe your profession to a stranger, when you have about 5 seconds to get it across? Do you say “I’m a conservator”? The response to that, it seems, is “…like you save the environment?” I tend to say “I fix art and historic documents”, and leave the word “conservator for later in the conversation. That don’t seem right, PR-wise, but it communicates the essentials quickly. It does leave something to be desired in expressing the intricacy, extensive training and education, the professionalism required.Ideas, anyone? 


Also, there was a brief but interesting article in the NY Times today about how people project themselves online.   I think the internet can/could be a very useful tool to promote a greater awareness about conservation, and library conservation in particular – but as always, we must be aware of the potential pitfalls of using new resources like blogs, social networking sites and even online photo services like Flickr and Picasaweb.  In other words, Kilgarlinites, you must always use this blog for good, not evil.  🙂


December 3, 2007

From the Beeb:

A “spooky” image of a priest executed for treason over the Gunpowder Plot has appeared on a 17th century book thought to be bound in his skin, it is claimed.