Project Whirlwind comes home
The Project Whirlwind Computer collection -- a compilation of pioneering digital computing research conducted at MIT in the 1940s and 1950s -- has been transferred back to the Institute from the MITRE Corporation, and its contents are being opened to the public for the first time. The research project, which included the creation of "Whirlwind I" -- the first digital computer at MIT and the fastest of its time -- began at the Institute and had been moved to Lincoln Lab and then later to MITRE. Materials in the collection were previously unavailable to researchers, but with its transfer to MIT, the collection is now accessible to the public. Key documents from the Whirlwind collection have also been digitized and will soon be made available online.
New from the UK: National Archives Begins Studying How Web Pages are Archived
From the Announcement: The National Archives is pleased to announce a study into how archived websites are collected and made available to users. The study is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and will take place in collaboration with the UK Web Archiving Consortium. The study aims to:
+ Investigate how UK web archives are delivered to users now, and how they might be delivered in the future
+ Define the long-term historical and research value of online content in the UK
+ Look at different organisations that collect web archives, and their interests
A look at Johnson beyond all the words
Samuel Johnson stands with a book clutched tightly in his hands mere inches from his face, straining to read the page of a book. This is the moment that his friend, Sir Joshua Reynolds decided to capture in his 1775 portrait, "Blinking Sam." Johnson didn't like the painting, yet it epitomizes his very essence. "He was blinking... (The painting) also shows him grabbing at knowledge, gripping the heart out of a book," said Loren Rothschild, a Johnson collector and the overseer at Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Along with Alan Jutzi, the Avery chief curator of rare books, he has organized the exhibit, "Samuel Johnson: Literary Giant of the 18th Century." It opens Saturday.
Setting the Stage With Shadows
What's a stage designer to do when the composer has already decided which colors to use — right there in the opera’s libretto? For Robert Edmond Jones, one of the most influential stage craftsmen of the 20th century, having Arnold Schoenberg calling the shots for “Die Glückliche Hand” (“The Hand of Fate”) freed him to design a brooding set and lighting scheme that visually reinforced the composer’s stark exploration of futility in the pursuit of love. The design Jones came up with in 1930, a stage full of jutting forms and menacing shadows, is now on display in “Creating the Modern Stage: Designs for Theater and Opera” at the Morgan Library & Museum. The show features more than 50 original drawings from stage designers, displayed with production photos, rare books and other theatrical ephemera primarily from the first half of the 20th century.
A conversation with Daniel Kestenbaum
Every three months, Bergenfield resident Daniel Kestenbaum holds an auction of Western and Oriental books, manuscripts, and fine Judaica at his Manhattan gallery. One of few such specialists in the world, Kestenbaum & Company has become well-known to Judaica collectors, curators, and dealers. But its founder is perhaps less well-known at home. Following his recent spring auction — featuring items such as a 1488 Torah commentary that sold for $200,000 — Kestenbaum, 47, talked with The Jewish Standard about his work.
Alibris Hopes to Expand Distribution Business
Alibris will announce on Tuesday "a new book-fulfillment solution" for booksellers. The new program, called Alibris Distribution Services(ADS), will provide full cataloging and distribution services for booksellers who have "exceeded their operations capacity, have more inventory than they'll ever catalog, or want to liquidate large amounts of new and used books." Participating booksellers will receive 70% of the price realized less 99c per item accepted into the program. Almost sounds to good to be true. Send all that excess inventory to Alibris, let them catalog it and deal with the shipping, warehousing etc. I've rarely meet a bookseller who didn't have space issues.
Books make welcome return to Dumfries
PBFA Book Fairs aims to provide a wide-ranging selection of books at all prices, in a variety of subjects, for both the reader and the serious collector. Visitors can browse and handle real books as opposed to the virtual world of the internet sites rife with books of suspect condition, print on demand material and poor quality reprints. Over the years some rare and unusual books have been displayed including early Rupert Bear Annuals, first editions of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books, Peter Rae’s History of the Late Rebellion (one of the first books printed in Dumfries in 1718).
The secret life of Superman
The Scottish writer Mark Millar, for example, who recently completed a contract writing Fantastic Four for Marvel, decided to keep Wanted, an original series about a group of supervillains, to himself. When the concept was used for a film starring Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie last year, I imagine Millar would have had a share of the profits. That level of self-determination wasn’t available to Shuster, which is why, in 1954, his eyesight failing and work hard to come by, he accepted an invitation to illustrate the lurid stories that were to fill the pages of a magazine called Nights of Horror. Promising its readers “stories spiced and illustrated in a way we know you will enjoy”, it contained pictures of young women being bathed, thrashed, tied up and generally subjugated, all the time looking rather uninvolved and unconcerned. It’s unlikely that the pictures reflect Shuster’s peccadilloes or private fantasies. That someone who had helped to create an entire industry should be forced to sell himself so cheap is little short of a tragedy.
Why Donald Duck Is the Jerry Lewis of Germany
“Donald is so popular because almost everyone can identify with him,” says Christian Pfeiler, president of D.O.N.A.L.D. “He has strengths and weaknesses, he lacks polish but is also very cultured and well-read.” But much of the appeal of the hapless, happy-go-lucky duck lies in the translations. Donald quotes from German literature, speaks in grammatically complex sentences and is prone to philosophical musings, while the stories often take a more political tone than their American counterparts. Whereas in the U.S. fans of Donald Duck tend to gravitate to the animated films, duck fandom in Germany centers on the printed comics published in the kids’ weekly “Micky Maus” and the monthly “Donald Duck Special” (with a print run of 40,000 copies), which sells mainly to adult readers.
16 century Sanskrit manuscripts being digitised
"Around 2,300 Sanskrit manuscripts, that is, over four lakh pages, have been digitised so far. It will take the team another six months to complete digitising all the 10,000-odd Sanskrit manuscripts here," says Prashant Nijampurkar, librarian and accountant at Anandashram. Anandashram, in order to propagate the Sanskrit language, plans to offer short-term and long-term courses in the language this July onwards. Two scholarships, each of Rs 250 per month, will be given to two students who will undergo a year-long course on foundational sciences in Sanskrit.
Rare copy of Dnyaneshwari brought back from Andamans
A rare manuscript of Dnyaneshwari written in 1870 has been brought to light by researchers Mandar Lawate and Bhujang Bobade. Bobade has procured it from Andaman and Nicobar islands and handed it over to a Pune-based researcher. Bobade, who is working with Hyderabad-based Andhra Pradesh Government Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Institute (APGOMLRI) as a research scholar was in the city last month. He delivered a lecture at Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal.
Seafarers’ Memoirs, Written on Skin
Early tattoos of American sailors are known mainly through description. But the exhibition shows how much can be pieced together about the nation’s seamen by examining archival records. Each had a “Sailor Protection Certificate” that was carried as a form of identification that detailed the tattoos on its bearer’s body; these descriptions often remain the sole remnants of individuality in these once-anonymous figures. Aaron Fullerton (born in 1778), for example, “has a ship on his right hand and on his left hand” along with his birth year etched in tattoos made by gunpowder.
"Sergeant York" tonight at BYU Special Collections
Roughly once a month, BYU Special Collections Film Series screens a classic film on real, original film prints, to a usually-packed and always-enthusiastic crowd. For a movie lover, there's no better place to be. Tonight they will be showing Sergeant York, the 1941 Howard Hawks film starring Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan.