Library collections, archives and other information that aren't accessible online, and how to find them. Use the links at top right to ask a question or submit a post. Contact: jacquelinekbarlow [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet @thatsnotonline

Jacqueline's posts / Jennifer's posts

Read the Printed Word!

Charlie Chaplin’s Zepped

On Wednesday, 29th June, Bonhams will auction off the only known surviving copy of Zepped, a seven-minute Charlie Chaplin film that features the Little Tramp taking down a German zeppelin.  Until 2009, when Morace Park purchased the reel on Ebay for a pittance, this film had been lost to history. From the Guardian and the Daily Mail:

Park – who, when he is not buying and selling antiques as a hobby, runs a company that develops products with inventors – bought the film “from someone else who deals in bits and bobs”. When his parcel arrived, he didn’t even bother to open it for a while. But when he did, he unfurled a little of the film and saw the title: Charlie Chaplin in Zepped. “I Googled it,” he said, “and then my interest was pricked. I couldn’t find any sign of it on the internet.”

Further research by film historians showed that the film was probably produced in about 1916, as propaganda to reassure Britons concerned by zeppelin raids from Germany.  It was likely a compilation film, put together from existing footage, and possibly against Chaplin’s wishes.  An advertisement for a showing in Manchester in 1917 is the only surviving evidence of the film having shown publicly.

ClearChampion, an independent film production company, is currently producing a documentary about the lost film, The Rarest Film In the World?  See excerpts on their YouTube channel, or follow the project on Twitter here.

Experimental literature

Garth Risk Hallberg has posted an article on how to Kindle-Proof Your Book in Seven Easy Steps!  In order to make your book untransferrable to ebook format, Hallberg recommends the following:

Step 1. Use Color

Step 2. Illustrate, Illustrate, Illustrate

Step 3. Play With Text, Typeface, and White Space

Step 4. Run With Scissors

Step 5. Go Aleatory

Step 6. Put It In A Box

Step 7. Pile on the End Matter

For more detail, and a list of books (including Hallberg’s A Field Guide to the North American Family) that have completed many of these steps, read the whole article on The Millions, “an online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture since 2003.”

Marginalia: Playing the Margins

Playing the margins is a project headed by Sian Prosser and Paris O’Donnell, two MA LIS students at the University College London Department of Information Studies.

The aim of the project, funded by UCL’s Train and Engage programme, is to bring drama students into the UCL Special Collections, allow them to interact with early printed books, and ask them to consider what annotations in these books might reveal about their authors’ engagement with these works.

The last workshop was held on 24th May in the Petrie Museum.  The site does not indicate when, or whether, another workshop will take place.

O’Donnell included a post on this project in her Day of DH blog and another on the UCL DIS student blog.  The latter contains an account of the first workshop, held on 9th May.

You can follow the project on Twitter here.

Exciting news, for those of you who haven’t heard.  If you’ve read the About section of this site, you’ll know that That’s Not Online! was created as an entry to the LIS New Professionals Network’s Library Advocacy Competition.  Last week, it was announced that it won first prize!  This means all kinds of fun for the author, including a Full Residential Delegate pass to CILIP’s Umbrella Conference (gala dinner, anyone?).  Read LISNPN’s announcement here and CILIP’s announcement here.

Your Hippocampus

The increasing ubiquity of digital information has given rise to not a few debates on the superiority of these new formats.  Ebooks have yet to replace paper in many people’s hearts, not to mention on their shelves.  Digitization of archives and artifacts, as we know, is costly and leaves a lot behind.  Some people are (still!) insisting that email has nothing on a “real”, paper letter, even as email is left in the dust by social networking and chat.  And speaking of social networking, there has been no end of discussion by naysayers on the use of the word “friends” in that context.

However, some things seem unquestionably to have been improved by the digital age.  Maps, for example.  It’s hard to beat the convenience of Google Maps when gauging how long a journey will take.  GPS, whether mounted on your dashboard or installed on your smartphone, offers reassurance in unfamiliar territory.

But by ditching paper maps — and our own sense of direction — we might be losing a lot more.  Last year John McKinney, writing for Miller-McCune, reported on a study led by Toru Ishikawa at the University of Tokyo that asked participants to navigate on foot from point A to point B.  Some were given a GPS device, some were given maps, and others had the route described to them by a researcher.  From the abstract:

Results showed that GPS users traveled longer distances and made more stops during the walk than map users and direct-experience participants. Also, GPS users traveled more slowly, made larger direction errors, drew sketch maps with poorer topological accuracy, and rated wayfinding tasks as more difficult than direct-experience participants.

In other words, GPS was not more efficient than other methods, and participants paid less attention to their surroundings while using it.  Quoted in McKinney’s article, cartographer and publisher Tom Harrison remarks that “We seem to be rushing away from using our ability to navigate in the real world.”

The detrimental effects of GPS may extend further than just missing out on the scenery.  In an article eloquently titled "Are GPS zombies eating your brain?", Psychology Today's Ron S. Doyle reports on research done by Veronique Bohbot of McGill University, that found that over-reliance on stimulus-response strategies in navigation (GPS is one) shrinks the hippocampus, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  (The hippocampus is where we “keep” our “cognitive maps”.)

For a comprehensive overview of this issue, see Global Impositioning Systems by Alex Hutchinson, from the Canadian magazine The Walrus.  Among other things, Hutchinson suggests that we may soon have to exercise our brains the same way we do our bodies — to make up for exercise we might once have gained naturally.

From Meanwhile, The San Francisco Public Library, a collection of watercolour sketches by Wendy MacNaughton.  These vignettes are far more effective than words in showing us what would be lost without libraries.  What ebrary provides companionship, social workers, a refuge from the street?
Via TheRumpus.

From Meanwhile, The San Francisco Public Library, a collection of watercolour sketches by Wendy MacNaughton.  These vignettes are far more effective than words in showing us what would be lost without libraries.  What ebrary provides companionship, social workers, a refuge from the street?

Via TheRumpus.

This lock of Mary Shelley’s hair is part of a collection of realia and rare documents currently on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library.  May 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the iconic building in which it resides.
This article from Salon defends the idea of the library as place, as well as noting that not all of the items held by the library are scannable documents.  Also on display: Charlotte Brönte’s writing desk, Jack Kerouac’s Valium box, and a pamphlet, entitled “What To Do If You’re Arrested,” distributed in the 1960’s by the gay-rights organization the Mattachine Society.
See also: This video, a news story on the anniversary from WABC.  In response to some more controversial items on display, such as a Ku Klux Klan robe and pointed hood, curator Thomas Mellins cautions, “the library’s mission is to be our collective memory, it is not to be our collective conscience.”  For more information on the New York Public Library, see their Tumblr page, NYPL Wire.

This lock of Mary Shelley’s hair is part of a collection of realia and rare documents currently on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library.  May 23rd marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the iconic building in which it resides.

This article from Salon defends the idea of the library as place, as well as noting that not all of the items held by the library are scannable documents.  Also on display: Charlotte Brönte’s writing desk, Jack Kerouac’s Valium box, and a pamphlet, entitled “What To Do If You’re Arrested,” distributed in the 1960’s by the gay-rights organization the Mattachine Society.

See also: This video, a news story on the anniversary from WABC.  In response to some more controversial items on display, such as a Ku Klux Klan robe and pointed hood, curator Thomas Mellins cautions, “the library’s mission is to be our collective memory, it is not to be our collective conscience.”  For more information on the New York Public Library, see their Tumblr page, NYPL Wire.

Albert Einstein’s papers

The Einstein Archives Online are a collaboration between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL), and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  3,000 high-quality digitized images of Einstein’s writings may be browsed on the site; these represent over 900 of Einstein’s documents.

The digitized documents represent a small fraction of the papers held in the Einstein collections of the three participating institutions.  The Archival Database contains records for over 43,000 records of Einstein and Einstein-related documents.  The site also offers a finding aid.  According to this article on profetic, these 43,000 records have not yet been digitized because the universities cannot afford to do so.

600 Small Finnish Museums (but not for long?)

Vimuseo is a website that documents the doctoral research of Magdalena Laine-Zamojska (Academia.edu and LinkedIn), a doctoral student in Museology at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland).  The main product of this research will be virtuaalimuseo.fi, an online tool for creating virtual exhibitions and multimedia presentations, geared toward small museums that would not otherwise be able to afford to digitize their collections.  The site’s About page explains that out of 919 museums listed on the Finnish Museum Association website, around 600 are not professionally run.  This means that, while these museums may be willing to digitize their collections, they might not have the tools, or the know-how, to do so.  virtuaalimuseo.fi aims to make the digitization process easier.

Laine-Zamojska demonstrated her project at Museums and the Web 2011, a conference which took place April 6-9 in Philadelphia (here is her published paper).  The abstract states that the interface is user-friendly and requires no knowledge of programming.  The program supports multimedia such as flash animation, movies, music, Google maps and more.  In addition, social aspects will be implemented and tested.

Photo of Jyväskylä University Bridge by Alessio Damato.

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