Posts filed under ‘archives’

lost ancient art of librarian miniaturization

Book1BoingBoing’s no-text post showing this image is titled “Fragmentary evidence of the lost ancient art of librarian miniaturization,” which counts as a shenanigan, I think.

The image is all over the internet, sometimes with a citation to the Archives of Prague Castle. [UPDATE, November 14: I've just received an email from Martin Halata, head archivist at Prague Castle, who tells me the photograph is not from their archives.] It’s even got lolz versions in Czech [I found these a few days ago but now I can't find them anymore and it's driving me crazy].

I used Google’s nifty image search mechanism to discover that — as far as I can tell — this image first appeared on the internet on April 22, 2013, at Lost and Found in Prague. The photographer is M. Peterka and the date is unknown. [Some versions of the image appear with a date of ca. 1940; some say the person in the picture is a man; others say it is a woman.]

November 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Papier-mâché employees of the Internet Archive!

The Internet Archive, home of the Wayback Machine and an enormous public-domain digital book collection, is housed in an old church in San Francisco. The pews of the church sanctuary are filled with papier-mâché representations of the employees! I haven’t been able to find out who made these or how it all came together or whether it’s a temporary thing — if you know anything about it, please comment. Thanks, Carol Dickerson!

May 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

A hawk in the Library of Congress! An actual live hawk!

A hawk somehow made its way into the Library of Congress this week. It has now been safely captured and will be released back into the wild. Thanks, David Weinstock!

January 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm 2 comments

National Archives researcher confesses to forging date

This is a non-cute shenanigan. From the press release: “Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced today that Thomas Lowry, a long-time Lincoln researcher from Woodbridge, VA, confessed on January 12, 2011, to altering an Abraham Lincoln Presidential pardon that is part of the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives. The pardon was for Patrick Murphy, a Civil War soldier in the Union Army who was court-martialed for desertion. Lowry admitted to changing the date of Murphy’s pardon, written in Lincoln’s hand, from April 14, 1864, to April 14, 1865, the day John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. Having changed the year from 1864 to 1865, Lowry was then able to claim that this pardon was of significant historical relevance because it could be considered one of, if not the final official act by President Lincoln before his assassination.”

My researchers sometimes wonder why we don’t like to have pens in the reading room. Now you know one reason. (There’s also the problem of pen explosions.) Thanks, Leah Davis Witherow!

January 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm Leave a comment

20 Heroic Librarians Who Save the World

So glad someone has gathered together these heroic librarians from books, TV, and film. In particular I call your attention to the bookaneers in China Mieville’s excellent novel Un Lun Dun. About time somebody wrote a novel where a prophecy is a crock. Thanks, io9!

October 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

Dancing archives box

Archie Archives of the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University dances at a Welcome Days event for first year students. Archie, your bright red bow tie is evocative of nerdiness and Chippendales at the same time, and goes very well with your flip flops … well done all around. And it seems the students like you. Thanks, Lynne Thomas!

August 24, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

I Love the Archives at the Jewish Museum of Maryland

A 2008 commercial spawns an XKCD comic, which spawns a video, which spawns a Derangement and Description comic, which spawns a video at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. And every single thing in this chain is awesome (though only the last two are library shenanigans). Thanks, Lynne Thomas!

August 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

A drum set in the archives? Huh?

In spring 2010, a Colorado College art class met in the library to discuss incongruity. In advance of the class session, the professors (with the help of library staff) placed a drum set into the Special Collections archives area. The class then met outside the cage and discussed the jarring effects of the incongruity (or something like that — I wasn’t actually there). Thanks, Steve Lawson and Amy Brooks!

July 20, 2010 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

“I’m an Archivist” response to Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart made fun of the idea of the master’s degree in archives management on The Daily Show on November 11, 2009. David Kay, M.L.S., responded with a song to the tune of Monty Python’s “Lumberjack Song.” I like the line “It might seem very funny that we’re a professional trade, ha ha!” The full lyrics appear in The Metropolitan Archivist, Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer 2010. Thanks, David Kay.

Addition: singalong version at youtube.

UPDATE July 2012: WoodyGuth3′s “The Ballad of David Kay, MLS” describes another shenanigan perpetrated by the same guy: “Based on a true story from an ALA-accredited library school. At the time, David Kay, MLS was president of the Queens College Library and Information Studies Student Association (qcLISSA) and helped lead a student protest with direct action against the University’s OCT (Office of Converging Technologies) when library proxies were broken and students were unable to do their homework and access library materials remotely and offsite. Forty-eight hours later, after leading seven students to confront the Director of OCT in his office, the broken proxy service was replaced, and word quickly spread that “qcLISSA fought the OCT and the OCT finally lost!” Students even celebrated with cake and punch! Recorded by WoodyGuth3 in May 2012 for Brooklyn Blowback TV.” Thanks, David Kay!

July 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm 1 comment


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