Miscellany: preservation at the Library of Congress, YA book cover design process, and more library videos

July 20, 2010

A photograph depicts a young woman leaning over to place a large roughly gun-shaped device against a very old book cradled in a stand. She works for the Library of Congress doing preservation research.

Rob Beschizza toured the the Preservation Research and Testing Division and the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress recently and posted gorgeous high-res photos (and a couple videos) and descriptions of a lot of the preservation technology on BoingBoing. He talks about both the preservation of old print materials and digital items–everything from the Gettysburg Address and the 500-year-old Waldseemüller world map to nitrate film and RCA Selectavision and DVDs–touching on some of the issues involved (damaging an item to learn about it, DRM, digitizing vs maintaining old technology) and explaining some of the different tools and the science of preservation. Preservation nerds will love this, but everyone should click through just to check out the photos.

A piece of strange, sad news: a public library in Dover, New Hampshire recently discovered 5,000 anti-public school bookmarks tucked into books in their collection; staff spent 30 hours removing all of them. The bookmarks espoused the ideals of the School Sucks Project and Freedomain Radio and were strategically placed in books in certain sections of the library. Other nearby libraries have also found the bookmarks in their own collections. And lest anyone think the library was trying to censor the School Sucks Project’s message,

Although Beaudoin said she didn’t want library patrons to think the library supported the messages on the bookmarks, she wouldn’t have denied a request to post a poster or literature on a public board or display.

But library policy prohibits the dissemination of information through bookmarks in books, she said.

“If I had found 5,000 bookmarks staying ‘Stop the oil spill in the Gulf,’ a message I think everyone can get behind, I still would have pulled them,” she said. “It’s not what it was about, but that the act was done.”

A long time ago I linked to a blog post by the designer of the cover of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ISLAND describing the design process and showing some of the alternate cover designs. If you liked that, a post on Jacket Whys collects some more examples of designers’ blog posts about YA book covers they’ve done.

Brigham Young University recently took a page from Old Spice’s book and put together this fantastic video, “New Spice: Study Like a Scholar, Scholar,” in which BYU student and comedian Stephen Jones extolls the virtues of studying at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library. So many elements of the Old Spice commercials are nailed so perfectly and it’s a great mix of silly and accurate and man I love this video.

And if you just can’t get enough library-related videos, the Huffington Post rounds up what they think are the nine funniest videos out there, including Librarians Do Gaga and Improv Everywhere’s recent video recreating the library scene from Ghostbusters.

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