Startup Beams the Web’s Most Important Content from Space, Free

“What do you get if you cross a satellite TV receiver with the Internet? According to startup Outernet, a way to bring billions more people the benefit of online information. By renting communications satellites, Outernet is currently blanketing about half Earth’s surface with a signal that transmits data including much of Wikipedia, open-source software, health resources from the Centers for Disease Control, and international news coverage. Cheap devices based on regular satellite TV receivers store the data that the signal gradually transfers and create a local Wi-Fi network to let nearby computers, phones, or tablets access the downloaded content.” (via Technology review)

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Robert Darnton closes the book

“Early this summer, Robert Choate Darnton, Harvard’s Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian, will pack up his book-lined office on the second floor of Wadsworth House. As of June 30, the celebrated historian, digital library pioneer, and champion of books will leave the University he first saw as an undergraduate in 1957. A scholar of Enlightenment France and of the history of the book, he returned to Harvard in 1965 to join the Society of Fellows, decamped to Princeton University in 1968 for 39 years, and came back to Harvard in 2007.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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Entire Harper’s Bazaar Archive to be Accessible for First Time Online

“ProQuest is creating the first digital archive of Harper’s Bazaar, spanning 1867 through the current issue. Research outcomes in areas as wide-ranging as fashion, design, art, women’s studies, gender studies, marketing and business will be improved through simple online access and precision searching of both text and images from the magazine’s entire run. Accessible later this year on the ProQuest platform, the Harper’s Bazaar Archive will be cross-searchable along with the Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily archives and the rich variety of sources needed to generate pioneering research, such as scholarly journals, working papers, conference proceedings, ebooks, newspapers and other primary sources.” (via Proquest)

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Are seed libraries legal in your state?

“Seed libraries, initiatives that allow gardeners to share seeds with others in their community, have steadily gained popularity in the United States, with more than 400 seed libraries currently documented. However, since the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) controversial investigation of the Simpson Seed Library in Mechanicsburg, PA, in June 2014, the legal status of community seed libraries is in question across the country.” (via CSMonitor.com)

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It’s official: Obama library will be on Chicago’s South Side

“President Barack Obama has decided to build his presidential library on the South Side of Chicago, where his political career began. In a news release, the Barack Obama Foundation announced early Tuesday that the library would be erected on park land that was proposed for the site by the University of Chicago. The site was selected over bids made by Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.” (via AP)

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Saving the digital record

“When digital becomes dinosaur, most people simply get inconvenienced. But librarians and archivists get seriously concerned. Ensuring that digital content — whether it’s a short story by John Updike or a very rare audio recording of a vanished Native American language — lives on past its initial platform is one of the most pressing issues in preservation science. Harvard is one of a handful of cultural institutions in the first wave of adopting a technology and process to preserve its digital content.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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The Rise of DIY Libraries

“In March, a group of New York library officials released a statement declaring that a “staggering infrastructure crisis” has crept up on the city’s public library system. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, one branch is “routinely forced to close on hot days” due to problems with air conditioning. Others are plagued with water-damaged books and facilities that are too small to accommodate everyone in their community. General interest public libraries are no less necessary than they were in 1901, when Andrew Carnegie donated the equivalent of $147 million to construct 65 of them across New York City, but their focus is increasingly shifting away from books and toward things like English classes, job training workshops, community meeting spaces, or just places to read the news online for those without internet access. While the public must continue to fight for these more practical resources, a number of oddball independent libraries cropping up around the North American continent offer an experience that can’t be found in their traditional counterparts.” (via VICE)

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NYC libraries take $10M hit in de Blasio 2016 budget

“Libraries took a $10 million hit in the city’s 2016 budget. The three systems received $323 million — including $5 million from the City Council — in operating funds in 2015, and this year were only promised around $313 million. “The mayor’s proposed operating budget is a setback for libraries,” said Tony Marx, of the New York Public Library. The New York, Brooklyn and Queens public libraries also didn’t get the combined $1.4 billion in capital funds they’d requested for the next 10 years.” (via NY Daily News)

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A Long Way From Wax Cylinders, Library Of Congress Slowly Joins The Digital Age

“Gene DeAnna sits at a computer next to a vintage victrola, appropriate for his job as curator of the National Jukebox project. It’s an online collection of some 10,000 pre-1925 recordings, made acoustically, without any electrical amplification. DeAnna points to a photo on the jukebox’s webpage.”You can see in this picture here that they gathered the orchestra around a great big recording horn and behind the curtain there is a cutter that is cutting the recording into a wax master,” he said.And 90 years later, these primitive recordings can be heard right on your laptop with a few mouse clicks.” (via NPR)

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Vancouver Public Library opens new digital ‘Inspiration Lab’

“Vancouver Public Library’s downtown branch unveiled its brand new, custom-built digital media lab on Tuesday. The 7,500 sq. foot ‘Inspiration Lab’ features high-speed computers with the latest audio and video editing software and fully-equipped recording studios. “Libraries have always been about creating and sharing stories, ideas, information and cultural expressions — in a place that’s free and accessible to everyone,” said Christina de Castell, VPL’s director of collections and technology, in a news release.” (via CBC News)

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