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Plainfield library archivists dig up personal letter from John Quincy Adams

“In case you were wondering, our sixth president really knew how to write a nice rejection letter. Taking up precisely a full page with neat, handwritten script, John Quincy Adams politely and eloquently declined an invitation to attend a Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society event in the late 1830s, citing his flagging health during a sweltering heat wave. No one might have ever known it, if not for Plainfield Public Library archivist Jeff Wassen — who said he knew the letter was part of the library’s huge collection of historic archives, but forgot about it to some degree before recently rediscovering it.” (via MyCentralJersey.com)

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The longitude problem: 300-year-old archive opened to the world

“It was the conundrum that baffled some of the greatest and most eccentric experts of the 18th century – and captivated the British public during an era of unprecedented scientific and technical transformation. Now, for the first time, the full story of attempts to solve the longitude problem – unravelling the lone genius myth popularised in film and literature – will be made freely available to everyone via Cambridge University’s Digital Library. Launched today, the complete archive of the Board of Longitude, held by Cambridge University Library and associated National Maritime Museum collections, will take their place alongside the works of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton on the Cambridge Digital Library site.” (via Jisc)

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A New Look for the Legal Blawg Archive

“The following is a guest post by Matthew Braun, Senior Legal Research Specialist at the Law Library of Congress.  Matt has posted to the blog previously: most recently Taking the Reference Desk on the Road and Orphan Works and Fair Use in a Digital Age. For more than six years, the Law Library of Congress has been collecting images of select legal blogs on a monthly basis.  The Legal Blawg Archive was created so that the legal events detailed and analyzed in the blogs of today can be studied for years to come. Now this archive is available in an updated user interface making the collection more attractive and engaging.” (via In Custodia Legis)

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Anger greets secret private Library and Archives Canada deal

“Confusion and anger over a major, secretly brokered deal between Library and Archives Canada and a private high-tech consortium heightened Wednesday amid damage-control efforts by archive officials who say the deal is a good one. Details of the project, revealed late Tuesday by the Ottawa Citizen, would see Library and Archives hand over millions of publicly-owned books and documents to Canadiana.com which, in exchange, will get a 10-year exclusive licence to sell it in sophisticated digital format.” (via Ottawa Citizen.

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Early Tennessee Tax Lists Now Online

“April 15 can be a taxing day for all of us living in modern times, but our ancestors didn’t have it much easier. Although our federal income tax only dates back to the Civil War era, Tennesseans have been paying state and local taxes since long before then. Now Tennessee tax records dating back to 1783 are available free online to Tennesseans, thanks to a partnership between the Tennessee State Library and Archives and Ancestry.com. The online database contains records from 71 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Famous notables like Andrew Jackson (who paid $66 in taxes to Davidson County in 1829) appear side by side with ordinary farmers, millers and laborers.” (via Tennessee Department of State)

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Stetson library holds historic treasures

“Careful not to tear the pages, Barbara Costello slowly opened one of the first books that came into Stetson Universitys federal depository collection: a volume containing condolences from throughout the world following the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Detailed artwork is still visible on the outside while the writing inside reveals the “flowery language” of the time.” (via News-JournalOnline.com)

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Libraries’ move to digital poses risks, benefits

“Archive libraries, such as the Hoole Special Collections on campus, are increasingly converting their content into digital copies. But what may be a convenience for students can be problematic for archivists. As archives are digitized, there is concern that the technology which records are stored on will become out of date – just look at the floppy disk. “That’s where our difficulty lies more than anything else is that, how do you keep a permanent or long-term record in a digital format when you can’t guarantee its lifespan?” Tom Land, the institutional records analyst at Hoole, said. “We know what paper will do and we know what microfilm will do, but the digital stuff is different; our technology is changing about every year and a half.” (via Crimson White)

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Entire Vatican Library to be digitized across 2.8 petabytes of storage

“The Vatican has been going high-tech lately, and its next step is digitizing the entire Apostolic Library — all 40 million pages of it. The project will take nine years and be made possible by a 2.8 petabyte storage donation from EMC, a company that specializes in information security and data storage. The library holds nearly 90,000 documents, including rare pieces like the Gutenberg Bible, one of the first Western books printed on moveable type.”

via The Verge

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Preserving automotive history, one image at a times

“In an unassuming low-rise building on a side street in Naples, Florida sits the Revs Institute.  The Institute, which is open to invited scholars and guests, houses a collection of fully restored historically significant automobiles, as well as a library containing images, books and ephemera.  Since the images are carefully stored, many as negatives, a large number of them may not have been seen since they were taken.  Up until now, this entire collection was housed under one roof, one large hurricane away from being damaged or lost.”

via Stanford University Libraries

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ProQuest to Distribute NewspaperARCHIVE to Libraries Worldwide

“ProQuest is significantly expanding its rich selection of historical news content as the global distributor to libraries and other institutions for NewspaperARCHIVE.com, a 130 million-page database that captures coverage from valuable local newspapers throughout North America, the U.K., and select countries from 1607 to the present. ProQuest will offer libraries the option to purchase a perpetual archive rather than just subscriptions. Further, there will be Academic and Public library versions that break NewspaperARCHIVE.com’s massive content into state level products and individual titles.”

via ProQuestPress Release

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