Tag Archives: Harvard

Professors See Shift in Academic Attitudes on Wikipedia

“While professors, scholars, and other academics in the early 2000s cautioned students not to consult Wikipedia at all when researching, attitudes concerning the popular online encyclopedia are shifting, according to some Harvard professors. Some professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences said they see Wikipedia as more acceptable, even as a website that students can peruse for somewhat reliable information. Although they still warned students to be wary when using Wikipedia, some professors no longer look at the site with the same criticism.” (via he Harvard Crimson)

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A Glimpse Inside the Hidden Vault Where Harvard Keeps Millions of Books

“Harvard’s flagship library, Widener, is an imposing granite cube built quite literally as shrine to the book. A central alcove cuts through the stacks to show off a prized relic: an original Gutenberg bible. But this is not the heart of Harvard’s libraries. No, that would be its cold storage site, an anonymous concrete building few students or even faculty know about. The Harvard Depository, some 30 miles from the Cambridge campus, better resembles an Amazon warehouse than a library. The 200,000 square foot facility houses the vast majority of Harvard Library’s collection—some 9 million books, films, LPs, magnetic tapes, and pamphlets sorted not by the Dewey decimal system but by size. (via Gizmodo)

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Crowdsourcing old journals

“From the time he was 10 a century and a half ago, William Brewster searched the woods and fields of New England for birds, eventually becoming a noted ornithologist and spending half his life curating the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology’s bird collection. In addition to his passion for fieldwork, Brewster was a diligent note-taker. When he died in 1919, he left behind a collection of 40,000 birds, nests, and eggs, but also thousands of pages of diaries and journals that provide valuable insights on both the birdlife of his era and, through his writing on other subjects, the times themselves. At least, they would if people could read them.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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Where books (and more) go to wait

“I still walk in here and say, ‘Wow,’ ” said Steve Bertino. Bertino is part of the team that runs the Harvard Depository, a high-density, high-security, off-campus facility that houses a staggering amount of materials from Harvard’s library collections — representing much of human knowledge accrued since the dawn of civilization. This is patron service and stewardship at a massive yet precise scale. The depository holds about 10 million volumes on 30-foot-tall shelves, and industrial lifts are used to retrieve items for patrons. Each lift travels only about 200 feet, yet passes 300,000 books on 2,000 shelves. About 880,000 manuscripts, films, maps, University archives, and photographs, as well as books, flow through the facility a year, about the number of breaths the average adult takes in the same time period.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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Of books, trees, and knowledge

To Ling Guo, a curator for the Beijing Botanic Garden, one of the best places to learn about Chinese crab apples is half a world away, in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library. Guo was wrapping up two months at the Arboretum as a visiting scientist and a recipient of the Jewett Prize, which supports researchers studying flowers and fruits. Guo, one of the world’s foremost experts on crab apples, has been creating an updated checklist of all the world’s varieties for use by her home institution as it takes over the rotating role managing the international crab apple registry, which helps monitor and assign names for new varieties.” (via Harvard Gazette)

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Harvard library stores Tibetan digital archive

“BEGINNING IN JULY, Harvard Library will upload onto its digital storage system 10 million pages of Tibetan literature that survived China’s convulsive Cultural Revolution, the movement between 1966 and 1976 that led to the destruction of countless Chinese and Tibetan literary texts. The project is the result of a partnership between Harvard Library and the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), a nonprofit organization based in Harvard Square that has been acquiring, scanning, and digitally preserving Tibetan volumes since its founding in 1999.” (via Harvard Magazine)

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Caveat Lecter

“Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin. Harvard conservators and scientists tested the binding using several different methods. According to Senior Rare Book Conservator Alan Puglia, they are 99% confident that the binding is of human origin. Microscopic samples were taken from various locations on the binding, and were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting, which identifies proteins to create a “peptide mass fingerprint” (PMF) allowing analysts to identify the source.” (via Houghton Library Blog)

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Elsevier Takedown Notices: A Q&A with Peter Suber

“In November 2013, Harvard received 23 takedown notices from Elsevier, a publisher of academic journals. A takedown notice is a request from a copyright holder to remove a work from the internet because of alleged copyright infringement. To comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), internet hosts like Harvard must comply with takedown notices even if the recipient may choose to put the work back up again. All 23 of the takedown notices targeted published editions of articles from Elsevier journals posted to websites on the Harvard.edu domain, including for example lab sites, faculty sites, and course websites hosted on iSites. All 23 articles were promptly taken down. None of the takedowns targeted articles in DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard), the open-access repository maintained by Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC). As Sarah Thomas, vice president for the Harvard Library, put it, “The OSC is part of the solution, not part of the problem.” (via Harvard Library Portal)

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Myth About Harvard Book Made of Human Skin Debunked

“Science: 1, Internet: 0. For one reason or another—perhaps it was the flashy headline, or the gruesome mysterious details—a nearly decade-old story published by the Harvard Crimsonabout a collection of books at the university’s library, that are allegedly bound in human skin, crawled to the surface of the Internet this week.” (via Boston Magazine)

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Harvard Is Hiring Someone to Post on Wikipedia All Day

“If you enjoy scouring Wikipedia all day, making sure that posts are accurate and information entered into the database isn’t fudging important historical facts and details, then Harvard’s Houghton Library has a job for you. They’re seeking a “Wikipedian-in-residence,” or, to better describe what that means, a person who will “dedicate time to working in-house at an organization” to create new pages and update existing pages on the encyclopedia-esque website.” (via Boston Magazine)

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