Digital Cuneiform and things not to do at your library

UCLA has a Cuneiform Digital Library online. I’ve only seen a few cuneiform tablets, safely behind glass of course. Digital libraries like this are great because it allows access to things people probably wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. But the tablets will definitely last longer than this incarnation of the digital library will. Cuneiform lasts thousands of years in its original state, but this web site will be lucky to last 5 years without something new coming along. Such is the pace of information technology.

On a lighter note, I am on the public relations committee for the Tennessee Library Association and we are currently working on a statewide theme for 2004. Here are some themes that probably wouldn’t work.

A view of librarians from the right – Kill them!

Ordinarily, I would not post about something from the right-wing (being pretty to the left myself) but this article is just too bizarre. Rich Lowry in his article, “The ideological librarians” seems to equate the free flow of information and being accommodating to the homeless as sedition and subversion of the Bush administration. Oh and all librarians have hair that is “usually wrapped in a tight bun, of course”.

His defense of the USA Patriot Act is weak. he basically says, “Sure the law is on the books but library records have not been subpoenaed yet.” But the point is that the law exists and can be used.

And lest we forget the ALA passed a resolution supporting jailed librarians in Cuba. Somehow Lowry concludes that this further supports the idea of the ALA’s anti-Bush leanings. He may very well be correct that ALA is anti-Bush, and I have no problem with that. But this backhand slap has no place in the article.

San Diego Independent Media Center has an excellent rebuttal of the article. It’s definitely more interesting than Rich Lowry.

John Ashcroft – Master of Tact

From AP, John Ashcroft is quoted as saying people are being wrongly led to believe that libraries have been “surrounded by the FBI,” with agents “dressed in raincoats, dark suits and sunglasses. Raincoats? Maybe in Seattle. Anyway…

He goes on to say that, “Now, you may have thought with all this hysteria and hyperbole, something had to be wrong,” Ashcroft said. “Do we at the Justice Department really care what you are reading? No.”

And then Mark Corallo, speaking for the DOJ, states, “The American Librarian Association “has been somewhat duped by those who are ideologically opposed to the Patriot Act.” So now librarians and hysterical and easily duped. Man, I just love the Bush administration.

Of course ALA has issued a response.

And by the way this post was made using Zempt, which is a very nice peice of software.

Digital Gutenberg

The University of Texas at Austin now has their Gutenberg Bible online. As this CNN article states it’s not the first one to go online. But the more copies that go digital, the less the originals get used. And more people can use the digital copies. So the work is more widely distributed and the original is preserved. Sounds good to me.

Wild animals as librarians

“You see, I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.”

-Monty Phython

I read in the Johnson City (TN) Press that a bear got into the old library at ETSU. I wonder if the bear got lost inside like I used to as a history undergrad. Now I get lost in Hodges Library at the University of Tennessee while studying for my Ph. D. I’m sensing a pattern…