~ Archive for Glory, glory, glory ~

Reembering Push Singh

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I spent today thinking about Push Singh, someone I have known for four years.  Every time we have met, I have come away struck by his thoughtfulness, his good nature, his giving smile, and the pleasure of speaking with him. He died last week; today there was a memorial in his honor at MIT.  I don’t usually cry at funerals — death is the most storied event in life, not necessarily a sad one — but found myself tearing up today as I hung outside the MIT chapel.

My thoughts are still with him, and with his family.  I wanted to walk up to them as they stood by the crosswalk waiting for the lights to turn; but I did not.

Become Brewster’s Librarian

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What a job.  Slightly better than being ground into the dirt by a sexy bounty hunter, like Papalote.  If you’re into that kind of book-loving knowledge-preserving jazz, ping the Internet Archive asap!

Beauty and the Jess

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Jessamyn gave a rocking talk at the Internet Librarian gathering out on
the left coast just this Monday.  Wish I could have seen it! 
Her design skills keep improving with her patter; soon she will have
even the non-librarian world beating down her door.

Polish encyclopedia on WP

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A quote:



The project inspires us. Wikipedia is more than an encyclopedia. It’s more of an attempt at collecting all human knowledge. The fact that it’s being created by amateurs doesn’t matter – if they write long enough, they become professionals. And when they are not limited by space, enthusiasts can write great articles about any topic. I’m not afraid about the future of printed encyclopedia. Cinema did not kill theatre, television did not kill cinema, the Internet didn’t kill books, so the future of printed encyclopedia is also safe.


From Bartlomiej Kaczorowski, Editor-in-chief of PWN, Poland’s greatest print encyclopedia.  They also have a free-as-in-beer online version with all the content of their smallest printed edition.   Hopefully they are right, and the long and esteemed history of print encyclopedias, with its highly refined aesthetic, will find comfortable common ground with populist efforts to actually keep up with the modern flowering of information.

Beautiful words

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If “Cellar door” is the most beautiful combination of two words in the world, “Lahar” has to be among the most beautiful solo. 

Solvay Converence, October 1927

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Don’t miss this delightful 2-minute film clip from the 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels: from Maxborn.net

Forests are forever

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I wrote once that being in a beautiful forest is like falling into a universe of high-definition color-enhanced photography. Fuji is what I took with me into my last cloud forest, and their vision of the world’s forests doesn’t disappoint. Magic to lift the darkest spirit.

Directmedia purchases digital rights to 10,000 photos

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Directmedia Publishing, the publishing house that this month released the second snapshot of the German Wikipedia on DVD (which has already sold its first run of 10k discs) has purchased the digital rights to 10,000 photos of works of fine art. They did so in order to release them under a free license, so that among other things they can be used to improve Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Deathwatch: Andrea Dworkin (practice makes perfect)

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”Imagine an encyclopedia that had someone’s death noted in their biography before the first major news outlet had even published an obituary.” —Joe Gratz on Dworkin and WP

Andrea Dworkin, a famous radical feminist known (among other things) for her strident opposition to pornography, died Saturday, April 9, at her home in DC. Just before 2100 UTC of the same day, her Wikipedia bio was updated accordingly. The editor who made the update was a new account, created only to modify her bio and update the list of deaths for April 9. The next day, the death information was removed on two separate occasions for 4 hours each time, while editors debated the reliability of the source on the article’s talk page, and looked for better sources. By 1700 UTC, April 10, the active editors of the page had decided that they had sufficient verification to leave mention of her death in the article.

Just before 1800 UTC, April 11 (45 or 31 hours later, depending on how you count), the UK’s Guardian put out the first obituary notice published in the major news media, and was kind enough to mention in a full-length article that while doing their research, they had found Wikipedia to be the only published source.

In case you haven’t been following along at home, recent deathwatch items (offset from mainstream media announcements): Schiavo (simultaneous), JPII (ditto), Cochran (+20 minutes), Dworkin (+31 hours).

OurMedia arrives; Wikicommons burden lightened

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 Archive.org officially launched their OurMedia project, which aims to host public media of all kinds, and to provide permanent URLs for it. They have been working for months on ways to collaborate with other citizen’s media collections like the Wikimedia Commons. Previously, the effort needed to get media hosted by the internet archive was prohibitive — 10 minutes of registration, ftp, and https, and a 24-hr moratorium while submissions were vetted for suitability.

The project looks beautiful in alpha (congrats, guys!), and has a fairly active self-referential blog, including such things as highlights and trivia about the project.

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