Archive for September, 2009
Announcements of the first meeting of the Friends of the Library season and the popular Focus on Faculty lectures series top the list of events in the latest Library-News e-newsletter that came out today.
Library-News is distributed intermittently through the semester (once a week is typical when things are very busy; dropping back to monthly is not uncommon during the slow summer months). Anyone may subscribe to this list, either by going to the listserv archive here and subscribing or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and asking to be added to the list. Clicking on the image to the left takes you to a web version of this newsletter that I park on a library server. The most durable location is via the listserv subscription.
Back issues are available via the listserv, but bear in mind that old links probably won’t work and the services we offer have changed considerably over the years. Those old newsletters are truly yesterday’s news, and are there because the system keeps them. Looking back shows us how far we’ve come in the 11 years that we’ve been using an electronic distribution system. I used to have a 3-inch thick printout directory with directions flagged with post-it notes, detailing how to add and remove email addresses, all via sending text-only email messages to the system. To make changes to the header and footer and modify the look of the email could require hours of reading and tests; now changes are achieved via graphical user interface – GUI – and a few keystrokes take care of most operations.
There are several new short videos put together by UT Arlington librarians addressing topical library issues.
You can also find the library on Facebook.
The British Library has made its sound archive available online, free of charge. In an article “Sound archive of the British Library goes online, free of charge,” dated Sept 3, 2009, Mark Brown of the Guardian.co.uk discusses and gives samples of many of the diverse items in the extensive collection. Link.
To say they are diverse may be understatement. There are Geordies banging spoons, Tawang lamas blowing conch shell trumpets and Tongan tribesman playing nose flutes. And then there is the Assamese woodworm feasting on a window frame in the dead of night.
The British Library revealed it has made its vast archive of world and traditional music available to everyone, free of charge, on the internet.
That amounts to roughly 28,000 recordings and, although no one has yet sat down and formally timed it, about 2,000 hours of singing, speaking, yelling, chanting, blowing, banging, tinkling and many other verbs associated with what is a uniquely rich sound archive.
“It is recordings from around the world and right from the beginnings of recorded history,” said the library’s curator of world and traditional music, Janet Topp Fargion. “This project is really exciting. One of the difficulties, working as an archivist, is people’s perception that things are given to libraries and then are never seen again – we want these recordings to be accessible”
I tested this to be sure it works from a U.S. location, and the first few random recordings I selected played quickly and easily. It’s an amazing collection. For UK teachers there is more functionality–they can join in order to download for teaching. The rest of us are invited to listen online. The site tells me “Your location: United States” and it does appear to limit listening from abroad for the usual copyright reasons.
I found such a barrier when testing links to American jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, selecting an oral history recorded in the UK, but apparently not available to US listeners. When browsing any category there is a box to toggle “Only recordings everyone can play.” Nowhere does it say “you can’t listen to this,” but it doesn’t give me any mechanism to select and play that particular recording if it is off limits to me. It does, however, provide an abstract. Scholars may well be able to follow academic library channels to gain access to this material. Here is their statement regarding Legal and Ethical usage:
The recordings have been collected from diverse sources, and many were previously unpublished, simply recordings made by individuals who traveled and made these for their own listening. They go all the way back to the wax cylinders of Alfred Cort Hadden, a British anthropologist who recorded Australian Aboriginal performers in 1898.
The direct link to the Archival Sound Recordings of the British Library is:
British Library: http://www.bl.uk/