Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 11:29 AM
The British Film Institute has announced a search for the 75 “most wanted” films it would like to have in its archives. Included among them is an early Alfred Hitchcock production, The Mountain Eagle, which was his second effort as a director. The BFI’s full list (with annotations) provides a unique glimpse into a few dusty corners of cinema history. As the The Guardian reports:
The Mountain Eagle is the only missing Hitchcock, but the BFI launches a hunt today for scores more British movies that have also vanished without trace. The list includes Sherlock Holmes's first screen appearance in 1914's A Study in Scarlet; the first H.G. Wells science fiction film, The First Men in the Moon (1919); and The Last Post, made by Dinah Shurey, a rare woman film-maker in the early history of British film, who sued Film Weekly over a column suggesting the movie made it "pathetically obvious" that women could not direct (she was awarded £500 damages).
Source: The Guardian
Image by Kevitivity, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, May 20, 2010 3:52 PM
Evgeny Morozov, writing for Boston Review (and responding to the new book Delete), on whether or not digital storage enhances memory:
Suppose we transfer photos from an iPhone to a hard drive: who is remembering? And is this an act of remembrance at all?
If the transfer succeeds, we may have a faint memory of saving the photos in some generically named folder on our hard drives, but to find those exact files we’ll also need to know how to look for them (e.g., by name, date, approximate contents).
Yes, these days we produce, consume, and save more data—a study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego found that in 2008 the average American consumed 34 gigabytes of information per day, an increase of about 350 percent since 1980—but it does not follow that we remember more.
Perfect digital memory is useless without perfect digital cataloging. . . . A 2008 study conducted by researchers at the University of Sheffield in Britain found that 39 percent of surveyed participants failed to retrieve digital photos of important events that took place only a year before; they couldn’t find them on their hard drives and had no idea how to search for them, as they had not organized and annotated them properly.
Source: Boston Review
, licensed under
Monday, April 26, 2010 3:38 PM
Okay, not really. These are typesetters in the Government Printing Office, circa 1910. But I like to think that guy on the right is Andrew Sullivan, preparing something on the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The guy next to him is Juan Cole, also hard at work. The person standing on the left? Why that's my favorite art blogger Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City (with a really short haircut) waiting for Sullivan to get off her damn machine.
All of this is really just my way of pointing you to a really great website that I never have the occasion to blog about, though I look at every photograph they post. It's called The Shorpy Historic Photo Archive, and I think you'll love it.
Friday, April 10, 2009 5:24 PM
As more authors have taken to researching, writing and rewriting on computers, archives are presented with a complicated tangle of obstacles in trying to organize and store digital data.
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, archives are grappling with organizing a whole new species of information as the acquire more and more floppy disks, computers, external hard drives, and other digital content.
Harvard has acquired 50 floppy disks from John Updike. Emory now has four laptops, an external hard drive and a “personal digital assistant” once belonging to Salman Rushdie. At the University of Texas there is a zip drive and a laptop acquired from Norman Mailer.
Such a vast amount of information presents a problem to archives. The article's author, Steve Kolowich, warns: “Mining, sorting, and archiving every bit of data stored on author’s computers could become a chore of paralyzing tedium and diminishing value.” But Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, associate director at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, describes how researchers might use this unparalleled quantity of information: “You could potentially look at a browser history, see that he visited a particular Web site on a particular day and time. And then if you were to go into the draft of one of his manuscripts, you could see that draft was edited at a particular day and hour, and you could establish a connection between something he was looking at on the Web with something that he then wrote.”
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Image by Carlo Pico, licensed under Creative Commons
Thursday, April 02, 2009 8:32 AM
Alt Wire is a morning digest of links and information collected and explained by a different guest blogger every weekday. Today's guest is Matt Novak of Paleo-Future. We asked him for five links. He sent us the best online archivists you may not know (want more paleo-future goodness? Listen to our Utnecast interview with Matt).
may be the most visually stunning website around. Culled from old books
, Paul never ceases to amaze with his often beautiful, sometimes macabre discoveries.
Charlie Shopsin has cornered the market on 20th century popular science magazines. If you're looking for inspiration from pure American ingenuity, look no further than the Modern Mechanix blog.
While the name of this blog has never made sense to me, the collection of amateur photos from '50s and '60s tourists to American theme parks on Gorillas Don't Blog is pretty interesting to peruse.
The Animation Archive collects comic books, single-panel cartoons and animated films from all eras of illustrated history.
After discovering the Prelinger Archives in college I spent about 3 sleepless months downloading and watching an amazing collection of old industrial and ephemeral films. You've been warned.
BIO: Since he started the Paleo-Future blog 2007, Matt Novak has become an accidental expert on past visions of the future, and has amassed the world's largest (only?) library of media related to the study of paleo-futurism.
Previous Alt Wire Guests: Jason Marsh, David LaBounty, Jen Angel, Will Braun, Regan Hofmann, Josh Breitbart, Andrew Lam, Jessica Valenti, Jessica Hoffmann, Noah Scalin, Rinku Sen, Paddy Johnson, Melissa Mcewan, Fatemeh Fakhraie , Joe Biel , Anne Elizabeth Moore
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:15 PM
Natural history museums have traditionally measured their worth by the breadth of their physical collections. With all the digital projects that archive scientific information, these holdings may seem outdated or superfluous. Carl Zimmer thinks museums still have an important role to play in the future of science research and education, though, and writes for Seed about the importance of maintaining their real-world collections.
Digital projects like the The Encyclopedia of Life, which catalogues the work of natural history museums digitally, are evolving into stiff competition for museums. These digital resources are often less costly to maintain than regular museums, and they can sometimes reach larger audiences.
Zimmer hopes that the existence of resources like EOL won't discourage museums from taking care of their physical collections. He cites a recent case of an set of Neanderthal bones in a German museum: After languishing in storage for 150 years, scientists found them, took DNA samples, and were able to draw new insights about our evolutionary relationship to Neanderthals. Preserving physical museum collections, then, is not just a nod to the past, but a way of claiming “a stake in our future.”
Image courtesy of Christian Guthier, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, January 09, 2009 3:18 PM
Cuba’s Heritage Council, in partnership with the U.S. Social Science Research Council (SSRC), recently opened up access to thousands of documents that belonged to Ernest Hemingway, reports the BBC. Hemingway scholars and enthusiasts know little about his 21 years on the island, and those connected with the project believe the archive will help fill in the blanks.
According to the Guardian, the collection includes some obvious points of interest: an unpublished epilogue to For Whom the Bell Tolls, a screenplay for The Old Man and the Sea, and letters from Ezra Pound and Ingrid Bergman. But many are also excited about the insights to be gained from the more mundane pieces. Sandra Spanier gushes in an article on SSRC’s website:
You don't always think of Hemingway as the guy who has to change the oil in his car and fix his roof, but he was very much in touch with the texture and rhythms of his daily routine in Cuba, and there are many domestic notes in there. There's a recommendation letter he wrote for a carpenter. There are meticulous notes he wrote, in Spanish, to the cook . . . explaining extremely involved recipes, how to do the carrots, and which days of the week he wanted avocados in the salad instead of tomatoes.
Digital copies of the papers have also been sent to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and will hopefully be made available to the public in the future.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:57 AM
During World War I, a British soldier known only by his initials, JM, kept detailed visual journals of his life in the trenches of France and Belgium. The journals are filled with picturesque battlefield watercolors and wartime carnage but can also sport a bitter humor. One image, captioned “A battle in Flanders as pictured by the daily papers,” shows us a well-organized battle. The next, “Not pictured by the daily papers,” gives us a heap of dead bodies against a washed-out, smoky backdrop. The entire sketchbooks have been digitized by the Canadian University of Victoria’s libraries for us to peer through, giving an unprecedented visceral look into a bloody chapter of history.
Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.
Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!
Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of Utne Reader for only $29.95 (USA only).
Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 6 issues of Utne Reader!