libraries

Then Libraries Came for the Memes

I recently mentioned the prolonged work in progress that is the US Library of Congress’s Twitter archive, but while we wait for it, other digital archives have finally come to fruition. In an effort to preserve the aesthetic and language developments that have defined the past decades, the Library of Congress has created the Webcomics… Continue reading Then Libraries Came for the Memes

libraries

How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

Losing the remnants of the past is one of the nightmares of historians. There are so many fragments that simply don’t survive the march of time, and as they disintegrate so too does our ability to understand the past. The modern era and its technologies raise new questions about how archivists, historians, and other interested… Continue reading How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter

books · libraries

The Library at the End of the World

People like to prepare for end of the world, and sometimes they use libraries to do it. There is, of course, the Survivor Library, a digital collection of over 7,000 freely available PDFs intended to help humanity rebuild after a cataclysm. It contains information about “[h]ow to make water safe to drink. How to build… Continue reading The Library at the End of the World

books · libraries

Archive Adventure: ‘Tales from Catland’

Periodically I like to share the strange, fascinating, and often rare books that live in library archives. Today I’ve found one that will make you absolutely purr with pleasure. Tales from Catland: Written for Kittens by an Old Tabby was produced by Tabitha Grimalkin and was, as far as I can tell, originally published in 1852. The cover… Continue reading Archive Adventure: ‘Tales from Catland’

books · resources

Of Rakes and Dandies: Chap Records as Historical Dating Apps

At the turn of the 20th century, people couldn’t keep blogs about their dating adventures. They could, however, keep chap records. To modern ears, the phrase “chap records” sounds like a clumsy reference to a child’s first chapter book. But the phrase was a bit different. Young women used chap records, which were mostly blank… Continue reading Of Rakes and Dandies: Chap Records as Historical Dating Apps

books · libraries

Antique Books: A Most Royal Bestiary

We often think of illuminated manuscripts as beautiful works of art fit only for nobility. In reality, however, these books often had more practical purposes. The Aberdeen Bestiary, a work filled with gold leaf and intricate drawings, is a perfect example of how these books could be used. Though the Aberdeen Bestiary was created in the… Continue reading Antique Books: A Most Royal Bestiary

books · libraries

Fore-edge Painting: Images on Book Edges

Modern book design focuses on typography, cover art, and internal flourishes, but several hundred years ago book designers also added art to the sides of pages. This type of art is called fore-edge painting, and it refers to a painted design on the edges of book pages. When looking at the edge of a single… Continue reading Fore-edge Painting: Images on Book Edges

books

Amongst the Earliest Printed Books: Incunabula

When people think of the early days of book printing, they often remember Johannes Gutenberg and his first complete book, The Gutenberg Bible (1455). However other books were also published around this time. Before the year 1500, using a printing press to create books was still a very experimental process. As a result, printed books made… Continue reading Amongst the Earliest Printed Books: Incunabula

libraries · resources · writing

Writing Resources: American Journeys from Vikings to Mountain Men

Sometimes writing requires inspiration from real sources, and American Journeys helps to fill that need. American Journeys is a digital library created through a partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National History Day, and the Wisconsin Historical Society. Though it focuses on eyewitness accounts of early American exploration, the archive contains the… Continue reading Writing Resources: American Journeys from Vikings to Mountain Men

books · libraries

Living in Hidden in Libraries

Book lovers sometimes joke about wanting to live in bookstore or libraries, but in the past officially living in libraries was a reality for many people. Though they are no longer in use as residencies, many of the New York Public Libraries have apartments hidden within them. When New York City’s Carnegie libraries were built in the… Continue reading Living in Hidden in Libraries