deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
deborah ([personal profile] deborah) wrote2010-04-20 01:25 pm

national archives versus Library of Congress cage match; twitter; C-SPAN video; book spine poetry

1. Here's a great post from the Archivist of the United States (RSS/[syndicated profile] aotus_feed), where he uses the news that the Library of Congress is acquiring the digital archive of public tweets as a jumping off point for explaining the difference between the missions of the National Archives and the Library of Congress. And along the way, he showed an interesting historian's perspective on twitter:

Twitter is not for everyone. If you are anything like me, you don’t really care what someone had for breakfast. However, I do think that we need to recognize the potential power of the mundane details of our lives and what they might say about our culture.

I’m reminded of the book “A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812″ by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Martha Ballard’s diary entries were not thought of has having much historical significance. Previous scholars had referred to her diaries as “trivial and unimportant.” However, Ulrich says, “Yet it is in the very dailiness, the exhaustive, repetitious dailiness, that the real power of Martha Ballard’s book lies.” Martha faithfully kept her record for more than 27 years, but was not an introspective writer. Martha Ballard’s entries in her diary read like 18th century tweets.

“Cloudy mourn. Clear at noone. I came home. Find my famely well. Mr. Ballard gone to Winslow.”

“Clear morn. I pulld flax the fornon. Rain afternoon. I am very much fatagud. Lay on the bed & rested. The two Hannahs washing. Dolly weaving. I was called to Mrs. Claton in travil at 11 O Clok Evening.”

Ulrich masterfully creates a portrait of Martha Ballard’s life from the cryptic entries (Martha doesn’t always stay within 140 characters). The details shed light on Martha’s life, medical practices of the day, and society in the early part of our country’s history.

2. If you are looking for fascinating new blogs, the C-SPAN video blog (RSS/[syndicated profile] cspan_video_feed) is a great entry point into their huge collection. (I just watched a baby turtle poop in a senator's hand!)

3. I really like this Book Spine Poetry that the Somers Library in New York put up on Flickr. A couple of my favorites, linked and transcribed here:

I think this one is more Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction than poetry.
"some girls are":

Some girls are
stuck on Earth
the chosen one
forever changes

Actually, this one could be good Buffy fan fiction as well.
"remember me":

Remember me
every day and all the time

This one is great, even though I didn't at all like the book that makes the second line (and the titles tell you something about the concerns of young adult literature, don't they?).

me, myself and I
every day and all the time
playing it cool
making waves
somewhere in the darkness

Short, sweet and to the point.
"just in case":

Just in case
dead at daybreak
remember me

This is a story I want to know.
"songs of the gorilla nation":

Songs of the gorilla nation
in the forests of the night