Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving at sea

The Science Buzz site from the Science Museum of Minnesota has an article about a fun Thanksgiving at sea. Dinner was made for 114 people from a dozen different countries, and the table was festive with food sculptures and fruit statues.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Maritime art at Christie's

On Dec. 3, Christie's will hold a maritime art auction in New York. (Sale no. 2067.)

Even if you're not in the market to buy a painting, do check out their auction site. You can limit the list of artworks by many factors including medium, artist, origin, and date. And clicking on a thumbnail of the work brings up a detailed page that allows you to "Enlarge & zoom" in on the image--the images load quickly and once zoomed, are easily panned for detailed examination.

You can also explore further by entering "maritime" into their keyword search box; it will retrieve all the items in this auction, plus maritime-themed items from other sales.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Straddling the world of the written word

Joan Druett, author of eighteen wonderful books, has a delightful blog, Straddling the world of the written word (now appearing in our blog list). Many of the posts deal with things maritime, but she also discusses the broader world of books, libraries, and publishing.

And don't miss the whisperings from Spy Mouse!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Casco Bay Boaters

There's a new blog in our resources list, Casco Bay Boaters. It's a great resource, even for those not boating in Casco Bay--the links under the "Charts" and "Weather & Tides" tabs are excellent. (There are even links about the phases of the moon.) There are also interesting original posts on many maritime topics, as well as highlights from other blogs, on everything having to do with the sea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Alexander Selkirk & Robinson Crusoe

The recent news about the evidence of Alexander Silkirk's campsite on the island of Aguas Buenas (renamed Robinson Crusoe Island) reignited my interest in the debate over his connection to Defoe's character Robinson Crusoe. A CUNY website, Alexander Selkirk, has a thorough discussion of Selkirk in the context of other readings on castaways, and links to the BBC's excellent article on Selkirk and his possible connection to Crusoe.

Although this site hasn't been updated since 2002, it was developed as part of a course in the 18th century English novel that has lots of great resources and reading lists. Even the paper topics are still there--check them out if you're looking for suggested ways to approach the book.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Harvard opts out

There has been a lot of coverage and analysis of the recent Google Books settlement with publishers and authors, but it's finally had an impact on the maritime world: see Jennifer Howard's article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Harvard Says No Thanks to Google Deal for Scanning In-Copyright Works." Harvard's libraries contain a wealth of material on business, including the shipping industry, and their reasons for opting out include concerns over prices and quality. I believe this is very good news, as they are committed to exploring "other ways to open up its collections more broadly for the common good."

I read about this on the Open Content Alliance blog--the folks behind the Open Library catalog and the Internet Archive. These are becoming essential resources. If you're interested in digital books, start with the Open Library--it's an easy-to-use catalog that includes the over 1 million digital books at the Internet Archive. (You can limit your search to "scanned books only" right under the home page's search box.) If you're interested in other formats (audio, video, etc.), head directly to the Internet Archive, which also includes the WayBack Machine. If something you're interested in has disappeared from the web, chances are you can find it archived in the WayBack Machine.

Google Books is still a useful tool; it still functions as a multiple text index and includes many books still under copyright which, if you're lucky, show the snippet view of the passage that interests you. But I start with the Open Library and the Internet Archive; they present each book in multiple formats, and soon will release the next version of their online flip-book reader (which I was lucky enough to see last week, and which is a pleasure to use).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The portrait of a skeleton pirate

The story of the painting of the cover of Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides has been told by the artist, James Gurney. Perhaps better known for his Dinotopia books, he writes and illustrates Gurney Journey primarily for artists and writers, but it is also interesting for readers who've ever wondered about a cover illustration, or just how one might get a realistic animated skeleton model.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Transcience and Woolf

The BBC has run a story on the newly released recordings from the British Library, featuring some of the greatest writers of the past century, including the complete version of the only known recording of Virginia Woolf. (A two-minute excerpt is available with the article, and over seven minutes of her "Eulogy to words" is available on the BBC Four's Interviews site.)

What has this to do with maritime history? Her novel, To the Lighthouse, has often been called a meditation on transience. Lighthouses, beacons of life-saving, remind us always of the transience of life; of the need for the light because of the loss of life at that site.

Woolf's living voice--lost. This recording? We strive to preserve it not only through the British Library's staff's care, but through publication and wide distribution of many, many copies.

The sea? Eternal?