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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your Old Books

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of ALA's Association of College and Research Libraries has a wonderful resource called, Your Old Books. Organized as a FAQ, the questions they answer include:

1. What makes a book rare?
2. What makes a book important?
3. Does scarcity imply rarity?
4. Are all old books rare?
5. Where are rare books found?
6. What is the difference between a rare book and a second-hand book?
7. What is meant by a book's condition and how does it affect its value?
8. What kinds of books are usually not rare?
9. What is the difference between a first and limited edition?
10. Is a book signed or marked up by a previous owner, or autographed by the author, more valuable?
11. Are old letters, scrapbooks, and documents valuable?
12. Might someone want my single volume to complete a set?
13. How can I keep my books in good condition?
14. Should I have my books rebound before selling them?
15. Do I need to insure my books?
16. How do I describe my books?
17. Do I need to have my books appraised?
18. Where can I find an appraiser?
19. How can I sell my books?
20. How can I be sure that I will get a fair price?
21. Can I sell or give my old books to a library?
22. Who else might accept my old books as a donation?
23. Where can I go for more information on old and rare books, book collecting and evaluating books?

Originally published as a pamphlet in 1989, and revised and updated in 2005, the topics are addressed so beautifully that the novice as well as the expert will find some useful information. Embedded in the text are links to authoritative, and some of my favorite, resources--and I even found a few that were new to me. Maritime researchers and historians, and anyone who has wondered about an old book (or books) on their own shelves, should definitely take the time to read through it.

The rest of the RBMS website is mostly of interest to specialists such as rare books librarians, but Your Old Books is so well done, that I hope they provide more information of general interest in the future.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Library of the U.S.S. California

Ever wonder what books were in the library of an early 20th century warship? Now you need wonder no longer: the March "Legacy Mob" cataloging project was the library of the U.S.S. California.

As reported on LibraryThing's Thing-ology Blog, they've made mob cataloging of a legacy library a monthly project, and for March they concentrated on scanned books mentioned in the Catalogue of ship's and crew's libraries of the U.S.S. California (1905).

And now you can go the LibraryThing U.S.S. California member page, and select Ship's Library, Crew's Library, or the entire collection to virtually browse the books that went to sea.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Boatswains and bacteremia

Astute visitors will notice a new blog in our list, Boatswains and bacteremia. Its author, Jared Wasser, is a medical student and budding maritime historian. Having known a few medical students, I wonder when he gets the time to write, let alone write so well--but I'm glad he does. His blog makes a great read, and as it's just started, it's worth beginning with the first post, My introduction to the Wooden World. And don't miss the comments--"Tigone" offers great reading recommendations.

I'm glad Jared has decided to dive in to the world of maritime blogging, because his thoughtful meditations on maritime history and medicine (together, and separately) remind me that these vessels contained humanity that had to be kept healthy--and alive--often during the most extreme of circumstances.

As they still do.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Scrap Vessel, a film by Jason Byrne

Scrap Vessel, made at CalArts in 2009, documents the last voyage of the Hari Funafuti (ex Bulk Promotor, ex Hupohai), from China to its breaking in Bangladesh. The filmmakers boarded in Singapore and joined the crew in exploring the ship and the mementos of its past that former crewmembers left behind, before filming its dismantling on the beach. The journey didn't end there--they followed the pieces to the Ali Rolling Mill, where the scraps were melted down, bringing the story of the Hari Funafuti's life as a vessel to an end.

The film has begun to tour, and will be shown at the 2010 Asian American Film Festival on Monday, Mar. 15 and Wednesday, Mar. 17. Upcoming screenings will be announced in the screenings section of their website.

And if you're at a venue that would like to screen the film, contact the crew--the director would like to bring the film, vessel plans, and various artifacts, and take the time for a Q&A with your audience.

And if you can't make it to a screening, stay tuned--a DVD version is expected to be ready later this year or early next, and its availability will be announced on their site.

Image property of Scrap Vessel