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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life and Times of Josiah Gardener

The Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library send along the following announcement:

The Life and Times of Josiah Gardener: Master Mariner
Friday, October 8, 2010, 6:00 p.m. In the Maritime Library. Donation: $7 (general public); $5 (Library Friends and SFMNPA members)

Josiah Gardener, master mariner, has been going to sea since before the Civil War—he has fished the Grand Banks, cruised San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, and faced gales and shipwreck. He is played by Dr. Glenn Gordinier, Mystic Seaport historian and former director of Mystic’s living history program. Dr. Gordinier will bring Josiah Gardener to life with exciting and humorous tales of the world of the Yankee seafarer.

For information or reservations: or 415-561-7040.

TIA: This event is sponsored by the Friends of the library where I work.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lost libraries

The Boston Globe recently published a very interesting article, Lost libraries : the strange afterlife of authors’ book collections by Craig Fehrman. The article discusses the various fates of authors' libraries, most often after their death: rarely are they preserved intact in an institution, but are most often broken up and sold. The resources to keep an author's library intact are most often beyond even the largest institutions, but what is lost is what Fehrman calls, the author's "intellectual biography," embodied by the example of what we've learned from Melville's heavily-annotated copy of Paradise Lost, among other author's notated copies of their books.

The article also mentions what can be lost during an author's lifetime--many do not keep all of their books, or a record of their reading.

Are you an author? A researcher? Have you thought about this?

I've written before about efforts to reconstruct catalogs of broken-up libraries on LibraryThing, but since then I have learned a few things about just what a flexible tool it can be. When I had first heard of LibraryThing, I thought, "Why would anyone catalog their own books, unless they own a huge collection?" But since then, I've learned about many more of its features, that allow a person to track their reading and books--not only the ones they own, but ones they don't own, and ones yet to be read.

What makes all this possible is the Collections feature. When you set up an account on LibraryThing, which you can do for free, you have a choice: you can make your profile public or not. You can keep your profile and collections completely private, if you wish. Once you've set up your account, you can create collections, and one book can be in more than one collection. So, for example, if you are working on researching hulls, you can have a few collections such as:

  • Your Library
  • Read but unowned
  • To read
  • Hulls

And a book can be in more than one collection. So you can track your reading--your citations--by, for example, adding books you've heard about and want to read in your "To read" collection, and after you've read them, you can easily edit the collection(s) a book is in. So one book that you borrowed from a library for your project on hulls could then be put into the "Read but unowned" and "Hulls" collections, and you can note in the book's comments field your own notes about the book. A book you buy on hulls can go into "Your Library" and "Hulls." If you later sell that book, but still want to track the citation, change it to "Read but unowned" and leave it in the "Hulls" collection. Adding books is incredibly easy, with over 600 sources for importing records, easy keying and editing, and if you find you want to download your catalog, you can export it easily in multiple formats.

You may never get to the point that you've actually cataloged your library--you may simply use these features for tracking the citations of various projects, or books you'd like to read. If you've ever had a great book recommended to you and then forgotten who mentioned it, or stood at a bookstore wondering if you already own a copy of the book in your hand or not, LibraryThing may be just the thing for you.

And if you try it, check out the pirate interface, one of many languages available.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

International Observe the Moon Night

This Saturday, September 18, is the first International Observe the Moon Night. Inspired by a national Observe the Moon Night in the U.S., this global event hopes to inspire interest in lunar science, exploration, and astronomy.

National Geographic has a great blog post about the history of the event, complete with lovely photos, a video, and an outline to current and future lunar missions. Rich with links, including a link to the event's main website, the post is a good place to start learning more about the moon.

If you're inspired to go further, whether or not you have a telescope, Chuck Wood's Lunar 100 presents the moon's most interesting observing targets, with instructions for those who do have binoculars and/or a telescope, and links to images for the armchair observer. From there you can follow links to LPOD (Lunar Photo of the Day), maps, and all kinds of learning resources, including recommended children's books.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

National Geographic's Crittercams

I recently read the interesting article about National Geographic's Jumbo Squid Flash, Flail in First Ever Squid-cam Video, and like most of the web versions of their articles, it was loaded with interesting links, such as the one to their Crittercam site.

From there, you can explore "virtual worlds" that are all, to some extent, marine: Antarctica via a leopard seal's crittercam, the Arctic via a bearded seal, or the deep sea via a cam on a sperm whale. The site is very well organized with sections for kids, educators, & researchers, as well as interactive missions, and, of course, maps--plus much, much more.

And if you're interested in scientific papers, do follow the researchers link to Crittercam-Related Publications, a 5-page .pdf file loaded with citations to marine animal imaging.

Virtual exhibit on Zheng He's Fleet

If you missed "China's Forgotten Fleet: Voyages of Zheng He" at the National Geographic Museum in 2008, you can explore the virtual exhibit at their Flickr site.

The photos are not very large, but are a good size to balance speed of loading with ability to see the details of the exhibit. Navigating through the exhibit via the horizontal thumbnail images of the set (to the right) is very easy. Although the photos weren't taken close enough to allow one to read the panels, the exhibit contained lots of ship models which were photographed from many angles.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The concept of climate-space

The University of Stavanger in Norway has posted about new research, New ways to chart our maritime past. Meteorologist Marianne Nitter, geologist Lotte Selsing, and marine archaeologist Endre Elvestad (who is at Stavanger Maritime Museum), are combining meteorology and archeology to introduce the concept of "climate-space" to help locate maritime heritage sites:

A climate-space is an area with homogenous temperature, precipitation, wind direction and wind force, Nitter explains. Valleys, groves, mountains, lakes, fiords and slopes are all examples of local climate-spaces.

By employing this concept, it is hoped that landing sites no longer in use may be located--even prehistoric ones.

The article by Siri Pedersen is beautifully translated into English by Astri Sivertsen, and goes on to discuss preservation strategies that may be employed in the future--especially in the light of climate change.