Monday, December 28, 2009

End-of-Year History On-Line Roundup

Randall Stephens

Trapped in the Midwest because of a snowstorm, I've been catching up on some on-line reading. Choice items I've come across:

"Digitizing Monk," Here and Now, WBUR, December 24, 2009
BOSTON–Father Columba Stewart has made it his mission to digitize precious manuscripts found in some of the most threatened communities around the world, including Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel, Iraq, and Ethiopia. The project has discovered and preserved chronicles of how the early Christians living in the Middle East perceived the arrival of the Crusaders, as well as the oldest known Ethiopian-language copy of every book in the Bible. >>>

"Digital Scripture," NGM Blog, December 8, 2009
A fourth-century Bible that includes the earliest known complete copy of the New Testament now has a 21st-century address: For much of its existence, the sacred text—handwritten on parchment in ancient Greek—resided at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, from which it takes its name. As with many old manuscripts, it was eventually split up, and some of it was lost. Only 823 of an estimated 1,487 pages survive. >>>

"Google & the Future of Books: An Exchange," New York Review of Books, January 14, 2010,
By Paul N. Courant, Laine Farley, Paula Kaufman, John Leslie King, Theodore Koditschek, Anthony Lewis et al.
To the Editors:
In his recent article criticizing the Google settlement ["Google and the New Digital Future," NYR, December 17, 2009], Robert Darnton fails to acknowledge the significant role that libraries have had in the creation of Google Book Search as well as the concrete steps they are taking to address the sorts of concerns he raises. >>>

"800 years on the Cam: Low living and high thinking at Cambridge University, from Henry III to Peter Mandelson," by Peter Linehan, Times Literary Supplement, December 16, 2009
This year the University of Cambridge celebrated its 800th birthday, an anniversary no less secure than any other of thirteenth-century origin, with an “anniversary portrait”, a handsome volume illustrated with the reminiscences of recent and not so recent alumni. >>>

"'War Is Over! If You Want It': John and Yoko, 40 Years Later," The Nation Blog, Jon Wiener, December 27, 2009
"War Is Over! If you want it" – a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times Dec. 27 must have puzzled many readers. The ad marked an anniversary: it was 40 years ago today that John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched their "War Is Over!" campaign, with billboards in New York, London, Hollywood, Toronto, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Athens and Tokyo proclaiming the message in giant black letters on a white field – and in much smaller type at the bottom, "Happy Christmas, John and Yoko." The message was repeated on posters, leaflets, and newspaper ads. >>>

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