Monday, December 6, 2010

Digital History Roundup

Randall Stephens

Patricia Cohen, "Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers," New York Times, December 3, 2010

Victorians were enamored of the new science of statistics, so it seems fitting that these pioneering data hounds are now the subject of an unusual experiment in statistical analysis. The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century — 1,681,161, to be exact — are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.>>>

Robert Darnton, "The Library: Three Jeremiads," New York Review of Books, December 23, 2010.

When I look back at the plight of American research libraries in 2010, I feel inclined to break into a jeremiad. . . . I hope that the answer to those questions will lead to my happy ending: a National Digital Library—or a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), as some prefer to call it. Google demonstrated the possibility of transforming the intellectual riches of our libraries, books lying inert and underused on shelves, into an electronic database that could be tapped by anyone anywhere at any time. Why not adapt its formula for success to the public good—a digital library composed of virtually all the books in our greatest research libraries available free of charge to the entire citizenry, in fact, to everyone in the world?>>>

Ann Blair, "Information Overload, Then and Now," Chronicle of Higher Education, November 28, 2010

Feeling overwhelmed by too much information? What else is new? The amount of digital data available on the Web every day reaches records of mind-boggling proportions—now more than a zettabyte (1021 bytes) and presumably accumulating at an ever-increasing rate, estimated at 30-percent growth per year from 1999 to 2002.>>>

Daniela Forte, "In Watertown, History Archive Is on Website," Litchfield County Times, November 18, 2010

WATERTOWN—The past is coming alive once again, as the Watertown Historical Society announced last week the unveiling of the Watertown Digital History Archive, now available on its Web site. The archive features newspapers, yearbooks and scrapbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries. . . . The society encourages residents who have old newspapers, yearbooks and scrapbooks beyond the dates the society already has archived to contact it by calling 860-274-1050, or logging on to the Web site at>>>

"Google Editions: a history of ebooks," The Telegraph, December 5, 2010

Google has confirmed that its own ebook store, Google Editions, will be up and running by the end of the year, potentially transforming the ebook landscape. Here, we look at some of the key milestones in the digitisation of the printed word. [See the e-book/digital history timeline.]>>>

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