Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Apropos of that poignant post recently about Ryan Gosling and libraries, see Lisa Hanawalt's excellent illustrated review of Drive at the Hairpin, which begins like this:

I like Ryan Gosling. I liked him in The Notebook, Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, and Google Image Search. And driving around LA at night while listening to pop music is my favorite thing on Earth, so seeing Drive was a no-brainer. (read more)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A snack for researchers, historians, and the curious

A resource that holds promise for both professional and amateur hunter-gatherers is the Social Networks and Archival Context Project (SNAC)  - see article in the Chronicle and try out the prototype.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Higher education rankings

Rankings are always fun, even when woefully inaccurate (Norway's hapless football squad was in October 1993 ranked number 2 in the world by FIFA!), and this month sees the release of two higher education rankings: The Times Higher Education Supplement ranking of world universities, and an interesting newcomer, a ranking by U21 of countries (not institutions) that are the ‘best’ at providing higher education.

The ranking by U21 "aims to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants."  Norway is ranked 7 in the world in the U21 survey, but behind Nordic neighbors Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The high ranking suggests that Norway has much to offer other than the quality of its institutions, since its top 4 universities - Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø - come in at 181, 191, 251-75 and 276-300 respectively in the Times ranking.

Literature at its wurst = literaturwurst

A lover of literature can’t help feeling that—as the conventions of the paper book have come under the interrogation of the visual arts—poetry, rhetoric, narrative, and meaning have often suffered.

So ends Michael Agresta's engaging and handsomely appointed  article in Slate about how the design of the paper book may evolve in the age of digital content. A wurst case outcome (can't help myself) might be German artist Dieter Roth’s literaturwurst -  Georg Wilhelm Hegel's complete works in 20 volumes ground up and used as a substitute for meat in a recipe for homemade sausage.

  Or, we might see more successful blendings of literary and visual arts, like this one:

Monday, May 14, 2012

An uncommonly beautiful and finely woven piece of fabric, from IRCs all over the world. Wish someone would fashion me a shirt out of that!

In a letter to the editor (NYT), director Valerie Hotchkiss of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne shares some sites that chronicle "eureka moments" in the rare book world.

Non Solus blog at the University of Illinois: nonsolusblog.wordpress.com.

The Biblio File at the New York Public Library: http://www.nypl.org/voices/blogs/about-nypl-blogs

Brown University's blog space for reporting on new finds among old books: blogs.brown.edu/bulspecialcollections.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In a review of some recent books on English usage, Joan Acocella provides a useful survey of the descriptivist vs. prescriptivist battles. She omits two of my favorite installments, however; Nicholson Baker's "Leading with the Grumper"(1994), and David Foster Wallace's Tense Present (2001).
Among the pleasures in Acocella's review is this line about Kingsley Amis: Amis’s father was a clerk in a mustard-manufacturing firm, so his pleasure in spotting arrivistes is understandable.