RuPaul Lettin It All Hang Out in 1995

Monday, March 7th is the premier of the eighth season, and 100th episode, of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality competition series to crown “America’s next drag superstar.” RuPaul’s media and merchandise empire, among a bevy of new TV and web series, now includes an annual drag convention and podcast.

In honor of this queen of queens, we look back to a 1995 interview, with Leonard Lopate, promoting her autobiography Lettin’ It All Hang Out

RuPaul discussed her transformation from the child who used “every crayon in the box” to being named the first drag queen supermodel for MAC Cosmetics. Before moving to New York and becoming a glamazon, RuPaul started her career as a precocious teenage punk in Atlanta Georgia:

“My drag… was an extension of the punk rock that was a reaction to 80s Reagan era and it was social satire… making fun of our society and the things we held really dear to our hearts. Like the image of… this woman which wasn’t real but was like the image of Nancy Reagan which was this very coiffed, together a [doll-full] suit wearing thing. So we were making fun of that and it was called Gender-blank drag.” 

Anticipating this pressing rights movement, the topic of gender fluidity comes up frequently in the interview, “I think those formalities are becoming obsolete…It’s not important anymore. Just so long as you call me baby, that’s all I ask.” When asked about the newly elected conservative dominance in the 1995 house and senate, RuPaul is optimistic. She sees it as a clearing a path for a “massive revolution.” Perhaps that revolution has come and gone in light of current Republican control in congress. However, in a 2015 interview with Variety magazine on marriage equality, she speaks to the cyclical nature of politics. ”These windows of openness are literally that: They open and they close.”

This interview was recorded at a tipping point that lead to bigger success, bigger productions and of course bigger hair. From the uncomfortable ad lib insults between RuPaul and Milton Berle at the 1993 MTV Awards to breaking into acting and her three hour transformation process into drag, RuPaul presents her philosophy that hasn’t changed much in 21 years: “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”

Listen to RuPaul’s return appearance to The Leonard Lopate Show in 2010 to promote her second book, Workin’ It! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style. 

Police Corruption and the Civilian Review Board

The 1966 restructuring of the  Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) was one of Lindsay’s most contentious actions as mayor, an indelicate handling of a seemingly minor issue that returned the year’s briefly simmering racial tensions back to an aggressive boil. The effect of the fight over the CCRB on the growing racial animus has been studied thoroughly, and while we certainly hope to add this to the available primary sources, we introduce this recording to show another side of the debate over the Board, which depending on your perspective is either dramatic irony revealed in history’s slow-release or a classic example of another unheeded Cassandra.

First, some background: Civilian review had existed in New York for over a decade, but until Lindsay had had no civilian presence on its governing board. Lindsay restructured the board to include 7 members, four of whom were civilians vetted by Lindsay, with the rest of the board and its staff comprising members of the Police Department. John Cassese, then president of The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the main union of New York’s Finest, was having none of it, drawing implicit racial undertones to the fore: “I am sick and tired of giving in to minority groups, with their whims and their gripes and shouting. Any review board with civilians on it is detrimental to the operations of the police department.” The PBA swiftly drafted a referendum combating Lindsay’s new board, to be voted on by the citizens of New York City on November 8, 1966.

This brings us to this October 28, 1966 recording, in which we hear Mayor Lindsay call to his press conference dais Russell Niles and Sam Rosenman, president and president emeritus of New York City Bar Association respectively, to give the Bar’s assessment of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent referendum number 1 on the November 8 ballot.* To hear Lindsay tell it, New Yorkers were not being asked to dissolve the CCRB, the referendum’s ostensible purpose, but something much worse:

“Its specific language would do far more than destroy the new Civilian Review Board [sic]. The language of the referendum would also prohibit the mayor, the city council, the board of estimate, and the commissioner of investigations from investigating complaints against the members of the police department…. We are speaking of the entire entire breadth of citizen grievances including graft and corruption…. The people of New York have been denied the opportunity to vote to abolish the board and nothing more.”

Under the wording of this referendum, which ultimately won by a nearly two to one margin, investigations of the police could only begin within the department itself. It would allow the police to become “a law unto itself.” In Lindsay’s mind, the referendum was a Trojan Horse. 

It’s Samuel Rosenman rather than Lindsay who performs the role of Cassandra in this press conference radio drama however. In the news that day was Commissioner of Investigations Arnold Fraiman’s recent work cleaning up the Sanitation Department, which like seemingly every department in the City government was hopelessly corrupt. Rosenman saw fit to bring this timely hero forth as an example of the kind of hands that could be tied with the passage of referendum 1.

It is here where the irony drops in: This was the same Commissioner Fraiman who later declined to investigate further the descriptions of the rampant graft of the 81st precinct made by Frank Serpico (whose story became a film and hit play). Serpico was a police officer, not a civilian, so Fraiman almost certainly should have and legally could have acted upon his tip, but given the passage of the referendum breaking up Lindsay’s civilian review board and handicapping inquiries into police misconduct, a promising avenue of investigation had arguably been legally blocked. Moreover, Commissioner Fraiman would have found it difficult if not impossible to receive the corroboration of citizens without an active civilian-led board to give voice to the people’s reports. It would take a New York Times cover story to get Serpico’s story out, leading ultimately to the Knapp Commission‘s efforts to fight police corruption. While this points to the potential of the fourth estate as a vehicle for social justice, I would note that this news conference, in which Lindsay, Niles, and Rosenman warn against the dangers that the passage of the referendum held for independent investigations of the police, in spite of landing on the front page of the Times, then and now the paper of record, did nothing to stop the referendum from passing with a substantial majority.

Lindsay’s battle over civilian reviews would later find an echo in the Dinkins administration’s efforts to install an independent board in the early ’90s, as well as in today’s clarion call that Black Lives Matter. As important as those efforts were and are, we should not ignore the other reverberations sounded in the efforts to reform civilian review in the Lindsay Administration’s first year – the October 28 warnings of Lindsay and the New York City Bar.

*Please refer to the recording for details on the Bar’s assessment of the referendum and its take on civilian review boards in general, as well as Lindsay’s, Niles’, and Rosenman’s comments.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 92395
Municipal archives id: T2679

Secrets from the Rare Book Vault

FullSizeRender (2)When I applied to the Special Collections & Archives graduate assistantship, I had one thing in mind: rare books. As an undergrad at FSU, I frequently visited Special Collections for class projects and assignments related to medieval manuscripts and early printed books, knowing that someday I wanted to work with rare material like these. So naturally when I received the news that I was selected for the assistantship, my first thought was of all the rare books I would get to “work with.”

The concept of “working with” rare books was always a very abstract one to me. I assumed rare book librarians got to study the materials, give lectures to visiting classes, and create exhibit displays. A very glamorous position in academia. As a young and naive soon-to-be graduate assistant I really had no idea what rare book maintenance would entail because my only previous job experience included retail, banking, and an archives internship. Now that I’m slightly older and much more experienced, I can say I have insight into “working with” rare books. The epitome of rare books. The vault books!

That’s right, I left my career as a community banker to find myself auditing yet another vault. Just like the huge quantities of money safeguarded behind lock and key, the rare books that live in the Special Collections vault are the most valuable items in the collection. And I was tasked with examining just over 1,000 of them to determine their condition and assess whether or not they needed any preservation treatment. Most of them (71%), I’m happy to report, are holding up just fine considering their age. The other couple hundred are in need of various types of enclosures that will preserve all of their fragile, decaying, or detached parts. 

This naturally led to a practicum in box making. Under the high-quality tutelage of the Uppsala University Rare Books YouTube channel, the Rare Books Librarian and I tried our hand at custom box making. This turned out to be much more difficult than the 5-minute duration of our video lesson implied. And if rare book box making was an Olympic sport, our Swedish friends at Uppsala would take home the gold. But in the end, with a lot of time spent practicing, we were able to construct several excellent enclosures to protect some of the most deteriorated books in the vault.


These days my glamorous vision of rare books librarianship still includes spontaneous bouts of paging through incunables to appreciate the illustrations, hand binding, and old book smell. But the reality of the job entails a lot more dust, red rot, and wormholes. Ultimately, the basis of “working with” rare books is preservation; removing the dust, and stopping the red rot and wormholes so that librarians and patrons alike may continue to marvel at illustrations, hand binding, and old book smell for centuries to come.

Driven By Data

One of the many avenues that the National Archives offers to engage with our customers is online through our websites. In the recent blog series “By the Numbers” we reported we had over 24 million visits our websites last fiscal year.

Thanks to an interesting new feature from the Digital Analytics Program in GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, citizens are now able to view real time online website traffic through a feature added to

NARA is one of the first ten federal agencies to participate in the pilot to create agency specific dashboard pages. These pages provide insight into how the public interacts with our websites.

There is a real time view showing how many people are on our websites at that moment and the top pages visited. The drop-down at the top of the page allows you to select an individual agency to view.

analytics image 1


There’s also a 7-day and a 30-day view that showing traffic to all of our web domains currently utilizing the analytics code as well as the top file downloads from the previous day.

Top Domains Top downloadsThis application’s data helps us ensure that we design, maintain and update our websites to reflect the types of devices and browsers visitors use on our websites.  We can also see what content the users are interested in. The analysis of data points such as these will help us effectively use our limited resources to best serve our customers.

One of the pillars of Open Government is transparency. By working with other agencies to create and participate in projects such as this, NARA continues to open more access to our customers. This is just one more way that the National Archives is developing as an increasingly transparent, data-driven agency.

Learn more about the Digital Analytics Program from DigitalGov.

Roy Campanella

“It’s Good to Be Alive,” is both the title of Roy Campanella’s book and the message he brings to this 1959 meeting of the Books and Authors Luncheon. A quiet, unassuming speaker, he confesses, “I don’t really know where to start. I have so many starts.” Only a year-and-a-half earlier, Campanella, star catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, had damaged his spinal cord in a car accident.

Now a quadriplegic, he addresses a hushed audience, telling how difficult it is having to ask his six-year-old daughter for a glass of water or to try and eat while lying down. He frankly relates how devastated he still is, warning, “It’s what you tell your own self” that determines if you will survive such an experience. He describes many people in the rehabilitation center as not wanting to live, being unwilling to go home because they feel they have no future there. He encourages youngsters who seem to have no hope, telling them, “It’s just good to be alive, even if you can’t do nothing!” Although he does talk about faith, and tells a moving story about reciting The Lord’s Prayer during his first night in the hospital, Campanella does not offer any saccharine prescriptions for overcoming adversity. Rather, his message is one of plain-spoken strength. Surprisingly, he does not mention baseball until the end of his talk, crediting it for giving him a livelihood and teaching him how to be a gentleman. But his final thoughts, though perhaps bleak, are also inspiring. “It’s not a real tough story. It’s something that has happened in life.” Finished, he is greeted with tumultuous applause.

Roy Campanella (1921-1993) had two careers, one as trail-blazing, color-barrier-breaking baseball superstar, and the other as one of the most visible and public handicapped people of his time. It’s important to remember that only a generation before, FDR’s use of a wheelchair was kept so quiet that people meeting him for the first time were shocked to learn the extent of the president’s disability. But with the advent of television and the inherent newsworthiness of Campanella’s accident, being a paraplegic or quadriplegic was no longer a condition no one spoke about. As the website Society for American Baseball Research recounts:

“After enduring years of therapy, Campanella regained some use of his arms. He was eventually able to feed himself, shake hands, and even sign autographs with the aid of a device strapped to his arm, though he remained dependent on his wheelchair for mobility. Through it all he managed to maintain the positive, upbeat attitude that was his trademark and became a universal symbol of courage. In 1969, the same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he received the Bronze Medallion from the City of New York, the highest honor the city confers upon civilians, awarded for exceptional citizenship and outstanding achievement. Three years later his uniform number 39 was retired along with Robinson’s number 42 and Sandy Koufax’s 32. Though Campanella remained in New York, continuing to operate his liquor store and host a radio sports program called Campy’s Corner, he still remained a part of the Dodgers family. He worked in public relations, helped with scouting, and served as a special coach and adviser at the club’s Vero Beach spring-training facility.”

But it is important not to overlook the first part of Campanella’s story. Along with fellow Dodgers Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe, he broke the color barrier in professional baseball. Despite the brevity of his major league career (he spent almost ten years in the Negro and Mexican leagues) he is generally considered to be one of the greatest catchers who ever played, winning the National League MVP Award three times. As the New York Times reported in its obituary: 

“Although his achievements as a power-hitting catcher were sometimes exceeded by those of his American League rival, Yogi Berra of the Yankees, Campanella at his height was the best catcher in baseball and one whose greatness seemed only partly reflected by his statistics. This view was once summed up by Ty Cobb, the legendary outfielder who was one of the five original members of the Hall of Fame and a man not known for hyperbole. “Campanella,” he said, “will be remembered longer than any catcher in baseball history.”

Unlike Robinson, Campanella, as we hear in this speech, was not by nature given to public pronouncements. This reportedly caused tension between the two, with Robinson criticizing Campanella’s tendency to “get along” with the prevailing racist tendencies of the time rather than vocally oppose them. But his nature was just as crucial to the fascinating chemistry that enabled the Dodgers of that era to overcome baseball’s shameful past. In the Los Angeles Times his friend Don Newcombe recalled:

‘”Jack would blow his top, and Campy would calm him down, and then calm me down,” said Newcombe. “We were all going through so much back then, we needed Campy as our stabilizing influence.”

Will Eisner Week 2016

Illustration by Will Eisner. From the School Library Journal, Volume 21, Issue 2.

March 6, 2016 would have been the 99th birthday of cartoonist and writer Will Eisner (1917-2005), and once again the week surrounding it has been declared Will Eisner Week by the Eisner Family Foundation.  Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration promoting graphic novels, literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Eisner.

In 1938, the popularity of characters like Superman proved to magazine publishers that comic books with original content could turn a profit, and a young Will Eisner partnered with cartoonist Jerry Iger to create one of the first comic artist studios.  Eisner & Iger employed and trained many young artists who later became widely-recognized in the comics publishing industry, including Bob Kane (creator of Batman) and Jack Kirby.

Will Eisner is perhaps best remembered for his creation of and contributions to the long-running The Spirit comic strip.  The Spirit was first published as a Sunday magazine supplement in American newspapers from 1940 to 1952.  It was nominally an adventure strip featuring a crimefighting vigilante named the Spirit, but also included elements of comedy, horror, mystery, and romance.  Eisner preferred to compose his strips as complete short stories, rather than mimic the never-ending chapters of other daily newspaper strips.  He said “I could never work successfully in a daily strip. A daily strip is too confining to me…it’s like trying to conduct an orchestra in a telephone booth. I have an almost neurotic need to do something different each time, to have a conclusion to what I did yesterday and start something new.”  Eisner’s work on this run of Spirit strips is critically-acclaimed and considered ground-breaking and influential.  In 1965, Marilyn Mercer wrote that “[Eisner] thought of comic strips as movies on paper and in ‘The Spirit’ pushed this idea as far as it would go. He made his format work for him; he rarely stuck to the conventional nine panels to a page but geared panel size to speed of the action. Sometimes there were no panels at all, just words and characters wandering around loose. His repertoire of visual gimmicks was limitless…”

This “Spirit” mystery story from 1947 opens with the death of a cartoonist. From 01/MSS 1980-09, Box 299.

Eisner wrote and spoke passionately and articulately on the narrative language of comics.  His monographs Comics and Sequential Art and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative are considered seminal works in the field of comic studies.  He often gave interviews and lectures on the subject of comics art, and in 1974 wrote an article for the School Library Journal encouraging libraries to collect comic books (a practice now common in public and academic libraries).  His scholarly writing popularized the term “graphic novel,” now the standard description of long-form works in the comics medium.  Eisner helped shape a new generation of comic artists as a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and his creative work continues to inspire artists and scholars long after his death.  We invite you to take a moment between March 1st and 7th this year to appreciate the legacy of this master artist, teacher, and advocate, through comic books available in Special Collections & Archives in the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection, or in works by and about Eisner throughout FSU Libraries.


Further Reading:

Eisner, Will. (2008). Comics and Sequential ArtNew York : W.W. Norton.

Eisner, Will. (1974). Comic books in the library. School Library Journal, 21(2), p. 75-79.

Eisner, Will. (2008). Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative. New York : W.W. Norton.

Robert M. Ervin, Jr. Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida.

Inge, M. Thomas. (Ed.). (2011). Will Eisner : Conversations. Jackson : University Press of Mississippi.

The end of an era — goodbye to Jim Michalko

Today is the day when we say goodbye to our leader and colleague Jim Michalko. Rather than wallowing in our loss, we’d like this post to celebrate Jim’s accomplishments and acknowledge his many wonderful qualities.

Jim Michalko February 2016

Jim Michalko February 2016

Before OCLC, Jim was the president of the Research Libraries Group. He came to RLG from the administration team at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries in 1980. In those relatively early days of library automation, RLG was very much a chaotic start up. Jim, with both a MLS and an MBA, came on as the business manager and as part of the senior administrative team helped to get the organization on more stable footing. He was named RLG president in 1989.

In 2006, Jim once again played a key role in a time of uncertainty, helping to bring RLG into the OCLC fold. This included both integrating RLG data assets into OCLC services and bringing forward programmatic activities into OCLC Research. A key part of those programmatic activities is collaboration with the research library community, and the OCLC Research Library Partnership is a key component in driving our work agenda. Under Jim’s leadership, the Partnership has grown from 110 in 2006 to over 170 institutions now, including libraries at 25 of the top 30 universities in the Times Higher Education World University rankings.

Jim is a wise and gentle leader with a sardonic sense of humor. We’ve appreciated his ability to foster experimentation (and his patience while those experiments played out), his willingness to get obstacles out of our way so that we can get our work done, his tolerance of our quirks and other personal qualities, and his ability to maximize our strengths.

Jim’s retirement is part of a larger story that is playing out in the larger research library community as those who have overseen generations of change in technology, education, and policy are moving on. We will honor these leaders by following in their footsteps, while reminding ourselves that the path they set was marked by innovation.


What’s Past is Pixels, a new exhibit at Strozier Library

As a digital archivist, when I’m working with exhibits, they are usually of the digital variety. However, when we wanted to make a splash for the launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository which combines the digital library with the research repository, we knew we needed to do something a bit bold, a bit crazy and very impressive.

What's Past is Pixels

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is an exhibit opening today about our work on the digital library. Perhaps our introduction to the exhibit says it best:

For over 10 years Florida State University Libraries has hosted a digital library in some form or another. In that time technology has evolved, changing how we can interact with physical objects in a digital space. The FSU Digital Library continues to evolve as well.

Today, the Florida State University Digital Library, under DigiNole, our new digital platform, provides online access to thousands of unique manuscripts, photographs, pamphlets, rare books, historic maps and other materials from across the FSU campus libraries and beyond. Our goal is to support active learning and engagement by providing ample opportunities for discovery and scholarship. In order to achieve this goal new resources and projects are constantly being added to the digital library.

The exhibit takes you through the process of materials being selected, digitized, and described before they find their way into DigiNole. It then explores the new uses for materials that can occur in the digital environment and what the future may hold for the development of DigiNole over time.

We’re having some Opening Day festivities today for the new exhibit. A Coffee Talk at 10am, Cake (!) from 12-1pm and then a Closing Reception from 3-4pm. Also throughout the day, there will be demonstrations of DigiNole and what you can find and do with our materials.

What’s Past is Pixels: Developing the FSU Digital Library is located in the Strozier Library Exhibit Room and is open 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. It will be held from February 29 until April 8, 2016.

Costes anuales en papel representan de 8% a 16% de los ingresos totales de una empresa

Los empleados pierden 600 horas al año buscando documentos en papel 29/02/2016

Según datos de TBS, los costes de documentación anuales de una compañía representan entre un 8% y un 16% de sus ingresos totales

Digitalizar los documentos supone un ahorro de hasta el 80%.

Muchas situaciones del día a día en la oficina tienen que ver con documentos en papel: “¿Dónde está el contrato con la firma del cliente?”, “¿Dónde he puesto el albarán?”. A priori, parecen momentos comunes y sin importancia, pero la empresa TBS, expertos en ‘Cloud Paperless’, afirman que “pueden acarrear serias consecuencias”.

Según sus datos, los empleados pierden de media hasta un 35% de su jornada laboral gestionando procesos basados en papel, con la pérdida de productividad y eficiencia que ello supone. Se estima que en una empresa el total de horas laborales que se desperdician al año es de 600.

“A día de hoy son todavía muchas las empresas que gestionan sus procesos de negocio más estratégicos de forma totalmente manual basándolos 100% en el papel, con lo que se mengua muchísimo la productividad de los trabajadores”, apuntan desde TBS. La firma añade que las compañías “no son conscientes de que una tarea como el papeleo, a primera vista común, puede repercutir seriamente en las cuentas de resultados de la empresa”.

En los procesos basados en la gestión documental es importante destacar que los costes anuales relacionados con el papel representan entre un 8% y un 16% de los ingresos totales de una compañía. Además, hay acciones que, al realizar la gestión documental manualmente, se repiten de forma inconsciente porque no existe una automatización de los procesos. Por ejemplo, un documento se copia hasta 20 veces de media, sin ningún tipo de control, con un coste de entre 35 y 420 euros.

Según estudios realizados por Gartner Group la reducción de costes que se produciría en una organización que disponga de sus procesos de documentales automatizados asciende entre el 65% y el 80% de ahorro. La digitalización de documentos permite además ahorrar espacio en el archivo de históricos, reducir las tareas basadas en el papeleo y el coste ambiental correspondiente.

Un archivo del siglo XIX detras de la pared de la Plaza de Toros de Melilla

Un legado del siglo XIX aparece detrás de una pared de la Plaza de Toros 27/02/2016

Miles de documentos y archivos fechados entre el 1879 y la década de los 90 han sido encontrados detrás de una de la paredes de la Plaza de Toros. Este hallazgo fortuito ha sido posible durante las obras de remodelación de la Mezquita del toreo. Expertos del Archivo General de Melilla están trabajando en la limpieza y clasificación de dichos archivos.
La Plaza de Toros de Melilla no deja de sorprender. Durante las obras de remodelación del coso melillense se ha encontrado una buhardilla tapiada, situada bajo el graderío, archivos y documentos que datan desde el Siglo XIX y hasta los año 90.
En su interior más de 120 años de historia melillense plasmada en documentos y archivos entre los que destacan los presupuestos de la Junta de Arbitrio, acuerdos, actas, programas de festejos o los documentos del primer ayuntamiento local en 1931.

Archivo Melilla escondido

El archivo más antiguo data de 1879

El archivo más antiguo data de 1879 y los más modernos pertenecen a la década de los 90. Desde hace dos días, fecha de su descubrimiento, expertos del Archivo General trabajan en la desinsección y desinfección de dichos documentos. Una vez limpios se procede a una leve clasificación. No se descartan nuevos hallazgos según avancen las obras de remodelación. Isabel Migallón, historiadora melillense, destaca el buen estado de conservación de dichos documentos.
Una vez limpios y clasificados, el primer paso es informatizar toda la información y restaurar los archivos dañados. Comercios que se desconocían y mucha información que ayudará a conocer la historia de una Melilla en pleno proceso de expansión fuera de las murallas de Melilla la Vieja.


Desk Chair Detective: Around the World with Charles Thompson

Daguerreotype of Charles Thompson by Chandler Seaver, Jr., of Boston, ca 1855

Daguerreotype of Charles Thompson by Chandler Seaver, Jr., of Boston, ca 1855

Charles Thompson, custodian at Amherst College for more than 40 years in the second half of the 19th century – do you know him?  Have you seen photographs of him before, perhaps in an old Olio yearbook?  For over 40 years Amherst students graduated and left town with a photograph of Charles Thompson in their copies of the yearbook.  Thompson was deeply connected with the College, and with the students’ experience of it, and there is no doubt that those who knew him remembered him fondly.

Most of what we know about Thompson’s life comes from a volume written to raise money for Thompson’s old age by President William Augustus Stearns’ daughter Abigail Eloise LeeI’ve looked at the book many times over the years, both for the purpose of learning about Thompson’s life and to find details about the College and town during those days.  Recently I looked at it again and this time I happened to focus on a passage in which Lee mentions Thompson’s experiences as a sailor.  I’d never noticed this information enough to wonder about it, but this time I did.

People who spoke with or heard about Thompson might have known about his years at sea.  Apparently he told stories about his adventures, first to the Stearns children, and then to people in Amherst.  In the years since his death, though, we’ve probably associated Thompson primarily with his work for the Stearns family and later for the College, while those years on a ship have been unexplored and would probably have been lost to history if it weren’t for Lee’s book.

Lee quotes from a manuscript of her father’s to describe Thompson’s career as a sailor:



Pres. William A. Stearns (ca. 1858), Thompson's friend and employer.

Pres. William A. Stearns (ca. 1858), Thompson’s friend and employer.


In other words – and this is what interests me – by the time Charles Thompson followed the Stearns family to Amherst in the late 1850s he had seen far more of the world than had the great majority of the people who knew him, or thought they did.  It’s interesting to think about his experiences and what he learned as he traveled the seas in comparison to what the average citizen of Amherst – town or college – experienced or learned.  Were there times when someone said something to him that made him recall what he’d witnessed and done, and what they would never know?

I wanted to know more about Thompson’s history, so I turned to resources at my fingertips.

Lee had said that Stearns found a position for Thompson with a “Captain Charles Evans,” a mariner Stearns knew personally, and that his first trip was on a whaler, an experience he remembered vividly:


Investigations in the newspaper database and at the National Maritime Digital Library‘s “American Offshore Whaling Voyages: a Database”  led me to conclude that Thompson sailed with Charles Thomas Evans on his ship the Warren.  It’s certain that Charles Thomas Evans (not Charles A. Evans, another mariner) was Thompson’s employer: the dates, the ship names, and the details of his death match the clues.  What’s more, genealogical websites showed Evans was the husband of Stearns’ sister-in-law Lucy Drew Frazar.  She was Evans’ second wife, and the fact that the Stearns family knew her well explains how Thompson came to sail with Evans.

Lee writes that Thompson served as the steward on the Warren, which means that he served Evans in particular, along with other duties:

“The steward was the captain’s personal servant. He kept the captain’s and mates’ cabins in order and waited on the captain and mates at mealtimes in the main cabin. He was in charge of the cook and responsible for keeping track of the stocks of food and other supplies aboard the ship. He was sometimes assisted by a cabin boy. He lived in steerage and his lay [his pay percentage]  ranged between 1/60 and 1/150.”  (From the site: Girl on a Whaleship)

From the ship’s deck, Thompson would have witnessed scenes like this one, later prompting memories like the one quoted above:

Currier and Ives, "Whale Fishery," via the Library of Congress.

Currier and Ives, “Whale Fishery,” via the Library of Congress.

Newspapers allow us to follow some of the Warren’s route between 1847 and 1851.  This evidence suggests that Thompson boarded the Warren in November 1847 while it was in Warren, Rhode Island, its home port.  From there, it went on a 41-month journey (click on first image to start slide show):

(1) The Warren departed from its home port of Warren, Rhode Island, on November 29, 1847.  It is most likely that Charles Thompson boarded at this time.
(2) The Warren is sighted on January 28, 1847 (reported two months later).
(3) The ship Frances Henrietta had contact with the ship Warren on March 11, 1848 (reported June 6).
(4) The first officer of the Warren is taken to Honolulu on June 2, 1848 "on account of illness" (reported January 23, 1849).
(5) By the time Thompson was on the Warren, whales were scarcer than they had been earlier in the century, as this report indicates.  Here, the Warren is in contact with the ship Amethyst on July 18, 1848 (reported December 12).
(6) By October 1848, things were looking up -- unless you were a whale.
(7) The Warren in Honolulu, November 11, 1848 (reported January 1, 1849).
(8) Again, in Honolulu, but with a different number of whales reported.
(9) Captain Evans writes from Hong Kong in March 1850 about the advantages of Hong Kong vs. Honolulu.
(10) By the fall of 1850, the Warren had left Hong Kong and returned to Honolulu.
(11) In late November 1850 the Warren prepared to leave Honolulu for home.
(12) The Warren returned to Rhode Island in May, 1851.

To make the point succinctly, Thompson’s voyages looked something like this:

When the Warren returned from its long voyage, Evans seems to have decided he’d had enough of wrangling angry 45-ton mammals.  After about 9 months at home, he turned to merchant shipping and became the master of the Kremlin, a boat designed by his brother-in-law Amherst Alden Frazar.  According to Lee, Charles Thompson went on two voyages with Evans on the Kremlin.  They left New York in late February, 1852 for San Francisco and were reported sighted along South America on March 31.

Kremlin at latitude 6.14 S, longitude 31.40 W on March 31. (Daily Atlas newspaper, May 20, 1852.)

Kremlin at latitude 6.14 S, longitude 31.40 W on March 31. (Daily Atlas newspaper, May 20, 1852.)

Meanwhile, the Warren was still sailing the seas.  Thompson was lucky not to be on it anymore: it burned on July 10, 1852.

On July 26, the Kremlin was nearing San Francisco when the crew sighted a ship in distress:


After providing assistance (no doubt with Thompson’s help as steward), the Kremlin sailed on toward San Francisco, arriving there on August 2.  The brig Rostrand limped in behind it.


The Kremlin and the Rostrand arrive in San Francisco (Daily Alta California, Volume 3, Number 214, 3 August 1852.)

Less than two months later Captain Evans died of “ship fever,” a ghastly way to go that involves infectious body lice.  Lee’s book  says that Charles Thompson tended Evans in his last illness and brought a lock of his hair home to Lucy Evans.


It took almost four months for the news to reach Evans’ family.


“We are well. You have doubtless heard of Uncle Henry’s death. Capt. Charles Evans died at sea of ship fever, Sept. last. The news has just arrived. He was, you know, Lucy Frazar’s husband.” William A. Stearns to brother Jonathan Stearns, 1853 Jan 17.

The Kremlin went on to Shanghai under the first mate, according to Thompson, and departed for London on October 23, 1852.  A newspaper report in a column titled “Via Quarantine”(perhaps for more cases of ship fever) shows it in London in the spring of 1853; June newspaper accounts have it arriving in Boston on June 8 or 9, 1853.  This was the end of Thompson’s life as a sailor.

Charles Thompson at the College well, ca. 1860.

Charles Thompson at the College well, ca. 1860.

Altogether, then, Thompson was at sea for a total of about 4 ½ years, beginning with a whaling voyage of 41 months (late November 1847 to sometime in May, 1851) through two additional voyages from early 1852, through his return to New England in June, 1853.  He remained in the Boston area for a few years and then moved to Amherst to be with the Stearns family.  Amherst must’ve seemed very quiet after his life at sea, and perhaps he preferred it that way.




While researching Charles Thompson’s history, I came across many fascinating sites about the history of whaling. In addition to those mentioned in the text above, here is a selection of great resources:

The New Bedford Whaling Museum , including many additional links under the tab “Digital Scholarship.”

The Whaling Museum of the Nantucket Historical Association, including pages about the whaler Essex, and the 2015 movie about it, “In the Heart of the Sea

Mystic Seaport, with links to online materials.

The Smithsonian, with a page on whaling, including a section on African American sailors: “On the Water”

The Northeast Document Conservation Center’s project to conserve a logbook: “Starboard Boat Struck a Whale.”

Maritime Heritage Project, a “free research tool for those seeking history of passengers, ships, captains, merchants and merchandise sailing into California during the mid-to-late 1800s.”

Detailed article: Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail. Smith TD, Reeves RR, Josephson EA, Lund JN (2012) PLoS ONE 7(4): e34905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034905

A blog not to be missed: Data narratives and structural histories: Melville, Maury, and American whaling

Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2015

In late November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Portland, Oregon. Here are a few of the highlights.

Portlandia at night

Portlandia at night


Once again, AMIA partnered with the Digital Library Foundation (DLF) on a one-day event where archivists and developers could work together on digital problems. This year’s award-winning projects were:

  • “Exporting OpenRefine clusters and TIDY” by Team Data Detox, which created the ability to export the problem portion of a large metadata set from OpenRefine and created a tool called “Tool for Improving Data Yourself” (TIDY). The purpose is to analyze messy data in different ways in order to decide how to fix it.
  • ffmprovisr”, led by Ashley Blewer, built on projects from the last two hack days which helped audiovisual archivists use an open source program called ffmpeg for their work by providing documentation and pre-formulated code for common commands.
  • “OAIS edit-a-thon”, led by Shira Pelzman, read the current 135-page Open Archival Information System standard for digital preservation, which is under review, and proposed changes. I participated in this team.
Word cloud analysis of artist’s names. Created by Team Data Detox (Kathryn Gronsbell, Cora Johnson-Roberson, Michelle Roell and Caleb Sayan).

Word cloud analysis of artist’s names. Created by Team Data Detox (Kathryn Gronsbell, Cora Johnson-Roberson, Michelle Roell and Caleb Sayan).


Preservation of software—games and other programs—is beginning to be addressed on a larger scale than it has been before. Charlotte Thai presented on Stanford University’s collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on a project to document, copy and preserve the Cabrinety Collection, a donation of more than 18,000 unique software packages in many formats. They create forensic disk images; produce photographic documentation of all the materials, including the packaging; and will ingest the files into Stanford’s Digital Repository. To verify that the files have remained unchanged, they produce checksums. One side benefit of this project is that a set of these checksums are provided to law enforcement. When a computer is confiscated, running these checksums against the contents of the hard drive can identify standard software and games so that law enforcement can focus their examination on the other, more suspicious files.

Screenshot from demonstration of OLIVE Executable Archive with educational software. Screenshot from

Screenshot from demonstration of OLIVE Executable Archive with educational software. Screenshot from

Eric Kaltman of the University of California at Santa Cruz spoke about the preservation of software games, the enormity of the problem, and the successes and problems with current preservation efforts. They have so far identified 116 different game platforms and 28 different operating systems. The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) is an open source project to provide access to old games. The OLIVE Executable Archive will allow someone to use the software they make available online, including games, educational software, browsers and word processing. See Stanford’s How They Got Game site for more information.


PREFORMA is a project funded by the European Commission to determine the best PREservation FORMAts for cultural information. The purpose is to define standardized file formats suited for long-term preservation and provide open source software tools to verify that files conform to the standard.

MediaConch in action. Screenshot from presentation given by Ashley Blewer, Dave Rice and Erwin Verbruggen.]

MediaConch in action. Screenshot from presentation given by Ashley Blewer, Dave Rice and Erwin Verbruggen.]

One of the formats in the project is one that we funded early specifications for (as part of our video digitization program) and have been using since 2011: moving images encoded with the ffv1 codec and packaged in a Matroska (MKV) container. It is a very efficient codec, and has allowed us to create small compressed video files with no loss of information (“lossless”). The ffv1/MKV combination had been recently accepted by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF, the body that approves internet technical standards) as the lossless video standard for the internet. This will help archives by encouraging widespread adoption of the format beyond just archival use. The checking software for standards conformance being developed for AV formats is called MediaConch and is currently available as downloadable software. MediaConch is working with Artefactual, who created the software we use for digital preservation and access, to test MediaConch and integrate the tools into the Archivematica digital preservation software. See here for an in-depth report on this presentation, with slides.

The 2015 AMIA conference was a valuable exchange of the latest information in audiovisual preservation and access.

Making Some Digital Stereograph Magic

Please welcome Micah Vandegrift and Sarah Stanley from the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS) here at FSU for a guest post on a project we have worked closely with them to bring to the FSU Digital Library.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

One of the best things about working in what we’re calling “digital scholarship” is the chance to collaborate with scholars on unique projects. Several years ago, one such project walked in the door of our special collections research center. Jennifer Pride, a doctoral candidate in Art History, was the fortunate recipient of the late Courtauld Professor John House’s vast collection of stereoscopes, which she decided to donate to the Department of Art History. Several of our librarians and archivists met with Jennifer and decided on a course of action.

The primary goal of the project is to build an online collection of the material, allowing scholars and the public to enjoy and learn from it. Jennifer had learned the late professor’s collection strategy and organization, and had already begun scanning some images for her own research. After an initial meeting with Matthew Miguez, our metadata librarian, Jennifer completed the description of about 700 images. The physical materials were then transferred to our Digital Library Center, where Stuart Rochford, Studio Manager, processed and digitized the stereographs. These digitized versions were then loaded and made publicly available through the FSU Digital Library.

This is where the newly-formed Office of Digital Research and Scholarship comes in. One of our areas of interest is the creative reuse of digital collections. We often talk about digital scholarship as being the layer of context, visualization, or analysis that sits on top of a collection of material. Based on the uniqueness of this type of photography, and the collection’s distinct place in space and time, we decided to quickly attempt a “proof of concept” project with a few items.

The NYPL (New York Public Library) Lab’s Stereogranimator was a perfect first test. This tool was designed to take stereographs, two images, and allow you, the (re)user, to mash the images together in creative ways. We GIF-ized a few and 3D-ified some others as you can see below. Fun with history and the internet!

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

Another activity often done with geographic/culturally recognizable objects is finding a way to place them back in their location. HistoryPin is a tool built on Google Street View that allows the (re)user to “drop a pin,” like a historical photograph, directly where the thing existed once upon a time. So, we took stereogranimated images (not the best quality) and placed a few of them around Paris.

As proof of concepts, both of these show that the John House Stereograph collection is deeply useful and has great potential for further study. We plan to continue to work with Jennifer and other Art Historians to explore the stories and patterns that emerge from this digitally re-presented collection. What would you do with 1400 digitized 3D stereographs of Paris from the 1850’s to early 1900s?!

Mayor v. MacDougal Street

There are a pair of questions that pop up again and again in Mayor John Lindsay’s early press conferences, to his ever fresh annoyance. “What can you tell us about the SanitationTransitWelfareCabdriversTeachers strike?”, and “What are you doing to clean up the Village?”

While the former lends some credence to the notion that the New York Lindsay had inherited January 1, 1966 was indeed “ungovernable” from the outset, with strike upon strike landing on the young, stumbling, beleaguered administration, the latter makes one wonder if Lindsay ever bothered to try to govern in the first place.

The version of the Village question posed on December 29, 1967, asks the mayor for comment on a recent decision handed down from New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles A. Tierney ordering Lindsay, Commissioner of Licenses Joel Tyler, and Police Commissioner Howard Leary to enforce existing laws concerning the rash of unlicensed coffeehouses dotting MacDougal Street. Lindsay can barely hide his frustration.

The problem of “unlicensed coffeehouses” might seem innocuous today, but it wasn’t at the time. Coffeehouses in 1967 New York had to have a special kind of cabaret license to have live music with drums and vocals. They also had to close at 3 AM and were subject to a variety of regulations intended to keep the peace with local residents. When Lindsay, reporters, and others refer to “unlicensed coffeehouses,” they are referring to restaurants, legal in many other ways, which flaunted the cabaret laws of the time, playing live music, employing aggressive “sidewalk hawkers” to hustle in clientele, and staying open well after 3 AM, serving alcohol long past their allotted midnight cutoff. These “restaurants” were allowed only incidental music performed by at most “3 string[ed] instruments, plus an accordion and a piano.” No singing, no drums. They frequently had both.

When Lindsay was set to take office there were approximately 25 such unlicensed coffeehouses in the area. The number of licensed ones in the neighborhood was 6. Such a surfeit of activity was naturally a huge attraction to the City’s youth, but it was getting out of hand. It was felt that by enforcing current laws, the disorder plaguing the area could be brought under control.

The majority of the locals merely wanted peace and quiet, and the young people a place to hang, but once attention to the issue of scofflaw coffeehouses had risen beyond the local level, a thinly veiled subtext emerged, one that washed out the nuanced views of all those intimately involved – it became an intergenerational conflict between young, white hippies gone to seed, occupying the east coast Hashbury of MacDougal Street and Washington Square Park, and the staunch and strict middle-class values of the area’s long-standing old-law tenement residents.

The boisterous boho allure of 1960s Greenwich Village seems to have been a constant concern during the early months of Lindsay’s first term. Even before, in fact. In 1965, just before his election as mayor, Lindsay had met with the MacDougal Street Area Neighborhood Association (MSANA) and Emanuel “Wally” Popolizio, their president, to discuss the problem of the unlicensed coffeehouses along the street.

Lindsay’s initial solution was to send unpaid assistant (and future disgraced ex-Water Commissioner) James Marcus to clear up the problem in a series of February 1966 meetings with the MSANA. (Lindsay wisely but disingenuously declines to mention this in the December 29th, 1967 press conference we present above, with Marcus’ kickback indictment having occurred December 18, a mere 11 days earlier.) While Marcus was appalled by state of MacDougal Street after a Friday night visit in March of ’66, saying “[t]he situation in the Village now is really desperate” and arguing for a curfew, according to Popolizio, “nothing came of the [February] meetings, except that after they stopped MacDougal Street was really wide open.”

Curiously, Marcus ultimately sought to absolve himself of some of the guilt from his later transgressions by turning in Carmine DeSapio, from whom he had taken bribes during his tenure as water commissioner. Whether their relationship began here is unclear, but it’s interesting that at the time, DeSapio was a newly anachronistic Tammany man, recently deposed as Democratic District Leader for the Village by a young Ed Koch, coincidentally enough the other main shaker in the local fight to shut down MacDougal Street’s unlicensed coffeeshops. The future congressman and New York City mayor Koch cut his political teeth in this and other battles, beginning his long rise in New York politics here. In the December 29th press conference a reporter asks Lindsay if partisan politics played a role in the MacDougal controversies. One can’t help but wonder if he’s in part asking about Koch.

By May of 1966, Koch and Popolizio were fed up, and were pondering litigation. Said Koch at the time, “You can’t keep telling the residents to suffer through the weekly hell of those noisy crowds while nothing is done.” Koch also mooted moving the coffeehouses to a special district, something Art D’Lugoff, proprietor of nearby club The Village Gate, would call a “demagogic, dangerous, irresponsible, laughable thing.” Lindsay’s efforts were no better. What likely felt like compromise to Lindsay often came across as contradiction, and frustrations were rising. Neither side was satisfied, and a year later Lindsay was still struggling to rein in the inconsistencies of his administration’s actions:


The MSANA eventually sued the city and 1967 saw the suit climbing up the courts, culminating in the decision against Lindsay, Tyler, and Leary, and the December 29 post-decision press conference heard at the top of the page. Lindsay did not bring up the decision by choice that day, preferring instead to describe the new NYPD computer dispatch system and quash rumors of a Kerner Commission minority report. He was, however, fully prepared to voice his disapproval of Tierney’s “rather extraordinary decision” and mount an aggressive and obviously prepared-in-advance defense if asked. And he was.

We’ll leave it to you to listen to the recording to hear the finer points of Lindsay’s elaborate reply to Tierney’s ruling, but essentially he argued the following: he had addressed the complaint. He had done so by stepping up a specially trained law enforcement unit, the tactical police force, to the MacDougal Street area. Moreover, commissioner of licenses Joel Tyler had been increasing his department’s activity in the Village, reducing the number of unlicensed coffeehouses along MacDougal by nearly 20. Lindsay chose not to reveal that the presence of the tactical police force, essentially a special crowd control unit, was something that Koch and Popolizio had conceded was helpful over a year and a half ago, but was not what Lindsay and others had been ordered to enforce – Lindsay et al. had been ordered to enforce licenses. Lindsay blamed the lack of enforcement mainly on the courts’ failure to pursue the fines the licensing commission had doled out, but either way, Lindsay’s efforts fell short of satisfying Koch, Popolizio, and the MSANA – MacDougal Street was still a lively, noisy mess.

But, there was another side to Lindsay’s argument – that young people do need a place to congregate and, well, be young, and this was something he was loath to stamp out. Perhaps Lindsay was merely sweeping his MacDougal Street failures to the side, but it seems here that this was something he truly valued. In fact, the need for kids to have a place to hang is something all parties seemed to value, albeit in different ways – Koch’s political talents were sharpened by navigating both sides of the generational fault line MacDougal Street had seemingly become, while Popolizio fought for affordable artist housing in the Village before and after, asking “how can you create progress without creativity?”. Lindsay too later found himself mutually estranged from the law-and-order Republican Party on this and other issues, eventually switching to the Democratic Party after a brief Liberal Party limbo.

Tierney’s ruling wasn’t the last word on the issue, he reiterated his order in January of 1968 and another court later reversed it, but it was certainly the loudest. Immediately following the ruling a pair of area offenders, Four Winds Coffeehouse and Cafe Flamenco were publicly slapped with hefty fines, but for the most part Macdougal Street’s problems simply faded from media attention. Whether those problems had been solved or were merely lost in the shuffle of the City’s news cycle isn’t obvious today. Lindsay moved on to other battles, and Koch continued his political ascent, eventually becoming mayor, where he hired Popolizio to head the City’s Housing Authority. The Village Gate remained a neighborhood fixture until 1994, while Tierney heard new cases until his 1982 retirement and Marcus, well, he had a hearing of his own.

It’s hard to imagine today’s gentrified MacDougal Street inspiring such fervor – the former Four Winds location is now home to a ramen restaurant and the erstwhile Flamenco serves pizza by the slice to hungry NYU students (The Village Gate is a chain pharmacy) – but there are hints of its former glories here and there, echoing voices of the past careening along the chaotic and storied street. 

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 92388 (92500, 150334)

Municipal archives id: T2336, T2337 (T1834, T1871)

When the Mob Infiltrated City Government

In 1967, the FBI arrested New York Water Commissioner James Marcus for taking kickbacks from the mob. Marcus was a close friend of Mayor John V. Lindsay, and his arrest was one of the most personally embarrassing political scandals of Lindsay’s career. In this press conference, Lindsay responds to reporters’ questions about the arrest and tries to assure New Yorkers that their elected officials are not for sale.

James Marcus was first hired in 1965 as a non-paid aide for Lindsay, dealing with issues like the clean up of MacDougal Street. Despite various scandals and even a lawsuit, he had a precipitous rise: one year later, in 1966, he was appointed the city’s Commissioner of Water, Gas, and Electric. Young, handsome, and well connected, Marcus moved well among the social circles of prominent Northeast families: he was married to the niece of Ambassador John Cabot Lodge and was a rising star in New York City politics.

Marcus’ glossy personal and professional histories, however, were a total fraud.

Various accounts describe Marcus as having dropped out of two or three different colleges despite claiming to be a law school graduate.  His entree into Lindsay’s inner circle was partially a result of his fabricating his resume experience with successful careers in business, finance, and public relations. Marcus gave everyone around him the impression he had family money, but at the time of the investigation, he was knee deep in debt to some unsavory loan sharks. In short, James Marcus was a dream come true for the Cosa Nostra. His financial woes and secret past were perfect weaknesses to exploit.

Lucchese crime family boss Antonio “Tony Ducks” Corallo leaned on Marcus.  As head of the city’s utilities, Marcus controlled construction contracts for the city’s water, gas, and electric infrastructure. Corallo convinced Marcus to award an $800,000 no-bid contract to contractor ST Grand, Inc., to cleanup the Jerome Park Reservoir in the North Bronx.  In exchange, the two would split a $40,000 kickback. The bribery scheme was exposed in the fall of 1966. Later, it blossomed into an even bigger bribery conspiracy when the FBI eventually laid down a series of indictments for Lindsay allies, including prominent politicians like former Tammany Hall leader Carmine DeSapio, whom Marcus testified against in a separate trial.

This press conference takes place right after Marcus’ 1967 arrest. Mayor Lindsay tries to position himself above the fray, adopting a bureaucratic tone in answering reporters questions.  The mayor explains the contract vetting process, the necessity for no-bid awards in “emergency situations,” and the integrity of the administrative process. Ultimately, Lindsay passes the buck to his newly appointed Commissioner of Investigations, Arnold G. Fraiman, and sidesteps several questions about other internal corruption allegations.

In time, the bribery scandal was not as far reaching as some in the press had hoped.  Corruption was exposed, but other top Lindsay officials remained unscathed, and the Marcus Affair was eventually dwarfed by many other problems that plagued Lindsay during his tenure. And yet, it seemed made for the movies – as perfect as any good pulp fiction. Main characters were a mafia hit-man and a suave political insider with a troubled financial past. Mayor Lindsay was a polished political dilettante whose good looks and squeaky-clean image contrasted starkly with the city’s seedier underbelly. And, of course, there was the backdrop of New York City in the 1960s, oozing charming urban grit. And who can forget all those stylishly noir men wearing hats.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150338
Municipal archives id: T1992

Memoria 5D: Una nueva era para el almacenamiento de información

Una memoria 5D podría guardar la historia de toda la humanidad 23/02/2016

Científicos ingleses han creado una memoria con un formato en cinco dimensiones capaz de durar millones de años y que, por tanto, es capaz de guardar la historia completa de la humanidad.
memoria 5D

Al menos así lo afirman los investigadores de la Universidad de Southampton, que han dado un gran paso en el desarrollo de almacenamiento de datos digital. Los científicos del Centro de Investigación Optoelectrónica (ORC) de esta universidad emplean cristal nanoestructurado sobre el que han desarrollado un sistema para la grabación y recuperación en cinco dimensiones de datos digitales.

Esto se lleva a cabo gracias a un láser ultrarrápido que produce pulsos extremadamente cortos e intensos de luz y escribe en tres capas de puntos nanoestructurados separados por cinco micrómetros (la millonésima parte de un metro). La codificación de la información se realiza en cinco dimensiones, uniendo tamaño y orientación a la clásicas coordenadas tridimensionales.

Una nueva era para el almacenamiento de información

Este sistema ofrece propiedades sin precedentes, como la capacidad de grabar hasta 360 ​​Terabytes por disco, resistencia térmica de hasta 1.000 grados centígrados y una vida útil prácticamente ilimitada a temperatura ambiente (13,8 mil millones de años a 190 grados), lo que sin duda abre una nueva era en las posibilidades de archivo de datos. Y es que, sin duda, su capacidad, resistencia y seguridad podrían ser de gran utilidad para organizaciones con grandes archivos, como archivos nacionales, museos y bibliotecas.

El profesor Peter Kazansky, miembro del equipo que ha creado este tipo de memoria 5D que puede durar eternamente, está convencido de que “hemos creado la tecnología para preservar los documentos e información y almacenarlos para las generaciones futuras. Esta tecnología puede asegurar la última evidencia de nuestra civilización: Todo lo que hemos aprendido nunca será olvidado“.

“Memoria de cristal de Supermán”

Así es como han apodado a esta tecnología recordando a los cristales de memoria que aparecían en la película original de Superman y por sus propiedades (teóricamente) indestructibles. Esta tecnología ya fue demostrada experimentalmente en 2013, cuando se registró con éxito una copia digital de 300 kb de un archivo de texto en cinco dimensiones.

Claro que ahora sus desarrolladores afirman haber guardado copias digitales, que esperan sobrevivan a la raza humana, de algunos de los principales documentos de la historia, como la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos y la Biblia.

el proceso para la actualización de imágenes en 3D de Google Earth

El proceso de Google Earth para ofrecer soporte con imágenes en 3D 23/02/2016


Uno de los trabajos más duros que está llevado a cabo actualmente el servicio de mapas de Google se centra en el desarrollo de imágenes en 3D. Este proceso parece ser mucho más duro y largo de lo que se esperaba en un primer momento, al menos eso desprendemos desde el Blog Oficial de Google Earth.

Se trata de un proceso muy interesante y gratificante. No sólo se ven involucrados los miembros del equipo de Google, también trabajan muchos lectores GEB que aportan su granito de arena.

Entre los problemas actuales se encuentra que muchas áreas que están siendo actualizadas actualmente ya contaban anteriormente con imágenes en 3D. Gracias a nuevas actualizaciones se pueden llegar a conseguir imágenes con mejores resultados que en versiones anteriores. Sin embargo, la cantidad de zonas que son cubiertas con soporte 3D disminuye constantemente. No se puede ofrecer soporte a un área sin dejar descuidada otra zona.

A continuación desvelamos el proceso que lleva a cabo Google Earth para la actualización de sus zonas con nuevas imágenes en 3D.

Proceso de actualización 3D de Google Earth

Gracias a una publicaciones en el blog del servicio de Google, hemos podido conocer el proceso que se está llevando a cabo para la actualización de imágenes en 3D.

Los desarrolladores comentan que en una fase inicial se estaba trabajando con la herramienta Zonum Solutions para calcular las áreas. Una herramienta que no soportaba los archivos con los que se trabaja actualmente. Por lo tanto, ahora las áreas se calculan con GeographicLib.

De momento uno de los países con mayores áreas cubiertas por imágenes 3D es Estados Unidos. País que llega a superar en hasta dos veces el soporte 3D de otras áreas del mundo.

Colaborar con el proyecto 3D de Google Earth

Se ha prestado un punto especial en la publicación para agradecer a todos los GEB readers que colaboran con el desarrollo de un nuevo Google Earth. Estos realizan una labor muy importante, localizando nuevas áreas o dibujándolas para ser incluidas en el soporte de mapas de Google.

Las nuevas zonas que se han podido actualizar últimamente no solamente pertenecen a zonas de Norteamérica. Podemos encontrar nuevas áreas actualizadas en Australia, Austria, España o Japón. Un trabajo interminable que siempre está recibiendo nuevas actualizaciones de imágenes en 3D.

La colaboración está abierta a todo aquel interesado en presentar nuevos contornos al equipo de Google Earth. Para ello tienen que seguir una serie de instrucciones en las que se explica mejor parte del trabajo a realizar.

Toda la información referente acerca de los GEB readers se encuentra en el siguienteenlace.

Autor: Gema Lucía Casimiro

Archivos históricos de calidad del agua fueron desaparecidos por Hidrocentro

Hidrocentro desaparecio Archivos Históricos de Calidad del Agua 23/02/2016

Lo que no puede ocultarse al abrir los grifos, pretende esconderse con un clic. La Compañía Anónima Hidrológica del Centro (Hidrocentro) eliminó los registros públicos que demuestran la crisis sanitaria y ambiental más compleja de Venezuela. 

Hidrocentro desapareció archivos históricos de calidad del agua

Desaparecieron los archivos históricos de medición de calidad del agua de su página web, denunció Lucio Herrera Gubaira, director legal de la Fundación Movimiento por la Calidad del Agua (FMPCA).

Desde 2010, luego de un extenuante proceso de peticiones públicas; e incluso una demanda en el Tribunal Supremo de Justicia; FMPCA logró que Hidrocentro comenzara la publicación mensual de parámetros de calidad. La hidrológica publicaba, pero siempre irrespetando la norma, recordó el abogado. “Publicaban seis, máximo 13 parámetros, de los 54 que Hidrocentro está obligada a dar a conocer en las Normas Sanitarias de la Calidad del Agua Potable”, vigentes desde 1999.

Los registros eran una espada de Damocles. Se notaba cómo el año pasado (2015) había sido el peor de todos en términos de calidad. Parámetros muy preocupantes, como el aluminio, habían promediado 300% por encima de la norma establecida en la gaceta oficial, recordó Herrera. Pero ahora desaparecieron totalmente del portal registros de 2015, 2014 e incluso 2013.

El único ahora disponible es enero de 2016. Allí la crisis parece haberse diluido. Color, un constante fuera de la norma durante el año pasado, ahora entró en el rango máximo aceptable de ley. Promedió 23 unidades de Platino/Cobalto cuando lo máximo permitido es 25. Así pasó con el parámetro turbiedad, cuyo valor máximo es 10 y promedió 7,9 Unidades Nefelométricas (UNT). La mejoría es notable comparado con, por ejemplo, enero de 2015, cuando la turbiedad estaba descontrolada con en 10,5 UNT. El aluminio pasó de promediar 300% por encima de la norma a 110%. En los nuevos valores todo cuadra.

El abogado intuye que debido a la preocupación social que se despertó, Hidrocentro buscaría maquillar la realidad, o al menos hacerla menos gravosa. “Por momentos en estos años pensamos que en la FMPCA arábamos en el mar. Pero ahora la gente despertó, y la presión social se siente”. Esto habría hecho que la empresa buscara cuidarse”.

El Carabobeño contactó a representantes de la hidrológica en busca de un comentario. Funcionarios prometieron devolver una llamada con la reacción oficial de la empresa, pero al cierre de esta edición no había posiciones disponibles sobre la desaparición del registro público de agua con mala calidad.


Celebrate Fair Use Week – by not getting in the way

It’s Fair Use Week and lots of libraries are getting on board, offering workshops, infographics, tips, and drop in office hours that are all geared towards encouraging fair use of copyrighted materials. For some awesome examples, check out the #fairuseweek2016 hash tag on Twitter.

This is great and good activity but also a reminder (to me) that all too often, libraries, archives, and museums can be unnecessary gatekeepers when it comes to cultural heritage. We blogged about this last year and pointed to Michelle Light’s talk Controlling Goods or Promoting the Public Good: Choices for Special Collections in the Marketplace — this article calls for for an end to inappropriate control of intellectual property rights, and calls for us to change our practices around charging permission fees for use of archival materials.

Boy Scouts - With giant American flag. From The New York Public Library,

Boy Scouts – With giant American flag. From The New York Public Library,

Earlier this year, and with much fanfare, the New York Public Library announced that they had released digital access to their public domain materials, making it easy for the public to use and reuse more than 180,000 digitized items. This was an important milestone to be sure, but perhaps hidden amidst the excitement about “free for all” was the fact that NYPL also does not put restrictions around use of materials that are in copyright or where copyright status is unknown. They have provided a nice request that you credit NYPL and link back to the item in NYPL Digital Collections (and, they make it dead easy to get that link in their system).

So, as you cook up your own celebrations during Fair Use Week, I encourage you to think about other ways you can empower researchers and other users, and consider how you can get out of the way in reproductions and permissions practices (and become one of the Good Guys).


El hombre del paraguas en el asesinato de John F. Kennedy

¿Por teóricos de la conspiración están tan obsesionados con el “hombre del paraguas” de John F. Kennedy 23/02/2016

A través de los 50 años desde el asesinato de JFK robaron los estadounidenses de cualquier apariencia de inocencia política, las preguntas han persistido en ese hombre y por qué se abrió y se bombea el paraguas en los momentos antes de que el presidente recibió un disparo. Fue la elevación de la sombrilla de una señal? Era el paraguas en sí un arma?

El “hombre del paraguas”, identificado por el Comité Selecto de Estados Unidos sobre Asesinatos en 1978 como Louie Steven Witt, es un nombre dado a una figura que aparece en la película de Zapruder, y varias otras películas y fotografías, cerca de la autopista Stemmons firmar dentro de Dealey Plaza durante el asesinato de Kennedy.

En el momento en que las balas que se lanzan contra la caravana de JFK, un hombre puede ser visto de pie en el lado de la carretera cerca del coche que sostiene un paraguas negro abierto. Pero no estaba lloviendo. Este es exactamente el tipo de detalle que establece un fuego debajo de teóricos de la conspiración.

El “hombre del paraguas” es el tema de un documental corto 2011 por Errol Morris, de The New York Times . Una persona apodada popularmente el “hombre del paraguas” ha sido objeto de mucha especulación, ya que era la única persona que lleva visto y la apertura de un paraguas en ese día soleado.También fue uno de los espectadores más cercanos al presidente John F. Kennedy cuando Kennedy fue alcanzado por primera vez por una bala. A medida que se acercaba la limusina de Kennedy, el hombre se abrió y levantó el paraguas por encima de su cabeza, luego se enfocó hilado o el paraguas de este a oeste (hacia la derecha) como el presidente pasado por él. A raíz del asesinato, el “hombre del paraguas” se sentó en la acera junto a otro hombre antes de levantarse y caminar hacia el Texas School Book Depository. Desplácese hacia abajo para ver un video

Las primeras especulaciones fue realizada por investigadores de asesinato de Josiah Thompson y Richard Sprague que se percató de la sombrilla abierta en una serie de fotografías. Thompson y Sprague sugirieron que el “hombre del paraguas” puede haber estado actuando como un emisor de señales de algún tipo, abriendo su paraguas a la señal de “adelante” y luego elevarlo a comunicar “disparar una segunda ronda”. El “hombre del paraguas” se representa como la realización de un papel en la película de Oliver Stone JFK .Otra teoría propuesta por Robert Cutler y respaldado por colonell. Fletcher Prouty es que el paraguas se pudo haber utilizado para disparar un dardo con un agente paralizante en el Kennedy para inmovilizar los músculos y hacer de él un “blanco fácil” para un asesinato.

Después de una apelación al público por el Comité Selecto de la Cámara sobre Asesinatos Estados Unidos, Louie Steven Witt se presentó en 1978 y afirma que es el “hombre del paraguas”. Afirmó que aún tiene el paraguas y no sabía que había sido objeto de controversia. Dijo que trajo el paraguas simplemente heckle Kennedy cuya fatherJoseph había sido un partidario del nazi-apaciguar el primer ministro británico Neville Chamberlain. Por agitando un paraguas negro, accesorio de moda de la marca de Chamberlain, Witt dijo que estaba protestando por la familia Kennedy apaciguar a Hitler antes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Un paraguas había sido utilizada en los dibujos animados de la década de 1930 para simbolizar tal apaciguamiento, y Chamberlain menudo lleva a un umbrella.Kennedy, que escribió una tesis sobre el apaciguamiento mientras que en Harvard, Why England Slept , podría haber reconocido el simbolismo de la sombrilla. Paraguas negros habían sido utilizados en relación con las protestas contra el presidente antes; en el momento de la construcción del muro de Berlín, un grupo de escolares de Bonn enviada a la Casa Blanca un paraguas marcado Chamberlain .

Al testificar ante el HSCA, Witt dijo “Creo que si el Libro Guinness de los Récordstenía una categoría para las personas que estaban en el lugar equivocado en el momento equivocado, haciendo las cosas mal, me gustaría ser el número 1 en esa posición, sin siquiera un runner-up “.

Witt murió el 17 de noviembre 2014

It’s Always Sunny in Washington

The PIDB continues to hold to the principle of an Open Government recognizing that an informed citizenry strengthens our democracy. We realize that more work needs to be done on the important commitments articulated in the Third National Action Plan for Open Government, particularly streamlining the declassification process. Related to this initiative to limit secrecy to the minimum necessary is the commitment to modernize the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) across government.

Please join us on March 14, 2016, at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to celebrate Sunshine Week 2016. The Office of Government Information Services will hold a series of lectures and panel discussions with experts in Open Government, technology and the FOIA process in NARA’s William G. McGowan Theater from 1:00 until 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public but you must register by March 11. Additionally, NARA will offer a live webcast of the event for those who are not in the DC area. Please register to attend here.

Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. The American Society of News Editors launched Sunshine Week in 2005 to focus attention on the importance of open government. This year’s events will take place the week of March 13-19, 2016. Sunshine Week 2016 is particularly meaningful because this year is the 50th anniversary of the signing of the FOIA.

The Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will open the event with introductory remarks to begin the afternoon’s events. A list of impressive speakers including Richard L. “Dick” Huff, Miriam Nisbet, Andrew Lih, Archon Fung, and other leading advocates for open government initiatives, will discuss recent changes to FOIA and the promise of technology (from both inside and outside of government) to improve transparency. Be sure to check out the updated agenda on the OGIS website.

We hope to see you at this important celebration of Open Government.

La seguridad de la información requisito indispensable

Buenas prácticas en Seguridad de la Información con la ISO 27001 22/02/2016

La seguridad de la información está siendo un requisito cada vez más importante en el entorno profesional. La legislación europea está siendo implacable con las organizaciones y los profesionales que desprotegen la información sensible, debido a las malas prácticas.

Los proyectos de informatización de los entornos empresariales, junto a la infraestructura TI, también deben incluir un sistema que permita conservar y mantener los datos y los documentos que los contienen durante, al menos, su período de vigencia legal. En la práctica se aplicará las mismas medidas de seguridad independientemente de la índole de los datos de los documentos, pudiéndose considerar la protección de datos un subconjunto dentro de la estrategia de seguridad de la información.

El cumplimiento con las disposiciones legales por parte de los sistemas de información, los procesos empresariales y los proyectos de consultoría, suele ser suficiente para un país determinado. Ya hemos visto que el Reglamento de la LOPD en España hace una definición precisa de los niveles de seguridad y resulta bastante concreto en cuanto a las medidas de seguridad para ficheros físicos y electrónicos. No obstante, aunque estas medidas coincidan con las necesidades de seguridad del entorno corporativo, se trata de una disposición legal y, como tal, no ha sido escrita con un enfoque de mejora de la gestión, sino para asegurar que se cumple la legalidad vigente. En última instancia, son los intereses de las personas físicas cuyos datos aparecen en esos documentos, y no los intereses empresariales, su principal propósito.

Por ello, las empresas necesitan valerse de una solución sistemática con la que puedan asegurar su información con un enfoque basado en la gestión, que al mismo tiempo cumpla con las exigencias jurídicas. El cumplimiento con las leyes relativas a seguridad es un paso importante, pero no garantiza la cobertura internacional de los proyectos y la importación / exportación de las soluciones de consultoría. En cambio, la norma ISO 27001 estandariza de forma universal los criterios jurídicos y permite evitar las amenazas mediante un enfoque basado en la gestión de riesgos. En la mayoría de los casos evitará tener que realizar adaptaciones a las exigencias legales en cada nuevo mercado en los que los productos, servicios y procesos se comercialicen o se pongan en práctica. No obstante, en aquellos casos en los que los sistemas de información y los procesos cumplan con las exigencias legales de la normativa de protección de datos, partirán de una posición más ventajosa respecto a aquellos casos en los que se parta desde cero.

La norma se centra en garantizar la confidencialidad, la integridad, la disponibilidad y la autenticidad de la información para intentar evitar que cualquier incidencia de tipo físico o lógico pueda comprometer los niveles de competitividad, de rentabilidad, de conformidad legal y de imagen empresarial, necesarios para lograr los objetivos de la organización y asegurar la continuidad del negocio. Realiza una evaluación de riesgos inicial con la que define los aspectos que necesitan mejorarse y plantea medidas para evitar catástrofes irreversibles (como incendios, inundaciones, etc.), el robo de los documentos y la pérdida negligente de información. Otorga una capa de seguridad a los entornos de gestión documental con las siguientes medidas de control:

Identificación de los cambios y revisiones de los documentos.
Acceso legible a las últimas versiones de los documentos.
Identificación correcta de los documentos internos y externos.
Disponibilidad de los documentos para aquellos que los precisen en su ejercicio laboral.
Control de la distribución de los documentos.
Prevenir el uso indebido de documentos obsoletos en procesos de negocio actuales y asegurar la disponibilidad de su consulta en cualquier caso.

Constituye un modelo flexible que se adapta a cualquier tipo y tamaño de organización y permite obtener el reconocimiento adicional por parte de una entidad de certificación independiente, lo cual demuestra públicamente el compromiso de la organización con la protección de la seguridad y es una garantía que otorga confianza al cliente, respecto a otras empresas que no la tengan en cuenta.

En algunos casos, la ISO 27001 cumple el papel de formalizar por escrito las pautas adecuadas para que la organización pueda utilizar de forma segura los elementos de hardware y software que integran su sistema de información. Al ser un sistema de gestión, en la línea de la ISO 9001 relativa la calidad, permite la elaboración de políticas, procedimientos y manuales técnicos en relación con los aspectos de la gestión por procesos, los recursos humanos, la protección jurídica, la protección física y la gestión de la continuidad del negocio, relacionados con la seguridad de la información.

Conviene que la implantación la lleven a cabo especialistas, que utilizarán metodología de gestión de proyectos y llevarán a cabo un complejo trabajo documental para la realización de auditorías, definición de políticas de actuación, realización de evaluaciones e implementación de procedimientos. Su contratación suele ser externa al no contar las organizaciones con background especializado entre su personal interno, sobre todo en los casos en los que las empresas no se dedican al ámbito tecnológico, y al generar un gran volumen de información, difícil de abarcar sin la tecnología y los conocimientos adecuados. La externalización del servicio se vuelve la alternativa más apropiada:Por la experiencia del personal contratado.Por las instalaciones especialmente ideadas para la seguridad que posee la empresa.
Para que un tercero se encargue de garantizar la tediosa tarea del cumplimiento legal a lo largo del tiempo.
Por disponer de hardware y software específico, necesario para este tipo de gestión de información.
Por aportar valor al cliente, abaratando sus costes y ahorrando su tiempo de gestión.

En cualquier caso, tendrá que contarse con el apoyo de la dirección de la empresa y del conjunto de los empleados, para que el tratamiento, conservación y destrucción de la información empresarial se realice de forma sistemática y transparente a lo largo de su ciclo de vida. El personal involucrado debe ser capaz de trabajar con continuidad en el proyecto.

Conviene apoyarse en estándares, métodos y guías ya establecidos, así como comparar el sistema actual de Gestión de la Seguridad de la Información con los requisitos de la norma ISO/IEC 27001. Se ha de pedir opinión a los clientes y proveedores actuales sobre él mismo y comparar nuestra experiencia con las de otras organizaciones. También servirá la consideración de la estructura de trabajo de otros sistemas de gestión implantados en la empresa, con los cuales tendrá puntos de contacto, como el de calidad o el de gestión de documentos. Habrá que revisarlo con regularidad para detectar fallos e implementar mejoras y actualizaciones.

Normadat, empresa empresa especializada en gestión archivística y destrucción documental, incluye en sus proyectos documentales medidas de seguridad reguladas por la ley, además de medidas propias que incorpora como valor añadido. Los documentos legales pertinentes quedan firmados al comienzo de la relación contractual, entre los que se encuentran los acuerdos deconfidencialidad y secreto profesional, a los que está suscrito el personal que trabaja en cada proyecto.

La empresa entiende la Gestión Segura de Información como un conjunto de servicios, integrado por la clasificación, la accesibilidad, la digitalización, la indexación, la realización de copias de seguridad, e incluso, la destrucción certificada de la información, según los criterios de la norma UNE-EN 15713.

Cuenta con certificación en Seguridad de la Información ISO 27001 y nos propone la siguiente infografía sobre gestión segura de la información:

Autor: Adrian Macias

Why I Read

Having recently seen The Lady in the Van (three times!) I was reminded of how much I have enjoyed the work of Alan Bennett over the years—which led me to his Untold Stories, published in 2005.  In a section on “Art, Architecture and Authors” he writes:

“Sometimes when one’s reading a book, a novel say, you come across a thought or a feeling, which you’ve had yourself, and, thinking it peculiar to yourself, you haven’t expressed or communicated it…and now here it is set down by someone else.  And it’s as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”

Original Caption: The Librarian Carefully Enters the Consignment Into Her Books, 12/1952. Records of the U.S. Information Agency. National Archives Identifier 23932351

Original Caption: The Librarian Carefully Enters the Consignment Into Her Books, 12/1952. Records of the U.S. Information Agency. National Archives Identifier 23932351

Doesn’t happen to me often, but often enough for Bennett’s words to strike home.  I will sometimes be struck by a thought or use of language that makes me pause, reread, sometimes record, and always savor the moment.  What I’m Reading.

Archivo en el Parlamento de las leyes en pergamino ¿será eliminado?

¿Las leyes británicas? En pergamino, por favor 20/02/2016

La Cámara de los Lores británica decidió hace unos días poner fin a una tradición que se remonta a finales del siglo XIV: el archivo en el Parlamento de las leyes en vitela. La principal razón era ahorrar 116.000 euros anuales, que es lo que cuesta mantener esta costumbre, sobre todo por la «altamente especializada forma de impresión». Sin embargo, la Oficina del Gabinete, departamento del Gobierno que apoya al primer ministro, se ha ofrecido a correr con los gastos para que la memoria legislativa del país siga guardándose en pergamino hecho a partir de piel de ternera y cabra. ¿Un caro capricho de un país amante de sus tradiciones? Sí, pero no sólo eso.

Una integrante del equipo de la película ‘Las sufragistas’, en los archivos del Parlamento británico. /
 Parlamento británico/Jessica Taylor

La memoria es frágil. Los aparentemente inmejorables soportes digitales están en constante cambio y nada garantiza que las fotos y textos de hoy vayan a poder consultarse mañana. Acuérdese de los discos láser o de formatos informáticos para documentos de hace 20 años. «No tenemos la habilidad y decir que en 200 años todavía tendremos disponible ese material. No podemos demostrarlo sin la máquina del tiempo», ha dicho a la BBC Jenny Mitcham, archivera de la Universidad de York, respecto a la fiabiliad futura de los soportes digitales. Y el papel tiene una vida limitada y enemigos en la temperatura, la humedad, los hongos…

Teniendo en cuenta todo eso, la alternativa de los Lores al pergamino era guardar dos copias de cada ley -una en el archivo del Parlamento y otra en los Archivos Nationales- en papel de alta calidad, lo que garantizaría varios siglos de vida al soporte. El más antiguo de los documentos en papel de la Cámara de los Lores data del siglo XVI. Es sólo unas décadas más joven que la más antigua ley parlamentaria en vitela, que se remonta a 1497. Más antigua es todavía, también en pergamino, la ‘Carta magna de las libertades’, que Juan I firmó en 1215. Este documento limita el poder del rey y establece, por primera vez, que todos los ciudadanos están sujetos a la ley.

«Guardar nuestras leyes en vitela es una tradición milenaria y, sorprendentemente, efectiva por su coste. Mientras el mundo a nuestro alrededor cambia constantemente, debemos salvaguardar algunas de nuestras grandes tradiciones y no permitir que la vitela deje de usarse», ha dicho Matthew Hancock, ministro de la Oficina del Gabinete, a ‘The Daily Telegraph’. Los archivos del Parlamento británico de papel, fotografía y pergamino ocupan 8 kilómetros de estanterías en la Torre Victoria, en el Palacio de Westminster.


Mucho más sobre PDF

Sáquele el jugo a los archivos PDF 20/02/2016

Aunque en el 2008 el mundo conoció de los PDF, ya desde 1991 se venían desarrollando de manera reducida.

Los PDF son sin duda el formato de mayor preferencia a la hora de pensar en guardar un documento. Desde una carta hasta un libro, por poner algunos ejemplos.

Este archivo fue desarrollado por la empresa Adobe Systems y abierto al público desde 2008, ofreciendo la posibilidad de abrir los archivos en sistemas operativos Linux, Mac, Unix o Windows.

Actualmente se encuentran múltiples herramientas que brindan una mejor gestión de estos documentos. El País hizo una selección de cinco alternativas que usted debe conocer para sacarle el ‘jugo’ a los PDF.

– Google es una compañía que dentro de sus plataformas ofrece traductor en línea. Se pueden copiar y pegar frases en otro idioma y de inmediato tener su traducción, pero hay un detalle que pasa desapercibido: el buscador ofrece la opción de cargar un documento PDF para traducirlo en el idioma que el usuario requiera. Solo debe dar click, debajo del espacio blanco, donde dice ‘traduce un documento’. Cargue el archivo PDF donde dice ‘seleccionar archivo’, en una barra de color gris. Por último, seleccione el idioma original del documento y haga clic en “traducir”.

– Los documentos en formato PDF son buenos aliados para gestionar documentación en la casa o la oficina. Si usted quiere crear un PDF de la interfaz de una página web en Windows, solo debe digitar en el teclado CTRL + P. Después de esto, aparece una ventana para imprimir el documento, donde usted debe dar clic en el botón ‘cambiar’, luego seleccione la opción ‘guardar como PDF’. Como último paso debe pinchar en el botón guardar: usted ha creado un documento PDF. Para Mac, los pasos son los mismos, solo debe presionar la combinación CMD + P en el teclado.

– Los PDF en ocasiones son de muchas páginas o están encriptados (con una clave para poder abrirlos), esto puede convertir el documento en un archivo pesado y a la hora de almacenarlo en un dispositivo móvil, USB o un computador, puede que no sea posible hacerlo. No se preocupe, en internet puede comprimirlo ingresando a la En este sitio, usted debe elegir la opción ‘comprimir PDF’, donde debe cargar el documento. Espere unos segundos y estará comprimido.

– Si está fuera de casa y necesita crear un PDF, la ‘suite’ de Office está disponible de manera gratuita en internet. Ingrese a y seleccione el icono de Word. Después, haga click sobre la opción ‘nuevo documento en blanco’. Una vez ha terminado de escribir o pegar el texto que necesite, vaya al botón ‘archivo’ y luego haga click en ‘guardar como’, allí verá la opción para descargar el documento en formato PDF. Por último, haga click en la opción que le avisa que puede descargarlo.

– ¿El PDF que quiere abrir tiene muchas páginas y usted solo necesita unas cuantas? Existe en internet un sitio web para que cargue el PDF y seleccione el número de páginas que necesita del documento. Debe ingresar a Lo primero que debe hacer es subir el documento. Una vez está cargado el archivo, debe seleccionar con clic izquierdo las páginas que necesita y después dar clic en la opción ‘dividir PDF’. Después de esto, debe aparecer un mensaje diciéndole que se han extraído las páginas y puede bajar su nuevo PDF.

Cali | Colprensa

La CIA cree en los OVNIS

La CIA sube a la Web sus propios ‘X-Files’ sobre OVNIS 20/02/2016

Justo en momentos en que la nueva versión de los X-Filesencuentra una generación más dispuesta a creer en los OVNIS, la Agencia Central de Inteligencia de EE.UU. (CIA por sus siglas en inglés) ha decidido creer en la existencia de extraterrestres, dándole al mundo entero la posibilidad de echar un vistazo a sus propias investigaciones al respecto en los años 40 y 50.

De acuerdo, estos archivos sobre OVNIS ya habían sido dados a conocer al público en 1978, a través de una petición especial bajo la ley conocida como Freedom of Information Act, pero esta ocasión marca la primera vez en que la CIA los ha puesto todos convenientemente en la Web, específicamente en su sitio Web.

“Échale un vistazo a nuestros ‘X-Files,'” dice la CIA en el sitio. “Hemos decidido resaltar algunos cuantos archivos que tanto creyentes como escépticos encontrarán interesantes. Encuentra los documentos que pensamos le encantarían al agente Fox Mulder de los X-Files para persuadir a otros sobre la existencia de actividad extraterrestre. Asimismo, tenemos documentos que su escéptica socia, la agente Dana Scully, podría usar para probar que sí hay una explicación científica detrás de los OVNIS”.

La CIA publicó archivos de platillos voladores vistos en 1952 sobrevolando Alemania del Este, España, El Norte de África y las minas de uranio delCongo Belga.

Los enlaces a reportes de platillos voladores de 1952 y las minutas sobre las reuniones del jefe de la CIA encargado sobre OVNIS de agosto de 1952 también están disponibles.

Además de los reportes de la CIA sobre OVNIS, la organización también ofrece una biblioteca completa donde se pueden buscar investigaciones desclasificadas de los años 1940 y 1950. Por desgracia, nada más reciente está disponible en línea para nuestra lectura.

Si piensas que has visto un OVNI o evidencia de vida extraterrestre aquí en la Tierra, la CIA también tiene un artículo útil sobre cómo investigar un platillo volador.

Algunos de los consejos incluyen el establecimiento de un grupo para investigar y evaluar avistamientos; consultar a expertos; crear un sistema de información para organizar casos entrantes; eliminar los falsos positivos; desarrollar una metodología común para identificar aeronaves y otros fenómenos aéreos que a menudo son confundidos con OVNIS; recopilar y poner a prueba la evidencia física y forense; desalentar la presentación de informes falsos y más.

La CIA también sugiere la determinación de objetivos de tu investigación, por ejemplo si los avistamientos de OVNIS representan una amenaza para la seguridad de EE.UU. o si los OVNIS exhiben algún avance tecnológico que pudiera canalizarse en investigación y desarrollo.

porBonnie Burton

"No se ahorra papel. En una demanda llegan archivos con cientos de folios que tenemos que imprimir aquí"

Lexnet tramitó más de 32.300 comunicaciones el primer mes 20/02/2016

La Xunta mantiene que es un para la implantación del expediente electrónico y lograr el “papel cero”

Los juzgados ourensanos tramitaron 32.312 comunicaciones telemáticas durante el mes de enero a través de Lexnet, una plataforma de intercambio seguro de información entre los agentes del ámbito judicial. Esta “intranet” permite que se realicen notificaciones a través de las nuevas tecnologías, además de la presentación de escritos o demandas utilizando la firma digital. La cifra es valorada “muy positivamente” por la Consellería de Presidencia, Administracións Públicas e Xustiza debido al “importante ahorro en impresión y la agilización evidente en la tramitación procesal”.

El mismo sentir no se palpa en el nuevo edificio judicial, donde las críticas a Lexnet son imparables. “No se ahorra papel. En una demanda llegan archivos con cientos de folios que tenemos que imprimir aquí”, explicó la jueza titular del Juzgado de Primera Instancia 4 de Ourense, con competencia en materia mercantil, Eva Martínez Gallego. Y así se extiende a la gran parte de los despachos y oficinas.

Precisamente, es esto lo que trae de cabeza a la Xunta. La obligación legal “es la de comunicarse pro medios telemáticos entre profesionales de Justicia y órganos judiciales”, defendieron. En esta línea, la Consellería explicó que Lexnet “es solo una de los pilares para la implantación del expediente electrónico”, que vendrá acompañado por la implantación del visor en formato electrónico del expediente judicial, un sistema de gestión de archivos físicos y piezas de convicción y la sede electrónica judicial, todo ello en fase de prueba actualmente.
De hecho, desde la administración autonómica en que el lema “papel cero” responde a un cronograma “progresivo” y que desde la puesta en marcha de Lexnet en Galicia en 2010 -Ourense fue la última provincia gallega en implantar la aplicación, en julio de 2012- se registraron más de 10 millones de notificaciones telemáticas, de los que 391.540 se realizaron en la provincia el año pasado.

La Ley 42/2015, de 5 de octubre, de reforma de la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil, hizo extensivo y obligatorio el uso de Lexnet a los profesionales de las jurisdicciones civil, contencioso-administrativo y social para procedimientos inicados a partir del 1 de enero -la penal todavía no se ha incorporado-. Desde entonces, los órganos judiciales ourensanos recibieron 9.391 escritos de trámite e iniciadores.

Buena idea mal planteada

Sea como sea, no hay alternativa. La letrada de la Administración de Justicia Paula Andrea Arango reconoció que Lexnet sería “un gran avance si funcionase bien”. Y es que las críticas a la operatividad del sistema son infinitas. “Nos faltan medios para poder presumir de la supuesta idoneidad”, afirmó, haciendo referencia a que “necesitamos ordenadores más potentes y, sobre todo, mayor capacidad para adjuntar documentos”. La aplicación permite solamente la subida de archivos de un máximo de 10 megas, “que en los juzgados de mercantil son muy escasos”, añadió.
Son los funcionarios los más aquejados. “Todos los días perdemos más de media hora en imprimir las comunicaciones que llegan de los profesionales”, apuntó María Jesús González. “El gasto es enorme, tanto en papel, como en tinta para las impresoras y en tiempo”, añadió su compañera Sandra Rodríguez.

Lentitud y caída del sistema

Procuradores y abogados de Ourense se suman también a las críticas. Desde el Colegio de Abogados, su secretario técnico, Alejandro Pérez, hizo referencia a las principales deficiencias de Lexnet. Destacó las “continuas caídas del sistema y el lento restablecimiento del funcionamiento, llegando a retrasar el trabajo de los letrados hasta 45 minutos”. Según Pérez, también son frecuentes los fallos de identificación, incompatibilidad con el software anterior y errores en la descarga de los documentos. Por todo ello, consideran que Lexnet “no tiene sentido”. El parecer no es distinto para los procuradores, quienes también critican la limitación en el peso del material adjunto y la “perdida de tiempo que supone una aplicación que debería agilizar todos estos trámites”, apunta su decano, Ricardo Garrido.

Son muchos los soportes que se hacen eco de la situación. En las redes sociales es clamorosa la protesta espontánea contra este sistema, lo que pone de manifiesto el rechazo generalizado de los operadores jurídicos.

8. Tag der Archive

Am 5. und 6. März 2016 findet der inzwischen 8. Tag der Archive statt. Die bundesweite Veranstaltung unter Federführung des Verbandes deutscher Archivarinnen und Archivare (VdA) will einen Rahmen bieten, um in der breiten Öffentlichkeit auf die Bedeutung archivischer Arbeit hinzuweisen. Sie wird wie in den Vorjahren unter einem (nicht verpflichtenden) Motto stehen. 2016 lautet es: “Mobilität im Wandel”.

The Semi-roast of Frank Lloyd Wright

Even in his eighties Frank Lloyd Wright had a wicked sense of humor. In 1953 the infamous architect was awarded a Gold Medal in Architecture at the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Another giant of architecture, Ralph Walker, presents the award and his speech begins like a bit of a roast. “Certainly you are neither a shy cowslip to be gathered casually on a lower pasture in Wisconsin, nor have you been a recluse cloistered in a garden high on Taliesin. On the contrary you have built not one but many Amazonian mousetraps and the world has beaten their well-worn and widening path in merited appreciation.”

The emboldened Wright does not hesitate to fire back, “Ladies and Gentleman I had no idea how outrageously inadequate this introduction by Mr. Ralph Walker would be.” He goes on to describe the feeling of winning awards, “I think it casts a shadow on my native arrogance and for a moment I feel coming on this disease, which is recommended so highly, of humility.” Despite all this good natured ribbing, Walker presents the award with glowing admiration and Wright accepts with all the modesty he can possibly muster.

Ralph Walker is credited with designing New York City’s first sky scraper, The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (now known as the Verizon Building) on 140 West Street, as well as many other art deco masterpieces. The awards were hosted by poet, writer and librarian Archibald MacLeish who you hear at the beginning and end of the recording.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150189
Municipal archives id: LT3423


Hear more recordings with Frank Lloyd Wright in the Archives