Harry Houdini (1874-1926), master magician and escape artist, wrote in A Magician Among the Sprits, (1924) that he had "accumulated one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." In 1927, through Houdini's bequest, the Library received 3,988 volumes from his collection. While strongest in nineteenth and twentieth century publications on spiritualism- Houdini doubted "if any one in the world has so complete a library on modern Spiritualism: - the Houdini Collection contains a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Leonard N. Beck. discusses significant items in "Things Magical in the Collections of the Rare Book Division," QJLC, v. 31, October 1974, p. 208-234. Also in the collection are prints, playbills, printed ephemera, periodicals, and many volumes of pamphlets on such topics as card tricks, mediums, hypnotism, handcuff escape methods, and chalk-talking. Of special note are over one hundred unannotated scrapbooks containing theatre notices and news clippings on subjects of personal interest. Houdini's theatrical collection was sold after his death to Messmore Kendall and later donated to the University of Texas.
In HI12 I mentioned Ben Shneiderman’s talk on automation and agency, and he kindly sent me the full draft of the article he is writing on this topic. New to me was the Sheridan-Verplank Scale of Autonomy, which, come on, sounds like something straight out of Blade Runner:
Charles Chaplin’s very own and painstakingly preserved professional and personal archives: photographs, screenplays, letters and much more. Search our Archive, Browse our Stories or learn About us.
I very rarely share online if something isn’t going well in my life. I’ve always treated my social media the same way most of us do: we only share the good bits. I thought I was doing that but nowadays, I look back at some photos of what looks like an excellent time of my life but now I know ver...
As I think about it, some personal-related posts could potentially be marked to auto-expire (unpost themselves) at some future date and be auto-archived to one’s back end so that they’re no longer public, but so that they exist if one wants to look at them personally, but also so that they’re also hidden from the site owner and need to be actively searched for. As an example, I can imagine something along the lines of a “dating” tag so that when one creates an “engaged” or “married” post that all the old dating history disappears? There is some existing artwork and thought about this on the IndieWeb wiki that I came across a week or so ago in relation to Last.fm’s expiring content, but more work and motivation could be added.
Incidentally, like many, I’ve begun reading her regularly and she’s not only quite the writer, but she’s got a pretty little site as well. I highly recommend folks give her a look and subscribe.
Maybe during this Christmas break I will find the guts to do a purge but I know that it will be a “fake purge”. ❧
December 19, 2018 at 02:57PM
We regret to inform you that due to a funding shortage, the FMA will be closing down later this month. The future of the archive is uncertain, but we have done everything we can to ensure that our files will not disappear from the web forever. The full audio collection will be backed up and available at https://archive.org/details/freemusicarchive (some of the collection is already there; feel free to go browse).
So as I mentioned earlier today, I've added a database that keeps a searchable cache of my posts in my website so I don't have to open hundreds of files in order to build the various pages of my website. It's allowed me to move almost all of my pages off of Jekyll and later this month I'll be removing Jekyll from even being on my server. The database as made a lot of things easier, one is that it is now quick and easy for me to create feeds of posts. Right now I have two types of feeds, tag feeds and channel feeds. Tag feeds show all the posts I have created with a given tag. Channels Channel feeds are a bit different, I have two types of Channels: static and dynamic. A static channel isn't too much different than a tag, when I create a post I either manually add the channel to the post or I have a preset rule inside my server that attached the channel to the post. The key to a static channel is that it just shows all the posts that have been assigned to it. The dynamic channels are really where its at. Dynamic channels allow me to provide an id (which becomes the url that you use to access it), a name (which displays at the top), a layout (currently I have 3 types of layouts: Cards, Gallery and Archives) and finally a "query". The query is where the magic is, this is essentially a set of properties that will be passed into the database query. That means I can dynamically, without writing any code (just a config file) create a new page providing it's url, name, layout and some requirements around what type of information I want to display. Articles Archives One thing my new channels has allowed me to do is to create the Archives layout and set up a query that fetches all the articles I've written and display them in a list. It was super easy to set this up because of the way my database cache is working and the way I've configured my channels. I group them by year, then by month and display each article on it's own line. I really like how it turned out. I was heavily influenced by Manu Moreale and the article archive they display on their site. I imagine mine will grow more into it's own design and style over time but everything starts somewhere and I like starting mine based on Manu's work (Thanks for the inspiration!). You can check it out over here, or below is an example of the articles archive as of today The other nice thing is that because my website already supports Dark Mode, on macOS Mojave with Dark Mode turned on, all the colors will automatically invert on this page with no extra work!
Wayback Machine Director Mark Graham outlines the scale of everyone's favorite archive.
I’ve recently outlined how ideas like a Domain of One’s Own and IndieWeb philosophies could be used to allow researchers and academics to practice academic samizdat on the open web to own and maintain their own open academic research and writing. A part of this process is the need to have useful and worthwhile back up and archiving ability as one thing we have come to know in the history of the web is that link rot is not our friend.
Toward that end, for those in the space I’ll point out some useful resources including the IndieWeb wiki pages for archival copies. Please contribute to it if you can. Another brilliant resource is the annual Dodging the Memory Hole conference which is run by the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
While Dodging the Memory Hole is geared toward saving online news in particular, many of the conversations are nearly identical to those in the broader archival space and also involve larger institutional resources and constituencies like the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress, and university libraries as well. The conference is typically in the fall of each year and is usually announced in August/September sometime, so keep an eye out for its announcement. In the erstwhile, they’ve recorded past sessions and have archive copies of much of their prior work in addition to creating a network of academics, technologists, and journalists around these ideas and related work. I’ve got a Twitter list of prior DtMH participants and stake-holders for those interested.
I’ll also note briefly, that as I self-publish on my own self-hosted domain, I use a simple plugin so that both my content and the content to which I link are being sent to the Internet Archive to create copies there. In addition to semi-regular back ups I make locally, this hopefully helps to mitigate potential future loss and link rot.
As a side note, major bonus points to Robin DeRosa (@actualham) for the use of the IndieWeb hashtag in her post!!
Dave Winer has a great post today on the closing of blogs.harvard.edu. These are sites run by Berkman, some dating back to 2003, which are being shut down. My galaxy brain goes towards the idea of …
I got an email in the middle of the night asking if I had seen an announcement from Berkman Center at Harvard that they will stop hosting blogs.harvard.edu. It's not clear what will happen to the archives. Let's have a discussion about this. That was the first academic blog hosting system anywhere. It was where we planned and reported on our Berkman Thursday meetups, and BloggerCon. It's where the first podcasts were hosted. When we tried to figure out what makes a weblog a weblog, that's where the result was posted. There's a lot of history there. I can understand turning off the creation of new posts, making the old blogs read-only, but as a university it seems to me that Harvard should have a strong interest in maintaining the archive, in case anyone in the future wants to study the role we played in starting up these (as it turns out) important human activities.