Sunday, June 30, 2013

Paula Poundstone at that Laugh's on Us at #ala2013

I'm getting to be a regular at this event

Selena Coppock, New Rules for Blondes, at Laugh's on Us, #ala2013

Paul Rudnick with his first YA book, Gorgeous at #sla2013 Laugh's on Us

Ross Matthews, Man Up!, at Laugh's on Us, at #ala2013

Nicole Knepper, Moms Who Drink and Swear, at Laugh's On Us #ala2013

Martin R. Kalfatovic | | @udcmrk

Jumbo Chicago char dog from Gold Coast Dogs

BHL button at the DPLA Meet up ALA Chicago

Meetin' & greetin' with @DPLA

At ALA...

"Let me hear ya everybody!" good morning Chicago from Harry Caray

Some find the drum shaped bat disturbing...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Let them eat chaos @ Second City

At #ala2013 "You are what you is and you is what you are" (Frank Zappa)

And there is a ribbon for every one to prove it!!

Seangill Peter Gill on Share ILL at the IRRT per conference at @ala2013

Sent from my IBM Selectric
Overview of the ILL innovations at Columbia University Library.

Anton DuPlessis of Texas A&M on Los primeros Libriarian: digital collaboration to facilitate new world patrimony #ala2013

Fascinating project that is bringing early New World texts (in multiple copies to bring unique copies together) together digitally.

Helps partners with digital technology, facilitated conservation, and fostered collaboration.

Uses low entry barriers to scanning by helping partners get appropriate technology.

Fosters repatriation of cultural patrimony via digital surrogates.

Available at

Valerie Hill of Texas Women's University on 3D virtual museum and library exhibits #ala2013

Sent from my IBM Selectric

Part of the IRRT Preconference

@BioDivLibrary presentation by @UDCMRK & @SILibraries 's Nancy Gwinn at #ALA2013

Here's our presentation, done with Nancy Gwinn, at the 2013 ALA Annual meeting in Chicago. The Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic & Nancy E. Gwinn. International Relations Round Table, American Library Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL, 28 June 2013.


Good morning Chicago, looking sunny over the Marina City towers

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wrigley Building at night

Marián Hossa & the Stanley Cup getting into a pickup truck in Chicago ...

2013.06.27-IMG_4401Sorry, no punchline to that ... unless it was that the Chick-fil-A cow was there too and nearly knocked a woman down trying to get a better view. But, to go back to the beginning ...

I was walking down a street in Chicago today and saw a crowd of people, wandering over, was told that the  Stanley Cup was in the Bentley showroom and was about to be taken out to a pickup truck and driven somewhere.

2013.06.27-IMG_4406 Never having seen the Stanley Cup in person, I hung around a bit and then out it came carried by a group of people including, so I was told, Chicago Blackhawk Marián Hossa.

The Cup was loaded into a footlocker in the back of the truck (to impassioned shouts of "Raise the Cup for Chicago!") and then off it went ...

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Lego Chicago

These are both made of Legos

United 220: DCA to ORD

Gate 16

Being TSA Pre detracts from my international bad boy image

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hazy, hot and humid up on the roof of Capital Gallery

A view around from the rooftop of Capital Gallery before an interesting meeting about the Smithsonian Text Transcription Center project with our Presidential Innovation Fellows.

QotD: "Ich bin ein Berliner" | "I am a Berliner" by John Fr. Kennedy

2012.06.05-IMG_2872Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's famous speech at the (now gone) Berlin Wall where he memorably stated, "Ich bin ein Berliner".

As a Freshman in collage, I had a witty friend who noted that a "Berliner" was also a sort of German pastry, so one could also say that JFK proclaimed that "I am a doughnut".

But of course he didn't ... the fuller quote is:
Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner!"... All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"
In 1987 (June 12), Ronald Reagan famously proclaimed in Berlin: "Tear down this wall!":
We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
2012.06.04-IMG_2719A visit to Berlin today (for instance my own in June 2012) is incomplete without seeing remnants of the Wall in various parts of the city. There are also bits of the Wall available for sale (one is assuming, of course, they're authentic!) in various touristic versions (in baggies, in snow globes, on magnets, etc.).

The Wall, as a symbol, still resonates with those of us of a certain generation, but I wonder how long that will last and when will The Wall be even more so, just another touristic attraction?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

QotD: "I saw it written and I saw it say / Pink moon is on it's way" -- or is it super moon?

I saw it written and I saw it say
Pink moon is on it's way

And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon
Hey, it's a pink moon
It's a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon.
It's a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon.

- Nick Drake, "Pink Moon"

"In Morocco" with Edith Wharton

Waiting for the train, Casablanca
Wasn't certain what book to read while in Morocco. The Sheltering Sky (by Paul Bowles, 1949) was an obvious choice, but since I wasn't going near Tangier, it seemed less relevant. Some others in my group were reading The Caliph's House (by Tahir Shah, 2006) which sounded good, so I'll have to read that.

My choice, however, was In Morocco, by Edith Wharton. A mix of travelogue, apology for the French protectorate, and history book, it was amusing and interestingly enough, it remained very accurate in many of the descriptions of locals.

Arriving via a very comfortable Air France flight from Washington (via Paris), I didn't experience the troubles of the crossing from Spain or the other inconveniences Wharton had on her trip, just after WW I:
There is infinite sadness in this scene under the fading sky, beside the cold welter of the Atlantic. One seems to be not in Africa itself, but in the Africa that northern crusaders may have dreamed of in snow-bound castles by colder shores of the same ocean. This is what Moghreb must have looked like to the confused imagination of the Middle Ages, to Norman knights burning to ransom the Holy Places, or Hansa merchants devising, in steep-roofed towns, of Barbary and the long caravans bringing apes and gold-powder ... (Wharton, In Morocco)
Here are a few relevant passages from the book, with pictures of the places as they are now:

Many-walled Fez rose up before us out of the plain toward the end of the day. The walls and towers we saw were those of the upper town, Fez Eldjid (the New), which lies on the edge of the plateau and hides from view Old Fez tumbling down below it into the ravine of the Oued Fez. Thus approached, the city presents to view only a long line of ramparts and fortresses, merging into the wide, tawny plain and framed in barren mountains.
At first the eye takes in only this impression of a great city over a green abyss, then the complex scene begins to define itself. All around are the outer lines of ramparts, walls beyond walls, their crenellations climbing the heights, their angle fortresses dominating the precipices. Almost on a level with us lies the upper city, the aristocratic Fez Eldjid of painted palaces and gardens, then, as the houses close in and descend more abruptly, terraces, minarets, domes, and long reed-thatched roofs of the bazaars, all gather around the green-tiled tomb of Moulay Idriss and the tower of the Almohad mosque of El Kairouiyin, which adjoin each other in the depths of Fez.
Fez is sombre, and the bazaars clustered about its holiest sanctuaries form its most sombre quarter. Dusk falls there early, and oil-lanterns twinkle in the merchants' niches while the clear African daylight still lies on the gardens of upper Fez.

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Volubilis (called by the Arabs the Castle of the Pharaohs) is the only considerable Roman colony so far discovered in Morocco. It stands on the extreme ledge of a high plateau backed by the mountains of the Zerhoun. Below the plateau, the land drops down precipitately to a narrow river-valley green with orchards and gardens, and in the neck of the valley, where the hills meet again, the conical white town of Moulay Idriss, the Sacred City of Morocco ...
Little remains to Volubilis in the way of important monuments: only the fragments of a basilica, part of an arch of triumph erected in honour of Caracalla, and the fallen columns and architraves which strew the path of Rome across the world. But its site is magnificent; and as the excavation of the ruins was interrupted by the war it is possible that subsequent search may bring forth other treasures...
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The European town of Rabat, a rapidly developing community, lies almost wholly outside the walls of the old Arab city. The latter, founded in the twelfth century by the great Almohad conqueror of Spain, Yacoub-el-Mansour ...
The "Tower of Hassan," as the Sultan's tower is called, rises from the plateau above old Rabat, overlooking the steep cliff that drops down to the last winding of the Bou-Regreg. Truncated at half its height, it stands on the edge of the cliff, a far-off beacon to travellers by land and sea. It is one of the world's great monuments, so sufficient in strength and majesty that until one has seen its fellow, the Koutoubya of Marrakech ...

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Friday, June 21, 2013

More new adventures in academic housing, from Ifrane (Morocco) to Front Royal (Virginia)

2013.05.29 Ifrane Dorm room
Al Akhawayn University
I, it seems, travel more than the average bear (or librarian) and have had the luxury of spending time in some very nice places. I've also had the even more fun of spending nights in quirky hostels (The Nunnery, Melbourne), B&B's (Irving House in Cambridge, MA and the late lamented Edward II in San Francisco). But some of the best places have been academic housing where one can relive those carefree undergrad days (but without the negatives of all night next door keg parties).

In the past few weeks I've had two curiously congruent stays in academic housing, one in Ifrane, Morocco and the other in Front Royal, Virginia at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

In Morocco, I was a guest at the Al Akhawayn University. Attending the ICADLA conference at the end of May 2013, I had the pleasure of academic housing for a couple of days. Situated in the Atlas Mountains, the campus was a lovely "Swiss" village. The dorms rooms themselves were in a complex of small buildings, 2-3 stories tall (no elevators!). The rooms were very nice and functional and had desks with what seems to be the current trend in academic housing of wooden chairs with rockers. The single beds were comfy and all was nice and clean (plus a bonus super fast wired Internet connection!).

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After being home for a week or two, the Advisory Board of Smithsonian Libraries was holding a retreat at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Front Royal, Virginia. The SCBI is an animal breeding center and hosts a joint program with George Mason University in Conservation Biology. Rooms were functional and had the obligatory (it seems) rocker desk chairs; there were single beds that could convert to bunk beds (!). Only finished in late 2012, the rooms still had that fresh dorm smell!

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For past academic housing adventures see:

Digital & Discovery @ Smithsonian Libraries 2013, presentation for Smithsonian Libraries' Advisory Board

Done in beautiful Front Royal, Virginia at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.