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This week in Washington, DC, the Library of Congress is gathering its "Digital Preservation Partners" for a three-day session -- one of a number of such meetings the library has been holding under a broad initiative called the "National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program." Its multi-year mission is "to develop a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations."
It's what Dan Gillmor of Salon calls a non-trivial task, for all kinds of technical, social and legal reasons. But it's about as important for our future as anything I can imagine. We are creating vast amounts of information, and a lot of it is not just worth preserving but downright essential to save. Gillmor's role this week, and at a workshop he joined last year, is to be thinking about the news.
Paul McCartney confessed he was "slightly nervous" in the leadup to Wednesday's big concert at the White House, where President Barack Obama was presenting McCartney with the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
An all-star cast lined up to perform at the East Room tribute concert, including the Jonas Brothers, Faith Hill, Stevie Wonder and Jerry Seinfeld. Also to appear: Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, White Stripes singer and guitarist Jack White and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. McCartney himself was to perform as well.
McCartney, 67, is the third recipient of the Gershwin prize, awarded by the Library of Congress. It is named for the songwriting brothers George and Ira Gershwin, whose collections are housed at the library. Previous recipients of the Gershwin award are Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon.
McCartney played a private concert at the library on Tuesday, and said he'd grown up listening to music by the Gershwin brothers. Librarian of Congress James Billington credited McCartney for "symbolizing and humanizing the global soundscape," with his music and his activism around the world.
Those not lucky enough to snag tickets to the East Room gig can catch the concert July 28th, when it's televised on PBS' "In Performance at the White House." AP story.
Ars Technica reports: The Library of Congress is archiving for posterity every public tweet made since the service went live back in 2006. Every. Single. Tweet.
The LOC announced the news, appropriately enough, on Twitter. Twitter isn't just about being pretentious and notifying the world about the contents of your lunch (though it's about those things too).
Matt Raymond, one the Library's official bloggers, notes that "important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, President Obama’s tweet about winning the 2008 election, and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter."
But even those billions of other tweets and retweets, the ones about how you just got back from the worlds' most epic jog or how you're sick at home with the crocodile flu or how your crappy Internet connection just went down again and you can't take it any more—those matter too.
Try the blog (it was down when I tried); the LOC says on Twitter:
" Sorry, LOC blog having some disruptions. Twitter acquisition story also on Facebook" about 1 hour ago via web.
The ACLU has sued the Library of Congress for firing a former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions.
Col. Morris Davis (now retired from the military) was fired for criticizing the system in which detainees at Guantanamo are tried while being employed by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, where he worked as an assistant director in the foreign affairs, defense and trade division.
The Library of Congress, which oversees CRS, said Davis had shown poor judgment and that his criticism “could do serious harm to the trust and confidence Congress reposes in CRS,” according to a letter sent to Davis in November by Daniel Mulhollan, the director of the CRS.
The LOC cited rules that require employees to explicitly disassociate themselves from the LOC when writing or speaking about controversial topics. The letter singled out criticism Davis expressed in two op-eds written in November; here's Davis's Wall Street Journal op-ed and his Washington Post letter to the Editor.
Story from The Hill.
Paul McCartney is to be awarded the Gershwin Prize For Popular Music in Washington in spring 2010.
The former Beatle will be the third musician – and the first non-American – to receive the prize, which is awarded by the US Library Of Congress. Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon were the previous recipients, with the former's award being presented to him by US President Barack Obama in February 2009.
Seattle PI: On October 23 the Library of Congress will unveil the The Young Readers Center. It will be the first area devoted exclusively to children in the library's 200+ year history.
The Center, which is housed in a renovated recording studio, will open with about 800 books. Most will be donated by publishers or culled from the library's duplicate and exchange department.
VOA News: The U.S. Library of Congress is well known for being the world's largest library. That is, in the traditional, paper format. Now, the library is on the way to hosting the largest digital collection in the world with more than 700 terabytes of data.
Right now, here and there all over the world, people are sitting down with a good book and enjoying a good read. Sprawled on the lawn, curled up on the sofa, sitting on the steps in the piazza — they’re communing with a great author, or a funny author, or an author who’s telling them how to cook or knit or fix something in their life that’s broke.
Saturday, more than 120,000 of them are projected to be on one lawn, in one city, at one time: on the National Mall at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. It’ll happen from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., rain or shine — free of charge. Authors will also sign books for their fans.
The Library of Congress will showcase its Library of Congress Experience and social-networking activities, including this blog, its Flickr page and its Facebook page. The whole thing will be on Twitter (@librarycongress, hashtag #nbf). Also, our website for the book festival is a great place to plan for this feast, complete with fresh podcasts from more than a dozen of this year’s authors. There’s a Young Readers’ Toolkit there, too. And the day of the book festival, webcasts of many of the author presentations will be available on the festival website.
No mention this year of the former First Lady.
An Internet radio company has filed a straight-on challenge to the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board, the three-member panel that determines the rates companies pay for statutory copyright licenses.
In a complaint filed yesterday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Live365, an Internet radio aggregator, argued that the royalty board violates the Constitution’s appointments clause, because its members are selected by the Librarian of Congress. The suit argues that because of their significant authority, these non-Article III judges are “Principal Officers of the United States” who must be selected by the president.
FYI, our current Librarian of Congress is James Billington, who was appointed by President Reagan (way back) in 1987.
There is currently speculation about the possiblity of a new LoC being appointed...see this story from Library Journal.
Interesting story with significant implications from Legal Times.
For the past year, Kay Ryan has been serving as America's 16th poet laureate, tapped by the librarian of Congress to be ambassador for American poetry. Profile, with poems written and spoken, from Voice of America.
The august marble-and-gilt halls of the Library of Congress, where Ryan has her official headquarters, seem an unlikely place for someone raised in what she calls the "glamour-free, ocean-free, hot, stinky, oil-rich, potato-rich" San Joaquin Valley of California. But then, growing up, Ryan didn't want to be poet.
"It [to declare oneself a poet] seemed like putting on airs," she says. "It seemed self-absorbed. It seemed like something that my oil well driller father wouldn't understand at all and that my mother would disapprove of, because it was just showing off."
Ryan nearly turned down the offer to become U.S. poet laureate. She says she wanted to protect her privacy and keep writing without being distracted by the job's many public duties.
"I think poetry is indestructible, and I don't worry about it, and I don't think it needs the protection of me or the advocacy of me or anyone."
Ryan likens poetry to gold coins: "You can lose it in the couch, or in the ground, or anywhere and when it's dug up its going to be valuable, so that real poetry utterly protects itself, [and] takes care of itself."