Tag Archives: Archive

Another one for the books

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We’re two days into 2015 and I’m still nailing down my resolutions. One thing I know for sure is this year I’m going to jump into projects I’ve been putting off because they’re hard or I haven’t felt ready. Expect to see more personal essays and stories on LM.

Before jumping into the year ahead, here’s a look back at some links from November and December to round out 2014.

The Sketchbook Project, an archive of over 30,000 artists’ books, resides at The Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg. The sketchbooks, filled with drawings, collages, notes to self and confessions to readers, have been digitized and cataloged and are now available to browse online. When you search the database of sketchbooks, you are essentially looking through images from the imaginations and dreams of artists around the world. My friend Shoko wrote a cool feature about the project on her blog.

This summer, when schools in Ferguson, MO closed amid protests and riots spurred by the police shooting of Michael Brown, the Ferguson public library stayed open, hosting classes to give people a place to go. Now with help from Twitter and writer Neil Gaiman, the library is getting financial support from around the country. What will they do with the money? Scott Bonner, the head librarian plans to purchase more “healing kits” for children. The kits can be borrowed and include books about dealing with traumatic events and a stuffed animal that children can keep. There’s even talk of the library hiring a second full time librarian.

With so many conflicts making headlines, this quote featured on The Paris Review caught my attention. “If every head of state and every government official spent an hour a day reading poetry we’d live in a much more humane and decent world…” The author? Mark Strand, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1999, who died in November. I had never read Mark Strand’s poetry before, but, after reading tributes to him, I instantly took to his work.

We were given a glimpse into authors and artists appraisal of their own work when Christie’s auctioned 75 annotated first editions this Fall. Beloved author and illustrator Eric Carle found fault with his popular work The Very Hungry Caterpillar writing, “I have often tried to recreate the soul full look of the moon — never succeeded!” The New York Times Magazine has all 75 works available to peruse.

I am envious of the second annual Jealousy List. At year’s end Bloomberg Businessweek compiles some of the stories they wish they had had the know-how to publish over the last 12 months. Topics include: venture philanthropy, offender-funded justice, and the unexpected mass appeal of “Serial.” Hey, there’s nothing wrong with lusting after a story.

2014, it’s been sometimes scary, a little disheartening, but fascinating and inspiring too. I am so grateful to friends for reading and I thank anyone who has stumbled upon and continued to read Library Manifesto this year!

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Images via The Sketchbook Project. From top: Stacie Spencer, Aimee Rudic, Maria M. Rodriguez

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Weaving an online textile archive

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This fall the Andrea Aranow Textile Design Collection launched Textile Hive, an interactive database and window into its digitized collection. The Andrea Aranow collection includes some 40,000 pieces from complete garments to fabric swatches, sourced from 50 different countries. Textile Hive was designed by Andrea Aranow’s son, Caleb Sayan, who started the project five years ago. With the application, Sayan hopes to broaden the audience of the archive to anyone with an internet connection. (You’ll also have to pay a membership fee.)

Aranow got her start in clothing in New York in 1967 when she opened Dakota Transit. There, her handmade leather and snakeskin garments gained the attention of high profile clients like Jimi Hendrix and Betty Davis. When Aranow lived in Peru, doing cultural research for a museum in the 1970s, she became interested in collecting handwoven and industrial fabrics. She traveled in South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, often with her two young sons, acquiring fabrics for museums and her own collection. That work grew into what is now one of the largest private textile archives in the world.

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While Aranow is still consulting in New York, Sayan moved the collection to Portland, OR and started building Textile Hive.

When Sayan began digitizing the archives, he had little knowledge about building an online research tool of this scope and size. Sayan tried finding examples of archival terms and taxonomies to work from. He looked at the cataloging system used at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C., but it wasn’t a good match. Sayan and his team landed on a taxonomy with over 19 categories, like culture, era, embellishments, and luminescence, and over 2300 terms.

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Sayan built custom software to create the experience he had in mind. “I view the application itself as an augmented tool for interacting with the collection,” Sayan said.

Users have different access points into the collection including by place of origin on a map or by cultural aesthetic. Another search tool pins textiles side by side for comparison (shown above). One cool feature brings researchers into the space, where they can browse virtual drawers and shelves that correspond to the physical archive.

Textile Hive was created for art historians and fabric lovers, but would delight anyone with an appreciation for beautiful objects. “I wanted to show how this collection is different from a museum collection, in that it had a point of view and was personal,” said Sayan.

The finished product is a multi-layered application, as unique as the archive it was born from.

Watch a short video about Andrea Aranow and the digital collection here.

Images courtesy of Andrea Aranow Collection/Textile Hive.

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Wanderlist #2: Cinémathèque de Tanger

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Years ago, I clipped an article about Cinémathèque de Tanger in Morocco and sent it to a film archivist friend and pen pal, Taz. Many months later, Taz took a trip to Tangiers and, to my surprise, my next care package from her included a pin from the Cinémathèque! She had been able to go to the film center and get a behind-the-scenes tour in which she saw old movie posters and heard about the types of acquisitions the center hoped to grow with. Her tip: “We were lucky to get in on the fly, but I’m sure they’d be able to make it even more special with advanced notice.”

 Cinematheque Tanger

Cinémathèque de Tanger is exemplary both as a focal point for discussing, viewing, and sharing film treasures and as an archive (films from Gabriel Veyre, Ahmed Bouanani, Hicham Falah, Mohamed Chrif Tribak, and many more). Cinémathèque de Tanger has been a pioneer in offering screenings for films rarely seen in Morocco and preserving and promoting North African and Arabian cinema. They have set the groundwork for other film organizations to work with Moroccan authorities, censors, and film vendors and have built collaborations with cultural institutions around the world.

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The Cinémathèque is housed in a beautiful, old movie theater that is a natural gathering point and welcomes people to the archive. If you happen to be in Morocco, stop by the cinema and visit their cafe, which co-founder and director Yto Barrada says has taken on it’s own local importance, “Something we didn’t anticipate is the way our café has been taken over by the local teenagers and young adults who seem to spend all of their free time there flirting, playing the guitar, singing, using the free Internet, nursing a Coca Cola, hitting on our interns and very occasionally going to see a movie.”

Images from Pete, Cinémathèque de Tanger, and Frieze.

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