Harvard University ‘s library materials are disintegrating. That’s true of materials in all the research libraries in the U.S.–and the world, for that matter. But Harvard’s librarians, as one example, have been diligently undertaking a preservation project to digitize these materials before they’re gone altogether. Additionally, they’re making some of these digital libraries accessible by the public for free in their Open Collections Program. One such collection to take note of is the READING Harvard Views Of Readers, Readership and Reading History.

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. For Internet users worldwide, Reading provides unparalleled digital access to a significant selection of unique source materials:

  • personally annotated books owned by John Keats, Herman Melville, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and others
  • William Wordsworth’s private library catalog
  • commonplace books used by Joseph Conrad, Washington Irving, Victor Hugo, and more
  • records of the Harvard College Library that reveal the reading activities of Emerson, Longfellow, and Thoreau
  • historical textbooks that document the principles, and some of the biases, in reading instruction from the 18th to the early 20th centuries
  • more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items from the Harvard collections, including 800 books and 400 manuscript selections

For researchers, teachers, and students who may not have ready access to extensive historical collections, Reading provides an inspired opportunity to participate more fully in this rapidly expanding research area.


BBC Online

March 29, 2010

The Web-based service of the BBC–BBC Online, is one of the world’s largest and most visited websites with over 2 million pages in 2007. The websites include news from the BBC News Online, a sports section, music, science, technology and entertainment pages, parenting, weather and travel information…and a whole lot else.


Crazy About Pets?

March 5, 2010

Petplace.com IS crazy about pets! With a library of over 10,000 veterinarian approved articles they offer the largest and most complete source of pet information available anywhere. They not only offer the most comprehensive resource for pet health and wellness, but they also have over 4,000 heartwarming “Pet Stories” that will make you, laugh, cry and feel good inside.

The Unhappy Hipsters

January 31, 2010

Another architecture/design website but this one’s for laughs. The Unhappy Hipsters takes photos from leading design magazines like Dwell and adds a wry comment pointing out the unfriendliness in the bankrupt design–in human terms. We don’t know who posts on this blog but he/she has an amusing avatar. If you, too, believe there is something missing from the minimal design themes so rampant in magazine spreads these days, take a glance at this website and have a laugh or two. And wait with the rest of us for the pendulum to swing back to human friendly.

Thanks to Curt Cox from the Davis Partnership in Denver for sending us the link.


The Essex Library has been very fortunate to have Centerbrook Architects generously sponsor and provide a second series of architecture lectures with a third in the planning stages for next year. A recent addition to their award-winning website is a blog–The Millrace– where members of the firm have posted about what inspires and interests them. If you have any interest in architecture, design or getting to know architects a little better, take a look at their blog-it will be rewarding.

Don’t miss out on Yale School of Architecture Professor Kent Bloomer’s lecture, “Why Not Ornament?”,  Friday, February 12th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall.


Systematically and mercilessly disassembling, flushing, greasing, and re-packing the cycling culture. That’s the BikeSnobNYC’s mantra. If you’re serious about riding, you’re probably already familiar with the blog. But wait–there’s a BikeSnob book coming out in May from Chronicle Books:

“Cycling is exploding in a good way. Urbanites everywhere, from ironic hipsters to earth-conscious commuters, are taking to the bike like aquatic mammals to water. BikeSnobNYC cycling’s most prolific, well-known, hilarious, and anonymous blogger brings a fresh and humorous perspective to the most important vehicle to hit personal transportation since the horse. Bike Snob treats readers to a laugh-out-loud rant and rave about the world of bikes and their riders, and offers a unique look at the ins and outs of cycling, from its history and hallmarks to its wide range of bizarre practitioners. Throughout, the author lampoons the missteps, pretensions, and absurdities of bike culture while maintaining a contagious enthusiasm for cycling itself. Bike Snob is an essential volume for anyone who knows, is, or wants to become a cyclist.”

Who knew origami had gotten so complicated and fascinating since we folded our last crane? Independent Lens–the PBS series which showcases terrific independent films–presented Between The Folds recently.

“Origami may seem an unlikely medium for understanding and explaining the world. But around the globe, several fine artists and theoretical scientists are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders. Through origami, these offbeat and provocative minds are reshaping ideas of creativity and revealing the relationship between art and science.”

These artists and scientists have gone way beyond the old “kootie-catcher” to create pieces of exquisitely folded paper that sometimes don’t even resemble paper in the end. Take a look at the film’s site and be sure to follow the links to the individual artist’s sites where you can see what they’re up to and interested in.

Thanks to Centerbrook Architect’s Ken MacLeod for bringing this wonderful film to our attention.