Friday, April 29, 2011

There's always a wedding happening on Cinema Image Gallery

To mark the occasion of the British royal wedding, today's quiz is all about movies with wedding in the title. To make it even more apt, we've even included a movie called A Royal Wedding (there, that's one answer given away).

You'll find images from all these movies, and more wedding-themed films too, in Cinema Image Gallery.  We will tweet the answers later today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Read a Wilson programmer's experience of implementing the server side of SUSHI

Brinda Shah, one of Wilson's web programmers, is featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Information Standards Quarterly, the quarterly magazine of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).

In her article, Brinda describes her experience of implementing the server side of the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol here at H. W. Wilson, an experience that took her from "total confusion with endless terms and technologies" all the way to a "pretty neat and straightforward service" that ended up being "one of the most interesting projects I have worked on."

You can download a PDF of Brinda's article from the NISO website. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Bay of Pigs operation, with Omnifile Full Text

April 17-19, 2011, marks the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, in which 1,500 exiled Cubans landed on the south coast of their country in an attempt to free Cuba from Fidel Castro's Communist rule.  These invaders were left on the beach without the supplies, protection, and support that had been promised them by their sponsor, the U.S. government, and most of them were killed or captured.

So says a very interesting account of the Bay of Pigs invasion, written by Jack Hawkins, a former colonel in the United States Marine Corps and one-time chief of the paramilitary staff at the CIA's Cuba Project. Published in the National Review in December 1996, this article follows the declassification of many of the documents surrounding the events of 1961 and is prompted by Hawkins's stated belief that "the facts should be reported." His article criticizes the invasion from a military and logistical perspective,  pointing out that if the Cubans had been trained in the U.S. rather than in Guatemala and Nicaragua, they would have been in a better position to carry out their mission. He is also critical of the failure to destroy Castro's air force before the invasion was attempted. Indeed, Hawkins concludes that if the landing had been made at Trinidad and had received adequate air support, it might have succeeded in overthrowing the Cuban government.

Omnifile also features an article from the May/June 1998 issue  of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which reviews the findings of the recently-released CIA review of the Bay of Pigs invasion. This document, "The Inspector General's Survey of the Cuban Operation," deflects blame from President John F. Kennedy's decision to cancel the air strikes that had been intended to coincide with the invasion and instead concludes that the "fundamental cause of the disaster was the agency's failure to give the project... appropriate organization, staffing throughout by highly qualified personnel, and a full-time firection and control of the highest quality." The report, written by then-CIA Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick six months after the operation, does concur with Hawkins in some respects, however: it finds fault with agency's handling of nearly every aspect of the operation.

To find either of these articles, or other material on the operation, search Bay of Pigs in Omnifile.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Civil War Movie Quiz with Cinema Image Gallery

To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, today's quiz invites you to identify these movies, all from Cinema Image Gallery,  all set during the Civil War.

As usual, we will tweet the answers later today.

Happy birthday, Henry James

The novelist Henry James was born in New York City on April 15, 1843 but began his travels abroad almost immediately: his father took the family to Europe when James was just 12 years old. Throughout his life in Paris and England, he sought to perfect his novel writing craft, eventually--while living in Rye, Sussex--writing The Ambassadors, a work that American Authors, 1600-1900, describes as "a novel so astutely autobiographical, in part, and so psychologically exhaustive that many have labeled it James' masterpiece."

The literary website Bookslut features a whole section devoted to James's birthday this week, and The Guardian newspaper collects all its columns and writings about James into a neat section. For more serious research into this classic writer, however, you should check out our Book Review Digest Retrospective: 1905-1982, which contains links to full-text books containing essays both by and about Henry James, and Essay & General Literature Index Retrospective: 1900-1984, which contains links to no fewer than 45 full-text books featuring essays both about and by the writer, allowing researchers to easily access opinion of James back as far as the start of the 20th century. For newer perspectives on James, there are many websites devoted to him and his books, maintained by both academics and enthusiasts.
Subscribers to Omnifile will find an excellent collection of articles (140 full-text records in all) about James together in one place. From "What is the Matter With Henry James?" in Studies in the Novel, Spring 2009, to "Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller and the Limits of Fidelity," in Literature/Film Quarterly, 1991. That should certainly be enough to whet anyone's appetite for information about the master.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

National Library Week Library Heroes: Philip Larkin

Although Larkin (August 8, 1922 - December 2, 1985) became a librarian only after his attempts to get into the British civil service failed, he was relatively successful in his job. He began his library career in 1943 at the Wellington urban district council in Shropshire, then acquired his professional accreditation through correspondence courses. He moved on to the post of assistant librarian at the University College of Leicester in 1946, then sublibrarian at Queen's University, Belfast, and in 1955 he became librarian of Brynmore Jones library at the University of Hull, Yorkshire.

In a 1965 interview, Larkin complained that "work encroaches like a weed over the whole of my life... It's all the time absorbing a creative energy that might have gone into poetry." He also said that he "equate[d] librarianship with stoking boilers." By the time he was interviewed in 1979 for the London Observer, however, he had changed his mind: "Librarianship suits me--I love the feel of libraries--and it has just the right blend of academic interest and administration that seems to match my particular talents... I've always thought that a regular job was no bad thing for a poet." On living in Hull, he said that he felt "the need to be on the periphery of things."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week Library Heroes: Melvil Dewey

Library reformer and creator of the Dewey Decimal System of book classification, Melvil Dewey was born December 10, 1851 at Adams Center, New York into a relatively poor family where thrift was a necessity. He began working in libraries as an undergraduate at Amherst college, visiting many other institutions during his time there in order to see how they ran their libraries.

In 1876, while still at Amherst, he published A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library, which was eventually adopted by libraries all over the U.S. to become the standard American library classification system. Indeed, although it has been supplanted by other systems in academic, specialized, and larger public libraries, the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index is still used in many school and public libraries.

As if that wasn't enough, Dewey went on to become the first secretary of the American Library Association, and twice president of that organization. He edited the first five volumes of the Library Journal, organized the Library Bureau in Boston, and became associated with the American Metric Bureau, the Spelling Reform Association, and other educational reform groups.

Melvil Dewey is also credited with inventing the vertical office file cabinet.

He died on December 26, 1931.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Library Week Library Heroes: Jorge Luis Borges

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1899, Borges was one of Latin America's great men of letters. He was best known for his esoteric short fiction, rich in fantasy and metaphysical allegory. More importantly for this post, he also served as the director of the National Library in Buenos Aires from 1955-1973.

Borges took his first library job in 1937 and called it "nine years of solid unhappiness," feeling that the work was menial and dismal. Libraries, nevertheless, crop up from time to time in his work, notably in "The Library of Babel," in which Borges creates a literary cosmos:
Everything is there: the minute history of the future, the autobiographies of the archangels, the faithful catalogue of the Library, thousands and thousands of false catalogues, a demonstration of the fallacy of the true catalogue... the truthful account of your death, a version of each book in all languages, the interpolations of every book in all books.
Borges's appointment to the position of director of the National Library came just after the fall of Peron. Around this time he was also appointed to the National Academy, and was made professor of English and North American literature at the University of Buenos Aires. He devoted more time to these duties as his eyesight began to fail. He eventually became blind, and turned back to poetry, which he had neglected since the 1920s.

Jorge Luis Borges died in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1986.

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Library Week Library Heroes: Zenodotus

Born approximately 325 B.C., Zenodotus was a Greek scholarly writer who lived in Alexandria, Egypt under the reign of Ptolemy  Soter and Ptolemy II Philadelphus. He became the first director of the Alexandrian Library around 284 B.C., directing the preliminary classification of its books and becoming the first editor of the Iliad and the Odyssey. 
Zenodotus also prepared editions of Hesiod's Theogony and the poems of Pindar and Anacreon, and produced Foreign Terms, a collection of non-Greek expressions found in literary texts, as well as a Homeric Glossary, which laid the foundation for later scholarly linguistic study. Zenodotus was also the earliest person known (so far) to have employed alphabetical order.
You can find a more detailed version of this profile, originally from Greek and Latin Authors 800 B.C. - A.D. 1000, in Biography Reference Bank, and the picture of the ruins of the Alexandrian Library in Art Museum Image Gallery.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday remakes quiz with Cinema Image Gallery

Today sees the release of Arthur, starring Russell Brand in a remake of the 1981 comedy classic that was such a hit for Dudley Moore.
Following in the remake trend, today's Friday quiz invites you to name the movies pictured here, all remakes of earlier movies, or based on earlier movies.
You will find all the answers in Cinema Image Gallery, or you can wait until later today when we will tweet them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

National Library Week: April 10-16, 2011

Running alongside the American Association of School Librarians' School Library Month, the American Library Association's National Library Week this year invites you to "Create Your Own Story @ Your Library."

We all know it's a difficult time for libraries, but the campaign to save libraries in Great Britain has generated a lot of interest and support for libraries (just listen to what these supporters on the BBC Radio 4 program Book Club say in defense of their libraries), as have several campaigns across the U.S. We hope to highlight some more of these on Inside Wilson across National Library Week, as well as bringing you some biographical tidbits about some key individuals in the history of libraries.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day quiz with Cinema Image Gallery

Today's quiz invites you to identify five movies, all with "fool" in the title. One of them is even called April Fool, just because we thought we'd help you out a bit.

As usual, we will tweet the answers later today, or you'll find them all in Cinema Image Gallery.

Also, if you can't get enough of April Fool-related quizzes, you could try this literary one in the Guardian.