2005 Fall - Europe in Bits & Bytes

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Column Editor: Sebastian Hierl

Vol. 29, no. 1

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Fall 2005 > Europe in Bits & Bytes


Pan-European Resources

The Beta version of The European Library (TEL) Project has been announced in mid March at http://www.europeanlibrary.org/. The new portal of the European Library provides simple and advanced search interfaces and permits browsing of the collections of 43 member libraries at http://portal.theeuropeanlibrary.org/portal/index.htm. Members are all national libraries in Europe, including non EU members such as Russia, Turkey, and the Ukraine. The site permits access to digital objects (some are restricted) and features a section containing selected “Treasures of the National Libraries of Europe.” In total, the 150 collections include about 11 million records accessible via OAI, SRU and z39.50 protocols. Visitors are encouraged to send feedback to TEL.

Another Pan European resource located in the Netherlands is Roquade or www.databasewomenwriters.nl. The database aims at including bio-bibliographical information for European women writers and links to basic bibliographic references to translations and the critical reception by both male and female contemporaries. The description of the database indicates that it is limited to women writers before the end of the nineteenth century, though it includes authors born in the 19th Century and who have written well into the 20th Century, such as the Italian Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda, for example. The database also includes select links to other sites containing information on the authors; as well as a list of pre-determined “Reports” or queries on the data, such as “Works read by a given author,” which shows titles read, possessed, or commented upon by the selected author. These reports can be further limited through filters and are presented in printable format. The database provides a wonderful tool to track the writing of European women and their reception; unfortunately, the information contained can be spotty and the scope of the database may render in-depth treatment difficult.

Already well publicized and discussed, one of the major developments in the European library world over the past months is that 19 National Libraries have decided to join forces to provide an alternative and counterbalance the cultural influence of Google. A somewhat dated announcement, “European Libraries Fight Google-ization,” is available at Deutsche Welle at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1566717,00.html. Since then, the European Commission unveiled its plan for a European digital library at http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/1202&forma while Google put on hold its effort to scan the world's literary works: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050812/tc_afp/usgooglebooks; and has asked European publishers to submit non-English titles to Google Print: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050902/ap_on_hi_te/google_books. In the meantime, Yahoo! is launching its own digitization program, focusing on titles out of copyright http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4304192.stm. The plot is sure to thicken by the time this column goes to print…

PCI Full Text has recently added new titles to its list of Western European journals indexed in the database. Among some of the new titles added are Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Rivista d’arte, Studi di letteratura francese, Europe, Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Population, Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, and Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft.

The Digital Library Forum at http://www.dl-forum.de/ includes a new “Arbeitsgruppe zu europäischen Angelegenheiten für Bibliotheken, Archive und Museen” at http://www.eubam.de/. EUBAM is geared toward providing German professionals with information on current European initiatives, funding opportunities for digital projects, conferences and continuing education, and the development of best practices and standards. As the German interlocutor to MINVERVA (MInisterial NEtwoRk for Valorising Activities in digitisation), EUBAM aims both at including a German voice in the development of European standards and initiatives and to distribute the latter to German information professionals.

Jeffry Larson has recently enriched WessWeb with QWEER, covering LesBiGay resources in Romance language countries in Western Europe. QWEER is divided into Language and Literature resources at http://www.library.yale.edu/wess/qweerlanglit.html and resources in other disciplines at http://www.library.yale.edu/wess/qweeretc.html.

Already announced on the WESS listservs, New York Public Library has launched a new Digital Gallery at http://www.nypl.org/press/digitalgallery.cfm. While the focus of the Digital Gallery is on North American resources, it does contain over 2,000 pages of illuminated medieval and renaissance manuscripts, as well as Russian civil war posters–among other European materials.

Via the netbib newsletter we are informed of a collection of digital theological texts at the UB Freiburg at http://www.ub.uni-freiburg.de/portale/theol/50/S10/theologen.html. Though the list was first started in 2003 it is regularly updated and has not been mentioned in this column before.

The Scout Report alerts us to the recent publication of the “State of World Population 2004” report at http://www.unfpa.org/swp/swpmain.htm. Sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund, the 124-page report provides current and long-range trends for the world's population. Chapters of the report cover such topics as “Population and the Environment” and “Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.” Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic.

Two new authoritative online map sites have come online at the UB Amsterdam and the British Library. The UB Amsterdam has established an impressive and truly international online map collection, free of access at http://dpc.uba.uva.nl/kaartencollectie/. The site provides access to maps of the world, cities, countries, historic battles, and more from the 15th Century to the mid-20th Century and permits for the keyword searching and browsing of hundreds of maps. The British Library’s “Unveiling of Britain” at http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/collections/unveiling/, provides free access to maps from the Middle Ages to today, though–as the title indicates–with a strong focus on the British Isles.

French Resources

Through Sarah Wenzel and searchenginewatch.com we are notified that France is to fund a European search engine aimed at rivaling the “Anglo-Saxon” dominance of Google and Yahoo! Details are at http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/050831-085649.

Via Richard Hacken and Jack Kessler’s FYI France (kessler@well.sf.ca.us), we are notified of the creation of a new museum located in the St. Germain-des-Près neighborhood focusing on letters and manuscripts. The web site of the aptly entitled “Musée des lettres et manuscrits” is at http://www.museedeslettres.fr and provides an online guide, pictures of the museum, as well as select digital copies of items in the collection.

A new development at the BNF this spring has been the launch of several online catalogs in image (pdf) format detailing the BNF’s manuscript holdings at http://www.bnf.fr/pages/zNavigat/frame/catalogues_num.htm. The catalogs are currently divided between the “Occident” and the “Orient” and further organized by language. For example, the BNF’s holdings in German include 399 manuscripts of which 333 are currently described in the “Occident” catalog (the digitization of bibliographic references continues). Catalogs for non-Roman scripts will be added.

The following has been announced by Sarah Wenzel on WESS-ROM but is duplicated in this column in an effort to provide as complete a coverage as possible and in view of its importance for CIFNAL: The site http://bibliodoc.francophonie.org/ was developed to regroup French speaking information professionals within IFLA and to provide them with an online communication hub permitting to better coordinate initiatives within IFLA and “Francophonie” at large. The site was created with the support of the “Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (AIF)” and includes translations of English texts into French, professional news, and a portal containing links to francophone library resources, as well as the “Association internationale francophone des bibliothécaires et documentalistes” (AIFBD). Aiming at strengthening the presence of “Francophonie” in the library world, the latter shares a common mission with CIFNAL.

The Musée du Louvre is celebrating its tenth online anniversary with a completely redesigned website at http://www.louvre.fr/. Online visitors may view excerpts of ongoing exhibits, search works by keyword or browse the collections, and access one of the many databases linking to digital reproductions of thousands of works of art held at the Louvre and other French museums. The site is available in English.

Following an announcement on Biblio-fr, the “catalogue de la Bibliothèque historique des postes et des télécommunications” is now online at http://www.bhpt.org. Located the in the suburbs of Paris in Ivry-sur-Seine, the “Bibliothèque historique des postes et des télécommunications” holds documents constituting primary sources for work in economic, social, technical, and administrative history. The museum is also well known for its extensive collection of phone directories, though these are not available online and must be consulted on location.

The Bibliothèque Nationale Universitaire de Strasbourg has placed its collection of digitized manuscripts pertaining to Rhine mysticism online at http://www-bnus.u-strasbg.fr/default-elibrairie.htm. The site further includes an Inventory and Description of Manuscript Sources in Tablature; documents from the library of the Grand Séminaire de Strasbourg; and various online exhibits.

The Bibliothèque Municipale de Senlis is digitizing materials in its collection pertaining to the history of the city at http://www.bmsenlis.com/sitebmsenlis/numerique.htm. The materials are available in pdf and document the history of the city and its environs from ancient Gaul to WW1.

Italian Resources

Richard Hacken alerts us to new resources added to EuroDocs, in cooperation with Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerche sul Viaggio in Italia (CIRVI). These include "Accounts of American Travelers to Italy" at http://www.lib.byu.edu/estu/eurodocs/italia/viaggi.html and "Accounts of British Travelers to Italy" at http://www.lib.byu.edu/estu/eurodocs/italia/viaggi2.html and feature writings from the likes of Henry Adams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain, as well as Samuel Butler, Charles Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, John Ruskin, and Tobias Smollett, among other. Following Richard, “[m]ost of the titles were gleaned by OAI from either the University of Michigan's Digital Library ("Making of America") or from Project Gutenberg[;] [m]ost are imprints from the 19th century.” Further according to Richard, the number of titles made available will be growing as digitization efforts now projected get underway and the “grand model” of the genre remains Gallica's dossier, "Voyages en Italie" at http://gallica.bnf.fr/VoyagesEnItalie/, which provides access to about 1,500 printed works and 60 manuscripts on the subject.

The Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense is placing online over 1,400 digital facsimile of works by mostly Italian authors within the “Progetto DI.RE” at http://www.braidense.it/dire.html; though only about 80 are currently available at http://www.braidense.it/italiana.html. Further digitized texts are accessible via the Braidense’s other Digital Library projects listed at http://www.braidense.it/digitale.html.

Spanish Resources

The Ateneo Científico, Literario y Artístico de Madrid has digitized a large number of articles, monographs, and periodicals as part of its Biblioteca Digital at http://www.ateneodemadrid.com/biblioteca_digital/BibliotecaDigital.htm. Among other, the periodicals digitized contain the Revista Ibérica for 1883 (vol. 1-14) and ATENEO: Ateneo Científico, Literario y Artístico for the years 1906-1912.

Patricia Figueroa alerts us to “Don Quixote de la Mancha 2005” at http://www.donquijotedelamancha2005.com/main.php. Celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote, the site provides information on the fictional character’s historic surroundings and route through Castilla-La Mancha and serves as a tourist information site for the region. Besides highlighting the many events celebrating the IV Centenary, the site is dedicated to “The Don Quixote Route,” established by the government of Castilla-La Mancha, covering 2,500 km and running through ancient roads, trails, and cattle tracks connecting 144 towns and villages of the region.

Announced by Adán Griego on WESS-ROM and LALA-L and by Donnelyn Curtis from the University of Nevada, Reno, the Basque Studies Database is now available at http://innopac.library.unr.edu:81/screens/about.html. This important NEH funded project provides “multilingual access to Basque-studies books, articles, chapters, dissertations, films and other materials written or produced after 1994. Over 2,300 articles (27%) are available in open-access full-text format through the database. Twenty-six "core journals" (17 with full text) are indexed completely while other journals are indexed selectively. The subject emphases are Basque history, language and culture. The Innovative Interfaces Inc. (III) platform provides Spanish and Basque interfaces, and most of the 4,650 records for Basque-language materials and 10,000+ records for Spanish-language materials are enhanced with English-language keywords.” The Basque Studies Database complements the Digital Library at the Bizkaia Provincial Council Library (http://bibliotecaforal.bizkaia.net:8l), reported upon in this column in Spring 2004. While the Basque Studies Database covers publications published after 1994, the Digital Library at the Bizkaia Provincial Council Library covers materials published before 1995.

German Resources

Continuing with Google Print related news; following an announcement this spring, the Börsenverein is preparing a digital indexing project, “Volltextsuche Online,” modeled upon Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature. Unlike Google Print, which includes titles out of print, “Volltextsuche Online” will focus on works that are in copyright. More information and regular updates on the project are at http://www.boersenverein.de/de/69181?rubrik=86662.

The new portal “Digitalisierte Drucke” at http://selene.hbz-nrw.de/pdd/ aims at providing comprehensive access to freely accessible digital objects produced by German libraries. Funded by the DFG, the “Portal Digitalisierte Drucke” currently lists digital projects only, but the goal is to provide access at the object level. The project includes all print publications: newspapers, magazines, sheet music, single monographs, as well as series, and other.

“Rechtsbuchforschung” at http://www.rechtsbuchforschung.de/ is a new web site dedicated to those interested in European and German history of law. Established at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the site studies works of European law from the Middle Ages to their reception in modern times.

The Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is placing online its holdings of rare architectural books at http://e-pub.uni-weimar.de/portal/Folianten/index.php.

Next to a strong collection of manuscripts, the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf holds an extensive collection of mediaeval and renaissance manuscript fragments. The about 1,500 pages of manuscript fragments stem from the 8th Century to the 16th Century and are being digitized at http://www.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/projekte/digi_fragm/. An inventory is available at http://www.ub.uni-duesseldorf.de/projekte/digi_fragm/fragmente/.

If you are interested in digital documents from the Steiermark, the Universitätsbibliothek Graz is establishing a comprehensive database of digital objects produced in the Steiermark; entitled “Projekt reuse,” the database is available at http://www.kfunigraz.ac.at/ub/reuse/index.php.

Also located at the Universit in Graz is the catalog of incunabula of the Vorarlberger Landesbibliothek at http://dzd.uni-graz.at/sosa/inku-vlbg.

The Digitale Bibliothek der Universität Rostock is digitizing its holdings of manuscripts and rare books at http://www.uni-rostock.de/ub/SON_3.HTM. Unfortunately, the holdings are still rather limited with only three texts.

Germany’s reputable S. Fischer Verlag has launched an extensive web site to honor one of its most famous authors, Thomas Mann, at http://www.thomasmann.de/. The site includes–among other–biographical information; photographs of Thomas Mann, personalities and locations close to him; a dictionary of characters and terms used by the authors; and pdf files of scholarly articles. In all, this is a very useful site for anyone reading Mann’s works, although it is clearly a commercial endeavor intended to draw the public to Fischer’s web site and list of publications.

Via www.netbib.de we are alerted to Libreas, a new electronic journal in Library Science. Published by the Institut für Bibliothekswissenschaft at the Humboldt University in Berlin and the publisher Bibspider, Libreas is available at http://www.libreas.de/.

Also via www.netbib.de we are reminded of the Easy-KVK at http://www.ubka.uni-karlsruhe.de/kvk/kvk/easykvk.html. The latter permits a wider keyword search than the KVK, by including the Note field, not available in the regular KVK search interface. The KVK also recently added new catalogs to its impressive list of searchable libraries, such as the Danish National Library.

The Swiss Freiburger Nachrichten 1900-1920 and La Liberté 1908-1909 are now available at RERO (Westschweizer Bibliotheksverbund) http://doc.rero.ch/.

The latter is not to be confused with the German Freiburger Zeitung which is available in digital format from 1784 to 1930 at http://www.ub.uni-freiburg.de/dipro/fz.html. Also from the Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg, the Staufener Wochenblatt is available at http://www.ub.uni-freiburg.de/dipro/staufen.html.

The Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg has added to its collection of digitized pamphlets at http://digbib.bibliothek.uni-augsburg.de/00ceb/index_00058-01059.shtml. The collection and database is part of the DFG funded project “Retrospective Digitisation of Library Holdings” at http://www.bsb-muenchen.de/mdz/proj2.htm.

Following an announcement on www.netbib.de, manuscripts and special collections that have been digitized but are not included in the Digital Library projects of the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel are available at http://www.hab.de/bibliothek/wdb/mssdigital.htm.

For those interested in the history of science, the Annalen der Physik have been digitized from 1802 to 1903 at http://www.weltderphysik.de/forschung/geschichte/index.html. Furthermore, 19th Century medicine titles with relevance for social history can be found at http://www.med-serv.de/medizin-buch.html.

Another long-standing DFG funded project, the digitization of the Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte, is now complete for 1925-1938 and available at http://pom.bbaw.de:8080/JDG/. The Bibliographie Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte comprehensively covers German and foreign scholarly literature on German history.

The Lexikon westfälischer Autorinnen und Autoren, 1750-1950 contains in-depth biographical entries for over 2,000 major and minor authors from Westfalen at http://www.autorenlexikon-westfalen.de/.

Already announced on German-e, the DFG has licensed access for users at participating German higher education institutions for access to over 110 million pages of text contained in about 20 scholarly databases. The latter include databases such as Early American Imprints, EEBO, and ECCO, The Making of Modern Law, and more. Further information about this development and a list of databases is available at http://www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/vlib/lit/nl_mehr.php.

Benelux Resources

The foundation AD & L (dedicated to the preservation of 17th and 18th Century Dutch literature), Ceneton (Census Nederlands toneel; Universiteit Leiden), and the society for Dutch literature, together with the Bibliotheca Thysiana in Leiden, have placed online a number of digital facsimiles of well-known and obscure texts from the seventeenth and eighteenth century at http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/Dutch/Renaissance/Ursicula.html. The titles complement the offering of Dutch plays mostly from the 17th and 18th Centuries at Ceneton available at http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/Dutch/Ceneton/index.html.

The University of Utrecht has established a Digital Library that includes a manuscript catalog in facsimile format and 450 pamphlets, as well as a number of emblem and other rare books at http://digbijzcoll.library.uu.nl/en/collectie.asp.

Through Richard Hacken we are alerted to the new online edition of the correspondence of William of Orange (1533-1584), containing over 12,000 letters, commission, orders, and more at the Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis, http://www.inghist.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/WVO. Following Richard’s description, “the items for the database were gathered from over 200 European archives and libraries. The inauguration of the database was celebrated at the Prinsenhof in Delft [just off the plaza where William of Orange had been assassinated in 1584 on the orders and glee of Philip II, King of Spain] with the present Prince of Orange, Crown Prince William-Alexander, executing the first search operation.”

Already briefly announced in “Europe in Bits and Bytes” in Spring 2004, “Het Geheugen van Nederland” is an online database containing historical illustrations, photographs, texts, films, and audio fragments, created by Dutch cultural institutions over the past 150 years. The database is available at http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/ and currently contains about 350,000 objects, from the promotional photographs of recent Dutch rock bands to materials stemming from the German occupation during WWII or the colonial history of the Netherlands. The database is mentioned here again because of its new and extensive content, providing fascinating artifacts from virtually all aspects of Dutch society.

Scandinavian Resources

The British Library currently features an online exhibit on Hans Christian Andersen at http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/andersen/homepage.html. The web site is designed to complement the current exhibit that is at the British Library until October. The online exhibit provides a timeline of his life and work, a list of further online resources, and a number of themes through which to learn more about the Danish author, complete with an essay by Andersen's biographer, Jackie Wullschlager.

English Resources

The web site “Early Stuart Libels” at http://www.earlystuartlibels.net/htdocs/index.html, is a web-based edition of 17th Century political poetry from manuscript sources. Following its own description, the site “brings into the public domain over 350 poems, many of which have never before been published. Though most of the texts are poems of satire and invective, others take the form of anti-libels, responding to libellers with orthodox panegyric.” Well indexed and fully searchable, the US-British project provides for the study of literary and political culture in England from the accession of King James I to the outbreak of the English Civil War.

ScotlandsPeople, the “official government source for genealogical data for Scotland,” is at http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/. A cooperative project by the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland, The Court of the Lord Lyon, and Scotland Online, the site provides the most comprehensive access to genealogical information from Scotland with over 43 million records. The database tracks Scottish births from 1553 to 1904, marriages from 1553 to 1929, and deaths from 1855 to 1954, as well as wills and testaments from 1513 to 1901, in addition to information on famous Scots and a handwriting guide.

The report by the Brookings Institution and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published in May 2005 addresses the issue of economic segregation in Britain, as seen by an American and in comparison with the US at http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20050527_Mixedcomm.pdf. The study provides an interesting comparative perspective on research and experiences with mixed communities (focusing on income, but considering related factors) on both sides of the Atlantic.

Please continue to submit notifications and/or reviews for inclusion in the upcoming issue of Europe in Bits & Bytes, as well as any comments to Sebastian Hierl.

WESSWeb > WESS Newsletter > Fall 2005 > Europe in Bits & Bytes

Editors: Sarah G. Wenzel and Paul Vermouth (vermouth@fas.harvard.edu)

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