2014 Spring - Europe in Bits & Bytes
Column Editor: Kathleen Smith
Vol. 37, no. 2
In preparation for the World War I centennial, there are a large number of ongoing projects and initiatives on both international and national levels. Europeana 1914-1918, one of the most well-known, has partnered with the EFG1915, followup project to the European Film Gateway, to make over 660 hours of audiovisual material related to WWI available. Another initiative from Europeana that recently launched is Europeana Sounds, a three-year project coordinated by the British Library and funded by the European Commission to make available over 540,000 sound recordings ranging from folk music to sounds from nature.
In October 2014, the joint research project 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War plans to launch its online encyclopedia featuring a "multi-perspective, public-access knowledge base" about WWI.
CENDARI (Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructure) is offering a summer school on "Researching the First World War in a Digital Environment", which will be held in Berlin on July 21-25, 2014. Participants will explore the aspects of transnational/comparative research in the subject area of WWI using digital resources and collaborative working methods.
In December 2013, the European Commission launched the eagerly-anticipated Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which will provide over € 15 billion in funding over the first two years and almost € 80 billion over its seven-year duration. This is the largest EU research funding initiative to date and is intended to support research on all levels (more information and a factsheet are available here).
Horizon 2020 strongly encourages the use of open access publication channels (both green and gold levels) in order to support access to scientific information. Negotiating the issue of data mining in both the collections of commercial publishers as well as in open access publications continues to be an ongoing concern.
The Winter 2014 issue of FOCUS on Global Resources provides an overview of the recommendations and responses following the conference “The Global Dimensions of Scholarship and Research Libraries: A Forum on the Future,” held at Duke University in December 2012. This event focused on the "decreasing acquisition of foreign language materials by US research libraries and the potential impact on scholarship, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, in light of the trend toward 'globalization' at US universities."
American Libraries Live from October 10, 2013, discussed the role of the library and the librarian in Europe with representatives from several European libraries. Featured speakers were Hans van Velzen (Amsterdam Public Library), Paola Manoni (Vatican Library), Frédérique Manning (City of Paris Library Network), and Eric Conderaerts (Infor).
The bookstore chain Chapitre filed for bankruptcy in December 2013. On a related note, the French National Assembly passed a law in January 2014 intended to protect bookstores by, among other things, restricting online discounts (the “anti-Amazon” law).
Argentina was this year’s special guest country at the Paris Book Fair which took place on March 21-24, 2014. A survey commissioned by the French Publishers Association (SNE) and the French National Book Centre (CNL) released shortly before the fair stated that, of the 1,013 people surveyed, the majority still value reading print works, consider books the most dependable source of information, and enjoy reading. Lack of time and interest in other hobbies were given as the major factor in decreased time spent reading.
The flood caused by burst pipes at the Bibliothèque nationale de France in January 2014 damaged between 10,000 to 12,000 works, most dating after 1850.
The largest comics festival in Europe, the Angoulême International Comics Festival, took place January 29-February 1, 2014, in Angoulême, France. This year’s Grand Prix award winner was Bill Watterson, who won for his comic Calvin and Hobbes.
The Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the oldest international book fair focusing on children’s books, took place March 24-27, 2014. One of this year's judges of the Illustration Exhibition wrote a behind-the-scenes look at the judging process and criteria (the original posts in Italian are available here).
The International Book Fair of Torino will take place on May 8-12, 2014. This year's guest of honor will be the Vatican, which, for the first time, will have a stand at the Book Fair featuring a "dome made out of books [...] Original manuscripts such as Dante’s Inferno with illustrations by Sandro Botticelli and Homer’s Iliad in Greek with Latin translation will form the base of the structure which copies Donato Bramante’s 16th century plan for St. Peter's Basilica", along with other documents from the Holy See's museums, publishing house, archives, and other collections.
The Digitisation Days conference will take place at the National Library of Spain on May 19-20, 2014. This event will “present an up-to-date vision of the most recent advances in technology for the digitisation of text, to showcase successful experiences in their application and to explore the challenges for the near future of digitisation” along with the presentation of the Succeed Awards to recognize the successful adoption of digitization tools and techniques.
Surprisingly, ebook piracy in Spain appears to be declining, despite the increase in ebook publishing.
In March 2014, the organization FARO 1540, the Association for the Defence and Promotion of Environmental and Cultural Heritage of Faro, requested the return of 91 volumes that Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex, seized from the library of Ferdinand Mascarenhas, the 5th Bishop of Faro, in 1596 and then gave to Thomas Bodley, who added them to the Bodleian's collection in 1602.
The production version of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (DDB), Germany's contribution to Europeana with the goal of providing no-cost access to the networked digital collections of German museums, archives, research institutes, libraries and preservation institutions, launched on March 31, 2014.
The theme of this year’s Leipzig Book Fair on March 13-16, 2014 was “Leipzig liest” ("Leipzig reads") and the featured guest was Switzerland with over 80 authors, including Lukas Bärfuss, Adolf Muschg and Martin Suter. Interviews, reviews and more available at the ARD Leipzig Book Fair page, with an overview of the small press scene here.
The German media and book trading house Weltbild, one of the largest book companies in Germany, filed for insolvency in January 2013. After the bankruptcy filing of Suhrkamp in May 2013, it will be difficult to estimate the lasting impact of this development for the traditional book trade in Germany.
The German National Library is hosting the virtual exhibition “Arts in Exile–Künste im Exil” examining the life of artists in exile throughout different periods in German history, both inside and outside the borders of Germany.
The widely-circulated image of a “rocket cat” from a recently-digitized treatise on munitions and explosive devices (1584) by Franz Helm, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, continues to stimulate interesting discussions such as this discussion of the history of animals in warfare.
To commemorate the anniversary of the first World War, the Austrian National Library is holding an exhibition entitled "An Meine Völker! Der Erste Weltkrieg 1914-1918“ and, starting in April 2014, approximately 75,000 digitized objects from the National Library’s collections will be available in Europeana.
The Swiss National Library has digitized seven historic newspapers from the canon of St. Gallen, the oldest from 1798: Schweizerische Tag-Blätter, enthaltend die neuesten Begebenheiten der Löblichen Stände Zürich, Bern, Basel, Thurgäu und Rheinthal; Wahrheitsfreund; Erzähler; Helvetischer Volksfreund; Ostschweiz; Neues Tagblatt aus der östlichen Schweiz; and St. Galler Volksblatt.
The National Library of Norway is making over 135,000 digital works, all still under copyright, available for free to users in Norway under an agreement with Kopinor, a Norwegian organization representing writers, illustrators, and publishers. The National Library is also planning to digitize all works published in Norway while maintaining their print collections.
The Dutch bookstore chain Polare (which formed in 2012 after the bankruptcy of Selexyz) declared bankruptcy in February 2014.
In commemoration of the centennial of the first World War, the National Archives has made a number of documents available, including 3,987 WWI war diaries through its First World War 100 portal and is partnering with the Imperial War Museum and Zooniverse on the crowdsourcing project Operation War Diary.
Also at the National Archives, MI5 records related to the “inter-war, Second World War and post-war eras” have been made available.
The theme of this year's St Andrews Book Conference on June 19-21, 2014, is “Lost Books”, particularly how the "corpus of lost books can be reconstructed from contemporary documentation, and how this emerging perception of the actual production of the early book trade – rather than those books that are known from modern library collections – should impact on our understanding of the industry and contemporary reading practice".
This year's London Book Fair on April 8-10, 2014 will feature the publishing industry in Korea as its Market Focus for 2014 as a way of showcasing Korea's position as one of the top ten publishing markets worldwide.
In a chilling development for academic freedom, Cambridge University Press canceled plans to publish a scholarly work discussing Russian President Putin's connections to organized crime, citing British libel laws that favor the plaintiff as the reason rather than any concern about the quality of the work itself. As the author of the work notes, "[o]ne is left to conclude that the main lesson to prospective authors is not to publish in the UK anything that might be seen as libelous."
Please send suggestions, news items, notifications, reviews, and announcements of upcoming events for inclusion in the upcoming issue of Europe in Bits & Bytes, as well as any comments or questions, to Kathleen Smith.
Editor: Jen Bonnet (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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