What I’m reading this week

Book I am reading

UNC, Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science graduate Evan Carroll and Joe Romano published Your Digital Afterlife in 2010 to address people’s online legacy. Simply put, what happens to that online material when we die? This goes for email accounts, Flickr albums, and social media profiles. Turns out, there’s no standardization for what to do with a user name or administrator profile . Yahoo is different than Facebook is different from Google when it comes to full legal authority when dealing with your “digital estate.”  By the way, Oklahoma and Indiana are the only two states in the country that has taken proactive steps to clearing up this otherwise obtuse system.

El fin del mundo es ya cierto todos serán calaveras; adiós todos los vivientes, ahora sí fue de deveras

I’m nearly done with the book and, as I look back on what I’ve done to it physically, this is one of those books that has become dog eared (yes, as an archivist, I still dog ear books) and underlined to make no mention of the ample marginalia I’ve added along the way!

If you’d like to listen to a 2011 NPR, Fresh Air interview, click here.

Digital content I am reading

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter’s archives: I hope everyone remembers the late Senator Arlen Specter who served for 44 years starting in 1965 as a Republican in the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania and then, in 2009, switched political parties and served as a Democrat. Now, you know I love politics like the best of ’em, but what I love even more are the archival papers that are the by-product of the political process. A leader like Specter who had such a long and diverse is bound to have a massive collection, right? Well, University of Pittsburgh has delivered on publishing the scope and extent of what is likely his professional (and some personal) papers.

2,700 boxes of papers, photos, audio, video and memorabilia, including documents from when he served as an aide to the Warren Commission investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and his efforts to get health care legislation passed in the Obama administration.

These are stats that only an archivist can love!

Dictionaries in the digital era: Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, speaks poetically about “vocabulary events” in news today that send readers racing to their dictionaries. Once I read the first few lines of the article, I was hooked, in part because I DO THAT! This editor looks to Twitter and other social media to track trends, so that he can contribute to the virtual conversation with some answers. My favorite:

More recently, when Vice President Joe Biden dropped ‘malarkey’ (‘insincere or foolish talk: bunkum’) into his debate with Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate in October 2012, look-ups of that colorful word surged on the Merriam-Webster site. The pattern reflects the public’s strong interest in “public and pointed utterances.

Here is Mr. Sokolowski explaining the most popular words for which to find definitions after Michael Jackson’s death:

And, if you’re interested, Mr. Sokolowski has an entertaining Twitter feed.

Thanks to Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division for use of “El fin del mundo es ya cierto todos seran calaveras; adios todos los vivientes, ahora si fue de deveras” photograph used in this post.

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