Greetings from Washington

I just had to share this snippet from USA Today, talking about British bands:

Now a new rock incursion is rolling, led by the Arctic Monkeys, a frenetic foursome from the grim industrial town of Yorkshire in the North of England.

Spokes software now available

Town Crier ringing handbell
We are delighted to announce that the Spokes software is now ready to download for testing. You can preview the software on our test Spoke here in Manchester (which has a random selection of various repositories’ records at the moment). We’ll post URLs of other Spokes as repositories make them available to the public. You can download the software from Full instructions are available from the Hub site, whether you are installing for the first time or updating an existing Spokes 3.0 installation.

We took this photograph from our office, by the way.

Paying for publicly funded data

An interesting story in last week’s Guardian about the cost to the economy of buying back data which has been created using public money (OS maps, Highways Agency video feeds and so on). It contrasts the situation in the UK with that of the US, where this kind of data is available free of charge and has resulted in the creation of innovative services like Google Maps.

Archives Hub Contributors’ Training Day

On the 10 April 2006 we’ll be holding a training day for people who would like to contribute information about their archives to the Archives Hub. The Hub’s scope is archives held in UK universities and colleges, so the training is aimed at people working in such institutions. The training day covers the process of creating EAD descriptions of archives using the Hub’s online template. It also includes a very nice free lunch at Manchester Business School.

Romani Project

I had a chat today with Professor Yaron Matras of the University’s new Romani Project. I remember Yaron as a regular visitor to the University of Liverpool’s Special Collections and Archives when I was working on the Gypsy Lore Society Collections there years ago. The Romani Project is doing some innovative and important stuff for linguistic research – not to mention a helping preserve a language that is under threat – and it’s about time there was a feature on the Roma, but so far I’ve only come with up June as a possible slot, because of the Appleby Horse Fair. Any suggestions or contributions would be gratefully received!

And Romani slavery didn’t end in 1807 either.

Subject to debate

I was reading in March’s Museums Journal about plans for next year’s bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. We do have material on the Hub about the Atlantic slave trade, plantation owners, and abolitionists.

However, 1807 marked the end of a specific historical instance of
slavery, not the end of slavery itself. We shouldn’t forget that slavery is still alive and well all over the world – and still big business in this country. Remember the Morecambe Bay cockling deaths? Or heard about forced prostitution?

I’d be glad if a Hub contributor could put together a Collections of the Month feature on slavery in all its forms. I just think it’s a bit premature for celebrations.

Food for thought

I received the following response to my posting on the American archives listserv about this month’s Collections of the Month feature on Insects and Entomologists:

Interesting–but you left out "people who eat insects"! For example, you might link to which has nutritional breakdowns of various insects.

Or not. ;-)


Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer
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