Daily Archives: April 21, 2009

Beautiful book…

arch-of-planet.jpgOn this Earth Day eve, check out “The dawn of the color photograph: Albert Kahn’s archives of the planet” by David Okuefuna.

From Booklist: “In 1907 the Lumiere brothers, who wowed Paris with its first commercially shown movies in the 1890s, demonstrated the autochrome photographic process, with which color photos could be taken by a glass-plate camera. The banker Albert Kahn embraced it and the next year launched a project that would continue until the Great Depression bankrupted him. Kahn felt that if the world’s people could see one another, animosity based on stereotypes would be dispelled and world peace realized. He dispatched opérateurs, some female, with autochrome plates and movie film to capture how the Other looked and lived for a maximally public archive. It was the dream of, Musée Albert-Kahn’s director Gilles Baud-Berthier says, a man of the nineteenth century, perhaps even the eighteenth—but not the twentieth. So much for outdated idealism. But just look at the pictures, full of the fascination of all old photodocumentation, heightened by color more sensual than later color processes deliver. Accompanied by a nontechnical text and complementing a BBC-TV series, this is a world-history buff’s delight” (Ray Olson).

World Digital Library is live!

wdlhomemap2.jpg“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions today launched the World Digital Library, a website that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world. The site―located at www.wdl.org―includes manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs. It provides unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.” (LOC)

Why is this so great? To quote indicommons: their mission is to “make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.”

Is this the beginning of universal access?

Want to know more? Check the Library or Congress press release or the UNESCO press release.