Just before Christmas, I started cataloguing the Leniniana Collection with the help of Kate and Jen, who some in the library might remember from their stint as 2008 summer interns. We had a rather slow start because we encountered a few minor problems with the spreadsheet model we had previously used for the Historical Photograph Collection, (namely that there weren’t any photographs this time around). I also found that I’m not very good with metalworking processes and have defaulted to calling many object materials ‘alloys’ just to be safe.

Last week Tuesday work picked up again however when the 35mm films we sent out for dubbing were brought back, nicely packaged, labelled and copied to DVD. Despite the fact that I don’t speak a word of Russian, I find the documentaries very engaging. And I do manage to catch the many instances of the word “Lenin”.

I’m a little behind in the RULA workshops, but I wikied on Tuesday and now I’ve borrowed a photo from Flickr that’s thematically appropriate to my blog, under a Creative Commons license of course. The image is a photo montage of a scene taken in Moscow by user undeuxun. It’s constructivist in style (very popular in Russia, appropriately) and was captioned “Lenin is agitating the nation off his mausoleum, while Stalin is becoming red with his envy.”


I’m enjoying the tasks set out by the Rula 2.0 workshop thoroughly. I’m also realizing that there is a lot more out there I could and should be reading up on. Check out my new bloglines, for instance.




It probably won’t be an overstatement to say that the whole world will watch Barack Obama be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States tomorrow morning. As the first black man to win the presidential office in a country that not so long ago used skin colour to measure a person’s worth, the anticipation of this event is markedly high. Watching the event, keeping newspapers or clipping photos from magazines, holding onto those election bumper stickers (I picked one up in Vermont in October) – all these little things help us remember that we too were there.

So how well will you preserve your memories? A posting to the Conservation DistList reminded me that I should treat my own memories with as much care as I treat my archival collections. Here are some tips, excerpted from that posting (which were in turn excerpted from Caring for Your Family Treasures):

Follow these simple preventive steps to keep your treasures safe and sound for the next generation:

1.  If you feel comfortable, your treasures will be comfortable.
When you feel hot or cold, damp or dry, so do your
treasures. You wouldn’t feel comfortable living in the
basement or attic and neither are they. You feel better when
there is good circulation; so do they.

2.  Create micro-climates and use protective covers. Matting and
framing with proper materials creates protective
micro-climates, as do chemically stable boxes (even boxes
within boxes). Use dust covers on stored objects and
polyester liners on wooden shelves to protect your treasures
from dust and pollutants.

3.  Limit light exposure. The damaging effects of light are
cumulative. Take precautions with the amount and type of
light to which your treasures are exposed.

4.  Inspect your treasures regularly and tend to problems as
they arise. Regularly checking your treasures will help you
monitor and tend to problems as they arise. A water
condensation problem might not be present in the summer, but
left unattended during the winter, could cause serious

The image above is titled “An Ideal City”, drawn by an anonymous Renaissance artist who seems to have desired a little order in urban life. I have high hopes for the future.

Ever the one to get things in just in the nick of time, I’m doing my blog on the last day of the work week. In my defense, moving house for my boyfriend on Monday and an unusually large number of meetings hasn’t left me sitting at my desk long enough to contemplate what to post. Or even what to call my blog. I had to call in creative re-inforcements before ‘bethbook’ came to light, but all is well and rolling now. I think I may even make my first subject book-related. 😉

I picked up The Great Gatsby again for the first time since high school English and am much more enthralled with the peculiar relationships between the inhabitants of East Egg and West Egg than I ever was in my teens. The characters seem just as remote in many ways, perhaps because Fitzgerald never really let anyone but Gatsby and Daisy have a genuine meeting of mind and emotion, but I’m struck more with a sense of time and how quickly the actual events in the story pass. The narrator in particular only experienced West Egg for the length of a summer before realizing his MidWest hometown wasn’t so bad after all. I highly recommend giving this a read, or re-visiting it if it’s been awhile, with one word of advice – the mood is so overpowering that it’s often depressing to look up from the pages and realize you are not lounging in a breezy living room in the heat of a New York summer.

small gatsby

The photo above was taken from the Art Deco Society of California’s website. It was taken in 2005, as part of a series of ongoing Gatsby Summer Afternoons.