One Reason Why I Enjoy My Job.

bannerBelow is a something that originally appeared in the MIT Libraries Libguide to Islamic Architecture that is maintained by the Aga Khan Documentation Center @ MIT.  The archive it describes is fascinating.  I’ve just replaced it with something new, but I couldn’t bear to just throw this out completely, so I’m recycling it here.  To find out what I archive I’m featuring now, you’ll just have to check out the Archnet portion of the Libguide.  It’s got a lot of interesting resources, most of it compiled by our Program Head and our Visual Resources Librarian, though I try to hold up my end. Check it out and let us know what you think. 

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Open Letter to the Editors of Richmond Magazine

Dear Editor,

richmond-magazine-august-2013-coverI am writing to express my disappointment in the August 2013, “Best and Worst ’13” issue of Richmond Magazine, particularly the “Culture” section.  Earlier this week, on August 14, Paste Magazine released it’s list of “12 Virginia Bands You Should Listen to Now,” part of The Paste 50 States Project.  11 of the 12  acts on that list are from Richmond, and yet the “Best Local Band” is a cover band that does hits from the 70s and 80s?  I do not mean to denigrate Three Sheets to the Wind at all.  I am sure they are fantastic, and I also recognize the issue reflects the results of a readers poll.  But should you not have guided that poll a bit more?  Most polls of this kind would ask readers to choose in categories, at the minimum between best cover band and best band that plays original material, but perhaps also best live band, best country act, best rock act, etc.

Why is the Culture section so small, anyway?  Are there not enough performances or people who have seen them to have listed Best Concert, Theatrical Production, Movie Theater, Library, Movie About or Filmed in Richmond, Album by an artist originally from the Richmond area…   I could go on!  This issue is certainly not reflective of the diverse cultural life in Richmond.  In fact, a couple of the categories, “Best Enjoyable Night Out” and “Best Impressive Night Out” seem to deal only with food and beverages.  I do believe that these are important parts constituents of culture, but in the categorization schema of this issue, “Food & Drink” are a separate and much larger section.

Your magazine should play a role in advancing the cultural life of the city, and in making people from here proud of the role our citizens have played on the  national stage.  This issue fails miserably.  It seems clear the real goal is to promote potential advertisers.  That’s fine, but it shouldn’t be your only goal.

Amnesty International’s 50th, 80+ Acts, 76 Dylan Songs, $20, 5+ hours… No Matter How You Count, It Equals Awesome


Amnesty International is one of the most important human rights organizations operating in the world today, and it celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Started in 1961 with a worldwide “Appeal for Amnesty” on behalf of individuals imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their beliefs written by British lawyer Peter Benenson, the movement now counts more than 3 million people worldwide.

What better way to celebrate this milestone anniversary than with an album of songs by a man whose songs include the anthems “I Shall Be Released” and “Chimes of Freedom”?  Bob Dylan has long been a supporter of Amnesty International, and Chimes of Freedom was also the unofficial anthem for the amazing Human Rights Now Tour, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1988.

The collection is available now directly from Amnesty International, on iTunes, or at Amazon.  I downloaded the digital tracks, 76 of them, for $19.99 and it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in recent memory.  I’m not exaggerating.  By and large it’s great music, but more on that in a minute.  Let’s get some math out of the way first, if you’re budget conscious like me.  I don’t buy much music these days.  For the most part, I rely on a subscription service, Rhapsody, for my music.  I only purchase music when there’s are really good reason to.  This is worth buying, a bargain by any standards.

It is a 76 song digital download for $19.99, or 4 CDs for $24.99.  Moreover, all profits go to help Amnesty International in its work.  That’s well over 5 hours of music and the satisfaction of helping out one of my favorite causes, for the price of two album downloads on iTunes.  Your average digital LP on iTunes or most other legal sites is usually $9.99 (increasingly $11.99) and it usually includes 10-12 songs.  This is 76 songs.  If that were sold at 12 songs per record , it would be 6 1/3 records.  Nobody like fractions, so let’s just say this collection equals 6 iTunes LPs + 4 free bonus tracks.   If Amnesty International were a record label and not a human rights nonprofit, they’d have known to more slickly market this collection typical price of $59.94, but tell us it’s on sale now for $19.99,  $24.99 for the 4 CDs.  Then we’d know we’re getting a bargain!

Of course it’s only a bargain if the music is good.  It could contain twice as many tracks, but if you only like 9 of them, then you still don’t want to pay $20.

So then, is it any good?

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© Rights Reserved! Creativity, Commerce, Preservation and Control

Techdirt is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs, especially for it’s coverage of intellectual property, digital piracy and copyright issues.  Today’s post on “Why Piracy Is Indispensable to the Survival of our Culture” is important reading, not just for those who are interested in these issues, but for all of  us, myself included, who’ve never really thought about the shelf life of all those documents, photos and programs we’ve stored away on disks in formats we probably don’t even have the hardware to read anymore!

Other recent posts have demonstrated how copyright law can keep treasured works of art locked away from the public, and keep visual artists from celebrating the work of musicians they admire, at least if they hope to be able to make a living at it.

Where does it end?  By the logic of the Van Dyke Parks laid as laid out in taking legal action agains Erik den Breejen, if the artist cannot create art inspired by a Beach Boys album, am I allowed to write this post praising the posts from the Techdirt blog?  Did I need permission?  Please don’t sue me guys!

Academic Freedom Media Review – August 6-12, 2011

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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TOGO: Government yields to student pressure
Tunde Fatunde, University World News, 8/12

Conditions of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei’s Detention Emerge
Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, 8/12

Ccasu Says not yet contacted by Commission
Frank Namangale, The Nation, 8/12

AAUP Says U. of Virginia Is Giving Group Too Much Access to Climate Researchers’ Documents
Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/11

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Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Media Review, June 4 – 10, 2011

Scholars at Risk would like to draw attention to the killing of Dr. Maksud I. Sadikov, Rector of the Institute of Theology and International Relations in Russia. According to media reports Mr. Sadikov was shot to death in a car in Makhachkala, the capital of the Dagestan region, on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. The motives for this apparent assassination are not clear at this time but seem to relate to Dr. Sadikov’s efforts to promote moderate religious education in the region to counter terrorism and extremism in the Caucasus. Please see the following two articles for additional information relating to the killing of Dr. Sadikov:

Rector at Muslim University in Russia Is Shot to Death
Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times, 6/7

Senior Dagestani Muslim Killed in a Hail of Bullets
Natalya Krainova, The Moscow Times, 6/8

Please find below a compilation of articles in the news media addressing academic freedom issues over the past week.

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The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here.  The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

BC asks for Irish project secrecy
Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe, 6/9

Annual Report 2011 of the Network of Concerned Historians
Antoon De Baets, Network of Concerned Historians, 6/8

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SAR Academic Freedom Media Review, May 28-June, 2011

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

Iraq: Protest Organizers Beaten, Detained
Human Rights Watch, 6/2

Sri Lanka’s army: In bigger barracks
The Economist, 6/2

Charge Against Professor Raises Questions About Academic Freedom in Thailand
Newley Purnell, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/1

Bahrain’s ‘progressive’ influence
Ali M. Latifi, Al Jazeera, 6/1

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Academic Freedom Media Review, January 22-28

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

Purge or Quality Control?
Dan Berrett, Inside Higher Ed, 1/28

University dispute causes a crisis of credibility /
Shirley Brooks, Mail and Guardian, 1/28

Iraqi Academics Come Together to Debate Future of Higher-Education System
Ursula Lindsey, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/28

Arab Scholars, Politicians and Activists Issue Appeal for Human Rights and Democracy in the Arab World
Reuters, 1/27

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Academic Freedom Media Review, October 23-29, 2010

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

Warning on Bologna
Hannah Fearn, Inside Higher Ed, 10/29

Iranian Scholar Accused of Acting against National Security
Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR), 10/28

Students say: new report recommending specialised universities would spell disaster for accessible education and academic choice
CNW, 10/27

Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Svyatoslav Bobyshev and Yevgeny Afanasyev, Russian scholars held in pretrial detention since March
Scholars at Risk, 10/26

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Academic Freedom Media Review

October 16 – 22, 2010
Compiled by Scholars at Risk

The Scholars at Risk media review seeks to raise awareness about academic freedom issues in the news. Subscription information and archived media reviews are available at here. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily those of Scholars at Risk.

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Tibetans Protest China’s Plan to Curb Language
Edward Wong, The New York Times, 10/22

Jailed Iranian Scholar Denies Charges in Court
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 10/21

Is affirmative action for men the answer to enrollment woes?
Carolyn Abraham and Kate Hammer, The Globe and Mail, 10/21

Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Ward Churchill’s Bid to Get His University Job Back
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/21

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