A new President and the End of Term Web Archive

Obama inauguration, 2009. end of term web archive

Obama inauguration, 2009

Preservation of online information presents a very difficult problem in general.

Federal government websites are especially vulnerable at the end of a presidential term. The End of Term Web Archive has preserved a snapshot of them since 2008.

I have seen web posts that speak of a frantic effort to preserve government information. They attribute it to fear of the incoming Trump administration.

Don’t believe such mindless hysteria.

Regardless of who won the election, the End of Term Web Archive team would be hard at work. Even when a President is reelected, turnover in the cabinet and at other agencies can be high. The new team often takes down the old sites to make room for its own.

If a government document exists in print, some archive preserves it. The National Archives or a presidential library preserve a lot. Government information that exists only on the web easily disappears without a trace. Just like any other web-based information. Continue reading

Surprising place to get healthy: at the library

health at the library screen shot

Healthy Library Initiative home page screen shot

As the Affordable Care Act’s flaws become more apparent and politicians bicker over how, or whether, to fix it, where can we look for real leadership on health? At the library!

The library’s role in health shouldn’t be surprising. Libraries have long dedicated themselves to educating the public about many critical issues.

They have long provided the poor with services they can get nowhere else. They have long sought innovative ways to expand their influence.

Here are four  health initiatives I have recently learned about. Continue reading

6 outdated phrases and their forgotten meanings

Ps and Qs--outdated phrases
Language changes, but technology changes faster. We still keep using outdated phrases long after we’ve left the old technology behind.

Sometimes we update their meaning. Sometimes not.

Some of these phrases are centuries old. Others, older generations remember the technologies well—fondly, even. But younger people have never used them. Or perhaps never even seen them.

But the language lingers. Continue reading

Why write? Authentic reasons for anyone

writing by hand-- why writeYou’re a writer.

You might not write novels, poetry, magazine articles, or anything else you intend to publish.  But you write.

You may enjoy writing. You may hate it. Either way, writing is important. But why? What are reasons for writing?

Flannery O’Connor wrote, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” That’s reason enough for anyone, but everyone has other, more specific reasons. Continue reading

New Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

Carla Hayden librarian of congress history

Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden has recently been sworn in as only the 14th Librarian of Congress in history. Most reports emphasize that she is the first woman and the first African-American to hold that position.

Those are important milestones to be sure, but attention to them obscures some others. Carla Hayden is

  • The first Librarian of Congress with a limited term of appointment
  • Only the third professional librarian appointed to the position.
  • Fully backed by the American Library Association (ALA), which opposed some of her predecessors.

Continue reading