Library Hand – Disjoint


LibHandDis — Based on scans of “Library Hand – Disjoint”, described in Dana’s A Library Primer, with some modifications.

Major changes from scan:

  • As the scan only covered A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and ‘&’, I had to make the rest up.
  • Many of the descenders had to be shortened to fit with modern typography conventions.
  • Kerning is much tighter than Dana’s guidelines suggest.

(idea for this came via MetaFilter, This question of library handwriting is an exceedingly practical one)

Local copy: LibHandDis.zip.

nerrrdy Bourgoin mini-zine

All fired up by Natalie Draz‘s presentation about The Transmitting Library at Make Change Conference last Sunday, I made a tiny zine using Natalie’s template:

patterns_from_bourgoin-zine_smallJust fold it, cut across the broken line in the middle, then re-fold so the front and back cover are on the outside. Colour it in!

I’ve supplied it in a couple of formats:

  1. PDF: all vector, no jaggies — patterns_from_bourgoin-zine.pdf.
  2. PNG: if you’re still all about the pixels — patterns_from_bourgoin-zine.png.

Forward to Libraries: Toronto Public Library added

If you’re starting your research on Wikipedia, you’ll need to see what books are available on a subject for further study. Previously, you’d need to trawl the references manually, but John Mark Ockerbloom‘s Forward To Libraries (FTL) service makes that a whole lot easier. What FTL does is allow you to reach into nearly any library’s catalogue search from a subject link on Wikipedia.

John’s been getting some great press on this service, so I asked him to add Toronto Public Library to FTL. Here’s how it works:

Pretty neat, huh? Try other articles, like Pierre Trudeau, Arduino or the Canadian Shield.

It’s not actually that hard to add Library resources boxes to Wikipedia articles. There’s a tutorial in the Template:Library resources box page that shows you how. Researching the locator is the most difficult part, and that gets a lot easier the more you add.

canadian compact car

This was advertised in the Globe & Mail on the day I was born:
viva-globe-1969
My mum bought a second-hand Viva estate in 1975. We thought it was huge.

The image is via the archive at Toronto Public Library. More cool stuff there than ever. (via)

take it or leave it

I got Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael from the library on a friend’s recommendation. I tried, but I don’t feel the love for the psychic gorilla.

It’s not that the wise protagonist is a psychic gorilla. I can get past that. It’s just that the conclusions are so pat. I wonder how many readers come away with the romantic notion that they’re the only Leaver in a Taker society? (they’re wrong, of course; I’m the only one to which this applies …)

I also didn’t get the “Takers need prophets” deal. if you decide to follow the ideas in the book, what is Ishmael but a prophet? A not-for-prophet?

Writers like Jared Diamond (though flawed) and Julian Cope (though fried; but at least can play mellotron) wrote it better. Ain’t but the one way, as the Drude sang.

What I did like about the library copy that I borrowed was that it had clearly made an impression on a previous reader. Crabbed on every page in tiny, infra-neat madperson handwriting was a seemingly endless thesis about something. What, I can’t tell; the diligent guardians of the Toronto Public Library erased almost every word, so I couldn’t tell if a worldview had been shattered or affirmed. Maybe it was the wisdom of the ages. Who can tell?

big boy’s book of big things

Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.

You can browse two electronic versions online:

  • at UMich; large page images.
  • at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.

I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.

Here do books lurk

Catherine has a project involving Toronto’s libraries, and so I, for no particularly good reason, compiled a geocoded list of the Toronto Public Library system: libraries.gpx
Google Earth display of all of Toronto's public libraries

You can thank MapSource for the bloated GPX file. It quadrupled in size when I changed the symbols to look like buildings.

batch renaming iTunes directories

In partial response to the Ask Metafilter question “How can I rename my music folders on my Mac based on ID3 tags?“:

#!/bin/bash
# itunes_sanity.sh - fix dir names created by iTunes
# only works for mp3s, and not actually tested on a Mac
# created by scruss on Sun Sep 4 22:05:00 EDT 2005

find "$@" -type d -mindepth 1 | while read directory
do
  artistdir=$(dirname "$directory")
  firstfile=$( find "$directory" -type f -iname '*.mp3' | head -n1 )
  year=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TYE ' | sed 's/=== TYE (Year): //; s/[^0-9]*//;' )
  album=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TAL ' | sed 's,=== TAL (Album/Movie/Show title): ,,;' )
  echo mv \'$directory\' \'$artistdir/\[$year\] $album\'
done

So if you were in the terminal, in your music library (one up from the individual artist directories), and you did:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy

you’d get:

mv 'Dan Jones/Get Sounds Now' 'Dan Jones/[2005] Get Sounds Now'
mv 'Dan Jones/One Man Submarine' 'Dan Jones/[2003] One Man Submarine'
mv 'Tripping Daisy/Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb' 'Tripping Daisy/[1998] Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb'

If that looks okay, run the output through the shell:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy | sh

and all should be well.

You’ll need id3lib, which is probably most easily installed from Fink. Also, this only works for mp3 files; I can’t grok the tag info for AAC files. And finally, this might go seriously screwy on weird characters in filenames. You know my feelings on that …

importing mail from Mozilla Thunderbird on Linux to Mac

How lucky that Thunderbird uses the same text mail format for storing messages. All I needed to do was scp individual server directories from under .thunderbird to ~/Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/saltname.default/Mail — that did the job!

I didn’t use the shared global inbox that Thunderbird uses by default. If you do what I did, you probably shouldn’t either.

book no fair

I thought I might’ve had a couple of books waiting for me at the library yesterday, but all of these holds were waiting for me:

  • Banvard’s folly : thirteen tales of renowned obscurity, famous anonymity, and rotten luck / by Collins, Paul
  • Been brown so long it looked like green to me : the politics of nature / by St. Clair, Jeffrey.
  • Hey Rube : blood sport, the Bush doctrine, and the downward spiral of dumbness : modern history from the sports desk / by Thompson, Hunter S.
  • Mutants: on genetic variety and the human body / by Leroi, Armand Marie.
  • The pencil : a history of design and circumstance / by Petroski, Henry.

Looks like I’ve got a lot of reading to do in the next three weeks …