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Posts Tagged ‘philosophical ramblings’

I vaguely remember seeing pictures of the Constitution hanging around my alma mater’s library as a first-year, and not really understanding why, since we didn’t even celebrate Labor Day or Columbus Day. A staffer told me that the school had to celebrate Constitution Day in some kind of visible manner, or else risk losing federal funding.

Just now, an email arrived from Drexel about their Online Constitutional Convention:

“To commemorate Constitution Day on September 17th, I would like to invite all members of the University community to participate in an Online Constitutional Convention. University community members can interact with one another to both celebrate and challenge the Constitution as it currently exists by submitting amendments to its text for what will culminate in a vote on proposed changes.

Some places seem to go all out and present lectures and so on for Constitution Day. I just remember there being a picture of the Constitution and some handy bookmarks… The library at Williams College gave a good explanation as to exactly why they were celebrating Constitution Day:

“Public Law 108-447, signed into law on December 8, 2004, mandates all educational institutions receiving federal funding to hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution on September 17 each year. This exhibit features recently added library materials related to Constitutional issues that have been the topic of current scholarly research and discussion. “

It seems kind of a strange mandate to me, so I pose a couple of questions to you, dear readers, and ask for your thoughts on this:

  • What do you think the purpose of this mandate is?
  • Is this a positive thing?
  • Why is it that libraries seem to frequently carry the responsibility of fulfilling this mandate?

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With the roommate off getting a cavity filled, the apartment is, like the city, a bit eerily quiet. Tonight being d&d night, this won’t last for long, as a whole bunch of people will make sure my apartment is anything but quiet tonight – not just that, but Tropical Storm Hanna¬†appears to be heading straight for Philly!

This’ll be my first big storm in a city, and I’m not sure what to worry about – at home (back in the boonies), the power would usually go out and not return for a few hours, the sump pump might stop working, we might have to worry about the remainder of the big pine tree falling on the house, or a power-line falling.

But in Philly, there aren’t any power-lines visible near me (all hiding underground), and there aren’t any trees near my 3rd floor apartment windows, and no sump pump in the basement (and if the basement does flood, that’s my landlord’s worry, not mine). The only thing that could go wrong would be the power going out.

In other news, I’m officially t.b. free! I’m also seriously thinking about joining the Amateur Chamber Music Players¬†– I miss playing in a group. I practiced my Prokofiev this morning. Still challenging, still one of the best pieces of music I’ve ever played, still a lot of fun and a pain in the ass.

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I’ve been working on this manuscript on Anabaptists in Muenster for a couple of days now, and am just about finished. I follow a certain pattern when cataloging a manuscript:

  • pagination/foliation
  • physical description
  • title/author/table of contents/provenance, etc.
  • summary
  • and finally, subject headings and genre terms.

Doing an initial foliation can be extremely helpful, not simply because you need page numbers when writing the rest of your description, but that it allows you to become acquainted with your manuscript, which can be especially good if the manuscript is daunting for some reason or another (most likely due to paleography). Subject headings come last as they are the most difficult – you have to break down the essence of a work to a few preordained terms and descriptor phrases (e.g.: one of the Library of Congress subject headings I’ve chosen for this one is Anabaptists–Germany–Muenster in Westfalen–History. Generally an “early works to 1800” gets tacked on, but this category is specific enough that I feel it would limit my record too much).

This particular manuscript is causing me some problems due to a few inherent issues. Written as a history, it ought to be impartial, yet it ends up completely trashing both the Anabaptists and Lutherans of the time. The author, it turns out, lived in Muenster during the Anabaptist uprising, and both he and his parents were banished from the city by the Anabaptists, so I’m not surprised he has some pent-up, not-so-hidden anger against them.

(more…)

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