Robert Darnton closes the book

first_imgEarly this summer, Robert Choate Darnton, Harvard’s Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University Librarian, will pack up his book-lined office on the second floor of Wadsworth House.As of June 30, the celebrated historian, digital library pioneer, and champion of books will leave the University he first saw as an undergraduate in 1957. A scholar of Enlightenment France and of the history of the book, he returned to Harvard in 1965 to join the Society of Fellows, decamped to Princeton University in 1968 for 39 years, and came back to Harvard in 2007.A May 13 sendoff will celebrate Darnton ― a former Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Fellow — as a champion of free, open-source access in a universe of stored knowledge threatened by commercial exploitation. “If I could characterize what I’ve done since 2007 in one word,” he said, “it would be ‘openness’ ― to open up Harvard to the world. Knowledge should be seen as a natural resource.”In 2007, after arriving at the University as its chief librarian, Darnton joined in a polemic already underway, fighting an attempt by Google to digitize books at Harvard and elsewhere that were covered by copyright. At Harvard, by agreement, Google would go on to digitize about 850,000 books already in the public domain, but its attempt to digitize copyrighted books was eventually ruled a violation of antitrust law.“The danger of commercialization is an ever-present danger,” said Darnton. “Google tried to create a commerce of access, [but in the end] could not put up a wall around our libraries and charge admission.”As a counterpoint, he added, with the complications of copyright in mind, “We want to digitize everything and make everything free of charge.”Darnton’s accomplishments are many. In 2008, he followed up on a vote by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences to make all scholarly articles available online, free of charge. He opened an Office for Scholarly Communication and started Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard (DASH), an open-access repository of peer-reviewed literature. (Since then, all Harvard faculty have adopted the same policy.) “Articles reach more than 100 countries,” said Darnton of DASH and its audience, “far more than could ever be reached if published in just a journal.”DASH downloads (which are reported monthly to contributing scholars, per article) now total more 5.3 million.The current system of print journal publishing remains “wildly irrational and very expensive,” Darnton said. He believes that “in 10 years open-access journals will completely dominate things.”In 2010, he began what is likely the highlight and highest triumph of his passion for open access. During a gathering at Harvard, about 40 library scholars, experts, and others — drawn by a two-page proposal he had written — discussed how to harness the Internet to create a digital library that would “get our cultural heritage available to everyone” for free, said Darnton.“It sounded extravagant and utopian,” he said. But the Boston-based Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is two years old now. It links more than 1,200 U.S. libraries, archives, museums, and other repositories, and has made 10 million items available online. DPLA is already linked to analog outlets in Europe and Australia, said Darnton, and within five years will be part of a globe-spanning, knowledge-making “world digital library.”That goal “was a dream of philosophers of the Enlightenment,” said Darnton. “We can do what Jefferson only dreamed of. We have the Internet, and he only had the printing press.”In 2013 Darnton took another digital step, starting the Colonial North America project, an attempt to harness scattered collections in Massachusetts, New York, and Quebec to create a database of documents that explain some of the origins of the New World. Harvard alone has something like 400 million manuscript documents. A thematic database on such an unprecedented scale “will transform our knowledge of the origins of the country,” said Darnton. The documents at Harvard, by themselves, he said, illuminate “the beginning of America.”The project bore fruit right away, with the discovery at Houghton Library of a 1767 Boston boycott petition containing more than 650 names that provided the first full snapshot of core activists — including many women — who a few years later sparked the American Revolution.Books and bytes bothDarnton is just as at ease among the manuscripts and books of the past as he is in the brave new world of the Internet. Both are complementary means of knowledge dispersal, he said, and both are thriving.“People ask me all the time: Is the book dead? Are libraries obsolete?” said Darnton. He says the answers are no and no. “More books are produced every year than ever before,” he said of the print trade. “One medium doesn’t displace another,” just as radio wasn’t killed by television, and as television didn’t succumb with the arrival of the Internet.Darnton, whose academic accomplishments include reviving the history of the book as a scholarly pursuit, offered a startling example: Three centuries after Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press, the manuscript was still a profit-making enterprise. (In some instances, the economics of scribal publishing trumped those of moveable type.)“I see the ecology of the book expanding, getting richer, getting more diverse today,” said Darnton.The business of electronic books is also evolving “to communicate information in new ways,” he said. In academics, dissertations are increasingly drawn away from a text-only model into a universe of video clips, audio, and digitized artifacts that expand the sense of a topic. “We are going through a period of transition,” said Darnton, “in which dissertations will be largely written on computers, stored in databases, and communicated through the Internet.”At Harvard, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences recognized this reality in 2010, opening a new secondary field to ease the way to multimedia Ph.D. dissertations. Two years before, a dissertation included vials of scent.“The whole world is adjusting this way,” Darnton said of electronic publishing in all forms, “and the library has a huge role to play in it.”Libraries aliveSo, like books, libraries are not dead or dying either, said Darnton. But for them to prosper requires advancing on two fronts, analog and digital. “We must acquire everything important in all fields of scholarship,” he said of printed books, along with “electronic outputs of all kinds, partly in cooperation with other libraries.”The future of libraries will require “being connected, and cooperating on a very large scale” regarding acquisition, preservation, and storage, said Darnton. “I see a future in which financial problems can only be solved through different forms of cooperation.” As a template for such interaction, he cited a “carefully elaborated” memorandum of understanding signed by the Harvard Library and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.“The library still pumps intellectual energy into every corner of campus,” said Darnton. “I see the library as the heart and soul of Harvard. It has always been that. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t change.”An emerging ethic of free knowledge in an open-access digital world “does not mean anything goes,” said Darnton, with child pornography as an example of reasonable limits. (He is a trustee at the New York Public Library, which has a policy in place.) “At the same time, the public needs protection. We have to protect privacy” from assaults like large-scale personal data retrieval by the National Security Agency (“appalling,” said Darnton) and from nation-scale Internet censorship, as with what he calls “the Great Firewall of China.”The First Amendment — though not a license to do or say everything — still needs protecting, said Darnton, because, without it, many people have “suffered terribly,” going back centuries. In his book “Censors at Work” (2014) Darnton presented a close-up, archival view of the damage such repression can do. His examples were Communist East Germany, British India under imperial rule, and Bourbon France, where “book police” carried out regular raids in search of “mauvais livres,” or bad books.Back to historyBourbon France, after a fashion, is where Darnton will go when his time at Harvard ends.“I have to vacate this office,” he said of his spacious room in Wadsworth House at the south edge of Harvard Yard. “But I won’t have to go to meetings. I won’t have to write memos. I’ll do history.”Darnton has written or co-written 27 books, and his next will be a print rendition of work from his new website, robertdarnton.org. His first fully online publication is “a systematic compendium from a lot of sources,” said Darnton, a multi-layered, digitally assisted exploration of the world of books just before the French Revolution.The site’s hundreds of documents and essays relate a complicated tale of foreign printers, clever smugglers (“the entire Enlightenment was printed outside of France”), busy censors, and avid readers. There is a core narrative, and then clickable layers beneath that, including dozens of letters from smugglers, for instance. “You can read vertically as well as horizontally,” said Darnton.Studying book smugglers in Bourbon France was not among his early dreams. “For me, it was newspapers,” Darnton said. “My orientation from the very beginning was to be a newspaper reporter.”His father, Byron Darnton, was killed in 1942 while covering the war in the Pacific for the New York Times, and emulation was his son’s first impulse. “I thought I would succeed my father,” said Harvard’s Darnton. “My brother did.”While John Darnton did longtime work in newspapers, eventually winning a Pulitzer Prize, the elder brother beat him to the first byline: in the New York Times at age 4. During a tour of wartime Washington, D.C., a reporter friend of his father’s wrote up the boy’s baby-talk commentary, which required translating mispronunciations. Some are still apt, like “penny-gone” for “Pentagon.”At Bedford (N.Y.) Junior High School, Robert Darnton wrote a regular column for the local newspaper. During college, he did “boot camp” at the Newark Star-Ledger, where among the “touching stories and complaints, you learn a lot.”In 1960, after three years at Harvard College, he graduated magna cum laude. While at Oxford from 1960 to 1964, Darnton was a stringer for the New York Times, and covered for vacationing foreign correspondents. (He emerged from Oxford in 1964 with a D.Phil.) “I was writing stories all along,” said Darnton.After Oxford, back in New York, Darnton spent a few months as a Times police reporter before signing on as a junior fellow with Harvard’s Society of Fellows. (Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., his undergraduate tutor, provided the recommendation.)“The first thing I did as a junior fellow was to go into some key archives,” said Darnton, who still has on his desk shoeboxes full of file cards from his early research. (“These are antiques,” he offered. “Modern graduate students don’t have a clue about them.”) It was while sifting old manuscripts, letters, and books that he found — felt, really — his true calling: to be a kind of reporter who specializes in ages past, as a historian.“It was the act of experiencing, of doing research, and writing it up as an attempt to make sense of the past that I found my vocation,” he said. “You make contact with people who have been dead for centuries, and get some sense of the tenor of their lives. I found that thrilling.”last_img read more

EnQuest director to step down from role

first_imgUK North Sea oil firm EnQuest has informed that its director Phillip Nolan will be stepping down from his role to take up a new position in Associated British Ports Holdings Limited.EnQuest said on Thursday that Nolan would step down with effect from July 4.At that time, he will assume new responsibilities as a non-executive chairman of Associated British Ports Holdings Limited, the direct holding company of Associated British Ports.Nolan spent 15 years with BP working in the UK, the USA, Australia, and Southeast Asia. Later, he was responsible for acquisition and disposals for BP Exploration worldwide and was managing director of Interconnector Limited which built and operates the gas pipeline between Bacton and Zeebrugge.He joined BG Group where he was chief executive officer of Transco which runs the UK gas pipeline network and was also an executive member of the BG Group board. On demerger from BG Group, Nolan was the chief executive officer of the Lattice GroupJock Lennox, chairman of EnQuest, said: “Since 2012, Phil has played a significant role in the development of EnQuest, including most recently the milestone of first oil at the Kraken project. I would like to thank him on behalf of the Board for his unstinting and valuable contribution to the Company and wish him well for the future.”EnQuest added that, in conjunction with an independent search firm, the process of building on the company’s rotation plans continues.last_img read more

Cornell shuts down Syracuse’s man-up to end SU’s season in NCAA tournament first round

first_img Published on May 13, 2018 at 11:12 pm Contact Charlie: [email protected] | @charliedisturco Cornell goalie Christian Knight jogged off the field as Syracuse midfielder Jamie Trimboli threw his head back and pumped his fists. The latter had just scooped a loose ball and scored his second straight to give the Orange a three-goal lead. Knight continued his jogging, stopping near the penalty area, where he was to serve a one-minute penalty for slashing.Syracuse had an opportunity to take full control of the game. It was already on a 3-0 run to begin the second quarter.Faceoff specialist Danny Varello won the ensuing faceoff, keeping Syracuse’s man-up hopes intact. The Orange passed the ball around the perimeter, looking for an open cutter. Trimboli found a wide-open Brendan Bomberry right in front of the crease.He missed wide.All season long, Syracuse’s offense has shown signs of inexperience. Normally it was turnovers or quick shots that plagued the Orange, which contributed to six regular-season losses. But on Sunday inside the Carrier Dome, the No. 8-seeded Orange (8-7) could not convert its extra-man opportunities, finishing 0-for-3 in a 10-9 loss to Cornell (13-4) in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. For the first time since 2011, Cornell downed SU inside the Dome and will move on to play Maryland in the quarterfinals next weekend.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We got an extra man, so you should put it in the back of the net,” SU head coach John Desko said. “We had opportunities to shoot it (more), could’ve pulled the trigger, but we didn’t.”Entering Sunday night, Syracuse had an opportunity at revenge. It had dropped a regular-season matchup to Cornell a month ago, a five-goal loss on the road, yet still earned a higher seed in the tournament. Now, SU was home in a place the Orange is most comfortable in.In that 13-8 loss in early April, Cornell had been successful at shutting down Syracuse’s only man-up opportunity. After shutting down the Orange’s first man-up on Sunday, Cornell’s Clarke Petterson responded with an extra-man goal of his own to pull the Big Red within two.As the game progressed and Cornell tied the game at 7-7 midway in the second half, Andrew Helmer recovered a loose ball off the faceoff and was shoved near the sideline, prompting another man-up opportunity for SU. But before Helmer was hit, a behind-the-back pass kept the offense in motion. Brendan Curry scored soon after, and similar to its first opportunity, SU went man-up on the back of a goal.Again, Varello won the faceoff. And again, the offense worked the ball around the perimeter. Stephen Rehfuss caught the ball in the corner and jogged five yards forward before firing a cross-field pass to Bomberry.This time, he didn’t miss wide. Instead, it deflected off Knight’s stick and bounced back into play. Cornell’s Dan Bockelman scooped the ground ball and crossed midfield, effectively ending SU’s man-up.“Syracuse is such a fundamental team,” Cornell interim head coach Peter Milliman said. “A lot of the time they can get away with not doing a whole lot of crazy stuff on man-up. So it can be kind of familiar because you’ve seen it a bunch of times.”The Orange’s man-up had always been a strong part of its game. It entered the NCAA tournament ranked No. 18 in the country, converting at a 41-percent clip. The man-up unit was one of Syracuse’s most experienced lines of attack, with redshirt senior Matt Lane and junior Brad Voigt replacing freshmen Brendan Curry and Tucker Dordevic. And in all but three games prior to Sunday night, Syracuse had scored at least once while man-up.Cornell mixed up its tactics. It targeted different attackers, taking out junior Nate Solomon completely on one of the three man-ups. Milliman said he wanted to throw something Syracuse had not seen before, trying to throw them off.“They shut off Nate and that was something we really never have seen before,” Bomberry said.The last man-up for Syracuse came in one of the game’s most crucial moments. For the first time all game, the Orange had given up its lead and trailed. Right off the ensuing faceoff, SU’s Brett Kennedy scooped the ground ball and pushed upfield. He was met by two Cornell players before being pushed, drawing the extra-man opportunity.With 5:15 remaining, Syracuse had a chance to regain momentum with a game-tying goal. Similar to the first man-up, Trimboli took possession at the top of the key. He turned and fired toward Bomberry in front of the crease.“We did a good job with our pace off-ball,” senior defender Jake Pulver said. “Sometimes on man-down you can get lulled asleep when they’re exchanging the ball at the perimeter and you don’t have clear communication of who’s picking up the ball and what we’re doing. And I think we did a good job staying on a string when we went to the shot.”For the third straight Syracuse extra-man opportunity, Bomberry found himself alone in front of the cage with only the goalie to beat. He shot low, but Knight met Bomberry there.Knight scooped the ball up and threw it 40 yards upfield to Jake McCulloch as Cornell cleared the ball.In its most important game of the season, Syracuse’s normally reliable man-up unit was anything but. And it made a difference that Cornell took advantage of, squeaking out a one-goal win to advance to the NCAA quarterfinals.“We had some good shots on the man-up, but didn’t capitalize on it,” Desko said. “That especially might’ve been the difference in the game tonight.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Franklyn Rose ordeal!

first_imgUpon return to Jamaica by way of deportation, former West Indies paceman, Franklyn Rose, is claiming racial injustice and wrongful deportation and recounted his story “for public information on racial profiling predominantly in a Caucasian environment”.Speaking in an interview via the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), the Jamaican shared: “I need to let people know what really happened. I am disappointed in the New Zealand immigration system. I am very disappointed,” he said of being locked up abroad and then deported.Rose’s attorney is currently pursuing the matter, and the former cricketer wants Jamaicans to understand he was not a lawbreaker.”I want people to understand my side of the story, to set the record straight,” Rose said.Rose entered a professional contract with New Zealand Cricket playing and coaching at the club level in 2010. He played two years at that level before his contract ended. Rose said he had high hopes of retaining a new contract, but it was not to be.He said that in 2012, he was victim of a traumatic racial assault.According to the Jamaican, four Caucasian men used racially discriminatory words while attacking him in an attempt to steal his car.THEY BEAT ME”They beat me down. One (guy) missed my head and chopped me on the hand,” said Rose, who was subsequently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at hospital for three days before being released, according to him, prematurely.”The nurses kicked me out; (they) said they needed to care for other patients. After a day my friend had to take me back to the hospital. I was having some serious pains. The doctors told me I had a blood clot in my lungs and I had nerve damage in my hand,” said Rose.The former cricketer said there was no arrest related to his assault, even though the incident was reported to the police.”I reported the incident to the police, but because of the colour of my skin, they thought I was in a gang or something.”By the time he got kicked out of hospital, Rose’s cricket career was virtually over and he was on his own to pay the medical bills.”They thought that I was addicted to drugs or pain medication or something. They knew I was sick, though, that I had a blood clot. I ended up going to a private hospital instead,” he outlined, adding that he felt that his rejection was influenced by his race.Rose added that the private hospital fees were as high at US$1,500 per day, which he paid out of pocket. He was discharged after a week.He explained that the severity of his health condition and the fact that he had to be taking medication disallowed him from flying back home to Jamaica.Thus, he stayed in New Zealand for another two years while seeing various health specialists weekly to assist with his recovery.”I was prescribed very strong medication Warfarin. That’s a blood thinner. I also had internal bleeding in my brain; that meant more hospital fees and medication, and I was advised by the doctors that I could not travel by air,” he stressed.Rose admitted that it was depressing not being able to play cricket.”One morning, the police came knocking on my door. They questioned me about my immigration status and asked for my medical documents. I told them everything and gave them all my documents,” Rose said.”They put me on a reporting order. I had to report to the police station every Wednesday at 9 a.m. I did that religiously,” he said.Rose stressed that everything seemed well until eight weeks ago when the police came to his house at 6 a.m. and “dragged me out”.ALLEGED RAPERose said, to his dismay, he was told that he was under investigation for an alleged rape incident.”I was so confused. I know that it was a lie and they treated me like I was nothing.”Rose said he was advised that, irrespective of his medical condition, he would be deported because of his overstay.Rose added that while in court, the judge advised him there were no flights available for his deportation.”They threw me in prison for 10 days, among murderers, rapists and other convicts. It was crazy; I know I didn’t belong there.” Rose said.”I couldn’t get to use the shower. I couldn’t brush my teeth for 10 days and I didn’t even get my medication until after eight days of being locked up. I could have died in that cell. I was so depressed.”Rose recalled: “I was finally given shower privileges, but no one told me that each shower lasted for only five minutes. They cut off the water while I was soaped up. I had to wash off myself with the water from the toilet.”After spending 38 days in prison, he said he was taken out of his cell and escorted to the airport.”They put me in one of those prison trucks. They treated me like a criminal.”He was then seated at the back of the plane and placed under high security.He added that he is looking forward to full recovery, while enabling him to make a contribution to cricket.last_img read more