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Yesterday, Google and the British Library announced their partnership to digitize 250,000 books that are out of copyright. Though the British Library has worked with Microsoft previously and is currently working with brightsolid to digitize their newspaper collections, this project with Google is the largest digitization of paper media to date.

Chief Executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Google on this project and through this partnership believe that we are building on this proud tradition of giving access to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Our aim is to provide perpetual access to this historical material, and we hope that our collections coupled with Google’s know-how will enable us to achieve this aim.” (Press Release)

The books, pamphlets and periodicals are from the early 1700’s through the 1870’s. This time period includes the American, French and Industrial Revolutions, the age of Enlightenment, the inventions of the steam engine and telegraph, and the fall of slavery.  According to the press release, “the first works to be digitised will range from feminist pamphlets about Queen Marie-Antoinette (1791), to the invention of the first combustion engine-driven submarine (1858), and an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange (1775).”

The books will be available for free to anyone through Google Books, the British Library website, and the European Digital Library, Europeana.  Google, who is also helping 40 other libraries around the world, is incurring all of the costs.  Even though Google may have dropped its motto, “Don’t be Evil,” they’re certainly trying to do some good.

I, for one, can’t wait to read about this hippo.


Heuristic psychologist, behavioral economist, and professor of marketing Dan Goldstein first published his article, “How to be a better improviser” in 1996 and updates the content on occasion, most recently in 2009.  The tips are customized for stage acting, but many of the essential messages can be applied to decision-making approaches and behaviors in the marketing world, the business world, and other interpersonal communications. Check it out for some creative inspiration.

Kadinsky "Improvisation 28 (Second Version)"

Kadinsky "Improvisation 28 (Second Version)"

A little Friday afternoon ribbing – graph-er to photographer.  Click through for a closer look and the sourcing path.

Photographer and mathematician Nikki Graziano overlays graphs and their corresponding equations over full color nature photography.  This set of engaging compositions reminds us of the elegance and “art” of math, and its essential function as a descriptor of natural phenomena. Click through the image below (and keep clicking) to check out the full “Found Functions” set.

Related article on Wired

By Nikki Graziano

Main+Newstand+2.A couple of links from mid-May highlighting creative formats for print magazines.  Both articles are by Andrew Losowsky for the WSJ. Subscription to periodicals is still fun – I expect that if the content sings, there’s probably a base of creative class readers out there.  Maybe some spark of the creative new ideas here will catch fire:

Reinventing the magazine

Tattoo publication

Recently I stumbled upon two interesting projects that aim to provide insight into who we are. One does this through a closed small American town sample and one relies upon happen chance encounters along a nationwide road trip. Both intriguing.

1) The Oxford Project


 A collection of photographs and narrative that portray the people who make up a small American town, all 670 of its residents. The first series of portrait photographs were conducted in 1984, and each is paired with its corresponding photo completed two decades later. A longitudinal study of American life and a seemingly interesting portrayal of juxtapositions and uncanny similarities.  

“What a marvelous way to get at ‘who we are’ as people. This powerful confessional book draws its strength from the truth that so-called ordinary people, not those with bold-faced names, are actually the heroes of our American drama.”
—Ken Burns, Walpole, New Hampshire


 2.The Interview Project

interview project

 A David Lynch project that documents a 20,000 mile road trip over 70 days. Interviews were conducted at random with people they found along the road.

“The people told their story.” – David Lynch

“It’s a chance to meet these people.” -David Lynch

newAn interesting lecture series is underway in Amsterdam this year, focusing on the concept of “new” in the arts and within greater culture. The program synopses on the website trigger initial thought – I’m hoping they post the lectures later this year.

Intriguing that the program’s curators are considering “new” as a brand element, in addition to exploring the idea of “brand new.” More info from the link below.

“In the arts, the concept ‘new’ is an ideal as well as a curse. The avant-garde has been declared dead and ‘the cult of the new’ is past its peak. The pursuit of absolute originality and total innovation has given way to concepts such as remix and postproduction, eclecticism and syncretism. Is ‘new’ still permitted, how new is neo, how innovative is retro? By looking at the term ‘new’ in light of ‘old’ subjects such as virtuosity, beauty, knowledge and idealism, the lecture series THE OLD BRAND NEW proposes to free ‘new’ of its ‘stale’ image and present it in its full complexity.”