Now scrolling: The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weird Lincoln Facts: Lincoln and Booth Can Be Seen in Photo of Second Inaugural

There are many little known facts about Lincoln. He was the first president to be born outside the original thirteen colonies. His favorites sport was wrestling. The scar over his right eye was the result of a fight with a gang of thieves. But some facts are downright bizarre. For instance, did you know...

Lincoln once had a dream right before the fall of Richmond that he would die. He dreamt that he was in the White House, he heard crying and when he found the room it was coming from he asked who had died. The man said the President. He looked in the coffin and saw his own face. A week later Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre.

Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The same play was also running at the Maverick Theatre in Chicago on May 18, 1860, the day Lincoln was nominated for president in that city.

He was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration. John Wilkes Booth (his assassin) can be seen standing close to Lincoln in the above picture of the Second Inaugural. Booth can be seen in the crowd at the top and accomplices David Herold, Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, John Surratt and Edmund Spangler in the bottom crowd. Frederick Douglass commented on that day, "I was present at the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, the 4th of March, 1865. I felt then that there was murder in the air, and I kept close to his carriage on the way to the Capitol, for I felt that I might see him fall that day. It was a vague presentiment."

Robert Todd Lincoln arrived too late to stop three separate presidential assassinations. He met his father, President Abraham Lincoln, at the theatre after John Wilkes Booth had fired the shot. He went to a Washington train station to meet President Garfield, arriving only minutes after he was shot. And, he traveled to Buffalo, New York to meet President McKinley, but got there after the fatal shot had already been fired.

Where did I get all this stuff? Check out "Lincoln Site Tours: Trivia" at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lincoln and His Pets

Fido Never Made It to Washington

Lincoln loved animals. The count of exactly how many wound up at the White House varies. When Lincoln was elected president, the family dog, Fido, was left at Springfield with the Roll family because of a fear of loud noises. Lincoln also left his favorite horsehair sofa with the Rolls to make Fido feel at home. Another dog, Jip, replaced Fido as Lincoln's frequent lunch companion at the White House.

When asked what Lincoln's favorite hobby was, Mary replied "cats." He had a special love for them and adopted two kittens in the White House. Treasury Official Maunsell B. Fields remarked "Lincoln was fond of dumb animals, especially cats." Now there's an ignorant statement. Anyone who's held a conversation with a cat knows they're anything but dumb.

There were also two goats in the White House, Nanny and Nanko, and a pony which Tad refused to ride after Willie's death. Old Bob, Lincoln's favorite horse, became the riderless lead horse in his funeral procession. Add to the mix a variety of rabbits and you have a picture of the White House menagerie on an average day .

To read more about Lincoln's pets, check out the websites: Mr. Lincoln's White House : Pets ; and Abraham Lincoln's Classroom: Pets and Children

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Week 9, Thing #23: Course Summary: Moving toward a Library without Walls

Ah. The course is finished. The race is run. The flag is flying, the text is scrolling. All is right with the world.
My favorite discovery was checking out the blogs of co-workers and seeing the different ways they used the technologies on their blogsites. My favorite exercise was reading about the impact of Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 on the future of libraries, and how all the technical innovations I explored might be useful in creating a library without walls.

My lifelong learning goals have always included keeping up with technology in one form or another, and this course has enhanced those goals by providing hands-on experience with such innovations as Flickr, Wikis, and RSS feeds from sources like OCLC and ALA. Where I once thought of technology as a necessary but challenging aspect of library work, I now think of it as a positive form of social networking and information sharing through sites like Merlin.

One unexpected outcome of the course was that I enjoyed blogging and would like to keep it up. The idea that a blogsite like Technorati would have a place in my life or in a library setting was once foreign to me, but now seems natural. I now see libraries as sources of information in virtual formats, not just physical materials.

I can’t think of any changes in the program to improve it. I found directions and instructions easy to understand. Dividing the course into weeks and sub-things was a helpful way to organize progress. I also appreciated the generous timeline.

If offered another discovery program in the future, I would definitely participate. I have already opened an account with Merlin as a way of keeping up with ongoing discussions about technology. I would also like to create a page or become part of a discussion group at the Library 2.0 site.

My view of a library has changed from being one of a physical building with a repository of tangible collections, to being a virtual world of shared information and pooled resources on a worldwide level. And while both aspects of a library are important and one cannot replace the other, there seems to be no limit to the possibilities of a library without walls.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Week 9, Thing #22: Overdrive vs. Project Gutenberg

Exploring audio ebooks through Overdrive was a learning experience. First I had to install the Overdrive Media Console, then upgrade Windows Media Player before I could check out a title. Because Baltimore County Public Library offers Overdrive titles through their website as well as their catalog, I needed only a library card number to access the account. Some titles are listed as "always available." Others need to be put on hold.

One of the titles always available was "Jefferson's War" by Joseph Wheelan. It could be downloaded as a total volume, or in parts. Once I was able to download this book, it was great to hear Patrick Cullen reading the narration. I can see why people prefer audiobooks in this format. They can be accessed from home and do not have to be returned. After 21 days, they expire.

Project Gutenberg has a better selection of titles on Lincoln, including the biography by John Hay and John Nicolay. Gutenberg offers an option to download in Plucker format, which apparently can be sent to a cellphone. I chose to use the online reader. It was very convenient to be viewing the original text of this biography in a PDF-type file.

Project Gutenberg is free, but asks for donations to keep the project going. Their selection is worth it. They also offer the opportunity for readers to proofread some of their texts.

Both ebook libraries are excellent, with Gutenberg having the edge for more academic volumes. I would recommend Overdrive for popular reading, and Gutenberg for searching harder-to-find works.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Week 9, Thing #21: Podcasting Lincoln

Of the three search tools, and Yahoo Podcast gave me the best results, and pretty much the same results. I've added three new podcast feeds to my blogslines: "A Few Appropriate Remarks," a 24-episode series from, "The Abraham Lincoln Logs," from the website of the same name, and "100 Word Short Stories," a series of podcasts which include "The Wacky Adventures of Abraham Lincoln." That one didn't sound promising to me either, but I subscribed to it anyway.

"A few Appropriate Remarks" from, is a series of elaborately produced podcasts with visual effects and background music to the narration of historical facts about Lincoln. They actually did a very nice job on these.
"The Abraham Lincoln Logs" are political satire. Lincoln comments on AT&T iphones, talks to Dick Cheney, samples the latest videogames, and says something to offend everybody. Usually Lincoln impersonations leave me cold, but these grew on me.

"The Wacky Adventures" are 100-word short stories created by Laurence Simon. They have very catchy punchlines and are accompanied by the text so that you can read while you listen. Caleb Bullen's narration is better than Simon's. By the way, you can submit your own entries to the "100-word" site on any topic.

One thing I've learned about podcasts -- the delivery is everything. Like audiobooks, the voice is all you have to go on, so the narrator can either make or break a podcast. There are many fine ones out there, including a short series on the Civil War from the Pritzker Military Library through lib.worm, which I also saved to my blogslines.
The future of podcasting in a library setting has already taken the form of NetLibrary audiobooks. NetLibrary has had some trouble with their links, but ideally, when conveniently accessed through a website, or updated through RSS feed, these podcasts can actually replace the physical audiobook collection. It's one more step toward the library without walls.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Week 9, Thing #20: YouTube and all that jazz

If you have never visited YouTube, you are in for a treat. I opened an account and started adding favorites right away.

First of all, I thought it was about time this blogsite had its own Zapruder film, so I found a great video of the Lincoln assassination from the movie "Birth of a Nation" and posted it to my blog. There are over 1,000 Lincoln-related YouTubes, but frankly, if Lincoln isn't really in it, I'd as soon watch Cab Calloway singing "Minnie the Moocher." So I wandered over to the jazz section and got into all kinds of trouble.

If you love early jazz as much as I do, you'll love the music section of YouTube. I've already saved original performances by Ray Charles, Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, Fats Waller and George Gershwin. Three jazz videos are now in the jazz section of this blogsite. (Yes! There is a jazz section on this site!) Scroll way, way down in the right-hand column under "Singing Jazz at LincolnFreak" to see Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway, and hear Johnny Mercer's song to a tour of Savannah's historic houses. Johnny, by the way, is Confederate General Hugh Weedon Mercer's great grandson. Wow. You never know where you'll wind up.

There are four YouTubes on this blogsite now, but I can remove some if that's too many. Adding them was easier than I thought. The codes are very user-friendly and can be adjusted to fit a narrow space.

Anyway, I think YouTubes have great possibilities in the library setting. Every instructional video we've seen so far has been a form of YouTube. Also, they could be used on library websites to give virtual tours of buildings and collections, televised book reviews and lectures, even storytimes online. There is a personal touch to watching a person give instructions rather than just reading them. Whoever smiled back at a PDF file?