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Winter’s Almost Gone

“Winter’s Almost Gone” so sings Roger McGuinn in tribute to Pete Seeger in this month’s free music download at the Folk Den. Although February seems solidly winterly especially this year, the ibiblio offices in North Carolina are warm and we’re thinking of planting bulbs and looking for crocus blossoms to push up through what passes in North Carolina for frost and frozen earth.

Pacific Bulb Society logo
Luckily, we have the Pacific Bulb Society to help us plan. The Pacific Bulb Society was founded in 2002 and has been hosted here at ibiblio for most of its life. The PBS Wiki is a volunteer-written encyclopedia about flower bulbs. The members have collected and shared information on thousands of bulb species (with photos in most cases), plus selected hybrids also covering related topics like how to grow them, how to obtain them, their personal favorite bulbs, and where to see them in the wild and in gardens. This wiki includes all “geophytes:” plants with an underground storage organ such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers. [notes lightly adapted from]

While looking for crocus blossoms, we always refer to this handy guide from Project Gutenberg, “How to tell the birds from the flowers.” Indispensable and seemingly inexhaustible.

How to tell a crow from a crocus

Posted in Collections.

In the Month of January – Reviewing the ibiblio year

“It was in the month of January, the hills were clad in snow” sings Roger McGuinn at the Folkden.

And for much of the US that’s true at the moment. As we enter a new year at ibiblio, we want to note a few accomplishments and changes.

John Reuning who oversaw the move of the ibiblio infrastructure to UNC computing services and on to virtual machines as well as developing TeraSaur for improved BitTorrent services moved on to Rally Software as their new technical lead in May.

Cristóbal Palmer joined ibiblio in mid-summer as our own new technical lead.

We moved to answering more of our contributor and user requests in the open using AnswerHub software donated to us by DZone at

Several of our friends and contributors were in town this past year: Cory Doctorow talked about his new book Homeland in February, Roger McGuinn played at the ArtsCenter in May, Lawrence Lessig spoke here in March, Bebo White spoke about the importance of Web Science in October. Just to mention a few.

We got some massive international media coverage for having the First Web Page including being recognized in the University of North Carolina Profile entry at the Forbes America’s Top Colleges site (first sentence!).

We did some talks on #noemail (several by Paul see my blog), 20 Years of ibiblio in 5 minutes (Paul), The Work of Art, Technology, and Love in the Age of Digital Reproduction (Paul at Ackland Art Museum), The Challenge of Archiving Dynamic Websites at ibiblio (Cristóbal), and Why Coding is Fun and Matters to Democracy (Ashlee Edwards at 1st Amendment Day)

And we created a 2 minute animation in which space travelers talk about how ibiblio has been useful to them.

ibiblio is the Future from UNC SILS on Vimeo.


New Year. Bright Future. ibiblio. Keeping contributing. Keep sharing. Love to all.

Posted in Highlights.

Many Sides of Mid-Winter at ibiblio

There are “Two Sides of the Face: Midwinter Tales” wrote Arthur Quiller-Couch in 1903 (available from ibiblio-hosted Project Gutenberg), but it still took him 8 stories to cover those two sides and of course, Project Gutenberg makes the book available in several formats.

Jane Keefer’s Folk Music Index finds at least 6 versions of “In the Bleak Midwinter” based on the poem by Christina Rossetti but only one “In the Snow of Deep Midwinter” performed by Mrs. Ackroyd and Band recorded on Oranges and Lemmings, Dog 007, LP (1990), trk# A.06.

More practically for some, Hyperwar Project provides information on How to Abandon Ship in Freezing Weather that could be essential including this helpful bit: “The seamen from the torpedoed Norwegian motor tanker Alexandra Hoegh were rescued after 38 hours in open boats during midwinter in the North Atlantic. They reached shore well and healthy. All of them would have been frostbitten, and some of them would have died — if they had not worn life suits.” A short story in itself.

Yellow Poplar

The Plant Information Center, home of the Virtual Herbarium, tells us that “The terminal buds [of the Yellow Poplar} are about 1/2 inch long, flattened and valvate, opening like a duck’s bill. Sprouts and buds are one of the main foods of deer, and squirrels eat yellow poplar seeds in early fall and again in mid-winter.” Handy information if you or your friends are arboreal rodents or very tall deer.

Mid-winter can be a time of despair, but rue not readers. Fiddler know of Midwinter Waltzes and Blossoms from American and Scottish sources via Andrew Kuntz’s Fiddler’s Companion.

Do not end up like young Henry Martin of whom Roger McGuinn sings:

He had not been sailing but a long winter’s night
And a part of a short winter’s day,
Before he espied a stout lofty ship,
lofty ship, lofty ship,
Come abibing down on him straight way.

And quickly turned “turned robber all on the salt sea/ Salt sea, salt sea./ For to maintain [his] brothers and [he]”.

Posted in Collections.