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Remembering Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939 – August 29, 2013)

Seamus Heaney

We were lucky and privileged in the course of Seamus Heaney’s life to have crossed paths with him several times. First when he agreed to be part of an early experiment in putting poetry on the WWW by not only granting us the use of some of his poems, but he agreed to record his readings of those poems himself with the help of Harvard’s Poetry Room in the 1994. Heaney had not yet won the Nobel Prize at that point. That would come the next year when his work was cited “for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past.”
Certainly the poems he chose for the Internet Poetry Archive are exemplars of that sense of beauty, depth and exaltation.
Heaney returned to Chapel Hill in May 12, 1996 to deliver our commencement address.
To send off our graduates into their new lives, he quoted from a ballad he had heard whilst growing up in Derry in which a young woman was going off into the world leaving on the 12th of May. There was much wise reflection in his interpretation of that ballad in the context of commencement, but I recalled and recall now the final verse which is a hopeful send off for graduates and for Heaney himself:

                          So I bade them all good evening
                               and there I hoisted sail,
                          Let the best betide my countryside,
                               my fortune never fail.
                          Then night coming on, all hopes being gone,
                               I think I will try elsewhere,
                          at a dance or a wake my chance I'll take
                               and leave Magherafelt May Fair.

Seamus Heaney at the Internet Poetry Archive.

Posted in Collections.

ibiblio: The Movie – How would you do it?

We’re to put together a 2 minute video presentation about ibiblio for our fundraisers and university leaders. We could use your help (you can give money but that’s not what we’re asking you for here).

We’re looking for suggestions, for testimonies about your experiences, for a voice over in a non-English language, links to or images of a news story, or other ideas and materials.

You can post here if you are willing to help.

We think we can do better than this:

Posted in Collections.

Forbes, UNC and the oldest Web page – We have the last here

ibiblio and our director, Paul Jones, have gotten a lot of media attention for our digital preservation efforts (sometimes wrongly called hoarding). Seems we have the World’s oldest World Wide Web page, a version that Tim Berners-Lee used for his demonstration at Hypertext 91 in San Antonio, TX.

We’ve included links to many versions of the story below. Jones’ own version is on his Real Paul Jones blog.

But the most amusing recognition has come from the University of North Carolina entry at the Forbes America’s Top Colleges site. There in the Profile section, we read:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to one of the oldest preserved websites, stored on an antique computer maintained by Professor Paul Jones, gifted to him by one of the original Swedish architects of the World Wide Web. Established in 1789, UNC Chapel Hill is one of the three oldest universities in the country, the second largest university in the state, and one of the original eight Public Ivy schools. UNC Chapel Hill students, alumni and athletic teams are known collectively as the Tar Heels, and have garnered more than 40 NCAA championship titles in six different sports (women’s lacrosse won this year). The school mascot is the Ram.

While we know that Tim Berners-Lee is British and was working in Switzerland at CERN with no particular Swedish connection and we know that “gifted” should not be a verb and we know that the page has been online continuously since 1993 (at least), we’re delighted to be seen as having something that UNC and Forbes can be proud of.

Enjoy the articles and the World’s oldest World Wide Web page.


Posted in Collections.