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When Poetry Goes Bad

“You fill me/With your love/You fill me/With your caring/You fill me with your thoughts/You fill me with your sharing”

–Leonard Nimoy

Have you ever wanted to write poetry but the cold stare of the blank page leaves you quaking in your boots? Maybe your images are boring, your alliteration predictable, and your rhymes childish–it may seem as if you will never write something worth reading. Well, today that tricky poem could be just right. August 18th is, you guessed it, Bad Poetry Day! The day when all bad poetry is good poetry. Er, or at least appropriate for the occasion.

The impetus for this surprising holiday is a mystery. But who needs a reason for a holiday anyway? Make this one your own. There will be “bad” poetry readings at bookstores and libraries across the country, and hilarious contests for worst poem possible. You could host your own party, incorporate it into the classroom, or send a loved one a homemade card complete with a terrible love poem–the list is only as long and wide as the limits of your creativity.

The question we must ask ourselves though is, what makes a bad poem? “Bad” means something different for different people. In an effort to get to the bottom of what a bad poem looks like, we scoured the internet for the obvious first source–celebrities! Who better to analyze than the rich and the famous who choose to dabble in the most exalted of the literary arts? Feel free to use these examples to set the barometer for your own attempts at poetic catastrophe. No one should expect any less of you:

  1. Suzanne Somers:

First stanza from “Organic Girl” from “Touch Me: The Poems of Suzanne Somers”:

“Organic girl dropped by last night
For nothing in particular
Except to tell me again how beautiful and serene she feels
On uncooked vegetables and wheat germ fortified by bean
sprouts—
Mixed with yeast and egg whites on really big days—
She not only meditates regularly, but looks at me
like I should
And lectures me about meat and ice cream
And other aggressive foods I shouldn’t eat.
And she well may be intuitive
Because several times I have thought about cramming her
Unadulterated peace beads down her throat.”

  1. Kristin Stewart:

Excerpt from “My Heart is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole”:

“I reared digital moonlight
You read its clock, scrawled neon across that black
Kismetly…ubiquitously crest fallen
Thrown down to strafe your foothills
…I’ll suck the bones pretty.
Your nature perforated the abrasive organ pumps
Spray painted everything known to man
Stream rushed through and all out into
Something Whilst the crackling stare down sun snuck
Through our windows boarded up
He hit your flint face and it sparked.”

  1. Charlie Sheen:

Excerpt from the title poem from his collection “A Peace of My Mind”:

“Teacher, teacher, I don’t understand
You tell me it’s like the back of my hand
Should I play guitar and join the band?
Or head to the beach and walk in the sand?”

  1. Britney Spears:

Excerpt from “Remembrance of Who I Am”:

“…The guilt you fed me
Made me weak
The voodoo you did
I couldn’t speak
You’re awakening
The phone is ringing.
Resurrection of my soul
The fear I’m bringing.”

If you find you still have a taste for some more bad poetry check out the chuckle-inducing blog “Bad Poem a Day: Another Day, Another Terrible Brain-Melting Poem.” The daily masterpieces are sure to brighten up anyone’s Monday morning.

We’ve Got a Strong Core

At the core of our library access are a plethora of reputable, substantial libraries. We have a 95+% fill rate, thanks in large part to this strong core, and we are constantly looking for new and improved library access. Here’s a list of the libraries we retrieve from on a regular basis:

University of California, San Diego
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley
California State University, Chico
University of Washington
University of Michigan
New York Public Library
University of Texas at Austin
Tarlton Law
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Library of Congress (LOC)
Virginia Commonwealth University
National Institute of Health
National Agricultural Library
University of Maryland- College Park
George Mason University
College of William and Mary
Bethesda Naval Library
FDA Library
Linda Hall Library
University of Wisconsin
National Library of Australia
Denver Public Library
British Library
North Carolina State University
University of Arizona
Yale
MIT
Butte College Library
Cornell University
German National Library of Science and Technology (TIBS)
Duke University
California State Library (CSL)
New York State Library
University of Minnesota (UMinn)
Texas Tech

Not to mention, we have access to thousands of online databases and subscriptions! What are you waiting for? Give our service a try!

A Micro Forum on Microform

Did you know that microform can last up to 500 years? Have you ever seen color microfilm? (It isn’t common, but it does exist!) What’s the difference between microfilm and microfiche? If you work in or near a library, these questions might actually mean something to you. If not—well stick around and learn a thing or two. The concept of microform is actually quite interesting, and you might learn something new, as we discuss these aspects and more in this micro-exploration of microform.

“Microform” is the general term used to encompass all scaled-down media reproductions—stuff that has been micro-ized–generally to about 1/25th its original size. As an example, let’s say an older library journal needs to be put into microstorage, because all those bulky hard copies occupy a lot of space over time. Microfilm and microfiche are the two most common choices for this purpose. Microfilm is, well, a film much like camera film. Fiche are flat sheets. An obsolete form was known as microcards, and entailed printing onto cardboard rather than photographic film. In order to access the miniaturized information, a magnifying reader device is necessary. If you’re having trouble envisioning this process, take a look at this instructional video.

We won’t get into technical details of how microfilm is created, but we will say that, if done properly, microforms can last up to 500 years! Color microform and microforms done improperly or printed on inferior materials have a much shorter lifespan, some as short as a mere 20 years. If done in bulk, the process can be considerably cost-effective, as low as a few cents per page. There’s a fantastic article about color microfilm written by Christoph Voges, Volker M’argner, and Tim Fingscheidt, titled “Investigations on Color Microfilm as a Medium for Long-Term Storage of Digital Data,” which really dives into color microfilm. As we’ve never seen this elusive color microfilm in our library network, the article was as scintillating as reading about unicorns.

A quick history of the micro medium:

  • 1830s-1860s. Early experimentation, first by John Benjamin Dancer, a scientist known as the “Father of Microphotography.” Whereas typical microfilm are reduced to 1/25th their original size, Dancer’s first was 1/160th its original size. Later, an optician named Rene Dagron used Dancer’s techniques to patent the first microfilm in 1859.
  • Early 1900s. The first commercial application of the form was for keeping permanent records of all bank transactions. Soon to follow, newspapers began to be stored on microform.
  • 1940s, war time. War presents two threats: destruction and espionage. Microform helped thwart both—by microfilming important national records and documents, and by preventing information from getting in the wrong hands. It also made sending overseas military mail easier and more efficient. Carrier pigeons can haul way more information when it’s in microform rather than paper form.
  • 1950s-1970s. Libraries increasingly used microforms for both current circulation materials and for storage items.
  • 1990s. Comic books helped increase microfilm’s practical application value. The NYPL’s policy was to immediately microfilm comic books and not retain the original publications. Comics were not particularly valued in decades past. A company called MicroColour began to sell microfilmed comics and micro-readers so that people could enjoy them at home.
  • Present day use. As the need for and convenience of microforming has been recognized, technologies have improved vastly.

From a library’s standpoint, microforms are convenient in terms of storage and space, as we’ve seen. For the average user, it’s another story. They are often difficult to read, one little scratch can obscure a big chunk of text, they’re usually really grainy and black and white, and they take time to work with. When you consider the alternative, however, microform is a fantastic resource saver, with a unique and varied history. Read more here.

When in August

The word “august” is an adjective and means “respected,” “venerable,” or “impressive.”

The month of August’s unrelenting heat is impressive and definitely to be respected—august indeed. Much like the other August, the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, time will snuff August out and usher in a new season. But in the meantime, what do you do on these hot, hot August nights? Read! Check out some recommended hot new reads for this month.

BONUS: Don’t miss the meteor shower on the 12th, and the total solar eclipse on the 21st.

The Best 15 Minutes of Your Work Day

In this crazy maze of life, who isn’t looking for tips, helpful advice, and products & services to ease our work loads? For all you Info Pros out there, if you haven’t heard of Documents Delivered, you can be glad you found us now. Do you need scholarly journal articles, book chapters, conference proceeding abstracts, or newspaper articles? We are an online document retrieval service and that is exactly what we do. We also offer a nice lineup of Custom Projects for your special needs. If you would like to learn more about us, give us a call (855-809-1227) or send us an email (contact@documentsdelivered.com).

For a more in-depth overview of our service, we would love to schedule a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation, aka “web demo,” wherein we discuss what our service has to offer, and how to use it. So get in touch and we’ll go from there.

The Sketchbook Project

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton

If you live on the East Coast and work in the library information industry, you’ve likely heard of the Brooklyn based Sketchbook Project, an exhibit of the Brooklyn Art Library. Perhaps you’ve even been there yourself. Luckily for the rest of us, especially here on the West Coast, we can view nearly 18,500 of the 36,000 or so books online. Each book is barcoded and cataloged (and thus searchable) from their website.

As the name suggests, the Sketchbook project is a collection of sketchbooks. It is “a crowd-funded sketchbook museum and community space,” claiming a deep global network of 70,000 artists. You could be the 70,0001st! It’s as easy as signing up, filling up a book with sketches, and then submitting it to the library. Don’t limit yourself to just drawings. Writings, collage, photographs, whatever your mind can envision and plaster between the pages—it’s all good.

The Project, as you can imagine, is more than just a passive transaction, a give and take of doodles. It offers an intimate peek into the corners of a stranger’s artistic mind. It brings creators together, it dispenses collaboration and inspiration among its participants. The official website offers creative prompts, writing challenges, swaps, exchanges, and unique pen-pal activities. At the Brooklyn storefront, there are often events, meet-and-greet opportunities, and rentable studios. You could even schedule a wedding or bat mitzvah at the library.

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library travels the country with a limited selection of books in a tiny portable trailer complete with “librarians” and computers. It’s way more charming in person than on paper. Find out if you live in one of the lucky towns slotted for a visit.

The Sketchbook Project: it’s like reading someone else’s diary, except without it being taboo. Instead, it’s just exhilarating and inspiring. All the excitement, and no guilt. So check it out if you haven’t already!

Chain, Chain, Chain

If you aren’t a book history nerd or caught up on the newest season of Game of Thrones you may not know that many libraries of old used to follow a very rigid storage system–books were kept chained to their bookcases. Yep, you read that right. The “chained library,” as it was called, was library protocol from the Middle Ages to about the 18th century.

Before the printing press books had to be copied by hand, which, as you can imagine, made books quite precious–they were often worth as much as farm land or livestock. Because books are much easier to steal than a cow, many were kept locked away or chained up. The chaining process, however, was also expensive and time-consuming, so it was saved for the most valuable.

The chain itself was fitted to the corner or cover of a book, and the books were placed on the shelf with the spines facing in and the pages facing out to avoid excessive wear and tear and the tangling of chains when pulling them off the shelf (which must have made searching for the right book a little troublesome). The chains also made it near impossible to share or read a book next to someone else.

Only librarians could unlock the books with a key. Consequently, a lot of knowledge and information became exclusive property, shutting out those who lacked the means to buy books or gain access to a library. Some libraries even limited patronage to business owners and those of a “better class.” But as the printing of books increased, the price of books decreased, making chained libraries less relevant. The notion of the library as an exclusive luxury eventually gave way to the more democratic and welcoming institution it is now.

As of 2013 only five chained libraries have been preserved with their original décor, chains, and books. One of these is Marsh’s Library in Dublin, Ireland. This chained library kicked it up a notch by locking their readers inside “book cages” to prevent thievery. In contrast, the Librije Library in Zutphen, Netherlands gave out sixty keys for their front door to both scholars and townspeople so more people could have access to the prized material sitting on the shelves. In an era where information is available 24 hours a day with the push of a button it is hard to imagine waiting a day or two to find out an answer to some curiosity tickling your brain. Think about that next time you Google “World’s smallest cat.”

Harry Potter and the Restricted Library

Order Counting

Did you know that you can submit multiple citations in one email, or one submission of the online order form? Some of our clients may think that each document is its own order, but we want you to know that we think outside that box. Yes, each article, newspaper article, PDR entry, or book chapter is considered its own document request, but you may submit multiple requests in one order email. It’s that simple! What’s the right word, “streamlined,” or “efficient,” or perhaps just “easy?” We think so. But if you have any questions regarding placing orders or bulk orders, do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

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