I was pleased to be asked to present a paper at the recent symposium “Who Owned This,” sponsored by the ILAB, ABAA and Grolier Club on 5 March, 2019. The event took place at the Grolier Club with 120 registrants in the audience and, I am told, an early and lengthy waiting list.
The 8 speakers spoke on various subjects relating to the difficult but timely problems faced by booksellers and librarians in connection with provenance, theft and forgery. I was honored by being assigned the closing position and used it to consider these subjects with a particular regard to the use of databases to protect from theft, recover stolen books and establish provenance. At the end I ventured a few general speculations about how the database technologies of the future may be even more useful for these purposes, including a preview of some of the things that viaLibri will be doing to make use of these technologies. The title of my paper was: “Provenance Meets Big Data – Do they have a future together?”
The full symposium was videotaped by the Grolier Club and will, in the future, be available on their website. I will make an announcement of that here when it happens.
In the meantime, a few colleagues who had not been able to attend the symposium have asked me to send them a printed version of my paper. On the chance that there might be one or two others who remain curious about what I had to say I have posted the full text of my presentation elsewhere on my blog. You can read it here:
Charges were filed today in the theft of rare books at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So far the most extensive public information about the crime and indictments has appeared int the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette under a headline reading:
Unfortunately, the Post-Gazette website is completely blocked to visitors in the European Union, making access to these latest details difficult for anyone on this side of the Atlantic to obtain. We have, however, been sent a PDF copy of the online version of the newspaper story and are thus able to provide it here.