May 23, 2018

A Digital Birthday Present for Jack London

Tonight I will be attending the 137th birthday celebration for Jack London, put on by the Jack London Foundation in Sonoma Valley where I live. Jack lived here for many years, built his “Wolf House” here, and died not long after it burned to the ground and just before he was to move in.

Meanwhile, by way of a strange coincidence, last night at the opening of the latest exhibition at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, I spoke with the owner of the collection of Cuban art being exhibited, Darius Anderson. Darius is a huge Jack London fan, and it turns out that he had recently put digital representations of this private collection of London letters, published works, and memorabilia online.

Called The Jack London Collection, it joins a collection of sites devoted to this popular author, including a site I co-founded in the mid-90s, The Jack London Online Collection, as well as The World of Jack London, The Jack London Foundation, and others. These of course further elucidate or enhance major collections of Jack London materials held by research libraries such as UC Berkeley, The Huntington, and Utah State University.

Joining the ranks of enthusiastic collectors who digitize their collections for the enjoyment of all (David Rumsey and his amazing map collection springs to mind), private citizens can augment the work of large research libraries and others by exposing their private holdings for discovery and study. I can’t imagine Jack London would be anything but pleased were he alive today.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.