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List of Pop Culture References to Archivists, Librarians and Historians

Entries are listed in reverse chronological order.


  • Cooley, Martha. The Archivist: a Novel. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998. ISBN 0316158720.
  • Holland, Travis. The Archivist's Story. New York: Dial Press, 2007. ISBN 038533995X.
  • Mailer, Norman. The Presidential Papers. Dell Publishing, 2007. ISBN 0440070937.


 Possible origin of the true Book of Secrets. - "George Washington had maintained 
 a personal diary throughout his life, and when president he instituted the practice of
 maintaining an official journal or diary of the chief executive." -- Library of Congress
 Read Washington's handwritten presidential diary online.
 One of the most detailed documents available in the Library of Congress that recounts 
 Lincoln's assassination can be found in the Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865. 
 Volume 3, January 1, 1864-May 30, 1865. The shooting of Abraham Lincoln is detailed 
 in the entry dated April 30, 1865, for those history buffs who want to read it.


  • Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, 3rd edition. Supplement Heroes of Horror. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-3699-1.
 "Archivists are wielders of divine magic who learn and cast spells through diligent 
 study rather than direct communion with their deity. They study and learn spells with
 a prayerbook, analogous to a wizard's spellbook, and their magic's strength is based
 on Intelligence. Archivists are often familiar with non-human creatures such as
 aberrations, elementals, and the undead." - Heroes of Horror Except

Made for Televison Movies

Podcasts (Audios)

Radio Shows

Screencasts or Webcasts (Videos)


Television Series and Episodes

  • Wired Science. PBS. Season 2, Episode 109. (2007) - Summary. Originally Aired: December 19, 2007.
 Description: As the U.S. space agenda focuses on returning to the moon, then Mars, and   
 beyond, NASA is reevaluating Apollo era engineering and technology to help them develop
 new spacecraft capable of reaching beyond earth orbit. However, many archival records from 
 NASA contracting companies have been lost, either because the companies went out of business 
 or documents were destroyed or lost. (Archvists around the country should dig through their 
 collections to see if they have any relevant documents to help NASA and new, private  
 companies seeking to privatize human spaceflight). In lieu of documents, NASA engineers 
 working on the Ares and Orion rockets (the next generation rockets after the space shuttle), 
 as part of the Constellation project, turn to studying old Saturn V "junkyard" parts, like 
 those at Norton Sales in California. Also discussed was the effort by "Carnegie Mellon computer 
 scientist Louis von Ahn" to improve techniques for digitizing books. Ahn helped develop the 
 CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) 
 steganography project to asist with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) when it comes to 
 deciphering scanned text that is difficult for computers to "read", such as texts with 
 missing or faded writing like rare books or archival documents. The correct answers people 
 enter are used to "transcribe" the scanned text, and the whole document is added to the
 Internet Archive.[1]Visit Von Ahn's home page, the official CAPTCHA site and Constellation.
  • Mr. Bean - The Library (rare book librarian's worst nightmare)

YouTube (Videos)

There are alot of really bad videos out there, please post only professionally beneficial YouTube videos. Please do not link to clips that are copyright violations or breaches of fair use.


 The Central Library for the Blind (2007) - In Hebrew. English subtitles not provided.

Archives: African American Collections

 The Late Historian & Archivist Dr. Mayme A. Clayton

Archives: Genealogy

 Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library (Part 1) (Part 2) - one of the largest sources of 
 genealogical information in the United States

Archives: Holocaust Historical Collections

 Voices from the Lodz Ghetto, an "interview Judith Cohen, the Chief Photo Archivist for the 
 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum [who] discusses two contemporary photographers of 
 the Lodz ghetto."

Archives: Science, Technology, and Medicine Collections

 Scripps Before the War: The Men, the Science and the Instruments that Went to Sea before 1914, 
 a retrospective by Library Archivist, Deborah Day, Scripps Institution of Oceanography 

Archives Versus Libraries

 Your friend, the archives

Archivist Job Duties and Description

 What is an Archivist?

Librarians and Libraries: For Children

 No Cookies in the Library - Classic Sesame Street  
 Reading Rainbow: "At the Library" Animated Short 
 Reading Rainbow: "Tall Tales at the Library" Animated Short 

Librarians: Classic Film Clips

 Marian the Librarian - musical feature about a librarian named Marian in The Music Man.

Librarians: Vocational Films

 Do You Want to be a Librarian? (1947) 

Libraries: Historical

 Carl Sagan Introduces the Library of Alexandria, a clip from the COSMOS series (check: fair use?)

Technologies / Conceptual Designs

 Library of the Future - Stanford University (2006) - Digital library and archives development 
 partnerships with Google and Sun Microsytems. Grokker site.
 The British Library's Turning the Pages Project (2007)
 The Evolution of Expertise (2007) - A presentation to Google employees by Dr. Elizabeth Lane 
 Lawley, director of the Lab for Social Computing at the Rochester Institute of Technology 
 The World Digital Library (2007) - Conceptual design for the next generation digital library. 
 Multilingual library with translation capability for both text and audio objects; image 
 and text zoom functions; email item level digital objects; topical video recordings with 
 closed captioning as well as audio recordings; image galleries; page turning views of entire 
 books; audio readings of the paragraphs in books and visual and/or audio translations of 
 books and group discussions into the user's choice of language. Materials fall into several 
 searchable categories: Place, Time, Topic, Type of Item, and Institution. Graphical timeline 
 for advanced searching by date. Visit the World Digital Library Homepage

List of Historic Document Replevin Cases and Their News Coverage

Cases / News in 2008

  • 2/9/08"Stolen historic documents to be returned, paid for by eBay" -- In January 2008, "Daniel Lorello, 54, an archives and records management specialist in the New York Department of Education" was arrested and charged with stealing historic documents and artifacts. "An amateur historian and lawyer named Joseph Romito helped crack the case after he found an 1823 letter written by John C. Calhoun for sale on eBay."[1] Lorello sold many of the items on eBay and others at various sales. He confessed to stealing "more than 300 or 400 items in 2007 alone."[1] According to its policies, eBay "has no liability in the sale of the stolen artifacts on eBay, but the company has voluntarily agreed to buy them back at the sale prices and return the documents to New York."[1]. No list of all of the items has yet been produced of the remaining stolen items.

Cases / News in 2006

  • 4/14/06 1776 Declaration of Independence Broadside For Sale on eBay -- "A document from 1776 was advertised on eBay a few months ago" and was subsequently "pulled from eBay's listings before the auction ended". It was advertised as an "important proclamation announcing the forming of a new government." The broadside was addressed to the "town clerk of Danvers, Massachusetts" and it was the Danver's "town manager and town archivist" who stopped the sale. The individuals who posted the document for sale on eBay were "John and Maureen Poole" of Scituate, Massachusetts.
  • 02/15/06 Missing Declaration of Independence Located -- A missing 1776 copy of the Declaration of the Independence belonging to the town of Wiscasset, Maine is found in hands of the Plumstead family in Fairfax, Va.

Cases / News in 2005

Cases / News in 2003

  • 10/16/03 Ownership of Rhode Island's copy of the Bill of Rights in Dispute -- A Copy of document is clearly inscribed on its reverse "for the Town Clerk, Exeter" yet it is located in the "the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University in Providence". "Preserve Rhode Island, a non-profit corporation also in Providence" claims that the document belongs to the town of Exeter. The case is the Town of Exeter v. the John Carter Brown Library, Rhode Island Superior Court.

Cases / News in 1974

  • 2004 Remembering "North Carolina v. B. C. West Jr.: Modern Replevin Precedent" -- The pending sale of a George Washington letter addressed to the governor of North Carolina prompted Thornton W. Mitchell, Archivist of the State of North Carolina, to pursue the replevin process to recover the document. Prior to this incident, "'there were no modern precedents supporting the civil recovery or replevin of public records in case law.'"

Undated Items

  • The State of Tennessee publishes a document regarding eBay and the increased illegal sales of public records, particularly Civil War and slavery documents.

News Articles

Read Primary Sources for the latest happenings in Archives, Records Management, and Public History

Popular Culture News

BBC Motion Gallery licenses footage for “Charlie Wilson’s War”

 "Universal Pictures’ film uses archival footage to chronicle the covert war in 
 Afghanistan against the former Soviet Empire" 


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