If nippy temperatures are keeping you indoors, take heart and explore today's edition of Saturday Sharing. You'll find links to the first computer-written book, a site dedicated to J.D. Salinger, the Woody Guthrie Archives, blogs of the Library of Congress, a site for teaching American history, and some Edison Companies' downloadable films.
✦ Described on its cover as "The First Book Ever Written by a Computer", The Policeman's Beard Is Half Constructed: Computer Prose and Poetry by Racter (short for raconteur) may be viewed in pdf via UbuWeb. The fascinating 66-page document, published in 1984, was programmed by William Chamberlain and Thomas Etter; the programming took five years. Joan Hall created the marvelous illustrations (the document also is viewable here at Hall's site).
Selections from The Policeman's Beard
✦ This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey and the 60th birthday of the classic The Catcher in the Rye. If you're an admirer, be sure to check out the site dedicated to Salinger and his work: dead caulfields, created in 2004 by Kenneth Slawenski. Slawenski recently penned a guest post about Franny and Zooey for the Reader's Almanac blog.
✦ From artwork to books, from manuscripts to notebooks and personal papers, from song titles to lyrics, from periodicals to scrapbooks, you'll find it all in the Woody Guthrie Archives. Materials in the collection are being digitized and made accessible to researchers. (My thanks for this link to The Bigger Picture blog of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.)
Woody Guthrie Archives Blog
✦ I'd be willing to bet the Library of Congress has at least one blog you'll find interesting and want to follow. Here's a list to help get you started on your knowledge expansion.
✦ If you teach, you'll want to know about Teaching American History.
✦ At Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, you'll find 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, and a range of related materials, including information about Thomas Edison's inventions, all searchable by keyword and subject. You may view and download some of the films, which were made between 1891 and 1918.
See Reel Culture's "Where to Find Old Films Online, Streamed Legally and for Free" for other sites of interest.