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Leading the way

To the Editor: Lest any readers jump to the false conclusion from Chakravarthy's story about the HathiTrust (October 24, 2008) that Penn Libraries are not actively engaged in transforming our collections into digital resources, I offer an elaboration for the record.

Readers unfamiliar with the wealth of Penn Libraries' digital collections are encouraged to peruse our fall 2008 issue of Ivy Leaves on "The Humanities and the Digital World." Our ground-breaking digital collections comprise some 79,000 graphical and sound files - documenting 1,500 years of human culture.

Our "signature collection" approach to digital resource development, coupled with the recent release of the Fine Arts Library Image Collection, place Penn Libraries at the forefront of digital innovation and the transformation of knowledge. Having recently succeeded in raising notable donations from two alumni classes, Penn Libraries also look forward to collaborating with The Daily Pennsylvanian in digitizing the DP's historic archive.

While we chose not to join the Google Book Library Project, Penn Libraries is partnering with PALINET, a regional network representing more than 600 libraries in the Mid-Atlantic, in a large-scale book digitization initiative, officially launched last week under the auspices of the Internet Archive.

Ironically, Chakravarthy's article appeared on the very day that Penn Libraries launched our First Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age. This international event examined contemporary perspectives on early scientific manuscripts made possible through technological advances.

To imply that Penn Libraries haven't joined in the fun yet is to miss out on the celebration underway in your front yard.

Martha Brogan The author is the director of Collection Development and Management for Penn Libraries The Race for Pa.

To the Editor:

In response to "Pennsylvania Still Up for Grabs?" (10/22/08): While it is not surprising that John McCain's sputtering presidential campaign has begun grasping at straws, its recently declared focus on winning Pennsylvania strikes me as quixotic.

If a lackluster Democratic candidate such as John Kerry could win the state in 2004, how do the Republicans expect to compete against an energized party with a substantial lead in voter registration? According to the polling tracker, McCain's chance of winning Pennsylvania (2 percent) is equal to Obama's chance of winning Mississippi.

I've been volunteering for the Obama campaign in West Philly, and the number of people there - young and old - who are politically mobilized for the first time in their lives is truly staggering.

The press has propagated reports of a mythic bloc of "working-class" Hillary Clinton supporters who will supposedly put McCain over the top, even though Obama's support among Democrats - now pushing 90 percent - is stronger than McCain's backing among Republicans.

Far be it from me to disabuse the enemy of false hopes, but McCain's Pennsylvania gambit is a telltale sign of the desperate state of his campaign.

Thomas Patteson The author received a Master's in Music History in 2008

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