UF’s Digital Library Center is working on digitizing videos and putting them into the Digital Collections. In order to make sure these videos are preserved for the long run, we’re saving large and small files and taking the necessary steps. In order to make sure they’re found and used as soon as possible, we’re loading them into Youtube. While many of the videos are standard educational and institutional materials (interesting, but not email-forwarding type stuff), we have one wonderful video of books vs. bugs.
The video was made by the Preservation Department and the Nematology and Entomology Department and it’s three minutes of bugs eating books. The video was made so that people know about how dangerous bugs can be for books, but it’s also just a wonderful video. It’s also wonderful to see what sort of conversations these videos spark. When Cathy, our Preservation Officer, showed the video Erich, our former Preservation officer and now head of the Digital Library Center, noted that smoky brown roaches normally won’t eat books, since they normally live outside and generally prefer books older books that used animal byproducts in their binding. This led to a great discussion of bugs versus books and I learned that cockroaches normally eat books only when other food isn’t available, and that this happens when students leave and thus close the “bug cafeterias,” otherwise known as the food and drink in trash cans. The discussion also covered our worst case of roach-book-killing, which was years ago in an older building where duplicate law books had been stored by a well-meaning scholar. Then, the books were left alone while the building was renovated. When the misplaced books were found again, the bugs had eaten through the covers leaving only the pages inside. Luckily, the books were duplicates, but all of those folks saving things in Florida garages and mini-storage units should take heed–when bugs attack books, books lose. Or do they?
I’ve uploaded two versions of the video with audio (from Creative Commons-licensed music) and the short video clips from the video. These clips are for anyone to use in making remixes! Please make and share your own stories of bugs versus books. For music, there are loads of Creative Commons fair-to use music sources and CC lists many of them: http://creativecommons.org/audio.
The video citation information is: “Books vs. American Cockroaches (Periplaneta Americana)” by the University of Florida Smathers Library Preservation Dept. and University of Florida Entomology & Nematology Dept., Producer Cathy Martyniak, Videography & editing Richard Martyniak. Music online for the techno version and darker music.
Share your stories of bugs vs. books! Do bugs win?