In Memoriam: Sheila Barry, children’s literature publisher

The award-winning publisher of Groundwood Books, Sheila Barry, died on November 15 at Mt. Sinai Hospital due to complications from cancer. An advocate for children’s literature that championed the rights of children and adolescents, the Newfoundland native was the publisher of Canadian children’s literature was a trailblazer in the industry. Among the many critically-acclaimed works she helped to bring to the market over the course of her impressive career was the New York Times’ 2017 pick for Best Illustrated Children’s Book: Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith. Barry’s passion, positivity, and light will be sorely missed but never forgotten.

Debate over changing the name of South Africa

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, inadvertently started an onomastic earthquake this year when he suggested that South Africa’s name be official changed to Azania.  According to the Minister, the toponymic makeover would be a fitting reflection of the significant cultural and political changes the country has undergone since the ending of Apartheid.  While some have applauded the suggestion, others have criticized that the geographic rebranding is not only unnecessary but would be prohibitively expensive.  More details about the onomastic debate can be found in this article at the Independent Online.

Call for Papers: TOTh 2018 (11th International Conference on Terminology and Ontology), Chambéry, France, June 7-8, 2018

From the 7th to the 8th of June 2018, the international conference, “Terminology and Ontology: Theories and Applications” (TOTh2018) will take place in Chambéry, France at the University Savoie Mont-Blanc. The purpose of TOTh is to bring together researchers and practitioners who work on terminology, language, and knowledge engineering. The annual events that TOTh organizes include a conference, a training session, and a Workshop. Under the patronage of an international scientific committee, the TOTh Conferences cover an extensive field of studies and research concerning terminology and/or ontology. The conference languages are French and English; and the deadline for abstracts is January 26, 2018. Interested in learning more? Details about the conference can be found at the website, and the call for papers can be downloaded here.

Exhibition: Landscapes Below: Mapping and the New Science of Geology, Cambridge University Library, 11/17-3/18

Landscapes Below: Mapping and the New Science of Geology“, a new exhibition curated by Allison Ksiazkiewicz, is now open. Featuring the biggest-ever object (1.9mx1.6m) to go on display at the Library — George Bellas Greenough’s 1819 A Geological Map of England and Wales (the first map produced by the Geological Society of London), as well as a visually stunning collection of maps from the earliest days of geology – the exhibition explores how these new subterranean visions of the British landscape influenced our understanding of the Earth. All the maps belonging to the library are going on display for the first time.

The exhibit runs from November 24, 2017 to March 29, 2018 at Cambridge University Library’s Milstein Exhibition Centre. Admission is free. Opening times are Mon-Fri 9am-6pm and Saturday 9am-16.30pm. Closed Sundays. Also please note that it is also CLOSED 24 December 2017 to 1 January 2018 inclusive (i.e. between Christmas and New Year).

Why the Danish Town of Aabenraa Refuses to Change Its Name

Aabenraa, Danemark

Aabenraa’s name comes from aaben strand, or Danish for “open beach.” Denmark had long used “aa” to represent a Danish vowel sound that’s elusive for English speakers, but is kind of similar to the vowel in our word “caught.” But in 1948, the country decided to reform its spelling, replacing “aa” with “å”. That’s how this vowel is written in every other Scandinavian language. As a result, the Danish Language Board recommended that Aabenraa rename itself “Åbenrå.”

In 1955, Denmark decided that their new letter “Å” would be the last letter of the alphabet, coming after “Z” in the dictionary. Aabenraa, which was accustomed to being the world’s very first town alphabetically, was unenthusiastic about moving to the very bottom of the list overnight. Read this fun and informative article at Condé Nast Traveler to find out more!

In Memoriam: Iona Opie, Folklorist and Children’s Literature Expert

Iona Opie. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

On the 23rd of October 2017, Iona Opie, internationally recognized folklorist of children’s literature and childlore passed away at the age of 94. Along with her husband, Peter, her legacy includes such publications as The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (1951) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959).

Their first publication was I Saw Esau (1947), a slim precursor of the wide spine of The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955). The Opies applied years of rigor to an oral culture too commonplace to have received attention before: their scholarship, informally communicated, was important to the postwar discovery of the words of ordinary people. “It took 50 generations to make up Mother Goose,” Iona said. “Nursery rhymes are the smallest great poems of the world’s literature.”

The Stories Behind High-End Brand Names

Nike, UNIQLO, Ray-Ban – just some of the familiar names for fashion lovers. Ever wonder where the names come from? Did you know that NYX should be pronounced “nicks” after the Greek goddess of the night? Or that ASOS stands for the company’s original name “As Seen On Screen” and “ghd” simply stands for “good hair day”? Check out the infographic at Beauty Flash for more information on how some of the top brands got their names.

Special Issue: 50th Anniversary of the Western Association of Map Libraries

The Western Association of Map Libraries is an independent association of map librarians and other people with an interest in maps and map librarianship. The November issue of the WAML Information Bulletin is a special issue commemorating the organization’s 50th Anniversary.  Along with articles, book reviews, and new mapping of Western North America, this issue features a special segment dedicated to the late Mary Larsgaard. The issue can be found at the WAML website here.

Call for Papers: Names in Writing, NORNA 48th symposium, Gothenburg, Sweden, Nov 29-30 2018

From the 29th to the 30th of November 2018, a conference devoted to the subject of “Names in Writing” will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden. It will give scholars a chance to reflect on the significance of writing in the study of names and provide a platform to discuss approaches from different fields. Among the many themes to be addressed at this event are the graphemes of names; names an orthography; written names in language contact; written names in the public sphere. The deadline for 300 word (excluding references) abstract submissions is February 20, 2018. 

The conference is arranged by the Department of Languages and Literatures, Gothenburg University, and Institute for Language and Folklore, Gothenburg. Venue: Olof Wijksgatan 6, Gothenburg (“Gamla hovrätten”).

The call for papers can be found here.