Monday, March 12, 2012

e-FRUS: All Of The History, None Of The Dust

E-books will always lack the nice satisfactory heft of a brown leather bound reference volume, not to mention the dusty ambiance of library stacks. And I like those things, because I'm a bit of a Luddite at heart. I even write with fountain pens.

But, hey, it's 2012 and we're long overdue for the E-Books Initiative from the Office of the Historian:

The Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the release of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in a new e-book format that is readable on popular electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad. The e-book edition combines many of the benefits of print and web publications in a new form that is portable and extremely convenient. During the pilot phase of the FRUS e-book initiative, five selected FRUS volumes are available here. The public is invited to download the new e-books and provide feedback to help improve the FRUS e-book edition. At the conclusion of the pilot phase later this year, the Office will work to offer e-book versions of many more FRUS volumes both through the Office website and on a wide array of e-bookstores. The Office will continue to expand and enhance its e-book offerings, as part of the ongoing FRUS digitization effort.

The FRUS e-book initiative is an outgrowth of the Office of the Historian’s efforts to optimize the series for its website. Because the Office adopted the Text Encoding Initiative’s open, robust XML-based file format (TEI), a single digital master TEI file can store an entire FRUS volume and can be transformed into either a set of web pages or an e-book. The free, open source eXist-db server that powers the entire Office of the Historian website also provides the tools needed to transform the FRUS TEI files into HTML and e-book formats.

For questions about the FRUS e-book initiative, please see our FAQ below; for other questions or to provide feedback, please contact
I'm putting away my ink pot and downloading one now.


Anonymous said...

TSB: A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran by Trita Parsi

Thanks again to some great historical journalisn and wikileaks
we get a chance to see our "masters of diplomacy" in action. And thanks to our loyal press corps who wouldn't dare report on this both books will probably be relatively easy to get at the library. I love that Einstein quote: 'It's impossible to prepare for and avoid war at the same time.' gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: So far, we don't have much but speculation to go on but the DOD has certainly been inconsistent in it's statements and actions on this thing. gwb
And it has also made sure that this soldier has no chance to go public.

TSB said...

GWB: They are keeping that solider tightly under wraps for now, but they can't conduct his trial in secret - I don't think - so we'll eventually find out more.

Contrary to that Afghan ministry report, I don't think it is at all unfeasible for one guy (reportedly with night vision goggles) to commit all those killings. I find it much more unlikely that a dozen or more others could have been with him and that fact being successfully covered up.

Anonymous said...

That's what I mean.. sure, he did it himself, but the Afghans may have been mixed up by the stories about what happened 3 days prior. He seems to have acted alone but was it just so only one would have to take the fall?

Anonymous said...

TSB: Robert Fisk is tired of hearing about the lone deranged soldier on a rampage...especially since this was warned about a week before it happened. gwb

TSB said...

Fisk is trying to spin this massacre into another My Lai, and he'll have nothing to work with if the sergeant who did it is perceived as mentally deranged.

Of course, he's right that the act appears to have been intentional and 'rational' (to the actor), but that doesn't mean the actor wasn't seriously unbalanced. Who knows what happened in the sergeant's mind, but, I could see it as a displaced suicide, or even a substitute for attacking his superiors. That makes as much sense to me as retaliation against Afghans.