Autism, South Africa, Instagram, More: Thursday Buzz, September 3rd, 2015


The Internet Archive has launched a tool that tracks media mentions of US presidential candidates. I don’t think I need to tell you who’s in first place. “Today we are excited to announce three new visualizations that explore American politics through the lens of television: a live campaign tracker hosted by The Atlantic that offers a running tally of all mentions of the 2016 presidential candidates across national television monitored by the Archive, and two visualizations that show which statements from the first Republican debate went viral on television. Finally, an analysis published in The Guardian shows just how unique television coverage of the campaign is and how much it differs from print and online coverage. Candidates live and die by their ability to capture media attention. Now, thanks to Leetaru, citizens have the tools to examine the election media data daily.” I would love to see a crowdsourced effort to see how the media mentions stack up against candidate Facebook page reach.

Zooniverse is going beyond nature to a new crowdsourcing project: AnnoTate. “In addition to creating art, many artists wrote diaries and letters and made sketchbooks that contain rich details about their lives and creative processes. Help transcribe documents from the Tate collection, and reveal the secret lives of artists.”

New-to-me: there’s a database of spaghetti westerns! I had no idea. And the oldest movie in the database was made in 1906, so this particular movie subset goes back a lot further than I thought…

The Florida Institute of Technology has launched an online video library for parents and caregivers of autistic children. “The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology has launched, an extraordinary resource for parents of and caregivers for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)….more than 100 videos featuring experts from the Scott Center and Florida Tech’s distinguished Applied Behavior Analysis Program, as well as parents discussing their challenges…”

The government of South Africa has launched an online supplier database. “Businesses that want to be on the government’s supplier database can now register online; previously, they would have to fill in the forms at a head office. The Central Supplier Database (CSD) was launched yesterday by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in East Londen, in Eastern Cape. Nene said the database served as the source of all supplier information for all spheres of government.”

The Digital Library of Georgia has added a new collection. “The new collection, the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System Collection, includes photographs from the Augusta flood of 1888, nineteenth century stereographs, a 1922 Augusta Motor Club travel guide, and Confederate States Patent No. 60.”


Google Maps: now with wild tortoises! “The giant tortoises of the Galápagos Islands have been stalwart survivors for centuries, but the last few hundred years have been rough. Once so numerous that sixteenth century explorers actually named the archipelago ‘galápago’ for the old Spanish word for tortoise, the rats and hungry sailors that followed them caused the tortoises’ numbers to dwindle almost to extinction. Today, thanks to the establishment of tortoise breeding centers and invasive species eradication programs carried out by the Government of Ecuador, the Directorate of the Galápagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, the giant tortoise is back. And now, you can follow the giant tortoises all around the Galápagos with Street View in Google Maps.”

Instagram has made some updates to Instagram Direct. “Today we’re announcing improvements to Instagram Direct including threaded messages and sending content from your feed as a Direct message. Threaded messages make it easier to go back and forth with the people you talk to the most. Instead of creating a new conversation every time you send a photo or video, your threads are based on the people in them — and your moments flow along naturally. We’ve also added the ability to name your groups, a quick camera feature to respond with a selfie on the fly, and larger-than-life emoji for when there are just no words.”

News reader Feedly has some new features. “Before Google decided that its online news reading application Google Reader was too nerdy and niche to warrant its further attention, a small but devoted community of consummate news gatherers were able to create ‘bundles’ – groups of recommended sources that others could subscribe to and follow, directly in Reader itself. Now that concept is being reborn, thanks to Feedly’s newly launched ‘Shared Collections’ feature.”

LinkedIn has overhauled its messaging. “Rather than having a stale email-style inbox, LinkedIn is now revamping its messaging service to be a lot more like an instant messenger — you could even mistake it for Facebook’s. Two or more people can shoot quick messages back and forth in a single thread, and they can even now send GIFs and stickers, in addition to photos and documents.”

You have probably seen this everywhere on the planet, and I’m only putting it here for completeness, but Google has a new logo.


The American Libraries Association (ALA) is doing a free Webcast on digitization and libraries on September 10th. “Our expert panel will discuss digitization in both broad and specific terms, looking at current trends and long-term implications for the library community. Our panel for this episode will include:
– Susanne Caro, government documents librarian at University of Montana, author and frequent speaker on digitization and librarianship
– Alyce Scott, Lecturer, School of Information at San José State University”

Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

New Jersey, Music, Wikipedia, More: Wednesday Buzz, September 2nd, 2015


The Digital Public Library of America has a bunch of yummy new online exhibitions. “We are pleased to announce the publication of 10 new exhibitions created by DPLA Hubs and public librarian participants in our Public Library Partnerships Project (PLPP), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the course of the last six months, curators from Digital Commonwealth, Digital Library of Georgia, Minnesota Digital Library, the Montana Memory Project, and Mountain West Digital Library researched and built these exhibitions to showcase content digitized through PLPP. Through this final phase of the project, public librarians had the opportunity to share their new content, learn exhibition curation skills, explore Omeka for future projects, and contribute to an open peer review process for exhibition drafts.”

FamilySearch has put records from the 1915 New Jersey census online (PRESS RELEASE). “FamilySearch International has added more than 2.7 million searchable historical records from the 1915 New Jersey State Census to its free online collections. New Jersey records are highly sought after by family historians because the state was a popular settling point for millions of immigrants during the heyday of US immigration from 1892 to 1924. The 1885 and 1905 New Jersey State Censuses are also available, making these three online collections invaluable for researchers.”


Google has updated its Nest thermostat. “The thermostat’s screen is now 40 percent larger and higher resolution at 229 PPI. Overall, the device has a slightly thinner profile so it doesn’t stick out from the wall. That’s along with an updated interface to make it easier to read the temperature.”


They’re not as cuddly as a puppy, but on the other hand they don’t pee on the carpet. Maybe you’d like to adopt a Department of Education data set. “My partner Kin Lane recently received a Knight Foundation prototype grant for a project he’s calling Adopta.Agency. The idea is to build upon President Obama’s open data initiative so that federal datasets are actually useful – the data is clean and (ideally) machine-readable.”

From How-To Geek: How to Use Google Drive Offline on a Deskop or Mobile Device.

Practical ECommerce has an overview of how to import data to Google Sheets. I love importXML.

If you dig free streaming, you might dig this: Pandora is offering an ad-free day on September 9th. “What started as the human genome project has become something much bigger, connecting artists to listeners 24/7. To give back, Pandora has announced ‘Listener Love Day,’ a day of ad-free streaming for all US users. It starts at midnight ET on Wednesday September 9th and runs for 24 hours.” A comment on the article notes it’s “music genome,” not “human genome,” but a) I’m quoting directly, and b) heaven knows I make enough typos on ResearchBuzz that I should keep my head shut about other people’s.


Dave Winer, who is still interesting after all these years, considers the idea of “Twitter NT”. “On Saturday I wrote a piece about Windows NT, the operating system Microsoft created to run alongside the original Windows, as its eventual successor. # In a similar way, that’s what Twitter needs. New technology, running off on the side, for pioneering users, the kind of people who were attracted to Twitter in the first place, the people who created the culture of Twitter. #”

Apparently Google had a secret project called Google Here which has been shut down. “Google Here worked by sending a notification to a smartphone user’s lock screen within five seconds of their entering a partner’s location. If the user clicked on the notification, a full screen HTLM5 “app” experience would launch. Google Here would know when to send the notification via Google Maps and beacons placed in the stores of participating partners. Google planned to supply the beacons to partners for the launch, according to the document. The experience could also be found by going to the Google Maps app.” Speaking as someone whose Real Job ™ is in retail, I have been interested in beacons for a long time, mostly for signage enhancements, but I’ve been waiting to see the privacy/security considerations.

Wait… there was a crime ring on Wikipedia? “After weeks of investigation, volunteer editors who work on the English edition of Wikipedia blocked 381 user accounts for creating promotional posts, making changes to others and promising to ‘protect’ those articles in exchange for a fee. 210 additional articles related to businesses, notable people and artists were also removed. ”


Several tech heavvies want royalty-free video codecs. “Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon today launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. The group plans to develop next-generation media formats—including audio and still images, but with video as the top priority—and deliver them as royalty-free open source, suitable for both commercial and noncommercial content.”


A new tool purports to show your personality via your Facebook likes. Among other things, it said I was 26, probably male, and that I was more laid back and relaxed than 62% of the population, so I am not impressed with this test. Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Brazil, Ukraine, PDFs, More: Tuesday Buzz, September 1st, 2015

I don’t know why, but a bunch of people followed the ResearchBuzz blog yesterday. Two things: hello! And this is a regular (usually daily) digest; if you want individual entries tagged in an individual way, you want the ResearchBuzz Firehose at . Here’s an article on how to make the most of the Firehose: .


The Brazilian newspaper Diario de Pernambuco has been partially digitized. “The holdings of the newspaper that were digitized include November 1825 – September 1924 and these were contained on 276 reels of microfilm….The Diario de Pernambuco is acknowledged to be the oldest newspaper still in circulation in Latin America. The issues from 1825-1924 offer insights into early Brazilian commerce, social affairs, politics, family life, slavery, and other topics.”

The Open Knowledge Labs blog tipped me to a new service that allows you to upload PDFs and other files and get text in return. Click on Choose a file… and then once you’ve chosen a file choose Get Content. A list of supported file is available at . I threw a couple of marketing pieces I had in PDF format at it and it worked just fine… the second one took a couple minutes.

In development: an open database of historic cemeteries. “The MAP project’s interface will be an open-access website with a database of monumental records, a curated collection of research projects (connecting data to methods and interpretations), and an interactive means of contributing data and commenting on research. The primary interface will organise the user experience into two interactive schemes. On the landing page, a map will highlight areas where records exist, with pop-up summaries and links to the corresponding database (and project collections of methods/interpretations where possible). There will also be traditional drop-down menus and a search function to access databases, or collections, to view on the website or download for easy use of data. The range of options for use reflects the diversity of the audiences for whom this website will be of value and the orientation of their research.”

Ukraine is granting free access to its trademark applications database. “After much debate, the Ukrainian Institute of Intellectual Property granted free access to its online database of trademark applications on August 21, which is a step forward in developing IP rights protection in Ukraine. Even though the database only contains applications that passed the formal examination since August 20, trademark owners will be able to monitor new applications and daily updates, ensuring timely enforcement of their prior rights.”


Google is deprecating Web hosting support in Google Drive. “Beginning August 31, 2015, web hosting in Google Drive for users and developers will be deprecated. Google Apps customers can continue to use this feature for a period of one year until August 31, 2016, when serving content via id will be discontinued.”

Newer Android Wear watches now work with iOS. “Once you’ve paired your watch with your iPhone (the app is compatible with the iPhone 5 and all newer iPhones as long as they run iOS 8.2 and up), the actual on-watch experience is pretty much the same as always. The app supports rich notifications from Gmail, Google Calendar and Apple Calendar, Google Now Cards, voice queries, Google Fit support, alarms, and everything else you’d expect (including support for the recently launched Translate app on Android Wear).”

Twitter is apparently testing new photo and video editing tools. “Lara Cohen, who is Twitter’s Director of Entertainment Talent, highlighted the new photos with tweets that implied (and seemingly confirmed) that the stars were roadtesting something new. It isn’t clear if this is a standalone app, or just an extension of the photo/videos features inside Twitter’s mobile apps. Photo functionality is limited to filters and cropping right now and Twitter only added native video capture on mobile this year. Nonetheless, it looks like you might soon be able to add stickers, your own doodles, text and more to photos and short video clips.”


From Hongkiat: 20 Cool Things Google Search Can Do. Most of these are tricks rather than serious search tools, but they’re fun.

Lifehacker has updated its roundup of the best browser extensions to protect your privacy. Unusually, the coments section on Lifehacker articles is usually worth reading. Some more thoughts there.


The National Archives of Thailand is in the process of digitizing its collections. “A huge task is digitising the microfilms that contain records of over 15 million written materials. The archives have only 131 staff and an annual budget of 80 million baht, so it will take time. So far, 45 microfilm rolls have been digitised and it is estimated that all of them will be ready for service next year. The equipment for this task is worth more than 2 million baht.” 80 million baht is a little over $2 million USD.

Brian Fanzo has a big writeup on an alternative to Google Hangouts called Blab. And he really, really likes it. “While we’ve only been using for the last month or so, we have been so impressed that we’ve migrated our client-sponsored video Twitter Chatss off of Google Hangouts to There will undoubtedly still be some occasional use cases that will require our team to use Google Hangouts, including having more than four guests (which is never advisable) and the need for occasional private, off-air shows. However, when Google Hangouts were the only solution, it made sense to put up with its quirks and to try to ignore the fact that the team at Google didn’t care much about community. Now, when we have something like to use that is the exact opposite, and brings a team wholly focused on creating a great user experience based on feedback from users—well, it’s a no brainer which we prefer.”

YouTube is apparently about to undergo some changes. “With the exception of a few video rentals, YouTube has always been a free, ad-supported service. But the company is about to get serious about subscription services, offering new ways for the users that create videos to make money. While two subscription offerings for the same service might seem odd to some — with one music industry source calling it ‘strange on top of strange’ — YouTube’s thinking was likened to that of a cable company offering different packages for sports and movies.” Here’s hoping YouTube cleans up its spam and gets some better search tools.

Marissa Mayer is expecting twins. “Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo’s transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout. I’ve shared the news and my plans with Yahoo’s Board of Directors and my executive team, and they are incredibly supportive and happy for me. I want to thank them for all of their encouragement as well as their offers of help and continued support.”

Bing is doing predictions again this football season. “Bing Predicts’ machine learning and deep knowledge takes power rankings to a new level. Instead of settling for just knowing where your teams stand today, Bing Predicts will give you a glimpse into your team’s future. Every Tuesday at noon PT we will update our power rankings with predictions of which team Bing thinks will win their respective division, and who is on-pace to earn those elusive wild-card spots.”

Librarians, you know this: Web site preservation is an enormous fail. “If the internet is at its core is a system of record, then it is failing to complete that mission. Sometime in 2014, the internet surpassed a billion websites, while it has since fallen back a bit, it’s quite obviously an enormous repository. When websites disappear, all of the content is just gone as though it never existed, and that can have a much bigger impact than you imagine on researchers, scholars or any Joe or Josephine Schmo simply trying to follow a link.”


Google is being investigated in India for complaints about rigging search results. “Google is being investigated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) after the agency received complaints that the search giant abused its dominant market position and rigged search results, reports The Economic Times. If found guilty, Google could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its income; the company posted a net income of more than $14 billion in 2014.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Hurricanes, Songs, Google, More: Sunday Buzz, August 30th, 2015


Google is making some improvements to its hurricane alerts. “As the U.S. enters hurricane season again, Katrina remains a stark reminder of the devastation a storm like that can cause. We want to be as prepared and as helpful as possible for the next one—no matter where it hits, or how big it is. So we’re always working to improve our Crisis Response efforts to help people stay safe and informed during these events.” Now when you do searches you may see safety tips, forecasted hurricane tracks, etc.

Google’s Inbox has gotten an update. ” Google has recently announced that they have made some changes to the service and it will now be able to offer up better text formatting options. This includes the ability to create numbered or bulleted lists, write text that is bold, underlined, or in italics, and they will also be able to create links.” I must say this does not make me want to drop everything and try Inbox.


Phil Bradley, who is lovely, has make a Google Custom Search for UK newspapers. There’s one for national newspapers and one for 384 local newspapers.

Useful from Ubergizmo: strategies for quickly finding a song. “There are online web based service and applications as well that will help you identify a song with the simplest clue. Most of these apps/services are free to use, but some may offer a premium paid version with extra features. In this tutorial, we are going to list down apps/services that will let you identify a song using different factors.”

Lifehacker looks at Balloon, which lets people add files to your Dropbox without having a Dropbox account. “Essentially, when you create a link in Balloon, it gives people access to a folder where they can drop in files, but can’t browse the rest of the contents. It’s handy when you’re collecting together a group of files from various people.”

Amit Agarwal, who is always on the case, has a writeup on Email Autoresponder, a Chrome add-on I’m pretty sure he put together. GMail has canned responses but they do have limitations. This new add-on is an attempt to address those limitations and make a more powerful tool. I’ll have to take a look – I’m constantly frustrated by GMail’s limitations after years and years of using Eudora.

From Ditch That Textbook: 12 ways to use Google Classroom’s newest features.


The UK Medical Heritage Libraries Project has reached 8 million pages digitized. Way to go y’all!
“Our goal is to reach 15 million pages in early 2016. Each of the 10 partner institutions has contributed books and pamphlets from a wide range of medical and health-related areas, but each has a slightly different emphasis – University College London contributed a large number of ophthalmology books and pamphlets, while the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine naturally focuses on public health and tropical diseases. Military medicine is a top subject from both the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Physicians of London, while cholera is well represented from Glasgow University Library and others.”

Twitter is turning into a Hollywood negotiation tool. “Twitter has long been part of the Hollywood swirl. Celebrities routinely use the messaging service as a marketing device. Then there are the VIPs who sometimes make news by tweeting out a random thought that proves offensive — Ashton Kutcher, we’re looking at you. But now Hollywood talent is finding an innovative new use for Twitter: as a tool in high-stakes negotiations. In particular, it can serve as a way for an aggrieved actor or director to take his or her case directly to the fans for the purpose of teasing out some more leverage in talks with a powerful studio.”

Google is shutting down autoplay video in Chrome (yay!) “In a post on Google+, Chromium evangelist François Beaufort laid out an upcoming change that should pop up in Chrome pretty soon: autoplay media will no longer autoplay unless you’re looking at the tab. If you open a new tab and there’s a video set to autoplay, it’ll load — it just won’t actually start playing until you focus on that tab.”

Google’s self-driving cars can be trolled by bikes. “The self-driving cars are notoriously careful, and tend to brake when anyone else is moving forward into the vehicle’s path. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance.”


The British Library has declined to accept a Taliban-related digital collection because of terrorism laws. “Academics have criticised the British government for creating a ‘climate of fear’ after the national library declined to store the world’s biggest collection of Taliban-related documents over concerns it could be prosecuted under terrorism laws.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!

Ireland, New York City, Vine, More: Saturday Buzz, August 29th, 201


Two twentieth-century Irish newspapers have been digitized and put online. “For historians of the British and Irish communist movements, Irish republicanism, the Northern Ireland conflict, and those examining the Irish community in Britain generally, the digitisation and uploading online of the newspapers of the Connolly Association, Irish Freedom (1939-1944) and the Irish Democrat (1945-2000), by the group are an important development that will make research much easier. Wedding traditional Irish republicanism with socialism, the Connolly Association played a highly visible role in the Irish community in Britain after its establishment in 1938, having branches in most of the main cities to which Irish immigrants were attracted in the large-scale post-war migration across the Irish Sea.”

Cornell University is digitizing four of its collections, including a collection containingPalmyra pictures taken in 1885. The collections include “…the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, which includes more than 10,000 items of apparel, flat textiles and accessories dating from the late 18th century,” the aforementioned Palmyra pictures – “…the Sterrett Photographs collection, which documents major archaeological monuments in present-day Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria and Iraq…”, music: “Benjamin Piekut, associate professor of music, will lead a project to digitize the Lindsay Cooper Archive, currently housed in a London storage locker and inaccessible to researchers. The project is a partnership between Cornell and the University of the Arts London to make Cooper’s scores and archival recordings available….” and feminist publications: “The fourth project will digitize the full content of ‘On Our Backs,’ a historically important publication used by students and researchers in the visual, political, historical, and gender and sexuality fields…”

East View has launched a complete archive of The Japan Times. This is a subscription service. ‘The Japan Times publication was founded in 1897, with the intention to “give Japanese the opportunity to read news and current events in English and to help Japan to participate more fully in the international community.’ This new digital archive includes every newspaper published between 1897 and 2014 (nearly 500,000 pages), with annual updates.”

The city of New York has a new map of sidewalk cafes. This is of interest to me because there are over 1300 of them. “Applications can be rejected because business owners are unaware of zoning regulations. And community boards often complain of excessive noise or crowding. The city aims to address some of these concerns with a new interactive map of all 1,357 sidewalk cafés, allowing the public to track the status of each eatery’s application, license number, expiration date and health grade. It even shows the number of outdoor tables and chairs allowed for each dining spot.”

Ohio University has a new online history archive. “University College and University Libraries are proud to debut ‘An Introduction to Ohio University,’ a web-based, multi-media project that documents the University’s rich and distinct history – from its humble beginnings in the wilderness of the Ohio Country through its post-World War II rise to prominence.”


Vine is adding music tools. “Vine is rolling out a new music-focused tool for video creators on its network called ‘Snap to Beat’. The option, Vine says, will make it a doddle to create looping six second videos that sync perfectly.”


This is fascinating: museums are using Instagram for a virtual collection swap. “Using the hashtag #museuminstaswap, each participating institution will share photos of its partner museum throughout the week, highlighting works that resonate with their own collections.” This has actually wound down but take a look at the tags.

What a bizarre milestone: this week one billion people used Facebook in a 24-hour period. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say “One billion accounts used Facebook in a 24-hour period.”

If you search for certain things on Google, you will apparently attract recruiting interest. “Turning to Google to find out more about the programming language he was using, he typed in the search bar: ‘python lambda function list comprehension.’ But as well as the regular search results, Rosett was then presented with a rather peculiar statement: ‘You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?'” Some commenters have denounced this as creepy but I don’t see it; apparently certain types of searches trigger this response. It’s no different from certain types of searches triggering instant answers or knowledge cards.


Flash ads will get a big freeze in Google Chrome. “The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out “many” Flash ads in the process. Netizens can right-click over the security-challenged plugin and select “Run this” if they want to unfreeze an ad. Otherwise, the Flash files will remain suspended in a grey box, unable to cause any harm nor any annoyance.”

Facebook is going to be cracking down more on video copyright violations. “Facebook has been under fire lately from top Web video creators who have called out the social networking giant for failing to prevent people from posting their videos without permission. Now, Facebook is trying to make it easier for some of these creators to protect their content, particularly when videos go viral.”

Google has rejected EU antitrust charges. “Google on Thursday rejected claims from the European Union’s top antitrust official that the company favored some of its own search results over those of rivals, saying there was significant competition in the region’s online search market and that the company’s services increased choice for local consumers.” Good morning, Internet…

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks!