Art, Water, Science, More: HUGE Wednesday Buzz, June 24th, 2015


Missouri Southern State University has created a database of its African art holdings which should be available to the public “soon.” “The result of that work, which was completed a few weeks ago, is an online database that is set to be made public at Viewers will be able to see photographs of all the items along with information about each piece, such as its dimensions, its materials and any history related to it, said Eric Rasheed, collections care manager.” (That URL 404s at this writing.)

The American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) has launched a new digital library. “The American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) is committed to preserving the technical contributions and personal narratives of professionals in our industry and making that information available to the water treatment community now and in the future. The landmark Chats with the Pioneers interviews began that legacy and now AMTA is proud to announce the launch of the comprehensive new Digital Library. Accessed exclusively through the AMTA website at, the Digital Library contains almost 1,000 papers and presentations authored by the industry’s most respected and experienced professionals.” You do have to be member to view the digital library, but individual memberships are available and memberships for students are free. (You must submit a student ID and you must be a full-time student.)

FamilySearch has started a huge project to index four million
Freedmen’s Bureau historical records.
“The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the American Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 to 1872, the Bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages. In the process it gathered priceless handwritten, personal information including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records on potentially 4 million African Americans.” FamilySearch is looking for crowdsourced help with this project.

The National Trust in the UK is asking the British public to send them the sounds of the seaside. “The National Trust is asking the public to record the sounds of the seaside for a digital archive. Bosses at the organisation want thousands of recordings to be uploaded onto a digital map, which will be curated by the British Library.” I actually heard about this on BBC World News yesterday and Dan Damon made me laugh; he was very indignant about the repeated mentions of seagulls. “They steal your chips!”

The US Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new tool that maps out community residents who are dependent on electricity for assistance or lifesaving devices – ventilators, wheelchairs, etc. The maps can be overlaid with radar/alert information to quickly identify citizens at risk from severe weather. “The HHS emPOWER Map shows the monthly total number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries’ claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county, and zip code levels. The tool incorporates these data with real-time severe weather tracking services from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a Geographic Information System (GIS).” When I first read about this I was worried that it might be a privacy issue, but the information does not descend to residence-level (that information is extant, of course, but not available to the general public.)

The Smithsonian Science Education Center has launched a new animated Web series for science teachers. “‘Good Thinking!’ features short, animated videos that explore subjects like energy, cells and gravity, as well as cognitive research findings on topics such as student motivation or the myth of left- and right-brained people. Led by teacher Isabella Reyes, each episode centers on interactions with her students in class. But Reyes also encounters a cast of recurring characters who spring to life from classroom objects and guide her through fine points of teaching. These characters include a talking orchid (who is an expert on life sciences), a talking Bunsen burner (a physical sciences guide) and Gummerson, a gruff but wise wad of gum who’s ‘stuck around’ the school for a long time.” The first three episodes of the series are available on YouTube.

Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version. “At any moment in your day, Google Play Music has whatever you need music for—from working, to working out, to working it on the dance floor—and gives you curated radio stations to make whatever you’re doing better. Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.”

Now available: a database of LGBTQ movies from Canada. I don’t have a complete count of database entries but it looks like several hundred.

The Archivo Histórico General del Estado de Sinaloa has joined the Flickr Commons. “Founded in 1999, the Archivo Histórico de Sinaloa hosts one of the largest digital libraries in Mexico. Its staff is working to digitize the entire collection of images with the goal of making it available to anyone interested. They want to help spread the history of the state of Sinaloa and put its documents to good use, whether for academic or personal purposes.”

The Digital Library of Georgia has released a new collection of Savannah photographs. “The City of Savannah, Research Library and Municipal Archives has recently made a new collection available through its online Digital Image Catalog: Public Information Office–Photographs, 1948-2000. This collection contains digitized photographs, slides, negatives, and manuscript material maintained by the city of Savannah’s Public Information Office, and document city-sponsored services, programs, and significant city events. There are also photographs of politicians and employees of city bureaus.” It’s a small collection – just over 150 photographs – but I’m including it here just because of how much in encompasses. The 1996 Olympics Torch Run, a movie set (Glory, 1989), stained glass, a funeral, dancing police officers – this collection is all over the place.


Hey! Picasa Web Albums is back. I’m glad to see this; I really liked Picasa.

Alrighty then: Google Street View is getting vertical with rock wall climbs. “Today we’re launching our first-ever vertical Street View collection, giving you the opportunity to climb 3,000 feet up the world’s most famous rock wall: Yosemite’s El Capitan. To bring you this new imagery, we partnered with legendary climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Read more about the project from Tommy Caldwell, who completed the world’s hardest climb in Yosemite in January of 2015.” When you read this blog post make sure you are firmly planted in your chair or at your standing desk – the images can do strange things to your stomach.


From SmallBizTrends: 4 Greatest Online Collaboration and Project Management Tools. I had heard of two of these.


Four senators have introduced the Just Google It Act in a bid to get rid of the NTIS. “The NTIS, which was established in 1950, compiles federal reports and sells copies of these documents to other agencies and the public upon request. The original purpose of the NTIS – to increase government transparency and make documents available to federal agencies and the public – has been largely displaced by the Internet. A 2014 GAO study found that three-quarters of the documents added to the NTIS collection over the last two decades were available elsewhere, of which 95 percent could be found for free online through a search on Google or another search engine.”


Happy 20th birthday to genealogy site Cyndi’s List! Cyndi has a blog post about how it all began. “It’s all Nancy Peterson’s fault. She was the editor of the TPCGS quarterly. She came right up to me at the meeting and asked if I could turn my one-page list into an article for the quarterly. Maybe five or six pages long. I said I could, but I would have to categorize the bookmarks. That’s when that started. I scoured the Internet for all-things genealogy. I found topics and ethnic groups and locations that I knew nothing about, but I figured others would find them useful. The article was published in the late fall of 1995. I need to find a copy of that article for my archives. I didn’t keep a copy that I can find. And I had no way of knowing what it would become.”

Wow: DuckDuckGo is now getting 10 million queries per day. A drop in the bucket compared to Google, but it shows that users do think privacy is important.

From Harvard Business Review: How Bots Took Over Twitter. “Buffer offers ‘suggestions'; HootSuite, ‘suggested content.’ suggests the tweets that can thank and engage your most loyal followers. All these apps — and many more — are saving us from the problem of keeping up with social media by stripping away what was once the entire point of social media: actually using your own voice. The result is a Twitter that is authored by predictions and algorithms, rather than by humans. For many users, that means Twitter offers a far less satisfying experience than it did just two or three years ago, when sharing a link often provoked follow-up comments and questions from people who’d actually read whatever you’d shared, or when tweeting a question could instantly elicit offers of help or insight. In on- and offline conversations with friends and colleagues, I frequently hear from folks like Michele Perras, a San Francisco-based design and product entrepreneur. ‘Twitter has become too much noise and not enough signal,’ she says. ‘It used to be more like a hallway conversation, and now that’s harder to find that amongst the robotweeting and marketing.'” I am happy to say that I never used that suggested content stuff, because it does feel too “noisy”. 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!

Introducing the ResearchBuzz Firehose: How to Use It

I am not cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been cool. I am very dull except I am obsessed about finding things online. And I’m obsessed with telling you about it. I’ve been doing ResearchBuzz for over 17 years now. Isn’t that amazing? Who knew I had an attention span.

While I still write the occasional article, most of my ResearchBuzz time is spent finding resources and summarizing them for the daily (and occasionally twice-daily) Buzz. And I’m happy to do that and y’all reward me with lovely e-mail (and corrections to my spelling, which can get downright random after midnight.) But it’s been bugging me that the daily buzz doesn’t have individually-tagged entries, and that there’s a lot of stuff I let slip by without mentioning because it’s a little too narrowly-focused, or not quite within the boundaries of ResearchBuzz’ remit.

I thought about doing a Tumblr for ResearchBuzz entries, but after playing with it for a while I realized that it was too visually-oriented and I wouldn’t be able to set up the entries like I wanted to. Then my friend Leo recommended just doing an additional WordPress blog, and he was right.

So introducing the ResearchBuzz Firehose, at . ResearchBuzz’ mascot is Matilda the Bee, while the ResearchBuzz Firehose is captained by EricEric the Bee.

Instead of digest entries like ResearchBuzz, each item has its own individually-tagged and -categoried entry. In addition, RB Firehose will also have items which are a little too narrow or “off” for regular ResearchBuzz. For example, this evening I included an item about the development of a tool to measure drought in smaller areas, like cities or counties. Fascinating (to me anyway), relevant, but not quite inside ResearchBuzz.

There will also be more commentary, which is not as easily contained in the digest.

What does this mean to you? If you’re happy with the current digest format, it means nothing. You can keep reading the standard offerings at ResearchBuzz and all will be well. On the other hand, if you’re interested in specific categories or tags of information, the Firehose will let you get custom RSS feeds based on what you’re interested in. Here’s how to set those up.

Category-Based Feeds

All Firehose posts will list under one of seven categories:

– New Resources
– Tweaks & Updates
– Useful Stuff
– Around the Search & Social Media World
– Other Things I Think Are Cool
– Research & Opinion
– Security & Legal Issues

The URL for reviewing all items in a category looks like this:

To get the RSS feed for a category, just add /feed to the end of that URL:

Now you have a handy way of keeping up with just new resources if that is your wish. Easy peasy. (You can get a list of all category URLs by using the “Category” drop down menu on the right column.)

Tag-Based Feeds

Tags are keywords that describe an item in the Firehose. Keywords for a recent item about the Napoleonic Wars included 19th Century, Military History, and Napoleonic Wars. I don’t have standard tags yet except that I plan to use full state names when tagging appropriate items, and I have a fuzzy idea of going by the DDC Hundred Divisions. Not quite sure yet. Anyway, when you see a tag you like, you can click on it, and you’ll get a page for that tag.

Here’s the URL for the Canada tag:

And to get an RSS feed for that… you know it, just add /feed to the end:

There’s a tag cloud of the top 75 tags in the right column of the Firehose. It’s still populating since the site is new.

Keyword-Based Feeds

Maybe the keyword-based feeds aren’t doing it for you, and the category feeds are too general. Ignore me and do your own keyword searching, and turn THAT into a feed. There’s a search box on the right column of the Firehose. Run your searches there. Here’s the URL for a keyword search of the word Spain:

To turn that into an RSS feed…. /feed? No, use &feed=RSS:

Thanks to the firehose format, you now have three ways to keep up with the specific kinds of resources that you’re interested in without having to plow through entire digests.

If You Dig It, Let Me Know

This is going to add a bit of time to putting ResearchBuzz together. Not a lot, but enough so I’m going to notice. It would help me a lot to hear from you if you find this format useful. If there’s no interest in it and nobody uses it, I’ll go back to regular ResearchBuzz. It would also help if you RT this or share it on Facebook or Tumblr it or whatever it is you do to help get the word out. I’d appreciate it.

Thank you so much for reading.

Dreams, Famine, Patents, More: Skinny Tuesday Buzz, June 23rd, 2015


New to me: did you know there’s a database of dreams? Over 22,000 of ’em. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you know I have extremely weird dreams. This is fascinating to me. “The archive is organized in 73 dream sets. Most of those sets are dreams collected from an individual, but some are from groups who were assigned to keep diaries, such as blind dreamers and Swiss schoolchildren. Over the years, people have heard about The DreamBank and submitted their privately kept journals to be preserved and made available to readers. Domhoff believes in granting anonymity to dreamers, and many of the pseudonyms in The DreamBank are both colorful and descriptive such as ‘Pegasus: the factory worker’ and ‘Toby: a friendly party animal’.”

NUI Galway has launched a digital archive of the Irish Famine. “The Digital Irish Famine Archive, which was launched by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Vickers, contains three sets of annals from the Grey Nuns: ‘Ancien Journal (Old Journal), Volume I’ and ‘Le Typhus d’1847, Ancien Journal (The Typhus of 1847, Old Journal), Volume II’, both translated from French to English, and the nuns’ first-hand experiences of the Irish migration in ‘Récit de l’épidemie’ (Tale of the epidemic), which is transcribed in French from the original.”

Google is launching a News Lab. “Our mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to help build the future of media. And we’re tackling this in three ways: though ensuring our tools are made available to journalists around the world (and that newsrooms know how to use them); by getting helpful Google data sets in the hands of journalists everywhere; and through programs designed to build on some of the biggest opportunities that exist in the media industry today.”

Findmypast has added new records from the Napoleonic Wars. “Comprising over 71,000 entries from the ADM 103 series, these records form part of the wider ‘Prisoners of War 1715-1945′ collection. They contain not only the details of members of the armed forces, but also of captured civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities. The new Napoleonic additions record the details of Danish, French, Prussian and American prisoners captured by British Forces during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. They list the prisoner’s name, nationality, rank, service number and the conflict in which they were captured.”

The Canadian Patent Office has put patent prosecution histories online. “In patent parlance, the term ‘prosecution’ refers to the process of guiding a patent application through the patent office to issuance as a patent. Patent prosecution primarily consists of written correspondence between the patent office and a patent applicant (e.g. an inventor or company, typically represented by a patent agent or patent lawyer).”


Okay, the Wall Street Journal has a new Instagram account. WSJ Off Duty — apparently WSJ cooks lots of food and goes to fashion shows.


Good stuff: the Digital Content Strategist at Blanton Museum talks hashtags, specifically standardizing on a museumwide hashtag and strategies for developing exhibit-specific hashtags.


Bing predicted the outcome of the NBA finals. Back in April. “Bing had the Warriors down to beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games, but the Cavaliers earned their shot at the Championship by dismissing the Hawks in four. The Warriors’ side of the bracket proved to be slightly easier to predict, with Bing only failing to foresee the Houston Rockets’ hard-fought victory over the LA Clippers.”


Researchers at the University of Toronto want to use Instagram to help you dress more fashionably. “The researchers mined data from, a social website where users share photos of their outfits. Using the site’s 144,169 posts, the team was able to amass highly detailed statistics for each user, their photo and the fashion it features, along with the comments and response it received from the rest of the Chictopia community. This Fashion144k Dataset, as it’s called, revealed certain correlations and patterns between aspects of a post and the interest it generated, which information the smart folks in Toronto then crunched and coded into their intricate (and seriously brilliant) fashionability-predicting algorithm.” 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!

Fishhooks, Bing, Corbis, More: Sunday Buzz, June 21st, 2015


Now this is interesting! A database of Hawaiian fishhooks. “The new online database is comprised of over 4,000 individual fishhooks with various adaptive designs—including examples of the two-piece fishhook unique to Hawaii—made between 1000 and 1600 A.D. Three Hawaii Island cultural sites are represented: Puu Alii, Waiahukini Rockshelter and Makalei Rockshelter.”

Torrent users: TorrentTags is building a database of risky torrents. “TorrentTags obtains its data in two ways. Firstly, it uses the Chilling Effects database to import the details of torrents that have already been subjected to a DMCA notice on feeder sites including Google search, Twitter and Facebook. Second, and more controversially, the site is calling on rightsholders to submit details and hashes of content they do not want freely shared on BitTorrent.” This is a good way to distinguish the non-pirated content distributed on Torrent versus the other kind, but such a database has issues. Read the article.


Bing has updated its video search. “All of the related searches have been moved inline with your original search, so as you scroll through the page you’ll have some ideas of what to search for next to help refine your search results. When you hit the bottom of the page, you’ll get even more suggestions and the option to see more video search results. ”

Do you play Chrome’s T-Rex Runner game when you’re offline and bored? It’s gotten an update. “…there is now a new obstacle that gamers will have to avoid in the form of a pterodactyl. Gamers will have to duck the pterodactyl while jumping over cacti, so safe to say that it got a bit more challenging for gamers and will put your reflexes to the test.”

Twitter is launching product and place pages. “The first experience we’re testing is a new way to surface and organize relevant Tweets about products and places on dedicated pages. These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price, and an option to buy, book, or visit the website for more information.”


Ewww. Corbis is charging people a mint for public domain images. “We want people to build services that add value to the public domain, making it easier to search and work with. Corbis’s clip-art search is pretty good, but no better than Google Image Search, the Internet Archive, or Flickr’s search (all of which index the LoC and allow you to restrict your search to freely usable work).”

Going to watch some golf? Better not use Periscope, or much of any other media for that matter. “Officials will be monitoring apps such as Periscope and Meerkat, looking out for anyone trying to shoot the action with their smartphone. In fact, all video and audio recording is banned during the four-day event, so don’t even think about posting content to Facebook, Twitter, or any other online site for that matter. You can, however, snap photos, though obviously not when a player is lining up to take a shot.”

Google will start removing “revenge porn” from its search results.

Google could face deterrent-sized fines in the EU antitrust case. “The ‘Statement of Objections’ issued in April, Bloomberg reports, states that the European Commission ‘intends to set the fine at a level which will be sufficient to ensure deterrence,’ adding that the Commission ‘considers that, based on the facts described in this statement of objections, Google committed the infringement intentionally or, at the very least, negligently.'” I would love to hear the number that the EU would consider to be a “deterrent” to Google.


The DuSable Museum of African American History has launched a crowdfunding campaign to preserve three artifacts.

DuckDuckGo’s search engine traffic has increased 600% since the Snowden disclosures.

Google has patented a system to pair frequently lost/forgotten things with your phone. “A new Google patent published today describes a system that allows you to pair frequently lost or left-behind items like your wallet or your glasses to be paired with your mobile device. If the device senses that it’s leaving the house without those devices coming along, it gives the user an alert.” What I need is something that I can pair with and attach to something I absolutely cannot function without, like my glasses. Something I could clip to my earpiece that would rest snugly against my skull and bonephone me with a beep or buzz when I was about to forget an item would be AMAZING. Good afternoon, 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!

Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, June 20th, 2015


Google Cache (which is still a very handy tool) has a new interface. “Google Cache pages have an updated header and now allow you to check the source code of the cached page. Google uses a different background color and more spacing.”


LinkedIn is offering free trials to “The professional network is offering its users a free trial to — 30 days for those with premium accounts or 21 days for non-paying LinkedIn users.”

From the always-awesome Jessamyn West, using the Interent Archive’s image feed on Flickr. “Reference question of the day was about finding public domain images. Everyone’s got their go-tos. If I am looking for illustrations or old photos specifically I’ll often use other people’s searches on top of the Internet Archive’s content. Here’s a little how to.”

From Ubergizmo, just in case: How to delete your Google account.

Does Twitter’s new autoplay feature annoy the heck out of you? Does it make your timeline look like a fever dream? here’s how to turn it off.

Using Twitter to find a job.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released its 2015 Data Privacy Report. “The EFF has awarded nine companies a full complement of stars (albeit some host little or no content so certain criteria may not apply). The nine are: Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia,, and Yahoo. So there’s plenty of room for improvement across the tech industry generally.” AT&T and Verizon got slagged (big surprise there.)

Reddit is moving to fully-encrypt traffic.


Should Twitter buy Nuzzel? No! They’ll mess it up.


Big page sizes mean the Internet is getting slower. “According to new data from the HTTP Archive, the significant increase in size for the average webpage has contributed to significantly longer loading times, leading to significantly more frustrated consumers. With the average site now 2.1MB (up 100 percent from just three years ago), it is no surprise that the Internet is actually taking more time to deliver its results to you.”

Great editorial from The New York Times: Congressional Research Belongs to the Public. “Every day, the Congressional Research Service, a little-known government agency attached to the Library of Congress, churns out papers on issues as varied as the defense budget, the farm bill and nuclear weapons. They’re not classified. They’re nonpartisan. And unlike many government reports, they’re fairly easy to understand. Yet it’s hard for most people to get copies of reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, which operates as an in-house think-tank for lawmakers. That is absurd.”


Turning Wikipedia into a printed reference set…. as an art project. “The Wikipedia entry for ‘quixoticism’ runs only about 255 words. But if anyone could argue for a personal mention, it might be Michael Mandiberg. For the past three years, he has been fully engaged in a project that might make even the most intrepid digital adventurer blush: transforming the English-language Wikipedia into an old-fashioned print reference set running to 7,600 volumes.” (No, he’s not going to print out the whole thing.) 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!