Newspapers, Shipwrecks, Ello, More: Tuesday Buzz, August 25th, 2015


In development: an archive for Emmett Till. “The brutal death of Emmett Till — an African-American teenager — in Mississippi in August of 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his white murderers by an all-white jury, was a pivotal moment in the surge for civil rights in America….Now, 60 years after the tragedy, Florida State University is creating an Emmett Till Archive. The university plans to make the announcement soon.”

Now available: a database of shipwrecks in Rhode Island waters — over 3000 of them! “Users can search most of the 38 fields of information, including names of ships, dates of incidents and cargo being carried. The database documents cases where ships sank and what’s left of them still lies on the bottom, as well as other incidents, such as groundings and collisions, which the ship survived.”

Ancestry is teaming up with Gannett for a huge newspaper digitization project (PRESS RELEASE). “Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genetics, today announced its collaboration with Gannett Co., Inc., the largest local-to-national media company, to digitize more than 80 daily newspapers across the nation., an Ancestry business unit, and Gannett will provide a historical newspaper viewing experience complete with full text search, clipping and sharing features. Together, they expect to deliver more than 100 million full-page images of historical newspapers in a simple, easy-to-use online archive.”


Feeling a little retro? Mail your storage data to Google. “Using this service, developers will be able to send their physical media, including hard disk drives, tapes and USB flash drives to its partners — and those partners will then import it into a pre-selected Cloud Storage class (that’s Standard, DRA and Nearline, Google’s new low-cost, high-latency storage service). The previous version only supported hard drives.”

Google Classroom has gotten some updates.

Foodie photos on Google Maps? It’s being tested. “Though services dedicated to photos of food – like Foodspotting or Forkly, for example – have exited the scene (as well as consumers’ collective consciousness) over the years, snapping photos of your delicious dinner still remains a popular activity. Now Google is looking to capitalize on this ongoing trend with a new feature in Google Maps that encourages users to share their ‘foodie pics’ with others by posting the photo to Google Maps itself.”

Facebook has added a “Donate Now” button. “Today, Facebook for Business announced in a post that it has added ‘Donate Now’ as a call-to-action button available for Brand Pages. These buttons can now appear right on a Facebook Brand Page, or directly within an ad on the site.”


Tech Times has an update on the social network Ello. “It’s been a strange year-and-a-half for Ello. In Spring of last year, the site kicked off an invite-only launch after a year or so of private beta testing, its simple homepage greeting users with a plain language manifesto – a shot across the bow against the social network status quo.”

The British Library wants help identifying the zillions of images in its collection. It also wants the process to be fun. Therefore it is hosting a game jam. “An ideal game draws a random image from our 1-million-strong collection and through gameplay the player tells us something about the content of the image. You might choose from our limited set of tags (flora, fauna, mineral, human portrait, landscape, manmade – eg. machine, buildings, ship, abstract, artistic, music, map), or opt to be more creative. If we like what we see, we’ve set aside up to £500 (courtesy of the Andrew Mellon Foundation) to work with someone to polish their game and release it as part of our ‘Mechanical Curator Arcade Game’, a 1980s-style arcade console that we’re planning to install in the British Library this autumn.”

A security researcher who hacked a moving Jeep is leaving Twitter. “Charlie Miller, a former National Security Agency hacker who is the one of the world’s best-known security experts, declined to comment on his departure or say what he would do next.”


A recently-patched IE exploit is being used in the wild. Make sure your patches are up to date! “When it released the emergency patch for the memory corruption flaw (CVE-2015-2502) on August 18, Microsoft warned that the weakness had been exploited in the wild. One day after the remote code execution vulnerability was addressed, security firms Heimdal Security and Symantec reported seeing watering hole attacks in which malicious actors leveraged the bug to deliver the PlugX remote access Trojan (RAT), also known as Korplug.” 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!

North Carolina, Climate, LYCOS, More: Monday Buzz, August 23rd, 2015

Please note my schedule is going to be weird for the next eight days. Post times may be random.


The state archives of North Carolina has created a STEM collection. “The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Digital Collection, part of North Carolina Digital Collections, is an attempt to highlight a representative sample of the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina related to the STEM fields….To create this digital collection, we have drawn material from over 50 records series and collections held by the State Archives of North Carolina including: State Agency Records, Private Collections, Photograph Collections, Organization Records, General Assembly Records, and Map Collections.”

Now available: a database of multiple-model climate data. “Studies in biogeography and macroecology have been increasing massively since climate and biodiversity databases became easily accessible. Climate simulations for past, present, and future have enabled macroecologists and biogeographers to combine data on species’ occurrences with detailed information on climatic conditions through time to predict biological responses across large spatial and temporal scales. Here we present and describe ecoClimate, a free and open data repository developed to serve useful climate data to macroecologists and biogeographers.”

New to me: did you know there was a digital archive of Route 66 postcards? I had no idea.


Michael L. Mauldin has returned to LYCOS (PRESS RELEASE). “LYCOS, (NSE & BSE: ‘LYCOS’ or the company), one of the most widely known Internet brands and one of the first search engines on the web is delighted to welcome back the creator of LYCOS, Michael L. Mauldin, to serve as an Independent Director on its Board. The appointment is effective on August 24, 2015. Mauldin, the founder of LYCOS in 1994 also served as the Chief Scientist of the Lycos Internet search engine company. Mauldin developed the Lycos Search Engine while working on the Informedia Digital Library project at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also former director of Conversive, Inc., an Artificial Intelligence Software company based in Malibu, California.”

A year ago, the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, made tens of thousands of its images available for reuse. A year later and it looks back at the results. “The paper is divided into three parts. Part One details the reasons why Te Papa developed an open access program, describing what we hoped might happen if we made our collection images available for reuse; and exploring the international, New Zealand and organisational context within which the decision to support an open access program was made. Part Two explains Te Papa’s open access program in more depth, documenting what we put in place to deliver downloadable images and describing the initial response we received after launch. The final part of the paper, Part Three, explores the results of the program one year on, describing the extent – and ways – to which Te Papa’s collection images have been used; and compares this activity with similar open access programs internationally.”

The Atlantic has a fascinating article on preserving movies in VHS format. “VHS is a maligned medium. Libraries are rapidly culling it from their collections, a project in Ontario, Canada, wants to recycle the province’s 2.26 billion tapes, and the rise of digital streaming has made it mostly irrelevant to the general public. It’s often described as obsolete, even by those charged with preserving America’s cultural heritage. One reason Yale bought this video collection was to preserve rare titles—it’s been estimated that about 40 to 45 percent of content distributed on VHS never made its way into any subsequent digital format. But the primary focus of this collection effort was the physical nature of the medium and the cultures it changed and created.”

Twitter’s stock is having a terrible time. “In the post-IPO market, Twitter is sucking air. At least it isn’t alone. Alibaba also set a record low today. After repeated quarterly reports detailing slowing, anemic user growth, shares in Twitter today reached a new nadir: the firm’s IPO price.”

More Twitter: it has completely killed Politwhoops. “The Open State Foundation (OSF) knew this was coming. The US account was shut down by Twitter in May. Now the hammer has come down on the rest of the group’s Politwoops accounts – each of which was dedicated to monitoring deletions by elected officials in a specific country.” Twitter is saying this is because privacy. But why? These are public statements made to the public by an elected official in their capacity as an elected official. Grr Twitter.


First Microsoft stopped giving the heads-up on Windows patch releases. Now it’s not talking as much about what’s in the patches. “Microsoft has now released three cumulative updates for Windows 10. These updates combine security fixes with non-security bug fixes, and so far, Microsoft hasn’t done a very good job of describing the contents of these cumulative updates. While the security content is quite fully described, explanations of the non-security fixes have been lacking.”

We’ve been warned ten thousand times about common passwords. But what about common Android Lock Patterns (ALPs)? “The Tic-Tac-Toe-style patterns, it turns out, frequently adhere to their own sets of predictable rules and often possess only a fraction of the complexity they’re capable of. The research is in its infancy since Android lock Patterns (ALPs) are so new and the number of collected real-world-patterns is comparatively miniscule. Still, the predictability suggests the patterns could one day be subject to the same sorts of intensive attacks that regularly visit passwords.”


Jason Scott and a bevy of valiant volunteers have have saved a huge collection of technical manuals. “A few of us tried to do a very rough, very hand-wavy job of determining what the total number of manuals was, because it sure as hell wasn’t 25,000. At the end we decided that it is definitely over 50,000 and it is probably as high as 75,000. So we rescued twice as many items as I was told the room contained. That’s fantastic.” So wonderful. What a great job. Good evening, 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 York, India, Australia, More: Saturday Buzz, August 22nd, 2015


Now available: a new digital archive of Australian musical artists. “A new online music archive has been created at the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) for emerging Perth composers, with a select few also being chosen to break the library’s silence.”

Pyramids, foods, balanced diets? The National Agricultural Library at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a digital library of nutrition guidance. “This collection allows users to browse and search the full text of over 900 historical and contemporary federal dietary guidance publications.” I did a couple of text searches. The oldest item I came across was from 1923, and was provided in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats.

The city of New York has launched an online database of public notices. “Updated daily, the City Record Online (CROL) is a fully searchable, machine-readable online database of all such notices, including schedules for more than 750 public hearings, land sales and contract awards for the $1.2 billion of goods and services that are acquired by the city each year.”

Either the government of India is getting a lot more efficient at creating databases of country resources, or Google News is getting a lot more efficient at indexing Indian news sources so I’m finding out about them. I’m not sure which one. Anyway, the government of India has created an online database of temples and temple properties in Tamil Nadu. There are almost 4500 temples in the database. “The Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) department, acting on a Madras high court order, coordinated with the revenue department to create the database with extensive details of all temples in the state, the land they own, their tenants and encroachments on the properties.”

Oh I LOVE stuff like this. Anybody can look at the super-popular videos on YouTube, but what about the ones which have very few views? There’s an app for that. “…Zero Views for iOS is letting people explore the unseen videos lurking behind all the cute cat clips. Of course, this isn’t an entirely new concept, there are similar websites and apps out there but what I like about Zero Views is the endless stream. It kind of feels like Tinder… If Tinder was filled with badly-lit home movies shot on phones.”

Victorian female prisoner registries have gone online. (Please note that this is “Victorian” as in “area in Australia,” not as in “era in history.”) “The prison records of more than 7,000 Victorian women incarcerated between 1855 and 1934 are available to view online for the first time, thanks to the State Archives. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) cleaned and digitised the records, which were then indexed by volunteers over an 18-month period.”


Google is finally bringing Tweets to desktop search results (again).

If I never post to ResearchBuzz again, it’s because IFTTT has a Maker channel. “With the Maker Channel, you’re basically building web hooks that trigger other events. For instance, if you press a button on something connected to a Raspberry Pi, that can trigger any of IFTTT’s other actions, for example, press a button and send an email.”


From Poynter: GitHub tutorials and resources for journalists. “Last year, Clay Shirky used GitHub as a way to report on Occupy Hong Kong. The platform allowed others on the scene to collaborate with Shirky as he reported his piece. What I admire about this approach is that it gave anyone the ability to clone and then modify Shirky’s document — but Shirky had final approval over whether to integrate those changes into the master document.”


Google Express is shutting down its two Mountain View and SF delivery hubs. “The move is part of a broader push within Google to revamp the service, which launched in March 2013, after it failed to make a serious dent in a market crowded with Amazon and a myriad of on-demand startups.”

I have never used Spotify, and after reading about this new insane privacy policy, I don’t think I want to. “The streaming service wants access to the sensor information on your phone, which it says would be used for things like knowing whether you are walking, running, or standing still….What is less easy to understand is why Spotify is seeking permission to access your photos, contacts, and ‘media files.'”

Congratulations, UK! According to Google you’re searching for revenge porn. “Large digital billboards around London, paid for by Google, have been spotted by the public – with a surprising revelation displayed for all to see. The brightly coloured boards – which show popular search terms being used – declared boldly that the UK ‘is searching for revenge porn sites’.” If Google feels the need to have a brand awareness campaign in the UK, how about something a bit more useful? 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!

World Bank, Google, Golf Carts, More: Friday Buzz, August 21st, 2015


Now available: The World Bank Group Archives. “In April 2015, as part of its commitment to transparency and openness, the World Bank Group launched its Archives Holdings website. This is a state-of-the-art platform, which maximizes the public’s online access to a vast amount of original primary source material in the custody of the Archives.”


Yahoo is getting into weather alerts. “Today we’re introducing new weather alerts around the world – you’ll never be stuck outside, unprepared again. Yahoo Weather, our beautiful and intuitive weather app, will alert you 15 minutes before rain or snow is expected, so you can grab your jacket, rain boots or umbrella!”

Google Translate, now on Android Wear watches. “Translate is built into the latest Android Wear software update, so you can have bilingual conversations even if you don’t have Google Translate on your phone, or if you’re away from your phone but connected via Wi-Fi. And it’s easy to use – just speak into your watch to see your conversation translated into any of 44 languages. Flip your wrist to show the translation to a friend. When they respond in their own language, flip your wrist back, and you’ll see in your language what they’ve just said.” My my my, I believe we have full jetpack.

Dropbox is now saving and syncing URLs. “The cloud service now saves URLs you drag and drop into the desktop app or the website itself — once they’re synced, just click ’em when you need ’em. You can keep all the URLs you need for a project or a research paper in one folder, for instance, so you can access them on any computer.”

Google has announced an update to the Flu Trends site. “Instead of maintaining our own website going forward, we’re now going to empower institutions who specialize in infectious disease research to use the data to build their own models. Starting this season, we’ll provide Flu and Dengue signal data directly to partners including Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health (to update their dashboard), Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Influenza Division. We will also continue to make historical Flu and Dengue estimate data available for anyone to see and analyze.”

Google Photos is letting you throwback every day. “Google wants to help you take a stroll down memory lane. The company is today introducing a feature that allows you to resurface photos and videos from the current calendar date in previous years. The feature is thankfully opt-in, so you won’t have to be reminded of your embarrassing behavior at parties or that old terrible haircut. ”


Need some help with Google, but you want to use Twitter? There’s a hashtag for that. “Need help with Google search? Maybe with Gmail? Google Photos? Or any Google product? Now you can just head over to Twitter and ask your question and add on #gHelp to the question. Someone from the Google Top Contributor team should find it and respond.”


Danny Sullivan’s got a wish list for Instagram. “This year marked a return for me to Instagram, where my account had largely been dormant. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time on the service, but I find several things maddening. Here’s what I see wrong with Instagram, despite its great success.”

Happens to the best of us: Google lost some data in a lightning strike. “Google says data has been wiped from discs at one of its data centres in Belgium – after it was struck by lightning four times. Some people have permanently lost access to their files as a result. A number of disks damaged following the lightning strikes did, however, later became accessible.”

Is Facebook testing new profile pages for mobile users? “The Facebook app on your phone may soon look a lot different. It seems the company is A/B testing a new profile layout, incorporating some visual changes.”

SEO Roundtable found Google Answers getting a bit up itself.


Self-driving cars, SHMELF-DRIVING CARS. It’s all about the self-driving golf carts. “Auro’s current prototypes are golf carts modified with laser scanners, radar, cameras, GPS, computers, and other components needed to steer themselves. One is already being tested on the grounds of Santa Clara University. [Nalin] Gupta says he has signed agreements to begin similar tests at other universities, as well as a retirement community and a resort in the Bay Area later in the year.” 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!

Australia, Physicians, Holocaust, More: Thursday Buzz, August 20th, 2015


Now available: a tool to get information on Australian property values. From the screenshots in the article it looks a bit like Zillow for Australia. OF course, there may already be a Zillow for Australia… “With the launch of Home Price Guide on Aug. 20, everyone will have access to estimates of property values — whether or not the home is on the market — instantly. The site, available for free on iOS and Android apps, plus desktop and mobile sites, allows people to search more than 13 million properties across Australia. Buyers or curious locals can find out the estimated value of the property to buy or rent, go through the full sale and rental history, check out surrounding properties and view the estimated rental yield.”

There’s a new search engine out there, and it’s looking for Kickstarter funding. “Dr. Philip Kovacs’ company, Vastly Inc., is seeking $250,000 through Kickstarter for its Complexity Engine educational Internet search engine, the patent-pending technologies for which are licensed from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).” 250K? Yow. “Complexity Engine uses a sophisticated algorithm to search websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user’s computer. In an educational setting, it promises to give teachers, parents and students an efficient, affordable way to promote reading. Teachers and administrators can set parameters for the search results, and the reading experience can be either student self-directed or guided by the teacher.” Now, it’s 2am as I write this so it’s entirely possible that I missed it, but I can’t find the actual link to the Kickstarter campaign in this article. It is: .

I have seen state medical boards that allow users to search on disciplinary action for a doctor/medical professional, but never one that lets you search every active licensed physician in the US. Until I read about new resource Docinfo. “The Docinfo physician search tool ( draws data from the FSMB’s Physician Data Center, the nation’s most comprehensive database of physician licensure and disciplinary information. The Data Center is regularly updated with information provided to the FSMB by its membership of 70 state medical and osteopathic boards, which license all U.S. physicians, and discipline several thousand physicians each year for unprofessional conduct, incompetence and other issues. The tool also includes data on thousands of physician assistants regulated by state medical boards.” Note this search tool is limited, apparently, it active physicians. If you’re looking for someone who has had their license suspended and whose license is expired, you will (in my experience) have more luck searching a state-based board tool.

The Art Gallery of Ontario has launched a digital archive of Holocaust images. “The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), in partnership with Facing History and Ourselves and with contributions from the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, has developed a digital archive of more than 4,000 rarely seen images from its Henryk Ross Collection of Lodz Ghetto Photographs. Created for educators, students, scholars and others interested in the history of the Lodz Ghetto, the website,, features searchable, digital renderings of Henryk Ross’s original nitrate-based negatives. The launch of the digital archive, made possible by several generous supporters, marks the 70th anniversary of Ross’s physical unearthing of the original negatives in 1945.”


Bing is making some changes to its news exploration for mobile. “If you’re like many folks (the Bing team included!) who read news on your smartphone, you may not have the time to read full articles on the go. In fact, our research has found that reading headlines is the most common way to browse news on smartphones, with about two-thirds of users doing so (compared to just 41% who read a full article). Now, we’re offering a way to quickly understand how individual news articles relate to a bigger picture just by skimming headlines across different news topics.”


NICE. How to build a Google Spreadsheet that auto-tweets your archives. “Set it and forget it. That’s what we wanted from a program that would reduce our social media workload and surface the Storybench archives. Much like the “scheduling tweets” function from Twitter programs like Hootsuite, we wanted a simple-to-use script that would auto-tweet stories from our backlog. We found a solution created by Zach Whalen, a professor of digital media at the University of Mary Washington. ”

Trustify has created a tool for users to check to see if their e-mail address was compromised in the Ashley Madison hack. Just enter an e-mail address and it tells you yes or no. Bear in mind that the e-mail address being listed doesn’t necessarily mean anything (especially if it’s not yours.) I got a hit on and I’m absolutely certain Barack Obama has far better things to do with his time than hang out on Ashley Madison.


Soon you may be able to review your local government agency on Yelp. “Yelp, the popular Web and mobile service that helps people find local businesses by ratings and is best known for restaurant reviews, is now open for official government use. GSA is opening the door to agencies to launch new Yelp pages to listen and respond to comments from the public, then use the data to drive improvements to services.”

Wow, Google went public 11 years ago this week. Get off my lawn!

REI has open-sourced its GovDashboard tool (PRESS RELEASE). “REI built GovDashboard to incorporate the strongest features of public sector transparency dashboards commissioned by the U.S. Federal Government such as and Popular features include a user-friendly interface, a dozen standard ways to visualize data, dashboard building, and customization tools that can incorporate data tables and visualizations, text, photos, and other objects, with content updated as frequently as data sources change.”


The Knight Foundation did some research into how Americans use Twitter for news. “In order to better understand how Americans are engaging with news on Twitter, we built a small but representative sample of 176 Twitter users from an earlier national survey of 3,212 Americans conducted by Pew Research Center in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We then analyzed the Twitter activity of these users, with their explicit permission.”


Do you want to send your name to Mars? Here ya go. “Mars enthusiasts around the world can participate in NASA’s journey to Mars by adding their names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch next year.” 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!