Companies, Complaints, Brass Bands, More: Saturday Buzz, June 27th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Companies House, which is a UK government agency dealing with the licensing of companies, has launched a new Web site in beta along with an API. “It said the service has made 170 million company records available free of charge, including information on financial accounts, directors and secretaries, and that users will be able to find real time updates. Although all of the information was previously in the public domain, Companies House levied a charge for access.”

Under development: a digital archive for brass bands in Ireland. “A Queen’s academic is appealing for Ulster families to search their attics and family photo collections to share prized photos of their ancestors performing in brass bands. Professor Michael Alcorn, head of the School of Creative Arts at Queen’s, is hoping to retrieve artefacts, instruments, uniforms or anything connected with brass bands in Ireland between 1850 and 1970.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released an online database of consumer complaints against banks and financial institutions. “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday went live with an updated online database that includes more than 7,700 narratives from homeowners, loan recipients and others who provided first-hand narratives detailing their frustrations.” I took a quick look at the narratives and most of the ones I looked at were against really aggressive debt collection companies. You can get an RSS feed of the narratives database as it’s updated. Also available is a spreadsheet view of the consumer complaint data – company, zip code, issue and sub-issue, date complaint received, etc.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

You no longer need a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger. “Previously, Facebook required that users log-in with their Facebook credentials in order to use Messenger. Now, though, you can sign up for Messenger with a name, phone number, and photo.”

Yahoo has updated its mobile search. “At Yahoo, we believe deeply in search – an area of growth and continued investment for us. We also believe that the shift to mobile can and will fundamentally change the overall search experience, allowing us to use rich inputs like context and location in order to deliver the most relevant results. Today I’m excited to share that we have a new mobile search experience in the U.S. that connects you immediately to the people, places and things you care about. We know when you’re on the go, you’re often searching for a specific piece of information. So rather than delivering endless links for you to sift through on a small screen, we beautifully assemble the most relevant information in a way that allows you to take action right away.”

The first alpha of Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf!) has been released.

The Oxford English Dictionary has gotten a vocabulary update. “Today the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) announces its latest update, ushering in nearly 500 new words and over 900 newly revised and updated words. There are also over 2400 new senses of existing words added. This confirms the OED’s place as one of the largest and longest-running language research projects in the world.” Notable new words include meh, SCOTUS, hot mess, and cisgender.

Twitter is offering emoji for Wimbledon. “Helped by Serena Williams, Twitter has unveiled four new Wimbledon-related ‘hashflags,’ giving users the opportunity to adorn their tweets with a racket emoji or images relating to #TheQueue, #TheHill (also known as Henman Hill) and #TheWorld.”

You can now watch Periscope replays on the Web. “Just click a link to a Periscope stream, and once the page opens in your browser, you can hit the play button to re-live the stream.”

USEFUL STUFF

Nice roundup from The Edublogger: how to embed just about anything. “Embedding videos, photos, or other types of content in your blog posts is a relatively simple way to enhance your posts with informative, attention-grabbing content. In this round up post, we’ll share posts from the Edublogs community (and beyond) explaining how to embed just about anything into your blog!”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

IFTTT now offers two-factor authentication. Unlike Amazon.

The BBC has published a list of stories removed from Google’s search results because of the “right to be forgotten”. It’ll be updated regularly. “The stories in the list stretch from news items about a woman who was found guilty of spiking drinks with rohypnol and a dispute about a lost dog, to a page where BBC readers discussed their male anatomy under their real names. [Neil] McIntosh was careful to note in his blog that the BBC does not know, or publish details about who requested the story be removed on Google.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Those Facebook Instant articles we heard so much about a month or so ago will shortly be hogpiling on our feeds. “Publications like The New York Times and The Atlantic are about to start publishing dozens of stories a day, sources told Lukas Alpert and Jack Marshall at The Wall Street Journal.”

Google’s self-driving cars are now tooling around Mountain View. “These prototype vehicles are designed from the ground up to be fully self-driving. They’re ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. The prototypes’ speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and they’ll drive using the same software that our existing Lexus vehicles use—the same fleet that has self-driven over 1 million miles since we started the project. ”

The Digital Public Library of America has gotten a money boost and wants to expand its collections. “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is on the way to connecting online collections from coast to coast by 2017 – an effort boosted by a new $3.4 million investment, comprising $1.9 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and $1.5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. These two new awards, coupled with significant earlier support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities, will allow DPLA to open new Service Hubs that provide a way for all cultural heritage organizations across the country to connect through one national collection.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Interesting research from Johns Hopkins on patient contact with physicians via e-mail and Facebook. “For the study, the researchers used an online survey delivered to a random sample of 2,252 CVS retail pharmacy customers between May and June 2013. Patients were asked about their interest in using these online communication tools – as well as their physician’s website – to fill their prescriptions, track their health progress and access their own health information. Researchers found that 37 percent of patients had used personal email to contact their doctors or hospital within the past six months and 18 percent reported using Facebook for the same purpose. The findings related to Facebook are particularly interesting, Lee and her co-authors note, because ‘most institutions actively discourage social media contact with individual patients.'” 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!

Akron, Livingstone, Bing, More: Thursday Afternoon Buzz, June 25th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Scottish explorer David Livingstone now has an online archive. “The site, Livingstone Online, http://www.livingstoneonline.org, is the digital home for the documents chronicling the life and work of Livingstone, a missionary, physician and abolitionist best known for his travels in Africa in the mid-19th century…. More than 7,500 original images of Livingstone’s writings can be found on the site and the archive is expected to expand to more than 12,000 images by 2016. The archive also includes drawings and illustrations depicting Livingstone’s work and findings.”

Akron, Ohio has a new online photo archive. And unlike many photo archives I cover, this one is recent. “An online treasure trove of photographs of Akron is now available — for free use by anyone — thanks to local photo­grapher Shane Wynn and two nonprofits who work to give the city a boost. Wynn spent more than 40 hours last year taking the shots, capturing more than 1,400 images of the city, including wide-angle photos taken from the tops of parking decks and a ladder.”

A professor and a hashtag has turned into a crowdsourced list of readings on the Charleston shootings. “The professor [Chad Williams] reached out to the historians Kidada E. Williams (no relation), a professor at Wayne State University; Keisha N. Blaine, an incoming professor at the University of Iowa; and Christopher Cameron, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who is the founder of the African American Intellectual History Society. The four scholars solicited suggestions on Twitter under the hashtag #CharlestonSyllabus, and the project quickly took off.” Note that the list at http://aaihs.org/resources/charlestonsyllabus/ is no longer accepting suggestions, but contributors are asked to continue to use the #CharlestonSyllabus hashtag; a TheCharlestonSyllabus.com Web site is under development.

NASA images have been aggregated into one big collection. “The NASA Images collection, built and unveiled last week by Luna Imaging, combines over 70 NASA Image galleries into a single, searchable source. These includes familiar collections such as NASA’s Image of the Day Gallery and the Jet Propulsion Image Gallery, but also plenty of obscure treasures. In total, the collection contains over 100 thousand photographs that range from historic documentation of the Apollo moon missions to the latest shots of distant quasars by the Hubble Space Telescope.”

32 years of the LGBT publication Dallas Voice are now available online. “University of North Texas digitized and put online 32 years of Dallas Voice from Volume 1, Issue 1 as part of its North Texas LGBT history archives. UNT also has been working on the project in conjunction with The Dallas Way and Resource Center, which donated its Phil Johnson Archives. Thousands of pages of Dallas Voice articles and ads are searchable.” Also, the archive is a lot, lot more readable than the screen shots in the blog post make it out to be.

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Adobe has released a patch for a zero-day security flaw. “In an advisory issued Tuesday morning, Adobe said the latest version of Flash — v. 18.0.0.194 on Windows and Mac OS X — fixes a critical flaw (CVE-2015-3113) that is being actively exploited in “limited, targeted attacks.” The company said systems running Internet Explorer for Windows 7 and below, as well as Firefox on Windows XP, are known targets of these exploits.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Reddit is ten years old and has released a bunch of stats. “In addition to detailing that the site now receives nearly 230 million unique monthly visitors, the blog post also specified that the site has received a staggering 16 billion upvotes (and surprisingly only 2.5 billion downvotes) since it was founded in 2005. What was also impressive was the sheer amount of page-view volume that the small crew at Reddit has had to deal with. The post said that there were 334,626,161 monthly page views per each of the 30 Reddit engineers.”

Googler Matt Cutts has extended his Google leave until the end of 2015. For those of you playing along at home, that’s about 17 months of leave from Google.

Google’s got a new health wearable, and it sounds like it’s going straight into a vertical market. Which is how they should have done Glass, but anyway. “The health wristband can monitor pulse, heart rhythm, skin temperature, light exposure and noise levels, providing valuable data not just about a patient, but about their surroundings, too. Where this niche wearable differs from those aimed at the more broad consumer market is mostly in accuracy; the readings it takes are more scientifically rigorous than those achieved by the current crop of Android Wear-powered devices, and the dedicated medical wearable unveiled today also monitors and reports information continuously, for better delivery of real-time actionable info to researchers and medical professionals.”

Bing’s homepage now has sound. This is cool as long as it’s not autoplay. “…when you visit us for your daily dose of surprise and delight, look for the audio icon on the bottom-right of screen to know if you can hear the homepage that day—sound is off by default so you can choose when and where to listen. If you want to learn more about today’s video and the geese calls captured by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, click on the camera icon, also on the bottom-right. This will take you to Bing’s Backstage, where we give you more information about the daily image.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Major Internet providers are being accused of slowing traffic speeds. “Major internet providers, including AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon, are slowing data from popular websites to thousands of US businesses and residential customers in dozens of cities across the country, according to a study released on Monday. The study, conducted by internet activists BattlefortheNet, looked at the results from 300,000 internet users and found significant degradations on the networks of the five largest internet service providers (ISPs), representing 75% of all wireline households across the US.” 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!

Comics, Connecticut, Sheep, More: Thursday Morning Buzz, June 25th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Under development: a digital archive of British Comic Fanzines. “For several months now, British comics fan David Hathaway-Price had been gathering and scanning every British comics fanzine that he’s been able to buy or had loaned to him. His aim is to create a Fanzine archive / repository, celebrating all of the brilliant work that was produced in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s in British comic zines such as BEM, Comic Media News and many other fondly-remembered titles.”

Huh. Reddit now has a music player. “It works by offering you an extensive list of subreddits on the left-hand side. Clicking on a link adds it to your playlist and gives you the most recently recommended songs as YouTube clips that run in the player.”

Quartz has launched a new home for the charts which appear on its site. “Atlas gives each of our charts its own home, along with a set of tools for interacting with them: You can now download the data behind our charts, embed our charts elsewhere on the web, grab an image of our charts, and of course share our charts on social media. They will look great regardless of whether you’re using a big screen or mobile device.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

The state of Connecticut has relaunched its Web site (PRESS RELEASE). “The all-new mobile-first, responsive design site allows CT.gov to be accessed across multiple devices providing an optimal user experience for phone, tablet, and desktop users. Along with the new layout and new features, CT.gov aims to make government services more accessible for online visitors to conduct business with the state through increased usability, customer service, transparency, and accessibility….Along with the updated CT.gov Portal, Connecticut launched new websites for the Office of the Governor and Office of the Lieutenant Governor, providing the latest news and information from both offices at your fingertips.”

The ipl2 is shutting down at the end of the month. No reason why, just a shutdown notice. “We regret to inform you that the ipl2 is ceasing operations on June 30, 2015. The Ask an ipl2 Librarian service will close on June 24, 2015 to allow us time to answer every last question. The ipl2 site (http://ipl2.org/) will remain up but unmaintained for an unspecified period of time after June 30. We sincerely thank all our loyal patrons for 20 years of support and enthusiasm.”

Instagram has announced a couple of really interesting updates. “Today we’re excited to announce two major updates to Instagram that will help connect our community to the world as it happens: the all-new Explore page, with trending Tags and Places, and more powerful search that makes it easier to find the people, places, and tags you’re looking for.” You know the search part is what I’m interested in. Instagram’s new search allows you to search by place (is it intentional that Yosemite is the example search here right before Google announced the “Street View” of El Capitan? Or just a weird coincidence?) and also offers a “top search” that searches people, places, and tags at the same time.

GMail now has an official “Unsend” button. Not in Labs, not in an extension – official. It’s under the General tab of your GMail settings and you can set it for up to 30 seconds. This is going to come in handy has long as Google is as wonky autocompleting e-mail addresses as it has been for the last few months.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

That’s weird: Google is sending searchers to nonexistent videos. “Google offers a dedicated Google Video search designed to bring back videos from across the web, in addition to its own YouTube service. However, something seems seriously wrong with Google Video. Some searches promising to lead people to video content fail to actually do so.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From The New York Times: Can Wikipedia Survive? “These are existential challenges, but they can still be addressed. There is no other significant alternative to Wikipedia, and good will toward the project — a remarkable feat of altruism — could hardly be higher. If the foundation needed more donations, it could surely raise them. The real challenges for Wikipedia are to resolve the governance disputes — the tensions among foundation employees, longtime editors trying to protect their prerogatives, and new volunteers trying to break in — and to design a mobile-oriented editing environment. One board member, María Sefidari, warned that ‘some communities have become so change-resistant and innovation-averse’ that they risk staying ‘stuck in 2006 while the rest of the Internet is thinking about 2020 and the next three billion users.'”

Google is training its neural networks to augment images, and in the process is making downright trippy art. “What Google is doing here is essentially reversing image recognition, and telling its computers to use the images they already know to augment new images. As Singularity Hub (via Engadget) explains: ‘Where the software was allowed to “free associate” and then forced into feedback loops to reinforce these associations — it found images and patterns (often mash-ups of things it had already seen) where none existed previously.'”

Well that’s not creepy at all: Facebook can recognize you in photographs even if it can’t see your face. “An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces. Instead it looks for other unique characteristics like your hairdo, clothing, body shape and pose. Modern face-recognition algorithms are so good they’ve already found their way into social networks, shops and even churches. Yann LeCun, head of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wanted to see they could be adapted to recognise people in situations where someone’s face isn’t clear, something humans can already do quite well.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

OH THE SILLY: Google Sheep View. “Google Sheep View is an amusing project by Ding Ren and Michael Karabinos that collects photos of sheep from Google Street View. The project also accepts submissions.” 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!

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

NEW RESOURCES

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 artcollection.mssu.edu. 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 http://www.amtaorg.com, 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.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

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.

USEFUL STUFF

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

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

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.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

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.’ Commun.it 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 http://rbfirehose.com . 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:

http://rbfirehose.com/category/new-resources/

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

http://rbfirehose.com/category/new-resources/feed/

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:

http://rbfirehose.com/tag/canada/

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

http://rbfirehose.com/tag/canada/feed/

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:

http://rbfirehose.com/?s=Spain

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

http://rbfirehose.com/?s=Spain&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.