Museums, Open Data, Coastal Flooding, More: Monday Morning Buzz, May 18th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

A new version of The Open Data Handbook is now available. “The Open Data Handbook elaborates on the what, why & how of open data. In other words – what data should be open, what are the social and economic benefits of opening that data, and how to make effective use of it once it is opened. The handbook is targeted at a broad audience, including civil servants, journalists, activists, developers, and researchers as well as open data publishers.”

Now available: a database on Canadian-related terrorism events. “Quebec has been at the centre of 42 percent of Canada’s terrorist events over the last 50 years, according to a new Canadian research database on terrorism. The database lists 1,185 terrorist or extremist acts involving Canadians that took place between 1960 and 2014, a list that includes 410 events that took place abroad.”

Now available: a database of coastal flooding events in the UK. “To improve our understanding of coastal flooding, and to assess just how unusual 2013-14 was, we have compiled a new database and described in Scientific Data. Our work provides a systematic UK-wide record of coastal floods over the past hundred years. It currently contains data on 96 major floods, with information for each on the storm that generated it, the high-water level reached, and the severity of coastal flooding.”

USEFUL STUFF

Bookshelves of Doom (great blog name) has a roundup of new book recommendation sites and engines along with a link to a more extensive list that was put up a couple of years ago.

Interesting: rescuing archival manuscripts with dry ice.

Thesis Whisper has a great article on becoming a “literature searching ninja”. How to build different questions and use different language/vocabulary for your search. It seems to me this would be useful for anything, not just scientific literature searching.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Google Fit has gotten an update. “For starters, Fit can now track distances and calories. Fire up the app to see how far you’ve gone and how much you’ve burned in the process. Google has tweaked the look a bit, and you can now group your fitness history by days, weeks, and months.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The Guggenheim is donating 100 of its artworks’ images to Wikipedia. “On May 19, the Guggenheim will host its second Wikipedia “edit-a-thon” and is donating 100 images of artworks from its collection to Wikipedia. During the event, participants at the museum and online will add information about these artworks and the artists who created them, including Edgar Degas, Paul Klee, and Vincent Van Gogh, to Wikipedia, the world’s largest free source of knowledge.”

From Shanghai Daily: a look at how museums in China are putting their archives online. “The Shaanxi History Museum in the northwestern city of Xi’an has been a pioneer in using a digital platform for exhibiting antiques. So far, 208 public and private museums and memorials in Shaanxi Province have opened online exhibition halls.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, The New York Times looks at a pioneering museum, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. “By 2020, the museum intends to digitize all one million objects in its collection — from masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer to Delft pottery, silk brocade gowns and matchlock muskets. Today, 25 percent of the museum’s collection, including nearly all of its paintings, is freely available for download in high-resolution on rijksmuseum.nl, with new images being added every day.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Everybody run: There are now more ‘bots than humans on the Web. “Bot traffic has surpassed humans this year, now accounting for 59 percent of all site visits, according to a report released today by Distil Networks. By comparison, last year, bots accounted for 45 percent of all traffic to Distil’s customers’ websites.”

Ismeet Kaur Makkar has a fascinating Master’s thesis up: SocioBot: Twitter for Command and Control of a Botnet. “A botnet is a collection of computers controlled by a botmaster, often used for malicious activity. Social network provides an ideal medium for botnets to spread their reach. In this research, we develop and analyze a botnet that uses Twitter for its command and control channel. We use this botnet to perform a distributed denial of service attack on a web server, and we utilize the biological epidemic models to analyze the spread of the botnet using Twitter.” Good morning, Internet…

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Genealogy, Pizza, Bing, More: Sunday Afternoon Buzz, May 17th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

There’s a new genealogy search engine in town. “A new search engine that you’ll have to add to your genealogy research toolbox is the Top 100 Genealogy Sites Mega-Search located at Many Roads. The search engine will perform a keyword search across all of the top 100 genealogy websites for 2015 as noted by GenealogyInTime Magazine.”

USEFUL STUFF

Interesting: a PR Pro’s Guide to Reddit.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

I have so much going on I am always trying to find a good task manager. At the moment I’m using and pretty happy with Wunderlist. And now it has an API.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Fast Company takes a look at how Twitter deals with harassment. “The majority of people who reported harassment did so on behalf of someone else. About 57% of the reports that WAM received came from either bystanders who witnessed someone else being harassed and reported it, or from delegates like an attorney or family member who reported harassment on behalf of the person being harassed.”

Sunday Silly: Domino’s is planning to let you order a pizza by tweeting for it.

This should be interesting: Facebook has hired a former FCC chair. “Kevin Martin, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, has been named Facebook’s vice president for mobile and global access policy, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Martin chaired the FCC for four years, starting in 2005 under President George W. Bush, after serving another four years as a commissioner for the federal agency.”

Is Google going to add buy buttons to its mobile search results? Oh, ew. Ew ew ew. Ew. Also, ew. “According to the report, Google will display buy buttons only on mobile devices and when users search for products. They will be part of sponsored (paid) search results within a ‘Shop on Google’ page.”

More Google: a legal group is asking Google for its “Right to be Forgotten” criteria.

Bing is going to shift to mobile-friendly rankings too. “The changes follow a similar move by Google which last month rolled out a change to its ranking algorithm which penalized sites that aren’t easily usable from mobile devices.” (ResearchBuzz, according to Google’s assessment tool, is mobile-friendly, and I have noticed no change in traffic.)

Reddit has introduced an anti-harassment policy. “The company announced on Thursday that it was updating its site-wide policies to explicitly prohibit harassment against users, a move that the company said would promote free expression on Reddit without fear of retribution from a vocal minority.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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Images, Art, Facial Recognition, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, May 17th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Wolfram|Alpha has launched an image identification tool. “Now I’m excited to be able to say that we’ve reached a milestone: there’s finally a function called ImageIdentify built into the Wolfram Language that lets you ask, “What is this a picture of?”—and get an answer. And today we’re launching the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project on the web to let anyone easily take any picture (drag it from a web page, snap it on your phone, or load it from a file) and see what ImageIdentify thinks it is…” Warning: you can play with this for hours. I uploaded an image of one of my cats and it got it spookily correct (“Calico cat”) but then I uploaded a picture of a person and it misidentified him as a fire extinguisher. It seems to do best with images without lots of details.

Amit Agarwal, who has no need to prove how brilliant he is but keeps doing it anyway, has created a tool to send bulk personalized Tweets and DMs.

USEFUL STUFF

May be useful depending on your research needs: a roundup of 60 facial recognition databases.

Interesting! Using a ‘bot to help people discover art. “Artbot, developed by Desi Gonzalez and Liam Andrew in the HyperStudio research group of Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/W), is a mobile website app that mines both user preferences and event tags to provide serendipitous connections to the local art scene…. Artbot enables users to select their interests from a list that ranges from medieval art to surrealism and from ancient history to photography. At the same time, the app scrapes data from museum websites to find artists, movements, and themes that link events to each other in various ways. Artbot then cross-references the data collected to generate event recommendations.”

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Chromecast has gotten some updates. “Ever since Google launched the Chromecast in July 2013, the company has been steadily updating the HDMI dongle with new capabilities and features. Today, the company has announced six new apps for its $35 streaming media stick: CBS All Access, HGTV, FOX Now, FXNOW, Pluto TV, and Haystack.”

Libraries and Archives of Canada has put more WWI service files online. “As of today, 155,110 of 640,000 service files are available online…”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

YouTube “How To” video searches are way up in 2015. “People trying to figure out how to accomplish a home improvement project, fix their hair or prepare a recipe have helped grow YouTube’s ‘how-to’ searches by 70 percent year-over-year.”

More YouTube: what’s YouTube’s most-watched game? Why, it’s Minecraft. “Think about that for a minute. YouTube’s list of the top 10 biggest games on the site, based on a decade’s worth of viewing hours, features long-running game franchises like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. But it’s six-year-old Minecraft that comes out on top.”

From Search Engine Land: How Google made it a little harder to reach Google.com from outside the US. “Last fall, things were quietly changed. Instead of that Google.com link always being at the bottom of country-specific versions, it was altered to appear only the very first time someone tried to reach Google.com and got redirected to their country-specific version. On subsequent attempts, it would not be shown.”

There are concerns going around about a phantom Google update. “HubPages, a collection of more than 870,000 miniblogs covering everything from the ‘History of advertising’ to “How to identify venomous house spiders,” saw its Google search traffic plunge 22 percent on May 3 from the prior week. Of the company’s 100 top pages, 68 lost visitors over that stretch.”

HathiTrust, in its blog, has a post about quality and OCR issues. “For the digital content we ingest, HathiTrust has established specifications related to image formats, resolution, color space, and other characteristics. Rigorous validation ensures that these specifications are met. The methods of production or processing of digitized items may leave fingerprints of some sort, however. These may be benign, such as the presence of digitization color targets, added coversheets, book cradles, or a characteristic coloration of pages, which do not generally interfere with the display or understanding of the original object and its content. They may also be more serious, including mis-colorations of pages, human fingers in the images, systemic cropping, warping, or bolded or light text—problems that do interfere with legibility or clarity of the image.”

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is now on Pinterest. 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!

Twitter, Census Bureau, Flickr, More: Saturday Afternoon Buzz, May 16th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

Now available: a database aggregating the deaths of migrants who were attempting to reach southern European borders. “The Deaths at the Borders Database is the first collection of official, state-produced evidence on people who died while attempting to reach southern EU countries from the Balkans, the Middle East, and North & West Africa, and whose bodies were found in or brought to Europe.”

PetGroomer.com, an Web site for professional pet groomers (as you may have guessed) now has an online archive of its radio shows going back to 2005.

USEFUL STUFF

Useful for a given value of Saturday: Want to add animated GIFs to your e-mail? There’s a Chrome extension for that.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

TweetDeck has added a new feature to help prevent Twitter misfires. “It’s a social media pro’s worst nightmare: posting a personal tweet on a brand account. It can be embarrassing and potentially career-threatening. To guard against such errant tweets, TweetDeck added a safety net today, giving users the option to require a confirmation step before sending a tweet.”

TunnelBear’s VPN is now available as a Chrome extension.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The US Census Bureau is participating the National Civic Day of Hacking (PRESS RELEASE). “The U.S. Census Bureau is participating in this year’s National Day of Civic Hacking by launching the “City SDK Open Data Solutions Challenge.” This challenge encourages developers to use the Census Bureau’s new City Software Development Kit (SDK), a new tool that makes the bureau’s API (application programming interface) easier to use. As part of this national event, the Census Bureau will also participate in the 2015 Urban Sustainability Apps Competition, where developers have the opportunity to create apps using the City SDK.”

Guess what? Google Hangouts don’t actually have end-to-end encryption. “Following a Reddit AMA on government surveillance, Google has admitted that while it does encrypt Hangouts conversations, it does not use end-to-end encryption, meaning the company itself can tap into those sessions when it receives a government court order requiring it to do so.”

More critical security fixes from Adobe and Microsoft (what a surprise). “Microsoft today issued 13 patch bundles to fix roughly four dozen security vulnerabilities in Windows and associated software. Separately, Adobe pushed updates to fix a slew of critical flaws in its Flash Player and Adobe Air software, as well as patches to fix holes in Adobe Reader and Acrobat.”

Flickr users are not happy with the auto-tagging feature of the revamped service, and Flickr may let them opt out. “…for many Flickr users, tags are something they still feel strongly about, judging by the forum’s many comments. With over 1,370 replies to the official Flickr post (and growing), these users have been venting their frustration about the addition of auto-tagging. Many of those commenting have actually been fairly conscientious about their tags over the years, and don’t like that Flickr is now adding its own tags to their photos.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From Harvard Business School: a research paper on humblebragging. Spoiler: it doesn’t work. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Skype, Internet Archive, Rare Books, More: Saturday Morning Buzz, May 16th, 2015

NEW RESOURCES

The Harvard Graduate School of Education and Expeditionary Learning have teamed up to create a free online database of exemplary K-12 student work (PRESS RELEASE). “A collaborative project between faculty at HGSE and EL, the Center for Student Work aims to raise the bar on student achievement by helping teachers improve teaching and learning. Teachers can use the free resource – which includes videos, writing samples, and other tools – as a foundation to create their own projects, raise questions, provoke thinking, and inspire excellence in their classrooms.”

Past Rare Book School lectures are now available online. “We are very pleased to announce that audio recordings of more than 100 Book Arts Press/Rare Book School lectures from the past four decades are now available online at http://www.rarebookschool.org/lectures. Along with most lectures from the past several years, those now converted from the original cassette tapes include talks by Sue Allen, Nicolas Barker, and G. Thomas Tanselle…”

Could be useful. A new iPhone app lets you create disposable phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

USEFUL STUFF

Not a lot of annotation, but lots of resources: 60 Free Tools for Modern Storytellers.

From ReadWrite: Your options for music streaming.

The Skype Translator Preview is now open to everyone.

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

Another update from FamilySearch: “Notable collection updates include 643,899 images from the Peru, Áncash, Civil Registration, 1888–2005 collection; 608,881 images from the Peru, Junín, Civil Registration, 1881–2005 collection; and 531,346 images from the US, Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1994 collection. ”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

From Nooga.com: Conversation to action: Digitizing Chattanooga’s historical newspapers. I really, really hope I’m reading this wrong, but it seems like the librarians in Chattanooga Tennessee weren’t interested in taking action until Tom Tryniski offered to get involved.

Reminds me of the old days: different sites define video views in very different ways.

Do you have a digital music label? The Internet Archive wants you to participate in Netlabels day.

Twitter is making it a little harder to figure out how many inactive users it has. Gee what a surprise. “Twitter has stopped disclosing the percentage of its users who take ‘no discernable user action’ on the app, making it harder for observers to figure out whether Twitter’s core user base is growing or dying.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From The Guardian: Will Traditional Science Journals Disappear? “The Royal Society has been celebrating the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first scientific journal, by holding a series of meetings on the future of scholarly scientific publishing. I followed the whole event on social media, and was able to attend in person for one day. One of the sessions followed a Dragon’s Den format, with speakers having 100 seconds to convince three dragons – Onora O’Neill, Ben Goldacre and Anita de Waard – of the fund-worthiness of a new idea for science communication. Most were light-hearted, and there was a general mood of merriment, but the session got me thinking about what kind of future I would like to see. What I came up with was radically different from our current publishing model.” 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!