New York Times, Facebook, Evernote, More: Tuesday Afternoon Buzz, February 2, 2016

TWEAKS & UPDATES

The New York Times has expanded the content available in its TimesMachine. “At the beginning of this year, we quietly expanded TimesMachine, our virtual microfilm reader, to include every issue of The New York Times published between 1981 and 2002. Prior to this expansion, TimesMachine contained every issue published between 1851 and 1980, which consisted of over 11 million articles spread out over approximately 2.5 million pages. The new expansion adds an additional 8,035 complete issues containing 1.4 million articles over 1.6 million pages.” Read this whole blog post. It’s a discussion about how the content in the TimesMachine was expanded and how freshly-OCR’d articles were matched to extant articles in the full-text archive.

Facebook is tweaking its feed algorithm. Again. “In other words, the posts you see first will be determined by the likelihood you’ll want to see a particular update, as well as how likely you are to engage with a post — via Liking, commenting or sharing.” Bleh.

Evernote is getting out of ecommerce. “Some more news from Evernote — the note-taking app and startup of the same name — that speaks to the company’s current rough patch: today it announced that as of Wednesday at 6pm Pacific, it will shutter Market, the e-commerce platform where it sold Evernote swag and Evernote-integrated office products, in an attempt to create another revenue stream around its more dedicated users.”

USEFUL STUFF

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) has an interesting Webinar coming up on 9 February. It’s called We(eding) the People Off Google – Using Government Information and Local Resources for Small Business Research. “Information literacy instruction for small business entrepreneurs is usually provided by public libraries. However, at the University of South Carolina Aiken, the Government Information Librarian and the Instruction Librarian, partnered with the local Small Business Development Center to train local small business entrepreneurs how to access information from free, locally available resources. This webinar will discuss how the partnership was established, developing the content of the workshop, which resources participants found most helpful, lessons we learned from the experience, and how other librarians can use what we have learned to provide information to small business entrepreneurs in their own communities.” Actually all of the FDLP’s Webinars for this month sound interesting.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

The future of the Oyez US Supreme Court archive is apparently in trouble. “It’s not on Craigslist yet, but Jerry Goldman says options are narrowing for Oyez.org, the private online archive of Supreme Court materials he has been building since the early 1990s and providing free to the public….The sticking point, however, isn’t the annual budget; Harvard Law School, for one, has offered to pick up the operating cost. But Mr. Goldman also wants to be paid for the sweat he’s put into his baby–or at least the intellectual property it represents—something he estimates is worth well over $1 million.”

Some controversy about Academia.edu after reports surface about possible fees. “Outraged academics last week encouraged their colleagues to delete their Academia.edu accounts after an email suggested the scholarly social network was considering charging users a fee to have their work considered for a recommendation.” A move of this sort will kill Academia.edu. It reminds me of when Yahoo started charging for consideration of inclusion in its directory – not inclusion, just consideration of inclusion. That one small thing completely changed the tenor of Yahoo overnight.

From The Straits Times, a how Singapore arts and culture institutions are making their archives more accessible. “Spurred by the growing yearning of artists and audiences to learn more about the arts scene in Singapore, arts groups and institutions are now looking to reach out to not just researchers and practitioners through their archives, but also to curious laymen.” Several pointers to resources here in this article by Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh; check out her accompanying article Struggling to Keep 90 Years of Material. “The perpetual need for space dogs artist-archivist Koh Nguang How and his Singapore Art Archive Project – a dive into Singapore art history through nine decades of material, from yellowing catalogues to vintage photos of happenings at the National Museum Art Gallery.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Chris Hoffman points out a serious problem in the Chrome Web Store – malicious apps are listed ahead of legitimate extensions. “Search for many popular extensions on the Chrome Web Store and you’ll see misleading and potentially malicious apps first. Google’s Chrome Web Store always lists apps before extensions, and hucksters have taken advantage of this to trick unsuspecting users into installing fake apps instead of the extensions they’re searching for. This needs to stop.”

A former Yahoo employee is suing the company over its rating system. “In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Gregory Anderson, an editor who oversaw Yahoo’s autos, homes, shopping, small business and travel sites in Sunnyvale, Calif., until he was fired in November 2014, alleges that the company’s senior managers routinely manipulated the rating system to fire hundreds of people without just cause to achieve the company’s financial goals.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

The Verge dived into Facebook’s audience data and generated some lists about what Facebook users are into. “Because Facebook’s interest categories are publicly available, accessing this data was relatively simple. By programmatically emulating searches of all possible letters and numbers until no more results were returned, we were able to pull a list of 282,002 interests — which Facebook says may not even constitute the entire dataset. Most interests are sorted into broad categories like Lifestyle and Culture, People, or News and Entertainment. Each has a very precise number for audience size, ranging from zero all the way up to 1,466,365,990, the number of people interested in Facebook itself. You may have already glimpsed a few of these tags in your advertising preferences, but this is the closest we’ve come to a complete, ranked list of every interest on Facebook.” 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!

Health Crises, Greek Authors, Snow Plows, More: Tuesday Buzz, February 2, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The National Library of Medicine has developed new resource guides for recent health crises. The new guides cover the Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch gas leak, the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, and the Zika Virus.

Cornell has a new database of ancient Latin and Greek authors. “The database, the Classical Works Knowledge Base (CWKB), contains metadata about 5,200 works by 1,500 ancient authors, allowing users with a limited knowledge of the classics’ canonical citation system to simply link to passages of digital texts.”

The winter of 2015-2016 will stand out in my mind as The Winter of Snowplow Tracking. The state of Colorado has launched a new site for tracking snow plows. “The website features a statewide map with the locations of all of CDOT’s plows, which are outfitted with automated vehicle locator systems – or geolocators – that allow CDOT to track the plows on their routes around the state. On the map, users can click on the image of the plow and look at its current or average speeds and its direction of travel.”

Northwestern University’s Knight Lab has a writeup on a new tool called City Hall Monitor. “City Hall Monitor allows reporters to filter the mundane documents, limit their search by date, and create subscriptions to alert them when new documents matching their search term are published. It’s a first step in a work-in-progress technology that we hope proves useful.” This is just for Chicago at the moment, but wow, I can imagine this being terrifically useful in any city.

Google has announced a huge number of new resources for Black History Month. “Google Cultural Institute is excited to add records from institutions like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Studio Museum and Amistad Research Center and many more—bringing together important archives from Black history for anyone to access not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year. From the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to the historical records of Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this collection includes 26 new institutions (50 overall) contributing 5,000+ items and more than 80 curated exhibits.”

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Looks like Reddit is making some changes in 2016. “This year will see a lot of changes on Reddit. Recently we built an A/B testing system, which allows us to test changes to individual features scientifically, and we are excited to put it through its paces. Some changes will be big, others small and, inevitably, not everything will work, but all our efforts are towards making Reddit better. We are all redditors, and we are all driven to understand why Reddit works for some people, but not for others; which changes are working, and what effect they have; and to get into a rhythm of constant improvement. We appreciate your patience while we modernize Reddit.”

Google has added a ton of new holiday calendars to Google Calendar. “This week, we added 54 additional country-based holiday calendars to the Google Calendar Android and iOS apps. In total, you can now get 143 holiday calendars directly on your mobile calendar.”

Yahoo has done several search updates recently. Mobile search updates include responses for sports, politics, and the Oscars.

USEFUL STUFF

How-To Geek: 18 Things You Might Not Have Known Google Photos Can Do. I always enjoy How-To Geek.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Sri Lanka is buying into Project Loon. “Sri Lanka today said it would buy a 25 per cent stake in a joint venture with Google, to deliver a high-speed Internet service powered by balloons which will make the country first in the world to have universal internet access.”

I don’t know who’s negotiating these Snapchat deals, but they are making some smart moves. Snapchat will team up with Vanity Fair to reveal the magazine’s annual “Hollywood” issue. “Additionally, the channel will feature a few Snapchat-exclusive features including making-of-the-cover video, a photo/text story on how to dress for the Oscars and a sharable feature on whom Leonardo DiCaprio should take to the Oscars.”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

UC-Berkeley students have sued Google, alleging their e-mails were illegally scanned. “Four students and alumni from the University of California-Berkeley have sued Google in federal court, alleging that the company — which runs the university’s email accounts — illegally intercepted and scanned emails for advertising purposes without students’ knowledge or consent.” 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!

RootsTech, Delicious, Regular Expressions, More: Monday Afternoon Buzz, February 1, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

FamilySearch has announced the free broadcasts for this year’s RootsTech. Two of my favorites, Amy Crow and Anne Mitchell, are on the list.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

You’re more used to hearing about online services adding feeds, but Delicious is actually discontinuing its premium service. “While we appreciate the passionate users who paid to use our service, the bottom line is that there have not been enough to support the resources required to maintain separate functionality.”

USEFUL STUFF

I love this! Crosswords to help you learn regular expressions. “If you’ve been using regular expressions for a long time, they aren’t very hard. But learning them for the first time can be tedious. Unless you try your hand at regular expression crosswords. The clues are regular expressions and the rows and columns all have to match the corresponding regular expressions.”

Lifehacker has a read-it-later smackdown between Pocket and Instapaper. I didn’t read anything here that will tear me away from Pocket, but now I want to go try the IFTTT recipes.

Because sometimes they’re just annoying: How to uninstall extensions in several different browsers.

SEO Book has an extensive infographic about Google SEO. It’s not really detailed enough for minutiae, but if you’re an end-user and you just want to get an idea of all the factors/decisions/cosmic rays influencing Google rankings, this is a nicely-organized graphic to explore.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Very interesting: an Elon student is teaching piano on Instagram – 15 seconds at a time. “Individual lesson may be short, but in a few short weeks, active followers can quickly build up a knowledge base. Instagram followers aren’t the only ones that have taken notice of his unique teaching style. [Addison] Horner recently presented at the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium.”

Happy 9th blogiversary to Larry Ferlazzo! If you have any interest in teaching, English, or ESL, check out his blog. It’s good stuff.

More birthdays! Distributed Proofreaders is 15 years old and has digitized 30,000 books. “Founded 1 October 2000, Distributed Proofreaders is a crowdsourced website whose volunteers convert books to electronic formats and make them available for free distribution via Project Gutenberg.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

From ZDNet: Your social data is doomed, and don’t count on Facebook to save you. “Our data at public service providers like Facebook and Google has a single purpose — to be monetized in exchange for being able to be share that data with others. That is the contract which is well-understood. The data has significance to the provider only if it can be monetized in some way. So status updates, tagging, photographs, videos and the like will only be stored long term if they have value to the provider.” 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!

Dubai, Indonesia, Rhode Island, More: Monday Buzz, February 1, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

The first phase of the Dubai Digital Library has been launched. “During the first phase, the Dubai Digital Library will have over 1,600 books covering all aspects of documented knowledge, including language, medicine, pharmacy, geography, history, religion, sociology, biographies and others.”

The government of Indonesia is developing a database of legal cases. “The government is building an integrated database of legal cases to solve administrative problems connected to the millions of legal cases. The database will combine the files of the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court (MA).”

The government of Rhode Island has launched a site for consumers to compare electricity rates. “Empower RI, http://www.ri.gov/empowerri, allows business and residential customers to compare electricity prices and contract terms from competitive suppliers to the current ‘Standard Offer’ from National Grid. The site is designed to make the process of selecting a competitive electricity supplier easier and more transparent in Rhode Island, which has some of the highest energy costs in the country.”

The Alabama Media Group is expanding initiatives to put more of its photo archives online. “This response to unseen historical photographs from the state’s largest newspapers led us to launch a wider initiative for 2016, exploring Alabama Media Group’s vast archive for the benefit of an audience that has long demonstrated a huge appetite for it.” Groups that will be working with the Alabama Media Group include The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,
the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, and Rickwood Field (the oldest continually-operated baseball park in the US.)

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Twitter has launched election emoji. “As Twitter emojis become ubiquitous, it was only a matter of time before the service treated us to an official election tie-in emoticon. As luck would have it, Twitter just revealed its first such symbol, days before the beginning of the presidential race 2016, which officially kicks off on February 1 with the Iowa caucuses.”

USEFUL STUFF

From 7labs: extensions to improve your YouTube experience. These are good, but the #1 thing I did to improve my YouTube experience was subscribe to YouTube Red. This is not a paid endorsement; nobody’s paying me a dime and I pay full ticket for my subscription. I’m watching YouTube four or five times as much as I used to because of YouTube Red.

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Luke McKernan put up his talk about audiovisual archives and the Web. “Good afternoon. My name is Luke McKernan, and I am Lead Curator for News & Moving Image at the British Library. I’m going to talk about something that has interested me for some while, which is the changing scale of audiovisual archiving. I’m going to do so by looking at two things: YouTube, and web archiving. I’ll conclude by considering how historical enquiry and archival care may combine to understand the audiovisual archives we are building for ourselves now.” Interesting thoughts about YouTube as an archive – or rather, YouTube as not an archive.

Harry McCracken takes a look at the history of open letters to Twitter. Going back to 2009!

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Thoughtful piece from Julie Taylor in South Africa publication Business Day: The appeal of online exhibitions. “Art and museum curators’ fears about online exhibitions being a ‘competitive replica’ of the real thing — and thus dissuading in-person visits — have proved to be unsubstantiated. THIS is a critical point for curators: that real and virtual exhibits very often have different audiences. Virtual exhibits were originally seen as complementary to real exhibits, but it may be better to understand them as independent entities.”

Found, in a roundabout way, on Academia.edu: Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education. The abstract: “This article focuses on the use of Twitter and how it can be used to help students develop professional social work skills through live chats. An overview of the literature on Twitter in education is provided along with a discussion on New Media Literacies. A description of a live Twitter chat assignment with social work students is provided along with results from a survey assessing learning outcomes from the experience. Implications for social work education and suggestions for future research are also provided.”

More Twitter: apparently e-cigarette ads on Twitter go far and wide. “While the Food and Drug Administration has proposed a ban on the sales of e-cigarettes to people under 18, as we are beginning to understand the health effects of the substitute to smoking, a recent study by researchers at Drexel University and the University of Southern California suggests that e-cigarette marketing on social media is about as containable as second-hand smoke.”

From Columbia University (man, ResearchBuzz is very research-y today, isn’t it?): Using Google Street View to Understand Pedestrian Injury Risk. “We just published an article in the American Journal of Public Health in which we use Google Street View to identify characteristics of streets and intersections associated with pedestrian injuries and fatalities. … Higher counts of pedestrian injuries at intersections were associated with the presence of nearby billboards and bus-stops. Injury incidence per pedestrian was lower at intersections with higher estimated pedestrian volumes.” 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!

Nigeria, New Mexico, Argentina, More: Sunday Buzz, January 31, 2016

NEW RESOURCES

Nigeria is getting a new online database of licensed doctors. “To check a doctor’s legitimacy, users go to the news website Sahara Reporters, which is hosting Dodgy Doctors, and type in their doctor’s name to see if it appears in the database of the Medical and Dental Council, Nigeria’s regulatory body for licensed practitioners.” It looks like medical fraud is a big problem in Nigeria, but as the article notes the information in the database is pretty outdated…

There is now a Web site devoted to the finds of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, in New Mexico. “The site includes an archaeological summary of the the project, a chronology, the nine volumes published about the work, a list of the nine dissertations resulting from the research, 37 special reports on subjects such as fiber and feathers, an extensive photo gallery and even reminiscences of excavators, all in an easy-to-navigate form.” The site was occupied, on and off, from about 1300 to about 1425, and is not currently open to the public.

The government of Argentina is going to create a “Hooligan Database”.”The announcement came hours after President Mauricio Macri, former president of the club Boca Juniors, called for players to set a better example in the wake of a friendly between Boca and fierce Buenos Aires rivals River Plate that descended into on-pitch scuffles. Hooliganism between rival ultras has roiled Argentine football for years and the database will create a register of supporters banned from stadiums.”

A post on Creative COW pointed me to a newly-available set of 1920s-1950s stock footage. “These films were recently discovered amongst my great grandfather’s personally shot footage from the 1920s through late 1950s from all over the world.” There are over 650 clips here, everything from a kid in 1930 turning cartwheels to footage of Japanese carp kites, shot in Japan in 1954, to the deck of a Queen Elizabeth cruise ship in what I’m guessing is the early 1950s. This a pay resource, but you can do a full preview of all the clips. Protip: if you just mouseover the clips, you’ll get a preview window that doesn’t work if you’ve turned Flash off (and you HAVE turned Flash off, right?) If you click on the clip, you’ll get taken to an information page which plays the clip automatically and doesn’t seem to require Flash.

TWEAKS & UPDATES

Oracle is going to kill off the Java browser plugin. YAY! “The company has announced that it will be deprecated in the next version of Java to come out on September 22nd before being removed entirely by another future release.”

Sports sports SPORTS! I am very simple about sports; I root for the Chicago Cubs in everything. Wimbledon? Go Cubs. Super Bowl? Go Cubs. Random pro golf tournament? Go Cubs. It saves me huge amounts of money on fan wear and drastically reduces my chances for disappointment. Anyway, if you’re sportier than I am, you’ll appreciate this upgrade from Snapchat. “Possession wins trophies or, in this case, ad dollars. That’s why Snapchat stepped up its game late last year by quietly partnering with Stats.com. Now TechCrunch has learned that Snapchat has rolled new Live Score geofilters at every NBA arena and some other matches. They let anyone attending overlay real-time updated score graphics atop their photos and videos.” That’s brilliant.

Google is open-sourcing software again. This time it’s Google’s load balancer, SeeSaw. “Google announced today that it is open-sourcing Seesaw — a Linux-based load balancing system. The code for the project, which is written in Google’s Go language, is now available on GitHub under the Apache license.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

Research by an independent (non-Twitter) company suggests that Twitter’s userbase may have fallen by a third in the last two years? “Twitter’s American userbase may have fallen by a third over the past two years, according to figures from third-party analytics firm 7Park Data. The figures contradict Twitter’s own numbers, which report a 25% growth over the same period.” The article looks at various possible explanations for the difference in user counts. Twitter, according to the article, has not responded to a request for comment.

Bloomberg has a profile on GIF search engine Giphy. “One afternoon in December, Giphy’s two dozen staff members gathered around a long picnic table in their Lower East Side Manhattan office for a year-in-review meeting. The multicolored Christmas lights and six packs of Shiner Bock in the spacious, ninth-floor room made for a festive vibe—as did the 3D poster of a cat dangling from a wine bottle. Alex Chung, the 40-year-old co-founder and chief executive officer, stood next to a whiteboard, scrawling numbers charting the company’s growth.”

India may not allow Google Street View. “The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which was to take a decision on the matter, has put the ball in the Defence Ministry’s court for now, a senior government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”

Bing is getting some love from Wall Street. “Microsoft’s Bing search engine had a good holiday quarter, reporting a 21% year-over-year increase in search revenue when measured in ‘continuous currency,’ which removes global market fluctuations. In a research note, Barclays says Bing will be ‘a large driver of further services monetization in subsequent quarters.'”

SECURITY/LEGAL ISSUES

Facebook and Instagram have both banned private sales of guns. “A Facebook spokesperson said that the policy only applies to ‘peer-to-peer’ sales of guns, but not advertisements for guns that are posted about on Facebook by licensed retailers.”

RESEARCH AND OPINION

Wow, um, okay. According to The Guardian, Google is testing solar-powered drones to deliver high-speed Internet. “Based out of the site near the town called Truth or Consequences, Project SkyBender is using drones to experiment with millimetre-wave radio transmissions, one of the technologies that could underpin next generation 5G wireless internet access. High frequency millimetre waves can theoretically transmit gigabits of data every second, up to 40 times more than today’s 4G LTE systems.” 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!