Blog Archives

Maps, Twitter, LoC, More: Saturday Buzz, January 11, 2014

Facebook is getting rid of its sponsored stories product.

Snapchat has finally gotten around to apologizing for its recent hack. That’s nice.

Google and the government of Ireland have collaborated to create a Web that lists the soldiers from Ireland who died in WWI… all 49,000 of them.

Amazon has redesigned its developer portal. “The new site-wide search tool in the top navigation bar is something that should have been there from the start. Amazon has also added a wide variety of support resources to help you through the development process, including documentation, development tools, marketing tips, promotional tools, videos, case studies, blog posts, and a schedule of upcoming training events.”

Yahoo has introduced a Smart TV.

From PC Magazine: Ten VPN services you should know about.

CogDog pointed me to this interesting article on keeping a Twitter archive fresh using Google Drive.

From InformationWeek: 5 Google Opt-Out Settings to Check.

From the British Library: 2700 maps georeferenced by volunteers. Very nice.

The Library of Congress has a free guide available for cataloging pictures. “The guidelines cover still images of all types: photographs, prints, drawings, born-digital pictures, book illustrations, posters, postcards, cartoons, comic strips, advertisements, portraits, landscape, architectural drawings, bookplates and more. Instructions for capturing core metadata elements—the titles, creators, dates, publishers, and media of pictures—are provided as well as helpful wording for explanatory notes.” 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!

Testimonies of the 1641 Irish Rebellion, Now Online

Independent.ie recently had a story about a new online archive of testimonies to the 1641 Rebellion in Ireland. (If you’re not up on your history of Ireland — I’m not either — you can get an overview of the event here.)”

Anyway, this online collection is 8,000 depositions by onlookers that runs to 31 volumes containing 19,000 pages. You can access it at http://1641.tcd.ie/. (Searching is open but looking at transcripts requires registration. All registration requires is an e-mail and a password.)

You can search the collection by name, full-text keyword, or by county. (An advanced search allows you a LOT more options, including gender, religion, age range, and date range of deposition.) I did a search for John Smith, and got 30 results. Results were not just depositions from people named John Smith, but depositions where people named John Smith are mentioned.

Clicking on the deposition name gives you a transcription of the deposition, with markings and other indications to show notations of the transcription. (Look at the site FAQ to get details on how to read these markings.) The site sticks faithfully to the original spelling and construction to the deposition, as you can see below:

“And that by the hand and meanes of the vnder named persons vyd Oliuer delahoide of [ffonerloe] in the said County Esquire accompanyed with fortie or fiftie men armed with pikes swords & guns aboute the 15th of January as aforesaid came of night vpon this deponents said land & with force & armes caryed away nyne & thirty cowes & one bull of this deponents proper goods”

Each transcript also has a link to view images of the original deposition, which shows in an overlay window. This window has tools to zoom way in, pan around, etc. You’re not going to get any words out of these original images unless you’re Super Archivist, so if you’re just trying to get a sense of the rebellion stick with the transcripts.

For more background on the 1641 rebellion, visit the historical background part of the site.

1901 Ireland Census Available Online

Hat tip to MyHeritage Blog for the pointer to the 1901 Irish census, now available online. It’s freely available at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/. That link actually has search forms for both the 1911 Irish census (about which I have written before) and the 1901 census.

You can search the census by first and last name, county, street, and DED (District Electoral Division). You can also specify an age and gender. (If you have a good knowledge of Ireland and are feeling some mad census skillz, you can also try browsing by place..)

I did a search for Shea and got over 8900 results. The result listings only include name, townland/street, DED, county, age, and sex, but clicking on a name will bring you more detailed page. Click on that “Show All Information” link in the upper right corner and your results will include religion, birthplace, occupation, literacy level, Irish language status, and marital status. And it’s already transcribed, so you need do no squinting. If you want to squint, original census images are available at the bottom of the result details page.

Kudos to Ireland for getting this done; it was clearly a lot of time and effort!

100 Years of Irish History in 34,000 Photographs

Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day! Independent.ie had a story yesterday morning about an expanded archive from the National Library of Ireland. This site contains 34,000 photographs of Ireland covering 1860 to 1954, and is available at http://digital.nli.ie/cdm4/index_glassplates.php?CISOROOT=/glassplates.

That URL is actually a pointer to several different archives, from the Clarke Collection (“76 images, showing Dubliners in their city between 1897 and 1904,”) to the Lawrence Royal & Cabinet Collections (“19,331 images from a collection of commercially produced photographs taken between 1870 and 1914, showing topographical scenes throughout Ireland,”) to the Tempest Collection (“41 images, showing scenes from county Louth in the early part of the twentieth century.”)

Pick a collection and and you’ll get a gallery-type set of thumbnails with brief descriptions. Click a thumbnail and you’ll get a much larger version of the picture along with a few more details, including date, source, and rights.

I enjoyed exploring all the available images, especially as some of them are pretty weird. Occasionally I did wish for even larger images than what was available, but as these were photographs I had a bit of luck downloading them to my own computer, opening them in my graphics editor, and zooming in on them that way. A fun site to visit. Please note, though, that today being what it is, you might find that the site loads a bit slowly.

Directory of Irish Bars and Taverns

Despite the fact that I’m not fond of Guinness, I suspect I will be be coming back to the Irish Beer Finder, available at http://www.irishbeerfinder.com/. Why? Because in addition to finding Irish bars, the site also lists information about Irish music. The site lists 2,400 Irish bars and taverns in all 50 states.

From the front page you can look at featured bars and get some of the latest news, but you can also do a search for Irish bars by city/state or zip code — and with a radius ranging from one to 300 miles. I did a search for Irish bars within 10 miles of Phoenix, Arizona. I got 13 results, from Seamus McCaffrey’s Irish Pub to Mulligan’s Brick Bar. The search results include an address but if you go to the location’s page, you’ll also get a phone number, a nice Google Map, and a form for reviewing the location. Most of the listings I looked at had a Web site address. Some also had an e-mail address and a few even had a link to the location’s bar menu.

Want some music? Check out the Irish Beer Finder News page, which lists not only musical events but also the occasional road race. And often with the Web links to individual bars and taverns you’ll easily get music listings.

I was surprised at how many listings had Web addresses and e-mail addresses; someone put a lot of work into getting these listings together. If you enjoy a nice Harp Lager or some good music, you’ll find a spot for your next outing at this site.

Detailed 1911 Irish Census Now Online

The Irish Times has reported that a detailed 1911 census is now available. Access for it is free at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/.

The front page has general information on the census and on life in Ireland in 1911, but the search form is one link down. You can search the census by a variety of factors, including first and last name, street, and approximate age in 1911 (plus or minus five years.)

I did a search for John Field (I’m kind of on a John Field kick at the moment) and got 38 results. Results are presented in a table that includes name, county, age, and sex. Click on the surname or first name and you’ll get a list of all the people in that household along with their ages and gender. Beneath that you’ll get a list of the other forms associated with this household (for instance, household return, outbuilding return, etc.)

The unusual thing about this census, though, is there’s no built-in viewer for these additional documents. They’re PDF, so you’ll have to use your browser’s PDF viewer or download the files. I downloaded a household file just to see what was in it. If you’ve ever done genealogy research before it’ll look very familiar as a census file. Information include the names of folks in the household, their relationship to the head of the household, and so on. Other information, less usual to a census form in my experience, includes the religion of the people in the household, whether they can read or write, and their licensed professions.

Irish Times Celebrates Anniversary With Free Digital Archive Access

Congratulations to the Irish Times, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary! (I think that’s about 1 million in Internet years.) The newspaper announced yesterday that to celebrate it would be making access to its digital archive free until April 6th.

The digital archive goes all the way back to 1859 and is available at http://www.irishtimes.com/search/archive.html. Make sure you click on the 2nd tab, the one that reads “Digital Archive: Search the Irish Times Paper from 1859 to Present”. (There’s also a text archive but it only goes back to 1996.)

I did a search for “George Boole” and was surprised to get over 4700 results. The archive notes that quote marks work to keep keywords in a group, but I found in my search results lots of references to Saint George and none to the mathematician. It was only when I used the “Refine By” option in the search results to search for “George Boole” again that I got a much more reasonable 77 results.

Search results are listed oldest first and in this case the results started with the obituary of George Boole. Interestingly there are no other archive mentions of him again until 1956, and according to the trendline to the right of the search results, archive mentions seem to peak around 1994/1995.

Archive results show a snippet of the actual page image, not a text snippet. Click on the snippet and you’ll get an image of the newspaper page itself, with the section of where your keywords appear highlighted. It might take a moment for the page image to load, but I found all the images — even back to 1859 — pretty easy to read. You can click and drag on the page to move it around, or you can click on the thumbnail of the page image on the right side of the screen to move to a different part. Page sections seem to load article by article; this works fine for more recent versions of the newspaper (the last sixty or seventy years?) but for the 19th century editions, where pages are just rows and rows of columns, it can get a little confusing.

I spent a great deal of time browsing and reading the archives and was never asked for money or even to login or register. You’ve only got a week or so to enjoy this archive for free!

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