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


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.”


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.


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.”


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, with new images being added every day.”


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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