Cape Town, DC, Texas, More: Thursday Buzz, August 13th, 2015


The University of Cape Town Libraries have a new digital archive. “Humanitec is a cross-disciplinary project that has brought together researchers from departments as diverse as anatomy, botany, African studies and visual art to build a digital archive that has been designed as an immersive, interactive experience with visual and sonic features. The vast array of artefacts ranges from early 20th century botanical drawings, to the rarest of handcrafted Southern African musical instruments, to architectural drawings of Cape vernacular architecture, to press clippings, newsletters, minutes and other documents that chart the rocky history of cultural resistance in the Western Cape – and much more.”

Washington DC is getting a new development database. “On Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration quietly launched Project Pipeline Database, an online tool that allows the public to see every development project in the District that’s working with the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The database is broken down by ward, and each project’s page shows the developer behind it, the project manager with DMPED who’s working on it, the address, the square footage, and the projected construction start and finish date. We’re told what is live today is a beta or pilot version, and it’ll only get better.”


More World War II photographs are being added to the West Texas Digital Archives. “Some 6,660 photos from Abilene’s 12th Armored Division Museum are being added to the online collection through a $24,975 TexTreasures grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, according to a news release from the Abilene Library Consortium.”

Twitter’s DM limit of 140 characters is history. “Twitter’s 140-character limit is going away, at least for the private messages you send on the service. As promised, the company said today that it will now allow messages of up to 10,000 characters in its mobile apps, desktop apps, and the web. It will also work in third-party apps, such as Tweetbot, the company says.”

Google Knowledge Graph, now with movie reviews. “You can search Google for [minions reviews], [reviews for ex machina] or ask Google: ‘did Fantastic Four get bad reviews?’ and you’ll see a list of reviews. Critic reviews are also displayed in the regular cards for movies and Google plans to expand this feature to books and TV shows.”

Google has added “plus codes” to Google Maps. “Last April we released a new system to help provide an address for every location in the world, called Open Location Code (OLC, also known as “plus codes”). Today, plus codes are now searchable on Google and Google Maps. Plus codes are a useful way of representing locations that don’t have specific street addresses. But it’s not just in less developed places like Kibera. For example, an area the size of a few beach blankets on Atlantic Beach would have the plus code 87G8H7P8+FH. If you’re hoping to tell some friends where to meet you on the beach — and they are near Atlantic Beach or looking up the specific location in Google Maps while zooming in over it — you can give them just the last four digits ‘P8+FH’ to help them find you. You can find the plus code for your location at”

Google (this digest is getting rather Googly, isn’t it) has updated its Course Builder. “When we last updated Course Builder in April, we said that its skill mapping capabilities were just the beginning. Today’s 1.9 release greatly expands the applicability of these skill maps for you and your students. We’ve also significantly revamped the instructor’s user interface, making it easier for you to get the job done while staying out of your way while you create your online courses.”


Ubuntu has open-sourced part of its cloud storage service. “Canonical gave up on operating its Ubuntu One cloud storage service more than a year ago, but this week it released the system’s file-syncing code under an open source AGPLv3 license. Though Canonical is primarily known for its open source Ubuntu operating system, it also has some closed source products and services, including Ubuntu One.”

The Society of American Archivists is calling on Facebook to allow content downloading for pages. “As you know Facebook users often create pages for their businesses, organizations, places, community groups, and more. Per your guidelines, Facebook pages are administered by an authorized representative of the entity in question. When an entity such as a business orcommunity group is donating materials to an archive, it would be extremely useful if donors were able to download the contents of their pages so that the contents could be included with the donated materials. Unfortunately this function is not currently supported. In addition, Facebook’s terms of service prevent this content from being collected without Facebook’s permission (see section II.C in Facebook’s Pages Terms).” (The whole letter is PDF.)

The New York Times is using a Slack bot to decide what stories to post to social media. “Blossom, an intelligent bot within the messaging app Slack, predicts how articles or blogposts will do on social and also suggests which stories editors should promote by drawing from enormous stores of data, including information on story content and performance metrics such as Facebook post engagement. Blossom can also show the basics of where posts have already appeared and how they are currently performing.”

Periscope has ten million accounts? Note that accounts does not equal “active users,” but geez. “When [Twitter] acquired Periscope back in March the service was going up against Meerkat, which reportedly had around 60,000 users at the time. A subsequent report, just weeks later, had Meerkat’s user numbers at 300,000 users.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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