OERs, Census, Video, More: Thursday Buzz, September 10th, 2015


Now available: a new online collection of Open Educational Resources (OERs). “With the new tool users can search more than 74,000 OERs by standard, subject or grade level.”

The US Census Bureau has released a new tool aimed at businesses (PRESS RELEASE). “The tool combines data from the American Community Survey, the economic census, County Business Patterns and other economic surveys to provide a complete business profile of an area. Business statistics include the number of establishments, employment, payroll and sales. American Community Survey statistics include population characteristics, economic characteristics and housing characteristics.” The retail businesses you get to choose from is a bit goofy. If you’re not a clothing store, florist, or gas station…

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is starting a massive digitizing project. “On August 31, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded $14.16 million in grant funding to libraries across the United States. We’re thrilled to announce that the WGBH Educational Foundation, together with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and Pop Up Archive, received one of 276 National Leadership Grants. The $898,474 grant includes transcribing, analyzing, and building crowdsourcing tools for almost 40,000 hours of digital audio from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting over the next two and half years. This will be the first major media archive of its kind: the new American Archive site will integrate full-text, searchable transcripts and crowdsourced metadata for thousands of hours of audiovisual materials.”

In development: an audio database of children communicating. “During years of work, the researchers have recorded children and their parents interacting in different settings. In [Mark] VanDam’s case, he – or graduate students working for him – affixed small recording devices, about the size of a deck of cards, to young children and captured the sounds of them communicating with their parents and siblings for days. The grant will fund compilation of the database and software to manage it. ”


ePADD is expanding with a grant.
“The ePADD open-source email archiving and processing platform developed by Stanford University Libraries was awarded a $685,000 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on August 31.” This article has an extensive overview of what ePADD is and what it does, if you’re curious.

Facebook is giving businesses more selling options. “Facebook is upgrading Pages with a tabbed mobile layout that lets them display storefront ‘Sections’ where users can ‘Shop’ for products or view a list of ‘Services’ the business offers. The company is also making calls to action on business Pages, such as ‘Call Now,’ ‘Send Message’ and ‘Contact Us,’ bigger, more colorful and more prominent beneath the cover image.”

Buffer now supports animated GIFs, and has set up a Twitter hashtag so people can celebrate. Hmm… where’s my Barbara Stanwyck swagger GIF…


Lifehacker has a writeup about HashtagToDo, which turns Google Calendar into a task manager. “A new add-on for Google Calendar, our favorite online calendar app, turns it into a usable task list. Just append an entry with #todo to turn it into a recurring task. Plus, it works across platforms and you don’t need to install anything.”

Cool. A new tool lets you find and embed quotes from a video. “Once users upload a video to quickQuote (‘speeches, political debates, or interviews work best, but any video where people are talking, really,’ [Pietro] Passarelli told me), it uses a speech-to-text service’s API to generate a transcript alongside the video. As the video plays, the transcribed text will scroll to match the video — click on any word to be taken to that corresponding moment in the video, or search for key phrases like ‘immigration.'”


Nest/Dropcam appears to be having some quality problems. “Nest Cam and Dropcam outages have at least felt more frequent and certainly been more frustrating for users over the past year. And that’s an important timeline, since Nest bought Dropcam in June of last year for $555 million, just months after Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion. Scouring Twitter for clusters of complaints (and jogging my own memory), Nest’s service had at least three major outages in the past year: in November 2014, mid-April 2015, and a third this past week.” I have never used Nest but I do use Dropcam at work, and it does seem like it’s been getting less reliable.


Interesting: How hashtags and symbols affect language on Twitter. “Despite all the shortened words and slang seen on Twitter, it turns out that people follow many of the same communication etiquette rules on social media as they do in speech. Research from the Georgia Institute of Technology shows that when tweeters use hashtags — a practice that can enable messages to reach more people — they tend to be more formal and drop the use of abbreviations and emoticons. But when they use the @symbol to address smaller audiences, they’re more likely to use non-standard words such as ‘nah,’ ‘cuz’ and ‘smh.'” Good afternoon, Internet…

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