Western States, Rosa Parks, Detroit Video, More: Thursday Buzz, February 25, 2016


A new mapping tool shows the location of invasive species in eight western states (about 100 million acres.). “USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the University of Montana and other partners have used Google Earth Engine to build a new interactive online map tool that, for the first time, combines layers of data to better target invasive species that are damaging habitat and rangeland.” It is expected that the mapping tool will expand over time.

The Library of Congress has digitized its Rosa Parks collection and put it online. “The collection contains 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs related to Parks, who made headlines on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Ala.”

The Detroit Historical Society has launched a new video archive. “For the past year we have been working diligently and silently on a new initiative–to digitize the Detroit Historical Society’s sizable collection of video tapes and film reels. Recently we augmented our existing collection of film with nearly 2000 video tapes and film reels, which had been in storage with the City of Detroit.” The Society’s YouTube channel already has over 100 videos.

China is planning a national database of cultural artifacts. AND: “More museums will be opened to the public for free with the support of government finance. The development of private museums will be encouraged.”

A new tool is available to provide information about oil and gas in Wyoming. “The University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI) is making available to the public a new Interactive Data Platform (IDP), a Web-based, interactive mapping application designed to expedite access to publicly available oil and gas data for Wyoming….The IDP allows users to display and identify information using an interactive map. End users can selectively display the available layers in the legend, zoom, pan and identify features. In addition to the navigation tools, the IDP contains query tools that allow end users to search by location, field name and/or geologic formation. Additionally, the IDP allows users to extract information in multiple formats (tabular formats, text, etc.) and in different file formats such as shapefiles.”

I’m not sure about this one. Business Standard is reporting that Google has unveiled a kid’s search engine called Kiddle and that it’s new. The thing is, Kiddle is a kid’s search engine powered by Google Custom Search has been noted on Wikipedia since at least December. There are only three mentions of Kiddle on Google News and two of them are Business Standard. I cannot find any indication on Kiddle that the site is affiliated with Google other than by using Google Custom Search. The domain, according to, was registered at GoDaddy – would Google do that? TL;DR – There is a newish kid’s search engine called Kiddle, which a Business Standard article says is operated by Google, but I can find no indication one way or the other.


Social media analytics company SumAll will no longer offer free accounts. “…today we are announcing that SumAll will be discontinuing our free service and will only be offering premium accounts. Premium accounts allow us to continue our dedication to the vision of a data-enabled world. What this means for our customers is that in a week we will be archiving free accounts.”

Is Google going to build Chromecast tech directly into televisions? “The new line of TVs, which could become available as early as this spring, won’t feature any traditional smart TV apps. Instead, they will function just like Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter, offering consumers the ability to watch online services like Netflix and Hulu on their TV sets, but with the streaming initiating from mobile devices.”


Google wants to protect news organizations from DDOS attacks. “…a few years ago we created Project Shield, an effort that uses Google’s security infrastructure to detect and filter attacks on news and human rights websites. Now we’re expanding Project Shield beyond our trusted testers, and opening it up to all the world’s news sites to protect them from DDoS attacks and eliminate DDoS as a form of censorship.”


Please, please, someone make the tool proposed in this research paper, Real Time Filtering of Tweets Using Wikipedia Concepts and Google Tri-gram Semantic Relatedness . Here’s the abstract: “Interest profiles contain the description of a topic that the user is interested in receiving relevant posts in real-time. Our proposed approach extracts Wikipedia concepts for profiles and tweets and applies a corpus-based word semantic relatedness method to assign tweets to their relevant profiles. This approach is also used to determine whether two tweets are semantically similar which in turn prevents the retrieval of redundant tweets.” And if someone already made this tool, tell me about it!

Food for thought from JSTOR: Should Archivists Document Collective Memory? “How do people assign meaning and weight to past events? Sociologists have coined the term ‘collective memory’ to describe it. And it turns out that collective memory doesn’t just dictate the way groups recall the past en masse. Rather, wrote Jeannette A. Bastian, an event’s ‘memory trajectory’ also influences the ways archivists preserve history—and opens up opportunities to contextualize and document more than just an event.”

An opinion piece at Wharton Business School: A Tale of Two Brands: Yahoo’s Mistakes vs. Google’s Mastery. “While many theories have been offered to explain Yahoo’s downfall in light of Google’s ascent, I would like to suggest that the difference in the companies’ brand approaches may be the most illuminating. While Google has mastered brand strategy and management, Yahoo has lacked a definitive brand purpose and future-oriented brand vision — and these deficits have led to key brand missteps including introducing an impotent visual identity.” Putting aside the idea of Google Mastery – I mean, I just wrote a post complaining about Google’s search engine yesterday – this is a thoughtful look at Yahoo’s many attempts at creating a mission/vision and how they have changed, and, apparently, ultimately failed. Good morning, Internet…

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1 reply »

  1. I really appreciate all the genealogy information that you put on your blog. I’m new to genealogy and I’ve learned a lot as a result of things that you’ve posted. Thank you

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