Slavery, Early US History, Black Toronto Artists, More: Saturday Buzz, March 19, 2016


Cornell University is beginning a project to compile a national database of historical runaway slave advertisements. “The project, ‘Freedom on the Move’ (FOTM), aims to compile all North American runaway slave advertisements, never before systematically collected, into a collaborative database of information. The project will include new tools allowing partner institutions to add their own archives, opening up unprecedented ways to engage a large online community and to study this traumatic but critical period in U.S. history.”

The New York Public Library has added some new items to its Early American Manuscript Collections. The five new collections include New York Vice Admiralty Court Records, Reports of the Board of Treasury (1785-1787), and Fort Niagara Statement of Account with Edward Pollard.

A man in Toronto is using Instagram to curate a database of Black artists in Toronto. “[Danilo] McCallum is building what he calls an Instagram database, a profile called Black Canvas 101, that will feature images from the Toronto artists and organizations that have built the scene into a vibrant community.” Oddly enough I didn’t see Mr. McCallum’s Instagram address on this article! He’s at .

The state of Vermont has launched a new Web site to provide information on unsolved homicides and missing persons cases. “A searchable map with dropdown lists by name and county allow users to identify those cases, then link to a page with the most current information available on each case. Within each case page, the public will find a way to submit a tip anonymously, or send an email directly to investigators.”


Alrighty then: apparently Twitter isn’t raising the tweet limit of 140 characters. “On NBC’s ‘Today’ show Friday, Dorsey said the company has no plans to expand the 140-character limit, which dates back to Twitter’s launch in 2006. ‘It’s staying,’ he said. ‘It’s a good constraint for us, and… it allows for of-the-moment brevity.'”

Speaking of Twitter, it’s killing off the Windows client for Tweetdeck. Windows users are being encouraged to migrate to the Web app. It’s not so bad.

Digg is launching a bot for Slack. “Our bot is still a newborn, but it’s already learned some pretty cool tricks. It can find the best and most timely content based on keywords, and will also send you stuff throughout the day that is trending or important. And if you’ve been buried in an Excel model since dawn, don’t worry: twice a day, DiggBot will send you a package of articles and videos to catch you up. DiggBot is still a little shy, and we’re still teaching it to talk. But give it a few weeks, and we’re sure it’ll become friendlier. Also, we’re letting DiggBot play in Slack first, but it’ll pop into other messaging playgrounds soon.” Is Slack like the next evolution of RSS?


Twitter is rolling out its algorithmic timeline (bleh) but you can opt-out, and it’s very easy. I haven’t seen any changes to my TweetDeck… yet…


The Information is reporting that Yahoo is considering teaming up with Facebook to sell ads on Tumblr. “Yahoo has been looking for ways to improve Tumblr’s ad performance. Right now, only around 10% to 15% of Tumblr’s available advertising inventory is being sold to advertisers, according to two people with knowledge of the numbers.” Most of this article is behind a paywall. I think Yahoo would be better served to just sell Tumblr.

Is Google/Alphabet going to sell Boston Dynamics? “The news comes just a few weeks after the company, Boston Dynamics, published a new video of its latest version of Atlas that was awe-inspiring and scary. The robot trudges through the snow, somehow maintaining its balance; another crouches to lift a brown box and delicately places it on a shelf — then somehow stays upright while a human tries to push it over with a hockey stick. A third robot topples over and clambers back to its feet with ease.”


From the University of Michigan: Creating Brand Modi on Twitter. “On his first year anniversary as India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi refused to hold a press conference to discuss his performance. Instead, he tweeted about it. Modi has become the world’s No. 2 most popular politician in the Twittersphere after U.S. President Barack Obama, with more than 18 million followers. The way he has used social media to build up his image and communicate with voters is the focus of a new study by a team of researchers led by Joyojeet Pal, who analyzed more than 6,000 tweets by Modi over a five-year period.”


Poynter has a roundup of some of the most interesting open records stories this year. Happy stories, sad stories, stories that make you want to throw things. Good morning, Internet…

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