New York Marriages, Iraqi Artists, Archives, More: Wednesday Buzz, April 13, 2016

I beg your pardon if there are more typos than usual; I got a new pair of glasses and I’m still getting used to them.


Genealogists, you’ll like this: marriage record indexes for New York City! “Reclaim the Records is very pleased to announce that the index to the New York City Clerk’s Office marriage records (the application, affidavit, and license) for 1908-1929 is now online and open for public use. There are no logins required, no paywalls, no copyrights, and no usage restrictions. The index is now free and open data, forever.”

Now available: an online database for artists in Iraq. “The Ruya Artist Database will work to fulfill two main purposes. Firstly, it will provide Iraqi artists with a platform to communicate their work to an international audience of curators, collectors and art enthusiasts, providing particular support for those who may be prevented from doing so due to physical, cultural, financial or digital isolation. Secondly, it will allow curators, galleries and museums to be introduced to the work of many Iraqi artists unknown outside of Iraq. The Database will be accessible to all, from general users to art specialists. ”

A new open source, collaborative platform has been proposed for aggregating institutional archives. “With the technical and financial capacity of any currently existing single institution failing to answer the needs for a platform efficiently archiving the web, a team of American researchers have come up with an innovative solution, submitted to the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and published in the open-access journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO). They propose a lightweight, open-source collaborative collection development platform, called Cobweb, to support the creation of comprehensive web archives by coordinating the independent activities of the web archiving community.”

Handy: a new Web site helps ransomware victims see what they’re infected with and get guidance on possible options that don’t involve paying. “To use the ID Ransomware website, users will need two things. First is the ransom note file, which can take different forms, from HTML to text files, and then they’ll need one of the files encrypted by the ransomware.” Over 50 ransomware variants are currently identified by the site.

The state of Hawaii has launched a new Web site for restaurant safety reports. “If you type in a street name, all of the restaurants on that street will appear. Data from more than 7,000 inspections is already available.”

Interesting. The state of Connecticut has a new tool for mapping where startup businesses occur in the state. “The data excludes the large majority of sole proprietors and general partnerships, which typically file notice of their business formation with the town clerk in their municipality, rather than with the state, though some choose to do so on their own initiative. [Secretary of state Denise] Merrill said that in time she hopes to be able to add more functionality to the database, to include industry-specific information by geography and possibly ZIP-code level mapping to allow policymakers and others to zone in on specific neighborhoods that are thriving with startup activity.


It’s the cutest crowdsourcing project ever: count the penguins! “Penguin Watch initially launched in September 2014. The current version, Penguin Watch 2.0, allows users to keep track of the photos they’ve tagged and discuss individual photos with other users and even the scientists themselves. So far, over 27,000 people have participated in the project, and over 300,000 photos have been tagged.”

Looks like Facebook is seriously taking aim at Periscope. “Facebook is waging an all-out war on Periscope. The company announced a new live video hub at its F8 conference today, which will live inside of Facebook. The new live video feature will be displayed prominently on your Facebook news feed page. Live video streaming will be as it’s always been, with celebrities and brands going live in your newsfeed.”

Twitter Moments now supports SoundCloud embeds. “That update means that those with access to create Moments can share entire playlists within tweets and they’ll auto-play as you swipe left and right on mobile, or scroll up and down on desktop.”


From Storyful: Five Tips for Improving Facebook Discovery. That Google Alerts tip is pure gold.

MakeUseOf: 7 Unexpected Benefits of Creating a Wikipedia Account.


A poor Project Loon balloon went splat in South Africa. “KZN farmer Hennie Strydom and his wife woke to a strange sight on their farm near Rorke’s Drift in KwaZulu-Natal recently – a crashed Google Loon….Not initially knowing what had landed on their farm, Strydom noticed a phone number on the wreckage – which he dialled.” He got somebody in Sweden. No, wait, different news story… Good morning, Internet…

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