Walt Whitman, Orson Welles, Marriage Records, More: Sunday Buzz, May 8, 2016


The Library of Congress has put a couple of new Walt Whitman collections online. “The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman papers consists of approximately 3,000 items spanning the period 1842-1937. Most of the items date from 1855, when Whitman first published the poem “Leaves of Grass,” to his death at age 73 in 1892. The online presentation includes correspondence, poetry and prose manuscripts, notes and notebooks, proofs and offprints, printed matter and miscellaneous items….The Walt Whitman Papers (Miscellaneous Manuscript Collection) has some 150 items, including some of Whitman’s earliest known correspondence, and a printed copy of Whitman’s poem ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ containing the poet’s handwritten corrections.”

Underway: a project to digitize Orson Welles’ old radio shows. “An [Indiana University]-led preservation and digitization project, titled ‘Orson Welles on the Air,’ will reveal the truth: Original lacquer discs containing 14 of the broadcasts, as well as other supposedly lost recordings, had been secured by Indiana University Libraries’ Lilly Library, one of the nation’s premier rare book and special collection libraries.”

Findmypast has announced a new set of marriage records (PRESS RELEASE). “Leading family history company, Findmypast, announced today at the 2016 conference of the National Genealogical Society that it has published the next installment of its US marriage collection containing more than 10 million records, with an estimated 45 million names with nearly 4 million names that have never been published before and can only be found on Findmypast.”


Google is connecting BigQuery to Google Drive and Google Sheets. “So here is what you can do now: Google will now allow BigQuery users to export results right to Google Sheets, its Excel competitor. In addition, BigQuery will also now be able to directly access files from Google Drive for analysis without having to first load them into BigQuery and the service can also directly query Google Sheets spreadsheets now as you edit them.”

Google Street View has added indoor maps of the 2016 Olympic Venues.

Facebook is testing a discover feature for Facebook Groups. “The feature pulls from your geographic area, your interest and those of your friends in order to suggest new Groups you may be interested in. The feature isn’t available for everyone, but as one of the lucky few, I can confirm that it’s remarkably intuitive and the suggestions are mostly great.” I wouldn’t mind this feature at all if the suggestions were mostly great!

Is LinkedIn looking at its own version of Instant Articles? “LinkedIn is considering introducing its own version of Facebook’s Instant Articles, a feature that would allow publishers to host content directly on LinkedIn instead of posting links that direct people back to their own sites.” The world does not need a LinkedIn walled garden.


Ewww! From Backchannel: Will Yahoo Become a Patent Troll? “Let’s state the obvious: Starboard is not in this game because it wants to restore Yahoo to its glory as one of the fearsome horsemen of tech. Do not look for Jeffery Smith to coo over slides celebrating Mayer’s achievements in mobile revenue, or obsess over the design of a new weather app. This hedge fund is not about putting a dent in the universe, a goal to which techies often aspire, but about putting bulges in its partners’ wallets, a goal to which hedge funds always aspire. The question I’d like to explore is just how it will go about doing this.”


Generating maps of India might get more complicated. “New rules proposed by the Indian government would require Google and other mapping services to submit their maps for security clearance before distributing them online or offline. The move appears to reflect the Indian government’s concern that the maps could expose defense installations and other high-security areas.”

The lawsuit against Facebook over biometric data will go forward. “Facebook Inc (FB.O) lost the first round in a court fight against some of its users who sued the social networking company, alleging it ‘unlawfully’ collected and stored users’ biometric data derived from their faces in photographs. The judge presiding over the case in a California federal court on Thursday turned down Facebook’s motion seeking dismissal of the suit.”


From Scientific American: What’s Wrong with Open-Data Sites–and How We Can Fix Them. “Imagine shopping in a supermarket where every item is stored in boxes that look exactly the same. Some are filled with cereal, others with apples, and others with shampoo. Shopping would be an absolute nightmare! The design of most open data sites—the (usually government) sites that distribute census, economic and other data to be used and redistributed freely—is not exactly equivalent to this nightmarish supermarke. But it’s pretty close.” Good morning, Internet…

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