Forestry, Catholic Genealogy, Indigenous Languages, More: Tuesday Buzz, October 10, 2017

NEW RESOURCES Students bring sixty years of data to life on the web . “For fields like environmental science, collecting data is hard. Gathering results on a single project can mean months of painstaking measurements, observations and notes, likely in limited conditions, hopefully to be published in a highly specialized journal with a target audience made up mostly of just other specialists in the field. That’s why when, this past summer, Duke students Devri Adams, Camila Restrepo and Annie Lott set out with Professor Emily Bernhardt to combine over six decades of data on the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest into a workable, aesthetically pleasing visualization website, they were really breaking new ground in the way the public can appreciate this truly massive store of information.”

Who Do You Think You Are Magazine: Thousands of Catholic records available in new database. “A new database listing over a quarter of a million English Roman Catholics has been created by the Catholic Family History Society (CFHS). The Margaret Higgins Database is compiled by an Australian monk, Brother Rory Higgins FSC, and named after his mother. It holds indexed records of 275,000 people living between 1607 and 1840.”

The University of Texas at Austin: Welcome to the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA). “Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 9, 2017, marks the public launch of the newly migrated and updated Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America. AILLA is a digital language archive of recordings, texts, and other multimedia materials in and about the indigenous languages of Latin America. AILLA’s mission is to preserve these materials and make them available to Indigenous Peoples, researchers, and other friends of these languages now and for generations to come. The look and feel of this new site has been updated, and some user functionality has been added, including the ability to perform a keyword search across all collections, as well as the ability to stream and view some media files without having to download them first. Access to AILLA and its resources is always free of charge.”


Washington Post: Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms. “Google for the first time has uncovered evidence that Russian operatives exploited the company’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the company’s investigation. The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google’s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that have not been made public.”

The Verge: Alphabet’s Waymo launches public campaign to build trust in self-driving cars. “Waymo, the self-driving car unit spun out of Google last year, is launching a public education campaign today called ‘Let’s Talk Self-Driving’ aimed at addressing the skepticism many people have about autonomous technology. The company is teaming up with a host of safety and disability advocacy groups to promote its self-driving car pilot in Arizona, as well as raise awareness around a technology that remains inaccessible to most people.”


MakeUseOf: How to Sort Your Gmail Inbox by Sender, Subject, and Label. “Gmail is a great tool, but it falls short in terms of offering intuitive ways of sorting your inbox. Fortunately, there are easy workarounds that give you more control over finding messages. We’ll go over several of them below.”

The Next Web: Your complete guide to Snapchat: Snap, filter, and roll. “So you just downloaded Snapchat. Now what? The photo app that everyone wants to copy and yet no one can manage to fully destroy is still a little obscure for those who didn’t get onboard during its initial rush of popularity.” VERY extensive.


McClatchy: Russian propaganda engaged U.S. vets, troops on Twitter and Facebook, study finds. “Russia has exploited social media networks to target current and former U.S. military personnel with propaganda, conspiracy theories and other misinformation, achieving ‘significant and persistent interactions’ over Twitter during a one-month period last spring, a British research team found.”

NARA: Digitizing at Bush 43. “Digitization can be a time-consuming process. Once a box is selected for scanning, the records themselves must be analyzed. Are pages torn or fragile? Are documents single or double-sided? The characteristics of the records themselves determine how they will be scanned. Additionally, what are the saved files going to be named? How are they going to be organized? We use a file-naming convention that links numeric codes to each collection and series within our holdings. The files are housed in digital folders that mirror the physical organization of the records. Next, scanning begins.”

Moz: Yes, Competitors Can Edit Your Listing on Google My Business. “I decided to write this article in response to a recent article that was published over at CBSDFW. The article was one of many stories about how spammers update legitimate information on Google as a way to send more leads somewhere else. This might shock some readers, but it was old news to me since spam of this nature on Google Maps has been a problem for almost a decade.” This echoes the problems I had managing a Google My Business listing for years, including one memorable weekend when spammers/pranksters/what have you had managed to mark the business closed when it wasn’t. If you’ve got a Google My Business listing you have to keep a close eye on it. Don’t rely on Google to alert you to anything.


Digital Trends: Hackers Breach Public School Databases, Send Out Threatening Texts
. “Parents of children in an Iowa school district were left severely concerned after they received SMS messages from an unknown person or persons threatening to kill students at their childrens’ schools. The messages were doubly worrying because they contained personal details about the children, all because hackers had stolen the information from a school network.”


Johns Hopkins: Johns Hopkins scientists to build machine translation system for obscure languages. “A team of computer scientists at Johns Hopkins University has won a $10.7 million grant from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to create an information retrieval and translation system for languages that are not widely used around the world. Philipp Koehn, a computer science professor in JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering, is leading a group of 20 professors, research scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and doctoral students in an effort to build a system that can respond to inquiries typed in English based on documents written in so-called ‘low resource’ languages, which means there is relatively little written material in these languages.” Good morning, Internet…

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