Northern Ireland History, 78rpm Records, LOC Crowdsourcing, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, March 30, 2019


Belfast Telegraph: Northern Ireland civil rights history website launched. “A new website of testimony, evidence and opinion on the civil rights movement in Londonderry has been launched. Award-winning documentary producer Gavin Patton collated more than 13 hours of material over the past four years, including interviews with key protagonists as well as people who have never spoken about their part in the movement before.” 13 hours does not look right. I have reached out to Mr. Patton on Twitter and will update this story if I hear back from him. Edit: Mr. Patton informs me the number is correct, and the site continues to update.

Internet Archive: Boston Public Library’s 78rpm Records Come to the Internet: Reformatting the Boston Public Library Sound Archives. “Following eighteen months of work, more than 50,000 78rpm record ‘sides’ from the Boston Public Library’s sound archives have now been digitized and made freely available online by the Internet Archive.” I listened to a Cab Calloway song from 1946 (“Hey Now, Hey Now” if you care) and while it did have pops and crackles I was surprised at how good the sound quality was.


Library of Congress: Branch Rickey Crowdsourcing Project: It’s Outta Here!. “Just four months after the Library partnered with the public to transcribe the papers of baseball icon Branch Rickey, volunteers have transcribed all 1,926 pages of Rickey’s scouting reports, making them available for digital research just in time for Major League Baseball’s opening day.”

Lifehacker: Gmail’s ‘Canned Responses’ Feature Is Finally Good. “Gmail’s template feature just got a badly needed redesign. Poorly named ‘canned responses,’ this isn’t the feature where Gmail suggests a two-word reply to an email. (That’s ‘smart reply.’) This is a much more useful feature, buried in the ‘Advanced’ settings menu on Gmail’s desktop interface, that lets you save multiple emails to reuse whenever you’re composing an email.”

Engadget: Google Photos makes it easier to take clear pictures of receipts. “Google is making it easier to capture clear photographs of receipts and other documents. Following on from the AI-powered suggested actions feature unveiled out last year, which automatically brightens and rotates images, the company is this week launching a new crop and adjust function for snaps of printed items and text-heavy pages.”


How-To Geek: How to Scrape a List of Topics from a Subreddit Using Bash. “Reddit offers JSON feeds for each subreddit. Here’s how to create a Bash script that downloads and parses a list of posts from any subreddit you like. This is just one thing you can do with Reddit’s JSON feeds.”


New York Times: The Mounting Federal Investigations Into Facebook. “Facebook now faces investigations into its business practices from a variety of federal agencies. Officials have opened inquiries into possible civil and criminal violations of laws related to privacy, corporate governance and discrimination. Facebook has largely denied wrongdoing in each of the investigations and said it was cooperating with regulators and law enforcement. Here are the agencies looking into Facebook, and some of the issues involved.”

HBS Working Knowledge: Will Startup Fishbowl Become the Social Media App for Your Industry?. “Fishbowl’s founders have built a social media platform allowing professionals to connect anonymously and with candor within their companies and industries. But the app is still largely limited to the consulting industry. Can they extend the app into other sectors? What’s the winning business model? Will adding employers to the mix pay off or kill the value? Professor Leslie John discusses her case study exploring the boundaries of social media and personal privacy.” This is an audio podcast with transcript.

The Citizen (Tanzania): Education authority to launch free online school library. “The online library, run by the Tanzania Institute of Education (TIE), is a platform that offers free access to books to all public schools in the country, while those in private schools and individuals will pay at least Sh4,000 to access 48 textbooks and Sh2,000 to access supplementary readers.” 4000 Tanzania shillings is a little less than $2 USD, according to Google’s currency converter.


BBC: Russia police probe ‘dark net’ murder case. “Police in Russia are investigating what could be the world’s first documented case of a contract killing ordered via the so-called dark net. High-ranking police investigator Yevgeniya Shishkina was shot dead outside her home near Moscow in October 2018.”


University Affairs: How apps and online databases are helping conservation science to thrive. “Science is not always done by experts cloistered in ivory towers. Increasingly, ordinary people are getting involved in gathering data – on local birds, insects, plants, climate and more – through citizen science initiatives. Enlisting the public in these schemes allows researchers to reach much further afield in their data collection efforts, and the spread of digital apps and online platforms is extending the reach of conservation scientists more than ever.”

MIT News: Facebook is free, but should it count toward GDP anyway? . “For several decades, gross domestic product (GDP), a sum of the value of purchased goods, has been a ubiquitous yardstick of economic activity. More recently, some observers have suggested that GDP falls short because it doesn’t include the value of free online goods such as social media, search engines, maps, videos, and more. A new study by MIT researchers puts a dollar value on all those free digital goods people use, and builds the case that online activity can and should become part of GDP some day.” Good morning, Internet…

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