The Salzburg Festival, Digital Library of Idaho, Open Legal Blog Archive, More: Monday ResearchBuzz, October 25, 2021

I wanted to let y’all know that while I will continue to index articles relating to Facebook’s controversies, I will no longer include articles that are primarily about Facebook features or updates. This includes WhatsApp and Instagram. (Articles that mention them briefly or as a small part of a larger whole will still be included.)

I try to maintain a healthy sense of my own importance in this world (minimal) and consequently this is not intended as A Gesture. Instead I want to make sure I am not encouraging anyone to use Facebook or any of its affiliates. The company is far, far worse than I imagined.

Deciding to completely ignore such a huge part of the Internet was not easy, but it was the only solution that would answer my conscience. I apologize for any inconvenience this causes.


The Mayor: The Salzburg Festival opens up to the world with free digital archive. “The rich treasure trove offers theatre pieces, opera and classical music performances by some of the most iconic names of the 20th century…. Representatives of the Austrian Media Library estimate that the content could fill an entire two months of non-stop watching. They include 453 recordings, 262 audio and 191 video. Apart from the performed theatre pieces and musical pieces, there are also rare rehearsals.”

Discovered while wandering through my Google Alerts: The Digital Library of Idaho. From the About Page: “This ‘collection of collections’ was developed over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year by a board of directors drawn from librarians from the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University and the Idaho Commission for Libraries. The site currently features over 150 collections from 6 organizations from across the state that can be searched and browsed by subject matter, material type, date range, and location.”

Real Lawyers Have Blogs: Record of Legal Blogs Represents a National Archive of Our Law. “We’ve been stewing over an archive of legal blogs at LexBlog for a long time. Goes back to the early days of LexMonitor and to the current site. Ratcheting things up, LexBlog is now backing the Open Legal Blog Archive, a database of all credible blog posts, worldwide, that will be both open and syndicated to various portals, worldwide. Legal information – and the law maintained in an open fashion for our society.”


WSPA: 50,000 names added to the Slave Deeds of Buncombe Co. Project. “Buncombe County’s Register of Deeds has added 50,000 names to the Slave Deeds of Buncombe County Project research database. Buncombe Co. officials said this was possible because of a partnership with UNC Greensboro and a $294,000 grant. The database shows the deeds of slaves in 13 counties of N.C. from 1776 through 1865 and it is meant to help African Americans learn more about their past.”

NPR: White House delays the release of secret JFK assassination records, citing COVID-19. “The White House has announced that a trove of remaining records concerning the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy will not be released as planned, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reuters: Tencent’s WeChat makes content searchable on Google and Bing. “Content from China’s most popular messaging app WeChat, including articles and videos on its popular public accounts page, a function similar to a news portal, has opened to external search engines, other than Tencent’s own Sogou search engine, in recent days.”


Wall Street Journal: Facebook’s Internal Chat Boards Show Politics Often at Center of Decision Making. “Many Republicans, from Mr. Trump down, say Facebook discriminates against conservatives. The documents reviewed by the Journal didn’t render a verdict on whether bias influences its decisions overall. They do show that employees and their bosses have hotly debated whether and how to restrain right-wing publishers, with more-senior employees often providing a check on agitation from the rank and file. The documents viewed by the Journal, which don’t capture all of the employee messaging, didn’t mention equivalent debates over left-wing publications. Other documents also reveal that Facebook’s management team has been so intently focused on avoiding charges of bias that it regularly places political considerations at the center of its decision making.”

Poynter: How the ICIJ made sense of 11.9 million documents to publish the Pandora Papers. “In early October, the group premiered its latest investigation: the Pandora Papers, a look at the world of offshore finance and the people — and countries — who suffer when illicit money goes offshore. More than 11.9 million financial records were secured in the Pandora Papers. Ensuing stories took readers behind the scenes of a financial company in South Dakota with international clients and an Ohio nursing home — the organizations and the humans behind the data. Journalists say the documents are just part of the reporting process. That’s where the journey begins.”


Business Insider: Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple’s attempts to offer its users greater privacy protections, complaint alleges. “Google worked with Facebook to undermine Apple’s attempts to offer its users great privacy protections, 12 state attorneys general alleged in an update to an antitrust lawsuit against the search engine.”

The Register: It’s ‘near-impossible to escape persistent surveillance’ by American ISPs, says FTC. “The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said many internet service providers are sharing data about their customers, in defiance of expectations, and are failing to give subscribers adequate choices about whether or how their data is shared. The trade watchdog’s findings arrived in the form of a report [PDF] undertaken in 2019 to examine the data and privacy practices of major US broadband providers, including AT&T Mobility, Charter Communications, Google Fiber, T-Mobile US, Verizon Wireless, and Comcast’s Xfinity.”


British Heart Foundation: Leading charities and health organisations urge people to register their defibrillators on new database to help save lives. “To help save more lives we, alongside Resuscitation Council UK, St John Ambulance and Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, we are urging people who look after defibrillators in places such as offices, communities, shopping centres and leisure centres, as well as in public places, to register them on a pioneering database called The Circuit: The national defibrillator network.”


London School of Economics: Designing a useful textbook for an open access audience – Q and A with Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco, authors of Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide. “Textbooks play an important role in defining fields of research and summarising key academic ideas for a wider audience. But how do you do this for an open access audience that is potentially unlimited? We talked to Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco¸ authors of the recently published LSE Press book Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide, about how the field has changed in recent times, what makes their approach to macro-economics distinctive, and what rationales and ambitions lie behind producing an open access textbook.” Good morning, Internet…

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