Banned Books, Taxation Transparency, South African History Archive, More: Thursday ResearchBuzz, April 14, 2022


New York Public Library: Books For All: NYPL Supports the Right to Read Banned Books. “The New York Public Library’s mission is rooted in the principles of free and open access to knowledge, information, and all perspectives—in essence, the right to read. In light of recent, prominent efforts to ban books in communities across the United States, we have now partnered with publishers Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, and Scholastic to make a small selection of commonly banned or challenged books available to anyone who chooses to read them—all for free via our e-reader app, SimplyE.”

ProPublica: America’s Highest Earners and Their Taxes Revealed. “Secret IRS files reveal the top US income-earners and how their tax rates vary more than their incomes. Tech titans, hedge fund managers and heirs dominate the list, while the likes of Taylor Swift and LeBron James didn’t even make the top 400.”


Daily Maverick: South African History Archive relaunched at Wits. “On 6 April, the South African History Archive was officially relaunched at Wits university by its Vice-Chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi. It will form part of an Archives and Research Hub that will give concerted attention to social justice archives. The devastating fire last year at UCT brought the general crisis of archives sharply into focus and it is clear that universities and civil society will need to be more active in this space.”

Search Engine Land: Yelp adds searchable eco-friendly business attributes. “In addition to being highlighted in Yelp’s search results, the new sustainability attributes will appear on Yelp business pages. Yelp today announced a new addition to its platform: searchable, eco-friendly business attributes. It is free for businesses to add these attributes.”

PR Newswire: OCLC and Google now connect web searchers directly to library collections (PRESS RELEASE). “OCLC and Google are working together to link directly from books discovered through Google Search to print book records in the catalogs of hundreds of U.S. libraries. This feature is part of Google’s ongoing effort to connect people to their local libraries through Google Search. The initial phase of this new program connects people using Google Search to the catalogs of hundreds of U.S. libraries whose books are cataloged in WorldCat, a worldwide database of information about library collections, and made available for discovery on the web.”


Popular Science: How to send a voice message in any chat app, even if you think you can’t . “There’s something uniquely appealing about sending voice messages through chat apps. Not only are they more intimate and personal than typed text, they’re also more permanent than an audio or video call—the recipient can listen to them again and again…. With that in mind, perhaps you should be sending more of these personalized, informal audio snippets that can say just about anything (whether you’re arranging a party or despairing about a sports game, a voice message works). Many messaging apps now support voice recordings as standard, and there are workarounds for the rest.”


Reuters: Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter for $41.39 billion . “Billionaire Elon Musk has offered to buy Twitter TWTR.N for $41.39 billion, a regulatory filing showed on Thursday.”

Norfolk Southern: Norfolk Southern donates Norfolk and Western Railway archives, $750,000 to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. “The collection dates to the 1840s and includes thousands of photographs and glass plate negatives, as well as business records, annual reports, blueprints, plans, bridge drawings, advertisements, portraits, and three-dimensional artifacts from predecessor railroads that together provide a fascinating look into the growth of rail transportation across the eastern United States. The company will also donate $750,000 to support the collection in perpetuity.”


Sixth Tone: China’s Judicial Transparency Project Faces an Uncertain Future. “In 2013, China’s Supreme People’s Court officially launched China Judgements Online, a free online database containing decisions from all levels of China’s legal system, from local courts all the way up to the SPC itself. By 2020, the database was home to more than 100 million documents…. But now, that may be coming to an end. Zhou Yuzhong, a lawyer, found that courts uploaded slightly more than 100,000 judicial documents in 2021, a nearly 80% drop from the previous year. Meanwhile, a number of rulings have quietly disappeared from the database.”

Bloomberg: Google Tightens Philippines Apps Review to Curb Loan Sharks. “Alphabet Inc.’s Google will tighten approval for personal loan apps made available in the Philippines to fight illegal and abusive lending practices, the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission said.”


Electronic Frontier Foundation: Civil Liberties Groups Urge Social Media Platforms to Better Protect Free Flow of Information in Crisis Zones. “Whether in Ukraine or in other crisis zones around the globe, social media platforms have a duty to ensure that people have access to the free flow of life-saving information, according to a statement issued today by 31 international human rights and civil liberties organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).”

Stanford News: What to know about disinformation and how to address it . “[Eileen] Donahoe and Stanford scholars from across the social sciences are studying the threats disinformation poses to democracy and also other areas of public and private life, such as health and education. In many instances, researchers are providing specific recommendations for what governments, digital platforms and the public can do to counter its deleterious effects. Here are some of those findings and recommendations, as well as insight into the role disinformation played during the global pandemic and more recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Good morning, Internet…

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