Cuban Genealogy, Sharks, Memphis Menus, More: Tuesday Morning Buzz, June 2nd, 2015


A new Cuban genealogy collection is now available from Florida International University. “An extensive set of family trees, civil records and sacramental documents is now available on the Internet. It references thousands of Hispanic surnames and gives everyone from the Abadias to the Zúñigas the opportunity to search for their ancestors. The material comes from the Enrique Hurtado de Mendoza Collection of Cuban Genealogy, a treasure trove that also features hard copies of more than 3,500 17th and 18th century books, long out-of-print publications and periodicals that few, if any, other U.S. libraries hold. The online offerings can be accessed by going to FIU’s Digital Library of the Caribbean and searching by last name.”

A new database is collecting shark sightings, but “sightings” is defined pretty generously: “Started by shark biologists Ryan M. Kempster and Channing A. Egeberg, SharkBase gives citizen conservationists a place to report shark sightings, ‘whether you’ve seen a shark or not,’ according to ‘Even if you have never seen a shark in the wild, you can still contribute to SharkBase by submitting sightings that you see in the news or on the Internet,’ the site says.” Also: all your shark base are belong to us.

I’m sure many of you know about the New York Public Library collection of menus. Now available online is a collection of over 1000 menus from the Memphis, Tennesee area.


Metadata company Gracenote is getting into a new vertical. “Music and video metadata company Gracenote is launching a new product for a new vertical, getting into sports data for the first time. To power the new sports product the company has acquired a couple of companies — Infostrada and SportsDirect — for a combined $54 million.”

The state of Utah has launched a new Web site (PRESS RELEASE).


Is Google going to get into hands-free mobile payments later this year?

The “Children’s Word of the Year” is hashtag. “Hashtag has been declared ‘children’s word of the year’ by the Oxford University Press. OUP analysed more than 120,421 short stories by children aged between five and 13 years old, submitted to the BBC’s 500 Words competition.”

Speaking of dictionaries, Merriam-Webster has added several words. Including emoji!

This should be really interesting: A UN report has asserted encryption is a human right. “Encryption that makes a communication unintelligible to anyone but the intended recipient creates ‘a zone of privacy to protect opinion and belief,’ says the report from David Kaye, who as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is essentially the U.N.’s free speech watchdog.”

There was a drag queen protest at Facebook on Monday against Facebook’s “real name” policy.


From MIT Sloan Management Review: Diversity in your Twitter network leads to better ideas. “A multitude of empirical studies confirm what [Steve] Jobs intuitively knew.2 The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently. Good ideas emerge when the new information received is combined with what a person already knows. But in today’s digitally connected world, many relationships are formed and maintained online through public social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Increasingly, employees are using such platforms for work-related purposes.3”

Harvard Business School: The benefits of oversharing on social media networks. “In What Hiding Reveals, Assistant Professor Leslie John, in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets (NOM) unit, found that keeping unsavory information to ourselves may not always be in our best interest. In fact, sometimes people think better of others who reveal ugly truths over those who keep mum.” Good morning, Internet…

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Genealogy, Google, Maine, More: Sunday Morning Buzz, March 2, 2014

Because I don’t want you to get bored: 40 genealogists to follow on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

More genealogy: Dick Eastman takes a look at a couple of online tutorials for reading Latin or Old English documents.

More more genealogy: wills of Scottish soldiers killed in World War I will be made available online. “Among the 26,000 individual wills are 2,584 from the Gordon Highlanders, including those of Privates Alexander Craig and John Wood from Portlethen, just two of about 9,500 men who died during the conflict.”

Transparency reports are the new black. The latest one is from CloudFlare.

ProPublica has launched a data store. “There’s not too much for sale yet, but among the “wares” you can purchase are “Recovery Tracker Data” ($200 for journalists, $2,000 for academic researchers) and national data on payments to doctors by pharmaceutical companies (the most expensive item in the store at $1,000 for journalists and $10,000 for researchers). ”

Google has released a new tool for “interactive learning” – Oppia. “We’re excited to announce Oppia, a project that aims to make it easy for anyone to create online interactive activities, called ‘explorations’, that others can learn from. Oppia does this by modeling a mentor who poses questions for the learner to answer. Based on the learner’s responses, the mentor decides what question to ask next, what feedback to give, whether to delve deeper, or whether to proceed to something new.”

More Google: Google has launched Google Maps Gallery. “Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas. You can explore historic city plans, climate trends, housing affordability, shipwrecks and up-to-date evacuation routes. In addition to finding these maps through Maps Gallery, they can be viewed in Google Earth and are discoverable through major search engines.”

From 9 Sites for Free Online Courses and Open Courseware.

The state of Maine has a new tool to track corporate filings (press release.) “Users who sign up for the service will create an online profile that will keep track of the business entities they want monitored. This profile will allow users to review, add, or delete entities from their monitoring account, to review add, delete or edit email addresses on file for notifications, and to view a list of filings or changes completed against the entity/entities over the past one year.”

I do not like this particular slang but in this case it utterly fits. Google asked for reports of scraper sites and — well, they got pwned. Good morning, Internet….

I love your comments, I love your site suggestions, and I love you. Feel free to comment on the blog, or @ResearchBuzz on Twitter. Thanks! Offering Free Access to Immigration Records Through September 2 is celebrating the American Labor Day holiday with some free records access! Through September 2 (or specifically September 2 at 11:59pm EST), you can access’s immigration records for free. This includes collections like passenger lists for ship, passport applications, naturalization petitions, and a lot more.

The link above also points to some instructional resources on how to make the most of your search for your immigrant ancestors.


Google, Yahoo, Creative Commons, Genealogy, More: Morning Buzz, July 31, 2012

Now available: a map of storm surge data for over 400 storms worldwide: “Needham scoured more than 67 sources to create a database of storm surge heights along the Gulf Coast from 1880 through 2011, including more than 250 surges in the north Atlantic region.”

The Utah Historical Society is starting an online photo archive documenting Topaz, a Utah internment camp for Japanese during WWII. “It has 220 images, showing everything from schoolchildren saying the Pledge of Allegiance to a New Year’s Eve party to agricultural work crews.”

So apparently Google still has some gathered WiFi data after claiming over a year ago that all of it was deleted. The HELL, Google?

TechCrunch has an article about Mashape, which is an API — aggregation? Broker? Hub? Something.

Interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn has left Yahoo. Kind of surprised about that, unless he wasn’t planning to stick for anything but the CEO slot. And apparently he’s not the only one.

Wanna take a guess about how many Creative Commons-licensed videos are up on YouTube? Try over four million.

You can now Google Chat with multiple people (or you’ll be able to soon — Google’s still rolling out the feature.)

Ubuntu 12.10 has hit Alpha 3.

The National Archives has put up more videos of its genealogy workshops. They’re available at YouTube; there are 23 videos there now.

Now you can timelapse the Earth! “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, working with colleagues at Google and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), have adapted their technology for interactively exploring time-lapse imagery to create a tool that enables anyone to easily access 13 years of NASA Landsat images of the Earth’s surface.” Good morning, Internet…

Census, Google, Dropbox, Twitter, More: Morning Buzz, July 11, 2012

Those 1940 US Census Community Project volunteers are indexing rock stars! “Aiming to propel volunteer contributions past the previous high of nearly 4.9 million records set April 30, the challenge motivated more than 46,000 volunteers to index 10.3 million records in a single 24-hour period that began July 1 at 6:00 p.m. (MDT) — more than twice the previous record.”

Google has added more than 20 US museums to its indoor map collection.

Twitter has updated its mobile apps.

Coming soon: a new database collecting studies of nervous system repair. “Tentatively called RegenBase – for Regeneration Database – the proposed knowledge-based system will incorporate and build on the BioAssay Ontology that Schürer, Lemmon and their team of UM programmers and computer scientists developed with a federal stimulus grant to enable chemists and biologists on the hunt for new therapeutic agents to quickly search repositories of thousands of experiments on hundreds of thousands of small-molecule compounds.”

The state of Utah Web site now has a registered notary search.

Wow, this idea has been kicked around for ages. Is it going to happen? “After years of rejecting the idea, the Pentagon is now considering the creation of a publicly accessible database of military valor awards as a way to deter military fakers.”

Google to pay FTC over $22 million? It may be a record fine but it’s still couch cushion money to GOOG.

Pay for Dropbox? You’re getting goodies. Dropbox has announced that prices are staying the same but you get double the storage. Hmm. Might have to start paying for Dropbox. Good morning, Internet…