"library" entries

Four short links: 25 October 2010

Four short links: 25 October 2010

Artists on Piracy, Web Tracking, Thinking about Future Food, and Library Futures

  1. Pirate Verbatim — artists, in their own words, talking about piracy. The mix of opinions, attitudes, and nuance shows that there’s far from any single consistent view out there. (via Graham Linehan)
  2. What Rapleaf Knows About You — aggregating information from various sites, and your ad clickthroughs, to build a dossier about you that relates your email address to real name, age, shopping history, political leaning, and more. How do I control others’ ability to gather information about me? (via Mauricio Freitas)
  3. By Design — Australian radio show episode where five interesting people (artist, author, etc.) talk about water, electricity, food, and technology and then have Q&A. Dan Hill helped it happen.
  4. Rare Book Room — read high-resolution scans of important and beautiful old books (Shakespeare Folios, Galileo, Books of Hours, etc.) online. Digital for libraries means new ways for customers to view materials, and new customers: I can read an item from the Bodleian Library, but I’m in New Zealand and they’re in Oxford. Am I a Bodleian customer? Do they change what they do to support me? Who pays for the services I use? These are the questions many collections organisations are struggling with. (via Paul Steele)
Four short links: 23 June 2010

Four short links: 23 June 2010

Being Wrong, Science Malfunding, Touch-screen Libraries, Mining Flickr Photos

  1. Ira Glass on Being Wrong (Slate) — fascinating interview with Ira Glass on the fundamental act of learning: being wrong. I had this experience a couple of years ago where I got to sit in on the editorial meeting at the Onion. Every Monday they have to come up with like 17 or 18 headlines, and to do that, they generate 600 headlines per week. I feel like that’s why it’s good: because they are willing to be wrong 583 times to be right 17. (via Hacker News)
  2. Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific Research (PLoSBiology) — very clear presentation of the problems with the current funding models of scientific research, where the acknowledged best scientists spend most of their time writing funding proposals. K.’s plight (an authentic one) illustrates how the present funding system in science eats its own seed corn. To expect a young scientist to recruit and train students and postdocs as well as producing and publishing new and original work within two years (in order to fuel the next grant application) is preposterous.
  3. jQTouch Roadmap — interesting to me is the primary distinction between Sencha and jQTouch, namely that jQT is for small devices (phones) only, while Sencha handles small and large (tablet) touch-screen devices. (via Simon St Laurent)
  4. Travel Itineraries from Flickr Photo Trails (Greg Linden) — clever idea, to use metadata extracted from Flickr photos (location, time, etc.) to construct itineraries for travellers, saying where to go, how long to spend there, and how long to expect to spend getting from place to place. Another story of the surprise value that can be extracted from overlooked data.
Four short links: 15 June 2010

Four short links: 15 June 2010

Bookmarking, Open Notebook Science, Starbucks, and Documentation

  1. On Bookmarking: Dogears and Marginalia — asking the question “how do you bookmark in real life?”. I’m interested because I have recently begun obsessively collecting the good quotes and references from books I read, thanks to Amazon Kindle app’s highlights. (via titine on Delicious)
  2. Systems for Open Electronic Lab Notebooks — question from a very respected scientist (Jonathan Eisen, king of the phylogenetic tree and “phylogenomics” on Twitter) about tools and software for open lab notebooks. Turns out it’s by no means a solved problem, so a good hacker working with such a lab could do some good things for science.
  3. Starbucks, Wifi, Paid Content (ReadWriteWeb) — Starbucks announced free wifi, from which customers can access content they’d otherwise have to pay for (e.g., WSJ). Interesting to me for several reasons: libraries also offer access to information you’d otherwise not have access to; and Starbucks are turning the physical store into a virtual one as well.
  4. Writing Great Documentation (Jacob Kaplan-Moss) — it’s all true, read it and write.
Four short links: 14 June 2010

Four short links: 14 June 2010

Open Data, Open PCR, Open Sara Winge, and Open Source Big Graph Mining

  1. Learning from Libraries: the Literacy Challenge of Open Data (David Eaves) — a powerful continuation of the theme from my Rethinking Open Data post. David observes that dumping data over the fence isn’t enough, we must help citizens engage. We have a model for that help, in the form of libraries: We didn’t build libraries for an already literate citizenry. We built libraries to help citizens become literate. Today we build open data portals not because we have a data or public policy literate citizenry, we build them so that citizens may become literate in data, visualization, coding and public policy.
  2. OpenPCR on KickstarterIn 1983, Kary Mullis first developed PCR, for which he later received a Nobel Prize. But the tool is still expensive, even though the technology is almost 30 years old. If computing grew at the same pace, we would all still be paying $2,000+ for a 1 MHz Apple II computer. Innovation in biotech needs a kick start!
  3. Wingeing It — profile of O’Reilly’s wonderful Sara Winge by the ever fabulous Quinn Norton.
  4. PEGASUS — petascale graph mining toolkit from CMU. See their most recent publication. (via univerself on Delicious)
Four short links: 10 June 2010

Four short links: 10 June 2010

Adventures in Digitization, DIY on TV, Copywrongs, and Web Testing

  1. Gallery: Digitizing the Past and Present at the Library of Congress (BoingBoing) — amazing pictures and stories about preserving and protecting the Library of Congress, it’s papery past and its pixellated future. We can’t afford any damage to anything,” said Eric Hansen, chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division. “Never take a sample; be completely nondestructive. … We know there will be advances in technology and that current techniques will become outmoded.”
  2. Mark Frauenfelder on The Colbert Report — It’s great to see Make and DIY culture getting an articulate outing on national television, but I’m entranced by the useless device. Its motion is so emotionally evocative, I’d swear it exhibits shyness. Reminded me of EJ Park’s work.
  3. Copyright Elephant in the Middle of Glee — if the TV show Glee were real life, the characters would have racked up millions on penalties from their infringing actions. In one recent episode, the AV Club helps cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester film a near-exact copy of Madonna’s Vogue music video (the real-life fine for copying Madonna’s original? up to $150,000). Just a few episodes later, a video of Sue dancing to Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit Physical is posted online (damages for recording the entirety of Physical on Sue’s camcorder: up to $300,000). And let’s not forget the glee club’s many mash-ups — songs created by mixing together two other musical pieces. Each mash-up is a “preparation of a derivative work” of the original two songs’ compositions – an action for which there is no compulsory license available, meaning (in plain English) that if the Glee kids were a real group of teenagers, they could not feasibly ask for — or hope to get — the copyright permissions they would need to make their songs, and their actions, legal under copyright law. Punishment for making each mash-up? Up to another $150,000 — times two.
  4. Sikuli a visual technology to search and automate graphical user interfaces (GUI) using images (screenshots). (via liza on Twitter)
Four short links: 7 June 2010

Four short links: 7 June 2010

JS UI, Teeny Open Source Notebook, On The End of a Mobile Age, and Modern Education

  1. UKI: Simple UI Kit for Complex Web AppsUki is a fast and simple JavaScript user interface toolkit for desktop-like web applications. It comes with a rich view-component library ranging from Slider to List and SplitPane. Includes the now-ubiquitous Mail.app mockup, which has become to UI library webpages what the bucket of grease and dirt is to household cleaner commercials. (via Hacker News)
  2. NanoNote — USD100 minute sub-notebook computer (320×240 screen, 126g including battery, 2G storage, qwerty keyboard) with Creative Commons (attribution, sharealike) licenses on the schematics.
  3. On Android Compatibility (Dan Morril) — Rewind to about 5 years ago. […] Back then as today, it was practically unheard of for a feature phone to ever get a software update.[…] The reason was that the smartphone platform vendors controlled the software. It was exceedingly difficult for OEMs to differentiate on software because they had little control over the software. It was difficult for them to differentiate on features because they could only ship features supported by the OS they were using. But it was still a fiercely competitive market and they still innovated as hard as they could. So they innovated on the only dimension they had control over: hardware and industrial design. […] Think about that. Easier to rev hardware than software! A fantastically lucid explanation of the messed-up age of carrier-controlled mobile platforms that we’re just leaving (and yes, we probably do have Steve Jobs to thank for that). (via Kevin Marks)
  4. Living and Learning in the Cloud (EdTalks) — talk by the deputy-principal of a New Zealand high-school that’s running all open source, and has extended the “available to be improved” mindset to rooms and curriculum. (via br3nda)
Four short links: 15 April 2010

Four short links: 15 April 2010

Obscurely Secure Data, Bio Data Torrents, Open Knowledge Conference, Library of Twitter

  1. Is Making Public Data Available a Threatening Act? (Pete Warden) — Imagine a thought experiment where I downloaded the income, charitable donations, pets and military service information for all 89,000 Boulder residents listed in InfoUSA’s marketing database, and put that information up in a public web page. That’s obviously pretty freaky, but absolutely anyone with $7,000 to spare can grab exactly the same information! That intuitive reaction is very hard to model. Is it because at the moment someone has to make more of an effort to get that information? Do we actually prefer that our information is for sale, rather than free? Or are we just comfortable with a ‘privacy through obscurity’ regime?
  2. BioTorrents: A File Sharing Service for Scientific Data — described in a PLoSone article. BitTorrent for bio datasets. (via Fabiana Kubke)
  3. The Open Knowledge Conference — Saturday 24th April 2010 in London. Check out the programme, killer topics and people.
  4. Library of Congress to Archive All Tweets — Twitter is handing the archive of all public tweets to the Library of Congress, with a search interface. I like this new slant on national libraries’ roles as repositories of nationally and historically important digital text.
Four short links: 9 April 2010

Four short links: 9 April 2010

ACTA, Librarianship, HTML Magic, and Understanding Data

  1. PublicACTA — conference to critique the ACTA draft and offer better principles for the negotiators. It will be streamed online, and you’ll be able to watch Michael Geist, Kim Weatherall, and other speakers as well as follow the issues and drafting process. Raw notes and drafts will be on the web site throughout the day. I’m MCing.
  2. The Library is the Machine — article about the relationship of libraries to catalogues, errors, authoritative information, and the lessons for this new world of data we’re building. (via staplegun on Twitter)
  3. Parchment — all-Javascript z-code interpreter. Z-code is the basis of Infocom-style text adventures (“interactive fiction” to aficionados). Impressive for the decoding, interpretation, and speed. The web still surprises me with what it can do and how well it does it. If only it had an app store *cough*.
  4. Fixing the Budget — the Economist polled Americans on the budget deficit. Overwhelmingly they want to cut spending and not raise taxes. When asked where to cut spending, the only agreement was on topics responsible for a few percent of the overall budget. This is why Budget Hero is so important: we need more SimCity-like exploration tools that let you say “what if we did (my favourite policy)?” and see what it does to not just next year’s deficit but those that our children will inherit.
Four short links: 25 March 2010

Four short links: 25 March 2010

Against Open Data, Singalong Selection, Library Release, and Twitter Analysis

  1. Aren’t You Being a Little Hasty in Making This Data Free? — very nice deconstruction of a letter sent by ESRI and competitors to the British Government, alarmed at the announcement that various small- and mid-sized datasets would no longer be charged for. In short, companies that make money reselling datasets hate the idea of free datasets. The arguments against charging are that the cost of gating access exceeds revenue and that open access maximises economic gain. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
  2. User Assisted Audio Selection — amazing movie that lets you sing or hum along with a piece of music to pull them out of the background music. The researcher, Paris Smaragdis has a done lot of other nifty audio work. (via waxpancake on Twitter)
  3. Cologne-based Libraries Release 5.4M Bibliographic Records to CC0 — I see resonance here with the Cologne Archives disaster last year, where the building collapsed and 18km of shelves covering over 2000 years of municipal history were lost. When you have digital heritage, embrace the ease of copying and spread those bits as far and wide as you can. Hoarding bits comes with a risk of a digital Cologne disaster, where one calamity deletes your collection. (via glynmoody on Twitter)
  4. ThinkTank — web app that lets you analyse your tweets, break down responses to queries, and archive your Twitter experience. Built by Expert Labs.

Harvard Won't Permit Google Scans of In-Copyright Material

Harvard University Library (HUL) has been a partner in Google's library scanning project since 2004, but the boundaries of that partnership will not expand to the in-copyright works covered under Google's new Book Search settlement. From the Harvard Crimson: In a letter released to library staff, University Library Director Robert C. Darnton '60 said that uncertainties in the settlement…