Friday, January 30, 2009

Excellent new slideshow application

I found this over at It is a very simple way to get slides online and while I have just posted some travel pics here, no reason you couldn't use it for presentations. In retrospect, I am not sure I would again pick the "kaleidoscope" option but there are many more from which to choose.

3oth Anniversary of Rubik's Cube and a great iPhone App!

Thirty years ago today Erno Rubik a Hungarian interior design professor filed for a patent on the famous puzzle. To date more than 300 million cubes have been sold to the frustration of most who purchased the enigmatic toy.

With a possible 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different possible permutations of the classic cube — enough to cover the planet with 273 layers of cubes, each with a unique arrangement of colors - it is amazing to me that ANYONE was ever able to solve it, but they did. For those of us who are hopelessly inept at such stuff, there is an amazing and delightfully brilliant new iPhone application that solves your cube in 20 moves or less by just using photographs of each of the six sides. Truly amazing:

iPhone Set to Dominate the Gaming Market

In an interesting article over at WIRED, Brian Chen is predicting the next iterations of the iPhone will have a distinct focus on gaming - a market segment that continues to flourish even in hard times. The reasons: The quick, electronic distribution method of games and apps via the iPhone's App Store; the accelerometer and multitouch display, which are introducing new approaches to gameplay; and the iPhone's lighter, more portable form factor compared to its rivals.

Analysts predict Apple is on track to sell 40 million iPhones or more per year. By way of comparison, Nintendo sold 42 million DS consoles from January 2007 to June 2008. Add to that the fact that the iPhone App Store has already got the DS and PSP beat in terms of game titles available: When the App Store was just three months old, it had 1,500 games; the PSP and DS had about 600 and 300 titles, respectively.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Web Design in Higher Education

I stumbled upon a very interesting and spot-on article by Leslie Jensen-Inman over at A List Apart. The opening line caught my immediate interest:

"Let’s face it. Technology moves fast; academia doesn’t."

As a web designer in an academic environment I often find myself at odds with my collegues and their view of how data should be discovered and delivered. Her article is very well done and she calls on many examples from other frustrated webbies as well. From web designer Rob Wychert

"Hire faculty that are motivated to maintain their own continuing self-education (just as many of us in the work force do, largely via the blogosphere), and have schools fund it whenever possible (conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.). I hear too many horror stories about schools teaching sorely outdated practices. As much as I’m sure budget constraints are a problem, I can’t get my head around the idea of hiring professors who lack the curiosity to keep up with what’s going on in the web design/development world. It moves too fast. Hire people willing to keep up with it."

And from Jeff Croft:

"Hire instructors that are relevant. By and large, educational institutions are not doing this…I was contacted by a large university about teaching web design and was quite interested. Then they found out I had no graduate-level degree. So instead, they hired a retired Java programmer to teach, ‘web design.’ Huh? Most of the relevant folks in the industry today don’t have graduate-level degrees in web design or development. Why? Because web design and development programs didn’t exist when we came through school. Most of us stopped going to school as soon as we realized the schools weren’t teaching us anything relevant.

To be more relevant, colleges and universities are going to have to get over their accreditation standards and hire the people doing great work on the web today to teach. That’s really the only way…Likewise, they can’t expect the same folks that have been teaching graphic design for 30 years to really be competent web design teachers. They need new blood—people that really understand this stuff and are passionate about it."

Worth a read.

Gorgeous photography by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

An astounding collection of photographs by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and available as free desktop downloads here.

1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time in a single list.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pick me!

Did you know that "ten-cent store" is no longer in the Oxford English dictionary?

Nor "teliferous" (whatever that is)! Every year, hundreds of words are dropped form the dictionary to make room for new ones.

Oxford University Press has launched an initiative called Save The Words that aims to prevent lesser-known English words from dying out of our language.

You can Adopt a Word and Spread the Word. Me, I think I'll adopt ... veteratorian.

16th Century Design Portfolio

Before black vinyl folders, and way before the website, the Mediaeval ancestors of today’s graphic designers produced ‘model’ or ‘pattern’ books to show their work to potential clients. Only a handful survive but the British Library has recently discovered a prime example – the so-called Macclesfield Alphabet Book.

Produced c1500, the book is filled with designs for different styles of script, letters, initials and decorative borders. All are believed to have come from one workshop.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't forget to return overdue books

A woman in Iowa got more than she bargained for with an overdue book: a hefty fine and the possibility for jail time.

Common Errors in English Usage

Paul Brians first posted this project back in 2000. It is a highly entertaining and useful compendium of hundreds of often misunderstood and subsequently misused constructs of the English language. You could spend hours here.


Friday, January 23, 2009

How to talk gooder

Found at Across-the-Board: j-walk blog.

  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  • Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
  • Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  • Be more or less specific.
  • Remarks in brackets (however relevant) are (usually) (but not always) unnecessary.
  • Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • No sentence fragments.
  • Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
  • Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  • Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
  • One should NEVER generalize.
  • Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  • Don't use no double negatives.
  • Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  • One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  • Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  • The passive voice is to be ignored.
  • Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  • Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  • Kill all exclamation points!!!
  • Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  • Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
  • Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  • Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
  • If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
  • Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  • Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  • Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

One Year in 40 Seconds

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.
This is cool stuff. More info here.

Hi-res version here.

Found at J-Walk Blog

United States Frequency Allocation Table

I stumbled across this and was fascinated by the variety of entities and services represented: from meterology and maritime to radio astronomy and radionavigation......something for everyone! And it is quite pretty!

Link to full-sized PDF here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Butchered Book Titles

From a list of butchered book titles compiled by librarians at the Morton Grove [Illinois] Public Library from requests they have received:

A Race Car Named Desire ("A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennesee Williams)

A Thousand Days of Silence ("One Hundred years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

A Thousand Splendid Sins ("A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini)

Anne of the Green Cable ("Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Anti-Gone ("Antigone" by Sophocles)

Attack of the Trivets ("Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham)

Canary Road ("Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck)

Diuretics ("Dianetics" by L. Ron Hubbard)

Eat a Cat ("Etiquette" by Emily Post)

Ed Who Ate Rats ("Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles)

Fire Hydrant 415 ("Fahrenheit 415" by Ray Bradbury)

Flowers for Allergies ("Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes)

Freddy the Rabbit Slept Late ("Friday the Rabbi Slept Late" by Harry Kemelman)

Funny Farm ("Animal Farm" by George Orwell)

How to Kill a Mockingbird ("To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee)

Huckleberry Finn, by Tom Sawyer ("Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain)

Jane Erie ("Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte)

Lame is Rob ("Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo)

Lord of the Rings ("Lord of the Flies" by William Golding)

Mice are Gay ("My Sergei" by Ekaterina Gordeeva)

Oranges and Peaches ("The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin)

Salad at a Bad Cafe ("Ballad of the Sad Cafe" by Carson McCullers)

Satanic Nurses ("Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie)

Tequila Mockingbird ("To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee)

The Angry Raisins ("The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck

The Canine Mutiny ("The Caine Mutiny" by Herman Wouk)

The Cat Who Shat ("The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss)

The Lion With the Wardrobe ("The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis)

The Mousketeer that Roared ("The Mouse that Roared")

Scarlett's Letter ("The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne)

The Sources, by some Roger ("Roget's Thesaurus")


Amazing Gallery of the Omo People of Ethiopia

A photo album with so many impressive images that I couldn't decide on just a few; the entire album is embedded above. Click its right arrow to browse. And note the thumbnails icon and fullscreen icon at the top right.

Found at Scribd via TYWKIWDBI

DNA Testing May Unlock Secrets Of Medieval Manuscripts

Thousands of painstakingly handwritten books produced in medieval Europe still exist today, but scholars have long struggled with questions about when and where the majority of these works originated. Now a researcher from North Carolina State University is using modern advances in genetics to develop techniques that will shed light on the origins of these important cultural artifacts.

Many medieval manuscripts were written on parchment made from animal skin, and NC State Assistant Professor of English Timothy Stinson is working to perfect techniques for extracting and analyzing the DNA contained in these skins with the long-term goal of creating a genetic database that can be used to determine when and where a manuscript was written. "Dating and localizing manuscripts have historically presented persistent problems," Stinson says, "because they have largely been based on the handwriting and dialect of the scribes who created the manuscripts – techniques that have proven unreliable for a number of reasons."

Stinson says genetic testing could resolve these issues by creating a baseline using the DNA of parchment found in the relatively small number of manuscripts that can be reliably dated and localized. Each manuscript can provide a wealth of genetic data, Stinson explains, because a typical medieval parchment book includes the skins of more than 100 animals.

On a larger scale, Stinson says, this research "will also allow us to trace the trade route of parchments" throughout the medieval world – a scholarly achievement that would provide a wealth of data on the evolution of the book industry during the Middle Ages.

From ScienceDaily

Film of London in the Early 20th Century

Apropos of nothing really - but a fascinating glimpse into life in London in the early twentieth century.

From BoingBoing.

Authors: Beware of Copyright

Jeffrey A Tucker has learned the hard way the dangers of signing a contract with a publisher and the loss of rights that occurs. Check out this interesting article on the dangers to authors of copyright law in the digital publishing world and the benefits of publishing under the Creative Commons License.

"When an author signs a publication contract, insofar as it contains strict and traditional copyright notices, he is pretty much signing his life away. It used to be that the publisher would maintain control only so long as the book is in print. Today, with digital printing, this means forever: your lifetime plus 70 years."

"During this time, you can't even quote significant portions of your own writing without permission from the publisher, and you could find yourself paying the publisher for the rights. You can't read your own book aloud and sell the results. You certainly can't give a journal a chapter."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nature launches open collaborative space for Undergrads

From The Distant Librarian via BoingBoing

Nature has launched a collaborative learning space for science Undergraduates called Scitable.
"Scitable brings together a library of scientific overviews with a worldwide community of scientists, researchers, teachers, and students.

Use Scitable to:
  • Learn about a range of scientific subjects

  • Collaborate online with other students and teachers

  • Publish your activities and portfolio to the worldwide science community

  • Maintain an evidence-based online course pack for your students"

Can you read me now?

I just got a postcard in my mailbox for this company who will be at ALA midwinter. Since most of us aren't going to ALA....

Students can send text messages to the librarian who can respond via the web
. They make it sound easy peasy. Not sure about cost, but I have sent a request asking for more information. There is a demo you can try out on their site.

Text A Librarian

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brand New White House Blog

From an incoming administration that embraced technology to help win this last election, the Obama administration already opened the official White House Blog. It has only been up since noon today and while posts are currently few, it holds promise. Complete with RSS goodness, too.

Old calendars never really go out of date.

Filed under the category "I didn't know that" there are only 14 combinations, including leap years, of months and days on the Gregorian calendar. That opens up a market for the recycling of old calendars. There is even a website - time and - that will calculate the matching years for you. For 2009 there are 12 repeats going back 118 years!


RIM, late to the party, but the app store is welcomed

Missing their announced December launch date by just a little, RIM has opened their Blackberry application store to submissions. Much like Apple, and unlike Android, applications will have to be vetted prior to admission to the store. Take a look at their Application Storefront Vendor Guidelines.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Follow up to iPhone post

I just found this on Gizmodo and could not resist. Click to enlarge.

500 million iPhone apps downloaded. 15,000 apps available.

This just popped up on the Apple website. That is since July, 2008. Amazing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

twittering libraries

For a Fall 2008 LIS class at Florida State University's College of Information Lindy Brown has written an interesting overview of the history of Twitter and the use of twitter in libraries.

More here - a guest post from Lindy Brown on Tame the Web

Culling the Anonymous Sources

From The New York Times

Over the years anonymous sources have provided some of the most important information in The Times. The linked article by Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, offers an interesting insight into how the times manages their sources. From the article:

The policy requires that at least one editor know the identity of every source. Anonymous sources cannot be used when on-the-record sources are readily available. They must have direct knowledge of the information they are imparting; they cannot use the cloak of anonymity for personal or partisan attack; they cannot be used for trivial comment or to make an unremarkable comment seem more important than it is.

EULA - End User License Agreement and DRM. Seems Thomas Edison invented 'em

I stumbled across this post over at Mark Brady's blog.

The label says, on an Edison Cylinder:

"Patented in Great Britain, Germany, France and other Countries. This record is sold upon the condition that it shall not be re-sold to or by any unauthorized dealer or used for duplication, and that it shall not be sold, or offered for sale, by the original, or any subsequent purchaser (except by authorized jobber or factor to an authorized retail dealer) for less than 35 cents in the United States, nor in other countries for less than the price given in the current Edison catalogues of the country in which it is sold. Upon any breach of this condition, the license to use and vend this record, implied from such sale, immediately terminates."

Folks Are Flocking to the Library, a Cozy Place to Look for a Job

From The Wall Street Journal. Click for the full article.

If you ignore budget woes, it seems the recession has been quite a boon for libraries. There is a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal this morning claiming a dramatic surge in library traffic as patrons use library resources for job hunting and cheap entertainment. This isn't the first time library attendance has spiked in a downturn; the 1987 and 2001 recessions saw similar jumps, librarians say. And that is so ironic because many libraries are cutting their hours, reducing staff or even being closed altogether because of budget problems.

Well worth a read and here is an excerpt:

"Librarians are turning into job counselors -- and even social workers -- as they have to deal with a sometimes-desperate new class of patrons. "They are frustrated, overwhelmed and thought they would not be job hunting again in their lives," says Jan Perrier, head of reference and adult services at the Roxbury Public Library in Succasunna, N.J. "I had one woman just so overwhelmed she sat in front of the PC and cried."

Many jobless people are reporting to the library as they used to report to the office. Career books are in particularly great demand at the Morris County Library in Whippany, N.J. "The shelves are bare," says Lynne Olver, chief librarian there. She says attendance in "Career Resource Seminars" that the library has held for many years jumped to 745 in 2008, from 472 in 2007.

Others come in to escape their troubles for a while. Wesley Martin on Friday tapped his hands to the beat of a hip-hop video he was watching on one of the Tracy library's computers. "This is just a chance for me to get out of my house," said the 33-year-old, who lost his job at a discount store a month ago."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


And we thought they were called Reference Librarians!!

The School of Life (an interesting post in itself!) offers bibliotherapy for world-weary folk.

From their site:

"Make an appointment to meet one of our therapists – either in person or by phone or email – and you can discuss any area that you would like some books to shed light on. Perhaps you are looking for a set of books to help you think about your career options, or you’d like to fathom an aspect of a relationship. Maybe you want to spend six months reading history books or you have a demanding five-year-old for whom you’d like to put together a small library for the year ahead.

Whatever reading needs you have, we’ll take exceptional care and effort to create a reading prescription that’s perfect for you."

This idea both excites me and ... kinda irritates me! If folks only knew they could get that from their local public library... they can, can't they?...

hakia - Is there a Librarian in the Web?

hakia is reaching out to librarians seeking to help improve Web search results. hakia is a "semantic" natural language search engine, dedicated to a quality search experience based on Web site credibility, information relevance and librarian assistance. hakia's indexing process seeks to determine what questions a page can answer rather than simply indexing all the words on the page.

hakia is the first search engine to reach out to librarians to build a collection of credible Web sites. Librarians join hakia and suggest credible websites based on their knowledge of the site and the following criteria:

Peer reviewed, Non commercial bias, Currency, Authenticity

hakia’s search results satisfy three criteria simultaneously:
  1. come from credible Web sites recommended by librarians
  2. represent the most recent information available
  3. remain absolutely relevant to the query.
Since librarians already keep lists of recommended websites for patrons, hakia is trying to join the power of a search engine with the collective knowledge of librarians concerning these credible websites. Returning relevant, credible results should improve searching speed and quality for your patrons. You can join the "h-club" at hakia and share your knowledge with other searchers.

Songza - the music search engine and internet jukebox.

My friend Susan turned me onto this site and it is very cool. Type in a song title and get a list practically every version ever recorded by anyone - from the famous to the YouTube bunch. Then you can stream any version you might like to hear (or see if there is a video!) Give it a try at

Monday, January 12, 2009

LINCCWeb Mobile Catalog Search

Having led this project at the College Center for Library Automation (CCLA), it just occurred to me that while we did promote it through the usual channels, I never got around to blogging it here!

LINCCWeb - the Library Information Network for Community Colleges here in Florida and is a service of CCLA. Among many things, we provide electronic access to our colleges' library catalogs and have recently added mobile capability to that service. Check it out here: And, check out some of our other cool tools here

Whole Earth Catalogs now online!

Having personally worn out several issues of this iconoclastic publication over the years, I am so pleased that at last all the Whole Earth-related publications from the last 40 years are scanned and online at!


Trying to keep up with everything, but finding your aggregator is just getting out of hand? Do you agree with Dorothy Gambrell of Cat and Girl who wrote, "If television's a babysitter, the internet's a drunk librarian who won't shut up"? If so, popurls might be just the ticket. It's the frequently updated top ten from many, many sites: Digg, Fark, YouTube, Boingboing, Flickr, reddit, truemors, yahoo buzz, etc., etc.

A comparison I read and quote without attribution (because I lost it) said, "Sure, it’s just a popularity contest. But online, the herd is usually right. If the Internet is the great diffused brain of the world, popurls is the brainstem; all signals above a certain strength come through here, and it couldn't be easier to jack in." It's still close to drinking from a firehose. There are a lot of feeds here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

1000 year old runestone digitally presented - amazing!

Using advanced projection techniques, a 1000-year-old runic stone at the cultural history museum in Randers, Denmark, is brought to life. The story written in the runes is told using a combination of animations, surround sound, and an interactive game that tempts the spectator to play with the runes.

Once a spectator approaches the stone, it immediately lights up and becomes a canvas for the narration. The first part of the sequence is an animation telling the dramatic story of Eskil and Thore, who drowned during a violent storm. The second part simulates the runes being carved by Eskil’s father, Åne, followed by a sequence of various effects that illustrate the passage of time and the different seasons. Eventually, the stone cracks and reveals the runes in flames.

As the flames die out, all the words slide from their places and onto the floor before the stone. The spectator can interact with the runes, and eventually kick them back to their starting points.

Check out the video of the entire sequence:

On display now at the Cultural History Museum in Randers, Denmark, courtesy of the University of Aarhus.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Really cool case law site I read about this week. Jureeka is a "free" Firefox extension that hyperlinks legal citations in webpages. Should be some good competion for Westlaw. Since it's a Firefox extension, be sure to open the url in Firefox.

Pretty cool…

To add the extension, point your Firefox browser to

FIctionwise to lose Overdrive DRM service.

A Co-worker contacted Overdrive and posted this in the comments, but I thought it merited a post to the original to forestall any misunderstanding:

I contacted OverDrive to inquire about this and they responded with "Please rest assured that OverDrive is NOT going out of business, but winding down its contract with Fictionwise. We are in fact growing and thriving- and working to improve all of our services and offerings to our library partners."

On January 30, 2009 almost 300,000 books purchased by customers of Fictionwise will lose their DRM coding previously provided by Overdrive . Overdrive has informed them that they will be shutdown on 30 January with no reason given. Since Fictionwise doesn't have the decryption keys, they are not able to provide new versions of the books to all customers.

Fictionwise is trying to figure a way around the problem and says on their site:

"Fictionwise obtains "feeds" of eBooks from several different content aggregators, and these aggregators use their servers to deliver encrypted files to our customers. One of these aggregators, Overdrive, recently gave Fictionwise notice that they would cease serving files to Fictionwise customers as of January 31, 2009. That means that eBooks purchased from Fictionwise via Overdrive's servers will no longer be downloadable after that date. To protect our customers' investment in eBooks, Fictionwise immediately ceased selling all Overdrive eBooks and began negotiating with publishers to allow eBooks previously purchased from Overdrive to be substituted, where possible, with eReader format files."

From BoingBoing

Pledge Bank: I'll do it but only if you help

Pledge Bank is a site to help people get things done, especially things that require several people. PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form 'I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it'. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. Two outcomes are possible – either the pledge fails to get enough subscribers before it expires (in which case, we contact everyone and tell them 'better luck next time'), or, the better possibility, the pledge attracts enough people that they are all sent a message saying 'Well done—now get going!'

Typical pledges: "I will Go Vegetarian between 25th - 29th June 2008 but only if 15 other meat eaters will do the same."

or: "I will pledge to help the Anderson Animal Shelter but only if 10 other local people will do the same."

Great idea and it seems to be working!

Shorpy online photo archive

Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution photos from the 1850s to 1950s. The site's namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham (shown here), was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. The site ius a treasure trove of images, memories and adventures. Take a look.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sign Language Translator

Filed under the heading "Why?" and featuring a 3,500 word dictionary, this seemingly retrofitted PMP is navigated via stylus. You type in the word that you'd like to sign and a video pops up of a guy signing it.

The Sign Language Translator runs for 6 hours before needing a recharge via USB. Slated for a mid-May, the device will be priced at $199. Neat idea, but I give it a week before an iPhone app appears that steals the market. Even then, why would you not just write it down and show the text???

Also, for those of us who weren't aware, there is a great online resource here:

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

thinking outside the box

This Canadian pig farmer was faced with herding her 3,000 pigs alone and she couldn't manage the large, traditional "chase boards" or use an electic prod with that many pigs. Noticing that the pigs seemed to fear a moving red surface, she came up with an innovative solution that may make moving large numbers of pigs more humane and efficient. The video's pretty cool -short and a great demonstration of the effectiveness her invention (pictured here), the longarm.

Google plots influenza trends by tracking searches

From "We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for "flu" is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States."

NYPL Labs - The Process Behind the Product

Always interested in what other libraries and information scientists are up to, I was delighted to find the "Labs" section of the New York Public Library. NYPL Labs spotlights current and past experimentation by the library as they "generalize our best practices into processes and tools and start experimenting with new applications and interfaces". Worth a look.

Monday, January 05, 2009

"Author and Book Info" - The Companion to Online and Offline Literature

I stumbled across this site and thought it interesting enough to share. From the site:

"The aim of this site is to catalog all deceased authors, and all authors of books published before 1964, including for each their full name(s), date & place of death, date & place of birth, pseudonyms, gender & nationality (not nationality for those who died before 1920), and their books published before 1964."

The purpose of this site is:

1. by cataloging the dates of death of authors, to enable the determination of the expiry of their copyright where a “life + x years” rule applies. Where the date of death is unavailable, the date of birth or date of their first publication can be used to set an upper limit to the duration of copyright.

2. by cataloging the dates of publication of books, to enable the determination of the expiry of their copyright where a “publication + x years” rule applies. In the US, for works published in 1923 thru 1963 the copyright status also depends on whether the initial copyright was renewed – see the Catalog of Copyright Entries (Renewals) webpage for guidance on this.

3. to identify those books already available on the Internet, to help online readers and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort by “electronic republishers”.

Public Domain Day 2009

January 1 was Public Domain 2009 day -- the day on which the works of authors who died in 1938 entered the public domain in most countries.
The Public Domain blog has a long and fascinating list of the authors whose works are finally free to be reprinted and spread around the world. Some of the more interesting members of the 1938 class of deceased authors include:

  • Danish bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram (of Gram staining fame)

  • British-Canadian author, conservationist, and literary fraud Archie Belaney (Grey Owl)

  • Latvian-born ethnologist and musicologist Abraham Zevi Idelsohn (to whom the lyrics to “Hava Nagila” are attributed)

  • American cartoonist E. C. Segar (creator of “Popeye”)

  • American illustrator Johnny Gruelle (creator of “Raggedy Ann”)

  • American lawyer Clarence Darrow (of “Scopes Monkey Trial” fame)

  • American songwriter James Thornton (“When You Were Sweet Sixteen”, written in 1898)

  • Japanese martial artist Kano Jigoro (founder of judo)

  • American industrialist Harvey Samuel Firestone (of tire fame)