Monthly Archives: July 2009

Taking Another Look at the Google Book Search Settlement

An editorial in today’s New York Times notes that hearings will be held in the fall by a federal court that is looking into the settlement over Google Book Search that Google struck with the Author’s Guild and the American Association of Publishers.

For a good overview of the controversy over the Google Book Search settlement and the larger issue of the future of the book, this 29 May 2009 article by Sarah Glazer from CQ Researcher is great. You may also want to check out other Newman Library Idea Lab posts on Google Book Search.

Glazer, Sarah. “Future of Books” CQ Researcher 19.20 (2009): 473-500. CQ Researcher Online. Web. 29 July 2009.

“Google’s Big Plan for Books.” The New York Times, 29 July 2009. Web. 29 July 2009.

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Information May Want to Be Free, But Is That Always Beneficial?

Today’s New York Times carried a front-page story (below the fold) reporting on yet another Wikipedia controversy. An ER doctor in Canada added all ten images from the Rorschach inkblot test to the Wikipedia entry for “Rorschach test.” Typically, the distribution of educational and psychological test materials is limited to qualified professionals, lest wider dispersion of such assessment and measurement tools lead to people learning how to game the tests and render the tools useless.

To really delve into the issue beyond where the Times article takes it, take a look at the discussion page for the “Rorschach test” entry in Wikipedia.

Cohen, Noam. “Has Wikipedia Created a Rorschach Cheat Sheet?” The New York Times, 29 July 2009. Web. 29 July 2009.

“Rorschach test.” Wikipedia, 29 July 2009. Web. 29 July 2009.

“Talk:Rorschach test.” Wikipedia, 29 July 2009. Web. 29 July 2009.

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Tech Sharecase, 23 July 2009

Attendees

Frank Donnelly, Joseph Hartnett, Louise Klusek, Linda Rath, Ryan Phillips

RSS Feed Readers

Discussed the various RSS Feed Readers the attendees used and the reasons why.

NYPL’s new catalog

The New York Public Library’s new¬†catalog was discussed. The catalog replaces CatNYP and LEO, combining materials from the two defunct catalogs. The new catalog is powered by a product called Encore, developed by Innovative Interfaces. Georgetown University Libraries also has a beta version of an Encore catalog on their website.

Prezi

We have discussed Prezi, the non-linear presentation tool, in past Tech Sharecases, but Linda was kind enough to show a presentation that she had built using the tool.

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Tools for Evaluating Fair Use and Copyright Status

The ALA Office of Information Technology and Policy (OITP) announced last week on their blog, the Copyright Advisory Network, the release of two useful new tools:

These tools complement two others that the OITP developed in the past few years:

In addition, Baruch College just published this summer its Interactive Guide to Using Copyrighted Media in Your Courses.

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Testing Email Notifications in This Blog

Checking to see if I’ve properly configured the email settings on this blog.

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Tech Sharecase, 9 July 2009

Attendees

Arthur Downing, Linda Rath, Stephen Francoeur, Rita Ormsby, Frank Donnelly, Louise Klusek

New Accounting Standards Codification

Rita Ormsby showed the various ways to access the new Accounting Standards Codification:

Google OS

Discussed the news about Google’s plan to release its own operating system next year. Louise Klusek noted this article from today’s Wall Street Journal that discussed Google’s strategy to compete with Microsoft.

Bing

We compared searches in Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, to those in Google and found some ways that it offered improved results for certain kinds of searches.

Compare “starbucks” in Bing to “starbucks” in Google, for example. Note that Bing automatically clusters results into topics in ways that may be useful (Google just offers a vanilla list of results).

FriendFeed

I discussed how I use FriendFeed to publish from all my web services that I use (Facebook, Twitter, blogs where I am an author, Flickr, YouTube, etc.) in one location that others can subscribe to and add comments. I highlighted the way that I use it for social recommendation of recent articles and blog posts and for submitting requests for help or advice to the librarians and others who subscribe to me in FriendFeed.

Harvard Business Review Curtailing Deep Linking to Articles in Business Source Premier

A number of blogs have commented lately on the Harvard Business School Press’ terms of service that forbid free linking to Harvard Business Review articles in Business Source Premier. It was suggested that maybe the journal may be thinking of moving its content exclusively to its own platform much as Institutional Investor did. We also discussed the way that most database vendors are trying to protect their brands by controlling the way that screenshots of their products are published (as in the case of a tutorial created by a library).

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Searching via Text to Find Data

Reading this recent interview with Tim Berners-Lee, I was struck by his elegant description of how linked data on the web and textual material on the web (web pages, documents, etc.) will relate to each other:

You’ve got search for text phrases on one side (which is a useful tool) and querying of the data on the other. I think that those things will connect together a lot.

So I think people will search using a search text engine, and find a webpage. On the front of the webpage they’ll find a link to some data, then they’ll browse with a data browser, then they’ll find a pattern which is really interesting, then they’ll make their data system go and find all the things which are like that pattern (which is actually doing a query, but they’ll not realize it), then they’ll be in data mode with tables and doing statistical analysis, and in that statistical analysis they’ll find an interesting object which has a home page, and they’ll click on that, and go to a homepage and be back on the Web again.

So the web of linked data and the web of documents actually connect in both directions, with links.

MacManus, Richard. “ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 2: Search Engines, User Interfaces for Data, Wolfram Alpha, And More…” ReadWriteWeb, 9 July 2009. Web. 9 July 2009.

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What Data Do New Yorkers Want?

The City of New York is ramping up its efforts to make some of the vast amounts data it gathers and stores more easily accessible. A recent post on the New York Times blog, City Room, detailed major web initiatives that the city just announced it is working on:

  • Launch NYC Big Apps, an annual competition for technology companies to develop proposals for new applications to make data sets more usable (the city has selected eighty data sets from thirty-two different agencies for entrants to work with).
  • Create a 311 portal site that pulls together all the data on complaints that New Yorkers have left on the city’s 311 phone number.
  • Use Skype and Twitter as additional ways to communicate with the city (you’ll be able to call 311 via Skype and receive alerts from the city via Twitter)
  • Work with Google to get a better handle on how users are searching for information on NYC.gov and for city information generally in Google searches

You can read more about these initiatives on this press release from the city.

A number of outside companies are already scraping data from various city data sets and offering a friendly interface to that data. A great example of such an enterprise can be found in the EveryBlock service, which offers data harvested from municipal sources in fifteen cities, such as:

Chan, Sewell and Patrick McGeehan. “City Invites Software Developers to Crunch Big Data Sets.” City Room. The New York Times. 29 June 2009. Web. 8 July 2009.

City of New York. Mayor Bloomberg Announces Five Technology Initiatives to Improve Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Across City Government. 29 June 2009. Web. 8 July 2009.

EveryBlock. Web. 8 July 2009.

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Reviewing Serials and Databases in Tough Budget Times

Annette Day and Hilary Davis have published a great post about what an academic library needs to do when it is trying to make cuts in its serials and database subcriptions:

The experience of a serials and databases review-reviewing all continuing expense obligations-can be a painful, traumatic process for any library. But it can also give a library some tremendous insights into its collection, its level of credibility within its parent organization, and just how well-positioned it is to fully support the needs of its constituents. A review can unveil some interesting issues in the business of librarianship, publishing, and scholarly communication – from the tools and skills necessary to make value judgments about a library collection to the potentially fatal future of some segments of the publishing industry. In this article, we outline the steps of a serials and databases review from the perspective of an academic library and unpack some of the big issues and questions that face our profession as surfaced through the experience of a conducting a review.

Read the full post here at the group blog, In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Day, Annette and Hilary Davis. “A Look at Librarianship through the Lens of an Academic Library Serials Review.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe, 8 July 2009. Web. 8 July 2009.

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