Monthly Archives: February 2011

Ebooks Across CUNY

The latest issue of CUNY Matters (spring 2011) has a story featuring ebook initiatives at Lehman, John Jay, and Baruch.

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Tech Sharecase, 18 February 2011

Frank Donnelly, Stephen Francoeur, Ellen Kaufman, Rita Ormsby, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath

How Much Information
We watched this video featuring Martin Hilbert, a researcher at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism who recently co-published a paper in Science that estimated how much information we can store and compute. We also listed to an interview with Hilbert that was done on the journal’s podcast. The overwhelming scale of information available can be seen in this press release’s overview of the paper’s findings:

Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that’s a number with 20 zeroes in it.)

Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that’s a galaxy of information for every person in the world. But it’s still less than 1 percent of the information stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.

2002 could be considered the beginning of the digital age, the first year worldwide digital storage capacity overtook total analog capacity. As of 2007, almost 94 percent of our memory is in digital form.

In 2007, humankind successfully sent 1.9 zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. That’s equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day.

On two-way communications technology, such as cell phones, humankind shared 65 exabytes of information through telecommunications in 2007, the equivalent of every person in the world communicating the contents of six newspapers every day.

In 2007, all the general-purpose computers in the world computed 6.4 x 10^18 instructions per second, in the same general order of magnitude as the number of nerve impulses executed by a single human brain. Doing these instructions by hand would take 2,200 times the period since the Big Bang.

From 1986 to 2007, the period of time examined in the study, worldwide computing capacity grew 58 percent a year, 10 times faster than the United States’ gross domestic product.

Telecommunications grew 28 percent annually and storage capacity grew 23 percent a year.

We also took a quick look back at a well known study from 2003 by Peter Lyman and Hal Varian about how much information existed.

Art Project
We took a spin through Art Project, a new service from Google that uses its Street View technology to map out the interiors of art museums around the world (such as the Frick Collection) and that lets you zoom in incredibly close to art in those institutions (see, for example, Rembrandt’s “The Nightwatch” at the Rijksmuseum).

We talked about who owns copyright for works of art held in museum after reading this copyright notice on the FAQ page for the Art Project website:

Why are some areas or specific paintings in the museum Street View imagery blurred?

Some of the paintings and features captured with Street View were required to be blurred by the museums for reasons pertaining to copyrights.

We talked briefly about patron-driven acquisition of ebooks and about how services like Portico will allow us to access ebook content that we’ve licensed even if the provider goes out of business. Since Mike Waldman was unable to attend today’s Tech Sharecase, we agreed to hold off until a later meeting any discussion of the criteria that a librarian might use when deciding which format to purchase a specific book: ebook vs. hardcover vs. paper.

We took a look at how book records in the catalog for Johns Hopkins University connect to various web services that enhance the information normally available in a record: a search box for Amazon’s Search Inside the Book service, links to ebook versions that are freely available at Hathi Trust, Google Books, and much more. These enhanced records are powered by a piece of open source middleware called Umlaut.

A second edition of Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment was also a subject of discussion, as the author, David Bordwell, was selling the PDF directly after the university press that published the first edition let the book go out of print.

We poked around in SSRN, a repository of papers in the social sciences, to see how it ranked Baruch among other business schools whose faculty have contributed oft-downloaded papers.

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Working More Closely with Faculty

John Dupuis, the head of the science and engineering library at York University, published a provocative item in his blog in which he argues that we academic librarians need to consistently venture outside of libraryland if we want to ensure our abilities and efforts remain relevant in academia. Read all of  Dupuis’ “stealth librarianship manifesto” on his blog.

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Where Are Ebooks Leading Us?

While many of us have been looking at this ebook service or that ebook reader, I think it’s worth taking the long view sometimes of what paths ebooks may be leading us down. The not so sunny path that some foresee is best detailed in Eric Hellman’s post, “2010 Summary: Libraries are Still Screwed.”

In his post, Hellman points to a provocative presentation (available in a pair of videos on YouTube) by Eli Neuburger of the Ann Arbor District Library that was given at last year’s online conference, Ebooks: Libraries at the Tipping Point. If you don’t have time to read the post by Hellman, at least watch the two videos (embedded below).

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Tech Sharecase, 28 Jan. 2011

Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Harry Gee, Randy Hensley, Gerry Jiao, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Chris Tuthill, Mike Waldman

Gadget Petting Zoo
Today’s sharecase was all about gadgets. A number of us brought in gadgets to share:

  • two iPads
  • one iPhone
  • one Samsung Intercept phone
  • two iPod Touches
  • one iPod Nano
  • one Kindle
  • one LiveScribe pen
  • one Wacom Bamboo pen tablet
  • one Canon G11 PowerShot camera
  • one digital picture frame

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Tech Sharecase, 12 December 2010

Stanton Biddle, Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Jin Ma, Bob Makarowski, Rita Ormsby, Ryan Phillips, Kevin Wolf and Stella Varveris

This Tech Sharecase we focused on sharing of our comments, tips, tricks, complaints for using Microsoft Office 2010 products. The following is a list of the tips and tricks we covered:

  • To minimize the ribbon, you can either double-click any tab or click the caret (a.k.a. chevron) in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Pressing the Alt button will display hot keys for tabs or options within tabs.  One can navigate the ribbon with these hot keys and forgo using the mouse.
  • Office users can create sparklines within Excel using their spreadsheet data.
  • Users are able to customize the ribbon to add or subtract new tabs or items within tabs. In order to do this follow: File>Options>Customize Ribbon.
  • Conversion to PDF is standard in Microsoft Office applications under Save As. Users no longer need to purchase the Adobe PDF add-on.
  • In PowerPoint, we explored SmartArt (Under Insert and Illustrations). This is a convenient way to add smart looking graphical displays of information not previously available in previous Office versions.
  • The Quick Access tool bar above the tabs can also be modified to add or subtract different commands such as Print, Save, Open, Spell Check, et cetera–commonly used items.
  • Screenshots of open browser or other application windows can be captured straight from PowerPoint under Insert>Images>Screenshot. Microsoft refers to the screenshots as Screen Clippings.

Also discussed were how Baruch may roll out global settings for Microsoft Office. Some options that may be a possibility follow:

  • Standardize RSS Feeds with campus content
  • Listen to voicemail messages from within Outlook.
  • IM people through Outlook within the Baruch directory and outside public
  • Web conferencing, one-to-many
  • Voice over IP
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