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Tag Archives: Google
Amanda alerted me to this 2013 video we have available to us from Kanopy: Google and the World Brain. Here’s the synopsis of it from Kanopy:
In 1937, the science fiction writer H. G. Wells imagined a “World Brain” containing all of the world’s knowledge, accessible to all people, that would be “so compact in its material form and so gigantic in its scope and possible influence” that it could transcend even nation states and governments. Seventy years later, Google set about realizing Wells’ vision, launching a massive project to scan millions of books from university library collections — and triggering a fierce backlash in the process. When it was discovered that over half of the first ten million books Google scanned were still in copyright, authors from around the world joined together to wage a fierce legal battle against the Internet giant, culminating in a dramatic courtroom showdown in 2011.
In gripping detail, Google & the World Brain tells the fascinating story of this complicated struggle over intellectual property and access to human knowledge, offering crucial insights into broader debates surrounding data-mining and privacy, downloading and copyright, fair use, freedom and surveillance.
Over on the blog I set up for students in my section of LIB 3040, I wrote a post about a recent study that suggests that racial stereotypes are encoded into the algorithm used to determine what ads to display alongside your search results in Google.
Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Louise Klusek, Jin Ma, Mike Waldman, Kevin Wolff
We watched a video from Google about how they update the search algorithm every day based on data.
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We also discussed the way that Google’s business is so driven by data from all its services, a topic raised in Steven Levy’s recently published book, In the Plex. We considered how your location and who your online friends are can shape your search results, something that Eli Pariser gets at in the video from TED that we watched.
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New Library Website
We got a peek at an early working draft of the home page supplied by the developer based on the student input that was previously posted in the Idea Lab. Several more drafts are expected before the home page is put through rounds of usability testing with students. We talked about how a search box for a discovery layer from Summon might work on the home page.
Siva Vaidhyanathan’s 2010 book, The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry), has been on my to-read list for a while now (the library’s copy is on order). In the meanwhile, I got a really good overview of the issues Vaidhyanathan wants to raise from this podcast from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where the author recently spoke.
On a related note, I want to say that if there were just one podcast that I could recommend to academic librarians, I would suggest MediaBerkman, which pulls together the interviews done at the center as well as the presentations by scholars.
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.
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.
This afternoon, using the Google Search Stories service I spent all of 5 minutes putting together this video on open access. I’m wondering if there might be an interesting and fun classroom activity to do with students that has them using this service.
The PPC Blog recently offered up this informative image, Learn How Google Works: In Gory Detail.For some quick commentary on the infographic, check out Roy Tennant’s blog post over at Library Journal.
While investigating who was behind this blog (a company that offers training in search engine marketing), I learned that PPC stands for “pay per click” (the phrase is not new to me but the acronym was).
Arthur Downing, Ellen Kaufman, Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Ryan Phillips
We then discussed the blog Information Aesthetics. This blog seeks out and presents projects that display information and data in creative ways. Some examples discussed were information arcs, the bible cross reference visualization project and a wheel of nutrition that displays portion sizes on dinner plates.
The conversation moved towards other ways of displaying information and the tools used to do so. Microsoft was mentioned given the fact that Excel 2010 is going to incorporate Spark Lines. We then took at look at Google Motion Charts that can be used in iGoogle and Google Docs. A few of us were introduced to motion charts through Hans Rosling’s Wealth & Health of Nations Motion Chart and his TED Talk . Also shown was the Wall Street Journal’s market sector maps for stock performance.
Also touched upon was the Netflix prize. This was a $1 million contest for accurate predictions of movie ratings based on Netflix user movie preferences. The prize was awarded last September and a new contest was announced.
The conversation then moved to the current and future state of student printing, some of the issues and possible solutions. We also discussed the use of GoogleDocs on campus.