10 Nov 2010 – The Google Books Project (GBP) has been simultaneously characterized as being in violation of copyright laws in the U.S. and elsewhere, a boon to the global publishing industry, a step in the right direction towards open knowledge, an information monopoly, and a key component in the digital preservation of and access to the worldwide record of human science and culture. Which is it? Google has digitized approximately 15 million books [out of an estimated 130 million] that are no longer easy to access for many reasons…
Nov 2010 – Back in 1972, the English art critic John Berger developed Ways of Seeing, a BBC television series that smartly questioned many of our traditional assumptions about art and art appreciation. It introduced the world to postmodernist ways of looking at art, and did so with a degree of accessibility that few scholars have pulled off since. That same year, Berger turned the acclaimed television series into a book (also called Ways of Seeing) and, forty years later, the text still circulates widely in college classrooms, helping students to see paintings, photography, films and even literature in new ways. Today, we wanted to dust off the original BBC series, and present the first of the four original episodes. You can start watching Episode 1 above and get the remaining parts here…
11 Nov 2010 – There has never been so much speculation about the future of the book. Some argue that the ebook will replace the hardback; others that it will replace the paperback, leaving print books to become semi-luxury items; others still that it will obviate the book altogether, morphing it into some interactive multimedia experience. Everyone from publishers to hardware manufacturers to designers is desperately trying to see around the corner. This is literature's equivalent of the space race, complete with all the one-upmanship and wild speculation that accompanied the original. Meanwhile, back in 2010, we have a plastic electronic device that's a new-fangled way of reading old-fashioned books. The Kindle is the bestselling dedicated e-reader on the market…
9 Nov 2010 – Tracking data reuse is important. Tracking data reuse is currently difficult. But people are working on processes and policies to make it easier in the future. Surely we just need repositories to assign dataset DOIs (or similar unique identifiers), investigators to start citing datasets as first-class entities using these unique identifiers, and then poof it will be as easy to track dataset citations as it currently is to track article citations […] Right now, tracking dataset citations using common citation tracking tools doesn’t work. ISI Web of Science and Scopus? It looks like they strip DOIs and URLs out of citations as they import references into their database…
10 Nov 2010 – Our acquisition of Metaweb back in July also brought along Freebase Gridworks, an open source software project for cleaning and enhancing entire data sets. Today we’re announcing that the project has been renamed to Google Refine […] Google Refine is a power tool for working with messy data sets, including cleaning up inconsistencies, transforming them from one format into another, and extending them with new data from external web services or other databases. Version 2.0 introduces a new extensions architecture, a reconciliation framework for linking records to other databases (like Freebase), and a ton of new transformation commands and expressions.
13 Nov 2010 – Shelflife is a web application [in development] that uses what libraries know (about books, usage and comments) to allow researchers and scholars to access the riches of Harvard’s collections through a simple search. Researchers will be able to access, read about, and comment on works using common social net- work features. ShelfLife will bring Harvard results to the forefront of the research process, allowing users to easily access and explore our vast collections.
11 Nov 2010 – Europeana, the database/portal that currently provides digital access to more than six million items (images, texts, sounds, and videos) from European libraries, museums, and archives will soon begin adding a collection with more than one million images […] From film premiers to presidential visits, news agency photographers have witnessed and recorded a vast number of key moments in Europe's modern history. The result of their work is literally millions of photos, glass plates, negatives and slides that cover a broad range of subjects.
10 Nov 2010 – Open Library is a wiki-editable library catalog, with an open source backend, and a project of the Internet Archive. We like to describe the project as “a web page for every book,” and our vision is that people will one day use Open Library as their first port of call to find out information about books on the web. The catalog data is available for bulk download, and also accessible through our API. The project was born back in 2007, collecting catalog records from a variety of sources like the Library of Congress, University of Toronto and Amazon…
14 Nov 2010 – The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers last week marked the 300th anniversary of the Statute of Anne with a Forum on Copyright in the Digital Age. This is the opening address delivered by James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation.
13 Nov 2010 – The longer I've been around, the more concerned I become about long-term data loss — in the archival sense. What are the chances that the digital record of our current period will still be accessible in 300 years' time? The honest answer is that we don't know. And my guess is that it definitely won't be available unless we take pretty rigorous steps to ensure it. Otherwise it's posterity be damned. It's a big mistake to think about this as a technical problem — to regard it as a matter of bit-rot, digital media and formats. If anything, the technical aspects are the trivial aspects of the problem. The really hard questions are institutional: how can we ensure that there are organisations in place in 300 years that will be capable of taking responsibility for keeping the archive intact, safe and accessible?
12 Nov 2010 – Earlier this week, I came across the Number 10 website’s transparency data area, which among other things has a section on who Ministers are meeting.
Needless to say, the Who’s Lobbying website has started collating this data and making it searchable, but I thought I’d have a look at the original data to see what it would take to aggregate the data myself using Scraperwiki…
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