The new Data Journalism Handbook has just been launched, as a free ebook. It could also be of use as a primer for academic researchers.
Tor developers Arturo Filasto and Jacob Appelbaum have released OONI-probe, an…
“open-source software tool designed to be installed on any PC and run to collect data about local meddling with the computer’s network connections, whether it be website blocking, surveillance or selective bandwidth slowdowns [forced by the service provider]. OONI will allow anyone to run the testing application and share their results publicly.”
Just in case you wanted to tell the world how much your ISP is trying to censor you…
The Hathi Trust has launched its own open ejournal publishing platform, the awkwardly-named jPach.
Interesting article on a year-old search-engine called Attrakt, which is a new one to me. It’s Italian, and its selling point is that it runs on a set of curated CSE’s (Custom Search Engines).
Details of the new metrics that have been added to Google Scholar.
Academic papers should be made free to access within six months of publication, according to a draft policy from Research Councils UK (RCUK). They should also have a permissive licence (Creative Commons CC-BY), which would make their content free to use commercially if properly attributed.
Peer-reviewed journal papers are to be protected from libel actions in the UK. I have visions of dodgy Russian moguls setting up dubious journals in order to attack their rivals…
JSTOR has launched a public beta of the test for its eventual full free access service. Register and Read is billed as an “experimental” service and it gives access to full-text content from 75 publications, limited to three free articles.
With Pinterest pinning everyone’s interest, is it time for a new visual search-engine? The UK’s Oolone has just launched, in an effort to find out.
How Consumers Discover Books Online, a Feb 2012 presentation at O’Reilly TOC 2012, by the CEO of GoodReads…
“Otis Chandler, CEO of Goodreads, would like to provide an in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of consumer behavior in discovering books online. Who is searching for books online? What are their personas? How are they discovering books? How many are they discovering, and how many do they go on to read? Are there strong influencers? What factors can help a book get discovered online? How is the picture different for books in the head vs the long tail?”
From Dan Cohen’s latest blog post…
“I’m convinced that something interesting and important is happening at the confluence of long-form journalism (say, 5,000 words or more) and short-form scholarship (ranging from long blog posts to Kindle Singles geared toward popular audiences). It doesn’t hurt that many journalists writing at this length could very well have been academics in a parallel universe, and vice versa. The prevalence of high-quality writing that is smart and accessible has never been greater.”
Perhaps we need a word for such things? Such chunky and well-researched articles are always likely to be “headliners”, surrounded by smaller articles in a public publication. But as Cohen suggests, they’re increasingly likely to be dis-aggregated from the original publication, after which such a name would not make as much sense. Nevertheless, “headliner article” / “headliners” has a certain naturalness. It also carries with it a faint whiff of the rock star, since a “headliner” at a rock concert is the lead band or artist, and yet it also retains something of the journalistic in it. The rather Alice-like idea of “lining the inside of one’s head” (head-liner) is also implicit in the word, linking naturally with the activity of sitting down for an hour to attentively read a serious 10,000 words or so.
Anvil Academic is a new “fully digital, non-profit publisher for the humanities”…
“Anvil will focus on publishing new forms of scholarship that cannot be adequately conveyed in the traditional monograph.”
All its content will be Creative Commons, and the first Anvil title is set for “late 2012″.
Incidentally, Open Reflections has a new long article from someone who’s actually gone through the risky process of using… “digital tools to explore open access, collaboration, remix” as part of creating a work titled The Future of the Scholarly Monograph and the Culture of Remix.
It used to be that rubber stamps were something that librarians were intimately associated with, often in terms of imprinting ownership in books and policing time-based access to them. The stamps came over time to be associated by the wider culture with over-zealousness. Much comedic fun was had with portrayals of spinster librarians in horn-rimmed glasses, driving a rubber-stamp down on a book with all the subtlety of a pile-driver. Similarly, notary stamps and other bureaucratic uses of the rubber stamp gave rise to the negative cultural meme of “the rubber stamp culture”, shorthand for an antiquated and hidebound bureaucracy.
But then over time the technology was taken up by artists and hobbyists. For instance, the boom in the use of self inking stamps for mail-art since the early 1980s, then their use by some book artists, and more recently as a key part of the scrapbooking boom. Also interested in these tools were the amateur collector/archivists, who even created little rubber stamp museums and other collections both on and offline.
I guess the digital equivalent of the rubber stamp is now the steganographic watermark, which invisibly “stamps” time and date data into digital images and other files. Digimarc is the main one, for instance, and ships as part of Adobe Photoshop. An interesting development there is Digimarc Discover for Magazines [white paper], which promises that…
“Readers need only point their smartphone at a digitally watermarked image, ad or article to be instantly connected to interactive content that is engaging and directly relevant to what they’re reading”
No ugly Q-codes or barcodes needed, it seems. The “stamps” used are invisible to all but the software in your smartphone. It’s a refined version of a technology first trialed in the wild by Wired magazine way back in 2000. Although one then wonders if this sort of tool could stamp a librarian-like “expiry date” onto Web images, flagging them for withdrawal from search-engines after a certain period? That might be quite attractive to celebrities. Or perhaps youths could have their phone stamp all their images (so all the embarrassing stuff can be removed from the Web before they go for their first job interview, with a single click). I also wonder if the technology might one day soon be used by publishers on book covers, to try to stymie things like Google Goggles (which lets you photograph a book cover in a retail store, and run an instant online price comparison).
Ellen Collins and Michael Jubb. “How do Researchers in the Humanities Use Information Resources?“, Liber Quarterly, Volume 21 (2012), No.2.
If your non-academic collegues are wondering what the fuss is about in academic publishing, one might do worse than give them this plain-English article from The Independent.
Want to take an online course at Stanford on “how to build a search engine”? You’ll soon be able to…
Take the “Introduction to AI” course, for example. [...] 160,000 students signed up, from more than 190 countries, with a median age of around 30. But the really staggering thing is that about 23,000 of them stayed the course and finished it. A friend of mine, Seb Schmoller, took it and reports that it was worthwhile but pretty tough going. The project has been so successful that Professor Thrun has set up a spin-off company which plans to enrol 500,000 students on its first two courses: “Building a search engine” and “Programming a robotic car”.
Over 2000 academics have signed an online declaration against using the academic publisher Elsevier.
Summly is an interesting phone app that passed me by in the Christmas rush. It claims to use advanced algorithms to usefully summarise Web texts. Apparently it works best with journalistic press articles, although is still easily confused by dates. The 16 year-old British inventor reportedly has backing from Hong Kong billionaire investor Li Ka Shing.
“scholarship’s three main filters for importance are failing … new forms [now] reflect and transmit [additional forms of] scholarly impact: that dog-eared (but uncited) article that used to live on a shelf now lives in Mendeley, CiteULike, or Zotero — where we can see and count it. That hallway conversation about a recent finding has moved to blogs and social networks — now, we can listen in. The local genomics dataset has moved to an online repository — now, we can track it. This diverse group of activities forms a composite trace of impact far richer than any available before. We call the elements of this trace altmetrics.”
While some of these claims may be true of science and medical, the research suggests the humanities are rather lacking in engagement with new technologies and blogs / social media — beyond standard Web use, sharing Powerpoint slides and using services like Google Docs.
The Public Domain Review has a new online leaflet, A Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online.