JURN returns


Sticky post: 1st May 2018.

Ooops. I left off all JURN activity for a month, to write a book (Tolkien, 180,000 words), and… the jurn.org webspace has vanished. The webspace hosting service got badly hacked, a while back, and the account details became disconnected from the credit-card details. The site’s still all there, just made inaccessible by the provider. I’m now considering my options, re: switching hosting/domain.

Anyway, while I get it sorted out, JURN is still accessible here:

JURN Search

This is a link to the ‘raw’ CSE page which is maintained by Google, and of course it never goes down. I see that it now offers the options for sort-by-date and image-search, which the fancy front-page was able to offer. It’s not so pretty or easy to remember the URL for, but it does the job.

The Directory of 3,000 arts & humanities journals in JURN can be had on this blog as a saved PDF.

And finally, GRAFT, my beta ‘all known repositories’ search-engine is still accessible, again via the Google-hosted version…

GRAFT : repository search, searching across full-text and records alike.

Update: With a UserScript addon you can integrate JURN right into Google Search. For instructions and links, see my blog post: JURN ‘in a UserScript’.

Update: You can also add JURN to your Bookmarks bar as an Itty.bitty link. An Itty.bitty link is the Web page, encapsulated within the bookmark itself.


Browser addons: Scriptsafe to NoScript / uMatrix

I’ve un-installed the Scriptsafe browser addon, which had been my Opera browser’s main script-blocker since I switched to Opera. A service, seemingly hardwired into this addon, has overstepped the line and caused the addon to become a nannying URL blocker rather than a simple script blocker. Specifically, it appears to have an agenda about which bona fide affiliate links it will and will not accept. One cannot even whitelist some of these perfectly genuine and useful URLs, as they are actively refused in the addon’s interface.

I suspect the problem is upstream, rather than with the maker of the addon. Since Scriptsafe includes by default…

block unwanted content (MVPS HOSTS, hpHOSTS (ad/tracking servers only), Peter Lowe’s HOSTS Project, MalwareDomainList.com, and DNS-BH – Malware Domain Blocklist are integrated!)

These lists are ‘hardwired’ into the addon… and are thus impossible to inspect or turn off, it appears.

Thus I went looking for an alternative. Naturally I took a look at the respected TOR browser — they use NoScript 10.2 by default. Well, if it’s good enough for the world’s best hardened browser then it’s good enough for me. I installed it, in the form of the Opera browser fork NoScript Suite Lite. That addon was simple to use and gave me no nonsense when I clicked on the links in question at my friend’s site. I was sent straight through to my intended destination, as used to be the case.

It’s obviously not Lowe’s list or MalwareDomainList which is causing Scriptsafe to be so nannying, in this instance. Because my uBlock Origin also uses that same blocklist. Therefore it must be one of the other lists that actively blacklists entire domains. I also considered uMatrix 1.3 extension from the makers of the leading adblocker uBlock Origin. Installing uMatrix and then comparing the blocklists suggests to me the hardwired inclusion of the DNS-BH list in Scriptsafe was causing my initial problem.

This sort of ‘The Browser Says NO’ attitude is why I moved from Firefox… which increasingly gave the user no choice about exactly what one let through from the Web. I, ‘the user’, should be the one who always ultimately gets to decide that.

Anyway, for those following my occasional browser tutorials and similar at JURN, I’d now recommend the easy NoScript Suite Lite and uBlock Origin as the core blocker duo for ordinary users of the Opera browser. But, in the end, I personally opted for the more sophisticated uMatrix as a fine-grained personal blocker (which is what I had mostly used Scriptsafe as).

So… advanced users may prefer the far more complex uMatrix 1.3 addon / extension rather than the simpler NoScript Suite Lite.

Basic initial configuration of uMatrix is to:

i) click on the tiny grey cog-wheel in the top-left corner | Host Files tab | there un-check any lists also used by uBlock Origin, so they’re not both trying to do the same thing at once.

ii) get used to the simple routine of switching it to ‘permissive mode’ and fiddle with per-item blocking later. Giving permission to a site is a one-time four click operation per newly visited URL: Whitelist the ‘all’ cell by clicking on it so it turns from red to green | Un-blacklist the ‘frame’ cell, ditto | then ‘save’ by clicking on the padlock). Then reload the page. You soon pick up the routine.

Then, when you have time, you can take another look at what’s loading up when you visit a site, and start blocking useless fluff from regularly visited sites.

The uMatrix whitelisting of a URL takes the form of two lines in an editable list, for instance:

github.com * * allow
github.com * frame inherit

These first go into the My rules | ‘Temporary rules’ list, and then after testing you can “Commit” these to the list of ‘Permanent rules’. To manually edit either list, click on the Edit button under the ‘Temporary rules’ header.

uMatrix looks fiendishly complex at first, due to scary screenshots of its big blocking tables. But spend 30 minutes with it and you’re soon used to it, and can see how easy it is to block stuff in a fine-grained way.

Humanists’ digital workflows

New in DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly, “Researcher as Bricoleur: Contextualizing humanists’ digital workflows”. A small-scale observational study from 2016, building on a larger ‘Digital Scholarly Workflow’ study. The body is made up of case studies and commentary. Here’s the tale of a search by a historian for “1916” “November” “War Council”:

Audrey, a professor of history, searched for literature on an event that took place in 1916, and for which she had only partial information. Audrey’s search starts with her personal collection of notes written in Word and stored on the internal hard drive. She uses a Word search function that queries the folder for a supposed event name, but this search yields no result. Audrey then switches to her browser and the online search. She logs on to the Penn State library and enters a search phrase composed of three descriptors into the discovery search interface, LionSearch. This attempt does not yield any results either.

“Okay, no problem, I’m going to go to some of my favorite databases,” Audrey says optimistically, and, using the same search phrase, she continues her search in the Historical Abstracts database. “All right, I need another field. It happened in Rome,” she comments still optimistically, and expands her search with one more field, which reads “Rome.” Still nothing. “Seriously?!,” Audrey exclaims with annoyance. “All right, let me just do ‘war council,’ something more specific,” she says with reasserted optimism, and changes her search phrase accordingly. Failure again. “Really?!,” Audrey laments in shock. “I would have thought it was more important.” Audrey then reaches to her bookshelf and grabs a book. She reads through a few pages, trying to find any additional information that could help her search. Nothing. But Audrey is not ready to give up yet.

She returns to her library search and adds “November” as one more search field, trying to make her query as precise as possible. No results. Still, Audrey does not give up, and, instead of adding one more search term, she decides to change her search phrase. She creates a new search phrase, again composed of three descriptors as the possible event name. “Nope. All right, strange,” Audrey says quietly, confident that any further search would be pointless. “You would think someone must have written an article about this. It was the time that the different allies got together and hammered out a strategy…,” she continues murmuring, but discontinues her library search.

Instead, Audrey decides to try her luck with Google Search. She enters the search phrase and the Wikipedia entry pops up right away. “See, that’s the thing,” Audrey comments. “One would love to use more scholarly resources, but I just typed [the search phrase] and it’s up there [on Wikipedia]! Sadly, Historical Abstracts was not of too much use; the most useful one was still Wikipedia,” this historian concludes.

The problem here appears to be that the Supreme War Council of the three allies was created in November of 1917, not 1916. Only by switching the search terms from 1916 to 1917 does the Wikipedia page mentioned appear, so one has to suspect that there was some finessing of the search before hitting Google Search.

Run Opera? How to unpluck your search-engine results

Has your ad-blocker (and other scripts) stopped working in the Opera Web browser today? It’s nothing to do with changes made by Google, Bing, Yandex etc.

What’s happened is that Opera has high-handedly decided to disable all adblocker and script-blocker addons from running on search-engine results pages. Thankfully, for now, the browser still has an option to turn off this unwanted and highly dangerous stupidity (disabling script-blockers etc) from the owners of Opera. Here’s the fix, from the uBlock Origin Reddit board…

“For some reason Opera with the latest update have decided to add a new option for extensions that will disable them by default for “search page results”. You’ll have to go to top bar > Menu > Extensions > and then scroll down and tick the box “Allow access to search page results” for your addons. After that it will work normally again.”

You need to do this for each addon that affects search engines and their results, for example…

If you have a JURN link on your Google Search menu bar, via my UserScript, to get it back make sure to also enable TamperMonkey for Opera…

Added to OpenEco

Four historic journal archives at Cornell, added to the openEco directory… but they can’t be indexed by JURN.

Journal of Mycology (can’t be indexed by JURN, but noted here)

Transactions of the American Entomological Society (can’t be indexed by JURN, but noted here)

American Bee Journal and American Bee Journal 1861-1900 at the Cornell Online Beekeeping Collection (can’t be indexed by JURN, but noted here)

Annals of the Entomological Society of America (can’t be indexed by JURN, but noted here)

Someone might want to get these onto Archive.org in a more indexable form.