JURN’s page “Guide to academic search” has been checked for linkrot and updated.
Why would anyone have a Facebook Page rather than a Group? On a Page, Facebook just holds many of your posts to ransom. It limits your audience reach, unless you pay up hard cash to “boost” the post. I don’t run any FB Pages, but I do some admin on one Page, and it’s very annoying when this happens repeatedly on non-commercial posts telling people about things like local art exhibitions…
The “you’ll show it to more people” translates as “we’ll show it to more people”. It’s a protection racket for user-generated content, in effect.
Just a warning to picture librarians and magazine editors, about ‘x-ray delta one’ on Flickr. He’s now posted nearly 18,000 pictures there in high-res, mostly science-fiction and fantasy. It all gets placed under his default Creative Commons catch-all. I’ve been aware of him for a few years now, and he appears to make little distinction between genuine public domain (of which there is, admittedly, quite a lot now) and material where the IP and copyrights still belong to big studios with big lawyers.
For instance, claimed as Creative Commons just this week: a scan of a frame by Jack Kirby, one of the world’s best known comics artists, from the Marvel Comics 1977 adaptation of MGM’s classic 2001 movie…
I’ve waved goodbye to the Foxit Reader software on Windows. Foxit had added one to many nags, extra bits of unwanted ‘extra’ software such as its Connected module, and generally felt like it was headed toward more and more bloat. Then there was the recent security glitch which still isn’t patched.
I’m now using the freeware Sumatra PDF instead, with its Book view (Cover page + Facing pages) for magazines and books. This view mode is found under Settings | View | Book View. Super-quick launch and very smooth page-turn.
You can set Sumatra PDF to always launch in Book mode by editing the Advanced settings list. Find:
DefaultDisplayMode = automatic
and change this to…
DefaultDisplayMode = book view
The other initial drawback appears to be a slight sliver of gutter between double-page spreads, which spoils magazine spreads in art / architecture / fashion etc magazines. This can also be fixed in the Advanced settings. Find:
PageSpacing = 4 4
and change this to…
PageSpacing = 0 0
It also has an ugly icon for PDF documents, in a garish yellow. To change this on Windows 8.1.x use the freeware FileTypesMan. Scroll to the .pdf setting, and double-click it. From there you can assign a new icon for PDFs.
I’ve updated and expanded my Christmas 2017 post “A survey of automated book index making software”. New bits…
PDF Index Generator 2.4 tested, specifically its very useful new “capitalized phrases only” automated query-filter which allows you to grab only personal names and longer place names, with a short tutorial on finding and using this feature…
More tips on Java security, re: the security nightmare that is Java being needed to run PDF Index Generator.
Also, the genuine freeware Index Generator 5.5 has just updated to 5.8, adding new features such as a “word list import and export feature” and “index support for alphanumerical words”.
I see that Amazon UK is now defaulting to a really dumb wide-spectrum search, when one clicks on the author-name link on a book page. For instance, a click-search for the Tolkien scholar J. S. Ryan plunges one into quack-pot ‘health cure’ books and trash sci-fi trilogies by similarly-named authors. It’s done on the basis of ‘confusion marketing’ I guess.
The spectrum gets extremely wide half way down the results page, when it seems that any author with “J. S.” in the name is being shovelled in.
The U.S. version of Amazon appears to have the same name-authority problem on search. For now, one can instead manually paste-search for “J. S. Ryan”, which does give correct results. But that’s not going to be much use for someone with a less distinctive name.
This new problem comes on top of Amazon’s foul new practice of lumping all book reviews for a book title under all editions of that book. Thus, for instance, one arrives at the page for a critical edition of a classic work but reads a peeved review of a cheap shovel-ware reprint ebook of the same title.
Added to the sidebar: Flaky Academic Conferences, a low-volume ‘track and assess’ blog from D.H. Kaye…
“David H. Kaye is Distinguished Professor, and Weiss Family Scholar in the [Pennsylvania State] School of Law, a graduate faculty member of Penn State’s Forensic Science Program, and a Regents’ Professor Emeritus, ASU.”
Here’s my short survey of some of the current search options for free sounds. My test search keyword was “kitten”.
* Freesound.org is clearly the best search tool for Creative Commons sound FX clips. Fast results, excellent tagging and results filters, and easy aural preview. A few of its users obviously upload computer-generated FX (“My synth made a sound that maybe kinda-sounds like a kitten?!”) and those are shown alongside real-world recordings (“Here ikle-bitty kitten, mew into this microphone”). But the site has a filter tag for “field recording” which can remove the synthetic clips, provided users added the correct tag.
It’s also good to see that a potential tidal-wave of “samples” and “beats” — extracted from music or synths — have not been allowed to swamp freesound.org. The site’s curator obviously keeps the focus strongly on short home-made FX, field recordings and short vocalisations.
Content at Freesound.org is hosted locally, which means it’s a big community like OpenClipArt, rather than a search tool like Google Images + Creative Commons filters. Still, it’s huge enough to be impressive and useful, and is obviously still expanding in terms of content.
Many of the Freesound.org files appear to be either too quiet or too loud, and may need to be normalised in software such as the free Audacity (top menu: Effects | then either Amplify +/- or Normalize).
* Archive.org : Audio Archive currently stands at 3.4m items, but overwhelmingly it’s music, radio, podcasts and sermons. A search for “kitten” revealed only music bands (‘Atomic Kitten’ etc), podcasts and one pronunciation guide file. An Archive.org collection of future interest will be the large Old Time Radio collection of radio drama shows, mostly crime, western and sci-fi. It seems it should be possible for someone to compile an organised searchable library of isolated sound FX from all of these Old Time Radio shows, perhaps aided by an automated search-and-extract of segments that are not either speech or music or ambience.
But if you hunt hard enough on Archive.org you can also find small collections of FX such as: Frank Serafine’s Sound FX Collection; William Dyer’s Sound Effects Library; The Crazy Cartoon Sound Effects Library.
* SoundCloud has 313 tracks on a search for “field recording” “creative commons” but many results are for trippy semi-ambient music which incorporates natural field recordings. There’s also a more focussed tag of ‘field recording’, although its search results can’t then filter for Creative Commons. However, a Google Search query can provide good results…
site:soundcloud.com “# field recording” “creative commons”
The results on this even turned up three minutes of Purring Cats and Kittens, placed under a Creative Commons license.
* If you need a wider Web-trawling search tool than Freesound.org, FindSounds has been around for 16 years now. However it could provide only 22 results for Kitten, and no license information. The audio clips are from a range of curator-selected websites, though, and not from the useless robo-sites for .mp3 listings which infest the search-engines.
* Wikimedia Commons has no filter for .mp3 / .wav / .ogg audio, bundling what clips is does have into the overly broad category of “multimedia”. So one does better at Google Search with…
site:commons.wikimedia.org kitten inurl:File -jpg -svg -png -jpeg
However, a Google search this sophisticated will inevitably trigger the “You Are a Robot!?” alarms at Google, and if you run it more than about three times you will be at risk of being temporarily banned from your Google account.
* There are also a few isolated free FX libraries where the downloads are free, ranging from the small such as GRSites (free, but pay to get a big bundle of all their FX as a single download), to the huge SoundDogs.com (free, but pay per-file if you want to get a higher-quality version with a usage licence).
* The Cutting Room Floor is also rather fun, being a large fan-site dedicated to releasing un-used videogame assets. A search for “Audio” reveals over 900 pages, one page per game, with a wealth of audio, both FX and tiny clips of speech. For strictly non-commercial use, of course. Audio files can be previewed on the page, though on large games that can cause the page to take a while to load. A Google search can be useful in narrowing down the wealth of content…
site:tcrf.net Audio cat
* If you want to search the indie commercial download shops, Sound Effects Search : Find Indie Sound FX Libraries searches speedily across 1766 “libraries” rather than individual files. Thus the test search needed to be widened from “kitten”. “Cat” revealed just two large libraries…
Post-Surgery Cat Vocals – “a royalty-free collection of strange sounds made by my cat after he had surgery”. (possibly a freebie?)
Wildcats : Tigers & Lions – “Over 3.4GB of growls, sniffs, snarls, mating calls, moans and incredible roars.” ($149).
* I also looked on Fiverr.com for $5 “field recording”, but it appears no-one there offers such a custom service. Which seems a pity, given the amount of endangered sounds (sounds in danger of extinction) there are, which might otherwise be affordably collected that way. Plenty of voiceovers though.
JURN’s openECO: ecology/nature titles page has been checked for linkrot and repaired. It’s currently standing at 850 titles.
JURN’s GRAFT repository search tool has updated. I cleaned out several hundred dead ‘site not found’ URLs which had crept in since last summer, and fixed a surprising amount of re-directs to new repo domain names (I thought these things were supposed to stay put). And that was on what was a thoroughly cleaned and checked URL list. I’ve also added around 100 recently-announced repositories. Even after the removals and fixes the current tally of URLs still sees GRAFT searching across around 1,300 more repositories than OpenDOAR’s 3,300 (their latest figures).
Unlike JURN, GRAFT searches across records and full-text alike. Which means… It’s Big, so it’s not much use just tapping in a few keywords and hoping for the best. It’s ideally used with relatively sophisticated search modifiers and a few seconds of pre-planning.