Ah, finally! The latest version of my Opera Web browser (57.03.x) now supports pretty page-like display of raw .XML news feeds, when you encounter them via search or bookmarks. They don’t also offer an .MP3 button, but you just right-click on the tile and “Save linked content as…” to get the .MP3 or similar media downloading.
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.
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…
Another new prodding of Google Scholar, this time from the latest First Monday “Testing Google Scholar bibliographic data: Estimating error rates for Google Scholar citation parsing”…
While data quality is good for journal articles and conference proceedings, books and edited collections are often wrongly described or have incomplete data. We identify a particular problem with material from online repositories [where there appears to be] considerable inhomogeneity in the implementation of data standards [and] a mismatch between repository software and the harvesting protocols employed by Google Scholar.
One of Scholar’s other problems is that it includes Google Books results. While 30% of the time its Google Books inclusions can useful, there is no way to exclude Books results. One might want to exclude because Scholar still can’t seem to determine a proper book from a robot-produced shovelware ebook that assembles public-domain content. Scholar has no ‘edition authority’ which states that the Joshi-edited and annotated Penguin Classics edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Dexter Ward” is the gold-standard and that it has a text that has been fully corrected of the many textual errors, omissions and editing mistakes of previous decades. Unlike the public-domain shovelware ebooks that flood Amazon and (often) Google Books.
A basic undergraduate level search, for instance, for Lovecraft “Dexter Ward”, demonstrates the problem on the first page. Joshi is nowhere to be seen, and the searcher is hammered by links to shovelware ebooks (or worse), often with citation counts that suggest they are legitimate.
Michael Gusenbauer, “Google Scholar to overshadow them all? Comparing the sizes of 12 academic search engines and bibliographic databases”, Scientometrics, November 2018.
The findings provide first-time size estimates of ProQuest and EBSCOHost and indicate that Google Scholar’s size might have been underestimated so far by more than 50%. By our estimation Google Scholar, with 389 million records, is currently the most comprehensive academic search engine.
With the later proviso that there are likely to be many duplicates and near-duplicates, with such tools reporting…
the number of all indexed records on a database, not the number of unique records indexed. This means duplicates, incorrect links, or incorrectly indexed records are all included in the size metrics provided by ASEBDs.
As you can see, the article coins the ugly and unreadable “ASEBDs” for “academic search engines and bibliographic databases”. MASTs might be more mellifluous — Massive Academic Search Tools.
It looks like stories from U.S. news outlets, those that blank UK and European visitors, are now simply being removed from the Google News results. Spotted today, under the Google News results…
Annoying for those inclined to turn on their VPN and see the news story regardless. But, in practice, the publications still blocking overseas visitors are such low-grade regional newspapers that it’s no loss.
All U.S. film-makers can now crack anti-copying technologies on content ($ paywalled at law.com), if they need that content for ‘fair use’ use in a new production…
“Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions aren’t just for documentary filmmakers any more. The U.S. Copyright Office and Library of Congress last week broadened a DMCA exception to now allow more filmmakers to circumvent anti-copying technology and rip short video clips for purposes of commentary and criticism.”
However, it isn’t a free-for-all. Note that the PDF for the rules states that this new measure is specifically for…
“where the clip is used for parody or its biographical or historically significant nature”.
In a drama movie, the “commentary and criticism” would thus presumably be seen to be implied by the nature of the scene, rather than done in a directly academic or journalistic manner. For instance, I can imagine a dramatised scene of dancing on the beach as the Apollo 11 rocket lifts off behind the dancers. This scene would be a sort of implied commentary on the optimism engendered in the nation by the historically significant moment of sending men to the Moon. And if the high-res source needed for that was only available from Time-Life rather than NASA, then their Blu-ray disc could be cracked and a clip used as the background in the composite. Actually these days it’s probably easier to do it with 3D models and copy of Vue, but some may want the original footage — and historical personages can’t simply be conjured up in the same way.
Also, as the word “clip” is used and video is assumed in the PDF’s text, that leaves hazy the cracking of content protection to obtain a high-res still picture. A film-maker might need such a still for a Ken Burns “pan and scan” type film, and could perhaps argue that the still was required as a irreplaceable source needed to make the film’s video “clip”. But that’s probably something to be clarified in a future round of rule changes.
I’m pleased to see that Text Cleanup 2.0 is now freeware. It’s Windows desktop software from 2003 that “fixes” text automatically when you copy-paste it. For instance, by unwrapping a chunk of text that has hard line-breaks. Text Cleanup has a nice balance of power and ease-of-use, can save user presets, and still runs fine on a Windows 8.x desktop.
The Art Institute of Chicago now has 44,000 items from its collection downloadable as pictures under a CC0 licence. I did a test search for cat. What struck me first was the rich range.
My excitement was dampened when I realised that most of these results had no hi-res download. What I should have done was spotted the easy-to-miss faded “filters” button, up top, which when clicked pops out a sidebar. In the sidebar you can tick to filter by “Public domain”, which gives you the results with the downloadable images.
The filtered results are still fairly impressive, but of course lack the nicer “wow” illustrations made after about the 1910s. Some images download without file extensions, possibly because they already have a . in their title (e.g. “Honorable Mr. Cat”)…
The pictures seem to mostly be around 2,000 to 3,000px and 96dpi. There’s no sign-up needed, and access is free and public.