The scanners run hot, in Iceland…

Iceland has digitised the historical collections for all of the nation’s newspapers, newsletters and small magazines and popped a unified search box on them. My search for a random set of likely keywords suggests they’re all in the local language.

Iceland’s historical digitised books collection is similarly comprehensive, and also contains a small number of English-language books recounting visits and stays on the Iceland.

There’s also a similar historic manuscripts online library, and a historical maps collection with an embedded timeline of click-able thumbnails.

The timeline is built on the open source Web-widget SIMILE Timeline from MIT. I note that there’s now a 2015 WordPress Plugin which integrates the SIMILE Timeline into a self-hosted WordPress installation, and this rather usefully appears to allow the user to avoid a lot of hacking-and-slashing through the javascript and HTML. SIMILE can use multiple side-scrolling bands, allowing you to display and navigate long or highly detailed timelines.

A simpler slideshow-like alternative would be TimelineJS, fairly easily workable via a Google Spreadsheet template rather than WordPress. The free service imports the completed Google Spreadsheet and automatically outputs an elegant simple side-scrolling timeline. Note however that the developers say that… “We recommend not having more than 20 slides [timeline points] for a reader to click through”, and that the Web page embedding code for “TimelineJS does not work with sites”.

For small tablet-tastical timelines + templates, see the $12 Responsive Timeline by Toghrool on CodeCanyon, and his Responsive Timeline WordPress version. Made in 2017, and it looks good for making a short timeline which will have to be seen by tablet-centric clients from beyond the world of education.

Omeka also has the Neatline plugin, which might be worth a look if you’re working with maps and images and time.

If you can pay a monthly fee, I see there’s also now a nice-looking commercial timeline service called Tiki Toki.

A New Age Of Culture

The Economist Intelligence Unit and Google, “A New Age Of Culture: The Digitisation of Arts & Heritage Around the World”. Free online.

It’s a nice counterweight to the recent spate of whining about Google Books, trying to portray it as almost being a shuttered project when it’s not. Which smells to me like big publishers, their PR flunkies and a gaggle of pliable journalists.

Internet Archive starts to ignore robots.txt files

The Internet Archive (and its Wayback Machine) has recently announced it has stopped honouring robots.txt files for some sites. A robots.txt is a simple text file which tells visiting crawler and harvesting bots that the site owners don’t want their content accessed, copied and (potentially irrevocably) made public somewhere else without their permission.

The Internet Archive is currently… “ignoring [robots.txt warnings at] U.S. government and military web sites”, and state that in future… “We are now looking to do this more broadly.”

This would seem to have a number of implications for repositories and journals. Especially in terms of things like retractions, ‘heavy harvesting’ of large numbers of large files, and also the practical implementation of the emerging legal concept of ‘the right to be forgotten’.

To anticipate this impending policy change at Internet Archive and to block their crawlers, you reportedly need to set up a way to “limit access by IP addresses” from the IA, and/or configure your site to block visiting clients named “ia_archiver”.

If you can’t do that — at first glance it looks a lot more complex than simply uploading a plain robots.txt file — then note that they say they will… “respond to removal requests sent to”. The latter option may be of special interest to hosted blogs and similar sites, which have no means of blocking the IA’s crawlers.

u’ve had it, uTorrent

If you use torrents and your torrent software uTorrent has suddenly been overrun with slow-loading banner adverts and nags, I can recommend the free open source qBittorrent. Almost the same as uTorrent in terms of the interface, and it takes about half an hour to swop over if you’ve been seeding a half-dozen or so torrents. Note qBittorrent’s ability to set time-of-day on upload/download speeds, so as to automatically increase them across all torrents at times when you will be away from your PC.

Keep in mind that, after uninstalling uTorrent, it leaves behind a big backup cache of all your downloaded .torrent files in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\uTorrent