Technology

Apple and the FBI: Why is this relevant to libraries?

Why is this relevant to libraries? I think it’s past time that we start paying very close attention to the details of our data in ways that we have, at best, hand-waved as a vendor responsibility in the past. There have been amazing strides lately in libraryland in regards to the security of our data connections via SSL (LetsEncrypt) as well as a resurgence in anonymization and privacy tools for our patrons (Tor and the like, thank you very much Library Freedom Project).

Data about our patrons and their interactions that isn’t encrypted at rest in either the local database or the vendor database hosted on their servers (and our electronic resource access, and our proxy logins, and, and, and…) is data that is subject to subpoena and could be accessed in ways that we would not want. It is the job of the librarian to protect the data about the information seeking process of their patrons. And while it’s been talked about before in library circles (Peter Murray’s 2011 article is a good example of past discussions) this court case brings into focus the lengths that some aspects of the law enforcement community will go to in order to have the power to collect data about individuals.

From Apple, the FBI, and Libraries | Pattern Recognition

What it looks like to process 3.5 million books in Google’s cloud

What did it look like to process 3.5 million books? Data-mining and creating a public archive of 3.5 million books is an example of an application perfectly suited to the cloud, in which a large amount of specialized processing power is needed for only a brief period of time. Here are the five main steps that I took to make the invaluable learnings of millions of books more easily and speedily accessible in the cloud:

From Google Cloud Platform Blog: What it looks like to process 3.5 million books in Google’s cloud

A Short History of the Index Card

Index cards are mostly obsolete nowadays. We use them to create flash cards, write recipes, and occasionally fold them up into cool paper airplanes. But their original purpose was nothing less than organizing and classifying every known animal, plant, and mineral in the world. Later, they formed the backbone of the library system, allowing us to index vast sums of information and inadvertently creating many of the underlying ideas that allowed the Internet to flourish.

From A Short History of the Index Card

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Medieval Handwriting App - Medieval Histories

If you want to study medieval scripts, handwriting, and manuscripts or simply want to get acquainted with some of the finest medieval codices here is an app to get you started

The origins of the app – Medieval Handwriting – lie in online exercises in palaeography developed for postgraduate students in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire, U.K.

The aim is to provide practice in the transcription of a wide range of medieval hands, from the twelfth to the late fifteenth century. Please note that it is not a tutorial on the development of handwriting in medieval Western Europe. Users can examine 26 selected manuscripts, zoom in on individual words, attempt transcription and receive immediate feedback. They can optionally compare their transcription with a full transcript. The user’s transcripts can be saved and reopened. The saved transcripts are accessible via File Manager apps.

From Medieval Handwriting App - Medieval Histories

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Braille Tablet prototype can help blind people read full pages of text

Researchers at the University of Michigan recently unveiled a new Braille-enabled prototype tablet that makes it possible for those with vision problems to read text on a full display . The tablet itself features fully refreshable pages containing raised bumps, a marked improvement from current devices that can only display one line of Braille text at a time.

From Braille Tablet prototype can help blind people read full pages of text | BGR

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Computers Get Busy for National Novel-Generating Month

Last month nearly 200 entries turned up in a strange event on GitHub challenging programmers to write computer code that can generate 50,000-word novels. “The only rule is that you share at least one novel and also your source code at the end,” posted the event’s organizer, Darius Kazemi, who’s been staging “National Novel-Generating Month” every November since 2013.

From Computers Get Busy for National Novel-Generating Month - The New Stack

Everything you need to know about encryption: Hint, you’re already using it.

In a televised address on Sunday, President Obama even alluded to the issue, saying he "will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice." And now, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for a commission on encryption and security threats.

So let's take a step back and talk about this technology and why it's in the spotlight.

From Everything you need to know about encryption: Hint, you’re already using it. - The Washington Post

Newspaper archives reveal major gaps in digital age

In-depth interviews about the archiving practices at nine legacy newspapers and one born-digital publication reveal that legacy newspapers maintain archives of their print editions in paper, microfilm and PDF versions. Archiving of Web-only content and multimedia elements, however, is spotty or nonexistent. The public has limited or no access to digital photo and graphic archives at most newspapers.

From Newspaper archives reveal major gaps in digital age

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Will a Nebraska community tech center force us to consider libraries without books?

With a $7 million investment, an Omaha foundation hopes to make technology as readily available as books to the public in a unique new library.

From Will a Nebraska community tech center force us to consider libraries without books? | netnebraska.org

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The Secret Power of ‘Read It Later’ Apps

I’m not talking about basic literacy. What has become exceedingly scarce (and therefore, valuable) is the physical, emotional, attentional, and mental capability to sit quietly and direct focused attention for sustained periods of time.

From The Secret Power of ‘Read It Later’ Apps — Forte Labs — Medium

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