Technology

ALA Speaks Out Against Sale of .us Domain

The ALA has joined the howl of protest against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration\'s plan to sell off the .us domain to the highest bidder:

Libraries, in particular, are worried about the repercussions. Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association\'s Washington office, is concerned about restrictions a private company might place on the sites. She fears they might face problems with sharing copyrighted information provided through databases or get into costly legal battles over providing library users electronic-books. \'\'They have to answer to their stockholders,\'\' she said of the bidders. \'\'They\'re going to make a decision that makes business sense to them.\'\' (More from the Boston Globe.)

An Academic Publishing Revolution on the Web?

Why have academics failed to make full use of the information manipulation and distribution tools offered by the Web? Ariadne\'s Philip Hunter investigates:

Just three or four years ago the Web community was getting used to the idea that the way we would work in future would be radically different from the way we work now. The world of coalface flatfile html markup would begin to disappear in favour of collaborative working, managed workflow, document versioning, on the fly pages constructed out of application independent xml chunks, site management tools and push-button publishing via multiple formats - html, xml, pdf, print, etc. Text appearing in more than one context would be stored in a central repository and repurposed according to particular requirements.

In the UK Higher Education sector, this doesn\'t seem to have happened. Worldwide in the university sector, it doesn\'t seem to have happened. Site management tools are being used here and there, and there are now decent text editors both available and widely used - this means that Web Editors are no longer expected to deal with basic markup chores all day every day. Some sites put together pages on the fly, using SSIs or ASP chunks. There are sites which interface with backend databases to provide user requested data in a user friendly format. However you will have to look hard for a Higher Education sector site which uses all of these techniques and which yokes them together with collaborative working and managed workflow. Higher Education is not using content management systems as a matter of course, and is not making use of the most sophisticated systems available.[ More ]

Your Book Delivered in 12-Minutes or Less

From Wired News MJ Rose writes...

\"Shortly before midnight on July 9, Jeff Marsh of Marsh Technologies and Peter Zelchenko of VolumeOne placed an order on the Internet for what would be the first print-on-demand book ever to emerge from a fully automated vending machine. Twelve minutes later, the book slid out of a chute on the prototype MTI PerfectBook-080 in Marsh\'s office in Chesterfield, Missouri. The book was Robin Shamburg\'s novel, Mistress Ruby Ties It Together, which explores the bizarre world of sadomasochism. Marsh said it might seem like an odd choice for such a momentous event, \"but maybe it\'s appropriate. After all, we\'ve been on our knees and chained to our machines for the past several weeks,\" he said. My question is this: You want fries with that? [more...]

The virtue of virtual libraries

Here\'s An Interesting Story on
virtual libraries from New Zealand.
The author says digital libraries are
computer-based systems that do the jobs good
librarians do in the real world – acquisition, extraction of
metadata, indexing, cataloguing and organising.

\"Digital Libraries hold the possibility that we
might regain perspective on the billions of pieces of
information in the web ocean. Witten believes his
Greenstone will help, expressing his hopes through a
Maori prayer, \"May peace and calmness surround you
and may the ocean of your travels be as smooth as the
polished greenstone.\" \"

Fight the Power

The revolt against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is underway - new.net is offering
registration (for $25) in any of over a dozen new
domains including .tech, .arts, .school, and yes, .xxx.
You can also download free software to view sites in these
domains. An article from the BBC outlines ICANN\'s effort to maintain their monopoly. Thanks again to Metafilter.

Too Much Email!

Carrie writes \"This New York Times Story describes the problems associated with corporate users not organizing and deleting their mail.\"

I, for one, delete almost everything, and only save my sent messages. With all the lists we can subscribe to, it\'s hard to keep up sometimes!

\"\"There is an excitement to reading and replying, but filing takes cognitive effort without an immediate reward,\" he explained. \"So despite its being important in the long run to be organized, it is human nature to avoid it.\"

Computer passwords reveal secrets

ZDNet is running A Story on what our passwords say about us.

A recent study, run by CentralNic in The UK, questioned 1,200 office workers. About half of the people surveyed used a password that had to do with their family, a third of office workers used something they are a fan of.
How many of you have \"dewey\" or \"book\"?

Hi-tech manuscript preserves Middle Ages treasure

Charles Davis writes \"from
Ananova

Classical chart-toppers the Mediaeval Baebes have
unveiled a new digital version of one of the UK\'s most
important 15th century texts.
The Sherborne Missal, which is worth £15 million, is one of
the most important treasures from the late Middle Ages and
has been saved for the nation by the British Library.
Following a £1.45 million fund-raising drive, the British Library has successfully digitised part of the manuscript, making a large touch-screen version available to all visitors. \"

The Empire that was Russia - Exhibition

The Library of Congress has used digital imaging technology to restore to their former glory the photographs taken at the turn of the century by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky. The newly restored color photographs form the exhibition The Empire That Was Russia: the Prokudin-Gorsky Photographic Record Recreated. For more on this fascinating collection and work undertaken to restore it, see the full story from the International Herald Tribue.

Computer ready to Cyc people out

The L.A. Times reports that an artificial intelligence system called Cyc (short for "encyclopedia") will make its public debut later this summer. Cyc has been in development for 17 years, and it seems to be able to conduct reference interviews of sorts.

The full story also summarizes A.I. history. By the way, the developers have taught Cyc that killing is worse than lying, so we won\'t have a HAL on our hands.

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