The race to preserve disappearing data

THE IRONY of Cerf’s concern is that the digital age is anything but dark. We are in the era of big data, exploding with exponentially more bits and bytes each year. By one back-of the-envelope estimate, the number of digital photos we snap in two minutes exceeds all the photographs taken during the entire 19th century. Faster computing speeds; sensors on our phones, cars, and transit systems; and falling costs of technologies to sequence genomes and launch satellites contribute to the data deluge. We’re entering the era of the “Internet of Things,” in which virtually any object or organism on the planet could one day collect and transmit data.

From The race to preserve disappearing data - Ideas - The Boston Globe


What Every Librarian Needs to Know About HTTPS EFF

Librarians have long understood that to provide access to knowledge it is crucial to protect their patrons' privacy. Books can provide information that is deeply unpopular. As a result, local communities and governments sometimes try to ban the most objectionable ones. Librarians rightly see it as their duty to preserve access to books, especially banned ones. In the US this defense of expression is an integral part of our First Amendment rights.

From What Every Librarian Needs to Know About HTTPS | Electronic Frontier Foundation


The Anti-Information Age

Two beliefs safely inhabit the canon of contemporary thinking about journalism. The first is that the Internet is the most powerful force disrupting the news media. The second is that the Internet and the communication and information tools it has spawned—like YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook—are shifting power from governments to civil society and to individual bloggers, netizens, or citizen journalists.

It is hard to disagree with these two beliefs. Yet they obscure evidence that governments are having as much success as the Internet in disrupting independent media and determining what information reaches society.

From The Anti-Information Age - The Atlantic


Three Emerging Digital Platforms for 2015 | Fail!lab

‘Twas a world of limited options for digital libraries just a few short years back. Nowadays, however, the options are many more and the features and functionalities are truly groundbreaking.

From Three Emerging Digital Platforms for 2015 | Fail!lab


Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links

A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team ( The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.

From Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links - 28 February 2015 - New Scientist

Is there a library-sized hole in the internet?

David Weinberger is senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and has been instrumental in the development of ideas about the impact of the web. Shortly before his recent keynote presentation at OCLC’s EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Florence, he spoke with Sarah Bartlett about the library-sized hole in the Internet and how a ‘library graph’ might help librarians to fill it.

From Is there a library-sized hole in the internet? - Research Information

Is Google's algorithm making the web stupid?

In Is Google making the web stupid?, Seth Godin suggests that the declining prominence of organic results in Google searches is significantly to blame:

If you want traffic, Google’s arc makes clear to publishers, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Which is their right, of course, but that means that the ad tactics on every other site have to get ever more aggressive, because search traffic is harder to earn with good content. And even more germane to my headline, it means that content publishers are moving toward social and viral traffic, because they can no longer count on search to work for them. It’s this addiction to social that makes the web dumber. If you want tonnage, lower your standards.

(Don’t miss the cited Aaron Wall article as well.)

From Google and blogs: “Shit.” –

Wiki creator reinvents collaboration, again

This new wiki is composed of a server and a client written in CoffeeScript. The server is a minimal persistence engine that's designed for scenarios ranging from laboratory control systems to academic server farms. The pages it stores contain only JSON, rendered by the client, which does most of the work. Two JSON objects comprise a page: the story (a set of items) and the journal (which remembers how items were added, edited, moved, or deleted). You add items to the page by means of plug-ins that inject paragraphs of plain text, HTML, or markdown, as well as images, video, equations, raw data, charts, and computations. 

From Wiki creator reinvents collaboration, again | InfoWorld

US Libraries Begin Offering Free 3D Printing to Public Amidst Learning Curves and Legal Questions -

The crucial element in libraries getting involved in 3D printing is that it is free. While it’s not so hard to get your hands on or get to a PC or printer, it is for most people nearly impossible to get to a 3D printer or, even further, to buy their own. Affordability in general is one of the biggest issues with 3D printing — and while desktop 3D printers are becoming more and more affordable, there is still expense involved, not to mention software, materials, and maintenance. Many individuals want to try their hand at the new technology, and prefer to dip their toes in gingerly at first before diving head — and wallet — first into the maker movement. With a learning curve associated with digital design and 3D printing, libraries offer a great benefit, doing what they do best: offering a safe, quite haven for learning.

From US Libraries Begin Offering Free 3D Printing to Public Amidst Learning Curves and Legal Questions -


Vint Cerf warns of 'digital Dark Age'

Vint Cerf, a "father of the internet", says he is worried that all the images and documents we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.

Currently a Google vice-president, he believes this could occur as hardware and software become obsolete.

He fears that future generations will have little or no record of the 21st Century as we enter what he describes as a "digital Dark Age".


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