Information Retrieval

Towards a Value-Added User Data Economy

Every week it seems like the debate over access to, portability of and privacy over user data on the social web has reached new heights. It's only going to get louder though, just as discussions about other forms of economics will never be resolved.

User data has been sold by ISPs, leveraged by ad networks and horded by social networks for years. Now, users are storming the castle to recapture their own booty. Read Write Web argues that it's in everyone's best interest that the data be freed. Vendors have far more to gain by working to add value to freely flowing data than they do from trying to horde as much data as they can.

Locked Information

The recent earthquake in China came as no surprise to some scientists. Last July they published the results of a study showing that the region was ripe for a major quake. There is little reason to believe Chinese officials were aware of the report, or that it would have made much difference if they had been. “We had certainly identified the potential of these active faults,” said one of the co-authors.

MP3 Audio: How To Find Someone's Date of Birth

Pete Weiss sent over This MP3 audio file (3:36 minutes). It's a recording from of the article, How To Find Someone's Date of Birth. It suggests sources of information and research strategies for finding a person's date of birth.

The History of TEMPEST

One never knows how and where information may be encoded.

Take the case of an Bell telephone engineer back in the early 40s. He noticed that an oscilliscope seemed to spike every time the brand new, fancy, and highly top secret encrypted teletype machine coded a letter. He figured out that, if one studies the spikes, they could read the plain text the machine was encrypting.

And thus was born TEMPEST, the US Government's top secret method of gathering information based solely on the electromagnetic waves that all electronic devices give off. Newly de-classified documents recount the history of this still highly confidential information gathering system.

On Innovation in the ILS Marketplace

The Disruptive Library Technology Jester takes a look at Last month's ILS Discovery Interface Task Force1 of the DLF meeting of library system vendors (including one commercial support organization for open source ILS software) to talk about the state of computer-to-computer interfaces in-to and out-of the ILS. The meeting comes as the work of the task force is winding down. An outcome of the meeting, the “Berkeley Accord2,” was posted last week to Peter Brantley’s blog. The accord has three basic parts: automated interfaces for offloading records from the ILS, a mechanism for determining the availability of an item, and a scheme for creating persistent links to records.

Information alert

A recent survey shows many students from the so-called 'Google generation' lack the basic skills needed for online research, Wendy Wallace Says Many libaries have assumedyoung students have learned to use the internet for research simply by virtue of their age. But while many are proficient with Facebook and Wikipedia, they may not be information- literate. Many lack the skills to differentiate between authoritative information and amateur blogging.

Evernote: a search engine for your brain

Apparently you never need to remember that website or the wonderful bottle of wine you had at dinner last night, just upload it to Evernote and search for it at your leisure. Farhad Manjoo briefly explores this obsession with remembering everything.

Copyright in today's world

This is a podcast from the "Real Deal," where they discuss copyright with Colette Vogele, attorney, Fellow at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. They discuss some of the concerns people have over copyright in today's world with the internet, downloads, mashups, etc.

In Storing 1’s and 0’s, the Question Is $

LISTEN. Do you hear it? The bits are dying.

The digital revolution has spawned billions upon billions of gigabytes of data, from the vast electronic archives of government and business to the humblest photo on a home PC. And the trove is growing — the International Data Corporation, a technology research and advisory firm, estimates that by 2011 the digital universe of ones and zeros will be 10 times the size it was in 2006.

But the downside is that much of this data is ephemeral, and society is headed toward a kind of digital Alzheimer’s. What’s on those old floppies stuck in a desk drawer? Can anything be read off that ancient mainframe’s tape drive? Will today’s hard disk be tomorrow’s white elephant?

Data is “the natural resource for the Internet age,” said Francine Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, a national center for high-performance computing resources. But, she added, “digital data is enormously fragile.” It can degrade as it is stored, copied and transferred between hard drives across data networks. The storage systems might not be around or accessible in the future — it is like putting precious information on eight-track tapes.

Full story in the New York Times.

Links to OPAC Enhancements, Wrappers, and Replacements

Here are the supplemental links for the presentation at the NISO workshop on discovery layers1 in Chapel Hill, NC, on March 28, 2008. Carolyn McCallum at Wake Forest University posted a great summary of day two of the NISO discovery layer forum2, including an overview of the talk.

Foundational Pieces
The presentation started as an extension of a DLTJ blog post. Also mentioned was Marshal Breeding’s Library Technology Report4 published in July/August of 2007 and available from the ALA store5.

Tour of Systems
For each of the 10 systems that were toured in the course of the presentation there is a link to the home page of the product/project and a link to a demo or canonical live example.


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