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Four short links: 15 September 2014

By Nat Torkington
September 15, 2014

The Care and Feeding of Weird Machines Found in Executable Metadata (YouTube) — talk from 29th Chaos Communication Congress, on using tricking the ELF linker/loader into arbitrary computation from the metadata supplied. Yes, there’s a brainfuck compiler that turns code …

Four short links: 15 September 2014

By Nat Torkington
September 15, 2014

The Care and Feeding of Weird Machines Found in Executable Metadata (YouTube) — talk from 29th Chaos Communication Congress, on using tricking the ELF linker/loader into arbitrary computation from the metadata supplied. Yes, there’s a brainfuck compiler that turns code …

Four short links: 4 September 2014

By Nat Torkington
September 4, 2014

Makerspaces Coming to Libraries (Wired) — [W]hile I’m just as sentimental about the primacy of hard copy, the librarians aren’t. As they all tell me, their job is helping with access to knowledge—not all of which comes in codex form …

Four short links: 4 September 2014

By Nat Torkington
September 4, 2014

Makerspaces Coming to Libraries (Wired) — [W]hile I’m just as sentimental about the primacy of hard copy, the librarians aren’t. As they all tell me, their job is helping with access to knowledge—not all of which comes in codex form …

Four short links: 4 September 2014

By Nat Torkington
September 4, 2014

Makerspaces Coming to Libraries (Wired) — [W]hile I’m just as sentimental about the primacy of hard copy, the librarians aren’t. As they all tell me, their job is helping with access to knowledge—not all of which comes in codex form …

Four short links: 29 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 24, 2013

Information Security Breaches 2013 Report (UK Gov) — over 80% of small UK firms reported a breach, and over 90% of large. (via The Register) Google Glass Forbids Resales (Wired) — leaving aside the braying naysayers with their “GLASS WILL …

Four short links: 4 April 2013

By Nat Torkington
April 4, 2013

geo-bootstrap — Twitter Bootstrap fork that looks like a classic geocities page. Because. (via Narciso Jaramillo) Digital Public Library of America — public libraries sharing full text and metadata for scans, coordinating digitisation, maximum reuse. See The Verge piece. (via …

Four short links: 1 March 2013

By Nat Torkington
March 1, 2013

Drone Journalism — two universities in the US have already incorporated drone use in their journalism programs. The Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska and the Missouri Drone Journalism Program at the University of Missouri both teach journalism …

Publishing News: HTML5 will be the future of publishing

By Jenn Webb
February 22, 2013

MIT Technology Review publisher, UC Berkley students bet on HTML5 At a recent executive retreat, Beet.TV sat down with MIT Technology Review editor and publisher Jason Pontin, who said that HTML5 will be the future of publishing. In a video …

Publishing News: The piracy debate may well be irrelevant in the future of publishing

By Jenn Webb
January 25, 2013

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week. Authors may leave publishers behind to wallow in piracy concerns The publishing industry’s issues with piracy may become a problem of the past, Damien Walter …

Publishing News: Ownshelf tests ebook lending waters

By Jenn Webb
January 18, 2013

Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week. Pushing the envelope in ebook lending innovation Martin Bryant at The Next Web took a look at this week at Ownshelf, a startup looking to …

The complex world of copyright, licensing, and piracy

By Joe Wikert
October 23, 2012

Our TOC theme this month is “legal” and I thought it would be interesting to have a conversation with Bill Rosenblatt covering a variety of topics in the legal realm. Bill is a recognized authority on intellectual property in the …

Publishing News: Penguin goes back to the library

By Jenn Webb
June 22, 2012

Two NYC libraries will get Penguin books, ebooks often cost more to make than publishers earn, and one news startup addresses shrinking resources with editorial analytics.

Publishing News: Penguin goes back to the library

Publishing News: Penguin goes back to the library
By Jenn Webb
June 22, 2012

Two NYC libraries will get Penguin books, ebooks often cost more to make than publishers earn, and one news startup addresses shrinking resources with editorial analytics.

Four short links: 22 June 2012

By Nat Torkington
June 22, 2012

Reality Bytes -- We make things because that’s how we understand. We make things because that’s how we pass them on, and because everything we have was passed on to us as a made object. We make things in digital humanities because that’s how we interpret and conserve our inheritance. Because that’s how we can make it all anew....

Four short links: 28 May 2012

By Nat Torkington
May 28, 2012

Canada Wages War on Knowledge -- Library and Archives Canada is ending acquisitions, not digitizing material, dispersing its collection to underfunded private and public collections around Canada, and providing little in the way of access to the scraps they did keep. Apparently Canada has been overrun by Huns and Vandals. Imminent sack of Toronto predicted. (via BoingBoing) Cyberpunk Dress...

Four short links: 12 March 2012

By Nat Torkington
March 12, 2012

Web-Scale User Modeling for Targeting (Yahoo! Research, PDF) -- research paper that shows how online advertisers build profiles of us and what matters (e.g., ads we buy from are more important than those we simply click on). Our recent surfing patterns are more relevant than historical ones, which is another indication that value of data analytics increases the closer...

Publishing News: Ereader ownership doubles, again

By Jenn Webb
January 27, 2012

One survey said ereader and tablet ownership doubled during the holidays; a second showed that Amazon may not be losing money on its Kindle Fire sales. Also, Amazon got a new print edition distributor and the library discussion elevated beyond ebooks.

Publishing News: Ereader ownership doubles, again

Publishing News: Ereader ownership doubles, again
By Jenn Webb
January 27, 2012

One survey said ereader and tablet ownership doubled during the holidays; a second showed that Amazon may not be losing money on its Kindle Fire sales. Also, Amazon got a new print edition distributor and the library discussion elevated beyond ebooks.

Four short links: 25 January 2012

By Nat Torkington
January 25, 2012

Mobile Overtaking Web -- provocatively packaged extrapolations of ComScore and similar numbers to conclude that Americans spend more time interacting with mobile apps than with web sites. I'm sure you could beat an iPhone developer to death with the error bars. Best Privacy Policy Ever -- satiric privacy policy from a Firefox plugin. The Time for Libraries is Now...

Tools of Change for Publishing Newsletter: January 11, 2012

By Joe Wikert
January 12, 2012

We take a look at the five things that shaped publishing in 2011 (many of which will shape the industry in 2012 as well). Plus, how service and ease of use can trump piracy.

Tools of Change for Publishing Newsletter: January 11, 2012

Tools of Change for Publishing Newsletter: January 11, 2012
By Joe Wikert
January 12, 2012

We take a look at the five things that shaped publishing in 2011 (many of which will shape the industry in 2012 as well). Plus, how service and ease of use can trump piracy.

Four short links: 29 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 29, 2011

Reconstructing My Grandfather (JP Rangaswami) -- this is how libraries will be used in the future, by ordinary people (i.e., not professional researchers) reconstructing their families. See my library essay for more thoughts on this. Physical Conservation vs Digitisation for Preservation (Leeds) -- they chose deliberately compromised paper materials (acid-riddled paper) and found that it still would take 50...

Four short links: 24 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 24, 2011

Libraries: Where It All Went Wrong -- I was asked to provocatively help focus librarians on the opportunities offered to libraries in the Internet age. If I ask you to talk about your collections, I know that you will glow as you describe the amazing treasures you have. When you go for money for digitization projects, you talk up...

Four short links: 23 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 23, 2011

Massive Wikimedia Donation -- I missed it when it happened, but the State Library of Queensland made the 4th largest ever donation of high-resolution out-of-copyright images to the Wikimedia Foundation. The image metadata are available through Wikimedia under liberal licensing terms, too. This is what your national and state libraries should be doing! Clea.nr -- strip all the crap...

Four short links: 11 November 2011

By Nat Torkington
November 11, 2011

Nudge Policies Are Another Name for Coercion (New Scientist) -- This points to the key problem with "nudge" style paternalism: presuming that technocrats understand what ordinary people want better than the people themselves. There is no reason to think technocrats know better, especially since Thaler and Sunstein offer no means for ordinary people to comment on, let alone correct,...

Four short links: 3 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 3, 2011

Just Say No To Freegal -- an interesting view from the inside, speaking out against a music licensing system called Freegal which is selling to libraries. Libraries typically buy one copy of something, and then lend it out to multiple users sequentially, in order to get a good return on investment. Participating in a product like Freegal means that...

Four short links: 4 July 2011

By Nat Torkington
July 4, 2011

Let There Be Smite (Pippin Barr) -- simple diversion for the 4th of July. It won't be easy for God to save America. (via Pippin's blog) Basel Wear -- to answer the question I know was burning on your lips: "what *did* the Swiss wear in 1634?" Impressively detailed pictures from a 1634 book that is now online. One...

Four short links: 27 June 2011

By Nat Torkington
June 27, 2011

Poor Economics -- this is possibly the best thing I will read all year, an insightful (and research-backed) book digging into the economics of poverty. Read the lecture slides online, they'll give you a very clear taste of what the book's about. Love that the website is so very complementary to the book, and 100% aligned with the ambition...

Four short links: 11 May 2011

By Nat Torkington
May 11, 2011

webshell -- command-line tool for debugging/exploring APIs, open sourced (Apache v2) and written in node.js. (via Sean Coates) sample -- command-line filter for random sampling of input. Useful when you've got heaps of data and want to run your algorithms on a random sample of it. (via Scott Vokes) Yale Offers Open Access To PD Materials in Collections --...

Four short links: 2 May 2011

By Nat Torkington
May 2, 2011

Chinese Internet Cafes (Bryce Roberts) -- a good quick read. My note: people valued the same things in Internet cafes that they value in public libraries, and the uses are very similar. They pose a similar threat to the already-successful, which is why public libraries are threatened in many Western countries. SIFT -- the Scale Invariant Feature Transform library,...

Four short links: 20 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 20, 2011

PDP-11 Emulator in Javascript, Running V6 UNIX -- blast from the past, and quite a readable emulator (heads up: cd was chdir back then). See also the 1st edition UNIX source on github. (via Hacker News) 2010: The Year of Crowdsourcing Transcription -- hasn't finished yet, as NY Public Library shows. Cultural institutions are huge data sets that need...

Four short links: 15 April 2011

By Nat Torkington
April 15, 2011

(the author apologizes for the late publication of this item) Twitter's Biggest Problem: Tweets are Ads -- having just been to my first social media marketing conference, I see what the author's talking about. Would you want to pay for advertising in the middle of a sea of free ads? (via Hacker News) Safari and Do Not Track Support --...

Four short links: 14 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 14, 2011

A History of the Future in 100 Objects (Kickstarter) -- blog+podcast+video+book project, to have future historians tell the story of our century in 100 objects. The BBC show that inspired it was brilliant, and I rather suspect this will be too. It's a clever way to tell a story of the future (his hardest problem will be creating a...

Four short links: 7 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 7, 2011

DigitalKoot -- Playing games in Digitalkoot fixes mistakes in our index of old Finnish newspapers. This greatly increases the accuracy of text-based searches of the newspaper archives. (via Springwise and Imran Ali on Twitter) Some Things That Need To Be Said (Amanda Hocking) -- A.H. is selling a lot of copies of her ebooks, and she cautions against thinking...

Publishing News: Week in Review

Publishing News: Week in Review
By Jenn Webb
March 4, 2011

In the latest Publishing News: HarperCollins capped titles for libraries; publishers are tapping non-traditional outlets for distribution; and Dana Newman schools authors on how to embrace the e-pocalypse.

Publishing News: Week in Review

By Jenn Webb
March 4, 2011

In the latest Publishing News: HarperCollins capped titles for libraries; publishers are tapping non-traditional outlets for distribution; and Dana Newman schools authors on how to embrace the e-pocalypse.

Four short links: 25 November 2010

By Nat Torkington
November 25, 2010

A Day in the Life of Twitter (Chris McDowall) -- all geo-tagged tweets from 24h of the Twitter firehose, displayed. Interesting things can be seen, such as Jakarta glowing as brightly as San Francisco. (via Chris's sciblogs post) British Library Release 3M Open Bibliographic Records) (OKFN) -- This dataset consists of the entire British National Bibliography, describing new books...

Bookish Techy Week in Review

By Kat Meyer
November 12, 2010

In the latest Bookish Techy Week in Review: Safran Foer's latest book is a true work of art; literary magazines are making a webby comeback; Jay-Z's memoir takes pre-pub publicity to new heights; and Richard Nash's Cursor posts a peek at the Red Lemonade list.

Bookish Techy Week in Review

By Kat Meyer
November 12, 2010

In the latest Bookish Techy Week in Review: Safran Foer's latest book is a true work of art; literary magazines are making a webby comeback; Jay-Z's memoir takes pre-pub publicity to new heights; and Richard Nash's Cursor posts a peek at the Red Lemonade list.

Four short links: 15 October 2010

By Nat Torkington
October 15, 2010

Mechanical Turk Requester Activity: The Insignificance of the Long Tail -- For Wikipedia we have the 1% rule, where 1% of the contributors (this is 0.003% of the users) contribute two thirds of the content. In the Causes application on Facebook, there are 25 million users, but only 1% of them contribute a donation. [...] The lognormal distribution of...

Four short links: 15 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 15, 2010

A German Library for the 21st Century (Der Spiegel) -- But browsing in Europeana is just not very pleasurable. The results are displayed in thumbnail images the size of postage stamps. And if you click through for a closer look, you're taken to the corresponding institute. Soon you're wandering helplessly around a dozen different museum and library Web sites...

Four short links: 25 November 2009

By Nat Torkington
November 25, 2009

http-parser -- This is a parser for HTTP messages written in C. It parses both requests and responses. The parser is designed to be used in performance HTTP applications. It does not make any allocations, it does not buffer data, and it can be interrupted at anytime. It only requires about 128 bytes of data per message stream (in...

Four short links: 18 September 2009

By Nat Torkington
September 18, 2009

Echofon -- novel take on Twitter apps: sync your unread list between phone, browser, and (ultimately, they promise) desktop Twitter app. (via auchmill on Twitter) GLAM Tech (MP3) -- Radio New Zealand new technology slot about the use of technology in the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) sector. For links, see the programme page. Man With Miniature Radio...

The Library of the Commons: Rise of the Infodex

By Mark Sigal
August 31, 2009

Somewhere between the realm of Personal and Shared media lies the realm of the Universal. The realm of the universal is the Library of the Commons, a global repository of user-generated and crowd-sourced media and information. Services that logically nest in the Library include: Amazon Reviews, Yelp, YouTube, Craigslist, Wikipedia, Flickr, Tweets...READ ON.

Four short links: 14 May 2009

By Nat Torkington
May 13, 2009

Open Library Book Reader -- the page-turning book reader software that the Internet Archive uses is open source. One of the reasons library scanning programs are ineffective is that they try to build new viewing software for each scan-a-bundle-of-books project they get funding for. Should Libraries Have eBooks? -- blog post from an electronic publisher made nervous by the...

Judith Krug: heroine of libraries, Internet, PATRIOT Act resistance

By Andy Oram
April 19, 2009

Consider giving a donation to your local public library this week in honor of Judith Krug, whose death at the age of 69 was announced this morning. Krug defended libraries and the Internet from censorship, and advised librarians how to protect their patrons from government spying on their reading habits.

Ada Lovelace Day ABC

By Nat Torkington
March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day helps to "make sure that whenever the question Who are the leading women in tech? is asked, that we all have a list of candidates on the tips of our tongues". I was tempted to talk about Mitchell Baker (Chief Lizard Wrangler at Mozilla) but the Ada Day specifically requested "unsung heroes", so I'm going to give...

Flickr Community Fills Gap

By Nat Torkington
December 21, 2008

In the recent round of Yahoo! layoffs was someone I'd just met, George Oates. She started the Flickr Commons, where galleries, libraries, archives, and museums can post photos and the community can tag them. She was a tireless ambassador, as well, with a gruelling travel schedule to bring the word to other institutions on what's possible. Her blog post about...

If Libraries had shareholders

By Peter Brantley
July 17, 2007

In my day job as the Director of the Digital Library Federation, I represent a small number of very large research libraries. Given my constituency, I've often wondered what the real impact of networked electronic information resources is on the...


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