Evil (Information) Scientist

What did I learn in school today? How to blog.

Archive for October, 2007

Net Neutrality Petition

Posted by Nathaniel on October 24, 2007

Sign the Canadian Net Neutrality petition. Keep the Net in Canada a single-tiered medium out of the control of the Telcoms.

It is our belief that the Internet is more than just the physical infrastructure over which it operates. It is a vibrant marketplace and an entirely new format for free expression, even a political landscape and a tool for free organization. Some ISPs in Canada however, are overstepping their role and cannot separate their participation in this network from their component ownership and commercial interests.


Posted in Information Sharing | Leave a Comment »

The machine is us/ing us

Posted by Nathaniel on October 24, 2007

We watched this video in 1210. It’s Fascinating and powerful (and fun) little clip on the Internet as a democratic medium.

Posted in Information Sharing, Technology | 1 Comment »

“Do libraries matter?” Review (Conclusion)

Posted by Nathaniel on October 17, 2007

Chad and Miller (and Talis) present a broad vision of the future of libraries that is as exciting as it is unsupported.  Indeed, compelling ideas are presented with very little supporting evidence, relying, instead, on readers’ intuition or desire to find the proof in alternate sources.  This tendency towards vagueness continues with powerful sounding ideas that run into problems on further reflection until one begins to suspect that the lack of substance is due to commercial motives.  This weakens the authors’ aims significantly and obscures the credible vision and solutions they do present.  This paper gives no reason for library management teams to immediately access Talis’ services, but it does give a few hints as to where library management might begin to consider orienting themselves.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Bad week for year 1 FIS students

Posted by Nathaniel on October 14, 2007

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Posted in Fun (Gimme an A!) | 2 Comments »

Product placement

Posted by Nathaniel on October 4, 2007

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Posted in Fun (Gimme an A!) | 4 Comments »

Internet literacy kills spam dead

Posted by Nathaniel on October 2, 2007

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg have come up with an innovative way to weed out comment spam while helping to preserve old books and manuscripts. Using an application they developed called reCAPTCHA, webmasters (and blog owners) can install a small program on their sites that commenters must fill out in order to leave a comment. Potential commenters are presented with two, almost illegible words that they must decipher in order to post their comment.

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This is much like the spam guard that Blogger offers where commenters must correctly type distorted letters to leave a comment. Spam comments from spambots cannot read the distortions and so comment spam cannot be posted. Humans can decipher these figures, and also the distorted manuscript items, and are permitted to leave their comments.

The interesting part is where the words are from and what they do. Many libraries and archives opt to digitize their older books and manuscripts in order to preserve them. Some scan them as image files, while others attempt go a step further and scan these images using text recognition programs. Unfortunately these programs are unable to recognize words distorted by older printing practices or age. That’s where reCAPTCHA comes in.

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The distorted words are placed in the comment spam guard in order to be deciphered. As users type them in the information is plugged into the documents they came from. Little by little the files are completed and older items are ready for public use. This a very imaginative and practical use of technology in the archive and library setting.

BBC – “Spam weapon helps preserve books”
Carnegie Mellon University
Images from BBC – “Spam weapon helps preserve books”

Posted in Technology | 4 Comments »