Technology

Is Distributed Computing a Crime?

For ZDNet News, Lisa Bowman writes...

\"David McOwen is losing a lot of sleep these days over his decision to participate in a distributed computing project two years ago. The former computer administrator at DeKalb Technical College in Georgia found out recently that he could face up to 30 years in jail and fines totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars because he installed some distributed computing software on the school\'s computers.\"
more...

60 Gadgets in 60 Minutes

From the Law Library Resource Exchange, Roger Skalback writes...

\"In today\'s world, technology gadgets are everywhere: the workplace, home, stores, churches, schools and government. Gadgets can make our lives easier, or as others have said, give us anxiety of gadget overload. At a panel presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries, four speakers picked their favorite gadgets to share with attending librarians and information managers. Granted, as time goes by, some of these gadgets will be outdated but still usable, just the same as gadgets in a kitchen. For the panel presentation, four people were asked to each select fifteen gadgets to display and discuss. Each speaker had one minute to display a specific gadget, highlighting aspects of each gadget that could be useful in a legal or library setting. The members of this panel presentation were as follows:\" Check it out.

Search Engines and Editorial Integrity

More on the growing trend toward search engines ranking query results based on payments made by advertisors:

Many of us in the new media industry have watched in despair during the past few months as several major search engines have abandoned all pretense at editorial integrity by adopting deceptive, misleading advertising practices at the expense of their users.Finally, someone has stood up and said, Enough is enough. And now it\'s time for the rest of us to join the battle as well. (More from the Online Journalism Review.)

Thanks to the always valuable Wood s Lot.

Grants Boost Library Technology in Massachusetts

Massachusetts libraries are getting more than $2.4 million in federal funds to upgrade their IT and improve accessibility:

The state Board of Library Commissioners is dispensing the federal money to more than 80 public, academic, school, regional and special libraries across the state. The money will fund such projects as digitizing historical resources, upgrading network systems and increasing access for people with disabilities. The money comes from the national Institute of Museum and Library Services, which is mandated under the 1996 Federal Library Services and Technology Act to promote access to learning and information resources for all types of libraries and for people of all ages.

(More from Federal Computer Week.)

A Library to End All Libraries?

I\'m sure Stephen H. Wildstrom didn\'t give that title as much thought as he should have, or maybe he did.
His Story in Businessweek is about how publishers are developing a system for locating and retrieving material on the Web--especially the sort of copyright works now found mostly in libraries.

They call it the Digital Object Identifier for eBooks, The DOI consists of two parts: a prefix that identifies the publisher, and a publisher-created suffix unique to the work.

The project is also part of a much broader effort to make Web content easier to locate and retrieve. While books are just starting to join the system, there are 3 million DOIs in use giving live cross-references in online academic and professional journals.

Check it out for yourself at crossref.org

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.

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