National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station

National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station


First step in Net Neutrality adopted by USA's Federal Communications Commission

The United State's Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to this ITI Weekly News Digest & NewsBreaks item, had taken the first step towards Net Neutrality by adopting a set of rules. According to ITI's review,

These rules were developed following a public rulemaking process that began in fall 2009 and included input from more than 100,000 individuals and organizations and several public workshops. The rules require all broadband providers to publicly disclose network management practices, restrict broadband providers from blocking internet content and applications, and bar fixed broadband providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic. The FCC says that the rules ensure much-needed transparency and continued internet openness, while making clear that broadband providers can effectively manage their networks and respond to market demands

The ITI piece goes on to state that the FCC's action is not without its detractors and critics, including "Republicans in Congress", the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE.

The new rules are supposed to take effect "early in 2011."


The new stuff of life: arsenic

NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, announced a momentous find on December 2, 02010, that of microorganisms that live off arsenic. According to the media release on their Web site
Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.

"The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it."

This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The research is published in this week's edition of Science Express.
 Additional details about the find are available on NASA's Astrobiology site. Science Express is an online service of the Science journal.


Canadiana Discovery Portal opens in beta mode

The Canadiana Discovery Portal has opened in beta mode. The portal is a one-stop search portal through which you can search by keyword for thousands of catalog (metadata) records from contributing institutions across Canada. As yet there is no advanced search facility, just a Google-like search box. The portal is a new service from For digitized content such as publicly accessible documents from Early Canadiana Online or photographs from institutions such as the Library and Archives Canada or the Vancouver Public Library, you can view the digitized content with one mouse click.


DigCCurr, developing an international digital curation/digital preservation curriculum

The DigCCurr site, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is spearheading the development of an international digital curation/digital preservation curriculum. Papers from various conferences and symposia are online. Eligible doctoral (PhD) candidates are urged to apply for fellowship funding provided by the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Yahoo! Clues, more data about agreggate searching habits

According to an Information Today Newsbreak story by Greg R. Notess on November 29, 02010 about Yahoo! Clues, "Yahoo! Clues presents information about popular searches that have been done by the “millions of people who use Yahoo! to search each day.” Similar to Google Trends and Google Insights for Search, Clues has both similar and unique data points. The data available includes search volume, searcher demographics (age group, gender, and income), searcher location, search flow, and related searches. This free tool can be used to get a sense of the types of data available to advertisers about search patterns and demographics."

The Yahoo! Blog posting about Yahoo! Clues offers a video and the Yahoo! Clues site is here.


The Shopsowitz Formula: silica and cellulose = evolutionary colors

According to a newspaper article on November 26, 02010, University of British Columbia research chemist and chemistry doctoral candidate Kevin E. Shopsowitz accidentally discovered a formula for creating a color formula that adapts to changing light conditions. He accidentally spilled a solution he was working on. The newspaper article forecasts paint that adapts to changing light conditions and inexpensive sensors. The journal Nature published a paper on this major Canadian discovery.


First non-beta release of ICA-AtoM (1.1) available for download

Artefactual Systems, the developers of ICA-AtoM, announced on November 22, 02010 that version 1.1, the first non-beta release, is available for download at

ICA-AtoM, sponsored by the International Council on Archives, is a multilevel, archival description tool. The first publicly accessible networked application to use ICA-AtoM is the Archives Association of British Columbia's MemoryBC database of which I am currently the administrator.

RockMelt Web browser invite on its way

Information Today's NewsBreaks features an article by Jill O'Neill titled "Hallmarks of the New RockMelt Browser—Efficiency and Integration" (November 22, 02010). Turns out you can receive an invite if you connect to the RockMelt Inc. Web site through your Facebook account. When I made the connection, I got a response saying "Your spot is reserved. We'll email your invite in the next few days." The developers of RockMelt are Tim Howe and Eric Vishria. RockMelt is based on Google's open source Chromium framework that Google also used to create its Google Chrome browser.


Personal Digital Archiving 02011 Conference, San Francisco, CA, USA

The Personal Digital Archiving 02011 Conference, to be held February 24 and 25, 02011 at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, CA, USA, is looking for "proposals for session topics and speakers, as well as volunteers to help us organize and serve on site."



November/December 02010 issue of D-Lib Magazine is here

From the announcement on various mailing lists on 02010 11 16:

The November/December issue of D-Lib Magazine ( is now available.

This issue contains four articles, an opinion piece and a conference report. Also in this issue you can find the 'In Brief' column, excerpts from recent press releases, and news of upcoming conferences and other items of interest in 'Clips and Pointers'. This month, D-Lib features WebExhibits courtesy of Michael Douma, WebExhibits Editor.

The articles include:

Taming the Metadata Beast: ILOX

Article by David Massart and Elena Shulman, European Schoolnet (EUN), Belgium; Nick Nicholas, Australian National Data Service (ANDS), Australia; Nigel Ward, eResearch Lab, the University of Queensland, Australia; Frédéric Bergeron, TELUQ, Canada

PDF/A: A Viable Addition to the Preservation Toolkit

Article by Daniel W. Noonan, The Ohio State University Archives; Amy McCrory and Elizabeth L. Black, Ohio State University Libraries

Trends in Large-Scale Subject Repositories

Article by Jessica Adamick and Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Federated Content Rights Management for Research and Academic Publications Using the Handle System

Article by Guo Xiaofeng and Li Ying, Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China, and Sam X. Sun, Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Digital Preservation Education for North Carolina State Government Employees and the public

From the announcement to various mailing lists on 02010 11 16:

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' State Library and State Archives (Cultural Resources) are proud to announce a new website to guide local and state government employees responsible for the preservation of our state's public record. The site,, has resources that can help North Carolina government employees – and those responsible for digital information in general – learn how to ensure that today's digital information is saved so that it can become tomorrow's heritage.

For those new to the concept, tutorials explain what digital preservation is and why it is important, and a checklist of key digital preservation practices helps integrate digital preservation activities into day-to-day workflows. For those already incorporating digital preservation into their daily work, more advanced guidance is provided, including "quick tips," tutorials, institutions and research projects to watch, and much more.

While the site is directed toward North Carolina public servants, it is general enough to be useful to those considering, implementing, or teaching on the topic.

Facebook launches e-mail service

I wonder how th elaunch of the Facebook e-mail service will affect the spam and malware landscape. Here's the article about the launch.


Globe and Mail series "Canada: Our Time to Lead" about the future of the Internet

The Globe and Mail newspaper is publishing and offering online access to its content around a series called "Canada: Our Time to Lead". One of the eight discussions focuses on the future of the Internet and Canada's role in directing that future. Right now the future, according to the article on November 13, 02010 about the Koobface malware by Russian hackers (the link is to Symantec's description of this worm), looks pretty bleak indeed because the potential exists for it to no longer be free in both content and access thanks to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union which some UN members such as Russia are pushing to take over governance of the Internet. The Globe and Mail is inviting Canadian politicians to step up to cybercrime playing field and to take a leadership role in helping to slow down these criminal activities. The Globe and Mail also wants your opinions on what Canada and Canadians can do to ensure to a free and open Internet into the future.


OpenFile, a new Canadian development in citizen journalism

OpenFile is a Canadian development in the field of citizen journalism. Basically, you register for a free account, which entitles you to submit story ideas which are then assigned to a reporter. OpenFile is also recruiting reporters. Once the story goes live other OpenFile members can add information and multimedia content to it. As of November 14, 02010, the site is in beta.

I encountered a reference to OpenFile on an archives mailing list that pointed to this story by Patrick Cain "Remembering Toronto's fallen from World War II".


University of Chicago Library launches new digitization initiative

According to an announcement on the Archives & Archivists mailing list (02010 11 11),

The University of Chicago Library's Special Collections Research Center has a launched an initiative for the digitization of archives and manuscript collections. The digital images are being made available via the online finding aid for each collection. This will recreate for the online user the experience of a researcher encountering the original materials in the SCRC Reading Room, with documents displayed as they are housed in each folder, and with description of the contents in the form of folder headings.

Individual, high-resolution images of each page will be permanently preserved in the Library's digital repository, and can be made available for publication or other research needs. Due to provisions of copyright laws, digitization efforts are currently focused on materials in the public domain, or those for which the University of Chicago holds copyright.
 Among the new content to be available are Soviet and Middle Eastern poster collections, records around the trial of Jefferson Davis for treason, and plantation life records before and after the Civil War.

For links to the content currently online, see this November 11, 02010 entry from the SCRC blog.

Slashing the Web with the Blekko search engine

A new search engine called Blekko launched in early November 02010. Its motto of sorts is "Slash the Web", a reference to its incorporation of a special search operator, the forward slash or /. According to this Information Today Newsbreak story,

"couple your search terms with what Blekko calls “slashtags”—predetermined filters that limit your search to a particular set of websites. These can be those created by Blekko or user-generated. They can be topic specific, convey an opinion, eliminate spam, act as sorting mechanisms, or directly search another site.

Blekko’s built-in slashtags include /people (limits to pages associated with individuals), /liberal, /conservative, /news, /politics, and many more. To sort results by date, combing search terms with the slashtag /date or date range with/dr=yyyy:yyyy (where yyyy represents the year). Third party slashtags include /amazon, /bing, /google, /twitter, and/youtube. Specific tags for /weather, /map, and /define are self explanatory.

Some of the Blekko-created slashtags work better than others. I’ve had very good luck with /blogs, /techblogs, and /forums, which effectively searches blog and forum sites, but results from /humor have been atrocious. Not only were they generally not funny, they were frequently in questionable taste. Some of Blekko’s slashtags are odd, such as the 88 websites identified as /lego. You can view all Blekko’s tags by entering /tags in the search box."
 Since you can create your own slashtags, Blekko qualifies as a social search engine.

My biggest complaint about Blekko is its 404-like error message upon using the "wrong" kind of slashtag, that is, one that doesn't exist. Here's a typical error message followed by an invitation to create my own useless slashtag:

The slashtags you entered /"david and mattison" are not valid

Create your own slashtag '/"david'


Digital Records Preservation; Where to Start Guide (October 02010)

The ISO Working Group responsible for Records Management Digital Records Preservation, formally known as ISO TC 46/SC 11/WG 7, has published its Digital Records Preservation; Where to Start Guide (October 02010). The 18-page document is available for download as a PDF file. Sadly, there is no mention of the work of InterPARES which has been covering much of the same territory for the past several years and has also produced a similar 22-page guide called Preserver Guidelines: Preserving Digital Records: Guidelines for Organizations. This InterPARES 2 2008 publication also appears as Appendix 21 of the InterPARES 2 book titled International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems (InterPARES) 2: Experiential, Interactive and Dynamic Records.

2010-10-21 now part of

Having grown its database of digitized historical documents over the past four years and based on a successful use-pay model that offered some parts of its database for free, announced on October 21, 02010 that it's been acquired by as of that date. According to the announcement, "The plan is to continue to run the way we have always run — continuing to do what we believe is best for our customers, our business and our brand." I wonder though how long that will last under's ownership. The announcement also provided these statistics: " started with only 5 million historical documents and today we have nearly 70 million searchable documents, over 1 million members, nearly 100,000 Footnote Pages, and over half million annotations added."Quite an accomplishment, but let's not forget that some of those records were provided through partnership arrangements with archives such as the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States, who therefore also deserve some credit. I hope that will honor the agreements that were struck by with organizations such as NARA.


Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research exhibition at the British Library

The British Library wants your opinion to count as part of its Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research exhibition. The exhibition runs between October 12, 02010 and July 16, 02011. Parts of it are online, including a selection of current Web sites that offer access to various free databases or new ways to organize research and connect to other researchers such as Mendeley. A selection of social networking and collaborative research tools are available. If you want to tweet about the exhibition, the hashtag is #blgk


Royal BC Museum launches new collections database

The Royal BC Museum has launched its new collections database. As of October 12, 2010, you can access new databases for Ethnology, Archaeology and Modern History. Databases that utilize existing search engines and have yet to be transitioned to the new system are the natural history collections and the BC Archives.


Forvo, a collaborative online pronunciation guide

I was looking for a site that provided an online pronunciation guide to a wide variety of languages. I found it in Forvo. As of October 7, 02010, the site contains "791,131 words 724,689 pronunciations 258 languages." By registering for a free account you can put your own linguistic talents to use.


Bing Rewards, if you can't lick them, buy them

Microsoft has launched a search loyalty program for Bing called Bing Rewards. If you already have a Windows Live ID, you can use that to register for this program.


The Way We Were: Nova Scotia in Film, 1917-1957

The Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management has released a new digital collection called The Way We Were: Nova Scotia in Film, 1917-1957. An alternate URL is via its YouTube channel According to an announcement on the ARCAN-L mailing list (02010 09 21), the collection consists of "96 'movies' that showcase the early years of amateur and professional filmmaking in Nova Scotia."


Yahoo! Search previews new features

The Yahoo! Search Blog offered a preview of some new features coming in the fall 02010. According to the blog,

With more searches than ever for information-rich topics like music, movies, and news, we’ll be launching new, more visually compelling search results that let you discover information and be entertained all on one search result page.


Tweet to the beat from Aviary online music creation software

In late June 02010 Aviary, a company that offers a free suite on online creation and editing tools, introduced an unusual one called Music Creator. They provide you with the virtual instruments and sound to create your beats and you take it from there. Pretty cool! But the app is still in Alpha mode.


Call For Papers: "Electronic Records to Born-Digital Archives: Evolution in Theory and Practice", Archivaria #72, Fall 02011

As announced on the ARCAN-L mailing list (02010 09 13):

Call For Papers: "Electronic Records to Born-Digital Archives: Evolution in Theory and Practice"

Archivaria #72, Fall 02011

Archivists have dealt with digitally-created records for over 35 years. During this time, the archival profession has made significant progress towards establishing bodies of knowledge and expertise in their management. This sector of the profession has evolved continually in response to changes in technology, society, mandates, and expectations. The time is right to reflect on and critically examine this evolution in theory and practice with an eye towards future professional obligations and possibilities.

Accordingly, Archivaria #72 (Fall 2011) will be devoted to exploring the theme of  "Electronic Records to Born-Digital Archives: Evolution in Theory and Practice". Mark A. Matienzo, Digital Archivist at Manuscripts and Archives in the Yale University Library, will serve as Guest Editor of this special issue.

Contributions to this special issue should address changes in theory and practice related to electronic records and born-digital archives. ...

Deadline for expressions of interest:

Expressions of interest consisting of an abstract of the proposed article (300-500 words) must be received by the Guest Editor by 1 November 2010.

Please feel free to direct questions related to this special issue to
the Guest Editor:

Mark A. Matienzo at or +1 734-834-4334

Submission guidelines:

Final submissions should follow the "Advice to Authors of Submissions
to Archivaria" at:

Deadline for complete manuscripts:

Complete manuscripts are due 1 March 2011.


Fending off the digital dark ages: The archival storage issue

ComputerWorld published an article by Lamont Wood titled "Fending off the digital dark ages: The archival storage issue". Wood discussed the many complex issues involved with both vendor representatives and practitioners in the archives and library worlds. Overall, I got the impression that the situation is no better, at least in North America, than it was a decade or even two decades ago. In Europe, however, there seems to be a stronger desire and, more importantly, the will to get something done. Some national jurisdictions already have many of the necessary infrastructure and processes in place, and European digital preservation researchers work with national, pan-European and international partners. For example, while the digital preservation aspect is still a work in progress, the National Library of the Netherlands, according to an article on the Library of Congress' Digital Preservation site, has been receiving electronic publications under its legal deposit system since 2003. Are there any cultural institutions in North America that have as lengthy a track record?


Real Live Search with the Bing API was there first

Over at Search Engine Journal, Yvonne Bell reports that an Australian developer Long Zheng created an app in 02009 called Real Live Search that uses the Microsoft Bing search engine API to produce the kind of "instant search" results Google was touting in its announced improvement on September 9, 02010. But while USA Today's Technology Live interview with Bing director Stefan Weitz referenced Zheng's app, it is not an official Microsoft offering. Here's what Weitz said:

Weitz: The [Google Instant Search] interface itself isn't anything new. There was a site put up last year that does the same thing with Bing APIs. The magic was they (Google) were able to do it at scale, for all of their searchers. It's an impressive technical accomplishment for sure.
In response to the question of whether Bing will counter Google Instant Search with something like Zheng's app, Weitz stated that "We have a fundamentally different philosophy about how search is evolving. It's not about giving you much more links faster, it really is about getting you the information you need to make a decision faster in the format that makes the most sense."


Site your Points of Interest at

A new wiki called devoted to telling stories about historical points of interest has emerged. Here's what its About page says: is a website dedicated to allowing anyone to learn about the history of any place on earth. The site's content is written by its users and can also be edited by its users. Anyone is encouraged to add to any of the existing pages or create a new page about a location not yet covered by's goal is to eventually be able to offer users information about almost every historically significant place one earth, explaining what happened there, when, why, who was involved, and what were the consequences. Access to such information about millions of locations all over the world will allow one to appreciate how, not only does the past surround him/her, but that it is intimately connected to the present.

Help solve some national problems in the USA at

According to an ITI Weekly News Digest story, is "a new online site and digital platform to help mobilize American ingenuity to solve some of our nation’s most pressing challenges. is an online site where entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizen solvers can compete for prestige and prizes by providing novel solutions to tough national problems, large and small."

Source: " Prize Platform Invites Citizens to Solve Nation’s Challenges", Weekly News Digest, September 9, 02010 via White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Google Instant saving you time

Google announced on September 9, 02010 it was rolling out a new service called Google Instant. The catch is, you have to have a Google Account and be logged in in order to benefit from the two to five seconds of time savings per search. Google Instant attempts to predict your search and starts showing you results as you type.


New issue of open access journal LIBER Quarterly (Vol. 20, No. 1, 02010)

A new issue of the open access journal LIBER Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 1 (02010) is available. LIBER is the acronym for the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche or Association of European Research Libraries. This issue includes an article titled "User Collaboration for Improving Access to Historical Texts" by Clemens Neudecker and Asaf Tzadok in which they discuss the work of the 02008-02012 IMPACT (Improving Access to Text) project, one of whose goals is "to develop tools that help improve OCR results for historical printed texts, specifically those works published before the industrial production of books from the middle of the 19th century. ... The IMPACT project will specifically develop a tool that supports collaborative correction and validation of OCR results and a tool to allow user involvement in building historical dictionaries which can be used to validate word recognition." 


Call for Papers, Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference, February 02011

Quoting from the announcement on various mailing lists (02010 09 07):
The Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference has begun to accept program proposals for the 2011 conference in Austin, Texas.Pre-Conferences are scheduled to be held on 27 February 2011 and the regular conference begins the morning of 28 February and runs through mid-day on 2 March.

We are encouraging proposals for the following program tracks:

Managing E-Resources in Libraries
Collection Development and Assessment
Workflow and Organizations
External and User Relationships
Emerging and Future Technologies
Scholarly Communication and Licensing
Library as Publisher

Please see the call for proposals on the Electronic Resources and Libraries website for more details:

Proposals will be accepted through 15 November 2010 and early submissions will be given priority.

Lastly, registration has also opened for the conference so if you are interested in attending, please take advantage of early registration by clicking on the bright red registration button on the web site:


Six Apart's Vox blog publishing service closing September 30, 02010

While the comment spammers who invaded the Vox blog publishing system will be disappointed and possibly helped initiate the process, Six Apart has notified its Vox blog users that the service is shutting down effective September 30, 02010. You can either migrate to Six Apart's subscription-based TypePad service or use an import tool at or Posterous to move your blog. I was able to migrate my one Vox blog, The Fictional World of Archives, Art Galleries and Museums, so that it too is now part of Google's Blogspot service.

DCC / DPC What's New, Issue 29, September 02010

As announced on the DIGITAL-PRESERVATION@JISCMAIL.AC.UK mailing list (02010 09 03), the Digital Preservation Coalition and Digital Curation Centre have published Issue 29 of What's New for September 02010. This issue "includes an interview with Catharine Ward of Cambridge University Library and an overview of recent digital preservation activities in Canada from Pam Bjornson of the Canadian Institute for Science and Technical Information."