National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station

National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station


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.