Category Archives: Research

Digital Public Library of America – Not Just for Public Libraries

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a project which hopes to enhance existing services of all libraries by providing single source access to materials.  What types of materials? The digitized collections many of us already have  . . . at least to start.  Although many libraries have created searchable databases of digitized materials from multiple libraries, this project goes a step further, hoping to include all digitized collections that can be harvested using the Open Archives Initiative (OAI). Imagine being able to search not only local databases, but also the collections at the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress – and this is only the first step.

In addition to providing an integrated search, there will be tools to help you integrate, use, and adapt the collections for your own use. By providing APIs and toolkits (technical processes that help you work with data in the collections), you could create a web page of all the materials about President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ); or a link on your page that will display all photos of LBJ between the years  of 1950 and 1964; or create a public interface for your teens that is different from the one for your genealogy patrons. No technical expertise necessary. The DPLA will be looking for ways to provide these types of services for libraries at little or no cost.

Although the name of this project includes the phrase “public library,” it is important to realize that this is not meant to be just another public library or even a replacement for public libraries. Rather, the founders see this project as benefiting the public, thereby using the term “public library” in a slightly different fashion than we’re used to. By benefiting the public, librarians in all types of libraries have a stake in working with and furthering this project.

If you are interesting helping – or just in keeping up – they have mailing lists, wikis, and blogs that detail their work. It’s a very open process and your thoughts and ideas would be very welcome.



Common Craft has done it again — a great video on plagiarism. It has a very positive focus, which should make it even more helpful.

Who is the Top Bandwidth Consumer?

I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. 🙂

You got it — it’s NetFlix. If you said streaming media, I’d still give you credit.

In doing research for a Texas State Library workshop series earlier this year, I found statistics from the same company – Sandvine. Here’s what I found about 9 months ago:

  • Bittorrent – 35%
  • Netflix – 10%

On the chart, you can now see that Bittorrent is 17% and Netflix 24%. What a change a few months can make!

[from Yaho News]

Lytro’s Light Field Camera

Wow! What a cool idea for a camera! Take a picture and don’t worry about focusing – you can focus later on an spot on the photo. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself! Go ahead . . . I’ll wait . . .

Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever seen? From what I’ve read, Lytro is planning on building their own camera with this technology embedded. However, I’m hoping that they license the technology to other camera manufacturers, too.

The Rolltop Laptop

A concept for a new type of laptop from Orkin Design in Germany. What do you think?

[from Slashdot]

Mobile Phones Decrease Bone

A small study done at the National University of Cuyo in Argentina tested the bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content of men (BMC). Half wore cell phones on their hips and half did not.

The results stated that men who wear cell phones on their hips showed a reduction in both BMD and BMC over a 12-month period. This could have far-reaching consequences for both men and women; more research is being done.

[from thinq]
[from Journal of Craniofacial Surgery]

Multitasking Difficult for Older People

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, are finding that multitasking, or the ability to easily and quickly switch between tasks, becomes more difficult as you age.

They set up a study using two groups, e.g., one with an average age of 24.5 and another with an average age of 69.1. They asked each participant to view a natural scene and maintain it in the mind for 14.4 seconds. Halfway through the 14.4 seconds, they were interrupted with an image of a face and asked to give its sex and age, then asked to recall the original image.

Everyone was easily able to switch between the natural scene and the face. However, the older group had a much more difficult time releasing the image of the face and reconnecting with the image of the natural scene. Researchers are now looking into software that will train the brain to be able to release tasks and return to the previous one.

[from UCSF]

LED Displays in Contact Lenses

The University of Washington has been doing some very interesting research involving contact lenses. So far, they have embedded electronics into the lens, allowing diabetes patients to monitor their glucose levels. They use a red LED to provide feedback to the patient. Sounds better than pricking your finger!

They have also introduced a blue LED; they just need to insert one for green and they will have the option for full-color. They’ve been successfully testing on rabbits; no idea when human trials are expected.

This idea opens up many possibilities on the medical front, as well as informational and entertainment. They say that the images projected are semi-transparent, so you can still see your environment.

[from ExtremeTech
[from IEEE Spectrum]

Sleeping with the Lights On

OK – maybe you don’t sleep with the lights on anymore, but do you charge your devices in your bedroom? Even this level of light can cause you problems.

An Ohio State University study found that the glare of city lights at night can cause depression. They have also found that exposure to even dim lights, like from a TV of computer screen, can cause depression. A third study found that mice that slept with a low level of light had more depressive symptoms than those that held to a dark environment while sleeping.

In a further study, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have substantiated a link between a suppression in creating melatonin and keeping lights on at night, however dim. Since there have been previous studies linking melatonin suppression and diabetes, they are hypothesizing that sleeping with lights on could also cause diabetes.

Do you charge your electronic devices where you sleep? You might consider moving them.

[from CNET News]
[from CNET News]

Scanning Dead Sea Scrolls

Google will be scanning the Dead Sea Scrolls and, with the Israel Antiquities Authority,  making it publicly available. Use and photography of the scrolls has cause preservation concerns. The hope is that, using the latest in spectral and infrared imaging technologies, there will no longer be a need to expose the scrolls again.

CNN Video

[from CNN]