- Why did ERIC remove access to full text documents?
- What process did the ERIC team use to restore the PDFs?
- Why did it take almost two years for ERIC to restore the documents?
- What are the next steps?
Yesterday evening instead of attending the prologue of the 2014 Tour of Alberta as I had planned, I found myself at the Calgary stop of Richard Pietro's Open Government Tour. I totally made the right choice!
Over the past year I've found myself increasingly interested in both linked data and civic affairs, and this 3-hour event brought them together in a wonderful way, though it was much more about open data than linked data. I'm not going to attempt to recreate the discussion here, but as much for myself as for anyone else who's interested, I'm going to list the participants along with some of the sites and tools that were discussed.
Sameer Vasta – Data Catalyst, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto (via Skype)
DJ Kelly – Strategy Lead, Cultural Transformation, The City of Calgary
Bill Ptacek - CEO of Calgary Public Library
Grant Neufeld – Calgary Democracy, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Lori Stewart – Co-founder Hopper Dev, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Walter Simbirski – Open Data Strategist, The City of Calgary
Mark Gayler – Technology Strategist, Microsoft Canada
Paul Fairie – Political Science, University of Calgary
Sites of interest:
Inspired by Peter in PEI, I went ahead and transcribed the PDF of the official Westmount Charter School (in Calgary) 2014/15 Calendar into Google Calendar and iCal formats so you can actually import them into the calendar of your choice, rather than have to read a PDF.
Update - August 18, 2014: Just got an email from Westmount indicating they're launching their own official version on Google Calendar, so I've taken mine down to avoid confusion and will link to the official one when it's posted. Yay!
Amanda Wakaruk, Government Information Librarian at the University of Alberta, has written a comprehensive article outlining the BS (my words, not hers), libraries in Canada have been dealing with over the past several years when it comes to accessing Federal information. Her entire paper is available on the UofA Institutional Repository: What the Heck is Happening up North? Canadian Federal Government Information, Circa 2014.
Here's a paragraph to whet your appetite:
Parks Canada removed hundreds of lesson plans from its website, the Aboriginal Portal of Canada was closed with two weeks’ notice, access to tables of 1665-1871 Census statistics disappeared with the decommissioning of E-Stat, and we started to notice serious lapses in content on once trusted websites (e.g., ministerial speeches were no longer being added to departmental websites). To make matters worse, we were learning about restricted access to publications which used to be freely available online. For example, in order to access dozens of reports on the Health Canada website you now have to fill in and submit a form before the pdf document will be sent via email. Because this requires the use of an identifying email address, some suggested that it was in violation of Section 4 of the Privacy Act. Furthermore, when a library staff member attempted to order multiple titles using these forms, she was informed that they would not be provided until she explained how she intended to use them.
Maybe BS isn't strong enough?
Here's a jab from Rick Mercer on the subject:
Hat tip to Dani for the info about this paper!
From time to time I find myself wondering what module a given Drupal site uses to perform some nifty action or another. A while back I found a tool that helps with that spy work for WordPress called simply What WordPress Theme is that? And then I finally found Drupal X-Ray, which does the same thing for Drupal sites.
Oh, and if you're not sure which CMS (Content Management System) you're looking at, try http://whatcms.org/
Serveral weeks ago as a result of a post by Michael Stephens I was introduced to this awesome page of usage visualizations at the Traverse Area District Library (Traverse City, MI). I had a great email exchange with the developer, Bill Rockwood, about how he put it together, and he's since posted a page outlining how it was built. Eventually, as time permits, Bill and his team will put the code up on GitHub for the rest of the world to use :-) Definitely worth a peek. Are you aware of any similar projects?
In 2011 for the first time I started tracking the books I was reading, and in January of 2012 I posted about what and how I'd read during 2011. Here's my post for what and how I read in 2012.
In 2011 I tracked my reads in a basic text file in Evernote. That ended up being really short-sighted for metrics and such, so I started using Goodreads in 2012, and you can see my account there if you want to follow me or dive in more deeply to my reads. I'd hoped it would allow me to show more pretty graphs of my reads than it does, but in order to really match last year's categories I still have to do a little manual work.
I entered my 2011 reads in Goodreads as well so I could start to compare year over year, but things don't match up exactly because I didn't want to enter each separate volume of the two graphic novels I plowed through (Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man), but generally in 2012 I read more books, and more of them were ebooks. Didn't do the pages per month on a graph.
2013 is off to a pretty slow start as I was plowing through A Dance with Dragons. Best recommendation from 2012: the Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey.
Back in November I posted about my desire for some way to reliably monitor and report available study seats within the library. I recently heard about Pinoccio, an Indiegogo project, and suspect it might do the trick! It's a very small Arduino board with an optional WiFi board. If one plugged a motion sensor, or used the included temperature sensor, it'd probably be able to report whether there was a body sitting at a given location. Small enough to work, WiFi and a long-life(?) battery. Ooh, even better, you don't need the WiFi bridge for each unit, only one for a given area, so that brings down the cost and complexity.
Pricing in bulk seems reasonable - they have a $999 package that would get you 20 monitors and a WiFi shield. Unfortunately we still have a couple hundred seats I'd like to be able to monitor, so realistically we probably still have to get the cost down. That's the primary reason I haven't given more thought to a more finished product like Twine... I think I'll drop the founders a note asking if they think this whole thing would work, and if so, go ahead and pick up a starter kit for testing.
Your full citation:
Nice to finally see our new library here at the U of Calgary hosting non-traditional events, just as this year's edition of Global Game Jam. If you're in the Calgary area, why not participate?
We've got the whole workstation availability thing licked, but I want to be able to show our users which study seats are available here in the TFDL. That's one of the top two most common complaints here; that students spend too much time wandering around looking for a place to sit/study.
Here's my stream of consciousness on the issue. The solution can't be built in to the chairs, because those can move from table to cubicle etc. I think the most accurate bet is going to be a small proximity or motion detection device at every single table top, either above (subject to being blocked by study materials) or below (subject to confusion by a pushed-in chair?). The problem with that solution is cost and infrastructure. Unless very efficient, each unit would require electricity and a wifi transmitter. Building or buying and maintaining several hundred small Arduino-like devices seems too cumbersome and expensive.
Some other ideas I've come up with, or that have been suggested by colleagues, include cameras that can monitor a large space and tell which spots have bodies sitting at them. Possibly IR cameras? Tracking the number of active wifi connections on a floor, or around a particular antenna, and then guestimating that there must be a certain number of available seats, though not able to pinpoint them on a map.
Are you aware of any solutions out there already?
We're within a week of Halloween, so the zombie references are popping out of the woodwork.
First up, CommonCraft has updated their previous video, Zombies Explained:
Next, from the Zombie Research Society, we have a scientific look at what might be going on in a zombie's brain to make it a zombie:
Zombies seem to be important at the University of Calgary. From last year, here's a game called Nurses against Zombieism (back story), and here's a case study called Zombie Attack! An Introduction to Quantitative Modeling.
Stay safe out there!
I took the kids down to the East Village today for the inaugural Calgary Mini Maker Faire, and we all had a blast! I've been wanting to get involved somehow in the maker movement for quite some time, but never made the effort to get down to our local hacker lab, Protospace. That'll probably change if the kids have anything to say about it.
I was very impressed by the organization of the event. I was a little worried about running in to some anti-social nerds, but every single one of the tables we visited had a friendly, articulate, passionate person behind it. Nobody talked down to me or the kids, and they were all, without exception, eager to talk about their projects and answer as many questions as we had.
The thing that surprised me most was how much time my daughter spent with the "old-school" makers, learning to comb wool and spin it into yarn. I think I learned more from those ladies than I did from any of the more "traditional" robotics, 3D printing and electronics booths as well! At one table we were looking at silkworm cocoons and learning how silk is made from them. We had just been working with the wool, and I hadn't yet touched the silk, which from a few feet away kinda looked like the wool we'd just left. It wasn't until about 5 minutes in that it dawned on me that we weren't talking about some sort of silkworm wool, but frickin' silk! I know, I'm slow, but I'd never seen the stuff coming off a cocoon. Truly amazing.
Not to say we didn't learn a lot about 3D printers and robotics as well. My son picked up a Cybug Scarab (ooh, there's a website redesign contract I can suggest!), and I finally got an Arduino beginner's kit that I've long thought would be a good way to get started. My son and I sucessfully built the first blinky light experiment this evening :-) There were quite a few 3D printers going; I think another year or so and they'll be well under $1,000. I'd hoped to see an egg-bot in action, but no such luck.
Here are a couple more random pix:
One of the non-work-related pleasures I have is assisting with the webcam we have pointing at the Peregrine falcons that nest in the building next to the library here at the U of Calgary. This year we have triplets, and if you've ever wondered whether a bird of prey makes a caring mother, here's an answer for you:
If you'd like to watch them grow up live, you can do so here (warning, there is a fair amount of bird blood and discarded parts lying about...)