Monday, March 2, 2015

Universities divided on value of new rankings: EUA

Source: University World News, Issue number 356, by Brendan O'Malley, 25 February 2015

Universities remain divided on the value of U-Multirank, the new multidimensional ranking of universities, although most will continue to contribute data to it, a consultation of European University Association members has found.

The survey showed that U-Multirank, or UMR – launched last year with seed funding from the European Commission – is still struggling with many of the same challenges as other rankings with regard to comparability and reliability of data.

Read more 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Google Blogger to ban sexually explicit content

Source:, 24 February 2015

Google said Tuesday it would ban sexually explicit content or "graphic nudity" on its Blogger platform, asking users to remove the material by March 23.

Read more  

Harry Potter provides window into the DNA of behavioral genetics

Source: Medical Xpress, by Ken Branson, 26 February 2015

Harry Potter, the hero of J. K. Rowling's seven fantasy novels, is a chip off the old wizarding block when it comes to quidditch, the fictional sport played by rival houses at Hogwarts, the school for wizards and witches. Like his father before him, Harry is a master of the game. Perhaps his skill is in his DNA.

The question of how genetics help shape the shared behavior pattern between a parent and a child, such as the athleticism between orphaned Harry and his father, James, is one of the topics Lei Yu, professor of genetics in the School of Arts and Sciences, discusses with the 20 students enrolled this semester in his 10-week Byrne Seminar, "Harry Potter and Behavioral Genetics."

Read full article   

The truth about the Sound of Music family

Source: BBC News, by Louise Hidalgo, 1 March 2015

When it was released 50 years ago, The Sound of Music became one of the most successful films of all time. It was based on the true story of the von Trapp family (above) - but what did they think of it and was their life really like it was portrayed in the movie?

Read more  

BOOK (2015) Digital Technology and the Future of Broadcasting: Global Perspectives

Editor: John V Pavlik
Publisher: Taylor & Francis, 1 June 2015
Series: Electronic Media Research Series
240 pages
ISBN-13: 9781138891227

This volume presents timely discussions on how digital technology is reshaping broadcasting and the media in the United States and around the world. It features contributions from distinguished scholars and young researchers, representing work that spans domestic and international issues of technological change and the implications for broadcasting and related media in a global context.
Among the many issues covered are:
  • The impact of digital technology on the structure of broadcasting organizations and regulation;
  • The nature of broadcast content or media programming and how it is delivered at home and abroad;
  • Engagement and interaction of the public with broadcasting and social and mobile media; and
  • The reshaping of revenue models for broadcasters and media organizations globally.
The first two parts of the volume, addressing research challenges, issues, and advances in global broadcasting, are competitively reviewed research papers which were presented at the BEA2014 Research Symposium. The third part focuses on international perspectives, with chapters from broadcasting scholars and paper discussants at the Research Symposium. This section provides reflection on the problems and prospects for research, education, and public policy that arise in this era of rapid and continuing change.  

BOOK (2015) Research in the Decision Sciences for Global Supply Chain Network Innovations: Best Papers from the 2014 Annual Conference

Author: European Decision Sciences Institute
Publisher: Pearson FT Press, 15 June 2015
Series: FT Press Operations Management Series, edition number 1
352 pages
ISBN-13: 9780134052335

The papers in this volume introduce powerful new innovations in global supply chain networks. The best papers from the 2014 annual conference of the European regional subdivision of the Decision Sciences Institute (EDSI), they analyze the latest global trends associated with:
  • Sustainability and corporate social responsibility
  • Applications in modeling and decision techniques
  • Social network analysis for better decision-making
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Relationship management
  • ERP/Enterprise Business Intelligence
  • Globalized manufacturing
  • Performance and revenue management
  • Risk management
  • Business innovation management
  • Supply chain operations management, and more
The papers collected here will be valuable to wide audiences of faculty, researchers, and students in diverse programs covering supply chain and/or operations management, and for others interested in the frontiers of decision science.  

BOOK (2015) Higher Education in the BRICS Countries: Investigating the Pact between Higher Education and Society

Authors: Simon Schwartzman, Romulo Pinheiro, Pundy Pillay
Publisher: Springer Netherlands, 14 March 2015
Higher Education Dynamics Series, #44
492 pages
ISBN-13: 9789401795692

In spite of the increasing attention attributed to the rise in prominence of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries, few studies have looked at the ways in which broader social expectations with respect to the role of higher education across the BRICS have changed, or not, in recent years. Our point of departure is that, contrary to the conventional wisdom focusing on functionalistic perspectives, higher education systems are not just designed by governments to fulfill certain functions, but have a tendency for evolving in a rather unpredictable fashion as a result of the complex interplay between a number of internal and external factors. In reality, national higher education systems develop and change according to a complex process that encompasses the expectations of governmental agencies, markets, the aspirations of the population for the benefits of education, the specific institutional traditions and cultures of higher education institutions, and, increasingly so, the interests and strategies of the private firms entering and offering services in the higher education market. This basically means that it is of outmost importance to move away from conceiving of "universities" or "higher education" as single, monolithic actors or sector. One way of doing this is by investigating a selected number of distinct, but nonetheless interrelated factors or drivers, which, taken together, help determine the nature and scope of the social compact between higher education (its core actors and institutions) and society at large (government, industry, local communities, professional associations).  

BOOK (2015) Robots and the Whole Technology Story (Science Sorted Series)

Author: Glenn Murphy
Published: Pan Macmillan, 26 February 2015
Science Sorted Series
Format: eBook
File size: 10 MB
ISBN-13: 9781447284888

What's inside a laptop? How can you stuff 1,000 CDs into an MP3 player? Who built the Internet? How smart is the world's smartest robot? How do smartphones and TV remote controls work? 

The answers to these and other brilliant questions about technology can be found in this funny and fascinating book in the Science Sorted series by Glenn Murphy, bestselling author of Why Is Snot Green?

Packed to capacity with megabytes of marvellous information, this book explores everything from the first simple engines to the latest gadgets, computers and networks.

BOOK (2015) Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Scholarly Publishers

Editors: Maria Bonn and Mike Furlough
Publisher: ACRL, 2015
288 pages, Softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-8697-4

In the past decade there has been an intense growth in the number of library publishing services supporting faculty and students. Unified by a commitment to both access and service, library publishing programs have grown from an early focus on backlist digitization to encompass publication of student works, textbooks, research data, as well as books and journals. This growing engagement with publishing is a natural extension of the academic library’s commitment to support the creation of and access to scholarship. This volume includes chapters by some of the most talented thinkers in this area of librarianship, exploring topics such as the economics of publishing and the challenges of collaboration, and surveying the service landscape for publishing in support of a variety of formats and methods. Edited by library publishing experts Maria Bonn, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and Mike Furlough, HathiTrust Digital Library, Getting the Word Out deepens current discussions in the field, and provides both decision makers and current practitioners with an introduction to the current state of the field and an investigation of its future prospects.

This book is appropriate for all types of academic libraries and for graduate programs in library and information studies.   

Samsung S6 Edge with curved screen unveiled at MWC

Source: BBC News, by Leo Kelion, 1 March 2015

Samsung will sell two versions of its next flagship phone, one of which has a screen that curves round its sides.

Read full article  

World Bank Open Data: free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe

Free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.

Some articles currently posted:
Can you visualize the structure of the world economy and population in one chart? (by Morgan Brannon with Makro Rissanen & Mizuki Yamanaka) - inlcudes video

New data and research help measure a decade of urban expansion across East Asia (by Chandan Deuskar)

Big Data needs better questions (by Elizabeth Sabet with Oscar Calvo, Andrea Coppola, Neisan Massarrat & Ryan Siegel) 

Keynote Address by Brewster Kahle at 2014 Books in Browsers (BiB) Conference, San Francisco, Oct 2014 (incl list of proceedings)

Here is the video (17:37) of Brewster Kahle's Keynote Address:
Volume 18, Issue 1: Books in Browsers V Proceedings, Winter 2015

Brewster Kahle is the founder and chairperson of the Internet Archive. He spoke on the state of books in browsers.  

See also:
Standards are the products of history. As such, they’re never finished, but always in the making.

Making a Library a Digital One (by Mitar milutinovic)
How publishers can help create thriving online reading communities and how those communities can help publishers.

Small Data: Reading Yourself (by Richard Nash)
A fresh approacj to reading and data from a leading figure in digital publishing.

On why building accessible content is actually a better way to approach content architecture.

Bridging the Web and Digital Publishing (by Ivan Herman & Markus Gylling)
A vision for unifying digital publishing and the web from members of the W3C and IDPF.

The current state of CSS for books, what the future might bring, and how standards are made.

Leanpub's founder advocates for the creation of a standard mapping from Markdown concepts to book and documentation concepts.

Designing for Intimacy (by Michael Kowalski)
Cross fertilizing the web and apps and the implications for books.

What You Will Read Next (by Scott Cipriano & James Densmore)
How Safari is using data to suggest better content for readers and the questions raised by predictive analytics.

I Made You A Mixtape (by Katie Zhu)
Using the mixtape metaphor to open up exciting new possibilities for publishers to link content together in cohesive packages.

Exploring real examples of the potential of digital books and the limitations in both technology and thinking that stand in the way of making this a bigger reality.

The database as part of the infrastructural underpinnings of narrative through case studies and examples.

Interlinking Books with the World (by Ben de Meester, et al)
A way to make the content of digital publications machine-readable by connecting its contents with the Semantic Web.

How we can help readers who are interested in some, but not all, of a book.

Collaborative Writing (by John Hammersley)
Efficient and effective ways to create and collaborate on scientific papers from the developers of WriteLaTeX.

Standards, HTML source, and publishing of science.

How to use the web to make better books.

EPUB: Beyond the eBook (by Micah Bowers and Patrick Keating)
As EPUB evolves, it will be used for a wider variety of content forms–this talk looks at some of the use cases, demos, and ramifications for creators of content, software, and web services.

The Ebook Avant-Garde (by Sanders Kleinfeld)
As books go digital, what does the next wave of avant-garde literature look like?

Creating the Multivalent Book (by Robert Glushko)
Extending supplemental textbook content through the use of tagging.

An exploration of if:book Australia's Memory Makes Us project.

Digital fiction and publishing require efforts aimed for the fringes.

Seven years after the launch of both the Kindle and the iPhone, what will it take to get beyond “paper under glass”?

Library Simplified (by James English)
On improving the user's experience borrowing eBooks from libraries.

Project Gutenberg Books Are Real (by Leonard Richardson)
Thinking about how to use Project Gutenberg data in library search results.

Can a virtual reality game make you forget you’re in pain?

Source: The Conversation, 27 February 2015

A couple of weeks from now I will be in hospital undergoing a knee replacement. It will be the most extreme surgery I’ve ever experienced and I’m pretty scared. I’ve been told that I can expect to endure excruciating pain afterwards but I won’t be allowed to lie in bed feeling sorry for myself. In order to ensure a good recovery I have to get up and exercise the new joint numerous times a day. Make no mistake, this is going to hurt.

It may not be too long, however, until patients like me will be able to ward off their agonies simply by playing virtual reality games.

Read more  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

BOOK (2014) Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Author: Simon Sinek
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group, 7 January 2014
256 pages
ISBN-13: 9781591845324

Why do only a few people get to say “I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.

This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. 

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?
The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. 

“Officers eat last,” he said.

Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort—even their own survival—for the good of those in their care.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities. 

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.

BOOK (2015) Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities

Author: Steve Albrecht
Publisher: ALA Editions, 2015
200 pages; Softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1330-7

Library work is really all about people. And the inclusive, welcoming nature of the library means that all kinds of people pass through its doors. Not all difficult patrons are dangerous, but some frighten staff and other library users, which can lead to situations that are distracting, troubling, and fraught with liability. For more than a decade, Albrecht, a 16-year police veteran, has presented workshops for libraries on dealing with challenging patrons. His no-nonsense advice will empower library staff in their personal security and give them the tools to confidently communicate with their colleagues, patrons, and members of law enforcement regarding inappropriate behavior. In this book he addresses security issues important to all libraries, including
  • Specific guidance for common situations, such as unruly teens, unwanted sexual advances, chronically homeless substance abusers, and more
  • The elements of an effective Code of Conduct and how to enforce it
  • Tips on how to manage internet usage to minimize potential problems
  • How to align with patrons and use language that defuses the conflict
  • Forming partnerships with service organizations, homeless shelters, mental health advocacy groups, and other community resources
  • How to know when it’s time to call the police, plus ideas for increasing law enforcement support
  • Ways to make the library more secure through changes to facilities
Through the methods outlined in this book, Albrecht demonstrates that effective communication not only makes library users feel more comfortable but also increases staff morale, ensuring the library is place where everyone feels welcome. 

ARTICLE (2015) Textual Artifacts and their Digital Representations: Teaching Graduate Students to Build Online Archives

Title: Textual Artifacts and their Digital Representations: Teaching Graduate Students to Build Online Archives

Authors: Deena Engel and Marion Thain (both from new York University)

Published: Digital Humanities Quarterly, volume 9, number 1 (2015) (Preview)

Co-teaching a digital archives course (ENGL-GA.2971) for graduate students in the English Department allowed us to bring together our expertise in both research and pedagogy from two fields: English Literature and Computer Science.

The course built on a core pedagogical principle in Computer Science of teaching through projects rather than from unrelated one-off programming or web development assignments.

Teaching the Text Encoding Initiative after students had completed hands-on projects (using xHTML, CSS, and a digital archive working in a standard content management system) enabled the building of technological skill sets in a logical and complementary manner.

From a literary perspective, building a digital archive — and teaching text encoding — enabled an in-depth consideration of textual materiality, the processes through which literary scholarship must inform technological building decisions, and the ways in which the act of digitization can be used to ask new questions of the text (or to prompt the text to ask new questions of itself).

This paper will survey our techniques and approaches to interdisciplinary teaching, culminating in our usage of text encoding for exploring issues of textuality through digital presentation. 

SOUTH AFRICA - No miracles, no apocalypse for SA - expert (Budget 2015)

Source: fin24, by Carin Smith, 27 February 2015

The numbers in budget 2015 show it could be the first time government is more pessimistic about economic growth than the private sector, according to economist and political trend analyst JP Landman.

Read more  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Robear: the bear-shaped nursing robot who'll look after you when you get old

Robear is a nursing robot developed by Riken and Sumitomo Riko Company.

Source: The Guardian, by Stuart Dredge, 27 February 2015

A number of companies have explored the idea of humanoid robots as future home-helpers for elderly people. The latest experiment from Japan is distinctly more bear-shaped, though.

Meet Robear, an experimental nursing-care robot developed by the RIKEN-SRK Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research and Sumitomo Riko Company.

Read more 

Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr Spock, dies at 83

Source: BBC News, 27 February 2015

US actor Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr Spock in the cult sci-fi series Star Trek, has died at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, his family has said.

Read more  

BOOK (2015) The Library Innovation Toolkit: Ideas, Strategies, and Programs

Editors: Anthony Molaro and Leah L White
Forward by R David Lankes
Publisher: ALA Editions, 2015
216 pages; Softcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1274-4

Progress for the sake of progress is all too often a drain on precious time and resources. The communities and users that libraries serve are always changing; true innovation helps libraries adapt to meet their needs and aspirations both now and in the future. This stimulating collection offers numerous snapshots of innovation in action at a range of libraries, showcasing ideas and initiatives that will inspire librarians at their own institutions. Among the topics covered are
  • The importance of creating organizational structures that lead to innovation
  • Strategies for getting library staff and other stakeholders on board and engaged, complete with a step-by-step toolkit for achieving innovative outcomes
  • Ways to expand the library beyond its walls to deliver exceptional and innovative services to library users
  • Money-saving initiatives that use technology to improve users’ experience
  • Innovative uses of library spaces, such as designing and implementing a digital media lab
  • Examples of creative programming, from running a C2E2-style comic convention, creating an “idea” forum, to re-envisioning a children’s writing club and launching Readtember, a month of literacy programs featuring zombies, dads, and gaming
This valuable sourcebook encourages readers to take big risks, ask deeper questions, strive for better service, and dream bigger ideas.  

China deletes 1000s of internet accounts

Source: fin24, 27 February 2015

Beijing - Some of China's largest internet companies deleted more than 60 000 online accounts because their names did not conform to regulations due to take effect on Sunday, the top internet regulator said.

Read more  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

BOOK (2015) Signals for Strategists: Sensing Emerging Trends in Business and Technology

Author; David Schatsky
Publisher: RosettaBooks, 3 February 2015
Deloitte University Press
93 pages
File size: 14718 KB

This book is for strategists—leaders, managers, entrepreneurs—who are so caught up in the daily pressures of business that they’re missing key signals of their future reality. It’s like driving a car heads down, staring at the dashboard, rather than heads up, looking through the windshield. We need to do both. The book is devoted to the practice of sensing, or scanning the horizon for signs of emerging trends. The sooner we see them, the better our response.

Each chapter starts with a set of signals—data we observed that, taken together, helped us to reveal a trend. The impact of new technology on strategy is a theme of the book, and each chapter looks at how organizations are using new technologies to their advantage.

The goal is to spark meaningful conversations within organizations: How could we participate in the collaborative economy? What could our CIO and our CMO be doing to drive strategy, innovation, and revenue growth? What could we do to leverage the Internet of Things and intelligent automation as catalysts of invention? Could we use MOOCs as pivots for corporate training, recruiting, and marketing? How might technology transform the manufacturing process, our supply chain, and the knowledge work that we do? Could we take advantage of the renaissance in domestic energy (oil and gas)? What could we be doing to counter cyber crime? What is our organization doing to tune into signals of emerging trends that may be relevant to us?

In an environment where the pace of change is accelerating, sensing has become an essential discipline for all organizations. No matter your role in an organization, sensing emerging trends can make you more effective and more valuable in your work. If you’ve been working too heads-down lately and feel overwhelmed by data and deadlines, then this book is for you. It’s a quick read designed to give you a heads up on your horizon.  

BOOK (2015) Understanding Gamification (by Bohyun Kim)

Author: Bohyun Kim
Publisher: ALA TechSource, 2015
36 pages, Softcover
ISBN: 978-0-8389-5953-4

Though gamification is not new, the rapid adoption of smartphones and the growing mobile web and app universe has made it ubiquitous, social, and seamlessly woven into reality in ways we couldn’t have imagined even ten years ago. And it’s extremely popular. Gamification, when done right, will engage your library’s users, and better yet, help them learn. In this issue of Library Technology Reports, Kim will clarify your understanding of gamification with a range of examples from social causes, education, and libraries. She points out the gaming elements of apps you may have used, like Foursquare or Waze, and explores game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics. This Report also covers such topics as:
  • What distinguishes gamification from related concepts such as games, toys, and playful design
  • How the Canton Public Library used a Drupal website and a “User Badge” module for its summer reading program
  • North Carolina State University’s mobile scavenger hunt
  • Portland State University’s digital badge program certifying critical thinking skills
  • 7 types of knowledge and associated gamification elements
  • Navigating the debate over external rewards and intrinsic motivation
  • What makes the Bottle Bank Arcade Game effective in promoting recycling  

Facebook adds new gender option for users: fill in the blank


Source:, by Martha Mendoza, 26 February 2015

Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank.

Read more    

Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries

Source: The Independent, UK, by Heather Saul, 25 February 2015 

Isis militants have reportedly ransacked Mosul library, burning over a hundred thousand rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning. 

Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group. 

However, AL RAI’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told The Independent that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost.   

Read more  

Researchers unveil 3D printed jet engine

Boeing 737-700 jet airliner [Image: Wikipedia]

Source: fin24, 26 February 2015

Sydney - Australian researchers unveiled the world's first 3D-printed jet engine on Thursday, a manufacturing breakthrough that could lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jets.

Read full article  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UNC Archaeologists and Librarians Produce Online Catalog of Artifacts

Display of images from the North Carolina Archaeological Collection. Search the collection at 

Source: UNC Library News and Events, 25 February 2015

Over many decades, scientists at UNC’s Research Laboratories of Archaeology (RLA) have collected more than 8 million artifacts, mostly from sites in North Carolina. Now, as the RLA prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, it is making information about those pottery fragments, tools, and other relics of earlier lives available to researchers anywhere.

Search the North Carolina Archaeological Collection is the result of a collaboration between the Labs and UNC’s University Library. Librarians working with the RLA converted previously internal records into a fully searchable online guide.


The catalog also contains photographs of the items whenever possible. This capability taps into a collection of some 60,000 images that the RLA placed in the Carolina Digital Repository, UNC Library’s online repository that preserves the work of University researchers.

Read the Complete Blog Post, Learn More About This New Resource

5G researchers manage record connection speed

Source: BBC News, 25 February 2015

Record-breaking speeds have been achieved during tests of 5G data connections, scientists have said.

Researchers at the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) managed one terabit per second (Tbps) - many thousands of times faster than current data connections.

The head of the 5GIC said he hoped to demonstrate the technology to the public in 2018.

Read more  

SOUTH AFRICA - Digital migration to happen ‘within two years’

Source: fin24, by Gareth van Zyl, 25 February 2015

Johannesburg - Digital broadcasting could only become a reality in South Africa in 2017, according to a Treasury document released on Wednesday that highlights estimates of national expenditure.

Read more  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Firm Combines Wearables And Data To Improve Decision Making

Source: TechCrunch, by Ron Miller, February 2015

Humanyze, a unique new firm spawned in the MIT Media Lab, has developed a system that uses a smart employee badge to collect employee behavioral data, which it links to specific metrics with the goal of improving business performance. It announced $1M in seed funding today.

Read more  

OpenScholar - Open Source Web Site Building and Content Management Tool Intended for Academic Scholars

OpenScholar is open source software built on top of Drupal that allows end users to easily create dynamic and customizable academic web sites. Each site comes with a suite of apps, widgets and themes, enabling users to build and manage feature-rich web sites. 

OpenScholar is developed and maintained by The Institute for Quantitative Social Science in collaboration with HPAC and HUIT at Harvard University with contribution from open source community. Building competitive academic web sites can be difficult and is potentially costly. 

OpenScholar is a free, open-source solution with state-of-the-art technology out of the box. The user interface is logical and intuitive, making it easy for scholars to self-create, self-design and self-manage their own web sites and their content without having to know any programming code or HTML. 

OpenScholar is highly customizable from both programming and theming standpoint as well. Developers and designers can implement their own features and themes. OpenScholar is designed for academic environments as a tool for building academic web sites, such as a scholar's personal site or an academic project site. OpenScholar tools and features foster online collaboration and provide relevant site sections, such as "Publications", "Events", "Blog", "Classes" and much more.  

ARTICLE (2015) Bridges and Barriers: Factors Influencing a Culture of Assessment in Academic Libraries

Bridges and Barriers: Factors Influencing a Culture of Assessment in Academic Libraries

Meredith Gorran Farkas, Lisa Janind Hinchliffe and Amy Harris Houk 

College and Research, volume 76, number 2, March 2015

In an environment in which libraries need to demonstrate value, illustrating how the library contributes to student learning is critical. Gathering and analyzing data to tell the library’s story as well as identify areas for improvement require commitment, time, effort, and resources—all components of a culture of assessment.

This paper presents the results of a survey designed to understand what factors facilitate the development of a culture of assessment of student learning in academic libraries and what factors may hinder it. Unlike previous research in this area, which has focused on case studies and surveys with nonrepresentative samples, the authors conducted a systematic survey of academic libraries at four-year institutions in the United States and achieved a 42 percent response rate. The results suggest certain factors are highly associated with a culture of assessment and provide guidance to administrators and front-line librarians working to build such a culture. 

Clothes that change color with the climate

Source: CNN, by Allyssia Alleyne, 10 February 2015

Entering The Unseen Emporium at London's Somerset House is like walking into an alchemist's workshop.

The room smells strongly of burning sage, and there are old books stacked high on wooden shelves. An antique distillation kit sits in the disused fireplace with tiny glass bottles of oil, and long swaths of black cowhide hang from the walls.

But most striking is the chameleonic couture on display. 

Read more (photos included) 

Helix bike is claimed to fold smaller than any other

Source: Gizmag, by Ben Coxworth, 24 February 2015

The whole idea behind folding bikes is that they can be made very small and unobtrusive for transit and storage. It would follow, therefore, that the smaller they can be folded down, the better. Well, Toronto's Peter Boutakis claims that his company's Helix bike can fold smaller than any other. It's also got a snazzy lightweight titanium frame.

Read full article  

Building Libraries Along Fiber-Optic Lines in Sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Smithsonian, by Li Zhou, 23 February 2015

Andrew Carnegie once said, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” The philanthropic steel magnate's investment in libraries ultimately established the earliest infrastructure for free and public knowledge sharing in the United States. During the Depression, the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. was even called “an intellectual breadline.”

Inspired by Carnegie's work, David Dewane, a sustainable architect, entrepreneur and educator currently based at the Halcyon Incubator in Washington, D.C., is looking to build more libraries—this time, in Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 13 percent of people have an Internet connection. His four-year-old startup, Librii, a name that comes from the root word for book in romance languages, plans to open its first site in Accra, Ghana later this year.

Read more