Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apps share data. Here’s an attempt to manage it.

Data Transfer Project homepage screenshot

Screenshot of the Data Transfer Project homepage.

There have always apps that share data with other apps or the operating system. Sometimes we want them to share data more than they do, sometimes we want them to not share data unless we know. A new effort from Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Windows aims to try to make it easier to share data when you want to, but to only share the data you decide to share. The Data Transfer Project describes the project as “a collaboration of organizations committed to building a common framework with open-source code that can connect any two online service providers, enabling a seamless, direct, user initiated portability of data between the two platforms.”

When they say open source, they mean it. There is a GitHub archive hosted by Google called data-transfer-project with over a thousand commits and 36 branches, and sections specifically for providers and developers. They have a Slack channel and a mailing list (dtp-discuss@googlegroups.com).

I know my first reaction was, “But what about security?” They’re ready for the question. Their White Paper has a substantial section on security and privacy that opens with:

“The security and privacy of user data is a foundational principle of the Data Transfer Project. Because there are multiple parties involved in the data transfer (the user, Hosting Entity, providers, and Contributors) no one person or entity can fully ensure the security and privacy of the entire system. Instead, responsibility is shared among all the participants.”

The section continues with discussions of data minimization, rate limiting, user notification, token revocation, minimal scopes for auth tokens, data retention, and abuse, with a table charting out how tasks and responsibilities are mapped out between the user, provider/exporter, provider/importer, hosting entity, and DTP system.

More information is in their White Paper.

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Storify Is Gone. Have you tried Wakelet?

An abbreviated version of this was originally published at the Michigan IT News site as “Tech Tip: Wakelet turns many links into one.”


From 2011 to early 2018, Storify had dominated the niche of tools to harvest, collect, and organize social media and related content into meaningful collections, a.k.a. stories. There were other tools, like Lanyrd which collected conference and event content in a similar but more robust fashion with a freemium model, however Lanyrd appears to have vanished around the same time that Storify announced it would be closing. The market was wide open for a replacement, and Wakelet came to the forefront. Wakelet is what we’ve started using, and here we’ll give a quick overview of why, some of the differences, as well as pros and cons [See the sidebar].

Wakelet began in 2016 as a tool for the multiple-URL concept, making it easy to collect a few links on the same concept into a single short URL. MultiURL and OpenMultipleURL were similar tools at that time, but Wakelet didn’t stop there, and has expanded dramatically, adding Twitter import tools, alerts, shares, notifications, and ways to customize and personalize the visual display of collections. With the opportunity provided by the closing of Storify, Wakelet appears to have made an intentional effort to build and integrate new functionalities similar to those provided by the now defunct Storify, but having also added many desired functions that Storify lacked. They add new features and functions so rapidly that we anticipate some of the lacks we describe in this short article will have appeared by the time it’s published. That’s happened multiple times already while we’ve been researching this article!

Wakelet has a number of features that Storify never offered. Foremost among these is the export feature that Storify only made available as they were sunsetting. Wakelet didn’t have that until recently, but it was requested so often, they added it to their to-do list, and within six months it was available as a baked in option. Wakelet allows embedding of elements that Storify did include (such as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Soundcloud, Tumblr, and YouTube) as well as services that weren’t easily included (Google Maps, Spotify, Amazon, Meetup, Behance, Medium, & Dribble). Wakelet also includes some features that Storify had at one point, but which broke towards the end of their lifecycle, like embedded PDFs or interactive Slideshare content. For Wakelet, many of these services do not have easy import tools, but need to be added through a copy and paste of the URL for the desired item. Other attractive new features from Wakelet include save-as-you-go collection building without requiring that you publish, a variety of privacy levels, and private collections for personal-only use.

There are some features Storify had which we miss in Wakelet. One of these is the descriptive URLs based on the title of the collection. In Storify the collections were referred to as stories, and in Wakelet they are called wakes, but we may use any of the three terms in this article. The descriptive URLs were a big plus for search and discovery, as well as for improving the SEO of the collection. Another feature we miss is being able to automatically sort all of the items in a collection. In Storify, we could toss in all the tweets for a hashtag, all the Instagram pics, Flickr images, YouTube videos, and then tell it to sort them into chronological order. That was super handy. In Wakelet, you need to sort them by hand, and it is slow going because of the infinite scroll. Wakelet does provide a minimalized display to make sorting easier, but it’s still a pain. It would also be nice if Wakelet had import tools like the one for Twitter content but for other popular social media services.

Things we wish Wakelet had? Well, there are a few. We wish there was built in collaboration, that we could invite someone else to partner on a Wakelet in progress. There is a hint of this functionality in some of their documentation (Terms of Service and Privacy Policy), where they mention “Group Registered User,” but we couldn’t find anything else about it. [UPDATE 09/27/2018: They DO have this functionality, FREE, and let us know about it: How Do I Invite Contributors To A Collection?.] Wakelet and Storify both included the option to ❤️ or like a collection, but it’s challenging to find a way to browse the items you’ve hearted. You can follow an author or account, and it is easy to find those, but not so for the wakes that have been favorited. It would be lovely to have a kind of a playlist function built in, similar to YouTube’s “Watch Later” or “Favorites” lists. We also wish it was easier to find their help, tutorials, and similar information. [UPDATE 09/27/2018: They helped us find this, too: Wakelet Help.] The wakes they’ve made are wonderful and helpful, but a wake doesn’t yet have much to support SEO, and with the poor searching within the site and the lack of Google clout, it can be difficult to find or refind a wake, or to find wakes on topics of interest or emerging events.

Last but not least, accessibility and intellectual property stuff. Wakelet does a pretty fair job with accessibility, at the level of code elements and passing automated browser tests, but there are still things they could do with accessibility tests at the user level. The basic editing interface (especially the drag and drop features and the sliders) can be problematic for people with fine motor control as well as for users with vision challenges. Infinite scroll is popular right now, so it’s not unexpected that Wakelet would use it, but it causes problems both with certain kinds of users and in browsers or computers with limited memory. In addition, the ‘bounce’ that goes with infinite scroll can be distracting for persons with certain kinds of learning or attention disabilities.

Regarding intellectual property and legal information, Wakelet offers a fairly open license:

“Wakelet does grant you a worldwide, non-exclusive, non-sublicensable, and non-transferable license to download, store, view, display, preform, redistribute, and create derivative works of Content solely in connection with your use of Wakelet, and in accordance with, these Terms.”

It’s important to remember that Wakelet is based in the UK, and that their licensing and copyright laws are not based on United States legislation.

In closing, this is a thing that happened while we were writing this. “Wakelet has already responded to my question from six minutes ago! This is how to run a company. This is fantastic.” Yeah. Not bad. Not bad at all.


SIDEBAR: Wakelet (08/27/2018):

Access
PRO: Runs properly on modern computers/browsers
CON: Possible problems accessing shared content on older computers

Accessibility
PRO: No known problems via AChecker
CON: Drag and drop, infinite scroll, and issues for users with sight and fine motor control limitations

Browser extension
PRO: Save and organize links to articles, videos, tweets, & more. Available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
CON: Links to extensions are difficult to locate, as they are in a collection and not a page on their website.

Collaboration
PRO: Paid, commercial accounts may create group registered users
CON: Only available for paid accounts and very limited information on these accounts is available

Content
PRO: Supported: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Google Maps, Spotify, Amazon, Slideshare, Meetup, Tumblr, YouTube, Behance, Flickr, Medium, & Dribble
CON: Some content must be manually added via URL

Display controls
PRO: Customizable banner and background images supported by Unsplash
CON: —

Mobile
PRO: App available for iOS & Android
CON: —

Reordering
PRO: Drag and drop individual items or move to top/bottom
CON: Cannot auto-sort after adding content

Saving
PRO: Auto-saves drafts and can save privately before publishing
CON: —

Search
PRO: Available
CON: No advanced search: can only search by keyword

Social media
PRO: Very present, active, & responsive
CON: —

Update cycle
PRO: Rapid! iOS: 17 updates in past year. New feature alerts via Twitter and collection.
CON: —

URLs
PRO: Unique URLs for each collection and profile
CON: No descriptive URLs for collections

Are systematic reviews and meta-analyses still useful research?

Systematic!!!

If you haven’t already seen this trio of articles on the validity of the systematic review methodology, these are a must read. Each of the three articles (Yes, No, and Not Sure) are short – three pages. This is a topic that has been frustrating an awful lot of librarians for a really long time. Basically, from my own point of view, it isn’t that the systematic review methodology is bad, but that it’s been over-hyped, mis-used, applied in ways that never should have happened; that peer reviewers don’t know how to review these, don’t know what a good systematic review should look like or should include, and that means a lot of published articles called systematic reviews AREN’T (and should never have been published. In the words of my colleague, Whitney Townsend, they’ve been watered down. I think she’s being overly gentle and diplomatic.

For now, take a look at these, read them, and in a few weeks (if I’m lucky, and can find time to blog!) I’ll come back to this with a few more cogent thoughts. Who knows? I might go out and collect reactions from some of the librarians around here! (I said I’d have to be lucky!)

Are systematic reviews and meta-analyses still useful research? We are not sure
Morten Hylander Møller; John P. A. Ioannidis; Michael Darmon
Intensive Care Medicine
April 2018, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 518–520
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00134-017-5039-y

Are systematic reviews and meta-analyses still useful research? No
Sylvie Chevret; Niall D. Ferguson; Rinaldo Bellomo
Intensive Care Medicine
April 2018, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 515–517
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00134-018-5066-3

Are systematic reviews and meta-analyses still useful research? Yes
Djillali Annane; Roman Jaeschke; Gordon Guyatt
Intensive Care Medicine
April 2018, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 512–514 | Cite as
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00134-018-5102-3

So Long, NMC, We’ll Miss You

NMC (New Media Consortium)

For those who haven’t yet heard, the New Media Consortium announced yesterday that they are in liquidation and going through bankruptcy proceedings. The New Media Consortium are the group famed for their Horizon Report series, and there are Horizon Reports in progress which some fear will not be completed or released because of these unanticipated financial challenges.

Official MailChimp announcement (this does not yet appear on the NMC blog or news feed): http://mailchi.mp/nmc/nmc-to-cease-operations

Library Journal: InfoDocket: New Media Consortium is Ending All Operations Immediately, Organization is Insolvent

EdSurge: New Media Consortium Unexpectedly Shuts Down, Citing ‘Errors and Omissions’ by CFO

Campus Technology: New Media Consortium Suddenly Ceases Operations

Bryan Alexander: The New Media Consortium: its sudden death and what comes next

As Larry Johnson says on Facebook, “Words escape me. … So oppressively sad.” The words reverberating through my social media streams include “in shock,” “reeling,” “stunned,” with some asking is this a hoax, and others saying they heard it from someone there.

For my part, it’s been an annual tradition here to schedule meetings in which we do a deep dive into the Horizon Report for Higher Education, and there have been a number of years in which this has been extended to a number of other NMC reports, or multiple meetings because one just wasn’t enough. The Horizon Report is always so rich, you see! Some years, we would have a meeting each month, to dig into one aspect at a time of the tech discussed in the report. It’s been truly fascinating. I’m so sorry, NMC. You will be truly, deeply missed.

The One-Minute Haggadah and Other Mysteries

Technology is weird, and strange, and it allows us to do things that people would probably not have imagined a few years back. Like this, that just appeared in my Facebook stream — a Rube Goldberg machine to tell the Passover story, which is an essential part of the Jewish Passover seder through the series of prayers known as the Haggadah.

Or this, DIY Haggadah generator, an online interactive tool to help you create and share your very own custom haggadah.

DIY Haggadah Tool - Haggadot
https://www.haggadot.com/

People have done some really interesting and creative things with making their own Haggadahs. I’d like to share some of them with you, but first a bit of context. While I am not Jewish, I have sometimes had the privilege of being invited to the Passover seder celebration, which is beautiful and meaningful. I confess to being surprised by some of the range of Haggadah I’ve stumbled across, and the fluidity with which some have taken the story and personalized it in ways that range from profound to hysterically funny. I suspect some of these examples are probably not actually something a Rabbi would approve, but I’m pretty solidly a Gentile, so I will leave that to the experts. For this list, I just collected a few examples showing some of the creative and diverse ways in which people have explored this beautiful tradition in ways that may or may not make it more timely or relevant in their own context. For myself, I’m inspired by the creativity of how people are telling the essence of the same story in so many very different ways. Some of these links simply to point to a discussion about an example, while others provide the full text. I will note these latter in italics.

Absolut Haggadah

Adam and Steve Haggadah (LGBT themed)

The Baseball Haggadah [Book]

The #BlackLivesMatter Haggadah

Bruce Springsteen’s rock’n’roll Passover Haggadah

Bubie’s Haggadah (for children)

Different from all other nights: A Queer Passover Haggadah, from the NYU Bronfman Center

Dr. Suess-style Haggadah [sic]

The Freedom Seder T(inspired by Martin Luther King)

Exodus: Movement of Jah People (includes parody tunes such as “Take me out to the Seder” sung to the tune of “Take me out to the ballgame”)

Freedom Seder for the Earth (Haggadah for the Earth, PDF)

Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb (vegetarian)

Hamilton Haggadah (about, download, audio)

The Harry Potter (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah [Book] (about 1, about 2)

Immigrant Roots, Immigrant Rights; Labor Seder (about the Labor seder)

JQ International GLBT Haggadah

The Kahoot Seder (done with interactive classroom clicker technology)

Ma Nishtana: A GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, QUESTIONING, ALLY HAGGADAH

The Medium is the Matzo (urban themed)

Monty Python Haggaddah

The Neverending Haggadah (a crowdsourced haggadah collection)

Peace is Sexy Haggadah

Poet’s Haggadah [book] (about)

Pride Freedom Seder Haggadah (LGBT-themed)

Refugee Stories (HIAS Haggadah Supplement, PDF)

So Called Seder: A Hip Hop Haggadah [CD]

The Stonewall Seder (LGBT-themed)

The Two-Minute Haggadah: A Passover service for the impatient.

Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach with a cover and slideshow version (an open source haggadah by a poet, also a woman rabbi)

Worthy is JAH Lamb, a Rastafari Passover Haggadah (pdf)

Zombie Haggadah [Book] (about)

Color Our Collections via the University of Michigan Libraries

Have you seen the Color Our Collections meme this week?

Basically, libraries and museums all around the world are making coloring pages and books from public domain content in their collections. Pretty awesome stuff! Some of the images are beautiful, some horrifying, some fascinating. Many fit right in with the sort of things people are already seeking out as part of the Adult Coloring movement, which I’ve been working on in other areas of my job. And some are funny or quirky and amusing.

Most of the image providers also give a citation to the original work in their collection catalog. Many of the images raise all sorts of questions. Why did they choose THAT image? Why was that image famous in the first place? Who was the original audience of the image? What was the creator trying to communicate? There are so many stories that the images hint at, leaving a faint clue to lead the curious deeper into a story forgotten by most.

I don’t know if the University of Michigan is participating in #ColorOurCollections officially or not (and this is NOT an officially sanctioned offering from them), but I have in my own files images I’ve collected from some of the wondrous items available in our campus rare and special collections. I’e selected just a few of my favorites that inspire in me the kinds of questions and whisper of stories that I’m observing in so many of the other images being shared. Most of these are selected from an anatomy exhibit curated here some years ago by Barbara Shipman. I’m afraid I’m not certain of which book which image came from, so I will have to check with Barbara. For now, I am hazarding a fair guess for those I’m unsure of and noting that uncertainty.


Rhead, 1898 Idylls of the King
Idylls of the king, Vivien, Elaine, Enid, Guinevere: with sixty original decorations by G.W. Rhead & L. Rhead. http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/008590577 Hathi Trust: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433000181689;view=1up;seq=13

COMMENTS: I fell in love with the romance and beauty of this book the first time I saw it. The books is exquisitely crafted, beautifully illustrated, and filled with the philosophical and thoughtful poems of Tennyson’s exploration of the King Arthur mythos. He tells the story through the tales of four women who are relatively minor characters in most of the tellings of the myth, and most of whom die tragically in Tennyson’s retelling. I’m assuming that some enterprising graduate student has already studied the gender bias implications of the stories. The images are so lovely it is worth exploring the entire book, and luckily for you, it is available as a free public domain download from the Hathi Trust for those at partner institutions like UofM. This particular image illustrates the scene where the Lady of the Lake has stolen the infant Lancelot away from his birth mother to raise as her own. Why would she do that? How did it effect him? Does that original betrayal set the stage for later events in the story. I thought the Lady of the Lake was bound to the lake by magic. So how and why is she floating and flying above it in this image? So many questions.


VesaliusMacroColoring
Andreae Vesalii … Suorum de humani corporis fabrica librorum epitome. http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/002075697

COMMENTS: Vesalius is very likely the most famous name in the history of anatomy, kind of the Shakespeare of medicine with early rare editions of his work that scholars attempt to reconcile and interpret. This image is a macro excerpted from a large image of a crowd witnessing a dissection in a crowded theater. I look at this image of people in a low balcony looking down upon the dissection. A student tries to connect what he sees with what is in the book. Others debate and contest and try to reconcile what they believe, what they’ve learned, and what they see. One silent man stands in the middle of all the bustle and somehow completely apart from all of it. He looks deeply sad or troubled. Is he a friend or relative of the person being dissected? Is he a competitor of the experts doing the demonstration? Who is he, and why does he seem both obscured and highlighted within the story the image is telling?


SkeletonColoring
D.O.M. Positiones anatomicae et chirurgicae. Ex anatomia. Mira corporis humani compages … http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/011360662

COMMENTS: This is a portion of a full skeleton by Shonbornio and dating from around 1590 (according to Barbara’s notes here). This is supposed to be a lesser quality imitation of one of Vesalius’ drawings. It still calls to me emotionally. The skeleton is frail and powerful at the same time, angry or miserable or tired, turning his back to us. We can say this is because the image was for students to study the bones of the back, but did the artist imbue those bones with some richer emotions for a purpose?


AdamEveColoring

COMMENTS: I’ve been looking at this image all day. Each time, I see Adam and Eve at the tree, and then only afterwards realize that the tree is a skeleton. Even when I know that this is the case, I still see it the other way. When I look at the skeleton, I find it’s posture odd and disconcerting. Its legs are twisted and its hips cocked in an almost flirtatious way, but the torso is twisted and the head turned toward Eve, as if it is speaking to her. The image is simultaneously charming and disturbing.


Flore Medicale Decrite: Sunflower
Flore médicale décrite par MM. Chaumeton, Poiret, Chamberet, peinte par Mme E. P. et par M. J. Turpin. Nouvelle publication… http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/002082410

Flore Médicale Décrite: Sunflower Macro
Flore médicale décrite par MM. Chaumeton, Poiret, Chamberet, peinte par Mme E. P. et par M. J. Turpin. Nouvelle publication… http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/002082410

COMMENTS: This is only ONE image from a seven volume set of beautiful, intricate, hand-watercolored paintings illustrating herbal medicine in France. The images are lush and richly colored, which is why it is neither fast nor easy to convert them to a coloring page. I tried several, and this was the only one that actually still worked after I fiddled with it digitally. These two images are both from the same plate, of “Carline,” which we know as Carlina acaulis, a mountain herb that is edible and antibiotic and which tells the weather forecast! It grows low to the ground in poor soil in the mountains and is a relative of the thistle.


OrnamentWomanColoring

Ornament: Rose

COMMENTS: It was common previously to not leave a large portion of a page blank, but to fill in the blank space with something, either content or ornament. I don’t remember where either of these ornaments came from, which is easy to have happen when they have little to nothing to do with the content of the books! These were both from the Anatomy Exhibit, and I included them here simply because I thought they’d be fun to color.


DureroSymmetriaTraced
Trattato geometrico di Pietro Antonio Cataldi … Doue si essamina il modo di formare il pentagono sopra ad vna linea retta, descritto da Alberto Durero. Et si mostra come si formino molte figure equilatere, & equiangole sopra ad vna proposta linea retta. http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/000167243 (I’m not sure, I think it was from this book: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/2909081613)

COMMENTS: This was a special request, from another emerging technologies librarian on Twitter who is fascinated by the inclusion of mythological beasts in historical medical books. This image shows a strong leg stomping down a snake which is being tortured with nails hammered through its mouth and head area. I suspect that this is referencing the Catholic Church’s belief in “crushing the snake”. That suspicion is reinforced by the appearance of the phoenix in the right corner, which was in the Middle Ages a fairly common symbol of the resurrection of Christ.

You Gotta See This! Hacking, Making, & Innovating Health (#MakeHealth)

#MakeHealth Logo

The excitement is building! The schedule is set and the program is printed. The doors open on Sunday at 11am. People who register in advance get free food (tell your friends!). Volunteers (still room for more!) get a t-shirt with this cool logo. And here are a few highlights.

#MakeHealth 2015: Keynotes

KEYNOTES

You’ve already heard about our incredible and inspiring keynote speakers, Susannah, José, and Anna.

#MakeHealth 2015: Symposium

SYMPOSIUM: THE NIGHTSCOUT PROJECT

And you’ve already heard about the Symposium on Monday morning, where we’ll discuss the empowering Nightscout Project, in which patients and families living with diabetes have taken charge, hacked, innovated, and generally re-written the rules and tech in such a powerful way that the corporations, healthcare providers, and even the FDA have had to sit up and take notice. But there’s lots more. LOTS!

#MakeHealth 2015: Hacking

HACKING HEALTH

Hacking means to use things that already exist, and then re-work them to do something new. Examples from what’s coming at MakeHealth include using your cell phone to improve balance, hacking walkers, hacking our guts and our bodies to improve health.

#MakeHealth 2015: Innovating

INNOVATING HEALTH

Innovating means to make something new, to do something in a new way, to look at problems with new eyes, and to think of new solutions. Sunday you can hear from people who are using crowdfunding to solve important problems, who’ve developed new technology for testing cognitive function, gaming physical therapy, and better ways to handle jetlag.

#MakeHealth 2015: Making

MAKING HEALTH

Making means to make something. It might be new, it might not; it might use materials intended for that purpose, or it might involve creating new materials. In the maker movement, “making” may or may not imply novelty, but what it does imply is being able to do it yourself, to customize, to personalize. Examples from our event next Sunday include 3d printed ostomy wafers, new inexpensive prosthetics, and motion capture for real people.

You see why you need to be there? COME!