Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apps For Library Idea Challenge

Sciverse is hosting an "Apps for Library Idea Challenge," in which 10 app ideas suggested by librarians are voted on in order to determine the most popular entry.

There are some good ideas here. Right now the most popular idea is "JTOCs to go," a mobile app for journal tables of contents including authorization links to enable full text access.

Check out the list of entries here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon's new tablet

This morning Amazon introduced their competitor for the iPad: the Kindle Fire, a touch screen app that leverages Amazon's extensive content and strength in cloud computing.

To check it out, click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

E book treasures at the British Library

The British Library announced the first few titles in their eBook treasures series last week. The series will make available rare manuscripts which were previously only accessible to scholars, or to the public under glass.

First up is Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Arundel, a series of drawings and notes the artist made mostly concerning mechanics and geometry.

The eBooks are not free; prices listed on the eBook Treasures web site are in British pounds.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nice overview of big data, with pretty picture

In an article this week on, Dion Hinchcliffe provides a nice overview of Big Data. There's also a nice graphic included with the article, which gives a pretty good visual breakdown of where all the pieces you've heard about (Hadoop, etc) fit in.

Here's the link:

Monday, August 1, 2011

How different are Google and Bing?

Nice comparison of Google and Bing in the New York Times this past week:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big Data as Engine of Innovation?

An article in the New York Times this week talks about how Big Data will drive innovation in the next few years, likening its effect to the impact of computers on business over the last few decades, or even the effect of coal on the early industrial economy:

"Data is a vital raw material of the information economy, much as coal and iron ore were in the Industrial Revolution," the article proclaims. "But the business world is just beginning to learn how to process it all."

Here's the link:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Is Delicious the Next Discovery Engine?

This article in Search Engine Watch notes that Delicious (, which was recently purchased from Yahoo by the co-founders of YouTube, has the potential to be a next generation search engine. Why? Because we are more likely to look at content that has been pre-filtered and flagged by our friends, family, and colleagues. For example as a software engineer I may be looking for information about a new feature the Java programming language. If I search the term in delicious, I will find many links that have been tagged with that term.

Here's the link:

Is Delicious the Next Discovery Engine?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Information design"

Nice article in the New York Times about "Information Design," i.e. Information Visualization:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A periodic table of Google APIs

Google now offers so many APIs and services that it is difficult to keep track of them all, or to even take heed when new ones are offered. Google's engineers may have realized that this is a problem, because they have recently created a nice place to see all of these APIs and services in one glance.

In January, the folks over at Google Code posted this "periodic table of APIS" graphic to allow you to see all of Google's API endeavors at once. Pay special attention to the buttons on the top of the page -- when you mouse over each one (eg Mobile, Data APIs, etc), the corresponding APIs in the table below are highlighted. Clicking on one of the individual "elements" will take you to a page that describes that particular API.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Google NGrams

There are so many things going on in Google Labs that sometimes you can find yourself stumbling upon an interesting creation from them that you had missed. I discovered Google N-Grams while reading a post in Alexis Madrigal's blog in The Atlantic.

NGrams searches the occurrences of a word (or a comma delimited list of words) in Google Books from the year 1800 to the present and plots their frequency on a graph. You can start playing with it here:

Here is a sample experiment to get you started: type "selfish,selfless" into the search box, click search, and then view the results.

Friday, March 11, 2011

If You Bought Apple Stock Instead of Products

The Bits blog in the New York Times this week related some amusing research on how you would have fared if back in the day you had purchased Apple stock instead of Apple products:

Have a good weekend and don't lose too much sleep over What Might Have Been ... ;-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Update to Google Public Data Explorer: Visualize Your Own Data

Google recently released an update to their Public Data Explorer that now allows you to upload your own data in addition the canned datasets that Google had on the site.

In conjunction with this update is the release of the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL) format which allows you to mark up your data so that Google can slurp it in and create visualizations of it.

With this release, Google hopes that "more datasets can come to life through Public Data Explorer visualisations and enable people to better understand the world around them and make more informed, data-driven decisions."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Google Data Visualization Challenge

Google announced a Data Visualization Challenge yesterday on their blog. Participants will compete to create the best visualization of data on the website. On that website, users can enter their tax return information and have their 2010 taxes broken down by what they were spent on, presumable using the percentages provided by the IRS (eg certain percentages goes to defense, entitlement programs, etc.)

The deadline for entry is March 27, 2011. The top visualization will receive $5,000 and mention on Google's blog. The winner will be announced fittingly enough on April 18, 2011 (tax day).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Digitization project: "Rescuing the Earth's Weather History"

The "Green" blog (of the New York Times) has an entry this week about a few different efforts to digitize archival weather observations so that they can be pulled into computers for anaylsis and perhaps some new resulting ideas about climate.

Read the entry at:

Monday, January 17, 2011

A critical look at Google Scholar citation data

I just stumbled across this article and thought I'd share the link. I must make two points: 1) I must disclose that I work for a company that is a competitor with Google in this field and 2) the author does not balance his criticism with equally detailed criticisms of existing abstracting & indexing services (such as the on I work for). That being said, it's worth reading.