Facebook, Open Graph, and your privacy

If you've signed-on to Facebook recently you might've noticed one of those little pop-up messages from the site saying "we've changed this or that about how we share information about you, and we assume that's cool with you so just click-through, OK?". Specifically, Facebook is implementing something called the "Open Graph API", which is designed to utilize Facebook users' personal data to customize their wider web experience (i.e. the Internet beyond Facebook) and so that "pages [liked] show up richly across Facebook: in user profiles, within search results and in News Feed."

What this all really comes down to is the almost instant ubiquity of the "Like" button. (You may have noticed that your Facebook friends seem to be "liking" more lately.)

So, is this all cool with you? Maybe, right? Personally, I think the automatic opt-in is a little presumptuous (if not downright scary), so instead of clicking through, I actually check to see how Facebook is using me. (Full disclosure: I agree with Molly Wood when she says "I hold few illusions that Facebook's business strategy has ever been about anything other than building up a huge user base and then selling ads to those users." That said, I am also a pretty avid Facebook user. "Hypocrite auteur!")

Short of entirely deleting your Facebook account, you can actually protect yourself quite well. Here's a decent (and short) video on how to toggle your privacy settings:

For all you "reading types" out there, here are (one, two) text-based guides to protecting your privacy.

Oh, and apparently this whole thing has gone political, with some Senators making noises about the new initiative.


Help us redesign part of the library!

Students, please join us at the library Tuesday, April 27 and share your ideas on redesigning a portion of the main floor. We’ll be running 20-minute design brainstorming sessions at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm and we would love to hear your suggestions. In exchange for your time, we’ll supply pizza and soda on the front portico.

**UPDATE: If you weren't able to make it to our design brainstorming sessions on Tuesday night, please feel free to stop by the reference desk or email askalibrarian@wofford.edu for more information or to share your ideas.

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

Death by Powerpoint too.

From today's (27 April 2010) New York Times, an article on society's prevalent presentation software, Microsoft's PowerPoint, and its use, misuse, and abuse in the military.
“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat
Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given PowerPoint briefings during a trip to Afghanistan last summer at each of three stops — Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bagram Air Base. At a fourth stop, Herat, the Italian forces there not only provided Mr. Holbrooke with a PowerPoint briefing, but accompanied it with swelling orchestral music.

President Obama was shown PowerPoint slides, mostly maps and charts, in the White House Situation Room during the Afghan strategy review last fall.

Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs. (emphasis added)

Want to try something different? Consider Prezi for your next presentation.


2010 State of America’s Libraries Report

The ALA has published the 2010 State of America’s Libraries Report. The study shows increased library usage, but not an increase in library funding. Here are some of this year’s key findings:
  • Internet use continues to expand at public libraries, which have seen double-digit growth since 2007 in the on-line services they make available to their patrons.
  • Ninety-six percent of Americans feel that school libraries are an essential part of the education experience because they provide resources to students and teachers and because they give every child the opportunity to read and learn.
  • America’s academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual.
    America’s libraries continue their efforts to support minorities and other underserved or disadvantaged populations.
  • The library community continues to defend a core value embodied in the First Amendment and the corollary right to receive and consider ideas, information, and images.
  • Library construction fared better in 2009 than many expected during the recession, especially given the unreliability of funding for programming, materials, and hours.
Use the link above to read the full report.
from iLibrarian


10 Free iPhone Apps to Help You Go Green for Earth Day

It's Earth Day. I post this with some hesitation. Is Earth Day just a marketing opportunity? Or, could it be a day to renew our commitment to a sustainable lifestyle, in which we choose to recycle, conserve our finite resources, live a thoughtful and respectful life and choose to make our carbon footprint smaller and smaller? I believe that it is a day for commitment.

Here are the iPhone apps...

1. iRecycle
2. Find Green
3. Consumer Change
4. Greenpeace Tissue Guide
5. Carbon Calc
6. Mission Zero
7. Label Lookup
8. ClimateCounts
9. What’s On My Food?
10. GreenSpace Map

free iPhone apps post from mashable!


Volcano Lightning?! What a world....

National Geographic has a couple pictures of a lightning storm that occurred in conjunction with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. (Click here for a pronunciation - seriously - of Eyjafjallajökull.)

Volcanic lightning is still not entirely understood by scientists that study volcanoes (a.k.a. volcanologists).

Pandora Partners with Facebook for Social Music

Music discovery engine Pandora is receiving some deep social integration with Facebook, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today at the F8 Developer Conference.

Made possible by Facebook’s new Open Graph protocol, Pandora will be able to stream music directly on Facebook.com from bands you’ve “liked” across the web. You’ll be able to see which of your friends likes similar music and check out what other music they like and have in their collections.

The combination of Open Graph and the new, wide-reaching “Facebook Like” button around the web means that “liking” a band on a third-party site will register with your Facebook profile, which can in turn inform your Pandora profile even while you’re discovering music at other points around the web. It also tightly hooks your Pandora profile with your “real” social graph of friends on Facebook.

from Mashable

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day - Tips for Going Green

29 SimpleTips For Going Green from Squidoo

Change to Fluorescent Bulbs - If every house in the United States changed all of the light bulbs in their house, that would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the streets.
Don't Rinse - Skip rinsing your plates before putting them into the dishwasher. In average you will save 15 gallons of water per load. Plus, you will save time.
Hang Outside to Dry - Get a clothes line or rack to dry your clothes. Your clothes will last longer and you will save money.
Turn off computers at night - don't just put them to sleep. You will save an average of 4 cents a day which ads up to $14.60 a year.
Use Both Sides of Paper - if you have a printer with a double sided print option use it. You will save half of the amount of paper you would have normally used.Then when your done bring it to the recycle bin.
Get rid of baths - Don't take baths, take showers. You will in average save about half the amount of water that you would if you were taking a bath.
Don't get bottled water - Instead of bottled water get a reusable container to carry water. Also you can get a filter to make your home tap taste more like bottled water. It is definitely more cost efficient.
Turn the water off when you brush - Your parents have said this before, now I say it. You will save 4 gallons of water doing this alone.
Shorten your shower - Every minute you cut from your shower is roughly 5 gallons of water. The less time your shower takes, the lower your impact on the environment.
Recycle Glass - If you do not recycle this, it will take a million years to decompose.
Don't Pre-Heat the Oven - unless needed, just turn the oven on after you put the dish in it. Also, to see if it's finished just look through the glass instead of opening it.
Use Warm or Cold Setting on Washer - instead of the hot cycle use the warm or cold setting. This will save a lot of energy a year.
Turn Down your Thermostat - Every degree lower in the winter or higher in the summer you put it is a 10% decrease on your energy bill.
Turn off your lights - An easy one. Turn off your lights when you are not using them. The benefits are obvious.
Get rid of junk mail - There are many services that can help you get rid of junk mail. That will lead to a lot less trees being cut down to take up room in your mailbox.
Use Matches instead of lighters - Lighters are usually considered disposable so they will most likely end up in land fills. You can use the cardboard matches which are much more eco-friendly because they are made of recycled material.
Don't get a paper phone book - Instead of getting a paper phone book. Use a online directory instead.
Give things away - Take things that you are not going to wear or use and give it to a charity or someone who will use it.
Go to a car wash - Going to a car wash is a lot more water efficient then washing your car at home.
Stop paper bank statements - Why waste paper getting your bank statement mailed to you when you can just check it out online.
Buy Rechargeable Batteries - Even though it will take a good investment to buy these you will find yourself gaining it back in no time.
Pay your Bills Online - If every house in the US did this then we would save 18 million trees every year.
Get a reusable bag - You can't recycle plastic bags, instead get yourself a reusable bag so that you won't have to worry about carrying your necessities.
Do Errands in Bulk - Make a list of the things you have to do, and see if you can fit a couple of those things together in one ride.
Inflate your Tires - If your tires are properly inflated at all times your car will run more miles on less gas.
Wrap Presents Creatively - Without going out to get wrapping paper you can use newspaper, an old map, or anything else. It would look a whole lot more creative.
Plant a Tree - It's good for the air, can keep you cool, and can increase your property value.
Buy Local Produce - Consider how much energy it takes for produce from china or any other country to come here. If you have the option to buy local, do it.
Walk or Ride Your Bike When you can - If you have to go somewhere close consider riding your bike or walking there instead of your car. It's better on the environment and healthier.


Odd items in archival collections

Odd things sometimes turn up in personal paper collections. This one isn't quite so odd in its content - it's a letter, written in an allegorical style, from a minister to a bishop. The format is what is amusing. The letter that I'm sharing today was written on tissue paper. By that, I mean the kind of tissue that comes on rolls.

Check out the archives blog for more...


Library of Congress to archive your tweets

From CNN:  Library of Congress to archive your tweets

"Every 140-character snippet of info you've ever shared publicly on Twitter will soon have a home next to the Declaration of Independence.

Twitter and the Library of Congress announced Wednesday that every public tweet posted since Twitter started in 2006 will be archived digitally by the federal library.

The purpose, according to a blog post by Library of Congress communications director Matt Raymond, is to document "important tweets" as well as gather information about the way we live through the sheer masses of tweets on the site."

Read the full story
Library of Congress Announcement
Twitter Announcement


ALA: The State of America's Libraries, 2010

An excerpt from this report by the American Library Association:

"Academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that during a typical week in fiscal 2008, U.S. academic libraries had more than 20.3 million visits (1.5 million more than in fiscal 2006), answered more than 1.1 million reference questions, and made more than 498,000 presentations to groups. Seventy-two percent of academic libraries reported providing library reference service by e-mail or the Web.
Almost 95 percent of students use their academic library's website at least once a week, according to a study on students and technology by the Educause Center for Applied Research, and the proportion of students who reported using the library's website daily increased from 7.1 percent in 2006 to 16.9 percent in 2009. Project Information Literacy found that nine out of 10 college students surveyed turned to libraries "for online scholarly research databases . . . for conducting course-related research, valuing the resources for credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructors' expectations."

Read the whole report here: The State of America's Libraries, 2010.

New Newsletter from the Writing Center

Wofford's Writing Center has launched a new newsletter, the Terrier Telegraph.  In the April 13, 2010 issue, you will find interviews with Dr. Trakas of the English Department and Jessica Lee, a Writing Center tutor.  It also includes a list of upcoming Writing Center workshops.  The next workshop is on April 15 at 7pm in Main 322 and will cover the topic of Style.

Read the Terrier Telegraph


Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection

The Library of Congress recently launched a new version of their Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, which includes some great new features.  First, you might be wondering what the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog is.  The catalog includes 1.25 million images from the Library of Congress's collection of ~14 million photographs prints, drawings, posters, architectural and engineering drawings, etc.  "While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people."  (see About PPOC for more information)

The new features include better browsing and viewing options, as well as tools for sharing individual images, collections, or searches.  For details about the new features, see the LOC's official announcement.

Search the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Read the official announcement from the Library of Congress


Palaeoanthropologist discovers ancient ancestor, aided by Google Earth

Professor Lee Berger, a palaeoanthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, recently discovered a new species of hominid, Australopithecus sediba, almost two million years old, with the help of Google Earth.  According to the Official Google Blog, Berger used Google Earth to map known caves and fossil sites and then used the tool to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites.  One of these newly identified fossil sites led to the discovery of Australopithecus sediba.

Read the announcement from the University of Witwatersrand
Read the Google Blog Post


OAIster's Union Catalog of Digital Resources

This agreement between the University of Michigan and OCLC ensures more robust support for and access to a union catalog of digital resources for scholars all over the world. OCLC will host, augment and maintain the records in OAIster, which include: digitized books and journal articles, digital text, audio files, video files, photographic images, data sets, theses and research papers.

Try this resource here: OCLC/OAIster


5 Best E-Book Apps

Thanks to Mashable for this post on free iPhone apps for reading e-books.  In the post, they review the Barnes & Noble eReader, Kindle for iPhone, Stanza, Wattpad 1000+ Books, and eBooks by Kobo apps.

Read Mashable's 5 Best iPhone Apps for Reading E-Books post


Futurity.org is a great site for staying up to date on the latest research news from major universities in the United States, Canada, and the UK.  They cover the topics of Earth & Environment, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, and Society & Culture.  You can subscribe to a daily email digest or a RSS Feed, or download an iPhone or Android app.

Visit Futurity