Found History

by Tom Scheinfeldt

Briefly Noted for September 17, 2009

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DOJ to Voice Concerns over Google Books Settlement — The United States Department of Justice will file a brief with the court hearing the Google Books case, outling its concerns over the proposed settlement between Google and publishers, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The article lists worries about the prices Google and publishers will charge for access to the database as chief among DOJ’s worries.

Two Million Books, On Demand — Google must be feeling pretty darned good about its chances with the judge in the Google Books case. Announcing yesterday that it had acquired reCAPTCHA (see below), today Google is announcing a deal with On Demand Books to make more than two million public domain titles in its Google Books database available for on demand printing on the Espresso Book Machine.

New from CHNM Labs: Mobile for Museums — From CHNM Labs comes a new report, Mobile for Museums. Funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Mobile for Museums assesses how art museums are incorporating mobile technologies into visitor experiences and offers replicable mobile prototypes based on those findings. The report and prototypes (which include some new goodies for Omeka), are the result of some superb research and work by Sharon Leon, Sheila Brennan, Dave Lester, and Andrea Odiorne.

New in Zune — The Zune HD is out. David Pogue has a (fair) review of the new media player, concluding the Zune is no longer a joke: “… it’s every bit as joyful, polished and satisfying as its rival [iPod]. The question is whether Microsoft will stick it out long enough to close the catalog gap, the ecosystem gap and the image gap.”

Funding the Open Access Compact — Implementing the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity announced earlier this week, Harvard and Cornell have established funds to reimburse their authors the processing fees incurred when publishing in open access journals. Berkeley already has a similar fund in place. Via Open Access News.

Android Tablet and More — While Apple users wait for Steve Jobs’ much-anticipated-yet still-unconfirmed tablet, Android users are celebrating the announcement of the Archos 5 touchscreen internet tablet. CNET has a review and slideshow. With Motorola and LG also announcing Android devices and with the release of the version 1.6 “Donut” SDK—all in one week—the open source mobile operating system is really working up a head of steam.

White House Social Media Archives — The White House is seeking a contractor to assist in archiving its Twitter, Facebook, and other social media content. According to the RFQ [.pdf]: “In order to comply with the Presidential Records Act, the White House New Media team is looking for a non personal service contractor to crawl and archive PRA content on all third party sites where the EOP has a presence (i.e. Facebook.com/whitehouse, Twitter.com/whitehouse). Currently, the Government team is capturing the data and content both programmatically (via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from social networks) and manually (through daily screen shots). EOP requires a provider to ensure we automatically capture this content in a scalable, efficient and reliable manner.” Via Mashable.

Google Acquires reCAPTCHAreCAPTCHA, the anti-spam cum OCR correction software developed by Luis von Ahn of Carnegie Mellon, has been acquired by Google. Previously reCAPTCHA leveraged the efforts of millions of web users to help correct transcriptions of materials held by the non-profit Internet Archive, among others. Now, according the official announcement, Google will “be applying the technology … to improve our books and newspaper scanning process.” The specifics of the deal are undisclosed.

Google Launches Fast Flip — Looking to improve the experience of reading web content, Google announced the launch of Google Fast Flip. According to the press release, Fast Flip attempts to replicate the experince of reading a print magazine, providing customized content “bundles” and allowing users to “rapidly flip forward to the content [they] like, without the constant wait for things to load.” Fast Flip is also available as a browser-based application for Android and iPhone.

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