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Slaw Réchauffé

One of the Google alerts I run, well, alerted me to the fact that something called Sedna RSS is catching our RSS feed and in effect reposting Slaw. We’re only one of seemingly more than a hundred blogs warmed over by this French site? organization? person? — I can’t seem to penetrate to any explanatory page.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. We run over a Creative Commons license that lets our content be used for non-commercial purposes and in derivative works, so as it stands now there’s probably no copyright beef. (I think I’ll change the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Palimpsests

A palimpsest -- one of my favourite words -- is, according to Wikipedia, “a manuscript page, scroll, or book that has been written on, scraped off, and used again,” dating from a time when wax tablets and parchments were bases for writing. Stuff from the past, right?
Posted in: Miscellaneous

RSS Without the Blog

Either by email or in-person, I’ve been asked a few times recently how one creates an RSS feed from a static website. A pretty good question, where the answer could involve anything from installing a single CGI script, to adding a blog or CMS to the website, to a custom programming solution.

But just a couple of days ago, I came across a new solution posted at both RSS4Lib & Techcrunch called FeedXs that will allow for the manual posting of items to an RSS Feed with no online publishing required whatsoever.

This isn’t a perfect solution, simply because one . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip: Quacks Like a Computer

When your friends (are they really friends?) suggest that you’re spending more time with IT and computers than you should be, you’ll soon be able to answer them back that everything is really a computer, or part of one, so there’s no alternative.

Coming in March is a book by Seth Lloyd, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, called Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos (Knopf, ISBN 1400040922 / also available now as an e-book). As the title suggests, Lloyd shows how the universe is in fact a computer. Here’s an excerpt (via . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

More Odd Legislation

Simon C’s post from earlier this week reminded me of one of my favourite oddities from Nova Scotia Statutes and inspired me to take a closer look to see what else I could find:

– My favourite (which hasn’t been much of a problem this year), is section 34 (1) of the Public Highways Act, which requires all able bodied males between the ages of 16-60 ” to work with their shovels on the highways during the winter whenever the highways become impassable from snow.”

– Another favourite is from section 6(2) of the Beaches Act. It seems . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

How to Find Websites You Can Trust

Librarians are often shocked at how uncritical, even gullible, lay researchers can be in approaching websites that the search engines throw up. It’s therefore wonderful to have the folk-wisdom of caution in a single place. See Karen’s Schneider’s Beyond Algorithms: A Librarian’s Guide to Finding Web Sites You Can Trust . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Is Your Googling Safe?

The blogosphere is abuzz with discussion about the dispute between DoJ and Google about surrendering a week’s worth of search recordsHere is a copy of the Motion to Produce – hell just a few terabytes of data surely – as part of Alberto Gonzales’ effort to be more aggressive in the War Against PornA nice turn of phrase from Xinhua.
The BBC has a great explanation of what is at stakeAlso the AP Story at MSNBC and John Battell sets the context nicely., and just how critical the issues are.
What is surprising – and frankly distressing – . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Elusive Search for Historical Canadian Stock Trading Prices

Canadian law firm librarians have an increasing challenge finding historical stock trading prices. This is the story thus far:

For many years we enjoyed the proprietary system from The Globe and Mail called “InfoGlobe” which primarily delivered news content but also had an archaic, difficult system that allowed for pulling up historical stock prices. Once we had become “dragon masters” after many hours of training and practice, we could quickly pull up any range of dates, any configuration of data (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) for any public company, existing, predecessor or deceased.

At the time we grumbled at the difficulty . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

CARL/ABRC Reports on Copyright Reform

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) has just released two recent reports of possible interest to Internet researchers. The reports are:

A Brave New World? Access Copyright in its Own Words on Issues Affecting Research Libraries (December 2, 2005. Prepared by Davina M. DesRoches. PDF, 9 pages). Examines the positions taken by Access Copyright on copyright reform as it affects research libraries.

A Compilation of Views on Aspects of Copyright Reform, as Submitted in Response to the Consultation Paper on Digital Copyright Issues (December 2, 2005. Prepared by Davina M. DesRoches. PDF, 65 pages). A useful summary of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Defamation on the Internet – B.C. Decision

I see there is a recent 304 paragraph decision in B.C. – Newman et al v. Halstead et al, 2006 BCSC 65 – in which the court awarded damages totalling $681,000 against an individual defendant (who did not appear at the trial, hence there was no defence per se) for her liability in making defamatory statements on her website, chat rooms and email about various teachers in which she made allegations of misconduct and allegations that the School Board mishandled or covered up this activity.

Be careful what you say on the Internet! Despite its often ephemeral nature, publication . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous