Ayo Technology

Lauren’s post on the awesome World Digital Library reminded us of another impressive online art collection, Google Earth’s Masterpieces of the Prado. These images weigh in at 14,000 megapixels, meaning you get closer to works by Dürer, Bosch, and Reubens in Google Earth than you would be able to in person. It’s pretty remarkable—you can see brushtrokes and cracks in the oil paint, but never any pixelation.

Definitely best viewed in full screen Google Earth mode, but you can also check out some of these massive images in Google Maps.

BOMB the Borough

bombJust discovered B.O.M.B. — Brooklyn’s Other Museum of Brooklyn. This glorious fake Museums seems to have a real location on Wallabout street, and a bunch of “artifacts” promoting good local causes, along with other articles of vague historical import or curiosity.

We’re especially curious about the physical space itself, anyone been?

We also learned about the long-gone Wallabout Market, formerly the largest produce market on the East Coast from 1801 to 1939, before it was destroyed and swallowed up by the Navy Yards, never to return.

serving pirates and people

pirate bayAh, the Swedish Museum of Science and Technology has acquired an old server from The Pirate Bay for their collection. Last week the founders of the ‘Bay were sentenced to a year in prison. But the site’s still up, of course. We did, however, hear that a prime investor in the site is a member of an extreme right-wing anti-immigrant party in Sweden.

The Museum’s got it right:

The museum says making copies of copyright-protected material is nothing new and that music tapes were also controversial in the 1970s.

See also: Home Taping is Killing Music

nice reference

man we aint found shitLibrary Journal has just released a comprehensive list of ‘best of reference’ 2009. Nice! We definitely plan to reference this list of references. For cheapskates/lazy home office bloggers like us, they’ve also included best of free web reference, which we’ve copied wholesale and pasted to the inside of this post (sticky, gross).


“In better times the mall was the gathering spot. Now it’s the library.” This quote from the Raleigh News and Observer (1/24/09) is not unique in this respect. Many recent articles and reports tell of people turning to libraries during times of economic hardship. A Harris Poll revealed 75 percent of Americans have library cards, and libraries are reporting an increase in use of services, collections, and the Internet. This year’s list of best free web sites includes resources about the economy as well as sites that allow us to celebrate achievement.

Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project: Lincoln/Net lincoln.lib.niu.edu
With full-text access to over 3500 historical documents from Lincoln’s Illinois years (1830–61), including writings and speeches, this collaborative project based at Northern Illinois University is one of the richest online resources about our 16th President. Here you can read or listen to his biography and view vignettes of his life through text, images, and videos.

The Alfred Russel Wallace Page www.wku.edu/~smithch/index1.htm
The reading of Wallace’s paper “On the Tendency of Varieties To Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type,” along with unpublished fragments from the writings of Charles Darwin on July 1, 1858, before the Linnean Society of London gained Wallace lasting fame as the “co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection.” Librarian Charles Smith demonstrates through this site rich with full-text transcriptions of Wallace’s writings that he was so much more.

CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, “your pathway to career success” assists in exploring careers, writing résumés, interviewing, and locating jobs. Though brought to the web by the State of Minnesota, the site provides links to other states and to nearly 2000 OneStopCareer Centers nationwide.

The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online darwin-online.org.uk
This site, directed by John van Wyhe at the University of Cambridge, began in 2002 to assemble all of Darwin’s published and unpublished writings. The result is the largest Darwin resource ever created, with 75,914 pages of searchable text and 184,561 images. With the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species in 2009, the 70 million users who already visit the site should swell drastically.

Documenting the American South docsouth.unc.edu
This collection of primary resources about the culture, literature, and history of the American South was created by and is primarily from the holdings of the University Libraries of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Read first-person narratives of women, slaves, and soldiers; discover Southern literary works dating from the Colonial period; and listen to interviews on topics such as civil rights and politics.

Earth Portal www.earthportal.org
Touted as an “accurate, authoritative, accessible” global resource for science-based information about the environment, Earth Portal is governed by the Environmental Information Coalition and consists of three components: The Encyclopedia of Earth (with over 3500 articles), Earth Forum (commentary and discussions with the public), and Earth News (news stories on environmental issues).

Economic Indicators www.census.gov/cgi-bin/briefroom/BriefRm
Economic News Releases www.bls.gov/bls/newsrels.htm
Ever wonder where the news outlets get the monthly housing starts, or how they learn whether retail trade sales are up or down? These data are released like clockwork by the U.S. Census Bureau. The former site has info on current indicators and historic time series. The latter keeps employment and earnings data and price indexes.

Encyclopedia of Alabama www.encyclopediaofalabama.org
An excellent example of a well-designed site on the history, culture, and geography of a U.S. state. Developed by the Alabama Humanities Foundation and Auburn University, it includes enhanced multimedia content. Use the site to search for the “Selma to Montgomery March” of 1965, or look for information on To Kill a Mockingbird, set in fictional Maycomb between 1932 and 1935.

MAPLight.org; Money and Politics: Illuminating the Connection maplight.org
This nonprofit site explores the connections between campaign donations and Congressional voting. This matching of interest groups with legislators will no doubt be explored in the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

MRQE: Movie Review Query Engine www.mrqe.com
MRQE is the ultimate place “where people talk about movies.” Relaunched with expanded content, it’s the largest online database of movie reviews, partnering with leading movie blogs to collect and make searchable their content. From Slumdog Millionaire to Sundance, it’s all here.

Poetry Foundation www.poetryfoundation.org
The publisher of Poetry magazine has developed a web site that exists to share the discovery and celebration of poetry. The full text of Poetry from 1998 is available, as is a historical index that dates to its 1912 origin. Use the Poetry Tool to search for information about poets or for poems by title, author, first line, or occasion.

UNdata data.un.org
“A world of information” is at your fingertips by browsing data series or searching by keyword more than 55 million records from the databases of the UN on employment, education, energy, environment, health, population, refugees, and much more.

Cynthia Etkin is a librarian in Washington, DC, and Brian E. Coutts is a librarian in Bowling Green, KY.

78 rpm

rekkid playaWe have a bunch of old 78s from our grandmother’s closet, but the best we can do is drink a whole lot of cough syrup and play them on our turntable at 45rpm. That’s pretty fun, but we wish we had a record player that could play them at full speed. We thought about digitizing them and speeding them up in Pro Tools, but, well, we’re busy, and lazy.

Luckily, the Internet Archive is a clearing house for old 78s. Also, the Cylinder collection, from Berlin-based phonograph collector Norman Bruderhofer.

brush yer teef

ouchContinuing our micro theme from last week, another entry in the medical/anatomy/freakshow/creep museum column, this time via an Israeli flash site Antique Dental Instruments. Complete with gothic german font, embedded classical music, and animated fireplace in the footer, this rather extensive collection of photographs of antique dental instruments still manages to be impressive, if not comprehensive.

May you have dreams of antique dentists prying out your molars with 100-year old antiseptic and anaesthetic technologies!

what’s a theodolite?

theodoliteThe transit theodolite is a surveying instrument which measures latitute, longitute, and altitude. There’s an old wooden one (~1840) in the collection of the mighty Powerhouse Museum in Sydney Australia. The theodite has been around in one form or another since the 1500s, and is still used today. Shown at left, a blinging bronze theodite courtesy the Antique Sextant.

We mention it not simply because it’s a neat word we’d never heard before (and has the prefix theo- without having anything to do with god), but as an example of the Powerhouse Museum’s online collection, which comes correct with user-generated and automated tags, similar objects and subjects (not to mention subjective and objective descriptions and tagging systems), and good use of the zoomify zooming software (a free and easy web imaging kit we’ve worked with before).

retrograde design

retrogradePatty is one of our favorite commenters. (Why aren’t you one of our favorite commenters? Maybe because you don’t comment? Please comment!) Weirdly enough we came home the other night to find her in our living room. We don’t normally encourage this from our commenters, but in this case it turns out she’s a friend and a colleague of our museum-employee roommate. So that’s cool. We didn’t even know we knew her (like knew knew her) and we were gonna post her blog anyway, so here it is: Retrograde Design. Keep it up, Patty. We hope you don’t mind if we steal some of your posts to bloat our own contnet. And don’t be a stranger.

open access

dashboardWe like the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s website Dashboard. The fonts are large and it screams WEB 2.0 MOTHERUFUCKERS a bit too loudly, but we don’t see many other museums sharing info like this. We also like the prominent daily updates of open hours for the museum and gardens on the main site.

Seems there’s a whole interface design movement of business information dashboards. (dashboardspy)

Also, this South African skirt is cool.