Facebook and M

Facebook is testing a new virtual assistant. “TODAY, A FEW hundred Bay Area Facebook users will open their Messenger apps to discover M, a new virtual assistant. Facebook will prompt them to test it with examples of what M can do: Make restaurant reservations. Find a birthday gift for your spouse. Suggest—and then book—weekend getaways.”

YouTube Officially Launches YouTube Gaming

YouTube has offically launched YouTube Gaming. “As promised, and after some excellent road-testing by thousands of dedicated gaming fans (thanks, folks!), YouTube Gaming is now available. Blending gaming videos and live streams, YouTube Gaming brings you closer to the games, gamers, and culture that matter to you.”

New Video Content Discovery Tool

Hmm. There’s a new video discovery tool in town, and it sounds quite good. “To sift through the heaps of crappy video content for us, Hyper has employed a team of journalists and filmmakers who hand-select anywhere from six to a dozen videos each day and package them into a visually appealing digital magazine of sorts. The videos range from one to twenty minutes in duration and span a broad variety of topics, from artsy foodie videos to emotionally draining war-zone documentaries.”

Jason Scott Wants to Help Your Digital Archiving Efforts

Jason Scott, he of the manual-saving effort, has launched a new site to help everyone in their digital archiving efforts. It’s a wiki called Digitize the Planet. “The overall goal is to be a one-stop shop for information on best practices to convert as much of the non-digital world into digital, preferably without the destruction of the original containers. By links, essays and explanations, this wiki will hopefully grow to allow anyone with items trapped in a non-digital format to give them a shot at immortality.”

GeoCities Nostalgia – Where’s My Blink Tag

Are you nostalgic for the “old” Web — GeoCities, Angelfire, etc? Here ya go. “‘Cameron’s World,’ built by Berlin-based designer Cameron Askin, is a frenetic web-collage created as ‘a love letter to the internet of old.’ Divided into thematic rows of over 700 images Askin sourced from archived pages, the website is a well-organized gallery exploding with decades-old browser detritus composed of blinking texts, animated pictorial cursors, MIDI files, and cheesy GIFs.” I’d rather a MIDI file than an auto-playing video ad with audio any day of the week…

Ancestry and Gannett Teaming Up For Newspaper Digitizing Project

Ancestry is teaming up with Gannett for a huge newspaper digitization project (PRESS RELEASE). “Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genetics, today announced its collaboration with Gannett Co., Inc., the largest local-to-national media company, to digitize more than 80 daily newspapers across the nation. Newspapers.com, an Ancestry business unit, and Gannett will provide a historical newspaper viewing experience complete with full text search, clipping and sharing features. Together, they expect to deliver more than 100 million full-page images of historical newspapers in a simple, easy-to-use online archive.”

Database of Rhode Island Shipwrecks

Now available: a database of shipwrecks in Rhode Island waters — over 3000 of them! “Users can search most of the 38 fields of information, including names of ships, dates of incidents and cargo being carried. The database documents cases where ships sank and what’s left of them still lies on the bottom, as well as other incidents, such as groundings and collisions, which the ship survived.”

In Development: An Emmett Till Archive

In development: an archive for Emmett Till. “The brutal death of Emmett Till — an African-American teenager — in Mississippi in August of 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his white murderers by an all-white jury, was a pivotal moment in the surge for civil rights in America….Now, 60 years after the tragedy, Florida State University is creating an Emmett Till Archive. The university plans to make the announcement soon.”

Now Available: A Database Of Multiple-Model Climate Data

Now available: a database of multiple-model climate data. “Studies in biogeography and macroecology have been increasing massively since climate and biodiversity databases became easily accessible. Climate simulations for past, present, and future have enabled macroecologists and biogeographers to combine data on species’ occurrences with detailed information on climatic conditions through time to predict biological responses across large spatial and temporal scales. Here we present and describe ecoClimate, a free and open data repository developed to serve useful climate data to macroecologists and biogeographers.”

State Archives of NC Creates STEM Collection

The state archives of North Carolina has created a STEM collection. “The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Digital Collection, part of North Carolina Digital Collections, is an attempt to highlight a representative sample of the holdings of the State Archives of North Carolina related to the STEM fields….To create this digital collection, we have drawn material from over 50 records series and collections held by the State Archives of North Carolina including: State Agency Records, Private Collections, Photograph Collections, Organization Records, General Assembly Records, and Map Collections.”

Historical Prison Records of Women in Victoria, Australia

Victorian female prisoner registries have gone online. (Please note that this is “Victorian” as in “area in Australia,” not as in “era in history.”) “The prison records of more than 7,000 Victorian women incarcerated between 1855 and 1934 are available to view online for the first time, thanks to the State Archives. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) cleaned and digitised the records, which were then indexed by volunteers over an 18-month period.”

Surfacing the Least-Popular Stuff on YouTube

Oh I LOVE stuff like this. Anybody can look at the super-popular videos on YouTube, but what about the ones which have very few views? There’s an app for that. “…Zero Views for iOS is letting people explore the unseen videos lurking behind all the cute cat clips. Of course, this isn’t an entirely new concept, there are similar websites and apps out there but what I like about Zero Views is the endless stream. It kind of feels like Tinder… If Tinder was filled with badly-lit home movies shot on phones.”