New Database of Fictional Characters

If you never see me again, it’s BoingBoing’s fault. It hipped me to a new database of fictional characters. “Basically CharacTour is an expansive online database for fictional characters. Like Facebook or a dating website, each character gets their own profile page. So far the site has over 4,500 spoiler-free profiles about characters’ origins, interests, skills, and journeys. Not only can you search for your favorites, you can find new characters to love as well.” Jo March and Tony Stark were in the database, while Eve Dallas and Dirk Struan weren’t.

Tools for Social Science Research on Social Media

I missed this article when it came out last month — Wasim Ahmed has done an excellent roundup of currently-available tools for social media research. This is social scientist level research, not “Find out how many people are following you” type stuff. “By searching for relevant software (as documented in the table), I have noticed that there are very few tools that can be used to obtain data from other social media platforms such as, Pinterest, Goolge+, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Vine, LinkedIn, and Amazon among others. Regarding this, I would like to see more software for those in the social sciences to obtain data for a range of platforms and including a range of data i.e., web links, images, and video. At the Masters and PhD level there should be more emphasis on training for social science students in effectively using existing software that can be used to capture data […]

Old Aerial Photos of Britain Available (PRESS RELEASE)

Bluesky is making old aerial photos of Britain available online (PRESS RELEASE). “Thousands of aerial photographs of Britain, dating back more than seventy years, are now available online. Visitors to can now search, view and download images from the Old Aerial Photos collection, which includes some of the earliest commercial aerial survey images, military photographs as well as many national archives.” This is a paid resource. Most of the maps I looked at were about £20 for a download. More if you wanted prints or a statement of authenticity.

Yelp Adds Healthcare Data to Reviews

Yelp is adding healthcare data for hospitals and nursing homes to reviews. Excellent. “The San Francisco company said Wednesday that it will provide statistics for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes and 6,300 dialysis clinics in the U.S. The information is compiled by ProPublica from their own research and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will be updated quarterly.”

Crowdsourced Speech Error Database Underway

Oh this should be interesting: an online, crowdsourced database of speech errors. “The public-at-large can access the tool at Researchers hope users will enter their own and others’ experiences of tip-of-the-tongue states, as well as slips of the tongue, slips of the ear (where people misperceive words) and malapropisms. A description of the website recently was published in the open access journal Frontiers in Psychology. The ‘provisional’ copy is online now.” Anyone who’s friends with me on Facebook knows I do this constantly, usually through misreading. I think my brain is trolling me.

Journalist Social Media Resources (Bonus: Huge Flame War in the Comments)

Journalists, looking for your tribe? Here’s a resource list. “I’m a big fan of getting new voices into journalism and keeping them there. One of the ways to help level the existing playing field is to make sure everyone knows about the groups that already exist. Many of these groups are not well-advertised and are hard to find, particularly if you’re a freelancer or new to the field. So I decided to round up all the ones I know about in one place.” Read the comments for a huge argument over whether a group can reasonably prohibit any mention of its existence.

Hootsuite Can Schedule Instagram Posts, But It’s a Bit Fiddly

Hootsuite can now schedule Instagram posts, but you have to go around your elbow a little bit. “While you can get your posts ready through either the Hootsuite app or dashboard, you still need your phone handy to actually publish. According to an Instagram spokesperson, when your post is ready to be sent out, you will receive a push notification from the Hootsuite app directing you to the Notification Center. You then tap the post, which will open in the Instagram app to publish.”

Digitizing ISU Presidential Portraits

Digitizing documents would be bad enough. But how about portraits. Some of you might remember the big presidential portrait move Archives staff did around this time last year. With the help of the staff of the Bone Student Center, we successfully moved the historic Illinois State presidential portraits from the Circus Room to our secure storage space. Last week, we moved them (temporarily) once again to Milner Library where they’ll soon be getting a digital makeover!”

Most Popular Programming Languages of 2015

ProgrammableWeb: The most popular programming languages of 2015. “The Top 10 ranking was calculated with help from computational journalist Nick Diakopoulos. The system was based on weighting and the combination of 12 metrics from 10 data sources, including the IEEE Xplore digital library, GitHub, and CareerBuilder, to determine the popularity of languages from an initial list of 48.” R was #6!

Baghdad National Library Digitized Ahead of Islamic State Threat

Iraq is digitizing the Baghdad National Library ahead of threats from Islamic State. “as Islamic State militants set out to destroy Iraq’s history and culture, including irreplaceable books and manuscripts kept in the militant-held city of Mosul, a major preservation and digitization project is underway in the capital to safeguard a millennia worth of history. In darkrooms in the library’s back offices, employees use specialized lighting to photograph some of the most-precious manuscripts.”

Yes, There Is Google+ Love Out There

In the interest of fairness, Some Google+ love. “None of my real-life friends use it, and my grandma definitely doesn’t share any memes there. In fact, a lot of my online friends don’t have Google+ accounts, and those that do don’t use use them. Who says Google+ has to be Facebook, though? There is a select group of people that I follow — about 1,000, actually — that use Google+ every single day. I interact with dozens of posts every day, I share a fair number of my own, and I’ve met some amazing people.” Better hope there are a lot of amazing people out there, or Google will cut your service off at the knees (COUGH Google Reader COUGH).