Demographic Research: Using Twitter data for demographic research. “Social media data is a promising source of social science data. However, deriving the demographic characteristics of users and dealing with the nonrandom, nonrepresentative populations from which they are drawn represent challenges for social scientists. Given the growing use of social media data in social science research, this paper asks two questions: 1) To what extent are findings obtained with social media data generalizable to broader populations, and 2) what is the best practice for estimating demographic information from Twitter data?” The paper itself is a freely-available PDF.
The Next Web: Wikipedia co-founder wants to put the world’s knowledge on the blockchain. “Everipedia today announced Wikipedia co-founder Dr. Larry Sanger would be joining the company as it prepares to bring its online encyclopedia to the blockchain. Blockchain is best known as the technology that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies run on, but its applications go far beyond simply making the Winklevoss twins rich. ”
The Hindu: Bharatavani portal offers digital dictionaries of vanishing Indian languages. “The word for sunlight or sunshine in Angami — a language spoken by around 130,000 people in the North East — is niakikezie. In the Ao-language of Nagaland, it is anüpu oranüsangwa. And this reporter in far away Bengaluru could look up these words and many more from several Indian languages, thanks to digital dictionaries available on the Bharatavani website. Most cities in India have infrastructure to teach many foreign languages . But how many look inwards to tap the domestic cultural motherlode of more than 1,500 Indian languages? It is this question that spurred Bharatavani, an online Indian Languages platform hosted by the Central Institute for Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysuru, to not only publish content in 121 Indian languages, but work towards starting online classes.”
United Nations Library: Update on UN Digitization Programme . “From A as in Acid to Z as in Zinc, the complete series of historical Statistical Yearbooks has been digitized and is now freely available online. The project comprised a joint effort between the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. To mark the launch of the Statistical Yearbook 2017, the Library’s Digitization Unit scanned 55 volumes of past issues referencing statistics of countries and regions dating back to 1948. Currently all historical yearbooks are accessible through the website of the Statistics Division; the yearbooks will also be accessible in the UN Digital Library.”
FiveThirtyEight: The FBI’s Explanation For Why It Released Less Crime Data Doesn’t Add Up. “Late last month, FiveThirtyEight published an article that noted that the FBI’s most recent accounting of crime data in the United States was missing almost 70 percent of the data tables that had been included in past editions. The FBI has since disputed that the removal of those tables was out of the ordinary. But closer scrutiny doesn’t seem to bear this claim out.”
Wall Street Journal: Google, Shmoogle. Reference Librarians Are Busier Than Ever. This might be paywalled. “Even in the internet age, reference librarians still dig up answers that require extra effort, searching old books, microfilm and paper files, looking for everything from owners of long-defunct firms to 19th-century weather reports. Though online searches are now at the fingertips of most people, many still prefer to call or visit a library. Some can’t or don’t use computers; others recognize librarians have search skills and access to databases that search engines can’t match.” And still others want to ensure credibility. Eighteen years ago I was quoted in the New York Times as saying “If you wanted to publish a book that says 2 plus 2 equals 5, you had to go through a lot of effort and spend a great deal of money. But the cost of putting up a Web page saying 2 plus 2 equals 5 is virtually nothing.” Thank your local reference librarian.
Builder Online: New Database Allows For Deep Inspection Of Cities, Towns And Neighborhoods. “A new interactive database created by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, based in Cleveland, and PolicyMap allows users to visualize a broad array of indicators – housing prices, incomes, open space, or zoning and land use regulations, and more – revealing new insights on the makeup of states, cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout the United States. The Place Database, unveiled at Meeting of the Minds, the annual conference spotlighting urban sustainability and connected technology, taps data from a variety of sources, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Census Bureau, Internal Revenue Service, and National Conservation Easement Database, and assembles them for the first time all in one place.” I just need six hours or so to play with it.