Society of Architectural Historians: Society of Architectural Historians and UVA Press Launch Open-Access SAH Archipedia. “SAH Archipedia contains histories, photographs and maps for over 20,000 structures and places, and showcases the richness and diversity of architecture and landscapes throughout the U.S. Building entries include scholar-written, peer-reviewed narrative histories, photographs, precise geospatial coordinates using Google Maps/OpenStreetMap, and structural and descriptive metadata that includes semantic tags for architects and firms, periods, styles, materials and types.”
US Government Accountability Office (GAO): Our New “Science & Tech Spotlights”. “GAO has launched a new line of science and tech quick reads, 2-pagers providing brief overviews of key topics in the field. To complement our more in-depth evaluations and assessments, these ‘Science & Tech Spotlights’ summarize emerging innovations and the relevant policy context.”
Harvard Gazette: New interactive website helps chart paths for economic growth. “The Growth Lab, a program of the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard Kennedy School, has just launched its Country Profiles portal, an interactive website that boils down 6,000 data points into a handful of interactive graphs. The algorithms built into the program generate suggested growth strategies and identify economic opportunities for each of the 130 profiled countries.”
New-to-me, from Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas: Cuban journalist uses creativity to dig for information and maintain database for other media. “For a year, Cuban journalist Barbara Maseda has been running Proyecto Inventario, whose mission is to publish any and all available data about Cuba. It is intended to serve as a database for consultation and use by other independent journalists writing about the island.”
Digital Trends: Alexa will start to crowdsource answers to fill in knowledge gaps. “Amazon is now crowdsourcing answers for Alexa through the new Alexa Answers program. This program is meant to fill in the gaps in the assistant’s knowledge so users will no longer get the ‘Hmm, I don’t know that one’ answer. This new program was first mentioned by Amazon in December on Amazon’s blog.” Seems like a not-great idea.
Wired: What Happened to Urban Dictionary?. “The site, now in its 20th year, is a digital repository that contains more than 8 million definitions and famously houses all manner of slang and cultural expressions. Founded by Aaron Peckham in 1999—then a computer science major at Cal Poly—Urban Dictionary became notorious for allowing what sanctioned linguistic gatekeepers, such as the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster, would not: a plurality of voice. In interviews, Peckham has said the site began as a joke, as a way to mock Dictionary.com, but it eventually ballooned into a thriving corpus.”
Rhode Island College: Medical Data Isn’t the Problem. Understanding It Is.. “Roberta Powell ’09, a former nurse educator, may not be your typical app inventor, but her new tool for translating medical information into layperson’s terms is redefining the relationship between patients and their doctors. With her new app, all you need to do is enter the health data you don’t understand and the app will translate it into easy-to-understand language and images.” Three cheers for Roberta Powell!