Genie lamps, ancient tomes, swords in stones: Classic tales reveal that certain objects possess magical powers, absorbed through generations of inheritance. With today’s relentless pressure to just buy more and more, it’s easy to forget the power of our own belongings. We’re all hoarders on some level. But most of us have at least one heirloom with a rich history, an item that seems more alive than the rest.
British photographer Joakim Blockstrom wants to hear these particular stories and to document your favorite heirlooms. Blockstrom founded The Heirloom Project, an online bank of images of passed-down objects along with their histories. The intent is to start a discussion about the meaning of inheritance and its relationship to our identities and what we value.
Fossils are three-dimensional objects, but you aren’t really supposed to touch them, and you can’t see their depth and detail very easily over the internet. But a new database of fossils from the British Geological Survey actually has the necessary files for you to 3D print fossils yourself.
The searchable database has thousands of images of fossils you can zoom in on, rotate, and interact with on your screen. And you can bring these old bones and artifacts into the physical realm too, thanks to downloadable .ply and .obj files you can use to 3D print them. You can search by period of time, type of fossil, species, genus, etc. to find all kinds of fossils.
The J. Paul Getty Museum is home to troves of fascinating historical artifacts. And last week, the museum [announced] a project to give the public unfettered access to it. The Open Content Program makes 4,600 high-resolution images available for free and for any use whatsoever.
Unknown (photographer) , Moon Crater, late 1850s, Salted paper print from a Collodion negative.
ResearchGate announced that it has closed a $35 million round of series C financing from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Tenaya Capital, with participation from Dragoneer Investment Group and Thrive Capital. This hefty third-round of financing follows its series A and B rounds raised in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Short-term returns may not be part of the equation for ResearchGate’s investors, but Bill Gates, for one, hasn’t been shy about placing big bets on potentially high-impact education, energy and health-related technologies, even if those are long-term — or long shot — investments.
ResearchGate has endeavored to give researchers a platform where they can not only upload the journals they’ve been published in, but share raw data as well — along with experiments that failed or succeeded — in an effort to make that knowledge accessible in a broader context.
A fascinating article about researchers developing the “Declassification Engine” – a tool to analyze declassified documents in the United States.
In many cases, documents are declassified only because individuals will request them under the Freedom of Information Act, and this often means they’re spread to the four winds. “There are a lot of declassified documents out there. Some of them are in historians’ basements. Some are in specific libraries. Some are in digital archives. And they’re in different formats. No one has systematically collected them into a searchable, usable, user-friendly database,” says Columbia law professor David Pozen.
The Declassification Engine seeks to remedy this, but that’s only the first step. Columbia’s Matthew Connelly first dreamed up the idea when he realized that although more and more government documents are now created in electronic format, a dwindling percentage are declassified in electronic format. The rise of digital records, he told himself, should provide more opportunities for researchers, not less.
Actipedia is an open-access, user-generated database of creative activism. It’s a place to read about, comment upon, and share experiences and examples of how activists and artists are using creative tactics and strategies to challenge power and offer visions of a better society via Actipedia.
Text-mining programs go further, categorizing information, making links between otherwise unconnected documents and providing visual maps via What is Text Mining? | Information Space.
Text mining, or the indexing of content, is important because it allows us to make sense and extract meaning out of large amounts of data. Text-mining is an activity also related to data curation, the semantic web, big data and bioinformatics. Its becoming more popular as a way to conduct research and information retrieval within databases.
“In a move that will allow libraries and independent software developers to write programs accessing over one million digital objects and records, the New York Public Library this week released an application programming interface (API) that facilitates connection to the NYPL Digital Gallery.” via NYPL Releases Digital Collections API to Public | The Digital Shift