Monday, April 28, 2008

Introducing Silobreaker

Silobreaker is a unique news aggregator that pulls content on global issues, science, technology and business from approximately 10,000 news, blog, research and multimedia sources. Using relational analysis and visualization tools, it is a free service for anyone interested in tracking topics, people, companies, places, or key words in web news sources. The service was designed with journalists, researchers, marketing and industry analysts in mind. Besides using Silobreaker for your own research topics, you may just want to check into certain sections of the site such as Media Attention Trends which currently showcases coverage (in the last week) of the democratic and republican candidates, narcotics, bird flu by country, acts of terrorism: Iraq vs. Afghanistan, and game consoles. Or you can make up your own topic. Many Silo users also subscribe to the Silobreaker.blog

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Future of Reputation

In the Future of Reputation (Yale, 2007) Daniel Solove, an authority on information privacy law, looks at gossip in all its nternet manifestations--issues of publicity, shame, and how we can protect our own reputations. Solove believes that "long-standing notions of privacy need review" and that "unless we establish a balance between privacy and free speech, we may discover that the freedom of the Internet makes us less free."
--publisher's website

But why do I give this book its own blog post, besides the fact that it's very well-reviewed? Because it's available in fulltext online for free (as well as from Yale University Press, Amazon, etc.). The work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial 3.0 United States license.

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Wikinews, a wiki modelled on the successful collaboration template of Wikipedi, is a free online news site that "you can write." Since 2004, this citizen news site, now in over 20 languages, encourages its citizens to write their own articles and edit or expand any existing article they want. I find this amusing, from the About section of the site: "Please note that if you have been involved in an event that you want Wikinews to report on, it may be more appropriate for you to request an interview with the Wikinews community. Requesting an interview is like holding a press conference." You'll find two kinds of articles at the site, original reports and synthesis articles that collect news from other sources (citing them, of course). The overseers at Wikinews claim to have a "neutral news policy" which you can read more about at the site. If true, it would be a first in the history of journalism, a worthy news story in and of itself! The graph above illustrates the growth of English Wikinews (red line) compared to the 7 largest language versions of Wikinews (German and Polish come in second and third).

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

International Radio and Television Broadcasts

In the March issue of College and Research Libraries News, librarian John Barnett has put together a useful annotated list of international broadcasts available on he Web. Global Voices, Global Visions: International Radio and Television Broadcasts Via the Web names 16 useful sites you can check out on your own, if not the article itself available electronically from the main page:

RadioStationWorld: Your Global Radio Station Directory

World Radio Network (WRN)

ABC Radio Australia

BBC World Service

Channel Africa

China Radio International (CRI)

Deutshe Welle (DW)

IRIB World Service

Israel Broadcasting Authority
http://www.iba.org.il http://www.israelradio.org
NHK World Radio Japan Online

Radio Canada International/CBC Radio One
http://www.rcinet.ca http://www.cbc.ca/radio

Radio France Internationale/Radio France (RFI)
http://www.rfi.fr http://www.radiofrance.fr

Radio Netherlands

RTVE: Radio Televisión Española

United Nations Radio

Vatican Radio

Voice of Russia

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Society for Cinema and Media Studies Statement on Fair Use

The latest issue of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' Cinema Journal carries a detailed explanation/interpretation of the Library of Congress' exemption allowing film and media studies professors to create digital clips from legally-obtained DVDs housed in college and university libraries. These may be used in the classroom or on electronic courseware sites as long as such activity is restricted to matriculaters and measures are taken to thwart copying and downloading of the material. The Society for Cinema and Media Studies’ Statement of Best Practices for Fair Use in Teaching for Film and Media Educators makes for a good reference for practitioners and librarians alike. The exemption lasts until Oct. 29, 2009, at which point it may be renewed.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Content Analysis Using Digital Newspaper Archives

David Deacon's Yesterday’s Papers and Today’s Technology: Digital Newspaper Archives and ‘Push Button’ Content Analysis in the March 2007 European Journal of Communication is worth pointing out even though it's from last year. The article is available from Penn Libraries e-journals at the homepage.

This article considers the methodological implications of using digital newspaper archives for analysis of media content. The discussion identifies a range of validity and reliability concerns about this increasingly prevalent mode of analysis, which have been under-appreciated to date. Although these questions do not deny a role for the use of proxy data in media analysis, they do highlight the need for caution when researchers rely on text-based, digitalized archives.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April Commquote

Media plays a haunting role in this passage from Mary Karr's devastating memoir, The Liar's Club, in not only its failed capacity to make connections, indeed it even blocks them (phone gets returned to its cradle, TVs turned up to drown out a crisis), but they way it is also used as a metaphor for a father's ability to compartmentalize, shut out family emergencies. The narrator describes his inattention to their plight in terms of turning the volume up or down and channel changing. Rather than ameliorate connections media only serve to underscore isolation and miscommunication.

This passage comes from one of the more harrowing scenes in the book. The depressed and alcoholic mother has started a bonfire of the family's possessions, including the childrens' clothes and toys as they helplessly look on. The narrator, the younger of the two daughters, describes the neighbors' and her father's (who is at work) indifference. A Mrs. Heinz peers out her window for a minute, the lets the pink-checkered curtain fall back down:

"The other neighbors have done the same. I feel them all releasing us into the deep drop of whatever is about to happen. Each curtain falls. Each screen door is pulled tight, and every door hook clicks into its own tight eye, and even big heavy doors get heaved closed in the heat, and all the bolts are thrown. I can almost hear it happening all over the neighborhood. TVs get turned louder to shut out the racket of us. Anyone might have phoned Daddy and said, Pete, looky here. This ain't none of my bi'ness, but . . . (The thought that burdens me most today is that somebody did call Daddy to let him know, and Daddy--gripped by the same grinding machine that gripped us--just stayed in the slot that fate had carved for him and said he planned to come on home directly. Or said kiss my rosy red ass, for Daddy could turn the volume on any portion of the world up or down when he had a mind to. I can very well picture his big hand setting the phone back in its black cradle. The men on his unit might have been frying up some catfish they'd caught. From high in his tower, he could have looked out that curved window across fields of industrial pipes and oil-storage tanks, past the train yards to the grid of identical houses--in the yard of one of which Mother was setting fire to our lives--and maybe Daddy just decided to change the channel away from that fire to the sizzle of cornbread-dipped catfish floating in hot lard. Boy that fish smells good, I can imagine him saying.)"

--Mary Karr, The Liar's Club, 2005 edition, pp. 153-154

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Latin American Public opinion at Latinobarometers

From the Penn Library website, a resource for Latin American public opinion:

The Latinobarometers are annual public opinion polls conducted in several Latin American countries, 1995 to present. The 2006 Latinobarometer covered these countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Dominican Republic. The Latinobarometers are designed to complement the other Global Barometer polling projects in African and East Asia.

Latinobarometers typically ask several dozen questions to reveal opinions, attitudes and behavior of 1000 adult residents in each country. A special focus of the Latinobarometers is democracy and democratic consolidation, and individual years also have central themes.

Additional information on the Latinobarometers is provided at the Latinobarometro web site. However, the data sets are not available for free at the website, go through the UPenn Library page for access to those. Each data file is provided in SPSS save format and therefore requires SPSS or other statistical processing software. Data files with PDF-format codebooks are provided in ZIP archive files as delivered by the vendor. PDF-format codebooks are also provided separately as a reference source.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

TV by the Numbers

Here's a useful new site for television industry statistics: TV by the Numbers. Goals as stated by the founders are:
  • Provide an online warehouse of useful data about the television industry
  • Provide thoughtful and timely analysis on the data, news, and issues that drive the industry
  • Make the data easier to understand and absorb both through analysis and charting techniques
  • Prognosticate on the future
  • Be a favorite destination of those interested or involved in the data that drives the industry
Their publishing schedule is ambitious. Overnight ratings (of only these major networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW) are posted daily; once a week posts include (on specific days I won't spell out here) top 20 most time-shifted broadcast shows, top 20 most time-shifted cable shows, weekly broadcast network TV ratings, season to date ratings, top 20 broadcast and cable TV ratings, top 20 broadcast shows by age group, top 20 syndicated shows, top 20 most time-shifted syndicated shows, top 20 cable network shows, morning news TV ratings, daytime TV ratings, cable news TV ratings, top 20 sports TV ratings, and top 20 new shows TV ratings.

The site also hosts mini-articles and visitor comments on the horse-race of it all.

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