Thursday, January 24, 2013

Digital Microfilm for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News

Here's where Penn Libraries' newspaper e-resources stand with two important local papers, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. Can you say options? You can find the Philadelphia Inquirer in both Lexis Nexis from 1994 to the present and in Newsbank from 1981 to the present. As for the Philadelphia Daily News, Lexis Nexis offers 1994 to the present while Newsbank goes back to1978 up to the present. Both Lexis Nexis and Newsbank are solid search engines so for most searching you can go with your favorite platform (Newsbank has pretty maps!) unless your query requires complicated search strings. In that case Lexis-Nexis would be the better choice as it allows for more complicated boolean logic.

But what if you want to see either title as they appeared as hand held newspapers? You want to see pictures or ads or where a certain story appeared on the page and what was next to it.  Here Lexis-Nexis and Newsbank can't deliver other than giving page numbers and article word counts. Before this month your option would be the Penn Libraries microfilm collection which for The Inquirer goes back to 1969 and runs to the present (we keep the newspaper for three months until the film comes in); same deal for the Daily News except the film only goes back to 1990.

Here's the news.  Now, thanks to Proquest Digital Microfilm, both The Inquirer and the Daily News are available in digital facsimile for recent years, 2010 -2012.  Look for holdings to expand all the way back like other titles from Proquest do, such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal --but I'm not promising anything.

Speaking of the digital page turning experience as opposed to extracted text only newspaper files, don't forget the often overlooked Library PressDisplay (NewspaperDirect) which features the last 60 days of over 200 newspapers from 55 countries.  It includes the Philadelphia Daily News but not the The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

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Monday, January 14, 2013

January CommQuote

This month's quote comes from art critic Karen Rosenberg reviewing Nam June Paik: Global Visionary, a new show currently running at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Paik, from our current vantage point, looks like a master prognosticator. He coined the term “electronic superhighway.” He was one of the first artists — possibly the first, period — to use a portable video recorder. And he foresaw the expansion of television into a dizzying array of niche channels, even if he didn’t quite guess that it would spring out of the box and sever its ties to the cathode-ray tube.  His 1973 video “Global Groove” opens with the pronouncement, “This is a glimpse of the video landscape of tomorrow, when you will be able to switch to any TV station on the earth, and TV Guide will be as fat as the Manhattan telephone book.”
                --Karen Rosenberg, New York Times, January 11, 2012
The show runs from December 13, 2012 through August 11, 2013 which should give you plenty of time to get it on your calendar. Too bad it's not coinciding with the NCA Conference in November of 2013 though the Museum does have a permanent collection of his work, The Nam Paik Archive.

Digital Humanities Tools

It's useful for Communications scholars to keep an eye on the digital humanities arena these days, if not get in there with both feet. To that end I want to do some reposting here, thanks to Mitch Fraas, Bollinger Fellow for Library Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. In October, writing for a great new Penn Libraries blog Apps on Tap, he contributed My Five: Top digital humanities tools from Mitch Fraas. So far it's been the blog's most circulated post. 

If you want more from Mitch, check out his Digital Humanities Resource Guide which includes more text mining tools, text corpora resources (Google and beyond), and a sampling of other digital humanities projects.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Mountain of Tweets at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress just put out a White Paper on the status of their Twitter Archive which was started in 2010 with tweets from 2006-10, and continues with a streaming operation set up for tweets post 2010 to the present.We're talking 170 billion tweets so far, with a growth rate of 140 tweets harvested per day.

While they have received over 400 serious research requests they are not yet ready to provide research access to the archive.  Explains the paper: "Currently, executing a single search of just the fixed 2006-2010 archive on the Library’s systems could take 24 hours.  This is an inadequate situation in which to begin offering access to researchers, as it so severely limits the number of possible searches."  It's no easy problem to solve, either as it will take an extensive infrastructure overhaul of their servers which is cost-prohibitive for a public institution such as theirs.  In the meantime, they are developing a "basic level of access that can be implemented while archival access technologies catch up"--which doesn't tell us a whole lot but it will be interesting to follow for sure. 

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