Posts by Simmi Aujla
January 4, 2010, 11:11 AM ET
Turns out social media, romantic relationships, and mortuary science don't mix.
A student at the University of Minnesota, smarting from recently getting dumped, wrote on Facebook that she wanted to stab her former man in the throat with a trocar, a tool used to drain dead bodies. When she showed up at mortuary-science class on December 14, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, campus police officers questioned her about the post and banned her from campus while they investigated. The police had heard about the posting from an instructor in the mortuary-science class. The student, Amanda Tatro, was allowed to return later that week, after missing two finals.
Ms. Tatro wrote on Facebook that she was "looking forward to Monday's embalming therapy. ... Give me room, lots of aggression to be taken out with a trocar," and "I still want to stab a certain someone in the throat with a...Read More
December 18, 2009, 01:01 PM ET
A hacker broke into a computer server at the North Carolina Community College System, gaining access to the personal information of 51,000 people, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported on Thursday. The breach occurred at a library server in Raleigh, North Carolina, in August. System officials say the server contains driver's license and Social Security information used to track library materials at 46 community-college libraries.
Administrators say no information seems to have been taken, though they will still send letters to all those whose details were stored on the server.Read More
December 15, 2009, 12:44 PM ET
France will spend $1.1-billion on digitizing its archives, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced on Monday, in an effort to maintain control over its literary history. But the investment doesn't mean France is dismissing collaborating with Google, The New York Times reported.
An announcement earlier this year that the French government was working with Google to digitize its history angered the French publishing community and raised questions about entrusting its culture to an American company.
"We won't let ourselves be stripped of our heritage to the benefit of a big company, no matter how friendly, big, or American it is," Mr. Sarkozy said, according to The New York Times.
The president of France's National Library, however, said the announcement didn't rule out working with Google, adding that the government would have to find private-sector partners to help pay for the project.
A ...Read More
December 11, 2009, 02:00 PM ET
A new report from a business-financed public-policy organization says that traditional colleges and universities can learn from for-profit colleges' approach to teaching.
The Committee for Economic Development's new report makes recommendations for how the government, colleges, and universities should encourage online education. One of its chapters, titled "Lessons From For-Profit Institutions of Higher Education," summarizes the strengths of for-profit colleges' teaching methods.
For example, the report says of for-profit colleges, "If disruptive technology allows them to serve new markets, or serve markets more efficiently and effectively in order to profit, then they are more likely to utilize them." It cites e-texts as an example of a disruptive technology for-profit colleges were quick to use.
Some for-profit institutions emphasize instructor training in a way that more...Read More
December 8, 2009, 03:00 PM ET
This fall, 20-year-old Tyrell Luebker made two mistakes on Facebook. He posted pictures of himself drinking beer with his friends in an album titled "Not Sober Fest." And he confirmed a friend request from an attractive young lady named Jenny Anderson. He assumed he had met her at a party.
In November, Mr. Luebker, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, found himself in an interview room in the city's police department, staring at printouts of the pictures he had posted and answering a police officer's questions about his underage drinking.
According to students ticketed for violating underage-drinking laws in this college town, local police officers posed as a young woman and friended students they suspected were not old enough to celebrate Oktoberfest, a popular event here. At least seven other students were also shown pictures that had been posted on Facebook and...Read More
December 3, 2009, 11:00 AM ET
Amazon.com today announced a new textbook trade-in program, which gives students Amazon gift cards if they mail in their used books. The move poses a major challenge to college bookstores, which have long been the main site of book trade-ins for many students.
Amazon says the program will give students good prices for their books and help them avoid the hassle of waiting in line to trade them in at a campus bookstore. Amazon already has trade-in programs for DVD's and video games, which the company says have been successful.
Students and other textbook owners can visit the trade-in site to see if their books are eligible. If they are, a student can print shipping labels and mail the texts off to a third-party business. The value of gift card is then placed in the person's Amazon.com account, which can go towards textbooks, DVD's, CD's, or anything else for sale on the site. Definitely ...Read More
December 1, 2009, 05:21 PM ET
Centuries ago, the best way to reproduce a book was to have a monk in a monastery sit down and rewrite the original, word for word.
These days, digitizing one of those ancient texts can seem almost as laborious: It can take hours upon hours of human work to scan just one volume. So George Washington University is now trying to figure out if an automated digitization system will take less time, and cost less per page, than a manual one.
The university announced Tuesday that it will use an automated system to digitize rare Middle Eastern texts from its own library and from that of Georgetown University. Library staffers will digitize hundreds of works over the next two years, and when the project is completed, they will examine the associated costs. They hope to be able to tell other libraries which method of digitization is more affordable.
Digitizing a book can involve disbinding it...Read More
November 30, 2009, 04:15 PM ET
In its latest victory over inefficiency, mobile technology is making coffee breaks quicker for some students at North Carolina State University.
The university's library staff has created a new Web site that lets students with mobile phones decide whether to sneak off for a coffee break by watching a live video stream of the main library's café. Users of the site can also browse a catalog of library materials and search for available public computers.
In the future, students will also be able to reserve study rooms and make book requests, said Mick Kulikowski, a university spokesman.
Other universities also have created applications or sites for library services, but North Carolina State says its mobile Web site is more broadly accessible than applications made only for iPhones.Read More
November 25, 2009, 01:00 PM ET
For most college students, there's so much reading, and so little time.
California State University-Dominguez Hills is trying to make students' lives easier by turning some of that reading into listening. About a year ago, a library administrator was tinkering with text-enlarging software, which makes it easier for visually impaired students to read. She found that the software could also turn text into sound, and thought it would make sense to make the program available to all students.
Seventeen computers at labs across thecampus are now set up so that students can scan and convert their reading materials into MP3 files, which they can then download onto cellphones or other mobile devices.
The speed of the scanning itself depends on the quality of the scanner, but the software, called Kurzweil 3000, converts the scanned text into sound at a rate of three pages per second. Users can ...Read More
November 19, 2009, 04:00 PM ET
Doctoral students spend years on their dissertations. Too bad the results of their hard work often end up in a cardboard box in a dark corner of a library.
Now Stanford University doctoral students will be able to store their dissertations in a digital repository instead of submitting several bound paper copies to the university, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The university has also reached an agreement with Google, which will serve as a third-party distributor, meaning users of the search tool will be able to find the dissertations. Administrators hope the move will save the university money and give students' work a greater audience.
"We have way north of 35,000 bound dissertations on our shelves," Stanford's university librarian, Michael Keller, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Many of them just stay on the shelf, forgotten and invisible, or scholars have to pay enormous...Read More