Category Archives: Research

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QuickWire: Twitter Names Winners of Data Grants

In February, Twitter announced a new program offering researchers the chance to get free data for their studies. Apparently the idea has broad appeal: The company received 1,300 proposals from more than 60 countries, according to a blog post revealing the six institutions that have won the first round of grants.

The research projects will study “the diffusion and effectiveness of cancer early-detection campaigns” and the “happiness of cities,” among other things. The two American winners are the…

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Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its Birthday

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Like most youngsters, the Digital Public Library of America has been growing fast. Officially a year old, it now encompasses more than seven million items, three times what it started with 12 months ago.

Designed to be a gateway to information rather than a final destination, the DPLA doesn’t actually ingest digitized books, manuscripts, photos, moving pictures, recordings, or other materials. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of institutions to aggregate the metadata that describes …

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Cornell U. Researchers Put Robots in Conversation, and the Result Is Surprisingly Human

When the machines take over, much will change. But perhaps not the exquisite frustrations of a halting philosophical debate.

Researchers at Cornell University’s Creative Machines Lab have demonstrated this by putting two artificially intelligent avatars in conversation with one another. The avatars, called Cleverbots, are sophisticated versions of the classic Eliza program, developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1960s. The Cornell researchers—two doctoral students and an…

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QuickWire: Collecting Altmetric Data in China

As more researchers use social media to share and comment on one another’s work, those networks have become rich sources of data for altmetrics—alternative measures that look beyond citation rates and impact factors to get a fuller picture of how scholarship is circulating. But researchers in China can’t share journal articles and papers via Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked there.

Altmetric, one of several services that have sprung up to provide altmetrics to publishers, libraries, and re…

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Taking Notes by Hand Benefits Recall, Researchers Find

Distractions posed by laptops in the classroom have been a common concern, but new research suggests that even if laptops are used strictly to take notes, typing notes hinders students’ academic performance compared with writing notes on paper with a pen or pencil.

Daniel M. Oppenheimer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and Pam Mueller, a graduate student at Princeton University, studied the effects of students’ note-taking preferences. Their …

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Scholars Collaborate to Make Sound Recordings More Accessible

A project based at the University of Texas at Austin is on track to increase the accessibility and use of sound recordings by repurposing a tool originally developed to classify bird calls. The goal is to teach the tool how to classify sounds in a wide variety of existing recordings, and even to give scholars ways to visualize the sounds.

“When dealing with sound, there’s only one way to access it or move around, and that is to press play and listen to it real time. Otherwise you can’t get—f…

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New Syllabus Archive Opens the ‘Curricular Black Box’

Course syllabi are a potentially valuable source of information for teaching and scholarship. Their contents could shed light on the evolution of fields (How has Foucault’s popularity changed over time?) or help professors develop new courses (What are best practices for teaching digital humanities?). But gathering and sharing syllabi can be a messy business. Privacy concerns, legal uncertainty, fragmented and inconsistent sharing practices—all present challenges.

A group of scholars is taking a…

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U.S. Agencies, Industry, and Academe Team Up to Compute Media’s Future

As risky as predictions are, here’s a fairly safe one: The future of media is bound up with computers. That doesn’t mean that print and other older forms of media will fade away. It does mean that newer media, whatever shape they take, will be created, shared, and used with the help of computers. If it’s not love, it’s apps that will bring us together.

That recognition has brought together the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Hu…

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Internet2 Teams Up With India’s National Knowledge Network

Internet2, a computer-networking consortium whose infrastructure supports the work of tens of thousands of educators and researchers across the United States, expects to formalize a partnership with its counterpart in India this month. Officials say the move will clear the way for collaboration between American and Indian researchers on a scale never seen before.

A delegation of American academics, including Michael A. McRobbie, president of Indiana University, and H. David Lambert, president of…

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What Matters to Academic-Library Directors? Information Literacy

Whether they work at a big research university, a small four-year college, or something in between, academic-library directors share a “resounding dedication” to teaching information literacy to undergraduates. Beyond that, the priorities they set for their libraries depend on the size and nature of their institutions and how many (or few) resources they have to work with.

Those findings come out of a 2013 survey of American library directors, released on Tuesday by Ithaka S+R US. That’s the con…