Monday, 24 April 2017

Google Earth relaunched

Google Earth has been completely revamped, in a "stunning relaunch" according to Search Engine Watch.  They have an article authored by Clark Boyd that gives a detailed look at the new product. For those of us who use Google Chrome as our browser the best news is that Google Earth is built into Chrome so one no longer has to download the app.  It works quickly and smoothly and is quite amazing. When you launch it for the first time there is a brief video tour "This is the new Google Earth, here are the top 5 things to try" which can help you get started. 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Fake Review Detector

Have you every doubted a review on Amazon or Yelp?  There's an app/browser extention/website to help with that. It's called Fakespot.  Because there are lots and lots of fake reviews out there, and this will help you separate the junk from the useful ones. It also has a webpage called "worst fake reviews" where you can see products whose online reviews are pretty much 100% fake. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

New: USA Facts website

CIO and others report that Steve Ballmer, late of Microsoft, has a new project called USA Facts (Our nation, in numbers) that has the grand goal of fixing the US government.  According to the New York Times, "The database is perhaps the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments." The website states that "USAFacts is a new data-driven portrait of the American population, our government’s finances, and government’s impact on society. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit civic initiative and have no political agenda or commercial motive. We provide this information as a free public service and are committed to maintaining and expanding it in the future. We rely exclusively on publicly available government data sources. We don’t make judgments or prescribe specific policies."  The site already contains a wealth of information but it is still in beta. 

WK Study Guides: interface update tomorrow

Wolters Kluwer has informed us that they are upgrading the portal for the WK Online Study Aid library with the release planned for April 22, 2017. Their website will be unavailable for about one hour on April 22 beginning at 1:00 am while they implement the changes. There will be no change to the content, to a student’s settings, notes, highlights, or bookmarks. Students will continue to access content as previously. Benefits of the new interface for students include:
• Updated online and offline readers.
• Sync notes and highlights between online/offline access when same file format is used.
• Option to view EPUB or PDF when reading online.
• Export notes.
• My Shelf: create custom shelves to organize your books.
• Responsive design for the desktop site and a mobile site for tablets and smartphones.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The very first 1040 form, from the LOC

In a timely post, the Law Library of Congress blog today posted an image of the very first Form 1040, from 1913. The current federal income tax can be traced back to the Revenue Act of 1913, which was passed after the ratification, by the states, of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. The act provided that taxes on individual taxpayers would be imposed beginning for the year 1913 on incomes of $3,000 and up.
Despite being over 100 years old, the 1040 from 1913 resembles our current form in its structure and bureaucratic language, as well as the several "see instructions page ___" However, it was due on March 1, and only taxed income earned between March 1 and December 31 for some reason.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

GPO Launches New GPO.gov Website

The Federal Depository Library Program has sent out an announcement that the Government Printing Office has launched a new website (still in beta) that is meant to be more user-friendly for customers, vendors, Federal agencies, libraries, and the public looking for Government information. The site is https://beta.gpo.gov. Eventually this site will replace the current site, developed in 2009.
They welcome your feedback on the site at this feedback form.

Friday, 7 April 2017

FDLP webinar: resources from the Army War College

The Federal Depository Library Program is offering a free webinar on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 2 pm titled "U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE INFORMATION RESOURCES: LANDPOWER, GEOPOLITICS, ARMY HISTORY, AND EDUCATIONAL TREASURES." The presenter is Prof. Bert Chapman,who is a Political Science and Economics Librarian/Professor of Library Science at Purdue University. This webinar will introduce students to the rich variety of information resources provided by the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Examples of these resources from the Army’s premier professional military education institution include materials such as course syllabi, podcasts, and detailed studies on the role of land power and strategy in the U.S. and foreign militaries. It will also cover historical materials produced by the War College’s Army Heritage and Education Command that can enhance understanding of the U.S. Army’s role in U.S. and international history. Register here.

Reuters adds "Trust Principles" and "Backstory" to news reports

Reuters recently announced that they "have attached a link to the Trust Principles at the bottom of all stories on Reuters.com. In addition, from time to time, when we think it might be useful to the reader, we will also provide an explanation – which we are calling Backstory – of how we have reported a particular piece. Backstory will be presented as a statement of methodology or a Q&A with a Reuters journalist. These additions reflect our commitment not only to deliver accurate, unbiased news but to share more information about the way we work and the standards under which we operate."

hat tip: Karen Shephard

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A graphical history of Google search results

Google has been around for almost twenty years now. Search Engine Watch has created a visual history of Google's evolution, "including its many successes and its few notable failures, through the lens of the humble Search Engine Results Page (SERP)". They also provide an updated look at search engines that are currently an alternative to Google - even though about 80% of desktop computer users vhttps://www.netmarketshare.com/search-engine-market-share.aspx?qprid=4&qpcustomd=0 Google for their search engine.