One Year of Learning 2023
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
1M ago
Inspired by Tom Whitwell’s 52 things I learned in 2022, I started my own list of things I learned in 2023. I got well into 2024 before I realized I hadn’t published it! So, in no particular order: In the summer of 2011, a lab technician at Los Alamos National Laboratory carefully laid 8 rods of plutonium on a bench to take a picture. The rods were almost close enough to cause an uncontrolled fission event. AAAS Science Runways are named by their magnetic compass heading value divided by 10 (e.g. a runway heading due east—90°—is named “runway 9”). Variations in the Earth’s magnetic fields mean ..read more
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Restoring Obsidian Knowledgebase from MacOS Time Machine at the Command Line
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
1M ago
While on vacation, I was catching up on some personal knowledge management maintenance I had been putting off. At one task—adding a page for a new employee at the company I work for—I noticed that the page for my company was gone. Odd, that page has been in my knowledgebase for years…let’s go look in the People, Places, and Organizations folder…6 pages?!? There should be at least 60! And look at that…all of my templates are gone, too. What else was missing?!? Here are my project notes for rebuilding my knowledgebase from backups. I’m using Obsidian as my personal knowledge management tool. Obs ..read more
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Processing WOLFcon Conference Recordings with FFMPEG
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
5M ago
WOLFcon—the World Open Library Foundation Conference—was held last month, and all of the meetings were recorded using Zoom. Almost all of the sessions were presentations and knowledge-sharing, so giving the recordings a wider audience on YouTube make sense. With nearly 50 sessions, though, manually processing the recordings would make the process quite challenging. I created a pipeline of ffmpeg commands that does most of the grunt work and learned a lot about ffmpeg command graphs along the way. Here are the steps: Clip the videos from the Zoom recordings. Rescale the recordings to 1920x1080 ..read more
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On Open Library Services: Reflections from the GIL User Group Meeting
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
6M ago
In May 2023 I was asked to join the opening session at Georgia’s GIL User Group Meeting. Along with Chris Sharp and Emily Gore, we reflected on the conference theme: The Future is Open. GALILEO has an exciting time ahed of it…their libraries are adopting FOLIO and a new resource sharing system. Below is a lightly edited version of my remarks during the panel, and a recording of the keynote panel is available on YouTube. Tell us a little bit about your experience working with “open” library services. In my experience, “open” is built into the ethos of libraries. I mean…even if we look at just t ..read more
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Considerations for Online Age Verification (in the U.S.)
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
6M ago
The Congressional Research Service has posted four reports about verifying users’ ages for various services online in the past few months. This is a tricky area because there are open questions around compliance and potential free speech impacts. Figuring out how to protect minors while not infringing on lawful communication or driving content providers from the market is quite the challenge. (You can get updates about reports from the Congressional Research Service via RSS or Mastodon; see an earlier blog post for details.) Challenges with identifying minors online Most recently updated in Ma ..read more
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Congressional Research Service Syndication Feed
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
9M ago
One of the hidden gems of the Library of Congress is the Congressional Research Service (CRS). With a staff of about 600 researchers, analysts, and writers, the CRS provides “policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation.” It is kind of like a “think tank” for the members of Congress. And an extensive selection of their reports are available from the CRS homepage and—as government publications—are not subject to copyright; any CRS Report may be reproduced and distributed without permission. And they publish a lot of reports ..read more
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This website contains 0.00006% of the world’s knowledge
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
10M ago
According to reputable sources, this blog contains 0.00006% of the world’s knowledge. The large language models (LLMs) that underlie tools like ChatGPT and Bing-AI are being used as question-answering tools. If you listen to the hype surrounding what LLMs can do, you can hardly be faulted for thinking that is has every fact known to humankind and can answer any question. One of the most popular large language models, GPT-3, was trained with several large text datasets. One dataset, C4 (a filtered version of the Common Crawl), is 60% of the text used in training. According to this article in t ..read more
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Reflections on four-months-after-Twitter
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
11M ago
It’s coming up on four months this week since I left Twitter, and I started wondering about the impact of that. On the whole, I’m still quite fine with the decision. (If you need an itemized list of how Twitter is falling short of its history and its idealized self, I’m sure I could dig one up.) There are certainly people that I miss that have not found their way onto Mastodon (or we haven’t re-found each other yet). There is a nagging fear-of-missing-out on enjoyable and valuable conversations. One gut reaction that I find I’m suppressing is calling out bad corporate behavior. Companies of al ..read more
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Issue 100: Internet Governance
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
11M ago
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is just over a year old, and shortly after the war started there were calls to cut Russia off from the internet as a punitive action. (See Can the Internet Sanction a Country? Should It?, Thursday Threads issue 89.) A year later now, that discussion has died down. Today’s Thursday Threads issue recalls that discussion and other examples of attempts to exert control over the internet. This week we look at internet governance: how it got to be the way it is, why it is unique, and threats (both historic and current) to how it operates. What is the internet? (2022) Pr ..read more
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Issue 99: Copyright for Generative Artificial Intelligence (ChatGPT, DALL·E 2, and the like)
Disruptive Library Technology Jester
by Peter Murray
1y ago
Cecil Mae Feather, 1929–2023 This issue is offered in honor of Cecil Mae Thornburg Feather, my mother-in-law. Cecil Mae was a wonderful person. I only knew her a short time as I married into the Feather family, and that time was filled with love and joy. She enjoyed playing piano and teaching students how to play piano. My own two children spent summers in their Hickory, North Carolina, home and came back with new tunes on their fingers and new stories in their hearts. I remember her warm smile and even warmer hugs. She taught me that southern hospitality is not only a stereotype but a perspec ..read more
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