Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Google News

After a mere three years, Google News is rushing headlong out of beta. A new feature recommends "personalized" news on the basis of previous searches. Apropos our listserv discussion regarding the challenge of producing early-morning hardcopy newsclips for visitors etc., Google News presents a relatively graphic-free "suitable for cut and paste" list of news items if you select the text version option on the far right side of the screen. Each item leads with only the first sentence of the story, but that's often enough. More about the out of beta version here

New FirstGov

I happened by FirstGov yesterday, not realizing - until reading Gary Price's review today - that big changes underlie the new look. Read all about it at searchenginewatch

Monday, January 23, 2006

With you can present RSS newsfeeds in however many windows (called "widgets") you care to arrange on the page. You can define the newsfeeds by selecting from dropdowns, by specifying an rss-feed url, or by searching for rss feeds by topic or provider (e.g. "state department"). You can also create a feed search; for example, by searching for"public diplomacy" in Google News, you've created an RSS feed for occurrences of those search terms that you can channel into one of your windows. Finally, you're supposed to be able to publish your page and/or make it available to others, but I couldn't get either of those features to work (I've sent them a message about it...)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Government Secrecy

This article by Laura Gordon-Murnane appears in the January 2006 issue of Information Today. It's a current and extensive compilation of resources on the government secrecy issue.

Monday, January 16, 2006

More on has been acquired by Yahoo, which perhaps is an indication that it may be around for a while. If you still haven't gotten started with this tool, "The Several Habits of Wildly Successful Users" is a short and to-the-point guide to what it can do and how you can use it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Library 2.0

Library 2.0 is a term that is much batted about the internet these days, perhaps as a natural follow-up to Web 2.0 Walt Crawford has devoted an entire issue of his "Cites & Insights" to surveying who has been saying what about it. Even if you find endless discussions about library and librarian identity dull, this is a useful catalog of who - and which blogs - are considered seminal in the N.American library community.

State of the Media 2005 report

Project for Excellence in Journalism (Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism) has released the 2005 State of the Media report. Among the highlights of the year cited in the introduction: "the blossoming of citizen blogs, the emergence of a major new news source edited entirely by computers (Google News), and both triumph (exposing the Abu Ghraib prison scandal) and failure (Memogate) for one of the TV networks. Customization, and with it fragmentation, reached new levels." and Martin Luther King's Martin Luther King archive provides free access to thousands of original newspaper articles about Martin Luther King. A great MLK Day/Black History Month resource for teachers/students.

Passport photo service

ePassportPhoto is a free service that enables users to create regulation-size passport photos from home-taken digital photos. If you don't have a printer, will mail you prints for a fee (that's what's in it for them...) It appears to be a legitimate site, with a reference link to's photoguide. Although DOS could not openly promote a commercial service like this, it's something the Amcit/passport section might like to know about...?

Sunday, January 8, 2006

MIT Audits the Conventional Wisdom

Audits of the Conventional Wisdom from MIT's Center for International Studies "tours the horizon of conventional wisdoms that animate U.S. foreign policy, and put them to the test of data and history" (chosen as "site of the month" in the December 2005 issue of Foreign Service Journal)

Human Security Report

The first Human Security Report documents a dramatic, but largely unknown, decline in the number of wars, genocides and human rights abuse over the past decade. Published by Oxford University Press, the Report argues that the single most compelling explanation for these changes is found in the unprecedented upsurge of international activism, spearheaded by the UN, which took place in the wake of the Cold War. For more information see Human Security Gateway.

Friday, January 6, 2006

CRS Report. The Google Book Search Project

CRS Report. The Google Book Search Project: Is Online Indexing a Fair Use Under Copyright Law?

Google, Inc. is digitally scanning the collections of several prominent libraries inorder to create a vast searchable database of literary works. Copyright holders who havenot authorized and object to the digitization have filed suit against the company. Thisreport provides background on the pending litigation. It will be updated as judicialdevelopments warrant.

Full text...

Thursday, January 5, 2006


Openomy lets you store up to one gigabyte of files on the net free of charge.


10x10 is kind of a neat way of presenting the news, though I'm not sure how useful. The companion site,, is certainly useless - unless as a useful lesson in the pitfalls of so-called "architecture of participation."

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Law Blogs

Law seems to be a field that is particularly well-represented in the blogosphere (e.g. bespacific, scotusblog, legalreader, to name but three), and is a useful directory of legal and law-related blogs.