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March 2013


March 25, 2013 | Ranald | Comments (0)


FBI Records: the Vault is one of the free reference websites on the 2012 list "Best free reference websites" compiled by a RUSA committee and published in the fall 2012 issue of Reference & User Services Quarterly .

The site serves, according to the notes on its entry in the list, "as an online 'vault' to thousands of declassified FBI documents and spans many decades. Visitors can search or browse the collection to find digital copies of scanned FBI files including memos, reports and other materials."

There are categories for browsing, e.g. "gangster era," "unexplained phenomenon [sic]," "violent crime"; and, for browsers with quieter tastes, "administrative policy procedures" and "bureau personnel."

Focused researchers can use the site search window and unearth not only reports on e.g. Brecht ("the author of an 'educational play'", a lengthy summary of which follows, interesting to those bored with the apolitical summaries offered by the Coles Notes of the academic world) but also reports on others in which his name figures (Joseph Losey was "anxious" to direct a play by Brecht).

But no matter how serious a visitor one is it is impossible to steer completely clear of "titillating tidbits" such as the Washington Post had been saying, an FBI report drily states, were contained in the files on Rock Hudson's divorced wife's whereabouts.

"Mr. Hudson made a telephone call in the presence of the SAs [?], FBI, and confirmed that his divorced wife is reported to be in Europe".

Having steered into the middle of such tidbits, one can find oneself unwilling to steer clear of them too quickly.

The FBI became briefly involved when the law firm representing Robin Gibb's wife in a divorce received the alarming telegram below. But the "investigation did not go beyond the initial stages as the law firm did not wish to pursue the matter." (FBI Records) The titillation is brief and, one's willpower not too enervated by it, one is able to return to soberer research.



Life on MaRS - Home Grown Tech: Start It Up

March 3, 2013 | Niki | Comments (0)


DoodleHyun-Duck Chung (MISt, Information Specialist) and Helen Kula (MISt, Data Product Manager) of MaRS Discovery District put together a showcase of startups for the OLA Super Conference 2013.  They handpicked them to appeal to and reflect the library interests and needs and succeeded in providing a wonderfully  varied and relevant group of products from Canadian companies. 

Have you a group of writers that crave to be published?  Wattpad is a great platform for discovering and sharing stories.   You can write one chapter at a time, or share a full novel.  Whether you love romance, humorous short fiction, futuristic sci-fi or paranormal mysteries, Wattpad is for you.  Authors range from Cory Doctorow to Shawn from Lethbridge. Margaret Atwood is the judge of the Atty's, the Wattpad Poetry Awards.  Wattpad offers a truly  social, and entirely mobile reading experience in over 20 languages.




Water_cycleSpongelab's mission: we believe that cutting-edge technology and stunning interactive media should be available to everyone, regardless of fiscal constraints.  

If you register with them you have free access to a huge range of science resources from the ubiquitous water cycle diagram, to  a video of what happens when lava is poured on ice to a dragon breeding genetics game.  Often you will be given a link to the Canadian  textbook this is alligned with.



SoapBox is a customer feedback mechanism that integrates into your webpage.  It automatically tags and categorizes the  ideas.  It also finds similar ideas and prompts you to merge your idea before submitting it.  On top of its voting and comments, SoapBox is fully integrated into Facebook with more social networks coming.   For a look at this program in operation check out Indigo, scroll to the bottom of the page and select Indigo Ideas. This would be a nice addition to the TPL website. 


Sciencescape  is a tech startup providing an end-to-end research discovery and management platform for the Life Sciences .  Sam Molyneux, PhD Student at the Ontario Cancer Institute, found there  are  2,000 to 4,000 research papers coming out every day.That's one and a half million peer reviewed papers every year.  The goal of this project is to organize all of the literature that comes in a way that makes sense. They look at labs, journals, places, and authors to have breaking research and community activity pushed directly to your newsfeed based on your profile.  There is no need for repetitive searching and you can quickly scan new publications, read abstracts, and download the full article text

06_39_01_833_fileThis year's Global Startup Battle took place across 137 events in 60 countries with 10,000 entrepreneurs participating. The winner was Ontario-based Groupnotes.  It is a collaboration tool for groups who do research. As users browse the web, they can annotate pages, take notes, and leave comments—and when other members of their group browse, they can see these and add their own.

Tabillo  offers a web-based business collaboration tool that enables small to medium-sized companies to go beyond online file sharing. . Businesses can collaborate on internal processes, tailor apps to meet specific needs and easily access/share multiple types of files internally and externally.










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