Drinking about museums: the New York edition, June 15

Inspired by Koven J. Smith and Kathleen Tinworth's 'Drinking About Museums' in Denver and Ed Rodley's version in Boston, we're drinking about museums (and libraries and archives) in New York this Friday (June 15, 2012), and you're invited!  Since I'm only in NYC for a week and still get confused about whether I'm heading uptown or downtown at any given time, Neal Stimler @nealstimler has kindly taken care of organising things.  If you're interested in coming, let him know so you can grab his contact details and we know to keep an eye out for you.
We're heading to k2 Friday night at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17 St., NYC 10011.  We'll be there from 6:30 until closing at 10pm.  The table is booked for Mia Ridge, and we should have enough room that you can just turn up and grab a seat.  It's free entry to the gallery from 6-10:00 p.m and the K2 Lounge serves food.

If you've got any questions, just leave a comment or @-mention me (@mia_out) on twitter.  We'll also keep an eye on the #drinkingaboutmuseums tag.

Some fairly random links

I've been busy with overseas visitors and preparing for the Life in the UK test – I'm in ur country, working in ur museumz; so this is a fairly random selection of stuff that's caught my eye recently.

A heart-warming story for geeks from the BBC: CAPTCHAs used to decipher digitised historical texts.

"How can you tell if an existing site is on the verge of needing a redesign or has even far exceeded its usefulness? Here are nine questions to guide your decision" in
Does your site need a redesign?

European search engine

EU OKs German Online Search-Engine Grant

The European Union on Thursday authorized Germany to give $165 million for research on Internet search-engine technologies that could someday challenge U.S. search giant Google Inc.

The Theseus research project — the German arm of what the French call Quaero — is aiming to develop the world's most advanced multimedia search engine for the next-generation Internet. It would translate, identify and index images, audio and text.

Fragmented European research efforts are one of the reasons blamed for the region lagging behind the United States in information technology. European companies in general spend far less on research than those based in other parts of the world, and the EU said the project should help change that.

I wonder how they'll identify and weight or rank European content. And will it be tied in with the European Digital Library?

The BBC says "Photo tool could fix bad images" but I think it's far more likely to be used to create fake images. I guess I wouldn't have thought of an image that shows what was actually present as 'bad' – maybe it's not the best postcard if you want the recipient to think you were in an undeveloped paradise, but it's an accurate depiction of the scene.

I'm reminded of the way the Soviets would remove people from historic photos when they fell out of favour – now the ability to rewrite history is available for you at home!

Computational thinking

I hadn't heard the term but before this is an interesting (in a geeky way, natch) BCS article on computational thinking:

Computational thinking could be considered to be a manifesto for computer science and is what every computer scientist has within them, without their equipment. It might be seen as being a common language for solving problems.

Computational thinking helps iron out the problems from abstraction – determining what it is that can be computed. Some felt that it was a form of intellectual property – a way of thinking which aids the 'user' in solving problems and tapping into their constructive imagination.

Computational thinking has an obligation to find a solution and is sometimes used to crystallise natural phenomena by naming things that haven't already had names in the past.

It was thought that it helps us to deal with systems, which generate too much data, complete with false positives and negatives and helps us to better understand the constraints to a problem.

News just in -no more funding for AHDS from April 2008

The AHRC has announced important changes in its policy for grant applicants,advising them that it has decided to cease funding the AHDS from
April 2008. The AHRC has elected to retain a data service in the area of
Archaeology and is in negotiation with the ADS in York. Details of the
impact on grantapplicants is outlined on the AHRC website at:http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/news/news_pr/2007/information_for_applicants_to_AHRC_june_deadline.asp

Perhaps I'm a cynic but I wonder if the reason begins with 'O' and ends with 'lympics'.

I've been in Laos since Easter but I'm back in London now, and I'm slowly catching up with email, RSS feeds, forums and mailing lists. The only archaeology I saw was Wat Phou but that was fantastic. And the 'Exhibition Hall' was quite good. A proper review and photos may follow if I get a chance soon.

Google Maps for non-geeks – I wonder how much uptake it'll get, and whether it'll change how our users understand geospatial data generally.

"Google has rolled out another do-it-yourself tool from its bottomless box of tricks, this one designed to unleash your inner cartographer.

My Maps integrates with Google's popular mapping service, Google Maps, allowing users to customise the charts with virtual stick pins and pointers into which information – including photos and videos – can be embedded." The Age

There won't be any updates for three or so weeks, I'm off on holiday.

Encouraging news for those producing content to be read online:

Surprise: Study Finds Online Users Finish More Stories Than Print Readers

"When readers chose to read an online story, they usually read an average of 77% of the story, compared to 62% in broadsheets and 57% in tabloids.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of online readers read all of the text of a particular story once they began to read it, the survey revealed.

The research also found that 75% of print readers are methodical in their reading, which means they start reading a page at a particular story and work their way through each story. Just 25% of print readers are scanners, who scan the entire page first, then choose a story to read.

Online, however, about half of readers are methodical, while the other half scan, the report found. The survey also revealed that large headlines and fewer, large photos attracted more eyes than smaller images in print. But online, readers were drawn more to navigation bars and teasers.

Findings also revealed that news event photos received more attention than staged or studio images, while color got more interest than black and white.

Research subjects also were quizzed about what they learned from a story, revealing that readers could answer more questions about a story when it included 'alternative story forms', such as Q&A's, timelines, graphics, short sidebars, and lists."