News from the Reference Desk Category: Web/Tech

Free Photo Colorization from MyHeritage

Would you like see your family’s black and white photographs in a new light? You may want to look into a service offered by the genealogy online resource MyHeritage. The company revolutionized the world of online genealogy web sites recently when the company announced that anyone could upload black-and-white photographs to MyHeritage.com and then the web site would AUTOMATICALLY convert each photo to a color image.  This service was only available to people who had a full MyHeritage subscription.  Now EVERYONE can obtain FREE and unlimited access to MyHeritage In Color™ from March 23 to April 23, 2020. Ordinarily only 10  photos can be colorized by users who do not have a Complete plan, but now, you can colorize as many photos as you’d like for free.  A free online access subscription is required if you would like MyHeritage to add the photos to their extensive photograph collection.

To get started, go to http://www.myheritage.com/incolor.

 

Five ways to recognize a Social Security scam

Currently, Social Security scams are the most commonly reported type of fraud and scam, and according to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), these scams continue to evolve. The OIG is now warning the public that scammers are making phone calls and then following up with emails containing falsified documents aimed at convincing people to pay.

You may have received one of these calls – either a recorded voice or a person falsely claiming to be a government employee, warning you of an issue with your Social Security number, account, or benefits, including identity theft. The caller may threaten arrest or other legal action, or they may offer to increase benefits, protect your assets, or resolve identity theft if you provide payment using a retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency such as Bitcoin, or a pre-paid debit card.

Read more on what to do HERE

Copyright Trends: Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez

Copyright infringement has been a hot topic since the 18th century for print materials, and exceedingly relevant for digital files since the era of Napster in 1999. In recent years, entities like copyright trolls and other digital watchdogs are always on the lookout to acquire significant monetary gain through litigious means, even if the accused is not the infringer, but unknowingly provides the means to do so. For example, our Library safeguards against infringement liability by requiring patrons not partake in “conduct which violates Federal, State, or local law including copyright and licensing infringement,” according to our internet service policy. Copyright trolls frequently win cases against service providers, but a recent ruling is fighting this trend.

On August 27, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) decided that the owner of a senior living home which provides internet service to occupants will not be held responsible for copyright infringement inflicted by an unnamed guest or occupant. Here is a synopsis by Stanford University Libraries and here is the Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez court publication itself. Whether or not the results of this substantial case will make any lasting changes to copyright policy remains to be seen.

Making Rare Materials Visible to the World

Scanning all kinds of material has become a common task thanks to the availability of devices like Flip-Pal and special phone apps like Pic Scanner for iphones or Google PhotoScan for android phones.  But what do you do with a book that is nearly 6 feet by 7 1/2 feet when opened?  The British Library recently faced this challenge when it digitized its copy of the 1660 Klencke Atlas, one of the world’s largest books.  The library made a video of the process available on YouTube recently. The Klencke Atlas contains 41 wall-sized, extremely rare maps.  These maps reveal what Dutch cartographers knew about the world during the High Renaissance period.  The public domain images of the atlas are part of the British Library’s Picturing Places online resource.

If you are looking for a digitized collection of items closer to home, go the the MPPL digital collection Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect.  This collection includes an image of an 1873 map of Mount Prospect.

Fake News Resources

What is Fake News?

“Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.”– PolitiFact

Fake news is a type of completely made up and deliberately spread story, manipulated to resemble credible journalism and to attract maximum attention and, with it, gain revenue or political gain.– The Guardian

Fake News is NOT:

-New– it’s been around since the advent of printing.
-News you disagree with
-News that paints someone who you admire in an unflattering light.
-Satire (see below).

How to Spot Fake News

-Some sites are upfront about publishing satire, e.g. The Onion, Borowitz Report, ClickHole. Check the “About” section of a site if unsure.
-Avoid sites that end in “.com.co” and “lo”; these are more often than not entire fake news sites.
-Be aware of promoted or sponsored posts– companies have paid for these to appear on social media feeds, websites, and even Google searches.
-If a story elicits a strong emotion response, read on! Shocking headlines (clickbait) are often designed to stun readers into sharing them without fully reading the article.
-Use multiple sources to fact-check stories.

Albuquerque Public Library Guide to Fake News
FactCheck.org
PolitiFact
Snopes
AllSides
Hoaxy
25 Fake News Sites Found on Facebook (compiled by Dr. Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College)
The News Literacy Project
12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work)