News from the Reference Desk Category: Web/Tech

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.

www.ifla.org/node/11175

Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Instutitions, www.ifla.org/node/11175.

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)

Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently proposed rules regarding net neutrality or an open internet. They are seeking public comments to assist them in making these very important rules.

From the FCC website:

The FCC has previously concluded that broadband providers have the incentive and ability to act in ways that threaten Internet openness. But today, there are no rules that stop broadband providers from trying to limit Internet openness. That is why the Notice adopted by the FCC today starts with a fundamental question: “What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?”

Initial comments to these proposed rules opened on May 15 and will close on July 15. Replies to comments will be open until September 15. Comments (termed “filings”) may be submitted on the FCC website.

For further reading:

American Library Association: Network Neutrality
Consumers Union on FCC Plan for New Net Neutrality Rules
Consumers Union: What is Network Neutrality?
New York Times: FCC Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate
Washington Post: FCC Approves Plan to Consider Paid Priority on Internet
Washington Post: ‘Net Neutrality’ Puts FCC at Center of Storm
Washington Post: Why the Death of Net Neutrality Would be a Disaster for Libraries

Live Customer Service

Frustrated when you can't reach a live customer service representative at Company ABC?  There are two online sources to retrieve mostly toll-free phone numbers for many of the major companies and service organizations, as well as the steps to expect in the automated attendant's menu, average wait times, and user ratings.

GetHuman: http://gethuman.com/

Dial A Human: http://dialahuman.com/

Both sites are monitored by actual callers who share their experiences and tips to reach a live staffperson.  Other suggestions to keep your waiting times low and receive quality service were noted today in the Chicago Tribune.