Episode 34 – Extra, Extra!

25 November, 20086 comments

This Thanksgiving week in the U.S. we have a cornucopia of news, starting with the reaction of Harvard to the Google Book Search settlement and including the end of email service for students at Boston College and two efforts to create an “academic Google.” We also launch a new segment, “We Told You So,” to gloat over the predicted death of Google’s virtual world, Lively, and over continuing problems in Second Life. Picks for this episode include a new site on place-based computing, a couple of easy (or bizarre) ways to write a book, and an easy-to-learn programming language.

Links mentioned on the podcast:
Harvard on Google Book Search settlement
Lively No More
“Eric Reuters” on Second Life
Boston College Will Stop Offering New Students E-Mail Accounts
Reference Extract
Google SearchWiki
Processing 1.0
Place-based Computing

Running time: 44:27
Download the .mp3

Categorized under email, Google, Microsoft, virtual worlds

6 comments to “Episode 34 – Extra, Extra!”

  1. Stephen Francoeur : 3rd December, 2008

    About Reference Extract, I wanted to note that it is actually not really meant to be a search engine per se but perhaps a preliminary building block for a grander project that would allow libraries to repurpose chat reference and email reference interactions to build a knowledgebase. The conversations that librarians and patrons are having in email and chat reference systems generate recommendations for resources of all kinds (URLs, databases, books, videos, etc.). Those recommendations are context specific (they are made based on the unique information need that brought the patron to the library to ask for help). If those context-specific recommendations can be captured, stored, and shared, then libraries will have found a way to move beyond being seen as warehouses of information to places where knowledge itself is being created (we are helping create the connections between things).

    As someone was lucky enough to be asked to participate in one of three recent focus groups about the feasibility of such a system, I must admit to having my own doubts about scalability. But the hope is that the extraction of sources recommended, of connections being made, can be done automatically with whatever meaning extraction tools we now have (or will have soon). I don’t think there are any plans for individual items recommended being approved one-by-one in this new system. Instead, the system would slurp them up from the email and chat interactions we already have. (There are of course real issues about privacy to be worked through, too.)

    If you want to get a better sense of where this project is headed, you may want to check out this video by David Lankes, one of the two principal investigators for the project:


  2. Virtual worlds in decline? « Picking Up Sticks : 3rd December, 2008

    […] according to the new Digital Campus podcast, virtual worlds haven’t had the success rate that was predicted for them either.  The […]

  3. Sterling Fluharty : 4th December, 2008

    I am glad to see an information professional respond to your podcast. The perspective of librarians is often lacking from your show. I think what would be fascinating would to be host a debate between Thomas Mann (of the LOC) and Michele Frisque (of Northwestern University).

    I too am sympathetic to the outsourcing of college e-mail. But I think you are overlooking a whole lot of issues and concerns related to this topic. Consider the following questions, for instance: How will schools maintain compliance with FERPA regulations if e-mails are not stored on their servers? If somebody violates the FERPA rights of a student, do the lawyers serve the subpoena to the school or to Google/Microsoft?

    I like your continuing discussion of simplified methods for learning programming. Have you checked to see if there is a literature for teaching and learning in computer science? I know that some computer science professors have designed classes for non-majors. Maybe we could learn a thing or two from their approach.

  4. David Lankes : 7th December, 2008

    Yes, someone from Reference Extract is indeed listening. Ou raise some great points about the co-mingling of commercial and academic content. We are quickly evolving from the “just a search” engine world to a credibility engine that can feed a Reference Extract search engine, and be incorporated into other services, including other search services.

    Anyway. Enjoyed the webcast, and are always interested in ideas.

  5. Mark Anderson : 9th December, 2008

    As one of the developers behind FortyChapters, I just wanted to thank you for mentioning the service.

    Also, I found the processing.org information very interesting and am going to check it out now. Keep up the good work.

  6. Are EdTechers Ahead of the Curve? « The Leisurely Historian… : 31st August, 2009

    […] And I couldn’t help but notice that it was much less nuanced and thought-out than a similar discussion that Tom Scheinfeldt, Dan Cohen, and Mills Kelly had last November on the Digital Campus podcast. […]

Sorry, comments are closed.

Subscribe to Digital Campus Twitter logo Follow us on Twitter


One could spend hours listening to these witty, modern podcasts.

American Historical Association Today


Write Digital Campus at




Courtesy of