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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 2/2/22: The Metaverse explained

The great book race

Here’s a top 50 list with a twist - Syndetics Unbound compiled a list of the most-searched-for books at libraries in 2021 and then converted it to a day-by-day, bar chart horse race, illustrating in real time the ebb and surge of the year’s most popular books for the entire year. Click on the link for the visualization to see Four Winds romp home.

'Que up this site 

From Atlas Obscura: The Southern Foodways Alliance has been compiling the oral histories of the giants of southern barbecue for the past two decades. “It’s about sharing the stories of people who don’t get much screen time,” according to the group’s director. The Southern BBQ Trail joins two other oral history projects of the SFA: the Tamale Trail and the Boudin Trail. Yum.

Don't be fooled

Alex Mahadevan, writing for the journalism site Poynter, has some useful tips to help you spot misinformation online including Googling his own name, links to legitimate fact-checking sites and installing a fake-news debunker.

Tag, you're it

Uh oh, another tech convenience with a potential downside. Apple AirTags can help locate your keys, your bags, your phone and, unfortunately, you. CNET warns that the tiny tracking devices could be used by stalkers and shares steps to safeguard your privacy.

Recovering your memories

If you have photos stored on old computers, WIRED has a way to rescue them that doesn’t involve tediously downloading them to a USB drive. They run through multiple scenarios that may have you stumped, including outdated operating systems and lack of storage space.

Libraries' community service

UMSI alum John Szabo (MILS ‘92), City Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library, was in the vanguard when he added a staff social worker at one of the city’s urban libraries. Now other libraries around the country are hiring social workers to help meet patrons’ needs for shelter, health insurance, and mental health services, NPR reports.

Metaverse 101

What’s all this hype about the metaverse? wonders New York Times tech writer, Brian Chen. Well, he’s not really wondering, but he does explain just what the metaverse is, and why Microsoft paid $68.7 billion for game developer Activision Blizzard.

New store old-style

Once upon a time, people tried on clothes in stores and a helpful salesperson would hover outside the dressing room, waiting to bring different sizes if needed. True! Amazon’s first clothing store, opening in Glendale, CA, will offer high-tech fitting rooms with screens that can summon an assistant to bring new styles or sizes, says CNBC. Yes, please.

Stand down, Player Two

Pulling the fire alarm or calling in a bomb threat to get out of class is so elementary. In Britain, computer crime cops are finding that children as young as nine are launching cyberattacks on their school’s websites and networks. To warn children against starting down a criminal path, the National Crime Agency has launched a campaign of dissuasion that includes a pretty cool video.

So easy, a child could understand

Speaking of elementary, here’s a gift for academics and the general public alike. The Verge has found a new use for AI: Summarizing scientific research papers in language the average person can understand. tl;dr papers takes the abstract of an academic paper and translates it into “science abstracts a second grader can understand.” This could be a huge boon to some communication professionals we know.