Skip to main content

University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 3/6/19: Walk the mean streets of 14th century London

The world of information - in Fun Size!

UMSI's Fun Size digest features tiny, delicious news tidbits relating to information and library topics. Reach us at [email protected].

Pioneer women coders
Why is the computer science industry today less female-friendly than it was in the 1950s? Lady Ada Lovelace would not be amused. The New York Times Magazine uncovers the “secret history of women in coding.” 

It’s a sign of the times
Wheelchairs and service dogs, waffles and falafel – just a few of the new emojis approved by the Unicode Consortium coming to messaging apps in the next few months, says Browse all the new options here

Profile of a 2019 Data Scientist
Data scientist may be one of the hottest jobs in the U.S. right now, but just who are these people? has compiled a profile, based on surveys of 1,001 data scientists, to create The Typical Data Scientist 2019 infographic. One surprise fact: While 22% of current data scientists come from computer science, 21% have economics and social sciences backgrounds. 

Buy low, sell high
You might think someone with 182 Monopoly games or 100 pairs of Nikes stacked in the garage is a candidate for some major Marie Kondo makeover. But snapping up bargain-priced merchandise at stores like Target and Walmart and reselling online through Amazon is the basis of a new business known as retail arbitrage, the Washington Post reports.

Mean streets
Arm yourself with a quarterstaff and long knife and step back in time, to the early 14th century.  The Violence Research Center of Cambridge University has compiled an interactive medieval murder map of London. Each pin carries the tale of how an unfortunate victim met his end – from a minstrel silenced by an irate householder to a fishmonger beaten for dropping eel skins in the street. 

Be My Bear
Valentine’s Day is past, but it’s not too late for a blog post from sharing candy heart messages written by a neural network. Some sorta work (Dear Me, My My, Cute Kiss) and some have room for improvement (Bog Love, I Honker, Tweet Up Bat). The network also tried its luck with pick-up lines like “You must be a tringle? Cause you’re the only thing here.” Who knows, it could work on tringles.

Beauty contest for data
The website Information Is has announced the winners of the 2019 World Data Visualization Prize in three categories: Interactive, Static and (hand-drawn) Napkin. Visualizations include the DNA of good government, what the richest countries are bad at, and the countries doing the most with the least.

Cheese press
UMSI alumna and U-M art and design librarian Jamie Lausch VanderBroek (MSI ’10) raised some eyebrows and caught the notice of Atlas Obscura when she purchased a book made of American cheese for the library’s collection. Well, made of Kraft Singles, to be precise, which, as Jamie points out in her Saveur article, are very shelf-stable.

Small-town librarians fill local news gaps
With the decline in local news sources, as small newspapers fade or disappear, some library websites are starting to serve as oases of local information in a news desert. New librarians may need to reinforce information science skills with journalistic tools as they edit groups of citizen writers or manage volunteer news-gatherers, says The Atlantic

News from UMSI

For over 20 years, UMSI has been sending student volunteers to work at educational, non-profit and cultural institutions during the week of spring break. This video presents an overview of the decades of service and organizations that have benefited from the information management skills of generations of UMSI students. Read more about this year’s Alternative Spring Break, March 4-8.