Showing posts from March, 2012

ER discussion in class Tues.

Enjoyed an excellent presentation on Electronic Records issues on Tues in my Archives Administration class. Thank you Dana Fey for giving us much to think about. So many issues, speed of change, technological challenges, access, security, the fact that there is no such thing as a permanent electronic record, reformatting, even the definition of what constitutes an ER varies from place to place with differing rules, laws, and definitions. Is email a record? is all or part of an email message's metadata part of a record? All these questions and more were explored. ER Theory. Something to consider.

foreign elements infiltrated US Army computer networks

Did you read about this? The infiltration was so complete, it is a waste of time, experts told US Senators, to continue doing anything to stop it. Info needs to be protected. Firewalls and passwords are ineffective. Which countries are thought to be responsible are not noted in the article. After all the other info seeking stories I'm betting on China. So not only have most of our major company websites, but also governmental sites, NASA, and now the US Army have been invaded. Who is doing this and what is/'are the purpose/s?  If they get all our secrets or can shut down our ability to communicate and create and be at least somewhat competitive we are in trouble.  I think part of this could be solved by investing in youth to outwit computer hackers by rewarding constant improvements and changes in technology, and making jobs of this sort highly competitive. Our secrets aren't on paper anymore written with invisible ink- they are in the nebulous world of computer land, yet …

Mozart composition found in Australia

A previously unidentified Mozart composition manuscript has been identified in Australia. It is believed that he composed it when age 10, although it is not in his nor his father's penmanship. So who wrote it physically or copied it from the original? The man was a genius. For more about the story and/or to hear a man play the composition, click here

no SOPA generates new anti-piracy measures

SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act)  may be dead. Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia put their significant power behind the defeat efforts. ISPs (Internet service providers) are meanwhile getting ready to shut down sites using copyrighted information, videos, recordings, etc. A warning system of 5-6 notices is to preface the shut down of the site. A major problem is the ISPs would then have all the power and control of the sites. Organizations generating the content pirated (or shared, depended on your viewpoint) are continuing the fight on different fronts including overseas. Several nations, including the US, European Union, Japan, Canada, and others have agreed to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement "to define intellectual property rights and enforcement." This is step towards control. 

All kinds of points of debate here. The internet is about sharing, even copyrighted information, according to most people. Most people do not understand the money, time, and effort that goes i…

Archaeological sites visible from outer space changing archaeology

The BBC reports thousands of possibly new archaeological sites have been discovered in northeastern Syria, not around the world, but solely in one country. Because of the lack of stability in the country now, they can't currently be investigated. People lived in some of the sites for generations. The sites are determined from declassified satellite images and a new computer software app. Archaeologists will now know where to dig before they begin instead of how they used to dig, hoping to find something. For more info read the article at

So you think you can't get fired for your Facebook remarks?

Well, you had better rethink that idea people. A man was fired for making Facebook remarks on his page, that were deemed sexually harassing about a female co-worker, and mentioned his place of employment. Now, I don't think anyone should be making nasty or sexually harassing remarks about anyone, even if the person is a horrible person, and even if we have the right to express ourselves. It isn't nice, nor is it good manners. And now it will come back at you: you can be fired for it.  This is going to lead to other reasons why you can be fired for what you post on Facebook. It is just a matter of time. For more information, read the article at

imprint of child's footprint from the ancient past found in Wales

While looking for evidence of submerged forests, archaeologists in Wales found a child's footprint believed to be between 3,000 and 4, 000 years old. How cool is that?! The fossil imprint of the footprint and a line of post holds was revealed because of current tidal patterns, which removed soil which normally was present over the imprint. Archaeologists believe the post holes mark a causeway that ancient people created along a marsh area. The footprint is believed to be that of a four-year-old. Individual toes are actually visible in the imprint. Casts have been taken. It is rare to find proof that humans were in these sunken forests. Other imprints of footprints found include cattle and possibly a bear. The news article did not note that the archaeologists found any adult human foot imprints. Just think 3,000-4000 years ago a child stood where they are digging. What a different world, different thoughts, different attitudes and beliefs in humans over that time period.  That chil…

Chinese limit "rumors" on blogs

To prevent what they term "rumors" from circulating on microblogs, the Chinese government has instituted new controls which limit freedom of speech. For more info read

no more printed Encyclopedia Britannicas - goodby quality ref. works

The publisher, Britannica, has announced it has completely stopped printing works, including the Encyclopedias many of us of a certain generation or earlier grew up with. They are online and the publisher has other products to keep the company going. The end of an era. It meant something to have a set in your home, to encourage children to learn and help them with their homework. Britannica was a highly respected name which meant excellence in research, presentation, and expert knowledge that was made available in the encyclopedias.  Wikipedia is great, but it is subject to at least some bias. The articles are not all created by experts in the field. It is not of the same quality as Britannica. It serves a different purpose, too. Instead of providing excellent reference works for those who can afford it or get access to it, like Britannica, which means limited access, Wikipedia provides space for a wider variety of topics not always considered "important" by non-experts. Bri…

Another of my students gets into grad school

Congrats to Cynthia Engerson, a former processor and now one of my Archives Administration students, who was just accepted by Wayne State University grad school for archives! I'm so happy for her.

Titanic letter returning to Belfast

A doctor's letter to his mother, written when he was on the Titanic, and posted to her before Titanic left to cross the ocean, failed to sell at auction for $34,000, but a donor ensured that it was returned to the Belfast Titanic Historic Society. It is unclear from the story how the letter survived. To read the articles and see the letter click here and here

important letter to Henry VIII found

Jane Seymour's letter of 1543 to her hubby, Henry VIII, announcing the birth of their son, was found recently on the Dunham estate in Greater Manchester. Other important letters had been transferred out of the estate by the National Trust. This letter was recently found well stored in a storage room. It will become part of an exhibit for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Jane died soon after giving birth and is the only wife of Henry's buried besides him. He thought she was his only "true wife" having given him a son. Too bad for the rest of them. Ouch. In fact he had her image painted into portraits of him and his son years after she had died. I'm sure all you revisionist historians will appreciate that. To see the original manuscript letter and see some other neat images click here into the Daily Mail.

earliest Dickens film found

The earliest film of a Charles Dickens book has just been found, or its whereabouts that is. The film is part of Bleak House. It dates to spring 1901. Other films previously thought to be the earliest films date to late 1901. I, alas, am not a Dickens fan. For more see the BBCNews article

another of my students gets into grad school

Congrats to Amber Innis, one of my former processing students, who got accepted to UM SI. Good for you. I'm so proud!

hackers had control of NASA computers in 2011

A rather terrifying report to the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight  noted that in 2011 hackers had "full functional control" of key NASA computers in 2011" including the Jet Propulsion Lab computers.  The hacking attacks involved Chinese IP addresses. The hackers had the ability to copy, change or remove "sensitive files" from NASA computers. There were more than 5,000 NASA computer security problems between 2010 and 2011 and 48 between 2009 and 2011. In one case, an unencrypted computer lost mathematical calculations used to control the International Space Station. No wonder we are letting the Russians deal with outer space. I thought it was just because it cost a lot of money.  How silly of me. NASA can't handle it anymore.  I wonder if the Russian computers have also been compromised. I have to believe they have been. Despite assurances that NASA has improved its security, and that numer…

35 arrested in Greek antiquities smuggling ring

Police have recovered more than 4,000 ancient coins and other items in northern and central Greece stolen from a museum documenting the ancient Olympics last month. 35 people were arrested. The sale of antiquities and stolen museum collections robs this precious history from us all. For more see the article in today's BBCNews

Google privacy policy change in Europe in legal compliance or not?

There has been lots of reports lately in the press about privacy rules and rights with online info in Google and Facebook. Well, the European Union believes changes Google implemented on Thrs for its privacy policy in European accounts  fail to meet aspects of European Union law.  As a result of the changes, Google now can and will share personal private info across its other platforms (YouTube, Gmail and Blogger). Google states it is is being transparent with European laws. The EU disagrees. Advertisers will now know the results of any of your activity on any of these sites, which will be linked. Both France and the UK are reportedly very concerned about this happening and its impact on the public. This policy will soon be international, just wait and see. So, no matter where you are and what you do or say there, advertisers elsewhere will know what you are doing. You just know that Google eventually is going to sell that info off to the highest bidder, and if the government or polic…

Titanic dock to be preserved

And you thought preserving a stuffed grizzly was a big job! The dock where the Titanic, Olympic and Britannic were built in Ireland, the Thompson Graving dock, is 880 feet long. It dates to 1911. 1.5 million pounds has been given to preserve the dock in Belfast's Titanic Quarter. Maybe when they open it to the public they'll ask Leonardo DiCaprio to speak. For more on this large preservation undertaking read