Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Microsoft Cortana goes international with Windows update

Source: CBC, 30 July 2014

Microsoft is spreading its Cortana digital assistant abroad, starting with China and the U.K.

Users in Australia, Canada and India will also be allowed to use a version of Cortana, although the Redmond, Washington-based company said that would be an earlier test mode and tailored to U.S. and U.K. audiences.

Read full article  

SCONUL REPORT - A review of the literature on current practice in the development of employability skills

Source: SCONUL

Employability is an ongoing and current concern for Higher Education institutions, and the marketisation of Higher Education has meant that data about graduate destinations is increasingly a tool to market institutions and inform the choices of prospective students. In response, SCONUL has produced a literature review on current practice in the development of employability skills. This report collates and reviews the literature on current practice with a view to demonstrating the contribution of libraries to employability and the development of graduate attributes, situating libraries’ traditional information literacy role in the new broader academic skills landscape.

The report was prepared by Megan Wiley on behalf of SCONUL's User Experience and Success Strategy Group.

A review of the literature on current practice in the development of employability skills (July 2014) (pdf; 28 pages)

Do you have the right to be forgotten online?

Source: fin24, 30 July 2014

Emma Thelwell writes:
Erasing history at the touch of a button is something we all might wish we could do, but is it right - and is it even possible in South Africa? News24 finds out.

Google, which has cornered 94% of South Africans’ online searches, only has a “very short list” of things it will consider scrubbing out, according to its chief legal officer David Drummond.

So it set tongues wagging in May, when the European Court ruled against Google in favour of one Spanish man’s “right to be forgotten”.

Read full article  

VIDEO (1:00:45) American Libraries Live - The Future of Libraries

Ebola outbreak 'a major public health emergency'

Staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital
in the Liberian capital Monrovia. (Zoom Dosso, AFP)

Source: News24, 31 July 2014

Monrovia - Liberia will close schools and consider quarantining some communities, it said on Wednesday, rolling out the toughest measures yet imposed by a West African government to halt the worst outbreak on record of the deadly Ebola virus.

Read full article  

See also:
Peace Corps leaves West Africa as Ebola outbreak expands (RT, 30 July 2014)

Ebola: Liberia shuts schools to tackle outbreak (BBC News, 30 July 2014)

Diedliest ever outbreak of Ebola virus: What you need to know (CNN, 30 July 2014) 

Trends in UK library and publishing statistics

Keeping up to date with key library statistics, LISU has now replaced the LAMPOST with 10–year trends in the following areas. 

These files can be downloaded free of charge in either pdf or Excel format.: Number of libraries; Employment; Expenditure; Income; Stock and acquisitions; Services; Users and visits and Publishing statistics (periodical prices, consumer book sales and average book price graph).    

Debunking the MOOC myth

Source: Research Information, 17 July 2014

With hype waning for MOOCs and the backlash in full swing, what does the post-MOOC environment look like for Higher Education? Simon Linacre explores an increasingly complicated future of teaching, learning and research.

Read full article  

UK to allow driverless cars on public roads

Source: BBC News, 30 July 2014

The UK government is to outline measures to permit driverless cars to use public roads by next year.

Currently, autonomous vehicles are only allowed on private roads

Read full article  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

VIDEO (3:12) Digitizing the World's Biggest Library

VIDEO (14:41) Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices

VIDEO (5:31) Rebuilding Thomas Jefferson's lost library

UK doctors sound alarm over potential Ebola outbreak

Source: RT, 29 July 2014

Public Health England delivered letters to doctors urging them to look out for the warning signs of Ebola, which has already killed 672 people in West African Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since it was first diagnosed in February. More than 1,000 others have been infected by the virus, including two American doctors.

Concerns that international air travel could spread the virus were heightened when a Liberian man who had travelled to Lagos in Nigeria died from the disease. However, the disease can go unnoticed for three weeks before symptoms set in, making passenger screening a difficult task.

Read more  

Time to call time on the library catalogue?

Source: Research Information, June/July 2014

The way that researchers find information is changing and libraries need to change with it, as discussions at the UKSG meeting in April revealed. Sian Harris reports.

Read full article 

2nd Biennial Quality Assurance & Accreditation in Higher Education Conference 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: 3 - 5 September 2014 

Venue:  Southern Sun OR Tambo International, Johannesburg, South Africa

For more information and registration form, click here

It is increasingly recognized that quality higher education is central to economic and political development, and vital to competitiveness in an increasingly globalized world.  This means that Higher Education Institutions, HEIs, are now under greater pressure to produce high quality graduates, who will be able to compete on an international level. Quality Assurance and accreditation are some of the most vital tools used to assess, whether that target is being reached, improved and maintained. Internationalisation of higher education is also becoming a key factor in meeting quality assurance standards in these times of globalisation. Several African governments have already drafted policies and international relations strategies to strengthen higher education with the aim of facilitating stronger linkages between foreign universities. The processes of globalisation and global restructuring is still posing challenges to the need for internationalisation in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in terms of international restricting to modify the current education systems and curriculum to meet global demand.

Keeping the above in mind, AMC International aims to bring together International and local quality assurance experts, that will impart workable knowledge and an examination of QA systems that have proved to be successful. This is not an event you can afford to miss out on. Book your seat today and stay up to date with the latest strategies that will enable you to effectively and efficiently improve your Supervisory Skills.

Benefits of Attending:
•       Receive best practice and a view of international trends in quality assurance and how to implement those in your HEI
•       To exchange experiences and views among participants on quality assurance and accreditation mechanisms in Africa
•       To critically examine the technical, financial, and administrative issues with regard to establishment of a continental accreditation agency
•       Workshop on the application of ISO 9000 Standards to Education and Training: Interpretation and Guidelines
•       Gaining an understanding on the role of Internationalisation in higher education institutes
•       Re-evaluating the importance of FET Colleges in bridging the educational gap from basic education to higher education
•       An overview on how to effectively conduct an internal audit, in preparation for an external audit
•       Develop an understanding of the role of Accreditation Agencies

Monday, July 28, 2014

New IFLA Publication (2014) LIS Education in Developing Countries - The Road Ahead

Title: LIS Education in Developing Countries - The Road Ahead
Edited by: Ismail Abdullahi, A.Y. Asundi & C.R. Karisddappa
Berlin/Munich: De Gruyter Saur, 2014
ISBN 978-3-11-035538-3
(IFLA Publications; Nr 165)

The book addresses the different issues and challenges that face LIS education in the various regions of the developing world, but also the commonalities that link them. It highlights the successful ways in which problems may be met as well as those which have proved less effective, and suggests a road map for the ways forward.

Read more: 

Urban growth: bio-bricks offer a whiff of the future

The bio-bricks used in Hy-Fi can be
grown in five days. Image: Kris Graves
Source: NewScientist, article by Brendan Byrne, 25 July 2014

A sweeping tower made from over 10,000 bio-waste bricks bound with fungal fibre has been growing in the courtyard of MoMA PS1, an offshoot of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. 

Looking like something between a three-headed grain silo, Zhang Huan's Three Legged Buddha and a Berlin flak tower, Hy-Fi is the winner of this year's MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP), and its organic aesthetic clashes hard with the museum's red-brick frontage and the green-glass Citicorp building behind.

Read full article and see photo of structure from the inside

A Surveillance Drone That Can Fit Inside A Soldier's Pocket

Source: io9, article by George Dvorsky, 24 July  2014

U.S. Army engineers are working on a mini aerial surveillance drone for troops working in challenging environments. Once deployed, the scifi-like device could allow soldiers to get a bird's-eye view of their immediate area, or scan the contents of a room as they clear a building.

Read full post  

The real 10 algorithms that dominate our world

The author defines an algorithm and then explains ten algorithms that rule the world today. 

Click here to read this article  

This article is based on a post titled The 10 Algorithms That Dominate Our World by George Dvorsky. 

Google Scholar Metrics 2014: A Low Cost Bibliometric Tool

Title: Google Scholar Metrics 2014: A Low Cost Bibliometric Tool (PDF; 37 pages)

Authors: Alberto Martin-Martin, Juan Manuel Ayllón, Enrique Orduña-Malea and Emilio Delgado López-Cózar

Source: via arXiv, EC3 Working Papers 17

We analyse the main features of the third edition of Google Scholar Metrics (GSM), released in June 2014, focusing on its more important changes, strengths, and weaknesses. Additionally, we present some figures that outline the dimensions of this new edition, and we compare them to those of previous editions. Principal among these figures are the number of visualized publications, publication types, languages, and the maximum and minimum h5-index and h5-median values by language, subject area, and subcategory. This new edition is marked by continuity. There is nothing new other than the updating of the time frame (2009-2013) and the removal of some redundant subcategories (from 268 to 261) for English written publications. Google has just updated the data, which means that some of the errors discussed in previous studies still persist. To sum up, GSM is a minimalist information product with few features, closed (it cannot be customized by the user), and simple (navigating it only takes a few clicks). For these reasons, we consider it a ‘low cost’ bibliometric tool, and propose a list of features it should incorporate in order to stop being labeled as such. Notwithstanding the above, this product presents a stability in its bibliometric indicators that supports its ability to measure and track the impact of scientific publications. 

Siemens to transform electric cars into rolling computers

Image: Siemens
Source: Gizmag, article by Lakshmi Sandhana

Siemens is developing new technology aimed at transforming electric cars into "rolling computers" controlled by a centralized computing architecture. According to Siemens, not only will it be possible to retrofit functions such as electrical brakes using a plug-and-play process (like on home PCs) but developers will also be able to push new software functions and updates out to vehicles – just like how it's currently done with smartphones.

Partnering with electric vehicle manufacturer StreetScooter, Siemens researchers plan to equip an electric car, based on the design of the Roding roadster electric car, with this innovative framework. Part of the RACE (Robust and Reliable Automotive Computing Environment for Future eCars) initiative, the project aims to significantly simplify a car's complex electronics architecture and do away with the need to network multiple control systems.

Read full article    

Amazon Launches a 3D Printing Store with Customizable Goods

Source: TechCrunch, article by Darrell Etherington, 28 July 2014

Amazon has launched a new store for 3D-printed goods, which include items that can be customized to change their size, color, material and even aspects of their design. The store covers a range of types of products, including jewelry, electronics, toys and games, home decor and kitchen supplies, and items are supplied by a number of partners including Mixee, Scupteo and 3DLT.

Read full article   

SOUTH AFRICA - Protests close Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban

Source: News24, 28 July 2014 

Durban - The Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban suspended lectures on Monday following student protests, a university official said.

MUT marketing and communications director Len mzimela said lectures would resume on Tuesday.

The protests were over student owing the university money demanding to be registered.

Read full article  

Robot furniture that builds itself

Source: CNN, article by Meera Senthilingam, 24 July 2014

Imagine that the chair you're sitting on became a sofa on demand as the day moved from light to dark. Or if all your furnishings could move out of your way as you walk through a room. These thoughts could one day become reality through research being conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

The EPFL biorobotics lab is developing self-configurable robotics known as "Roombots," which can merge with materials and furnishings to create adaptable furniture for the home and office.

Read full article  

Crowdfunded Book up for Biggest Literary Prize

Source: Sky News, 24 July 2014

A book printed without the help from the big publishing houses is the first public-backed novel to make the Man Booker Prize list.

Read full article  

Some eonomic-related forecasts, reports, articles and news from April to July 2014

These are some of the economic-related forecasts, reports, articles and news published from April to July 2014:

April 2014

Asian Development Outlook 2014: Fiscal Policy for Inclusive Growth (Asian Development Bank, April 2014)

May 2014

Global Economic Outlook 2014: May 2014 update (The Conference Board, May 2014)

South Africa (African Economic Outlook, 20 May 2014)

June 2014

Livingston Survey (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, June 2014)

Economic Projections of Federal Reserve Board Members and Federal Reserve Bank Presidents (Federal Reserve, June 2014)

Global Forecast Update (Scotiabank, 26 June 2014)

July 2014

Global Economic Outlook (AllianceBernstein, July 2014)

The Australian Economy and Financial Markets (, July 2014)

The green economy in the G-20, post-Mexico: implaications for Russia (South African Institute of international Affairs, Occasional Paper no 192, July 2014)

UK Economic Outlook (PWC, July 2014)

Economic Snapshot for the Major Economics (FocusEconomics, 1 July 2014)

Economics Group: Monthly Outlook (Wells Fargo Securities, 9 July 2014)

World Economic Outlook Update (International Monetary Fund, 9 July 2014)

Fiscal Year 2015. Mid-Session Review: Budget of the U.S. Government - Economic Report of the President (Whitehouse, 11 July 2014)

History and present days of the Chilean Economy, July 2014 (Chilean Economy, 11 July 2014)

BRICS score in Brazil, create new Development Bank (The BRICS Post, 15 July 2014)

BRICS bank loans will be available from 2016 (Buenos Aires Herald, 16 July 2014)

Forecasts for the UK economy (, 16 July 2014)

New Development Bank; BRICS Bank (Dialogue with Virmani, 17 July 2014)

BRICS shake up global economic architecture (The Economic Times, 20 July 2014)

Global Economic Review & Outlook (Calamos, 21 July 2014)

BRICS Bank's a groundbreaking initiative - Zuma (The BRICS Post, 24 July 2014)

Labour Market: Economically Active Population Survey - EAPS (The Spanish Economy, 24 July 2014)

Bulgeria's Prime Minister resigns as banking crisis unfolds (RT, 25 July 2014)

Russia's surprise interest rate rise 'to curb inflation' (BBC News, 25 July 2014)

GDPNow (Quantitative Economic Research, 25 July 2014)

Banks accused of rigging silver price (BBC News, 27 July 2014)

Economic Forecasting Survey (The Wall Street Journal, 28 July 2014)

In Ukraine's east, Soviet-style economy withers under onslaught (Reuters, 28 July 2014)

Policing the economists (Fin24, 28 July 2014)

The BRICS Bank is born out of politics (Forbes, 28 July 2014) 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

MOOCs: Expectations and Reality (Report - Columbia University) and other MOOC-related reports

Title: MOOCs: Expectations and Reality (Full Report)

Authors: Fiona M Hollands, Ph.D and Devayani Tirthali, Ed.D

Report from Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, Teacher's College, Columbia University, USA

Release date: May 2014

Purpose of study and intended audience:
When Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence MOOC made headline news in 2011, one of the early predictions was that quality education at mass scale and at low cost was around the corner. Given our research center’s interest in the productivity of educational interventions, we have been watching for evidence that MOOCs are cost-effective in producing desirable educational outcomes compared to face-to-face experiences or other online interventions. While the MOOC phenomenon is not mature enough to afford conclusions on the question of long-term cost-effectiveness, this study serves as an exploration of the goals of institutions creating or adopting MOOCs and how these institutions define effectiveness of their MOOC initiatives. We assess the current evidence regarding whether and how these goals are being achieved and at what cost, and we review expectations regarding the role of MOOCs in education over the next five years.

We expect this report to be of interest to administrators, faculty members, and other instructors at colleges, universities, and other educating institutions who are wondering whether MOOCs can advance their missions and serve learners well; to researchers in the fields of educational technology and higher education who are contemplating what kinds of research questions might be useful to address; and to policymakers, investors, and funders considering whether MOOCs are a worthwhile investment of often limited resources for education.  

To read full report, click here (PDF; 211 pages) 
See also: A balanced research report on the hopes and realities of MOOCs (Online learning and distance education resources, review of above-mentioned report by Tony Bates, 15 May 2014)

Other MOOC-related reports to take note of:

MOOCs and disruptive inovation: implications for higher education (Open Education Europa, 6 May 2013)
This paper will use the theory of disruptive innovation (Bower and Christensen, 1995) to examine MOOCs development and how their approach could be used to help institutions explore innovative approaches for teaching and learning and to develop new business models in order to gain competitive advantages in the education market. MOOCs provide institutions with a vehicle to think creatively and innovatively to explore new business models and flexible learning paths in HE provision. However, there is a need to rethink current higher education structures and policies and working practices that obstruct innovation. This includes funding arrangements and the ability to disaggregate teaching from  assessment and accreditation for differential pricing and pursuit of marketing activities.

MOOCs and Beyond (eLearning Papers, issue no 33, 7 May 2013) - includes 7 articles
This issue aims to shed light on the way MOOCs affect education institutions and learners. Which teaching and learning strategies can be used to improve the MOOC learning experience? How do MOOCs fit into today's pedagogical landscape; and could they provide a viable model for developing countries?

2013 Survey on Technology and Instruction: Taking the Board to School on Educational Technology (Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, September 2013)
The rate of change in technology presents challenges for all of us in our daily lives. Whether it’s the latest apps or newest phones, it’s a steep and continuous learning curve. For universities and colleges, the choices about how we use technology to educate students are many and the options potentially costly, in dollars as well as opportunities. Decisions about educational technology are among the most consequential. They affect the core of academic institutions: how faculty teach and students learn. AGB conducted a survey about boards and educational technology in Spring 2013. We hope these data from AGB’s survey on educational technology help inform you and your board as you consider the impact of technology on teaching and learning at your institution. 

'Open' as the default modus operandi for research and higher education  (e-infraNet, September 2013)
This report was delivered to provide advice and guidance on the topic of open approaches for the research and higher education communities to the European Commission. It was prepared by a consortium of government agencies from across Europe, and concludes that to realize the full potential of ‘Open’, a broad policy framework is necessary that covers open access to content and infrastructure as well as open approaches to the further development of ‘Open’ itself, and to the way research and higher education are conducted. 

The Maturing of the MOOC: literature review of massive open online courses and other forms of online distance learning (Research Paper published by the UK Government, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, September 2013)
This report updates our knowledge on the development and impact of massive open online courses on learners and institutions at further education and higher education level. The study assessed available literature from various sources, including academic research articles and formal comprehensive reviews; blog posts; commentary and journalistic coverage. It concludes that massive open online courses are likely to become a standard element of university education with new teaching and learning methods that provide revenue and lower costs. A major challenge is finding suitable business models.

Introduction to MOOCs: avalanche, illusion or augmentation? (Policy Brief published by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, September 2013)
This Policy Brief aims to provide a background to the expansion of MOOCs, explain their differences and similarities, identify the types of students using MOOCs, investigate their business models and potential direction, and finally to scope the risks and benefits associated with their development.

MOOCs: massive open online courses (European University Association Ocasional Paper, January 2014 - an update of EUA's 1st paper published in January 2013)
This report addresses MOOCs from a European perspective. It notes that around one third of MOOCs around the world involve European higher education institutions, and asks how MOOCs could complement the structures and instruments developed in European Higher Education Area. It looks at business models, the effect on learning and teaching, and the more general impact on European universities. The report also includes a brief overview of developments in other areas of the world, including in China. 

BOOK (2014) Customer-based collection development: an overview (edited by Karl Bridges)

Editor: Karl Bridges
Published: ALA Editions, 2014
216 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1192-1

The traditional “top down” approach to collection development definitely has its drawbacks: even after spending a good deal of time, energy, and resources, librarians are sometimes frustrated to find that their library’s collection is not being used as they anticipated. But there’s another strategy that’s gaining momentum. This book gathers together the best practitioners in the emerging field of customer-based collection development, whose goal is to find out what library users need and want and manage collections accordingly. Speaking from firsthand experience, professionals from a variety of academic and public libraries
  • Offer strategies for planning and implementing a customer-based collection program
  • Summarize its potential impact on a library’s budget
  • Discuss cataloging implications, and other day-to-day operational issues
  • Present guidelines for evaluating and marketing 
Customer-based collection development is one way for libraries to navigate the rapid changes in what users expect of libraries, and this new anthology is an important guide to this approach. 

Geological map of planet Mars

Geological map of Mars via Kenneth Tanaka 2014

Source: EarthSky, 16 July 2014

USGS prepared a geological map of Mars for NASA and released it on 14 July 2014.

Read article 

Map at USGS' site (PDF; 1 page)

ARTICLE (2014) Knowledge and skills for the digital era academic library (by J Raju)

Author: J Raju, Library and Information Studies Centre, University of Cape Town
Published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship 40 (2014), 163-170.

To read article click here (PDF; 8 pages)

Technology has altered the traditional academic library beyond recognition. These dramatic changes have impacted significantly on the knowledge and skills requirements for LIS professionals practising in this environment. While there have been studies in other parts of the world which have investigated the knowledge and skills requirements for the digital era academic library environment, to date no comprehensive study has ‘drilled’ down into this area in the South African context. This paper reports on a preliminary study which is part of a wider study aimed at developing a comprehensive skills statement which would provide an objective framework against which professional LIS practitioners in the modern academic library environment in South Africa may both measure their existing competencies and also identify the need for further skills acquisition. The research question guiding this preliminary investigation was: What key knowledge and skills are required for LIS professionals to effectively and efficiently practise in a digital era academic library in South Africa? The triangulated findings (using content analysis of job advertisements and semi-structured interviews) from this preliminary investigation are used to ascertain an initial picture of key knowledge and skills sets required for LIS professionals in this environment. These preliminary findings also proved useful in teasing out some of the parameters for the wider study targeting the development of a comprehensive skills statement for higher education libraries in South Africa. The study reported here has relevance for the academic library context in other parts of the world as well. 

Google Glass rival with neck battery shown off by Lenovo

Source: BBC News, 25 July 2014

Chinese computing giant Lenovo has shown off what it hopes will be a rival to Google Glass.

The device, as yet unnamed, hopes to eliminate Glass's problem of short battery life by adding a separate power device around the wearer's neck.

Read full article  

ARTICLE (2014) Teaching outside the box: ARL librarians' integration of the "One-Box" into student instruction

Authors: Christina  Kulp, Cheryl McCain and Laurie Scrivener
Published in: College and Research Libraries, vol 75, no 3, May 2014, pp 298-308

This article reports the results of a survey that targeted reference and instruction librarians who work at libraries that are members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Respondents were asked to indicate whether or not they teach students to use the one-box tool, and why or why not. Based on the responses of the 352 librarians who participated in the study, the researchers found that most reference and instruction librarians at ARL libraries are “teaching outside the box.”

To read the article click here (PDF; 11 pages)

Short videos on media literacy by Emedus, the European digital literacy project

Videos on the state of media literacy by media literacy experts are available here:  

Research Data Curation Bibliography by Charles W Bailey (Jr), Version 4 of 23 June 2014 is now available online

The Research Data Curation Bibliography by Charles W Bailey (Jr), Version 4 of 23 June 2014 is now available online:

The Research Data Curation Bibliography includes selected English-language articles, books, and technical reports that are useful in understanding the curation of digital research data in academic and other research institutions.

For broader coverage of the digital curation literature, see the author's Digital Curation Bibliography: Preservation and Stewardship of Scholarly Works,which presents over 650 English-language articles, books, and technical reports, and the Digital Curation Bibliography: Preservation and Stewardship of Scholarly Works, 2012 Supplement, which presents over 130 additional sources. 

Some New Cookbooks (publishing date 2014)

Title: The Grain Brain Cookbook: More than 150 Life-changing Gluten-Free Recipes to Transform Your Health
Author: David Perlmutter, MD
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publishing date: 9 September 2014
ISBN-13: 9780316334259

The authorized companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Grain Brain, with more than 150 life-changing gluten-free recipes for complete health and vitality.

Dr. David Perlmutter's groundbreaking bestseller Grain Brain revolutionized the way we think about our health, exposing the devastating effects of wheat, sugar, and carbs on the brain and empowering us with new knowledge: By eating the right foods, you can profoundly affect how your brain will be working next year, in five years, and for the rest of your life.

The Grain Brain Cookbook equips you to do just that, presenting more than 150 delectable recipes to keep your brain vibrant and your body fit, all while dramatically reducing your risk for - and treating - Alzheimer's, depression, ADHD, and epilepsy, as well as relieving more common, everyday conditions like chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and "senior moments" of forgetfulness. The meals in this book are wholesome, easy to prepare, and best of all, delicious to eat, making your transition to a gluten-free life seamless, satisfying, and stress-free in the kitchen. Enjoy a terrific selection of options for every meal, including Eggs Benedict with Zucchini Pancakes for breakfast, Spicy Chicken Burgers with Guacamole for lunch, Gruyere-Glazed Pork Chops and Cauliflower "Couscous" for dinner, Curried Almonds and Kale Chips for snacks, Coconut-Cashew Bars for dessert, and many more.

What you eat is the most important decision you make every day in terms of your health, and once you've tasted how good the Grain Brain diet can be, you'll want to keep making the right choices day after day. The Grain Brain Cookbook gives you all the tools you need to shift your body away from dependence on carbs, cut gluten from your diet, eliminate sugar cravings for good, embrace healthy fats, and establish a new mealtime repertoire for long-term, vibrant living.


Title: Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 23 September 2014
408 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062305619

Ecco is thrilled to elevate international superstar Jamie Oliver to even greater heights with a bold new book of timeless recipes for soul-satisfying food, a classic-in-the-making from a beloved chef.

Jamie Oliver's new cookbook brings together a hundred of the best comfort food recipes from around the world, inspired by everything from childhood memories to the changing of the seasons, and taking into account the guilty pleasures and sweet indulgences that everyone enjoys.

Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food is all about the food you want to eat, made exactly how you like it. With this in mind, the book features the ultimate versions of all-time favorites while introducing cherished dishes from around the world.

Filled with hints, tips, and ideas, Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food is all about celebrating the beauty and pleasure of good food and embracing the rituals of cooking.


Title: The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night
Author: Mark Bittman
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 6 May 2014
272 pages
ISBN: 9780385344821

Following up on his bestselling diet plan, VB6, the incomparable Mark Bittman delivers a full cookbook of recipes designed to help you eat vegan every day before 6:00 p.m.—and deliciously all of the time.

Whether you call it felxitarian, part-time veganism, or vegetable-centric, the plant-based, real-food approach to eating introduced in Bittman's New York Times bestselling book VB6 has helped countless people regain their good health, control their weight, and forge a smarter, more ethical relationship with food. VB6 does away with the hard and fast rules, the calorie-counting, and the portion control of conventional diets; it's a regimen that is designed to be easy toa dopt and stick to for a lifetime. 

When Bittman committed to a vegan before 6:00 pm diet, he quickly realized that everything about it became easier if he cooked his own meals at home. In The VB6 Cookbook he makes this proposition more convenient than you could imagine. Drawing on a varied and enticing pantry of vegan staples strategically punctuated with "treat" foods (including meat and other animal products), he has created a versatile repertoire of recipes that makes following his plan simple, satisfying, and sustainable. 

Breakfasts, the most challenging meal of the day for some vegans, are well represented here, with a full range of hot cereals, whirl-and-go-dairy free smoothies, toast toppers, and brunch-worthy entrees. Lunches include hearty soupls, sandwiches, beans, grains, and pastas to pack along wherever the day takes you, and more than a dozen snack recipes provide the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to banish the vending-machine cravings that can undo a day of eating well. Dinners are flexitarian, focusing on vegetable-forward meals that are augmented by a range of animal products for fullest flavor, satisfaction, and nutrient density. A chapter devoted entirely to "building blocks"—make-ahead components you mix and match—ensures that a flavorful and healthy meal is never more than a few minutes away.

If you've thought of trying a vegan diet but worry it's too monotonous or unfamiliar, or simply don't want to give up foods you love to eat, Bittman's vegan and flexitarian recipes will help you cook your way to a new, varied and quite simply better way of eating you can really commit to...for life.  

BOOK (2014) I Work At A Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks

Author: Gina Sheridan
Publisher: Adams Media Corporation, 31 July 2014
160 pages
ISBN-13: 9781440576249

Straight from the library--the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron's missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan's circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, "What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?" Whether she's helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn't have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan's bizarre tales prove that she's truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.  

BOOK (2014) The Transparent Library, by Michael E Casey and Michael T Stephens

Authors: Michael E Casey and Michael T Stephens
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, inc. 
Released: 2 March 2014
File size; 1172 KB
129 pages

The "Transparent Library" gathers 29 columns from Michael Casey and Michael Stephens. Originally published in Library Journal from 2007 - 2009, the column explored concepts related to transparency, management, engaging communities, social media, strategic planning and constant change. The e-book includes supplemental essays and columns, and includes a new conversation “The Transparent Library Revisited." 

Press Release - Linking Television and the Internet

Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysi and Information Systems (IAIS), Germany, 1 July 2014

In the “LinkedTV“ project, researchers are seamlessly connecting TV offerings with the Internet. Audiences will benefit from an informative and personalized viewing experience.

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The future of birth control and drug delivery: remote controlled implants that last for 16 years

Source: ExtremeTech, written by Sebastian Anthony, 7 July 2014

An MIT spin-off in Massachusetts, backed by the Gates Foundation, has developed a small, remote-controlled drug-dispensing implant that sits just under your skin. To activate the drug dispenser you simply press a button on a wireless remote control — and press it again to turn it off. Such an implant could be used to dispense a whole range of useful drugs — but in this case, one of the first commercial applications will be the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel, which is already used by a number of female birth control methods. A single implant can apparently provide enough levonorgestrel to be effective for 16 years; currently, no implanted contraceptive works for more than five years.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

VIDEO (1:36) Migrant memories on display at National Archives, Australia

The National Archives of Australia have unveiled a new photographic exhibition that details what life was life for post-war migrants who decided to call Australia home. The display of 60 photos chronicles the good, bad and the ugly in the resettlement process. 

VIDEO (6:56) Turning Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' into a work of art

In an old industrial building in San Francisco, the lines of American poet Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” are being printed exactly as they were when the first edition was published in 1855. Jeffrey Brown visits Arion Press, one of the country’s last fine book printers that handcrafts works from start to finish.

OCLC Research Report - The Evolving Scholarly Record

Source: OCLC Research, 5 June 2014

Title: The evolving scholarly record (PDF; 23 pages)

Authors: B Lavoie, E Childress, R Erway, I Faniel, C malpas, J Schaffner and T van der Werf

This report presents a framework to help organize and drive discussions about the evolving scholarly record. The framework provides a high-level view of the categories of material the scholarly roles associated with the creation, management, and use of the scholarly record. 

IFLA PAPER (2014) ISNI and VIAF - Transforming ways of trustfully consolidating identities

This conference paper will be presented at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France in August 2014.

Title of paper: ISNI and VIAF - Transforming ways of trustfully consolidating identities (PDF; 19 pages)
Authors: Anila Angjeli, Andrew Mac Ewan and Vincent Boulet
Source: International federation of Library Associations / WLIC 2014

This article presents ISNI and VIAF as major initiatives leveraging the library Authority control. They are significantly changing the international landscape of bibliographic control addressing the challenge of reliably identifying people in the rapidly emerging global knowledge network.

Both systems are built on the principles of UBC. Further, they are revitalising these principles by promoting a global economy in which the library authority data are playing a leading role in the Linked Data chain.

The article presents ISNI and VIAF in complementary relation with one another and invites libraries worldwide to become full players in both initiatives. 

Study reveals how to be socially successful

Source: Medical Xpress, article by Helen Burdon, 25 July 2014

Romantic, personal and professional relationships are fraught with danger, but a University of Queensland researcher has found the secret to interacting successfully with others in such settings.

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More information:
Richard Ronay and William von Hippel. "Sensitivity to Changing Contingencies Predicts Social Success." Social Psychological and Personality Science 1948550614542348, first published on July 11, 2014 DOI: 10.1177/1948550614542348  

Ghana - Mobile midwife saves mothers' lives

Source: BBC News, Joining up Ghana's healthcare to save lives by Fiona Graham, 14 July 2014

Mobile midwife is part of the Ghana mobile technology for community health (Motech Ghana) initiative - a collaboration between the non-profit organisation Grameen Foundation and the Ghana Health Service.

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Nigeria 'on red alert' over Ebola death in Lagos

The Ebola virus has already spread from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone
Source: BBC News, 26 July 2014

Nigeria says it has put all entries into the country on red alert after confirming the death of a Liberian man who was carrying the Ebola virus.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

This Genius Machine Feeds Stray Dogs In Exchange For Recycled Bottles

Source: Huffington Post, 23 July 2014

Kimberly Yam reports on an innovative Turkish company called Pugedon that created a vending machine in Instabul "that releases food and water for the city's stray dogs in exchange for recycled plastic bottles."

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Earlier Stone Age artifacts found in Northen Cape of South Africa

Source:, 24 July 2014

Excavations at an archaeological site at Kathu in the Northern Cape province of South Africa have produced tens of thousands of Earlier Stone Age artifacts, including hand axes and other tools. These discoveries were made by archaeologists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa and the University of Toronto (U of T), in collaboration with the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa.

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Google's New Moonshot Project: the Human Body (Baseline Study)

Image: Getty Images
Source: The Wall Street Journal, 24 July 2014

Alistair Barr writes: 

Google Inc. has embarked on what may be its most ambitious and difficult science project ever: a quest inside the human body.

Called Baseline Study, the project will collect anonymously genetic and molecular information from 175 people - and later thousands more - to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be.

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Cyborgs Among Us: Human 'Biohackers' Embed Chips In Their Bodies

Source: NBC News, July 2014 (article written by Julianne Pepitone)

In tattoo parlors and basements around the world, people are turning themselves into cyborgs by embedding magnets and computer chhips directly into their bodies.

They call themselves biohackers, cyborgs and grinders. With each piece of technology they put beneath their skin, they are exploring the boundaries - and the implications - of fusing man and machine.

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