1893: End of the Trolley Line

The featured picture above is of the end of the trolley line from Oak Park, Illinois composed by Fredrick Childe Hassam. This canvas painting was completed with an impressionistic style dated back to 1893, of what is currently the end of the CTA Green Line.

Living in today’s society with all the hustle and bustle, there is no question as to why during our commutes from point A to point B we occupy time by listening to music, clearing our minds or making list of things to do. Sometimes, taking a step back and embracing the surroundings or to imagine how bus stops and intersections looked like a decade or even a century ago is not always first on our lists. Thanks to Melody O., Class of 2015, she helped those previewing this painting to take a step back to over a century ago to 1893.  Boy how times have changed!

Image from: http://www.wikiart.org/en/childe-hassam/end-of-the-trolley-line-oak-park-illinois


There’s still time to register for this Saturday’s Online Zotero Workshop!

  • If you’re writing papers this summer, you need Zotero.
  • It’s a free, online tool that lets you manage all your research sources—articles, books, and web sites—in one place and easily create bibliographies and in-text citations.
  • It lives in your browser so you can quickly add sources as you find them.

The next workshop is Saturday, June 21, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.

This online workshop is free but registration is required.

Register here and you will get an email with WebEx log in information on Friday.


Google’s Homepage Features Brazil’s Painted Streets

From Google – “Every four years, Brazilians come together to show their love for soccer by painting their streets. This year, they’re sharing it with the world. You can create photo spheres of where you’re celebrating the World Cup with the new Google Camera app for Android.”

View the Painted Streets of Brazil

From a library standpoint– this is a fun example of the value of properly aggregated/indexed crowdsourcing.

National Yo-Yo Day

Prior to the increase popularity of cellphones, laptops and technology for that matter, a childhood classic toy was the yo-yo. As simplistic and effortless as a yo-yo may seem,  it was without a doubt the occupation of most childhood free time, along with dolls and toy trucks.

Today is the perfect day to reminisce in those yo-yo memories because June 6th is National Yo-Yo day! Why June 6th you may ask? June 6th was declared National Yo-Yo day because today is believed to be Donald Duncan Sr.’s  birthday. Donald Duncan Sr. was not the first person to begin yo-yo production but after seeing its captivation of children attention he took the lead in the production and design of yo-yo’s since 1931.

I’m sure somewhere in the application world,  a yo-yo app has already been designed, but lets enjoy this flashback moment to remember all the tricks and spins we had learned on our yo-yo.

Learn more about your childhood toy,  the yo-yo

Image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yoyo_patent_1866.png


Will Google Replace Museums?

By: Bryan Deziel

Nothing gets a librarian’s blood pressure up more than the suggestion that Google is a replacement for libraries.  It is a subject that has been addressed at length in the literature of the field as well as in countless blogs and other online arenas.  Although it is clear that Google cannot replace brick and mortar libraries or the librarians and information professionals that run them, it is a question that surfaces again and again.  However, we librarians may have some company in the near future as Google brings the collections and exhibitions of museums around the world to the masses.

Launched in 2011, the Google Art Project began as an effort to provide access to high-resolution images of artwork from the collections of 17 different libraries.  That number quickly grew to over 150 in 2012, and by the close of 2013, the project had been subsumed into the much grander Google Cultural Institute.  The Google Cultural Institute not only provides high-resolution images of various items from museums around the world, but allows visitors to virtually explore those museums using their Street View technology.  Additionally, it includes the World Wonders Project, and Archive exhibitions.  The World Wonders project allows visitors to use Street View to explore historic sites around the world.  The archive exhibitions allow museums and other institutions to provide access to the wealth of information contained in their archives.  While many of the collections come from institutions Google has directly partnered with, Google now offers Google Open Gallery, a suite of free tools and a custom culturalspot.org domain for institutions and artists to put their content online.

There are many advantages to these projects from both the user and museum’s standpoint.   For users, the sites are welcoming and intuitive.  Users can create their own galleries of items from museums around the world and share them with friends.  For museums, the platform allows the institutions to reach out and create new virtual relationships with people around the globe.  Additionally, there is the advantage of space.  Museums can create virtual exhibitions without having to create a physical installation.  This is space, time, and money saving.  But the biggest boon to all is that it is free to create and free to use.

The greatest disadvantage to the Institute is that many libraries and museums have already invested in various infrastructures to host their digital collections, such as CONTENTdm, Omeka, and Fedora, to name a few.  They have developed highly customized frameworks that allow the institutions to describe their collections according to their own standards.  It is highly unlikely that these institutions will suddenly migrate to Google.  Google will need to do a lot of convincing if they wish to become a one-stop portal to the cultural contents of the museums of the world.

Returning to the question that titles this post – will Google replace museums?  In short, no.  Museums protect and preserve our cultural heritage and collective memory.  They are educational institutions as much as shrines to our past; and the expertise of museum curators and staff is crucial to understanding that past.  Just as nothing can replace the mentally stimulating and scholarly atmosphere of the physical library; there is no substitute for the historical contemplation and self-reflection inspired by the museum itself.


The Google Cultural Institute can be found at: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute