RUcore, Digital Video, and the China Boom
Oct 18th, 2012 by Isaiah Beard

Recently, members of the Rutgers University Libraries at both integrated Information Systems and the Scholarly Communication Center began an auspicious collaboration with the Asia Society in New York City, in our first project to digitally preserve, to standards, their digital video archive for The China Boom Project.  It is the first time that RUcore has ingested a fully born-digital video archive, using the original source content and project files, and creating presentation video from those source files.

The China Boom Project’s goal is to seek an answer to the question, “Why did China Boom?” The site comprises taped interviews with individuals and experts with insights into China’s rapid economic expansion in recent decades. It offers to site visitors packaged video content from these interviews arranged by subject matter and relevant time periods in China’s history, in a very effective and attractive format that is described as a “mosaic explanation.

But while the China Boom site itself provides snippets and prepackaged commentary, an ancillary goal of the project has been to partner with educational institutions to make the full-length content available to researchers, and to have the video archived and preserved.  This is where Rutgers University Libraries, and RUcore, come into the picture.

Read the rest of this entry »

New high-resolution displays will push the envelope for image quality
Jun 11th, 2012 by Isaiah Beard

20120611-152612.jpg

Today, all eyes on the tech world were focused on Apple, who as expected, wowed onlookers with its yearly sneak-peek of what’s to come from Cupertino. And among those announcements came a bombshell for those of us in digital imaging. A major product announcement came in the form of high-resolution, near-print quality image displays that are available beginning right now, on a high-end line of Apple MacBook Pro computers. These Retina displays are boasting 2880 x 1800 pixel densities, at a resolution of 220 pixels per inch, equivalent to some 5.2 megapixels.

By comparison, if you’re reading this on a desktop or laptop, you’re likely seeing it at a resolution of between 72 and 150 pixels per inch, weighing in at a mere 1.2 to 1.8 megapixels.

At the moment, this is only available (at least for desktops and laptops) on a very top level, premium line of systems whose price tags start at $2,200. However, we can expect over the next 12-18 months for these types of displays to become more common on less expensive computers, on all operating systems. And of course, displays of this resolution (and higher) are already available on tablets and mobile devices, such as iPads, iPhones and some high-end Android equivalents.

The immediate impact is that most web-formatted images that are meant to be displayed at the customary 72 ppi, will appear much smaller, and less defined, on these newer screens. This will mean that in order to deliver quality image content to users in the long term, images will have to be larger and more detailed. It’ll be possible for a greater amount of detail from high-resolution digital images to be seen online, instead of having to print these images to get the full effect. Most digital text will be clearer to read. Our computer screens will better approximate print. And hopefully, using a computer to read a document should be a lot easier on users’ eyes.

Fortunately for us at RUcore (and many other digital preservation projects), we’re still well ahead of the curve, with imaging preservation standards that set a baseline of 400 to 600 dpi scanned images. This was originally meant to help us re-create the full print quality of a lot of the documents we scan and preserve, should someone, someday decide to re-print them. But now, it’s clear that computer displays of all types are evolving to catch up with print, and give users an image experience that was never before possible on an electronic screen.

The Cranberry Genome: RUcore’s first foray into research data sharing
Aug 23rd, 2011 by Isaiah Beard

Cranberry Harvest in New Jersey. Source: USDA

 

A few months back, I wrote about our efforts to leverage RUcore for the benefit of the academic research community at Rutgers. The result is RUresearch, a place for Rutgers researchers to share their data with the global scholarly community.  This data sharing is particularly important in light of a National Science Foundation mandate to openly share research data that has been funded through them.

Over the summer, the RUcore team has been working with a few researchers to better understand their needs, and to work on preserving and sharing our first samples of actual research data.  In collaboration with the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, our efforts – if you’ll pardon the pun – have begun to bear fruit.

As part of funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative, Marucci Center researchers have extracted a genome for a cultivar of the cranberry; a fruit for which New Jersey is the third-largest producer in the US, devoting some 3,600 acres to its cultivation.

The genome research is part of a study in genetics of fruit rot-rresistance, and the data generated (using Applied Bioscience’s SOLiD 3 Plus System) takes up over 60GB of storage when compressed.  Sharing of this data to researchers who would find it useful obviously requires a system that can not only spare the storage, but be robust enough to permit open access.  Enter RUcore.

Although further refinements are in progress, the result of our collaboration is one of our first research data records in RUcore, located at this link.  The PDF attached to that record describes the link to the download point for the data sets.

While the data itself isn’t something the general public will easily recognize and interpret, the ability to share this information with other researchers can benefit all of us, through continued study into which genetic factors can make certain fruits resistant to rotting.  And it’s also a learning experience for us, in how to make that sharing among researchers a little bit easier.

Sony starts MiniDisc, a staple of broadcast audio playback, on its path to obsolescence
Jul 15th, 2011 by Isaiah Beard

On July 7, Sony announced that production of MiniDisc playback equipment would cease in September of 2011. According to Sony, the format’s creator, the blank MiniDisc recording media will continue to be manufactured for up a year beyond the players’ discontinuation.

MiniDisc never made as big a splash as Sony had hoped, at least in markets outside of Asia.  Introduced in 1992, Sony had envisioned that the format would be just as ubiquitous in the 1990s as the audio cassette – and another Sony invention, the Walkman – was in the 1980s.  Unlike Audio CDs, MiniDiscs offered a more compact design to increase portability, greater durability and anti-skip capabilities, and all MiniDisc playback equipment was capable of writing to recordable and re-writeable media from the outset.  By contrast, the first sub-$10,000 CD writers wouldn’t become available until 13 years after Compact Disc’s 1982 introduction to the market, and almost 3 years after MiniDisc was widely available.

Unfortunately, MiniDisc had barriers to adoption from the outset, most of which were placed – deliberately or otherwise – by the company who introduced the format in the first place.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons Learned from Google’s temporary Gmail loss
Mar 1st, 2011 by Isaiah Beard

GMail kept users notified through a status page of their ongoing recovery efforts.

This past week offered up a little dose of panic to an estimated tens of thousands of users to Google’s free Gmail service, when they logged in to discover that all of their e-mail was missing.  According to Google:

We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

Read the rest of this entry »


SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
»  Substance:WordPress   »  Rights: Creative Commons License
AWSOM Powered