Meeting: Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010, February 16th at the Internet Archive

I will attend an interesting discussion organized by Jeff Ubois on February 16th at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

Saving Our Present for the Future: Personal Archiving 2010

From family photographs and personal papers to health and financial information, vital personal records are becoming digital. At the same time, creation and capture of new digital information has become a part of the daily routine for hundreds of millions of people. But what are the long term prospects for this data?

The combination of new capture devices (more than 1 billion camera phones will be sold in 2010) with the move from older forms of media is reshaping both our personal and collective memories. The size and complexity of personal collections growing, these collections are spread across different media (including film and paper!), and the lines between personal and professional, published and unpublished are being redrawn.

Whether these issues are described as personal archiving, lifestreams, personal digital heritage, preserving digital lives, scrapbooking, or managing intellectual estates, they present major challenges for both individuals and institutions: data loss is a nearly universal experience, whether it is due to hardware failure, obsolescence, user error, lack of institutional support, or any one of many other reasons. Some of these losses may not matter; but the early work  of the Nobel prize winners of the 2030s is likely to be digital today, and therefore at risk in ways that previous scientific and literary creations were not. And it isn’t just Nobel winners that matter: the lives of all of us will be preserved in ways not previously possible.

On Tuesday, February 16, the Internet Archive will host a small conference for practitioners in personal digital archiving.

Continue reading

NodeXL update: v.1.0.110 – New histograms of network metrics on Overall Metrics worksheet

In the most recent prior release of NodeXL we added new metrics that describe networks in terms of their number of components and the length of paths in those networks.  In this release we automate creation of histograms of network metrics.  It is useful to see the distribution of attributes like in-degree or betweenness to get a feel for the nature of a network.  Building a histogram in Excel is easy, but building seven (one for each of the metrics we create: degree, in-degree, out-degree, betweenness, closeness, eigenvector centrality, and clustering coefficient) is a chore.  Doing this repeatedly for several networks is too much work!  Now, when you calculate metrics in NodeXL we will create these charts for you and place them on the Overall metrics worksheet.

We will add axis markings and titles soon, making these charts ready to use in a variety of network reports.  These histograms will also appear in the Dynamic Filters dialog to guide users as they select segments of the distribution to include or filter out of the displayed network graph.

Other updates: (2010-02-03)

  • The Overall Metrics worksheet now includes more information about the degree, in-degree, out-degree, betweenness centrality, closeness centrality, eigenvector centrality, and clustering coefficient metrics when those metrics are computed. The additional information includes the minimum, maximum, average, and median metric values, and a histogram showing the metric value distribution.
  • The “Convert Old Workbook” item on the NodeXL, Data, Import menu in the Ribbon is now called “Import from NodeXL Workbook Created on Another Computer.” This menu item can be used to work around the following problem: NodeXL workbooks created on a 64-bit Windows computer cannot be opened directly in Excel on a 32-bit Windows computer, and vice-versa. (If you attempt to do so, you will get an error message whose details include “could not find a part of the path.”)
  • A Clear All Worksheet Columns Now button has been added to the Autofill Columns dialog box (NodeXL, Visual Properties, Autofill). Also, you can now clear an individual worksheet column by clicking a button in the dialog box’s Options column.
  • Bug fix: On large-font machines, the buttons at the bottom of the Autofill Columns dialog box didn’t fit within the dialog box.
  • Bug fix: In some circumstances, vertices were drawn below the bottom of the graph pane and were impossible to see. One such circumstance was when the selection was exported to a new workbook (NodeXL, Data, Export, Selection to New NodeXL Workbook). The graph pane in the new workbook acted as if it were taller than its real height, leading to vertices dropping off the bottom.