Support for Digitizing Cultural Resources

Thought this might be of interest to some…

Council on Library and Information Resources: Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives
Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, an initiative of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), is intended to help digitize and provide access to non-digital collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions. Through this program, CLIR aims to enhance the emerging global digital research environment in ways that support new kinds of scholarship for the long term and to ensure that the full wealth of resources held by memory institutions becomes integrated with the open Web. Grants, ranging from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $250,000 in the case of a single-institution project or $500,000 for a collaborative project, will be provided to colleges and universities, research centers, museums, libraries, historical societies, cultural associations, etc. To promote broad access, careful preservation, standardization, and usability, approaches to digitization should be coordinated across institutions when feasible. Online initial proposals must be submitted by April 3, 2017; final proposals are due September 20, 2017. Visit the CLIR website to review the program guidelines and application process.

Broadband for civic engagement: Facebook Live easy tool to broadcast public meetings

I am the newest, biggest fan of Facebook Live. It allows a person to livestream video from their phone. You just need a Facebook account, a smartphone and enough broadband to maintain a connection. You point your camera – click on Live – and it starts broadcasting.

I had an opportunity to use it to help out a friend this week. She was planning a conversation on homelessness in Dakota County. I figured I could help spread the word by livestreaming it for her. Amazingly 220 people showed up Monday for the event!. BUT another 250 tuned in live online – and since the event (three days ago) more than 1000 people have viewed the post and video. Again, amazing!

Recently I used Facebook Live to record a House Committee meeting too. I’ll be using it more often.

I like it because the video livestreams so it doesn’t reside on my phone, which means I don’t run out of memory. It drains the battery but not much more than taking (and not streaming) video. You will want to be on WiFi or you may hit some data caps and big bills. Once the event is finished, the video is archived. You can embed the code into your website or download the video and upload it to YouTube.

It is a great way to broadcast government meetings on a budget. Or as a citizen to record open meetings or event to share with folks who can’t attend and to have an archive for later. I spoke with Matt Ehling at the Coalition on Government Information – he let me know that as an observer, you can life-stream a public meeting that you are attending under the First Amendment.

If you use this trick to broadcast a broadband event – please let me know!

There’s another advantage of Facebook Live – the immediacy and public nature of the broadcast. Think of the livestream video of Philando Castile’s last moments posted by his girlfriend. I remember hearing an interview with her soon after the fact and she mentioned that safety was one issue she streamed video. She wanted people to know she was there and in distress. After the fact, that video has served as a record of the events.

I have also heard of people who will livestream a walk to the car at night or in a parking ramp alone. It’s not the same as having someone walk with you but it is a deterrent for unwanted attention.

That which gets counted, gets attention: broadband and the census

In November, Blandin hosted a webinar on the census, the theme was: Minnesota is better when everyone counts. One message was the importance of getting full participation..

To ensure fair representation and allocation of resources, and access to complete and reliable data to support community engagement, planning and economic development.

Later in the month there was an article in the Washington Post warning that the census may not be ready – actually they are maintaining that many features won’t be ready before the big testing scheduled to begin in August, 2017. The article also extolled the virtues of the greater use of technology planned for the 2020 census…

The decision to innovate with technology, instead of creating new systems, contributed to a significant cost savings, according to census officials. The 2020 Census will cost $12.5 billion, a $5 billion savings over “the paper-and-pencil-based design of the 2010 Census,” Thompson, the Census Bureau director, said.

Census officials are “under no illusions that the task before us is an easy one,” Smith added. “In fact, it is very difficult.” But he’s confident “the foundation to carry out a successful census is in place.”

And the pitfalls…

One innovation will allow replies to census questions via the Internet. Yet, “while the large-scale technological changes for the 2020 Decennial Census introduce great potential for efficiency and effectiveness gains,” the GAO warns that it puts people “more at risk for phishing attacks [requests for information from authentic-looking, but fake, e-mails and websites].”

It’s an opportunity for a push at the national level for public service announcements and education on digital literacy and cyber security. It’s also an opportunity to push better, ubiquitous broadband. (Maybe some of the $5 billion saved could be used to increase education and infrastructure to reach the census takers!)

The fear of not going to extra/last mile to reach to the far corners of the country is that we could get a skewed view of where we are and what we need. A recipe for widening and deepening the digital divide.

Increasing commutes and wear on physical infrastructure makes case for better broadband

Did you know that since the Paleolithic Era, people have always lived roughly 30 minutes from their work even as transport tech evolved from bare feet to carriage to train to automobile? Well apparently that was true, but it’s changing – according to an article in HyperLoop

Commuting rings just kept expanding outward. But Marchetti’s Constant has broken down in most big cities. New data collected from the public transit app Moovit shows average round-trip commute times are now 93 minutes in Philadelphia, 77 minutes in San Francisco, and 86 minutes in Boston and Chicago. A third of the people in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia say they commute more than two hours each day.

So what does this have to do with broadband? Well, the article is written to spur conversation…

But the maps are great conversation-starters for transportation planners and policymakers pondering how and where to deploy the potential billions the incoming Trump administration wants to spend on new and repaired infrastructure. Investment decisions should consider the way people live and work across boundaries of culture, politics and electoral districts. Transport should support and connect these dynamic economic zones to foster business formation, job mobility and personal economic freedom.

It seems to me that broadband could and should be part of the solution.

The article includes some compelling maps of commuting around the Twin Cities. In the red-orange map, “high volume, shorter commutes make up the bright yellow core while longer and less frequent routes show in red.” In the second darker maps looks at the same data but removed boundaries. Suddenly we see not one epicenter but several regional centers.

Imagine the improved quality of life for the commuters and economic potential if the commutes were less frequent or non-existent.

How fiber makes the roads safer

For folks who know me – the answer isn’t because fiber can keep me from driving. Although that might make the roads safer. No, the exciting news is that Ohio is about to pilot a smart road that will track and compile information that will help the Department of Transportation make changes to improve driving.

According to GCN

By the end of next summer, sensors on a 35-mile stretch of highway in Ohio could be providing real-time road, weather and traffic data to the state.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is upgrading its Smart Mobility Corridor with high-capacity fiber-optic cables that connect to embedded and wireless sensors — a new network that ODOT officials say  will ultimately provide data to researchers and traffic monitors. …

This means research and manufacturing facilities would be able to test their smart transportation technologies on a road through both rural and urban terrain in all four seasons. The route already hosts testing with auto manufacturers and suppliers, including the Transportation Research Center, which is a partner in this project.

And here’s an example of the difference it can make…

The collected data would result in more frequent and accurate information about traffic, congestion, weather and surface conditions, which the agency can use for traffic management operations and incident management improvements.

For example, if a connected vehicle hits a patch of black ice and the tires slip, the information would be sent to ODOT, which could then quickly dispatch a salt truck. Sensors detecting sudden temperature drops or a reduction in speed indicating traffic congestion could pass the information to vehicles. Along with vehicle-to-infrastructure information sharing, this technology facilitates vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which could send warnings directly to drivers about incidents related to nearby vehicles or traffic.

Webinar Archive: Census 2020: The Count Starts Now

Pleased to share the information from yesterday’s webinar – Census 2020: The Count Starts Now…

Minnesota works when the Census works. We have a better Minnesota when everyone is counted. Everyone gets a role in our government and their civil rights are supported. Dollars get allocated to help families and communities close opportunity gaps. We churn the wheels of “small d” democracy with data to plan, make good decisions and measure the impact of our work. We help grow jobs and our local economy by providing every business with the data it needs to make smart investments.

But, we don’t gain any of the benefits if we do not make sure everyone is able to participate. Some barriers have always been there; families do not think to count their young children, people of color are not counted, we miss people who are new to our communities or we miss people who live in rural areas. Making getting a full count even harder in rural communities is the increased reliance on computers, smart phones, tablets and other devices to collect Census responses in 2020 – not easy task in communities underserved by broadband.

To get a full count in Minnesota, we need to be talking with state and federal lawmakers so they organize and fund an effective Census and American Community Survey.  We also need to start planning how we are going to organize ourselves – our own communities. Who from your community should be involved in helping with the advocacy and making sure we have a good plan for Minnesota?  Certainly you, but what other partners in business, the public sector, nonprofit communities or your faith community should be involved? Send your thoughts to MACS (Minnesotans for the American Community Survey)

Broadband facilitates deeper civic engagement in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is working on their comprehensive plan – called 2040. The process is on their website – the how and the do.

I’m sharing this for two reasons. If you’re in Minneapolis and think technology is important, now is a good time to visit and let them know it’s a priority to you.

For folks outside of Minneapolis, I think this is a slick way to encourage deeper civic engagement from the comfort of the residents own home.

The website is a hub for instructions on how to participate and the results of the participation. Here’s the beak down from their site…

Make your voice heard by participating in the Minneapolis 2040 planning process both online and in person.

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Stay up to speed with regular updates via email.

Civic Engagement Overview

This overview outlines why civic engagement is important to the plan, who will be engaged, how it will happen, and when you can get involved.

Events Calendar

A list of upcoming opportunities to participate in shaping the future of Minneapolis.

Past Events

Documentation of what happened at previous Minneapolis 2040 engagement opportunities.
See also the Phase 1 Engagement Summary


Would you like to host your own conversation and provide feedback on the comprehensive plan? Download your kit today, and tell us your vision for the future of Minneapolis!

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When there is new information to share, we’ll tweet it.

Contact Us

Have a question or comment? Feel free to contact us.

The materials are all there – might be a good time to check it out to see if that might work in your community.