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Work: I've been in libraries since 2006; among other things, I spent a year as the at the British Library, wandering around and telling people how nice the internet was, and another five years in . I now mostly do and .

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I'm a Scottish librarian working in London; primarily what I write about here is my and work.

The biggest chunk of that is the project - trying to build a rich dataset of historic parliamentarians, and figure out what interesting things it can tell us.

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This #Politico piece critical of Kamala #Harris at a recent #tech summit in #London actually put her up in my estimation. Rishi #Sunak and the tech bros wanted to talk about the fantasy "future #risks" of #AI. She pointed out that tech risks have already arrived: “When a senior is kicked off their #healthcare plan because of a faulty #algorithm, is that not existential for him?”

There is a small village outside Aviemore called Boat of Garten (went there once, nice place). Turns out it has a community newsletter.

The BoG Standard.


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This is fitting. The top topic on Xitter right now is of course the global Crowdstrike/Windows clusterfuck. But the AI summary of the discussion is hilarious, b/c it summarizes a bunch of sarcastic posts and makes it sound like a positive (or at least can-do) story.

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For those of a psephology bent, the House of Commons Library have just published their briefing on the full results of the 2024 general election:

Also available in deferenceable URI format on our election results website:

And as a datasette for those who prefer SQL over point and click:

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Today is #WorldSnakeDay – here’s Edwin Morgan’s “Siesta of a Hungarian Snake” (Collected Poems, Carcanet 2012) 🐍

#Scottish #literature #poem #poetry #snake

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In which I get mad about sloppy use of AI in a way that can actively endanger people!!!

(thx to the American Alpine Club for their amazing work publicizing climbing and mountaineering accidents and identifying patterns in the causes)

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New feature! We've added another lookup to that tells you about the various elected people that represent you and your area.

Give it a go here:

Read the blog:


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Someone complained that the xkcd Dependency comic is unrealistic because it only shows one critical dependency you've never heard of.

However, it all makes sense once you realize it's actually a fractal:

"Wha wouldnae fecht for Chairlie..."

"Saw'd ye the cotton spinners..."

"Wha saw the Forty-Second..."

"Ya, ya, you hielan' bastard..."

The folk process at work!

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Stumbled across this little oddity: Hamish Henderson going through the evolution of a single song from c18th Jacobites, to c19th Chartism, to Boer War popular music, to soldier's songs in WWI

Got a day of normal work today (mistakes were made...) but wrote up the @democlub data import when I woke up this AM and the bot's churning away in the background to bring it all in. Should have the new list up and running shortly.

Pace Inverness, anyway...

All seats and candidates - and who we've noted as the winner if we have one

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Britain’s last coal fired power station has received its last delivery of coal in anticipation of closure at the end of September. As we look ahead to that historic milestone it is fascinating to look back at how quickly coal has departed the scene. Ten years ago it was still the dominant source of electrical power. More efficient gas burning power squeezed it out, with just over half the greenhouse gas emissions. Now, already, gas burning is being squeezed out too.

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Do/Have you used a CD/DVD/Bluray in a while?

What about burning a disk?

I'm surveying modern day awareness/usage of optical media, mostly to confirm some demographic theories, so if you know what a CD/DVD is, please help me (and maybe others) out by answering some ~10 questions here:

And then please boost for better visibility! Thank you!

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When asked where the dynamite was found in the house, such as the basement, garage or shed, Barker said, “Yes. All of it, correct.”

Today's great discovery: there was a proposal made in the 1760s to put in a boundary at which London would stop expanding - a proto-green-belt.

It was Euston Road.

Well, it almost worked.

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We're ready to recruit for this post again, and we couldn't be more excited. ✨
Do you have experience with OCR and HTR technologies? Have you embedded these or other processes into wider operational workflows? Do you LOVE historical collections? Then this job vacancy could be perfect for you. Come and work with us at the British Library! For more details, see my (updated) post:
Closing date: 21 July 2024.
Good luck!

#britishlibrary #OCR #HTR @BL_DigiSchol

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