When you think about wearables, you likely picture things like fitness trackers, smart jackets or even Snap’s new Spectacles. Get ready to expand your thinking…and possibly be creeped out. It might not be a big deal to microchip a pet, but now microchipping people is a thing.
Companies start implanting microchips into workers’ bodies [Los Angeles Times] “What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter. The company offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.”
Bosses are already tracking employees with microchip implants [New York Post] “The workers volunteered to have the microchip, which is about as big as a grain of rice, implanted for free. Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter, an innovation and technology company, told the Australian Broadcasting Company that the microchips inserted into employees’ hands would simplify life.”
US tech company becomes first to microchip employees [The Independent] “They will be implanted underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger, and will use so-called near-field communications – or NFC – which is the same technology used in contactless credit cards and mobile payments.”
Here’s one for the folks who like spy stories. On June 5, The Intercept published a top secret National Security Agency report on election-related Russian spearphishing. Within hours, the FBI requested an arrest warrant for Reality Winner, an NSA contractor, for stealing the classified document. Security researchers explained the quick police work by the presence of almost invisible dots the laser printer had added to the document identifying the printer used and the time of printing. It has been know for many years that laser printers add these dots; the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published information about these dots and how to decode them since 2005. So if you’re in the spy business, pay attention to technology — it can either make you or break you.
Computer printers have been quietly embedding tracking codes in documents for decades (Quartz | Keith Collins) “When color printers were first introduced, [former Xerox researcher Peter Crean] said, governments were worried the devices would be used for all sorts of forgery, particularly counterfeiting money. An early solution came from Japan, where the yellow-dot technology, known as printer steganography, was originally developed as a security measure. Fuji, which has been in a joint-venture partnership with Xerox since 1962, was the first to implement the codes in printers. Fuji-Xerox manufactures most of Xerox’s printing and copying devices, and has done so for several decades.”
The sketchy printer tracking feature that likely helped reveal the alleged NSA leaker (Mashable | Brett Williams) “Xerox admitted to providing the tracking dots to the Secret Service back in 2005 to combat counterfeiting — but as the EFF noted at the time, there were no laws to prevent the tracking from being used for other means. Importantly, the tracking dots are only reportedly produced by laser color printers, which are more likely to be found in office settings for professional use. Your compact inkjet unit for home print jobs won’t be tagging all your documents with ID info.”
In the past decade, Wikipedia’s reach has expanded. It’s the fifth most-visited platform globally. And the quality has stabilized. A 2012 Oxford University study comparing Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia found no significant difference in quality or reliability between the articles they compared. However, research suggests that asymmetries in the demographic profile of the existing pool of editors, which are 80–90% white males, has led to biases and underdeveloped content areas.
To improve the encyclopedia and address these gaps, volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation staff have collaborated to host outreach programs and editing events. These have seen successes, but there’s still room for improvement. Only some of these programs have focused on galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM, in Wikimedia terminology), and none of the outreach has been specifically geared to public libraries and their important role as champions of information access and mainstays in serving their local communities.
The time has come for an effective, focused training program that brings Wikipedia to US public libraries.
WebJunction will be filling this gap by spearheading an online training program for up to 500 US public library staff to learn Wikipedia from September to November 2017. The program addresses the need for training tools that are specific to the learning needs of public library staff, which is what WebJunction does best. This training program will bring public libraries into the Wikipedia community so that library staff can dovetail their service goals and skills with the Wikipedia vision of building a comprehensive information reference source that’s freely and widely accessible on the open web.
And with US public library staff learning Wikipedia, information seekers everywhere are bound to be better informed, more digitally literate and able to access more library services and materials.
A bridge to Wikipedia for public libraries
In 2016, OCLC launched the Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project, funded by a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant and the Wikimedia Foundation. The project’s purpose? To build bridges between public librarians and Wikipedians.
Wikipedia + Libraries is different from other Wikipedia editing tutorials; it’s specific to the service goals and professional development needs of 21st-century US public libraries.
Starting 13 September 2017, WebJunction will host a ten-week online training program covering Wikipedia editing literacies and programming best practices. The course will champion, and build upon, the range of ways that librarians are already engaging Wikipedia—you can read about some of these activities in WebJunction’s Librarians Who Wikipedia interview series.
There will be a preview webinar about the program on 19 July from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm. US EDT.
How WebJunction fits in and how YOU can fit in
WebJunction brings the best of adult learning and online education to public libraries. It makes sense for library staff to learn deliberately and actively, in ways that benefit their community members.
Participants in the online training program will learn how to edit in a supportive cohort of peers familiar with the demands of public library work. Course materials will include sessions and activities that are fresh and relevant to their work as information professionals serving the public.
How can public library participation help improve Wikipedia? Click To Tweet
Please spread the word to public library staff about the Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together project:
Registration for up to 500 public library staff to enroll in the free, ten-week online training program Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together will open on 19 July; there will be six live online sessions during the ten-week course that will last 13 Sept. – 15 Nov. 2017.
Learning to Wikipedia isn’t only about boldly editing. It’s a way for public librarians—you!—to contribute to a dynamic community in practical ways, among your library contemporaries with WebJunction.
By the end of the Wikipedia + Libraries online training program, public librarians will have learned how to bring best practices in public librarianship to the open web, and have added a few pages to the Wikipedia instructional playbook in doing so.
Hill, Benjamin Mako, and Aaron Shaw. “The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited: Characterizing Survey Response Bias with Propensity Score Estimation.” Edited by Angel Sánchez. PLoS ONE 8, no. 6 (June 26, 2013): e65782. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065782.
Wagner, Claudia, Eduardo Graells-Garrido, David Garcia, and Filippo Menczer. “Women through the Glass Ceiling: Gender Asymmetries in Wikipedia.” EPJ Data Science 5, no. 1 (December 2016). doi:10.1140/epjds/s13688-016-0066-4.