I like to find, qualify and share information with friends and family which I’ve discovered online. Prior to the Internet, my father used to send his children (like me) and congressman (like Teddy Kennedy) articles he discovered that shared light or elucidation about subjects of interest. I’m not sure if my sharing are well-received or not, as only a few people typically respond. I just think it’s a generous way to be as I have learned of how to gain access to authoritative sources by virtue of being an independent information researcher. When I had my research business I published a monthly compendium called “Research Helpline”, a name which I thought was kind of clever because the first initial “R” matched my name “Richard” and the “H” matched up with my last name “Halpern”, and I was trying to establish my brand as an authoritative source of news and information and analysis about topics like global trade, medical devices, people search and healthcare. Authoritative and credible databases and search engine tactics, techniques and tricks continue to pique my interest. Everyday, even while retired, I peruse numerous resources and and build resources for personal understanding and problem solving. Some sources are better than others. Some are dated. Some are factually wrong. I always seek well qualified information and analysis.
In this the first installment of 2020 of my blog post, I want to share brief stories of achievements by individuals throughout the world who have devoted their time and ingenuity to maintain culture or make things better. These stories from 2019 are largely fascinating “feel good” stories of people who are moved to solve a problem just because they can, not because it’s their job or they want to make money at it. It’s good to see that private citizens are solving problems out of the goodness of their hearts.
Consider Emma Yang. At only 14 years of age, Emma Yang developed a mobile app to assist Alzheimer’s patients. The Timeless app, two years in development, uses AI-powered facial recognition system from Kairosa, a Miami start up, to help Alzheimer’s patients identify people in photos and remember who they are. The app also provides a picture-based phone book which enables a user to tap on photos to call or text a person. Emma developed the app in response to a family member, her grandmother who started forgetting things like Emma’s birthday or the medicines she had to take. See http://www.scmp.com January 29, 2019 South China Morning Post.
Brian Harris, Jackson Sutherland, Alexi Himarios and Matthew Jacobs, students at University of Virginia Master’s program in Business Analytics created a tool to help Navy Veterans who might have been exposed to the toxin Agent Orange prove that the ships served on were in Agent Orange exposure zones which would make them eligible for government health benefits. The students’ work simplifies the process and helps Veterans receive healthy benefits . Caroline Newman reported on it in “UVA Today” on January 30, 2019: http://www.news.virginia.edu. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
”Archivists Trying to Save Human History from Climate Change” is another story from 2019 that caught my attention. In the past few years, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have damaged dozens of museums and cultural centers in New York City, Houston, Florida and the Caribbean. Because of climate change, hurricanes are happening more frequently. And since human culture is disportionstebly centered on coastlines, cultural repositories are at risk. Climate change could erase human history and archivists are trying to save it! See Motherboard/ VICE September 17, 2019 for more about this story.
One of the earliest examples of online resources was the New York Times Info Bank, which was started in 1972. It offered abstracts of articles from leading magazines and select newspapers. This electronic retrieval system developed with IBM, provided access to the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Business Week and TIME. John Rothman, a New York Times employee for 44 years, one who was fascinated by indexing, died in September 2019 and was one of the primary developers of this system. Librarians and information professionals take note: Lexis was started in 1973 and Nexis six years later in 1979. Richard Sandomir, an obituaries writer, says Rothman died at age 95, and is reported in The New York Times October 1, 2019.