Back in January of 2016 my colleagues in NYPL Digital + NYPL Labs were conspiring together to generate big excitement around the public domain release of over 180k images. I helped to create some content but also got to thinking about ways to highlight specific weird and wonderful images in the collection, or create a scavenger hunt whereby people would be encouraged to search through it. I spent a part of my day combing the collection for blog-worthy gems and illustrations, so I had a good sense of the many wonders it holds, but also understood the difficulty of finding ways in. So I proposed we try to match each emoji with an image from the collection.

We started by piling our finds into a spreadsheet with one row per emoji. It quickly grew out of control, as more emojis were added and we found multiple examples for the same concept, and worked out the nuances between similar emoji. It took a long time and we weren’t finished but I knew we had to do something with what we had. I am still obsessed with Twitter after all these years and I asked for help from some library bot-makers I knew. I was pointed towards cheapbotsdonequick.com. Bingo! @NYPLEmoji was born. I could continue editing the file and making small tweaks. But as soon as it got a little attention, the bot fell over, and editing went from mild inconvenience to a real pain. I called in a backup dev, who also happens to be my spouse, to see if it would be possible to host the code elsewhere. Somehow it worked, and even faster than before.

The bot got some good press and an incredible, international array of positive tweets. I still think it’s funny that some may assume the bot is an algorithm searching the collection or using some kind of AI. I am here to set the record straight: the only intelligence it uses is the librarian kind.

But the best pieces might have been right after it hit the AP Wire: Fox5 Las Vegas and my local pride 1010 WINS, among others across the country, attempted to explain a Twitter bot to your grandpa in less than 30 seconds, and I kinda loved it.

And then, my enterprising, creative, and talented colleagues turned around and made it into a four-volume private pressing reference work! *HEART EYES*

Nonfiction

Biography/Memoir

Fiction

Cooking

Graphic

This year I stopped using Daytum and switched to LibraryThing for book reading management. It just makes more sense to keep a record of all the years there. Funny thing is I am probably like user #43 since I joined when it started, but forgot my password and could never log in since I also somehow never set an email address. But I have since restored access. I might look into getting a movie-watching app or something but I hardly saw anything this year. I had to look at Foursquare and Netflix history to determine this, so I am probably missing some things. Do comedy specials count? If you want to know what I cooked (and more) you can visit my blog away from blog, parkway palace dot tumblr dot com.

Books

Nonfiction

Fiction

Movies

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
  • Bridge of Spies (2015)
  • Entertainment (2015)
  • The Intern (2015)
  • Magic Mike XXL (2015)
  • Found Footage Festival and Everything is Terrible (timeless)
  • Trainwreck (2015)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
  • Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats (2014)
  • I am a Knife With Legs (2014)
  • Anita (2013)

I didn’t meet my reading goal last year. Planning a wedding, coming up with ridiculous craft ideas, and buying into a co-op consumed most of my reading and personal research time, but now that that’s all out of the way 2015 is looking good. I’ve already read one and a half books and the weekend isn’t even over yet.

I had the little ebook symbol in there until I realized that pretty much everything I read (with a few exceptions) was an ebook. I live in the future.

Books

Nonfiction

Biography/Memoir

Fiction

Wedding-related

Cookbooks

Movies in reverse chronological order

  • Birdman (2014)
  • The Trip To Italy (2014)
  • Obvious Child (2014)
  • Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)
  • Her (2013)
  • Paris Is Burning (1990)
  • Starcrash (1978)
  • Witness For The Prosecution (1957)
  • Double Indemnity (1944)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Pretty much all library books again this year. are books I really liked and would recommend. are things I read electronically! Compared to 2012’s 43 books (excluding cookbooks) with 20 ebooks, 2013 was 39 and 17. My goal this year is to stretch that to 52 books with less hate reading and slogging through stuff I don’t enjoy. Life is too short for that and my virtual tbr pile gets bigger every day.

Food

Cooking

Information

Nonfiction

Fiction

Biography/Memoir

Point of interest

Point of interest

If you do a Google search for “google maps offline” or “offline maps” you will read about “1 weird trick” that someone discovered for caching the current state of a map view for use without a data connection. Well, typing some secret undocumented code into the search bar does not exactly give me the peace of mind I require when preparing digitally for a 2-week, tri-country, many-money-dollars European vacation of a lifetime.

On this particular vacation, I already had two iOS devices chock full of Rick Steves content, PDFs of travel documents, translation and pronunciation guides, a global data plan, all manner of reading material… I was prepared. It’s the year 2013. The future is now and these glassy, swooshy objects of both desire and utility are incapable of displaying electronic maps with points of interest created on another computer. I called bullshit on that because I have my data and I have my maps and this can work and I will show you how. Read more…

I am addicted to Twitter. I tweet a bit, but I am much more interested in hearing the conversations going on in the crowds I follow (librarians, media and content nerds, funny people) and the crowds of patrons talking about stuff at my library. Beyond people who need help with something that I can respond to officially as @nypl, I love to be able to monitor what parts of our collections people are sharing within their own networks. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, it is almost completely transparent, and possible to zero in on these conversations with simple search queries.

Here’s another thing I am addicted to: shoes. Okay, actually not really. But I like Zappos.com. And they sell more than just shoes. I like to shop with them because their site is fun to use and their customer service is amazing. Last summer they messed up an order pretty spectacularly, and I was sent the wrong thing twice in a row. But I did not even care because the experience was otherwise completely painless and hassle free. I get tons of customer service inspiration from Zappos — but this post is about something else.

One day I was shopping and I noticed Zappos’s stylish TweetWall. Any time someone tweets a link to an item on the website, they display it in a visually engaging way on this wall. This isn’t what MY friends are buying, but it’s a cross section of what EVERYBODY’S buying right now. Or — what they are thinking about buying and need an honest opinion on! These are customers that are willing to share their thoughts on an item in less than 140 characters. It’s a self-selected group that use Twitter and tweet about products they like (or don’t like — you might very well see critiques of overpriced monstrosities on this wall.) In that way it feels more natural and interesting to me than an automated feed of what people are buying or checking out, without any real context or conversation around it.

Todd is always pestering me for project ideas, as he has really strengthened his Ruby chops over the past few years. We needed an easy goal, something simple and well-defined. An app or a tool that solves a problem. Well, here I am, feeling like the only one who really gets to see the amazing items people are tweeting about in aggregate every day. I want to show the world! I want to show our staff and patrons what everyone (on Twitter) is talking about right now! And make it visually interesting, in the way that Pinterest can be (Billy’s board of blog posts was another inspiration.)

So that is how we created tweetwall.nypl.org. It uses the Twitter API to collect tweets that match a certain format, and pulls in content thumbnails using the NYPL and BiblioCommons APIs. We used Bootstrap, Masonry, and GLYPHICONS to make it even prettier. Source is available on GitHub.

Tweetwall Blog Posts

Blog posts from nypl.org

Tweetwall Books & Media

Books and media from BiblioCommons

In the finished product, the content item, whatever it may be (the equivalent of a product at Zappos) is at the center of the conversation. All of the tweets about that item, whether they are original statements or RTs (retweets) and replies containing the link appear underneath. You can click on any link — to the item, the user, or the tweet, to see more.

Now I am just trying to get people to use this thing! Somewhat disappointing, but not unexpected, is that a lot of what we send out daily as “suggested content” is what appears here. I want to encourage staff and patrons to take advantage of memes like #FridayReads to post to the wall, and to share interesting image finds, like the DPLA does with #DPLAFinds. I really DO want to know what you are reading, even if it’s not my thing. On the train and on Twitter too.

Today was a great day to write about this project. There is a general sentiment being shared along with our collections, maybe you can see what I mean. <3 [caption id="attachment_97" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Tweetwall Images Images from NYPL Digital Collections[/caption]

This week at work we had a health fair and if you signed up for a health screening you can get some kind of rebate on insurance. So far I have not been able to shut up about the fact that my HDL is off the charts (could not even be accurately MEASURED it is so high). HDL is the good cholesterol btw. I’d like to attribute it to my new eating habits but to be fair it was pretty high three years ago too, so it might just be genetic. Olive oil runnin’ through my veins, etc. But the off-the-chartsness must be that I am eating so much delicious, meaty, humanely raised saturated fat! My heart clearly loves it.

I made this meat cheat sheet as a reference tool when I started cooking more protein because it was initially hard for me to get into the habit of non-vegetarian cooking. Now I just stock up the freezer as much as possible, then figure out what I want, thaw it in the fridge, and buy all the fresh ingredients on the way home.

I’m going to keep adding to this as I find recipes I want to make repeatedly. Really it’s just the stuff I personally enjoy but I do like to be referencey and share the meat-love so maybe someone else might find it handy or steal the idea.

9ad8bb1a581b11e28c8722000a1f90f9_7Stracciatella is soup, people — I’m not making chocolate truffles or gelato.

Hopefully you have some homemade chicken stock in your freezer. Okay. Put it in the pot!

This is less of a recipe than what I think of when I want stracciatella soup. Whatever you have in the cupboard or fridge is probably fine. But first I want to give you a tip. Have you ever seen these Dorot frozen herbs? I have only ever seen them at Trader Joes. You can do this yourself, but why would you? They are leetle cubes of pre-frozen perfection. I would def put a garlic and a basil cube in here. I try to keep fresh parsley on hand all the time because I love it so much, but you could also do a couple frozen cubes. Whatever. Just don’t do dried herbs because that would be gross!

Next, beat a couple of eggs in a bowl. Once the soup has boiled up, bring it to a simmer and then swirl it around in a circle. Drizzle the eggs in slowly so they get all nice and ribbon-y!

Some other things to add. Nutmeg. Whatever greens are hanging around. Pepper. White pepper. Red pepper. Parmesan. Lemon. Eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Revive yourself. Winter isn’t so bad!

I think if you compare last year’s recipe list with this one, the main difference will be the vast increase in meat. I have always been something of a flexitarian and only ate meat a couple times a week and didn’t really cook it at home. But I wanted to start eating less pasta and bread, and try to get more protein. It is expensive (especially only buying the healthy happy animals), but I think it helped me lose weight, and broadened my cooking too.