World Digital Library

From The Washington Post, I discovered that another large digital archive is online. The World Digital Library ambitiously wants to centralize cultural treasures from around the world. Manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings are all being included into this growing online collection. Users will be able to navigate through these materials in seven different languages. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian were chosen because they are official U.N. languages. Portuguese was added because institutions from Brazil, the world's largest Portuguese-speaking country, were involved from the beginning of the project.

mapSome items already available inlcude the Japanese work, Tale of the Genji, that is considered the first novel in history, the Aztecs' first mention of the Christ child in the New World, Oracle Bones from China circa 1200 BC, photos from The Great Depression and of Jackie Robinson and writings of ancient Arab scholars on the mysteries of algebra - and each has accompanying commentary.

The World Digital Library was officially inaugurated at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The target audience is actually children and the project follows the success among young people of the U.S. National Digital Library Program that has been in operation at the Library of Congress since the mid-1990s. That program, found at the American Memory site, has made available 15 million U.S. historical records, including recorded interviews with former slaves, the first moving pictures and the Declaration of Independence.

Since children around the world go naturally to the Internet for answers to questions, the project hopes to make many primary materials available and also recognizes that another priority remains to help poor countries improve computer access and acquire the technology to get their own historical heritage online.

Making a Living At The Fifth Estate

From the Wall Street Journal site, comes "America's Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire." Nothing shocking in the headline. I know that a few people blog for a living. But wait - I read on and discover that they claim "...there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters."

Really? I can handle that the number of people doing it for at least some income is approaching 1% of American adults. In the studies used by the WSJ, in the U.S. with 20+ million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, we have 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income.

The article's author, Mark Penn, says that if journalists were the Fourth Estate, then bloggers are becoming the Fifth Estate, and a real business has arrived. Bloggers not only are used to launch new efforts, but for companies and products that depend upon blogger reviews. He points to a similar trend in "Opinion TV" where those opinions get far more attention than the gathering of facts.

I am not alone in questioning those numbers, and anyone who looks online for the "facts" on blogging and blogger numbers will discover a real lack of agreement. As a non-profiting blogger, I also wonder at a poll done by Technorati saying that those bloggers who had 100,000 or more unique visitors made an average income of $75,000.

Serendipity35 averages about 12,000 unique visitors a month lately, so does that mean that Tim and I could be getting $16,000 to blog? Who is paying? What's the business model? Good questions.

Like almost all online ventures, blogs get most of their revenue from ads and readers clicking on them. Some bloggers get paid by the post ($75-200), and some "spokesbloggers" are paid by a company to blog about their products.

Entry into this field? No tests, degrees, or any real regulations. Though Mark Penn may joke about a future "Columbia School of Bloggerism," it is more likely that many more self-made bloggers will move up the pay scale. Mark Zuckerberg wasn't studying social networking at Harvard when he created Facemash and then dropped out to build it into Facebook. (Okay, he was a computer science major.) So, why should budding bloggers study journalism?

Comparing Job Numbers in America -  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Lawyers = 555,770
Bloggers = 452,000
Computer Programmers 394,710
CEOs 299,160
Firefighters 289,710
75% of bloggers are college graduates.

Most are white males reporting above-average incomes but not necessarily from blogging. Only 2% of those make a living at it. More typically, they are like myself - doing it for about 3 years; making a few hundred bucks or less on ads or referrals.
I don't agree with Penn's prediction that "at some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post." If these "pro" bloggers are making $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging, I'll take the gig. No offers yet, but I'm open to doing it as a living instead of just doing it.

updated"How Much Do the Top Bloggers Make?"  Take a look at this article if you're still dreaming about making big bucks by blogging.
As of June 2017, Serendipity35 averages 582,000 hits a month - and still is a non-profit. We don't take out own advice very well.

Poem in Your Pocket Day Goes Mobile


This Thursday, April 30, is the second national Poem In Your Pocket Day. It's a simple idea - select a poem you love and carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on that day. Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores.

Of course, in this digital age, there are other ways to carry and share a poem. One way to celebrate the day is with your cell phone. The entire collection of over 2,500 poems on, as well as hundreds of biographies and essays, is also available in a mobile format which provides free and direct access to poetry in the palm of a hand.

To reach the mobile site, simply go to (You can preview the mobile site from your computer too, but it will look a bit odd if you're not on a mobile device.)

Designed using Web 2.0 Internet Standards and Apple's Developers Guidelines, the site is optimized for the iPhone, and formatted for effortless access on most mobile devices. Now, for the first time, mobile users have unlimited access to the rich resources of

Poems can be browsed by author, title, occasion, or form, and searched easily by keyword. You can grab a poem at any time to fill a spare moment, woo a darling, toast a friend, find solace, or recite a few immortal lines.

This new mobile archive offers unlimited access to in time for this National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

Here are some ideas from of how you might get involved:

  1. Do a "poems for pockets" giveaway in your school or workplace

  2. Post pocket-sized verses in public places (guerrilla poetry)

  3. Handwrite some lines on the back of your business cards

  4. Distribute bookmarks with your favorite immortal lines

  5. Add a poem to your email footer

  6. Post a poem on your blog or social networking page

  7. Project a poem on a wall, inside or out

  8. Text a poem to friends


Your Google Profile

Admit it - you have Googled your own name. It's okay. Me too. And other people have Googled you. I really mean Googled, not just searched online.

Now, Google has released something called Google Me that allows you to set up an "official" profile for yourself that will turn up when someone uses Google to search for you.

If you have a Google account (Gmail etc.) and you just enter the word "me" in the search box and submit, you will be given a link to set up (or edit) your Google Profile. If you do that, next time someone searches for your name that profile should be displayed at the bottom of the search results page. (You also have to select to display your full name on the edit profile page.

A few years ago, I tried to "claim" my online identity using a site called ClaimID where I created an official page about me that actually linked to my sites and blogs etc.

Like that site, Google Profiles is free - but they still have a price. The price is that you are giving some more of your private information to the world. The profiles are connected to online accounts and websites that contain information about you. For example, mine shows you my recent Flickr photo uploads. Of course, no one forced me to upload those photos or to make them public. That was my decision.

Wouldn't you want to change the Google results for your name? That is what Profiles is allowing - to a degree. I can't remove Google's links to things that I might wish would go away online.

For people like my friend Steve Smith, multiple profiles are going to show up at the bottom of the page. (I read that up to 4 profiles might appear.)  Adding more information to your profile probably makes it more likely that your actual profile will be displayed. Also, people are still going to pay the most attention to the things at the TOP of the search results, not at the bottom.

Here are some tips that Google offers to make your profile more "useful":

- Add information about yourself on the Edit profilepage so people can find you when they search by keywords associated with your profile. For example, include details such as the name of your hometown, your job title, where you work or go to school.
- Link to your profile on another website (for instance, your blog or online photo album).
- If you have a common name, add enough information about you to distinguish your profile from similar ones. Photos are especially useful.
- Verify your name, and get a "Verified" badge on your profile. Verify alternate addresses on your account.
Below is a sample of what my profile looked like when I finished the process. (Chances are that I have already changed it.)

Does everyone need a Google Profile? No. You also don't need a cell phone, email, 60 inch HDTV, a car, NetFlix or wine at lunch. There are wants and needs, and then there are those tricky relative wants and needs.Your online identity probably falls somewhere in that second group.

Patent Office Rejects Blackboard's Claims

via Chronicle of Higher Education
Last week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary ruling rejecting all 57 claims in a software patent that Blackboard Inc. used to successfully sue rival Desire2Learn for infringement. But the long-running patent battle between the two providers of course-management software is far from over, and the re-examination process could drag on for years because of the many chances that Blackboard has to appeal...    full article