Find PDF Books. Exercise Caution, However

November 12, 2019

DarkCyber spotted a list of services which purport to find PDF books. The information appeared in “7 PDF Search Engines To Search And Download Free PDF Books.” For the complete list, navigate to the original story. Be aware, there are some annoying popups to distract one from the content of the article. We noted these three, but we are not prepared to offer a value judgment about the comprehensiveness of the index or the ultimate availability of the PDF document:

  • SoPDF. This service has an alleged 43,000,000 free PDF books. Here’s the link.
  • FreeFullPDF. This is a collection of sci-tech-med content, allegedly 80,000,000. Here’s the link.
  • FileSearch Box PDF Search. This is a Google custom search engine. In theory, one can find these documents via the Google search box, but your mileage may vary. BERT and Ernie now have jobs at Google. Here’s the link.

Oh, some of the items in the original article may be malicious. Exercise judgment in your quest for free information.

Stephen E Arnold, November 12, 2019

Machine Learning Tutorials

October 16, 2019

Want to know more about smart software? A useful list of instructional, reference, and learning materials appears in “40+ Modern Tutorials Covering All Aspects of Machine Learning.”

Materials include free books about machine learning to lists of related material from SAP. DarkCyber noted that a short explanation about how to download documents posted on LinkedIn is included. (This says more about LinkedIn’s interesting approach to content than DarkCyber thinks the compiler of the list expresses.)

Quite useful round up.

Stephen E Arnold, October 16, 2019

Black Vault: A Useful Resource

September 23, 2019

The Black Vault is a news site covering intelligence, military, and related topics. DarkCyber wants to highlight the site’s Document Archive. The site states that Black Vault is

the largest privately run online repository of declassified government documents anywhere in the world. With more than 2 million pages of documents to read, on nearly every government secret imaginable.

The content comes via Freedom of Information Act requests.

Examples of documents available without charge include:

A collection of unsealed documents related to the Epstein matter.

Documents related to the US Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency. These date from the 1970s to the 1980s.

Information about metamaterials. These innovations are significant and point to interesting use cases for stealth applications.

The documents DarkCyber reviewed were in PDF format. Quality varied, which is not unusual for government archives.

The site contains discussion groups. This is a useful resource.

Stephen E Arnold, September 23, 2019

More FOIA Content: Blackvault

September 3, 2019

DarkCyber was reorganizing and located a file card pointing to The The site is an archive. The content is a collection of documents obtained via FOIA requests. We did not pay much attention to the UFO reports, but there were some interesting documents in other parts of the archive. There is a discussion/forum section, but the traffic seems light. Worth a look.

Stephen E Arnold, September 3, 2019

Librarians Take a Stand

July 12, 2019

At the recent American Library Association’s annual conference in D.C., the CIA had a booth set up to entice librarians into a new role as intelligence analysts. Pretty smart, I’ll admit, but many ALA members were very unhappy with the agency’s presence. Raw Story reports, “Citing CIA’s Dark History, Librarians Protest Agency’s Recruiting at their Conference.” Protestors cited the CIA’s history of foreign-government overthrows, support of dictators, reliance on torture, and tendency to spy on everyone else while maintaining opacity for itself. They maintain that supporting the agency in any way runs counter to the American Library Association’s stated values.

This is not the first time librarians have made an issue of this particular conference exhibitor. Writer Common Dreams notes:

“That language builds on and mirrors a call from an open letter released last year. Authored by [Alison] Macrina and Dustin Fife and entitled ‘No Legitimization Through Association: The CIA Should Not Be Exhibiting at ALA,’ the letter was published right after the ALA’s 2018 annual conference, when the CIA was also an exhibitor.

We noted:

“‘We refuse to lend credence to the CIA through association and we ask our fellow library workers to join us,’ it said. ‘We should not allow them space to recruit library workers to become intelligence analysts, which was the focus of their booth.’

And this:

“‘Library workers are powerful,’ the statement added. ‘We have a strong reputation in our local communities and across the world as being steadfast stewards of democracy, intellectual freedom, equity, and social justice. We attempt to honor these values through our collections, programs, and services and we recognize that our libraries need continuous examination in a systemically unjust society. Those values should extend to all that we do. A more democratic world is possible, and we believe that library workers can be at the forefront of this charge.’”

At this year’s conference, it was proposed that CIA be banned from recruiting at future events, but the resolution failed. It was reasoned that such a ban would violate the CIA’s freedom of speech. Without noting the irony, Library Freedom Project founder Alison Macrina insists this is not a first amendment issue, predicting the ALA would deny, for example, the KKK should that organization wish to recruit at the conference. Certainly, she is correct there. Right?

Cynthia Murrell, July 12, 2019

New Yorkers: Go to the Library for Declassified Documents

May 31, 2019

The New York Public Library published “US Declassified Documents Online.” According to the write up:

This archive allows researchers to access more than 700,000 pages of selected previously classified government documents online. The archive includes declassified documents from agencies and organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the White House, United Nations, and the Atomic Energy Commission. Content from this archive includes: diary entries, FBI surveillance and intelligence correspondence and memoranda, CIA intelligence studies and reports, Joint Chiefs papers, and technical studies.

Like most collections of this type, allow time for searching and browsing. DarkCyber poked around, and our team will restrain from making any further comment.

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2019

Books and Learning: Go Mobile, Stay Clueless

May 27, 2019

I read “The Books of College Libraries Are Turning into Wallpaper.” The main idea is that today’s students are not using libraries to locate books which are then read, thought about, and analyzed in order to:

  1. Learn
  2. Find useful facts
  3. Exploit serendipity
  4. Figure out which source or sources is relevant to a particular issue or topic.

The Atlantic states about Yale University:

There has been a 64 percent decline in the number of books checked out by undergraduates from Bass Library over the past decade.

News flash.

Once online information systems found their way into libraries in the 1980s, the shift from books to online information access was underway. How do I know? I worked at the database unit of the Courier Journal & Louisville Times. Greg Payne and Dennis Auld acquired the Abstracted Business Information product and converted it to an online research source for those interested in the major journal articles about commercial enterprises. The Courier Journal acquired the database product and marketed ABI/INFORM to university libraries with some success. Many people rowed the boat that raced to become one of the most widely accessed business information databases in the world in the period from 1980 to 1986 when other online products nibbled into ABI/INFORM’s position.

The point is that 1980 to 2019 is the period in which the shift from journals and books to online for certain types of research has been chugging along.

Net net: The decline in the use of books has been underway for more than 39 years. The consequence is less informed people who routinely tell me, “I am an expert researcher.” What these individuals lost in a cloud of unknowing do not comprehend is that someone is deciding for them what is relevant and important. You may call atrophied thinking an oddity. I call it “deep stupid.” In a well stocked library one can become deeply informed.

Stephen E Arnold, May 27, 2019

The Library: A Survival Tool

May 23, 2018

Hundreds of movies and books depict what will happen during and after the zombie apocalypse, a mass technology failure, the next mass extinction, a virus pandemic, environmental collapse, and/or a nuclear fallout. Here is a spoiler: most of the population dies.

The survivors are left in a barely recognizable world and despite all of humanity’s knowledge, what use is it if it is only digital?

Survivor Library or How To Survive When Technology Doesn’t is a knowledge repository for when the world becomes dystopian. The information in the Survivor Library includes information on building a telegraph system, farming, engineering, wagon building, medicine, and even Christmas. I bet the people in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead wish they had this library, except it does not include information on killing zombies.

There will probably come a time when everyone is going to be reading digital books over the paper copies. That does not mean that paper copies are useless. This type of knowledge still has practical applications and needs to be taught…at least more practical skills need to be taught in schools. All of the information in the Survivor Library is in the public domain and comes from knowledge circa the early 1900s and earlier.

“As the library has grown over time we’ve tried to cover both the simplest, more basic self sufficiency skills such as growing food and raising livestock through the most advanced and sophisticated technology of the time such as aeroplanes and communications systems like telephone and telegraph.

Where there books on Industrial processes, methods, formulas, techniques we included those as well. Even the more advanced technologies of the periods are within the reach of people starting from scratch. Steam engines may seem primitive to most modern people but they powered the industrial revolution in much of the world well into the 1900s. Basic knowledge of chemical formulas and processes are recorded in books from these periods ranging from the most basic industrial chemical needs through household materials in common use.”

It will probably be more useful than the stuff Ash used in the Evil Dead movie.

Here is how the Survivor Library archives: PDFs that can be easily stored and printed. I love PDFs, the only problem with using them when society has collapsed is finding a machine and/or printer to read them.

Whitney Grace, May 23, 2018

How to Become a More Informed Research Scientist: Cancel Subscriptions to Peer Reviewed Journals

April 4, 2018

France wants to be a world leader in artificial intelligence. The country is confident that it can access the technical and scientific information to achieve this goal. As a result of this confidence, the information in “French Universities Cancel Subscriptions to Springer Journals” is a reminder that certain old school content gems are second hand goods. With the power of Qwant at their fingertips, French research scientists can keep pace with other countries’ research. Perhaps a Chinese solution may be in the works for French universities?

Stephen E Arnold, April 4, 2018

Internet Archive: The Bono Books

October 16, 2017

I read “Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!” The collection is based on books which libraries can scan. The write up explains the provision of the US copyright law which makes these books eligible for inclusion in the Internet Archive. Hopefully libraries will find the resources to contribute books. I did some spot checks. One gap is history books. There are others. This is an excellent effort. The interface to the Bono books retains the Internet Archive’s unique approach to interfaces; for example, clicking on a book displays the scanned pages. Clicking on a page turns the page. The outside edge of the scanned image allows one to “jump” to a particular page. Getting back to a book’s table of contents takes a bit of effort, however. Those looking for anthologies can find a collection of 20th century poetry by hunting. The search system is just good enough. Worth checking out. Libraries, scan those history books. Who doesn’t love Theodor Mommsen’s early work?

Stephen E Arnold, October 16, 2017

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