February 20, 2017 Last Updated 12:33 pm

Newspaper digitization projects may be in danger; EU officials express deep skepticism about new US administration

Morning Brief: Google and Bing sign up to a code of practice in the UK that may remove certain search results due to copyright infringement, duplicating policy practiced in the US

As the president has used the weekend to start his 2020 campaign, three years early, the vice president has been in Europe attempting to reassure skeptical allies that the US actually still is a liable ally.

The problem, as this CNN article hints at, is that the actions of the new Trump administration speak far louder than any visit by the VP can counter. Especially troubling to the Europeans is the administration’s attitude towards the European Union.

No matter what the VP might be willing to say, both in public and behind closed doors, the previous words from Trump, combined with the prospect of the US appointing a Euro-skeptic as US Ambassador to the EU really trumps anything Mike Pence might have to say.

CNN, Kevin Liptak:

Pence met with open skepticism in Brussels

It was a pointed display of honesty for a formal joint statement in front of reporters. Tusk said he’d secured commitments from Pence on key areas — international order, security, and the US stance toward the EU — but was cautious in declaring the relationship on firm ground.

“In reply to these three matters, I heard today from Vice President Pence three times ‘yes,'” (European Council President Donald) Tusk said. “After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach.”

…Trump’s rumored choice for the job, Ted Malloch, has caused unease among the diplomatic classes in Brussels for his vocal support of Britain’s exit from the EU and his overall dismissal of the bloc. Malloch told the BBC recently he would work to rein in the EU if he was named to the ambassador post.

“I had in a previous career a diplomatic post where I helped bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there’s another union that needs a little taming,” he said.

The new administration has been heavy on executive orders, and light on actual legislation. But at some point a budget outline will appear, and if rumors are to be believed, anything related to the humanities is expected to be cut or eliminated.

At first blush such cuts would seem to effect national public broadcasting, but the cuts might be devastating to more than just PBS and NPR. Cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities might effect the current effort to digitize old US newspapers, preserving them for both historians and the public.

The News Journal, Jessica Bies:

UD digitizing thousands of Delaware newspapers

Newspapers are one the few chronicles of day-to-day history, and they are faulty, it turns out. Which is why the University of Delaware is working hard to preserve them before it is too late.

“We are part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Molly Olney-Zide, project manager for the Delaware Digital Newspaper Project.

The Delaware project began in 2015 with a mission to digitize 100,000 pages of newspaper previously only available on microfilm, Olney-Zide said. An effort launched in the 1980s preserved many of the newspapers on reels that can now be converted to digital form.

The Daily Iowegan:

12 million pages of newspapers to be preserved

The State Historical Society of Iowa Tuesday unveiled a sweeping new plan to preserve more than 12 million pages of newspapers in its collection, giving Iowans greater access to more than 300 titles dating to the state’s pioneer days in the 1830s…

…Continuing to preserve Iowa’s fragile historical newspapers and increasing public access to the collection in a sustainable way have always been high priorities for the State Historical Society,” State Archivist Anthony Jahn said. “In our exhaustive efforts to develop the best solution, the importance of newspapers to every community statewide was top of mind and drove our work to position 180 years of historical newspapers for the benefit of all Iowans.”

The Hill, Alexander Bolton:

Trump team prepares dramatic cuts

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.

The changes they propose are dramatic…

…The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.

Back a few years ago, if you did a Google search for a new CD by an unknown musician you would, of course, come up with information on the release on the artist’s website, or the record label. You would also, likely, come up with ways to download the CD illegally, as Google hosted thousands of music sharing websites, and they would appear prominently in the search results.

As few years ago, however, Google started to suppress those search results, posting a message that let the web searcher know that some of the search results had been removed.  This doesn’t mean that Google is still not hosting those websites, just that it won’t be showing them in search results under certain circumstances.

Now it appears Google and Bing are taking that policy to the UK.

The Guardian, Press Association:

Google and Bing to deprecate piracy websites

Internet users will find it harder to search for pirated films and music and illegally streamed live football matches under a new plan to crackdown on piracy websites.

Search engine companies Google and Bing have signed up to a voluntary code of practice aimed at preventing users from visiting disreputable content providers.

The code, the first of its kind in the UK, will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders.

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