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  Municipal Library Notes, August 2017

SPOTLIGHT ON: City of Brooklyn

By Christine Bruzzese

    Brooklyn today is the most-populated of New York City's five boroughs with an active cultural, social and business life. Did you know that it was once an independent city? The City of Brooklyn existed from 1834, to January 1, 1898, when the Consolidation of Greater New York took effect.

    Why not visit the Municipal Library to explore some City of Brooklyn materials? They are here!

    Brooklyn's pre-1898 independent agencies included Health, Education, Parks and City Works. All of them issued Annual Reports. Other historical materials available in the Library include the proceedings of Brooklyn's legislative body, the Board of Aldermen, spanning 1854 to 1897, Brooklyn Charters and Local Laws.

    See pictures of Prospect Park in the 1890's, learn about the vital statistics and the health concerns of the city of Brooklyn, take a look at teacher salary information for 1897.

    Here are some examples of what the researcher might find:

Mayoral Press Releases

By Christine Bruzzese

    How did Mayor Robert Wagner react to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963? What did Mayor Abraham Beame say to the media about the 1975-76 fiscal crisis? Did Rudy Giuliani speak to the press about assistance to New Yorkers in the wake of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks?

    Over the last century, New York City Mayors have issued press releases on various issues, topics and problems of concern to New Yorkers. The Municipal Library collection of press releases dates from March 1954, during the administration of Mayor Wagner, to the present. We invite researchers to explore this series for a unique perspective on people and events in the city's history.

DORIS Named "Best in Class"

By Evelin Ramirez

    Since launching in September of 2015, the NYC Department of Records and Information Services' Instagram account (@nycarchives) has been featured in an amNewYork article as one of the best NYC historical Instagram accounts and named one of the "10 must-follow Instagram accounts for NYC history lovers" by CURBED New York. Recently, it was recognized at the City of New York's first Social Media Day as "Best in Class."

    When originally launching the platform, we built content almost exclusively around #ThrowbackThursday and it remains one of our most popular features. Over the past year, we began featuring our historical NYC images alongside their present-day counterparts. These comparisons allow the viewer to see how much or how little the streets of New York have changed over time. Another popular series on the platform is #FilterFunFriday - which was launched last fall. #FilterFunFriday images add a touch of whimsy to our historic photographs while still highlighting the beauty of the original time period.

     We will soon be adding a new series showcasing NYC "holdout" buildings. These structures have survived the ever-changing NYC landscape and tend to be two-to-three-story residences now dwarfed by contemporary high-rise office and residential spaces. Look for the series to begin mid-June 2017.

@nycrecords @nycarchives

Social Media Update

by LaTonya Jones

    In February, we launched a new series, titled #TuesdayTips. Each week, we provide our followers with industry-related tips or hacks which will hopefully help both peers and novices alike. The City’s experts on all things history-related will offer advice on wide-ranging topics, including but not limited to: researching one’s family history, preserving old documents, storing photos, managing electronic records, and, of course, exploring New York City history here at DORIS.

    The unit is also working to improve the agency’s YouTube page by drafting more detailed descriptions for the existing content, uploading hundreds of new files, and creating a new intro and outro for all of the agency’s video content.

    In the past year, the social media team has visited each of the five boroughs in order to document NYC history. Recently, you may have spotted us in Greenpoint, Sunset Park, DUMBO, Woodside, or on the Upper East Side. Here are a couple of posts which resulted from our travels. Be sure to follow us in order to find out where we are heading to next...

@nycrecords @nycarchives

Ransomware - What is It and How to Protect Your Computer?

by Praveen Panchal, CIO

    Recently you might have heard or read about a Ransomware called WannaCry which infected more than 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries. This is scary, and your computer could be a target of such attacks.

What is Ransomware?

    Ransomware is a type of malware which infects a computer and prevents or limits access, either by locking the screen or by locking the files unless a ransom is paid. More recent ransomware, categorized as crypto-ransomware, encrypts certain file types on infected computers and forces the owner to pay the ransom through cryptocurrencies to get a decrypt key. The ransomware operatives commonly specify ransom payments in bitcoins or alternative payment options such as iTunes and Amazon gift cards. It is important to note that paying the ransom is not an assurance that you will get the decryption key or unlock tools required to regain access to the infected computer or encrypted files.

How to Protect Your Computer from Ransomware?

    There is no foolproof solution to stop ransomware. However, the best way to minimize the risk is to follow a multi-layered approach. First and foremost, install an enterprise level robust security product to protect against ransomware. This can block malicious emails, websites and files associated with such threats. Subscribe to a commercial AntiVirus product (e.g. McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, etc.). These products offer free tools, which detect and remove screen-locker ransomware and decrypt files locked by certain variants of crypto-ransomware without paying the ransom or the use of the decryption key. Secondly, take the following preventive steps on your own:

  • Exercise caution when opening unexpected or suspicious email messages or website links. If you want to visit a particular website, type the URL in the browser yourself.
  • Always back up important files. Follow the 3-2-1 rule - create 3 backup copies on 2 different media with 1 backup in a separate location.
  • Always check for and install updates and security patches to protect against the latest vulnerabilities.
  • Lastly, educate yourself on cybersecurity issues through news media and talking to experts.

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