Tuesday, December 20, 2005

article about folksonomies

At the new blog Infotangle, there's an excellent overview of social bookmarking, folksonomies, and other Web 2.0 phenomena in the article "The Hive Mind: Folksonomies and User Based Tagging"

Currently in Congress December 1-15, 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's Library webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Highlights: Defense spending bill, PATRIOT Act reauthorization, and the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act.

Hearings include: Safety of Imported Pharmaceuticals, International Maritime Security, Response by Charities to Hurricane Katrina, and Avian Flu

Previous issues are archived on the website.


For those experimenting with question and answer databases, answers.firstgov.gov might be an interesting example. It allows you to filter Q&As by topic, and also has a "People who viewed this answer also viewed:" feature.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bibliographies Compiled at Air Univerity Library

This is an impressive collection of topical bibliographies compiled by librarians at the Air University Library. See www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bi...

At long last, new Thomas look

The new Thomas look was heralded back in July, and was supposed to look like this , but now that they're finally up and running they look like this. Amazing to note how much web-aesthetics change in just 6 months!

Easier ways to post to ircworld and other blogger.com blogs

There are (at least) two shortcuts to posting to blogger.com blogs that bypass the cumbersome "go to blogger.com, remember your password and enter it, login, select create new post" procedure. One is to download the Google toolbar with the "Blog this" button. When you see a webpage you would like to post to the blog, just click on the button and it will bring up your blogger.com editing screen.

A newer and more interesting variation, for Firefox users only, is the "Blogger Web Comments for Firefox" utility. This pop-up allows you to see what other people have said about a web page, and also allows you to send a post to the blog (to ircworld or any other blogger.com blog you're a member of) without leaving the page. It's an extremely handy tool...read all about it at

Link Harvester and Hub Finder

The monthly "Worthwhile Web" column on the OSIS net is always a reliable source of interesting web discoveries; this month I was delighted to find out about www.linkhounds.com . There are two tools here of particular interest; Link Harvester is a sophisticated tool for analyzing links to a particular domain or web page. Hub-finder identifies sites that have co-occurring link to sites on a particular topic. This can be very useful, and draws on the same logic that citation indexes used to identify relevant resources in the pre-online days. Let us say say you are looking for good sites on defense/security information. You submit up to 10 of your favorite security info sites to Hub Finder, and it will find additional sites that are linked to from at least two of the sites you entered. For example, I entered www.fas.org, www.cdi.org, and www.globalsecurity.org. Hub-finder then found 22 other sites with at least two matching backlinks, including several interesting sites that I'd not been aware of.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

National Archives

The National Archives website has a new look and lots of tantalizing information. Of particular interest is the new Access to Archival Databases (AAD) section, which enables common searching in multiple archives. See AP story (thanks to Resource Shelf for catching this)

Friday, December 09, 2005

For hours and hours of browsing pleasure...

...check out the Washington Post's new "U.S. Congress Votes Database" It let's you browse every voice in the U.S. Congress since 1991. Enjoy! Also a useful reference site..

Telling America's story....

Ordinary people are sometimes better public diplomats than government officials, and storytelling is an effective medium for creating people to people empathy and mutual understanding. Marylaine Block's December 9 "Ex Libris" article ( "Tell me a story") reviews several excellent storytelling sites on the web. Storytelling, and StoryCorps's Oral History Project, is also the cover story in this month's issue of American Libraries.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Library 2.0

The Talis white paper Do libraries matter? The rise of Library 2.0 offers some interesting perspectives on the future of libraries. The authors propose a strategy for libraries to adjust to the emergence of Web 2.0, which incorporates some of those trends that have been discussed her lately, e.g. social bookmarking, the web as a platform for running applications, increasing democratization of the web, syndication (ie. pushing content rather than pulling audience), etc.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More fun in the classroom

National Center for Education Center's has some neat tools in its "Student's Classroom", including a handy "CreateAGraph" application that generates graphs and charts on the basis of input data.

Social bookmarking entering mainstream?

The November 22 edition of PC Magazine takes a look at what it describes as "community search engines", including del.icio.us (which by the way gets a poor score). For IRCworlders who are wondering what social bookmarking is all about, and enjoy the PC Mag style of comparing products, this article, "Never Search Alone" by Rick Broida, may be worth a quick glance. An indication that this type of online collaboration may be entering the mainstream?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More on del.icio.us and social bookmarking

Del.icio.us and the social boomarking phenomenon is an interesting development worth looking into. An excellent introduction, that includes an overview of several social bookmarking tools (including CiteULike), is the article "Social Bookmarking Tools: a General Review" from the April 2005 issue of Dlib magazine. Jon Udell, creator of the wonderful "Walking Tour of Keene" screencast (see enthusiastic posting at ircworld in March, 2005) has also created a nifty screencast that provides a whirlwind 5 minute tour of del.icio.us from a user's perspective.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fun in the classroom

Here a couple of creativity outlets that educators might find useful for teaching and/or silencing pupils. Imagination Cubed provides an online whiteboard for collaborative drawing. Neat! Sodaplay is an online Java-based simulator that allows users to construct robots and other mechanical creations and watch them walk, move, or fly.

"America's Place In The World 2005" report

This new report on perception of Foreign Policy in the U.S. was released Nov. 17.
It's a combined effort of Pew and the Council on Foreign Relations.
It's available for download from Pew.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Neat marketing tool

Here's an excellent marketing tool for your next IRC event...just tell Albert what to write on the blackboard, and post it on your website.

Web Applications List

If you're interested in web applications, this is a goldmine:

Help drown out Oslo!

Couldn't resist reposting this, from ellensjourney.org - she's so right, especially about that Oslo IRC blabbermouth. I wish he would shut up - or better, that others would speak up.(send me an email if you forgot/need a userid/password) I also like her quote, "Library school is for geeks who don't do math."

Interesting library blog

The most (potentially) interesting library blog I have come across in a while is the ircworld blog - a team blog of all the Information Resources Centers at U.S. embassies around the world. Hopefully it will get off the ground more than it has so far, since right now it’s pretty much dominated by the Oslo IRC, which was the one that started it

Eccentric Star

Eccentric Star is a public diplomacy blog by former USIA FSO Ann Driscoll. Contains many useful links to PD related blogs, websites, articles, etc.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


CiteULike "CiteULike is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading. When you see a paper on the web that interests you, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details, so there's no need to type them in yourself. It all works from within your web browser. There's no need to install any special software." This is neat - particularly for academic librarians, who might appreciate being told about this..When visiting certain supported sites (see list at http://www.citeulike.org/post), CiteUlike automatically extracts citation details. For sites that are not supported, you can type in the citation information manually. This is a nice way to build your personal library of "to read" items on the web.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


PandemicFlu.gov: The official U.S. government Web site for information on pandemic flu and avian influenza.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Phil Bradley's "I want to" list

This is great...here is Phil Bradley's own description:
"I want to..." is a page of utilities, such as social utilities, social bookmarking and various other software packages that let you do things. (Added 27/10/05)

Most important govdoc reference sources

What are the essential 3-5 print Government Document reference sources that you can't work without in answering reference questions? Diane Kovacs posed the question to librarians on Govdoc-l, publib, libref-l, LIS-LINK, DIG_REF, ERIL-L, Buslib-L LawLibRef, Law-Lib@ucdavis.edu, LawSource, and the results are posted here.

Red Light Green

RedLightGreen is a useful tool from the Research Libraries Group for finding books and generating subject bibliographies. See Gary Price's short review in SearchEngineWatch 10/31. From the RLG website:
"RedLightGreen is one of our newest projects. It is designed specifically for undergraduates using the Web—and the libraries that support them. RedLightGreen.com delivers information from RLG members about more than 130 million books for education and research; and it links students back to their campus libraries for the books they select."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Roll Your Own!

Rollyo enables you to limit a search to a user-specified subgroup of websites. (same idea as NeighborSearch, discussed here last year) Chris Sherman has provided a nice summary at Search Engine Watch

Friday, October 21, 2005

Currently in Congress 1-15 October 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's Library webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Highlights: FY06 spending bills (and a controversial amendment to the Defense spending bill), a bill to increase oil refinery construction and expansion in the U.S., the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, the ratification of the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, various hurricane housing relief bills, and a resolution in support of the Africa-America Institute.

Hearings include: Marriage promotion in Washington DC, small business growth and Hurricane Katrina, the Exon-Florio amendment (which allows the President to stop a takeover of a U.S. company by a foreign entity if it threatens national security), the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, India's Caste System, Spyware, and the Kyoto Protocol.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Improving public diplomacy in the Muslim world - interesting new article

Articles on how to fix public diplomacy are thick on the ground these days, and most of them are run of the mill stuff. This contribution to the debate is, I think, better than average. The author, Professor Richard Pells, visited Indonesia, and came up with interesting suggestions to improve public diplomacy in the Muslim world (though his suggestions have a wider application). One is to substantially enlarge and improve university collections of books, periodicals, and DVDs on American subjects beyond the level of American Corners, and another is to promote semester-long visiting professorships. Essentially, he believes ignorance of America, not ill-will towards America, is the real problem.
Read it for yourself at:
or via the excellent Arts and Letters Daily web site at:

Tel Aviv IRC (Ralph Amelan)

What kind of dog are YOU?

As a lover of dogs, I'm of course familiar with the many services on the internet that can tell someone - on the basis of their answers to a few simple questions - what kind of dog they would be if they were a dog. The best of these services, in my qualified estimation, is the excellent Canine Algorithmic Transfer System at Gone2thedogs.com (click on "what dog are you" link). Personally, I'm very proud and happy to be a Spinone Italiano. I'm not sure how this resource can be used in IRCs or public diplomacy, but you should know that it exists!

p.s. - Just in. Believe it or not, one of my colleagues is a Norwegian Elkhound!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another new resource from the Ralph Bunche Library

Once again the Ralph Bunche library has been adding new resources for our benefit, without fanfare.
The latest new database is HeinOnline. It has all sorts of legal goodies, including law reviews, US Attorney-General opinions, and the US Supreme Court Library.
While Lexis has most of the law reviews available at HeinOnline, it does not have them as far back. If you are looking for law review articles from the 1980s or before, HeinOnline should be your first choice of database.
Further, they have a 'Treaties and Agreements' library that is very extensive. The recently updated LLRX guide to researching US treaties and agreements (http://www.llrx.com/features/ustreaty.htm) features HeinOnline as an important resource.
And, for your arts contacts, the Ralph Bunche has added the Grove Art database (http://www.groveart.com/index.html) for a trial month. Thanks to Carla Higgins for passing the word on. If we find it useful, we may be able to subscribe to it for 2006.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Class Brain

This is a fun and attractive site that teachers might like to know about: www.classbrain.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge
"In keeping with the traditions of the Hoover Institution, the programs feature lively debate on any number of topics, ranging from gun control to international foreign diplomacy. Visitors to the website can browse through a list of recent shows, or look through their archives which date from 1997. " Visitors may also wish to view the entire television program on their computer, listen to the audio presentation, or read a transcript." (annotation from Scout Report, 10/14/05) The "Browse Through Shows by Season" section includes discussions on many issues that might be of interest to secondary and university teachers/students.

Friday, October 14, 2005

English in the U.S.

The research pages of the U.S. English Foundation are a useful source of facts and statistics on U.S. population and language distribution. The U.S. English Foundation has a clearly articulated agenda, but the information at this site - derived from the 2000 census - can be of interest regardless of one's position on the "official English" issue.


Pledgebank is an interesting approach to enlisting community participation for accomplishing common goals. Users make public resolutions (e.g. "I will contribute 20 dollars to Pakistani earthquake relief efforts") , on the condition that x number of others do the same by such and such a date. To facilitate local community empowerment (e.g. "I will petition the city council about reopening the neighborhood community center if 15 others do the same) Pledgebank also allows you to search for - and receive email notification - of pledges in your particular community.

Google Reader

Google now offers an RSS reader...see http://www.google.com/reader/ (requires a Google account)

Governing portal

Governing, the monthly magazine for state and local government officials, makes freely available the online supplement to its 2005 State and Local Sourcebook. Governing's ambition for the online supplement is to be "the Web's best gateway to state and local government information."

Making of America

From http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/moagrp/about.html:
"Making of America (MOA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history primarily from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The book collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books with 19th century imprints. For more details about the project, see About MoA. New Additions: 33 more volumes focusing on New York City, many with a number of photographs, were recently added to MoA. Digital conversion of the volumes was made possible through a gift from UM alumnus Lawrence Portnoy. The digital conversion of the complete run of the Journal of the United States Association of Charcoal Iron Workers was funded by a generous donation from a Friend of the Library." For more on the value of this site to New York City history buffs in particular, see Debbie Nathan's article "The Past, in Pixels" in the NYT, August 14, 2005.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Castle Garden Immigration site

from www.castlegarden.org
"CastleGarden.org offers free access to an extraordinary database of information on 10 million immigrants from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Over 73 million Americans can trace their ancestors to this early immigration period. Castle Garden, today known as Castle Clinton National Monument, is the major landmark within The Battery, the 23 acre waterfront park at the tip of Manhattan. From 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City. "

Thursday, October 06, 2005

African American genealogy

and here's another genealogy site, from Marylaine Block's "Neat New Stuff" column
"A thorough collection of links to beginners' guides, death records, federal
records, state guides, family histories, military services records, and more."

New resource from the Ralph Bunche library

Dear colleagues,
There is a new resource on the Ralph Bunche library web site, from the GalleryWatch people.
It is called GalleryWatch Foreign Policy Briefing, and it is listed on the Ralph Bunche Databases page.
It offers, on the left side of the page, a list of recently published CRS reports on foreign policy issues, and on the right, 'hot docs and press releases' which include GAO reports and government and congressional press releases.
At the foot of the page, there is a link to an appropriations and authorizations bill tracker for FY 2006, and a listing of upcoming congressional hearings. It seems to be updated every week.
This resource looks very useful, and saves burrowing through lists of CRS reports from the other GalleryWatch site for foreign policy material.
Happy hunting!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Currently in Congress 15 - 30 September 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's Library webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Highlights: Congress passed a continuing resolution to keep the government running, since Oct. 1 is the beginning of the 2006 fiscal year. So far, only two of the 12 regular spending bills have been passed into law, and Congress is busy working on the remaining bills. In addition, a House committee is considering an agricultural subsidies resolution, and the House passed the Head Start reauthorization bill.

Several ethics issues have come up in Congress, which are briefly mentioned, and the Senate approved the nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Hearing topics include the No Child Left Behind Act, UN reform, Darfur, housing programs for the poor, fighting methamphetamines, the regulation of political speech on the internet, and the Supreme Court's recent Kelo decision on eminent domain issues.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Literature Map

Type in an author and Literature-Map generates a galactic map showing other authors that you may be interested in. Click on any author name and that author becomes the center of the map. (from Library Stuff)

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents

Reporters Without Borders have issued Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents. This is an interesting and useful compendium of information about how bloggers around the world - the "new heralds of free expression" as one contributor calls them - are using blogs to disseminate information in a variety of political environments. Includes personal accounts of blogging activities in countries as diverse as Bahrain, the U.S., Hong Kong, Iran and Nepal, as well as practical tips about how to set up a blog and get it picked up by search engines, ways to get around censorship, how to blog anonymously, and how to ensure email privacy.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Experimental fiction

Literary contacts might like to be alerted to Ben Marcus's defense of experimental fiction in the October issue of Harpers. Not only is it a well-written and entertaining article about an interesting and much-discussed topic, it contains elements that suggest it may be a "debate in the making" - most notably a withering pronouncement on a more famous and successful writer (Jonathan Franzen) known for his withering pronuncements and - best of all - who might reasonably be expected to respond! Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Here's a interesting post from Inter-Alia, an "Internet Legal Research Weblog"...

Take a Meme-o

How often do you visit Memeorandum for the latest take on the news? Well, that's not often enough. This site is one of my favorite visits during the day; it takes important news articles throughout the day, and links directly to bloggers who are discussing them. All in one place, you get the story and the commentary, from all points of view.

And here's a feature you may not have noticed. Click on the Preferences link and select Show Link Search. Now, you'll be able to check Google Blog Search, Bloglines, Technorati, and IceRocket for even more sites that link to the particular article. Unfortunately, this feature's only available if you visit the site, so if you subscribe to the RSS feed, you're out of luck.

Posted by: Tom Mighell at 6:39 am

Centralization and collaboration

Nearly 10 years ago, in the March 1996 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows's article The Java Theory outlined a scenario in which computing applications and even operating systems would move from personal computers to the net, ultimately displacing PCs with simple gateway devices that connect users to the internet. Several new and useful applications are nudging us in that direction, uniting the advantages of centralized processing and storage with the enormous power of thought and knowledge that a collaborative community - as opposed to a mere individual - can bring to a project. Wikipedia is the example that comes immediately to mind, but wikis are also a good tool for more local or limited collaborations (see f.ex. posting here about Peanut Butter Wiki) Writely is similar to a wiki, but provides the functionality and formatting possibilities of a word processor. It allows you to store and share your documents online, and grant editing privileges to other users. De.licio.us is one of several "social bookmarking" services services that allows users to store and organize their bookmarks on the web and share them with other users. Esnips is another servcie that enables centralized storage and sharing of information. Particularly convenient is the esnips toolbar (currently for IE only), which allows you to select images, documents, or segments ("snips") of text while browsing the web and store/categorize them in your esnips folder. You can read more about esnips in an a Mary Ellen Bates's "A new approach to sharing web research" The potential impact of on-site witnesses providing vital information to a virtual community was nicely demonstrated by Scipionus during the disaster in New Orleans. The empowerment of local citizens all over the world as global reporters is further exemplified by the profusion of blogs and emergence of a "blogosphere." When a news story breaks, professional journalists (and librarians) worth their salt will know the value of consulting their amateur counterparts in the blogosphere; Jonathan Dube at the Poynter Institute put together some useful tips on finding local blogs a few months ago.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Currently in Congress 1 - 15 September 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Congress returned to Washington from their summer recess a few days earlier than scheduled in order to rush through various measures relating to Hurricane Katrina relief. These include multi-billion dollar spending bills, tax relief, welfare payments, job creation, and student loan repayment relief.

This issue also includes information about the Combat Meth Act and the hearings of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Hearing topics include Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts, U.S. foreign aid programs to Europe, how charities meet the needs of America's communities, protecting street children, U.S. and India relations, and Medicaid reform.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Gapminder is "a non-profit venture for development and provision of free software that visualises human development. " The idea behind this Swedish initiative is to present health statistics and data in such a way as to enhance public understanding and awareness of world health and development challenges. See , for example, what Gapminder has done in its presentation of the UNDP's "Human Development Report 2005".

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New foreign policy journal

And while on the subject of foreign policy, a new journal was launched recently.

The following summary comes from Bruce Gregory, directory of the Public Diplomacy Institute at George Washington University:

The American Interest, Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2005. This new journal seeks "to analyze America's conduct on the global stage" and "examine what American policy should be." Edited by Adam Garfinkle, its editorial board is chaired by Francis Fukuyama and includes Anne Applebaum, Peter Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Eliot Cohen, Josef Joffe, and Walter Russell Mead. Articles of interest in this first issue include its defining statement, a collection of short articles on the sources of American conduct, and a conversation with Secretary of State Rice.


Here is an extract from its statement of purpose:

"The American Interest (AI) is a new and independent voice devoted to the broad theme of "America in the world." Our agenda is threefold. The first is to analyze America's conduct on the global stage and the forces that shape it--not just its strategic aspects, but also its economic, cultural and historical dimensions. American statecraft is not simply about power but also purpose. What is important to the world about America is therefore not just its politics, but the society from which those politics arise--including America's literature, music and art, as well as its values, public beliefs and its historical imagination.
The AI's second aim is to examine what American policy should be. It is our view that the challenges and opportunities of our time transcend the assumptions and vocabulary used by both the Left and Right in recent years, and that we need to move beyond the defense of obsolete positions. We therefore seek to invite the best minds from a variety of professions to engage in lively and open-ended debate founded on serious, sustained arguments and evidence. We wish to provoke and enlighten, not to plead or to please the guardians of any ideology. We take a pragmatic attitude toward policy problems, privileging creativity and effectiveness over contending orthodoxies.
Third, though its name is The American Interest, our pages are open to the world. The simple and inescapable defining fact of our era is that America is the foremost actor on the world stage. For good or ill, the United States affects the lives of billions because of its dominance in military, economic and, ever more so, cultural affairs. Hence, the AI invites citizens of all nations into the American national dialogue, convinced that Americans have much to learn from the experience and perspectives of others."

Posted by Tel Aviv IRC
# posted by Ralph Amelan : 1:13 PM

Monday, September 12, 2005

New CFR site

The Council on Foreign Relations launched an impressive new website last week which aims to be a "First-Stop Nonpartisan Resource on U.S. Foreign Policy and International Affairs"...according to their press release , “Cfr.org is Rapidly Becoming the Google for the Foreign Policy Set.”...no less! Features on the new site include:

  • Nearly 200 Background on the News fact sheets on world events and
    critical issues.
  • More than 300 exclusive expert interviews conducted by cfr.org consulting
    editor Bernard Gwertzman, former editor-in-chief of nytimes.com, and former
    foreign editor and diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times.
  • A selection of Must Reads culled by the Council to point our audience to
    the most innovative thinking on U.S. foreign policy.
  • Region and issue briefs by Council scholars.
  • Essential source documents ranging from constitutions and speeches to
    international agreements and treaties.
  • Articles and congressional testimony by Council fellows and other
  • Timely on-the-record transcripts, audio files, videos, and webcasts from
    CFR meetings in New York, Washington, DC, and around the country.
  • A world events list with links to twenty-four global calendars.
  • Nearly 100 links to national and international think tanks and their
  • Independent Task Force Reports and Council Special Reports on today’s
    most urgent issues.
  • Advance highlights and excerpts from Foreign Affairs, recently ranked the
    most influential media outlet in the United States, according to a study of
    U.S. opinion leaders.

Friday, September 09, 2005


For people who are wondering about the state of homes/neighborhoods in New Orleans, Scipionus might be of some help....here is a description from wired.com
"Since Scipionus.com launched Wednesday, it has become a giant visual "wiki" page, attracting tens of thousands of visitors who are collaborating in creating a public document of astonishing detail."
Here's an example, one of hundreds of entries: "9/8/05 4800 Block of Loveland reported to have approx.18-24 inches in houses. Added 09/08 21:53." We are inching towards virtual reality!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Transatlantic Trends

The 2005 issue of Transatlantic Trends, an annual public opinion survey examining American and European attitudes toward the transatlantic relationship, was released today. Excerpt from the press release:

~More Europeans than Americans support democracy promotion as a foreign policy objective~

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2005) — A new survey of Americans and Europeans released today finds that six months after George W. Bush’s ambitious outreach to Europe, European public opinion toward the United States remains unchanged. Both Americans and Europeans feel relations have stayed the same. The survey also reveals that Europeans desire a more independent approach from the United States on international security and diplomatic affairs...."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Library Clips

For current awareness blogs that follow neat new tools for librarians, Library Clips comes near the top of my list. And its RSS feed is at the top of the list on the left..

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ask not what your college can do for you....

but what your college can do for your country! Washington Monthly's College Guide rates U.S. colleges according to the following criteria: "Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth; and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service." Makes an interesting contrast to the better-known U.S. News and World Report rankings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

When Amazon.com Is Not Enough

For book reviews and a lot more about the book and publishing world, try some of these sites:

Allreaders.com is a spiffy array of book tools and includes a precision search engine to extract titles from a treasure chest that cross matches books by plot, era, character, and even mood.

Dead Trees Review is the work of a single reviewer who reads voraciously and writes solid, short reviews. www.geocities.com/SoHo/Coffeehouse/4587/mainpage.html.

The Book Report Network pulls together Bookreporter.com, AuthorsOntheWeb.com,ReadingGroupGuides.com and others -- all sites where there are reviews and other interesting book features.

BookPage.com adds author interviews to the mix of reviews.

BlackBookNetwork.com covers the territory for authors of African heritage.

And if you never have visited the sites of the New York Review of Books (www.nybooks.com) or the New York Times Book Review (www.nytimes.com/pages/books/index.html then skip your coffee break and go there today. The wonder pen-and-ink sketches of David Levine are there for the asking and the NY Times archive goes back to 1997.

School Matters

SchoolMatters, at www.schoolmatters.com, seeks to "give policymakers, educators, and parents the tools they need to make better-informed decisions that improve student performance." Provides detailed information for public schools down to the zip code level, as well as comparative statistics and data.

Monday, August 22, 2005

View 26,000 Operas at Once!

New York City's Metropolitan Opera, known to listeners worldwide for its radio broadcasts of live performances, has now created a free database that has entries on all performances since the Met opened in 1883. Find your favorite singer, find reviews, find cast lists, find photos - it's all there in a user-friendly fashion. Go to metopera.org. Select Met History from the toolbar and click on Launch Database.

Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index: Americans Perplexed and Anxious About Relations with Muslim World

"The American public sees the web of issues surrounding relations with the Islamic world as the fundamental foreign policy problem facing the nation — but they have little idea what to do about it. The inaugural edition of the Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index finds the public's concerns are dominated by issues that all lead back to the central theme of Islam and the West: the Iraq war, the global war on terrorism, and the public image of the United States abroad. To be issued regularly by Public Agenda, the Index is designed to explore the public's long-term judgments and beliefs about America's role in the world. Supported with funding from the Ford Foundation and produced as a joint project with Foreign Affairs magazine, the index covers more than 25 different issues through more than 80 different survey questions."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Religion Facts

This looks like a good site for facts/info about religions:


Dear all,

I am in Oslo IRC in Norway. I have just found an interesting blog site for all of us. Please visit RSS4LIB for Innovative ways libraries use RSS.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Book tips from Teens Worldwide

While visiting "Youthink! Action=Results ", a site the World Bank runs for their youth audiences, I came across this link to Unicef where kids from all over the world make suggestions about books to read. The posts are pretty recent and the kids add interesting insights like "Don't read the hard classics". Try these out when serving possible audiences of secondary school age. The book site comes in English and French.

Youthink! http://youthink.worldbank.org

Unicef http://www.unicef.org/voy/discussions/showthread.php?p=18310

IRO Moscow

Islamist extremism in Europe

New CRS report: "Islamist extremism in Europe" can be found at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RS22211.pdf

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Smithsonian Wonderland of Global Sound

Smithsonian Global Sound is a part of Folkways Recordings where you can download world music at 99 cents per unit. While music inquiries are a rarity at most IRCs, you will probably be able to think of innovative uses for this extraordinary resource. A search of US resources revealed 1250 entries from the last 50 years or so. Give it a listen!

Posted by IRO Moscow

Guide to blogging software

If you're confused about blogging software and technology, Susannah Gardner's article "Time to check: Are you using the right blogging tool" is helpful. Includes a "blogging software comparision chart" and a glossary of common blogging terms.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Stateline.org provides politics and policy news, state by state. The site was created by the Pew Institute in 1999 and was intended primarily for reporters covering state issues. Information can be sorted by state or by issue, and the site provides both email alerts and rss feeds.

Monday, August 08, 2005


The Internet is a treasure trove of information for business research -- if you know where to look. You can spend hours surfing through meaningless Web sites, or pay subscription fees for information that's useless to you, and end up with nothing to show for your efforts. That's why I like this next site. WebEc's International Trade Page ( http://www.helsinki.fi/WebEc/framef.html ) has tons of links to some of the best international trade research on the Net. WebEc has been around for 11 years, and it's a site for economists, but don't let that scare you off. As I said, it's got some of the most useful, and cost-effective, research online, in all areas of economics. Scroll down the list of links to international trade, and you'll see a Who's Who of organizations, institutions, and publications, with research and reports you can download for free. In addition, there are plenty of other categories of economic research you can look at, simply by clicking on topics in the left column.

Redesigned NARA site (and soon a new Thomas?)

NARA launched its redesigned website on July 20. Lots of interesting stuff there, including much useful information for genealogists. A redesigned Thomas site was announced last fall, with rollout scheduled to coincide with the convening of the 109th Congress. It was supposed to look like this , but we're still waiting...

LOC New Site for Cataloging Training

Cataloger's Learning Workshop is a clearinghouse portal for cataloging and metadata training resources for information workers. The scope of Cataloger's Learning Workshop includes bibliographic information training in the context of formal library and information science degree programs, as well as continuing education for library practitioners. Cataloger's Learning Workshop is a cooperative project of the Library of Congress, the Program for Cooperative Cataloging, and the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association. View it at:

Posted by IRO Moscow

Friday, August 05, 2005


This site, at http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/ is worth checking when looking for publications from defunct govt. agencies. I looked for OTA, for example, and found a great many publications in full text, dating as far back as to 1972. Excerpt from the site: "The University of North Texas Libraries and the U.S. Government Printing Office, as part of the Federal Depository Library Program, created a partnership to provide permanent public access to the Web sites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions. This collection was named the "CyberCemetery" by early users of the site."

Some recent PD articles

Mark Lynch, Watching al-Jazeera. Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2005

The June 2005 issue of American Quarterly includes 3 articles about public diplomacy:

Liam Kennedy and Scott Lucas, Enduring Freedom: Public Diplomacy and U.S. Foreign Policy
Penny von Eschen, Enduring Public Diplomacy
Ron Theodore Robin, Requiem for Public Diplomacy?

Both American Quarterly and Wilson Quarterly are available to the IIP community through that wonderful resource, the Ralph Bunche Library.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Center for Global Development

The Center for Global Development is " is dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality through policy-oriented research and active engagement on development issues with the policy community and the public." The CGD's Ranking the Rich survey ranks the wealthy nations in 6 categories:

# Quality of foreign aid
# Openness to developing-country exports
# Policies that influence investment
# Migration policies
# Support for creation of new technologies
# Security policies
# Environmental policies

This provides a different and more nuanced picture of wealthy nations' commitments to international development than the standard comparisons of per capita aid volume.

Monday, August 01, 2005

John Brown's PD Press Review

John Brown, a former foreign service officer and now a faculty member at USC's Center on Public Diplomacy, provides an RSS feed of his public diplomacy press review. (excerpt from the website): John Brown aggregates all the most recent public diplomacy related news, including current issues in U.S. foreign policy, international broadcasting and media, propaganda, cultural diplomacy, educational exchanges, anti-Americanism, and the reception of American popular culture abroad.
This USC site has much information and many interesting projects regarding public diplomacy, including a public diplomacy wiki and a project on anti-Americanism

Friday, July 29, 2005

Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!)

Protecting your intellectual property at home and abroad
Growing global trade in pirated and counterfeit goods threatens America's innovation economy, the competitiveness of our leading companies and small manufacturers, and the livelihoods of their workers. Bogus products - from CDs, DVDs, software and watches to electronic equipment, clothing, processed foods, consumer products, and auto parts - are estimated to account for up to seven percent of global trade and cost legitimate rights holders around the world billions of dollars annually.

Developed over the last year, the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) is the most comprehensive initiative ever advanced to smash the criminal networks that traffic in fakes, stop trade in pirated and counterfeit goods at America's borders, block bogus goods around the world, and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets. STOP! underscores the Administration's continuing commitment to level the playing field for American businesses and workers. And it builds on the Administration's solid track record of real results in combating global piracy and counterfeiting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Supreme Court

For questions about the Supreme Court appointment the recent (July 6) CRS update on the SC Appointment Process will come in handy. The July 20 issue of Al's Morning Meeting also contains interesting tidbits for people whose focus is on the SC these days.


e-Podunk is celebrating its 5th anniversary, a good occassion to revisit this useful site. From the "about us" section: "ePodunk provides in-depth information about more than 25,000 communities around the country, from Manhattan to Los Angeles, Pottstown to Podunk. Our listings also include geocoded information about thousands of parks, museums, historic sites, colleges, schools and other places across America."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Blog Software Comparison Chart

Software Comparison Chart may be found here:

Free Legal Handouts from the American Association of Law Libraries Professional Meeting

A great variety of free quality legal handouts available here, from AALL.


Posted by Stephen Perry, IRO, PAS Buenos Aires

How to Monitor Federal Legislation

From the LLRX Web Site:


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Currently in Congress 1 - 15 July 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Highlights: Answer Africa's Call Act, to implement measures recommended in the Commission for Africa; a resolution condemning the London bombings; a bill to reduce and prevent debris in our ocean's which threaten marine life and navigation safety; improving infrastructure and education for technology in the nation's minority institutions of higher education; a resolution honoring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who recently retired from the Supreme Court bench; and of course appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 06.

Hearings include a review of the US relationship with the WTO, North Korean nuclear negotiations, native american land claims in New York, small business development centers, the national security implications of the possible merger between the China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Unocal, and money laundering in the Middle East.

Previous issues (including 15-30 June which wasn't posted to this blog) are archived on the website.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Pew Report on Islamic Extremism

Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics

Concerns about Islamic extremism, widespread in the West even before this month's terrorist attacks in London, are shared to a considerable degree by the publics in several predominantly Muslim nations, most notably Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia. Most Muslim publics are also expressing less support for acts of terrorism in defense of Islam and less confidence in Osama bin Laden.

Yet, the latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, conducted this spring among more than 17,000 people in 17 countries, finds that Muslim and non-Muslim publics have very different attitudes with regard to the impact of Islam on their countries.

While publics in predominantly Muslim countries voice concerns that Islamic extremism can lead to violence, fewer personal freedoms, internal divisions, and retarded economic development, the balance of opinion is that Islam is playing a larger political role in their nations, and most welcome that development. Turkey is a clear exception: there the public is divided about the desirability of a larger political role for Islam. [...]

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Finding people on the web

http://www.searchsystems.net/ a good search engine for finding people in public databases in the U.S. Most searches are free of charge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


news.myway.com draws on AP, Reuters, New York Times, CBS, MSNBC,USA TODAY, and FOX News to provide an attractive ad-free interface to current news. Stories can be displayed by source or by topic. It's a useful one-stop site for assembling news compilations for high level visits, etc.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


URL for access to these POWERPOINTS is:


Powerpoints include Money Laundering, International Business, Best of the Web, etc.

Stephen Perry, IRO, BUENOS AIRES

Friday, July 08, 2005


TIPS ARTICLE http://www.freepint.com/issues/300605.htm#tips
"An Insider's View of Google Answers" By David Sarokin Somewhere in the world is a person who wants ... no, needs! ... some obscure piece of information. Perhaps it's the number of Cessna 152s registered in the US; a transcript from a WWII war crimes trial; or details about the annual wheat harvest in Iran. Information that they cannot find, but that I can. The challenge is, how can we find one another? Amazingly, it's not that hard. The questioner simply states the question, offers a fee for an answer, and -- if the fee is reasonable -- the deal is done.
Article at: http://www.freepint.com/issues/300605.htm#tips

Roubini Global Economics Monitor

The note below from Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics was forwarded to me - the RGE website, www.rgemonitor.com is impressive! (Roubini's note:)"Following the tragic terrorist attacks in London today RGE Monitor (www.rgemonitor.com) is providing continuous and extensive coverage of the Economic and Financial Implications of Terrorism with up to the minute news, research, commentary and analysis on the economic and financial implications of terrorism. Our coverage also includes related coverage such as the debate on the Causes and Preventive Strategies of Terrorism (http://www.rgemonitor.com/151) where we aggregate the best thinking on this crucial topic.

Google Maps and gCensus

Google maps is an amazing resource: double click on the area you're interested in to select it (ie. center it) and use the slide or the plus/minus icons to zoom to the desired level of detail. To look at adjacent areas, just drag the map the way you would a paper map across a table top! Jimmy Palmer's gcensus.com has taken the Google map technology a step further and added U.S. Census data, all the way down to the block level.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hudson Institute on U.S. Aid

Carol Adelman et al. of the Hudson Institute recently released a white paper,
America's Total Economic Engagement with the Developing World , that addresses aspects of American generosity often overlooked by critics who measure aid solely in terms of Official Development Assistance(ODA)as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI). From the Hudson Institute's June 29 announcement:

Hudson Institute released new private international giving numbers today in a white paper, "America's Total Economic Engagement with the Developing World," by Dr. Carol Adelman, Mr. Jeremiah Norris and Ms. Jeanne Weicher. Updating their research on American generosity, the authors found at least $62.1 billion in U.S. private donations to developing countries in 2003, the last year numbers are available. This philanthropy, from U.S. foundations, corporations, non-profits and volunteerism, universities and colleges, religious organizations and individuals is over three and one-half times U.S. Official Development Assistance (ODA) of $16.3 billion.

Watching America with RSS feed

Watching America, which was described here in March of this year, now also offers an RSS feed

Friday, July 01, 2005

GPO Access and Thomas

(excerpted from LLRX)"The Government Domain: GPO Access and THOMAS for Legislative Research
Peggy Garvin compares and contrasts the features and content of these two resources, to assist researchers in determining which to use for specific tasks."

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Al's Morning Meeting

Al's Morning Meeting from thePoynter Institute is (excerpt):"a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis." Although intended for journalists, much of the information will be of interest to IRCs - including today's issue on Fourth of July resources. You can also subscribe to Al's Morning Meeting via email

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

USG RSS feeds

Firstgov's U.S. Government RSS Library provides an overview and links to USG feeds on a variety of subjects, including data and statistics, military, education and international relations.

Open CRS

Here's a new site devoted to collecting and making available CRS reports. It seems to have missed a couple of important collections - U.S. Embassy Rome and the Foreign Press Center - but perhaps those will be added as well. From the "about" information: "A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS Reports, Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Latest report from Pew Global Attitudes Project

(headline from latest report of the Pew Global Attitudes Project):U.S. Image Up Slightly, But Still Negative: American Character Gets Mixed Reviews
The latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, released June 23, was conducted among nearly 17,000 people in the United States and 15 other countries from April 20-May 31. From the introduction: "Anti-Americanism in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which surged as a result of the U.S. war in Iraq, shows modest signs of abating. But the United States remains broadly disliked in most countries surveyed, and the opinion of the American people is not as positive as it once was. The magnitude of America's image problem is such that even popular U.S. policies have done little to repair it. President George W. Bush's calls for greater democracy in the Middle East and U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Asia have been well-received in many countries, but only in Indonesia, India and Russia has there been significant improvement in overall opinions of the U.S.

Attitudes toward the U.S. remain quite negative in the Muslim world, though hostility toward America has eased in some countries. Many Muslims see the U.S. supporting democracy in their countries, and many of those who are optimists about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East give at least some credit to U.S. policies. But progress for America's image in these countries is measured in small steps; solid majorities in all five predominantly Muslim countries surveyed still express unfavorable views of the United States."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

David Rumsey map collection

David Rumsey's map collection contains more than 150,000 maps and is one of the world's largest. Around 1998 Rumsey decided stopoed adding to the collection and turned his efforts to digitizing and making the collection available to others. The result is at www.davidrumsey.com - an amazing resource for history buffs and researchers. There is a short article about the collection in the July Issue of Technology Review.

UN Pulse

"UN Pulseis a service of the UN Dag Hammarskjöld library, and appears to be regularly updated. Also offers and RSS feed. From the "about" info: UN Pulse alerts you to selected just-released UN online information, major reports, publications and documents. Created and maintained by a team of reference librarians at the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York, UN Pulse is updated as new information is published and received."

Full-text book searching

Greg Notess's article Searching Books Between the Coversin the May/June issue of Online magazine review the state of full-text book searching, and includes a comparison of Amazon's Search Inside the Book and Google Print.

Lugar Report on WMD Threats and Responses

Following excerpted from Richard Lugar's website:
Lugar Releases New Report on WMD Threats and Responses
"During the next ten years the world faces a 29 percent chance of a nuclear attack and the prospect of four new nations being added to the nuclear weapons club, according to a new survey of non-proliferation and national security experts compiled by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar. Over the same period, the experts rated the risks of a major chemical or biological attack as both greater than 30 percent, while the prospects of a dirty bomb attack were pegged at 40 percent.

The unique survey of 85 top international scholars, policy makers, diplomats, and technicians probed the attitudes of experts on both proliferation threats and international responses. The Lugar Survey found that 79 percent believed that their own country was not spending enough money on non-proliferation objectives. None of the experts surveyed believed that their country was spending too much on these goals."

Guide to Internet Research for Lawyers

Glenn Bacal's impressive Guide to Internet Research for Lawyers is useful for anyone doing legal research. "Completely updated with an edge and now with many new features, including annotated guides to best IP blog and news sites; IP sites for beginners; amusing IP sites; politically oriented IP sites; most useful websites for law students, and more!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Currently in Congress 1-15 June 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage: http://pretoria.usembassy.gov/wwwhic00.html

Highlights: The House scraps a PATRIOT Act provision, curtailing the FBI's ability to search library and bookstore records; the Central America Free Trade Agreement bill edges closer; Congress votes to remain a member of the World Trade Organization; Congress puts pressure on Saudi Arabia's efforts to curb terrorism in that country; and six judicial nominees are confirmed under the bipartisan compromise to avoid filibusters and the nuclear option, but the confirmation of Dina Powell to be Asst. Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs is delayed. Hearings include: Guantanamo Detainees, oversight of the Diversity Visa lottery, future agriculture and food biotechnology developments, reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, third world debt, and oversight of the IMF.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Language Map

The MLA Language Map displays the locations and numbers of speakers of the thirty languages most commonly spoken in the United States.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Social bookmarking through del.icio.us is a concept that is getting much attention these days. The idea of saving bookmarks to a server on the web, so that they can be used from any web connected computer, is not new - Furl, for example, has been around since 2003. What makes social bookmarking different is that you can see what other people have been bookmarking, and let others see what you have been bookmarking. De.licio.us also allows you to annotate and provide subject tags for bookmarks, which is a potentially powerful feature; by subject tagging and sharing bookmarks in this fashion, communities of social bookmarkers will be generating new subject collections of blogs and websites.

I was curious to see how many hundreds of thousands, or at least thousands, of del.icio.us users had bookmarked ircworld. To do that, I registered with the service, bookmarked ircworld (my small but growing collection of del.icio.us bookmarks are at http://del.icio.us/osloirc and clicked on the "1 other person" (?!) who had bookmarked ircworld. I was then able click through to that individual's subject collection of bookmarks.

Another useful feature; when you find del.icio.us bookmark collections that look especially relevant to your interests, you can subscribe to the rss feed that is generated by each del.icio.us page, and thus be alerted to new additions.

In the past I've used bookmarks minimally, relying almost exclusively on search engines to find information. I find however that del.icio.us bookmarklets increase the convenience and utility of adding, organizing and using bookmarks, and the social aspect (along with the inclination every librarian has to build collections) makes it fun! You really need to try it to understand how it works and why it might be useful.

Debbie Weil's deliriously enthusiastic entry about Del.iciou.us at Blogwrite is admirably lucid and an good introduction. For an example of the trail an avid social bookmarker leaves behind, see Weil's collection of bookmarks at http://del.icio.us/wordbiz

Inevitably, there is similar service called de.lirio.us, but I haven't figured out what the difference is.

Peanut Butter Wiki

Wiki is a software technology that enables collaborative publishing/editing of documents on the web. The best known example is surely Wikipedia, but one could easily imagine other uses on a smaller scale ...f.ex. putting together a conference agenda, or creating some kind of online forum in which to interact with PD audiences. Peanut Butter wiki is a free webbased application that allows you to set up your own Wikis; to get a sense of how it works, see http://ircworldwiki.pbwiki.com You can get the userid/password by reading my posting about this on the eurirc listserv, or by sending me an email)
p.s. - please sign the guestbook!


Here is a web site I liked and wanted to share:

WebJunction is an online community of libraries and other agencies sharing knowledge and experience to provide the broadest public access to information technology.


In 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) a three-year grant to build a portal for public libraries and other organizations that provide open access to information. Building on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's five-year-old U.S. Library Program, which has provided over 40,000 computers with Internet access to more than 10,000 libraries across the United States and Canada, WebJunction is the work of five organizations, led by OCLC.

Friday, June 03, 2005

National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)

From the National Digital Newspaper Program website:

"The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of all U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH grant program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories."

Currently in Congress 15-31 May 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the U.S. Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage:

Highlights: judicial nominations start moving while the Bolton nomination gets stuck again; House passage of stem cell bills, anti-spyware bills, and the introduction of a resolution supporting the development of an HIV vaccine. Hearings include Treasury Secretary Snow's report to Congress on international exchange rate policies; piracy of intellectual property; weapons proliferation, terrorism and democracy in Iran; integrity of UN peacekeeping operations; protecting judges; Commission for Africa; and the UN Oil for Food program.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


The beta of the controversial (for copyright reasons) print.google.com is available at print.google.com

Thursday, May 26, 2005

National Hazards Support System

The USGS Natural Hazards Support System (NHSS) at http://nhss.cr.usgs.gov/is a web tool that helps monitor, respond to and analyze hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, severe weather, floods, wildfires, and tsunamis.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Marcus Zillman's White Papers

Marcus Zillman's website www.whitepapers.us provides link collections and internet mini-guides on a great range of topics.

"Beyond Google" presentation

Since early 2004, Information Resource Officer Karen Hartman has delivered her “Beyond Google: What's New in Web Search, Weblogs and RSS Technology” over 12 times, to more than 600 librarians, teachers and legislative researchers in Southern Africa.

A text version (plus a link to a zipped copy of the .ppt file) of a recent update to her PowerPoint presentation, is now available at:

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Currently in Congress 1-15 May 2005

The latest issue of Currently in Congress is available on the US Mission to South Africa's IRC webpage:

This fortnightly update of selected current events in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate is compiled by the IRC in Cape Town. It is written primarily for an Africa-wide audience, but it includes legislation and hearings of a general interest as well.

Previous issues are archived on the website.

Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts

A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts is intended to assist reporters assigned to court coverage. The section on the Federal district courts provides a walk-through of each stage of both a criminal and a civil case. It also describes the key players in the federal trial courts and identifies the types of court information a journalist might need, as well as possible sources for that information.

CFR report on Dialogue with the Muslim World

The Council on Foreign Relations released on May 7, 2005 a Council Special Report (CSR) titled: "A New Beginning: Strategies for a More Fruitful Dialogue with the Muslim World".

From the Foreword:

"This report [...] shows that it is possible to project a more favorable image of America in the Muslim world. Through focus group research in Morocco, Egypt, and Indonesia, they learned that although hostility is intense, there is an opportunity to change minds. "

The report (96 pages) is available in .pdf format online at: http://www.cfr.org/pdf/Anti-American_CSR.pdf

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Feedburner is a service that provides free statistics on RSS feeds, including
feed circulation, which news aggregators people use to read your feed, and what feed items subscribers most often "clickthrough" to read on your site. There is aslo a "pro" option that provides greater detail for a fee. www.feedburner.com

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Making of U.S. Foreign Policy

Another IRC Barcelona information product that may be of interest for educators and others is the infopack on "The Making of U.S. Foreign Policy"

Historical Timeline of U.S. Foreign Policy

IRC Barcelona has produced a handy "Historical Timeline of U.S. Foreign Policy"HistoryUSForeignPolicy.doc

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"The 2005 Political Typology" Pew report

The 2005 Political Typology: Beyond Red vs. Blue

The latest installment of the Pew Research Center's Political Typology finds significant cleavages within both major parties that go well beyond the familiar red-blue divide. The in-depth polling identifies challenges for both parties with their core constituencies and with voters in the middle of the electorate.

[...] As part of the release of the 2005 Political Typology, the Pew Research Center has created an interactive website where users can find out where they fit in the Political Typology, and to see how the various typology groups feel about major issues of the day. The special website can be found at Pew Political Typology.

This is the fourth such typology developed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press since 1987. Many of the groups identified in the current surveys are similar to those in past typologies, reflecting the continuing importance of a number of key beliefs and values. These themes endure despite the consequential events of the past four years - especially the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Higher Education website

www.insidehighered.com appears to be a useful supplement to Chronicle of Higher Education. Read more about it at

Friday, April 15, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005

Brookings report on World Public Opinion

Brookings Briefing
Who Will Lead the World? Shifting Alignments in World Public Opinion

(summary from Brookings website:)
"Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has emerged as the world's sole superpower, both in military and economic terms. A new poll however, suggests that not everyone around the world is happy with the United States' global influence, and would prefer a change in the balance of power. Publics around the world appear to be looking more to Europe and even China to play a more prominent role, while the influence of the United States and Russia are largely seen in a negative light. Such a potential realignment has significant implications for U.S. foreign policy. The poll, conducted by GlobeScan, together with the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes, surveyed over 23,000 respondents in 23 countries around the world."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Two PD reports

GAO recently released: U.S. Public Diplomacy: Interagency Coordination Efforts Hampered by the Lack of a National Communication Strategy GAO-05-323, April 4, 2005

(from the abstract:)
"The war on terrorism has focused attention on the important role U.S. public diplomacy plays in improving the nation's image. The United States has undertaken efforts to "win hearts and minds" by better engaging, informing, and influencing foreign audiences; however, recent polling data show that anti-Americanism is spreading and deepening around the world. GAO was asked to examine (1) to what extent U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been coordinated and (2) whether the private sector has been significantly engaged in such efforts."

Another interesting report is the UK's Foreign Policy Centre's "British Public Diplomacy in the Age of Schisms"(February 2005). The report addresses many of the same issues and challenges that the U.S. faces in its public diplomacy efforts.

(from the introduction:)
"...Why is a new direction needed?
Authors Mark Leonard, Andrew Small and Counterpoint director, Martin Rose examine how Britain can forge a new public diplomacy role to suit an unstable, shifting, post-Iraq world, where divisions - or schisms - push nations into very different alliances. The lack of a significant debate about the role of public diplomacy post-Iraq, and the reliance on a Cold War-style public diplomacy suggests that a major rethink is needed. The authors argue that a new public diplomacy should be about mapping these schisms and bridging them, with a focus on trust and mutuality in the long-term, rather than about just delivering the message."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Presidents on Tape

An interesting site for anyone interested in the presidency (following excerpted from Scout Report, April 1, 2005)

WhiteHouseTapes.org [Macromedia Flash Player, pdf, Windows Media Player, QuickTime]

"Since 1940, six American presidents have secretly recorded close to 5,000 hours of conversations, many of which have been of great interest to presidential historians, the press, and the general public. This remarkable site provides access to a wide range of those conversations, and is hosted and maintained by the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. From the site's homepage, visitors can browse a list of highlighted audio clips (complete with full transcripts) and also access educational resource materials for use in the classroom. The site also has some additional virtual exhibits on a number of topics, including Vietnam and the civil rights movement. Finally, the site also contains a search engine so that visitors can quickly locate the audio clip or conversation they are looking for

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Vivisimo's clustered search tool "clusty" has added a tab for searching government and related sources. (excerpt:) " Clusty's Gov tab brings together a number of special collections using Vivísimo Velocity. The Gov+ search is a powerful metasearch analogous to the Web+ tab, but focused on U.S. government and politics. It combines a metasearch of FirstGov, MSN limited to the ".gov" domain, DefenseLink, political news from Reuters, the Associated Press, and CNN, and a number of prominent American think tanks, including RAND, The Brookings Institution, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, and Milken Institute. "

Watching America

the following is excerpted from the "about" information on the site.
"WatchingAmerica reflects global opinion about the United States, helping Americans and non-Americans alike understand what the world thinks of current issues that involve the U.S. This is done by providing news and views about the United States published in other countries.
It is not our purpose to find favorable or unfavorable news and commentary, but to reflect as accurately as possible how others perceive the richest and most powerful country in the world. We have absolutely no political agenda.
WatchingAmerica makes available in English articles written about the U.S. by foreigners, often for foreign audiences, and often in other languages. Since WatchingAmerica offers its own translations, regular users of our site will be able to enjoy articles that are not available in English anywhere else. We are a unique window into world opinion.
In addition, by integrating the latest translation technology into the site, visitors are able to surf all of the content of foreign-language news outlets at the push of a button - in English.
The site is updated frequently.
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Gulf2000 Project

This appears to be an authoritative source for information on the Persian Gulf region. (excerpt:)
"This site was developed by the Gulf/2000 Project at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University in New York City. It is designed to make available in a single location a wealth of information on the eight countries of the Persian Gulf region--Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. "

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

State of the News Media 2005 report

(source: http://www.bespacific.com, March 15, 2005)

Report on the State of the American News Media

The Project for Excellence in Journalism has published the State of the News Media 2005 report (navigate the contents of the 500 plus pages via this
link) which reviews two distinct categories of media: the first is identified as text-based media, and includes newspapers and Internet news sites; the second is electronic media, inclusive of broadcast network and cable network news.

  • From the project overview: "For each of the media sectors, we examine six different areas - content, audience trends, economics, ownership, newsroom investment and public attitudes."
  • From the conclusion: "Today, a host of new forms of communication offer a way for newsmakers to reach the public. There are talk-show hosts, cable interview shows, corporate Web sites, government Web sites, Web sites that purport to be citizen blogs but are really something else, and more. Journalism is a shrinking part of a growing world of media. And since
    journalists are trained to be skeptics and aspire at least, in the famous phrase, to speak truth to power, journalism is the one source those who want to manipulate the public are most prone to denounce."
  • Friday, March 11, 2005

    American Historical Assocation

    American Historical Association [pdf]


    (excerpted from Scout Report, March 11, 2005)

    Incorporated by Congress in 1889, the American Historical Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to "the promotion of historical studies, the collection and preservation of historical documents and artifacts, and the dissemination of historical research." Currently, the AHA has more than 14,000 history professionals at every type of educational institution, museum, historical organization, library, and archive. On the site, visitors can learn about various prizes and fellowships available from the AHA and also learn about its various publications. Those individuals interested in enrolling in a doctoral program in history will want to look at their profiles of various programs around the United States. Visitors will also want to look at the current and archived issues of the AHA's well-known monthly publication, Perspectives. The publication contains helpful articles that range from commentary on teaching to those on museum exhibitions. [KMG]

    Russia Profile

    (excerpted from the Scout Report, March 11, 2005)

    Russia Profile


    The availability of high-quality news reporting on the Internet continues to improve, though at times finding reputable sources can still be difficult for certain parts of the world. Russia Profile is one such source, as it is produced by the Independent Media group, which is responsible for publishing The Moscow Times along with a number of other magazines across Russia. The goal of this website is to both broaden the scope of news coming out of Russia and "to provide a platform for an informed discussion of issues related to or concerning Russia". From the site's homepage, visitors can read about the latest from Russia Profile, view a calendar of events, and subscribe for free to the print edition of Russia Profile. Visitors can also participate in a number of online forum discussions. [KMG]

    Thursday, March 10, 2005

    Not for conspiracy buffs!

    The head of the U.S. Department of State's countermisinformation team has put together a webpage that addresses some of the misinformation about the U.S. that is circulated on the internet and elsewhere. The page also includes an email address to which questions or information regarding disinformation, misinformation, urban legends, conspiracy theories, or false rumors can be directed.

    (excerpt from Washington File:) "Rumors, gossip, and conspiracy theories undermine trust and the advantages of the "Information Revolution." In an effort to correct malicious or simply misguided "information," the U.S. Department of State has created a new web collection, "Identifying Misinformation," http://usinfo.state.gov/media/media_resources/misinformation.html

    "Identifying Misinformation" was developed over a number of years. It corrects false claims that the United States:

    • had advance warning of the South Asian tsunami
    • invented AIDS as a biological weapon
    • is using chemical weapons in Iraq
    • "created" Osama bin Laden.

    The page is written by the State Department's countermisinformation expert. He has authored reports on this subject to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations, and has 12 years of experience debunking false stories. "

    Friday, March 04, 2005

    Amazing! Charming! Ingenious!

    Perhaps I'm getting old and sentimental, but I found Jon Udell's Walking Tour of Keene, New Hampshire to be a bit of Americana of the most endearing kind. Quite apart from being an example of technology so impressive as to make you grin, it presents - and quite unintentionally, I think - those soft and soft- spoken values of American community that are not always effectively conveyed through our public diplomacy efforts! This would make a great "show-off" item at a librarian's conference or at any gathering of technologically interested contacts - a 5 minute international visitor program!

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    NYPL Digital Gallery

    The New York Public Library unveiled on Wednesday a free, searchable database of 275,000 photographs and manuscripts from its collection.

    "NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 275,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more."

    Think Tanks

    Here are some think-tank directories, courtesy of Resource Shelf
    Hillwatch.com: Think Tanks ("A directory of Canadian and International Think Tanks")
    KSG Directory of Think Tanks (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
    NIRA's World Directory of Think Tanks (National Institute for Research Advancement in Japan. Hard copies of the directory are issued every three years. The 2002 edition is online here.) Political Resources: Think Tanks (Project VoteSmart)
    Political Resources: Think Tanks (University of Michigan Documents Center)
    Worldpress.org: Think Tanks and N.G.O.s