Thursday, May 25, 2006

Stumpers-l and project wombat

The old stumpers-l list, for all conceivable reference questions, has been reborn as project wombat, with some useful new features.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pew on PD

A new book from the Pew Institute, America Against the World, paints a bleak picture of the U.S. image around the world; interviews of more than 90,000 people in 50 countries over a four-year time span suggest that anti-American sentiment now extends beyond U.S. leadership and foreign policies to Americans themselves. Some reviews: Newhouse News, IHT, New America Foundation, CSM, Foreign Affairs See also co-author Kohut's testimony on this issue in the House last November.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Exotic library jobs

I think my job is fairly interesting and unusual as far as library jobs go, but it surely doesn't compete with the Camel Mobile Library of Kenya!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Another fun tool

The Newspaper Snippet Generator is a fun tool that bears some resemblance to the Einstein blackboard tool, reviewed here some months ago. Just type in a text, and the Newspaper Snippet Generator will produce an authentic-looking newspaper article containing your text. With the help of this little tool, it is truly amazing what you can find in ProQuest's Historical Newspapers database!


HTML2PDF is a neat tool for creating pdf files out of html pages. Very useful if you'd like to create hardcopy handouts of webpages for presentations, etc. Just enter the url of a webpage, and html2pdf creates a handsome pdf document.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Campaigning on the Blogs

For Washington pols and presidential candidates, a new staffer is becoming indispensable: the Internet specialist.

An article in TIME magazine about the importance of having internet specialists who have contact with bloggers.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Serious games

Wired News reported March 27 that DOS and the USC Annenberg School for Communication had co-sponsored a "Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games" competition. 4 finalists have been announced:

Exchanging Cultures: Exchanging Cultures, a diplomatic game built inside "Second Life," was created to facilitate the creating virtual communities and relationships based on the exchange of cultural items like: dances, art crafts, food receipts, architectural models, clothing, cultural routes and images of real original places for travelers and explorers.

Global Kids Island: Fostering Public Diplomacy Through Second Life Global Kids, Inc. envisioned a Public Diplomacy program within Second Life where the youth in the after-school program will spend the month learning about a global issue, experience an interactive and experiential workshop designed to educate about the issue. Their demonstration will be shown at the awards ceremony. For more information on the organization:

Hydro Hijinks: Hydro Hyjinks is a class project designed to promote discussion about international water issues and to educate players from around the world about sources of international conflict over water rights. Watch the video tour of the game at: .

Peacemaker: PeaceMaker is a cross-cultural political video game simulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which can be used to promote a peaceful resolution among Israelis, Palestinians and young adults worldwide. More information, please visit their website: .

GAO PD report

U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department Efforts Lack Certain Communication Elements and Face Persistent Challenges, GAO-06-707T, May 3, 2006

(from intro...)
"Public opinion polls have shown continued negative sentiments toward the United States in the Muslim world. Public diplomacy activities--led by the State Department (State)--are designed to counter such sentiments by explaining U.S. foreign policy actions, countering misinformation, and advancing mutual understanding between nations. Since 2003, we have issued three reports on U.S. public diplomacy efforts that examined (1) changes in public diplomacy resources since September 11, 2001; (2) strategic planning and coordination of public diplomacy efforts; and (3) the challenges facing these efforts. We have made several recommendations in the last 3 years to the Secretary of State to address strategic planning issues, private sector engagement, and staffing challenges related to public diplomacy. For example, today's report recommends that the Secretary develop written guidance detailing how the department intends to implement its public diplomacy goals as they apply to the Muslim world. State has consistently concurred with our findings and recommendations for improving public diplomacy, and the department, in several cases, is taking appropriate actions. However, the department has not established a timetable for many of these actions."