Friday, October 27, 2006

Google's Librarian Center

Google's Librarian Center has some useful stuff, and the newsletter is worth subscribing to. In the "your stories section" I found Laurie the Librarian's webcast/tutorial on how to set up and use Google reader, if you're having trouble getting started with RSS. Knowing how to create an online tutorial might be useful for IRCs, e.g. to walk people through the visa application process, show how to participate in a webchat, etc.

Immigration to the U.S., 1789-1930

From the Harvard University Library's Open Collections program: Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
"Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, is a web-based collection of selected historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums that documents voluntary immigration to the US from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Get your NYPL card now!


An ircworld post a few months ago referred to Kevin Kelly's article about the virtues of getting a New York Public Library card and - for CA residents - a SFPL card. I've since learned that anyone anywhere in the world can be the proud holder of an NYPL card - mine just arrived in the mail today! For the $100 annual fee, anyone anywhere can get full access to approximately 85 databases - this is something you might like to mention to academic and library contacts wherever you are!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Multiple-engine search

In her interesting presentation for NOLUG at the Oslo College yesterday, Marydee Ojala mentioned that Google and Yahoo were so displeased with the wonderfully named Yagoohoogle , that its owner has obliged by renaming it Twingine (note that a similar service, Yahoogle, is still out there, whatever G and Y may feel about it) Marydee showed us some other interesting multiple engine services: www.jux2.com searches in G, Y, and M, and displays the distribution of results between the three engines. And ranking.thumbshots.com is neat, but only works in IE. It compares searches (2 at a time) between alltheweb, altavista, teoma, wisenut, google, yahoo, and msn, and creates a graphic display of overlapping hits and shows where in the respective SE rankings the hits occur. It also displays links that are unique to each of the engines. Mousing over any of the hits (ie. links) displays a thumbshot of the site.

This morning I stumbled upon another interesting multiple engine search service, resultr This service allows you to create and save your own custom made search engines, by combining from more than 40 pre-selected search engines in 8 categories (News, Blogs, Media, Jobs, Social Info, Reference, Shopping and Local). Unfortunately, there is no way (that I could see) of adding your own favorites - for example Firstgov.gov - to the menu of engines you can select from. Such a feature would make it a far more useful service.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Library as conversation

ALA and the Information Institute of Syracuse University have prepared a draft paper on libraries and Web2.0 Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation . Once again, the virtues of conversation...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Clusty's Benjamin Franklin Portal

The people at clusty.com are now offering a Benjamin Franklin portal: "Welcome to the Benjamin Franklin web portal: a comprehensive, one-stop site that includes carefully curated educational resources, Franklin's own writings and proverbs, and tens of thousands of websites scattered throughout cyberspace. Befitting this founding father's leadership in establishing the country's first public library, this free site, in honor of his Tercentenary, is accessible to anyone with an internet connection."

5 Weeks to a Social Library

Social Library? Sign up for this online course if you want to learn all about it.. "Five Weeks to a Social Library, the first free, grassroots, completely online course devoted to teaching librarians about social software and how to use it in their libraries." And if you're not one of the lucky 40 participants who will be expected (or if you don't have time), know that "course content will be freely viewable to interested parties and all live Webcasts will be archived for later viewing."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Google launches docs.google.com

Google takes another step in moving computing from your pc to the web with its launch of Google Docs & Spreadsheets. The document part of the service is simply Writely in bought (not borrowed) Google finery - Google bought Writely back in March. Go to www.writely.com now and you'll end just end up at the new Google site.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Firstgov Reference Page

The Reference Center and General Government page at Firstgov has lots of useful stuff, including maps, a locator for local, federal, and national libraries, list of online library databases, agency telephone directories, free image and photo banks, and much more.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Politics and technology

Neat New Stuff alerts us this week to an article that might be of interest to contacts with an interest in U.S. politics: "Librarian Laura Gordon-Murnane provides an excellent review, with links, of the top liberal and conservative blogs, candidate blogs, official party blogs, and local political blogs.Politics and Tech Tools - Blogs, Aggregators and Tracking Tools" http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/oct06/Gordon-Murnane.shtml

Population Research Bureau

This month the population of the U.S. will exceed 300 million. A wonderful reference resource for information about population, migration and demographics is the Population Reference Bureau, publishers of the 2006 World Population Data Sheet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Another new portrait of American (youth) civic participation

Yet another gloomy snapshot of American attitudes towards civic participation is provided by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at the University of Maryland.
In a report released yesterday, they found that nearly two-thirds of young Americans were disengaged from political and civic life and only a quarter regularly voted.
Still, not all the results were grim.
Seventy-two percent of youths said they followed the news at least some of the time to see what was happening in government and public affairs.
The 37 page report can be accessed at:
http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/2006_cphs_report.pdf

Google gadgets

Google has rolled out a number of gadgets you can add to your webpages with a little cutting and pasting of code. Although USG websites will want to steer away from the frivolous, some of these might actually be useful: a calendar to show embassy events, a translator or dictionary widget where visitors can quickly translate or lookup words they might be uncertain about, a map which shows the location of the embassy or an embassy event, a currency converter for pages with consular fees, or an American history quiz for your American history page. More interesting than the specific gadgets is the underlying web2.0 concept of developing such things that can be shared across websites...for the adventuresom, the API is available here.