Information Sources on Earthquakes

Well, the news was a flutter with discussion of last night’s earthquake. If you missed it, take a look at: Midwest Quake Felt Far and Wide from CNN. By the way, I was told that today marks the 102nd anniversary of the San Francisco Quake & Fire of 1906.Here’s some info forwarded to our library from the Illinois State Library Federal Depository Library Email List: Information on this morning’s earthquake near Bellmont, Illinois can be found at the following site: Earthquake summary from U.S. Geological Survey. This site deals specifically with this morning’s earthquake and includes links to maps, and a site called Did You Feel It?, where you can report whether you felt the earthquake.Other Earthquake Information Resources

For those of you REALLY interested in earthquakes, you may want to stop by the library and grab The encyclopedia of earthquakes and volcanoes by David Ritchie

The Complete Works of Darwin Online

This one is for you historians & biologists…

The Complete Works of Darwin

This site contains Darwin’s complete publications, thousands of handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published; also hundreds of supplementary works: biographies, obituaries, reviews, reference works and more.

Cambridge University Libraries has put this out for free.  What a great service!

Open Congressional Research Reports

This is a useful resource to pass along, Open CR provides free Congressional Research Reports on a range of topics.  Here’s a piece from the about section:

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.

If you go to this site, enter a search, and they might have a useful report on your topci.

Web Searching Beyond Google

The Web is growing at such a rate that no search engine, not even Google, can search the entire Web. As the Web grows and different technologies come into existence, it becomes increasingly useful to have a whole range of search tools in your bag of tricks. Remember, each search engine uses its one search algorithms (rules), so trying more than one search engine will help you see pieces of the Web that you may miss if you just stick to one search engine. Here are a few to send along and try out.

General Search Engines

  • Ask: hardly a “new” search engine, and with its marketing, you may know this one. Ask works to provide many cool add ons that are worth checking out.
  • Gigablast: Their “freshness” dating helps ID how long content has been on the Web.
  • Clusty: Clustered results help organize and lead to other sources.

Meta Search Engines: These are tools that search multiple search engines, so that you can jump between them and compare results.

Specialty Web Tools

  • Flashearth: This one is cool. You can search a number of different geo tools (like Google maps) at once. You can then select from different images and maps depending on what you need.
  • BookSearch x 3: Search the three big book search tools at once (Google, Amazon, MSN)

Thanks to Greg Notess for discussing these resources on his blog and at the recent Computers in Libraries conference.

The Mountain Top: 40 Years Ago

Today marks 40 years since the tragic, assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and yesterday marked the 40th anniversary since King’s Mountain Top Speech. This was one of the most powerful speeches in US history. Here is a clip of that speech from Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now program:

If you’d like to learn more, you may want to check out the classic Eyes on the Prize documentary series from our library. Or, you may want to take a look at the many resources in the library on Dr. King.

Graphic Novels: Not Just for Nerds Anymore

I heard this NPR Story, Three Writings Feel the Lure of Comics, (you can listen to the story online) on the way to campus this morning. Here’s a quote:

As comic books — or, in more highbrow parlance, graphic novelizations — nudge their way onto the shelves of bookstores and the pages of literary magazines, some well-known writers are trying their hand at the genre. Pop-culture icon Joss Whedon, best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult and rapper Percy Carey are among those feeling the lure of comics.

The MVCC Library has added a number of graphic novels to the library’s collection. (Leslie put a post on this blog about this a few years ago.) I thought I’d add a few notable titles:

These are just a few examples of titles we’ve added.

Remembering William F. Buckley

Intellectual, conservative activist, and media personality, William F. Buckely passed away on February 27th at age 82. This News Hour segment is a nice overview of this life and work, “Editor Reflects on Buckley’s Conservative Legacy”. Our library holds 12 books written by Buckely. You may want to check out these articles in Academic Search Premier to learn more (MVCC ID required).

Happy Leap Day!

Today is February 29th, which is my Great-Aunt Elane’s birthday. Despite the fact that she is my grandmother’s sister, today is only the 18th or 19th time she has actually celebrated her birthday on her birthday, because she was born on February 29th, which only comes around every 4 years.

Why do we do that? Well, according to the National Maritime Museum in the UK, the reason is because the year is not really 365 days long. It is actually 365.24219 days long, and over time, that .24219 of a day starts to add up. Actually, by 1582 this small difference had really thrown things out of whack, so that the months were not lining up with the same seasons any more. Thus, Pope Gregory the XIII implemented the Gregorian calendar that we use today.

For those of you out there who are into this sort of stuff and want to learn a bit more, I would recommend Duncan Steele’s book Marking time : the epic quest to invent the perfect calendar, which is here in the MVCC library.

Debunking 9/11 Myths

Over the last year, I have had several students come to the information desk in the library asking me to help them find information that shows that story from the US government about the terrorist attack on 9/11/01 was untrue and that, in actuality, there was some other conspiracy that explains this attack. As a librarian, I always offer up some suggestions to these students, but I also am sure to let students guide their own research. But, I thought that it might be useful to post a couple of resources for future examples when students arrive with similar questions.

First, Popular Mechanics has a Web site, “Debunking the 9/11 Myths”, which is excellent. Here’s a quote from the site:

From the moment the first airplane crashed into the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, the world has asked one simple and compelling question: How could it happen?

Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia. Wild conspiracy tales are peddled daily on the Internet, talk radio and in other media. Blurry photos, quotes taken out of context and sketchy eyewitness accounts have inspired a slew of elaborate theories: The Pentagon was struck by a missile; the World Trade Center was razed by demolition-style bombs; Flight 93 was shot down by a mysterious white jet. As outlandish as these claims may sound, they are increasingly accepted abroad and among extremists here in the United States.

To investigate 16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists, POPULAR MECHANICS assembled a team of nine researchers and reporters who, together with PM editors, consulted more than 70 professionals in fields that form the core content of this magazine, including aviation, engineering and the military.

Second, Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy theories and Controlled Demolition Myths is a site entirely devoted to showing the poor logic, misuse of evidence, and general lies that conspiracy theorists use. There are even some useful back-and-forths here between the writers of this site and conspiracy theorists.

As a librarian, I find all of this to be a great learning opportunity for students who are entering the public debate as adults and now find themselves in a position to weigh evidence, consider differing viewpoints, and make a person decision about how they interpret the meaning of events.