March 28th, 2008
How do ya? A brand new online search engine, due for it’s premier introduction on April 1st, (brave, don’t ya think?) is still in it’s beta. It’s a fun search engine and worth a look. It already has some interesting favorite searches:
Most popular searches:
plan a wedding…
fly a plane…
build a spaceship…
raise venture capital…
bake a cake…
write like Kurt Vonnegut…
fly a biplane…
fix a leaky faucet…
paint like Pablo Picasso…
How do ya how do ya online?
It ain’t easy. Too much information to wade through, too much time wasted searching. Particularly frustrating, especially if you know what you want to do, and you just need to learn a little bit more to do it right. And the worst thing is, there’s almost never a single best answer.
Deeds — not words.
HowDoYa was created to help people who want to learn how-to do something — anything. We do it by helping you search the Internet in a smarter, task-centric way. And unlike other websites that profess to have the single right answer, we give you many (but not too many) answers, so you can find the one that is right for you.
Many thanks to Phil Bradley and his endless search for the best of the best.
March 27th, 2008
From Casper Star Tribune Online
PINEDALE — The new wing under construction at the Sublette County Library represents a groundbreaking project for the community — literally.
The $5 million addition is being built out of dirt.
Dirt from nearby Cora, to be exact.
The first-ever rammed-earth public building in the nation will complement Pinedale’s decade-old library when the expansion project is completed in March 2009, library officials said.
Rammed-earth building is a construction technique that has been used for thousands of years. The green-building process involves compacting moist earth into pre-set molds to form walls and ceilings.
“It’s true … we’re building an addition out of dirt,” county library director Daphne Platts said with a laugh. “We are very excited about it.”
Read the entire article here.
March 27th, 2008
Back in September 2006 my colleague, the Librarian in Black wrote an excellent article entitled Ten Reasons Librarians Should Use Ask.com Instead of Google Given the recent news about Ask, I thought I’d revisit this idea only this time I’m going to focus on Exalead. My apologies in advance to Sarah for basing some of the following on her original work.
10. The advanced search functionality. I’ve left this until last because it’s the most important. You can run phonetic searches, proximity searches, specific language searches (and boy! do these people have a lot of alternatives), a title search, link searches, search by date, a prefix search, site search, exact words or phrases, optional terms, proper Boolean logic with parentheses as well, and regular expressions for things like character repetition, ‘or’ options, single character options and so on. The example they give is /mpg(1|2|3)?/ which is very neat.
Take a look at his list of ten reasons here. I have been using it and I like what I see!
March 26th, 2008
One of Amazon.com’s ‘Significant Seven’, The Zookeeper’s Wife relates a story of war as it affects peripheral Polish citizens. Jan Zabinski, Warsaw Zoo Director and his wife Antonina, shelter 300 Jewish people along with others in the pens and shelters built for animals. With steely courage and a calm facade, Antonina keeps diaries, raises her son, entertains the likes of Lutz Heck, a Nazi sympathizer and the head of the Berlin Zoo, keeps a garden and tends to her hidden flock of terrorized Poles.
Ackerman’s research arranges Antonina’s diaries and other sources into a story that reads close to what may have been Antonina’s own words. We see the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi occupation. She describes the bombing and even the wasteful nonsensical scene of Nazi officers shooting penned zoo animals for sport. Reading The Zoo Keeper’s Wife draws a picture of the Nazi era outside the concentration camps while revealing a previously unknown story.
March 25th, 2008
The Big List of Things I Like About LibraryThing
Published March 7th, 2008, 12:45pm in Ideas, Lists.
On DeepLinking by Sean Flannagan
A year ago I rounded up a fairly big list of bookish social networks. I’ve since tried a number of them (as the list has grown to something like 40 bookish competitors) and was pretty hyped up about Google Book Search until their embeddable book clippings started breaking and I realized their full-text search only covers a small percentage of the books I’m interested in searching.
This week, at long last, LibraryThing won me over with:
* LibraryThing Local: This is what led me to click ‘register’ and apparently I’m not alone. LibraryThing Local aggregates and maps user-submitted book-related places and events and allows you to keep track of your favorite book spots.
* Selection: Most book-focused social networks get their book data exclusively from Amazon’s ASIN database, which is basically a clone of the International Standard Book Number system. The ISBN system was introduced just over 40 years ago and there are plenty of books out there that aren’t in it.
* Member-uploaded covers: Book covers, I like them. I buy old editions of books I’ve read for the covers, and seek out cover designers.
* Book collection comparisons: As you start adding books to your library, you’ll see a box on your profile called “Members with your books.” Prepare to be amazed at the number of LibraryThing members who share your unique taste.
* Community: All the true book freaks are on LibraryThing: the booksellers and librarians, collectors and hoarders (and writers—a lot of authors are members and you’re alerted when you add their books). LibraryThing’s got it.
March 25th, 2008
The following was taken from the Books for Ears website, a great place to visit if you love audio books.
What are ‘Books for Ears’?
Books for ears are audio books – recordings of someone (often more than one someone) reading a book out loud. Audio books are used by lots of different people – blind people, commuters, kids learning to read and more.
Who is this site meant for?
Can you answer yes to any of the following?
- I sometimes volunteer to run errands so I get to listen to more of my audio book
- I feel panic when nearing the end of an audio book without one waiting in the wings to take its place
- I am picky about the audio books I choose – I want great readers AND great stories
Ah ha – we have found you. We are like you.. and we have set out to share reviews of the audio books we are putting in our ears so you can find the perfect next selection for your listening pleasure.
Check out the website: Books for Ears.
March 24th, 2008
The Wyoming State House of Representatives voted 60–0 March 7 to pass the Public Library Endowment Challenge Program. The bill, S.F. 29, which passed the state senate February 21, establishes a $9.1-million endowment for the state’s 23 public library systems. Prior to approval, the Senate Appropriations Committee decreased the figure down from its original $25.3 million, but after two years of unsuccessful attempts to pass the legislation, many library supporters see the establishment of the endowment as the true victory.
March 20th, 2008
KSL invited Samantha Larsen from the Salt Lake County Library to share some of her picks for great classic literature. They asked her to compile a list of 10 classic books all women should read. The following are her choices:
Criteria: published at least 50 years ago; strong female protagonist; a woman’s place or experience in history, family, society, and religion.
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) British
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single gentleman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” is how Austen begins her unforgettable comedic satire of the marriage mart in Regency England. The Bennets have five marriageable daughters but which sister will the wealthy Mr. Bingley and his even wealthier friend Mr. Darcy choose?
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847) British
Jane Eyre becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall where she is irresistibly drawn to her older employer Mr. Rochester, who appears to care for her in return, however, the secrets of his past could destroy them both.
3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966) Dominican Written as a prequel to Jane Eyre, Rhys tells the history of Bertha Antoinette Mason and allows the reader to decide whether she was “mad” or misunderstood.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) American
Miss Maudie explains to Scout that, “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (98). In this Pulitzer Prize-winning coming of age story, Scout learns what it means to kill a mockingbird when her father Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town during the 1930s.
5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925) British
This novel about one day begins with Mrs. Dalloway buying flowers. Throughout the day the reader learns about Clarissa Dalloway’s past and present life from her own thoughts to the thoughts of those around her as she prepares for her party that night. Meanwhile, Septimus Harding a “mad” war veteran talks to a tree and makes a decision that affects everyone around him, including Clarissa Dalloway, who he’s never met.
6. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871) British
As the title suggests this book is not about one character but a town. Middlemarch has people from all social classes all who ambitions for careers, politics, and love. Dorothea Brooke is a privileged girl who longs to do something great and good so she marries the much older Mr. Casaubon hoping to be of some use to the world, however, she finds herself more confined then before.
7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868) American
The story of four very different sisters during the middle of the 19th century. Jo March is rough and wild and wants to be a writer. Meg March is the eldest and resentful of the family’s poverty. Beth March is quiet and often overlooked until a kind neighbor gives her a piano to play. Amy March is the youngest and the most spoiled. Together the sisters play, fight, fall in love, and grow up.
8. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905) American
Lily Bart is 29 years old, beautiful, of high social standing, but has no money. She must marry a wealthy man and soon. Can she sacrifice herself to the expectations of society and her own standards of comfort?
9. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848) British
Henry Carlson, the son of a factory owner, flirted with Mary Barton a factory worker. Carlson is found shot. Who killed him? Jem Wilson who has loved Mary all his life? Or John Barton, Mary’s father, who is a radical trades unionist fighting against the higher classes? Read the story that Charles Dickens found so compelling that he wrote to Elizabeth Gaskell and asked her to write for his magazine.
10. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (1908) Canadian
Anne spelled with an ‘E’ is, as Mark Twain observed, “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.” Brought to Prince Edward Island by mistake, Anne must convince Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert to adopt her. All would be well if Anne could stay out of scrapes, like dyeing her hair green, long enough for Marilla to make up her mind.
For more recommendations check “Bewitched Librarian” blog: www.lady-lefroy.blogspot.com
Thanks to Diana H. for sharing this information.
Thanks also to Leander for sharing his daughters’ interest in Jane Austin.