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Best Free Online Reference According to Library Journal

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors

Best Free Reference 2013

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Each year Library Journal shares what they feel are the best online, free reference resources. This year, Cynthia Etkin and Brian E. Coutis did not disappoint with their suggestions. The following descriptions are excerpts from the article.

 

 

CIA–Central Intelligence Agency  “Experience the CIA’s history through its museum of artifacts, stories, and an interactive time line. Learn how a pigeon gathered intelligence, read about the final hunt for bin Laden, and see what was in an operative’s “Escape and Evasion Survival Kit.” The CIA’s online library is rich with publications on the history of the intelligence community, the Cold War, and declassified collections such as “From Typist to Trailblazer: The Evolving View of Women in the CIA’s Workforce.” With more than 8.5 million pages, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government records were part of the largest single-topic declassification effort—and they are available here. The World Factbook, the agency’s most popular reference title, and the CIA Maps page offers downloads. There’s a Kids’ Zone, too.”

EUROPA–European Union  “Visit this site to learn how the EU works, explore what it does in its wide array of activities from agriculture to science and technology (and everything in between), and discover why the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. Want to live in or do business in the EU? Ever wonder what Europeans think about biodiversity or train service there? This site will tell you what you need to know. Find official documents, studies, and resources for teachers. Search Eurostat for statistics, Eurobarometer for public opinion surveys, and newsroom databases for press releases and audiovisuals.”

FORVO: All the words in the world pronounced   “This site’s audio clips tell users how to pronounce things. It includes words you might find in a dictionary but also names and places related to current events. Since it depends upon user submissions, it’s only as good as its community. However, more than 300 editors are kept busy handling all the new entries. By early 2014 the site included 2.3 million words and slightly more pronunciations, in 306 different languages. German, English, Tatar, and Russian have more than 100,000 entries among them. The site was selected by Time as one of the 50 best in the world last year.”

French Culture  “Cultural Services is a division of the French Embassy. With bases in New York City, Washington, DC, and eight other cities in the United States, it’s dedicated to creating transatlantic dialog in the arts and education. You can click on “French Culture” for the latest news on books, films, visual and performing arts, grants and programs, and events. The “French Language” section offers information on teaching or learning the language. “Higher Education” covers teaching and studying in France and related grants and fellowships.”

Health Happens in Libraries  “This program helps library staff meet the demands for information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare). Access webinars about health information resources or how your library can support patron ACA needs. Under “Resources,” find links to federal and state sites for application and enrollment; guides created by and for libraries; and links to state sites that provide more localized support. Sign up to receive alerts for new resources and training opportunities.”

NOAA—FishWatch  “This site, maintained by the leading authority for managing the nation’s marine fisheries, is designed to provide accessible, science-based facts to help consumers make smart seafood choices. Click on “Seafood Profiles” to find out how your favorite fish are faring. “Farmed Seafood” discusses the status of our domestic freshwater and marine aquaculture, an industry still in its infancy. There are also tips on buying and eating seafood (recipes are ­included).”

Performance History Search: Carnegie Hall  “Carnegie Hall has hosted 50,000 events in its three auditoriums since 1891. In 2013, it made an online performance archive available directly to the public for the first time. As of early 2014, records spanning 1891 to 1950 were published, covering more than 15,000 benefits, lectures, symphony orchestra performances, and more.”

PolitiFact  “Ever wished for a way to determine the truth regarding politics? Researchers from PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize–winning website launched in 2007 by the Tampa Bay Times, examine statements made by members of Congress, the president, governors, mayors, lobbyists, and anyone else in American politics who makes their voice heard. Their Truth-O-Meter rates statements as true, mostly true, half true, mostly false, false, and the wonderful “Pants on Fire.” Use the Flip-O-Meter to identify those who have changes in voting patterns or a reversal of stands. The recently added PunditFact applies the same scale to the statements of pundits, columnists, talk show hosts and guests, and political analysts. Both sites can be searched or browsed by personal name or Truth-O-Meter rating; PunditFact is also browsable by TV network.”

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics  “The criteria for inclusion in this resource, which began as a print title in 1973, is that data must be reliable and methodologically sound, national in scope, and presented by regions, states, and cities of the United States. Information comes from more than 100 sources, primarily state and federal agencies, research centers, and universities. Data is presented in six sections: Criminal justice characteristics; Public opinion; Crime, victims; Arrests, seizures; Courts, prosecution, sentencing; and Parole, jails, prisons, death penalty. The alphabetical list of topics and the table lists are most helpful in identifying the needed statistics. Data is available for multiple years and presented as both PDF and CSV files. Each section can be viewed or downloaded in its entirety.”

StopBullying.gov  “This site provides information from various government agencies defining bullying and cyberbullying, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to the problem. The site is governed by an editorial board that includes representatives from the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice. Under “News” is the U.S. departments of Education and Justice’s “School Discipline Guidance Package,” released in January 2014. The “policies & laws” section is useful for finding a model policy for your district. The site also provides information for parents and children, and a “Get Help Now” button offers quick assistance for victims.”

Any resources you would add to this list? Please share!


Join the conversation: Burbank Branch Community Meeting

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: About the Library | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors

Burbank_front_4On Wednesday, April 2, from 7:00-8:30 pm, Portland Public Library will host a community forum at the Burbank Branch to discuss ways of improving our Burbank Branch facility which will undergo a remodeling later this year.

The Burbank facility, created in 1995, is itself the 6th busiest library in the state, operating well beyond the capacity imagined twenty years ago. The planned renovation will reconfigure and update the branch to reflect changes in how Burbank patrons use the library, address building infrastructure issues, and solve long-standing ergonomic challenges for library staff.

Scott Simons, whose firm is the architect for the renovation, will facilitate the conversation.

For more information or to share your thoughts before or after the forum, call 871-1700 x759 or send email to librarydirector@portland.lib.me.us.

Refreshments will be served. The Friends of the Portland Public Library are sponsoring this event.


VIDA Count

posted: , by Jim Charette
tags: Adults

“In 2014, celebrate Women’s History Month all year with your favorite women writers—or with women writers you have yet to discover! This March we’ve taken a look at the VIDA Count, which collects yearly statistics around how many women have been published in literary forums like “The New Yorker,” “The London Review of Books,” “The Atlantic,” or “Harper’s.” The results have often been staggering. Even outside the VIDA Count, it’s easy to note other differences in numbers. As of March 2014, Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to 97 male writers. Nobel Prizes in Literature awarded to female writers? 13. Why does this disparity occur? Why does it matter? With the facts in mind, what could our response be?

If you’re interested, join the conversation around 2014, “The Year of Reading Women.” Start with the stats behind the VIDA Count, or with Joanna Walsh’s article describing the hopes behind her Twitter hashtag #readwomen2014.  Put a hold on the brilliant and popular “Americanah,” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which just won the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award. Look for new ways to contemplate classic authors—discover “The Gorgeous Nothings,” a stark and beautiful book that offers up a collection of Emily Dickinson’s poetry-scrawled envelopes. Read transgender author Jennifer Finney Boylan’s “Stuck in the middle with you: a memoir of parenting in three genders.”  And…if you’re still looking for inspiration to get your reading started, don’t forget to check out PPL’s City of Readers lists of Contemporary Authors (Who Just Happen to be Women…) here and here.

Or find your own way, and send us your thoughts! We hope you’re looking forward to all of PPL’s new materials in 2014, and we’d love to hear from you.”

By Elizabeth Hartsig

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