FactMonster is kid’s version of InfoPlease. Currently run by Pearson Education, it’s chock full of dependable information cut down to kid’s size. Featuring lots of “homework help” features and munchkin-level explanations, this is a great place for kids to start learning to do research on their own. Also features an atlas, dictionary and encyclopedia.
Hey all! This week I’m bringing you the newest series here on WorldEclectic – InfoBites! Every Wednesday (hopefully!) I’ll be bringing you a tasty tidbit of news or information from the library or education world.
This week’s share is: “The Evolving, Expanding Service Landscape Across Academic Libraries,” an interesting reflection on the changing role of libraries and the services they offer by Brian Mathews, Associate Dean for Learning and Outreach at Virginia Tech. This is from his blog, The Ubiquitous Librarian (which unfortunately is coming to an end in July) which features a interesting array of articles from the world of library sciences. As he points out in the article, traditional reference queries at libraries have declined hugely in the past decade. But does this prove that libraries are no longer valid resources for their communities? How are libraries rewriting their roles in a world with a more information-literate public? Check out the article to find out!
InfoPlease is a great, free, internet-based almanac with a plethora of quality information about almost anything you can think of! Run by Pearson Education (of textbook-publishing fame), it has an atlas, encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, “Day in History” page, and even a few more nifty tools like the periodic table and conversion tools. It’s truly a one-stop-shop for information! The clean layout and well-designed separation of sections makes finding your topic a snap. If you can’t find it here, you can’t find it anywhere! A great place to start your research.
Now that spring (or maybe early summer, considering the temperatures this past week!) has finally arrived and all of my plants are in the ground, it’s time for serious consideration of all things garden! One of my favorite sources at this time of year is The Old Farmer’s Almanac. While I always purchase a print copy at my local hardware store, the online version is also fantastic!
Continually published since Robert Bailey Thomas created the first issue in 1792, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is America’s longest continually published periodical. The new print edition comes out every September, but the website is continually updated with interesting and up-to-date tidbits on all things astronomical, meteorological, culinary, and agricultural, with a “pleasant degree of humor,” as they say on the website.
The home page has a fun variety of information including various “…. of the Day” tidbits (ex: Question of the Day, Advice of the Day, etc.), weather and moon phase information, and a calendar. The website is divided into more specific sections, there are pages dedicated to weather, moon/astronomy, gardening, best days, cooking and recipes, home/health, community, and their store. Each contains a wealth of free information and folklore that gives you the same feeling as picking the brain of your crusty, if extremely knowledgeable, country grand-uncle.
Happy Monday all! Hope you’re enjoying the spring so far… unfortunately, it’s Monday so no-one is outside enjoying the lovely temperatures. Here are a few videos that have been bouncing around my head to bring a little fun to your day ^_^
1) Taylor Mali’s “The The Impotence of Proofreading” –> I love this man. Not only does he make poetry sexy and relevant, he talks about some of my favorite topics (proofreading, teaching, English language). This video is a fantastic slam poem about what happens when you don’t check your work. If you like that, make sure to check out my other all-time favorite of his, “What Teachers Make“.
2) This Korean pop video called “Roly-Poly” by the band T-ARA. So. Darn. Catchy. O_O;;;
3) Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Spacey play “Wheel of Impressions…” need I say more??
But never mind Valentine’s Day, I have to tell you about all the fun things I’ve found this week. First, I got a copy of “Plenty More” – the newest cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi (writer of “Jerusalem”) from the library. I’m currently lusting over his delicious-looking Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour Cherries (click the link to go the the recipe on Serious Eats) and his Tagliatelle with Lemon and Walnuts (link to Food Republic with review and recipe). I’ll make sure to tell you how they are when I give them a try!
“Today in History” is a web-based almanac created by the Library of Congress, the preeminent information collector and source in the US. Every day of the year features a snapshot of an important event that happened on that date somewhere in America. Each entry includes a description of the event and various primary-source materials such a photos, maps, sound recordings, or scans of documents that come from the Library of Congress’ “American Memory” collection (which comprises over 9 million items pertaining to American history). Most of the information comes from the Library’s collection itself, but it is also supported by information from well-known history books and vetted websites. You can navigate to “yesterday” or “tomorrow” easily through links at the top of the page, or use the archive page to search for more specific topics. This is a great site for teachers, students, and researchers alike because of the proliferation of primary sources!
The David Rumsey Map Collection is a website featuring one of the largest personal collections of maps in the US. Mr. David Rumsey has committed to making his collection available online and available to the public. The website currently hosts over 54,000 items from his collection and is updated on a monthly basis. The majority of the maps are of North and South America, rare, and from the 18th and 19th centuries. However, there are some maps of the globe itself and other areas (like Europe, Asia, Africa) as well. They have a variety of kinds of maps too, like wall maps, atlases, sea charts, children’s, and pocket maps. The oldest maps are from the 1760’s and the newest the 1950’s. David Rumsey is also a software maverick. He uses his knowledge of software to display his collection in different ways. His proprietary “Luna Browser” pops up and allows users to view the entire collection or perform keyword searches across the collection.
You can also sort maps by category, browse by specialized sections like “who” “where” or “when,” or save groups of maps for later perusal. After finding and clicking on the map you wish to view, a side-bar gives the publisher/author of the map, date, a short title, location of publication, size, and brief explanation. The map scans are extremely high-resolution, so you can zoom-in and get extreme detail on each map. You can even save and download the scans. This collection is amazing! For someone who wants to find a range of sources on a single location (range of dates, types of sources, even war maps) it is a great resource!
With all the crazy weather outside (helloooooooooooooooooooooo winter storms with 12+ inches of snow), there’s only one way to stay sane: COOK. AND EAT. AND COOK SOME MORE. AND THEN EAT A LITTLE MORE. Why not? This week’s cabin-fever inspired recipe was granola. Let me ask you this, friend readers: why the h-e-double-hockeysticks haven’t I made home-made granola before?!?! Usually I go to Fairway or Whole Foods and spend at least 11 million dollars on .75lbs of delicious, nut-filled, healthy granola (by the price you’d think it was chunk of precious stones rather than almonds in it). When you make it at home it’s just as tasty and sees a significantly lower proportion of moolah fly from my wallet into the coffers of “the Man.” And while sticking it to the Man is definitely one of my main goals in life ~_^, I’m most excited about the tasty, healthy granola that now graces my breakfast table. Want to partake in the granola goodness? Try out this recipe.
1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (aka pepita)
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons raw chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup (I prefer grade B or any of the darker grades because it has a stronger maple flavor)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dried fruit (I like tart Montmorency cherries, but you can use any other dried fruit like raisins, goji berries, blueberries, etc.)
2 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 325F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, coconut, and cinnamon. Mix well to distribute the cinnamon.
Add the maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Put the granola on a non-stick baking sheet and spread to form a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and nutty smelling. The cook time will change a lot depending on the age of your ingredients and your oven. Be careful not to overcook!
Take the granola out of the oven. Add the fruit and pecans to the granola on the warm baking tray and mix (if you use raw pecans, you’ll have to add them earlier to make sure they get toasted with the other ingredients). Let it all cool on the tray and store in an air-tight container. This recipe makes enough to fill a quart container.
I love to eat this in the morning with plain, full-fat yogurt and some mixed berries. Bon appetite!
Hi all and welcome to our second installment of Internet Library! Today I’m bringing you another fabulous dictionary that’s great for parents, teachers, kids, and ESL students. I use it regularly in my own class because of the awesome variety of features that are available (more of which are available if you subscribe).
Robert Parks wanted to create a dictionary for a general audience that combined words that were important in daily life and those important in academic life while avoiding technical jargon or unusual words that would normally be found in unabridged dictionaries. It’s larger than an abridged dictionary but smaller than an unabridged dictionary. The dictionary has several features that make it perfect for students. The dictionary is English-English, and sometimes that can be a challenge for students (even if their teachers prefer they avoid their first language). The dictionary allows you to change the level of English used in the definitions from “Beginner’s” to “Intermediate” to “Advanced.”
Beginner definitions are extremely simple and show the most commonly used definition of the word. Intermediate increases the difficulty of the definition itself and present the most common meanings and some of the lesser-known meanings. Advanced is full native English-speaker level and includes all the definitions of the word. No matter what level you view, the definitions include the headword (with notations for syllables and pronunciation), a link to word lists showing the level of word, alternate spellings, a recording of someone reading the word (EXTREMELY useful – while many students are taught how to read phonetic symbols, it’s still really hard to interpret them!), the part of speech, definition, and example sentences. Some even include pictures. Synonyms are listed in the same area as the definition, so if you have a word with multiple meanings are can choose a synonym appropriate to the meaning you choose.Each entry also includes “Word Combinations” and “Word Explorer” sections that show you how this word is combined with others to form phrases or compound words, or words that are related to it categorically. Along with the typical dictionary function, the website itself contains other fun tools for students, including ways to make glossaries, quizzes, and puzzles, as well as 4 different ways to search for words besides the regular search box (like looking for words by prefix or suffix). I love this dictionary for its amazing flexibility, and especially for the pronunciation features.