Friday, March 23, 2007

Cool Sites for March 2007

Word games. We play them. We share them. We get phone calls about them. To help guide us, Gerry provides MoreWords, at At MoreWords, you can find dictionary words for crossword puzzles, code words and word games like Scrabble®, Upwords® and Jamble. Use a hyphen (dash) to give the location of a missing letter: w-rd or -are. Use an asterisk (star) for any number of unknown letters: lett* or *gry or ar*ct. Exclude words containing the letters that follow a caret (hat): ma-e ^kt. Or enter a few letters (without hyphens or asterisks) to see if they make any words.

Kim offers Google's patent search service in beta: The following information is reproduced from an email sent to the PubLib email list in December 2006: You can search the full text of, and retrieve the text and drawings of, seven-million-odd U.S. patents from the 1790s to mid 2006. Be sure to click on "About Google Patent Search" down at the bottom to learn about special search features. If you want to try it out, type "Joseph C. Schallan" on the search line. You should get just one hit, for U.S. Patent 1,549,386, for a revolutionary new milking-hopple design. This nifty gizmo clamps onto Bessie's leg tendons, which renders vigorous tail-swishing unpleasant for her. It keeps Bessie from slapping you in the face with her tail while you are milking her (and from bringing other interesting but objectionable matter to your cheek depending on what Bessie has been eating). American agricultural ingenuity at work! When I wanted a copy of this patent back in the 1970s, I had to trek all the way to the Los Angeles Public Library, which maintained a complete collection, on paper, of U.S. patents. So I'm in a position to appreciate, and marvel at, delivery of U.S. patent documents directly to my home desk, in the blink of an eye, for free. For twenty-something librarians this is nothing special, but, believe me, it is. The last 15 years have seen a fundamental shift in information acquisition -- toward the instantaneous and non-intermediated -- that is unprecedented and revolutionary.

And finally, Margaret offers If I dig a very deep hole, where I go to stop?, at, subtitled "another stupid application for Google Maps". Are you concerned about where you're going to arrive if you dig a very deep straight infinitous hole on Earth? Your problems are solved! "If I dig a very deep hole" provides an interactive map. Click where you will dig your hole and "dig here!" Find out where you will end up if you dig a hole in your backyard and go all the way through the earth. You can imagine the practical applications! As Margaret says, "someone may ask about this sometime ... and if they don't, it's still fun anyway." (Also at this site: If I walk in a straight line around the world, where will I pass?)

Thanks to Gerry, Kim, and Margaret for our March sites. Feel free to comment on any of these or to add new sites that are related or just interesting. REALLY, feel MORE THAN FREE!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cool Sites for February 2007

I have interesting offerings for you this month: the best sites for crimes of the century! These are from an article in The Week news magazine 2/16/07.

Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Covers the full gamut of sensational killings, including "everything from Lizzie Borden to O.J. Simpson and in between." Detailed documentation explains the facts of each case.

Lizzie Andrew Borden Virtual Museum and Library
The Lizzie Borden museum site provides trial information, transcripts, and crime-scene photos about America's most famous ax murderess. The site does a good job separating "fact from fiction involving a crime that attracts attention."

Famous American Trials: Illinois vs. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb
The site tells the story of two Chicago teens, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who killed young Bobby Franks in 1924 to see if they could get away with "the perfect crime." A pair of Leopold's glasses found at the crime scene brought them down. After you've explored the world of Leopold and Loeb, back up and check out the main site here, Famous Trials at; these sites were researched and produced by Douglas O. Linder at the UMKC School of Law.

Hope you will enjoy exploring the dark side! Please post your comments about these sites or other interesting crime sites!


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cool sites for January 2007

I wish I could provide some sites that would warm us all up! Alas, these will have to do. Maybe if you move your fingers quickly enough across the keyboard to type in these URLs, that'll help? Well, never mind: they're live links so one click will do it. :(

LibriVox: Acoustical Liberation of Books in the Public Domain
LibriVox comes recommended by Kim. LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Their goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. They are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project. Kim says: "Audiofile referred to this site as being good but that sometimes the volunteer [readers] aren’t as good as the professionals. However, in listening to a little of Emma by Jane Austen, I liked it because it was just like a friend reading to me ... They also include the Gutenberg e-text if available and more info about the book." You can volunteer at the site to be a reader!

F.I.N.D. Families of Iowa Network for Disabilities: Empowering Families Through Networking
Nancy Geiger refers us to this local site. F.I.N.D. has been developed through a grant awarded to Access for Special Kids (ASK) Resource Center by The Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the grant is to support family-to-family communications on behalf of youth/adults with disabilities in Iowa. F.I.N.D. has created a database/directory only accessible to Iowa families who have a family member with a disability. Through the directory families will be able to find other families who share similar experiences and interests, as well as access information to expand their knowledge and leadership qualities. All parents are welcome to join the directory/database by completing a F.I.N.D. Parent Information Form, available at the site.

National Contact Center
The National Contact Center is a resource to help locate people. The site lists federal agencies and private organizations that "assist individuals in locating persons of unknown whereabouts." Provides guidance for finding active, reserve, and retired military personnel, and private individuals (including U.S. citizens living or visiting abroad). From the Federal Citizen Information Center, a service of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). This one might be a good resource for some of our patrons who are searching for friends or relatives. Thanks to Karen J. for passing this along!