Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Steal this book? Don't bother

When it comes to outsmarting the content establishment, your library may be your best accomplice.

Libraries are offering more free search services, database access, articles, photos, eBooks, audiobooks, music and museum passes than ever. Chances are you are buying, subscribing to, or stealing something you can get for free with a library card.

While general search engines may seem more convenient, pointed search tools can provide more reliable information more quickly than repeated searches in which the user tries out different terms. According to Gary Price, founder and editor of the ResourceShelf blog and director of online resources at Ask.com, casting that wide Web net can pick up spam and unreliable information presenting itself as an authority. It may also be burying or missing good information.

For example, do you call it soda or pop? The soft drink industry or the beverage industry? Databases have a structure to take care of that problem. Many have a controlled vocabulary of terms that a human indexer assigns to each article, said Price.

While indexes of articles from both general publications and academic journals can be found on the Internet, users are often brought to an abstract summary of the article including publication info, but not the full text. The majority of library databases offer full texts of articles, so when you do find what you are looking for, you can immediately have access to all of it.

Searching in an academic realm has also become more user friendly. You no longer have to bother with Boolean search terms or complicated retrieval options. Database search methods have been replaced with easy point and click filtering in addition to the usual time frame option. Results offer links.

All of the information in this post is taken directly from an article written by Candace Lombardi, CNET News.com dated 23 July 2007. The entire article is available by clicking on this link.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln

I just want to take a minute to share this electronic resource with you. As a librarian, I am always on the look out for excellent quality resources to share with students and faculty. This is indeed a superlative effort:

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/] - In 1953, the Abraham Lincoln Association published The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, a multi-volume set of Lincoln's correspondence, speeches, and other writings. Roy P. Basler and his editorial staff, with the continued support of the association, spent five years transcribing and annotating Lincoln's papers. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln represented the first major scholarly effort to collect and publish the complete writings of Abraham Lincoln, and the edition has remained an invaluable resource to Lincoln scholars. Through the efforts of the Abraham Lincoln Association, the edition is now available in electronic form.

The Collection may be searched by simple words or phrases, Boolean searches, proximity searches, and word index to find the occurence of unique words.

The information in this post is provided by the hosting website of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Consensus: Podcasting Has No 'Inherent' Pedagogic Value

Consensus: Podcasting Has No 'Inherent' Pedagogic Value - A bevy of recent studies on students' experience listening to recorded lectures via podcasts confirms what many lecturers already know: that the pedagogical value of podcasts depends almost entirely on student motivation and the learning "context" of the application.

In a comprehensive survey of the latest academic studies on the impact of podcasting on learning and teaching, Ashley Deal, a researcher in the Office of Technology for Education & the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University, found that podcasting follows the pattern of many campus technology innovations."As with any educational technology, whether and how podcasting impacts the quality of the learning experience and/or educational outcomes depends largely upon how the technology is put to use," Deal wrote.

So, does podcasting enhance education? "The answer to that question depends entirely on the educational context, including goals and appropriate learning activities, and on how the tool is implemented," said Deal."Podcasting does not contain any inherent value. It is only valuable inasmuch as it helps the instructor and students reach their educational goals, by facilitating thoughtful, engaging learning activities that are designed to work in support of those goals."

Citation: Paul McCloskey, "Consensus: Podcasting Has No 'Inherent' Pedagogic Value," Campus Technology, 7/9/2007, http://www.campustechnology.com/article.aspx?aid=49018

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