Thursday, April 30, 2009

End-of-Semester Humor: Hilarious Student Evaluations :-)

Here is a humorous clip about hilarious end-of-semester evaluations. A YouTube classic! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How do I Input Chinese Characters in Windows, Mac OS X or Ubuntu?

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Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux have built-in Chinese-Japanese-Korean (CJK) characters input support without the need to resort to third party software.

Here is a roundup of useful resources for setting up and configuring the various built-in resources in Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux platforms for inputting Chinese characters:

(1) Mac OS X:
(2) Microsoft Windows:
(3) Ubuntu Linux:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Four Essential Twitter Health Alerts Services from US Federal Government Agencies

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Here are four essential Twitter Health Alerts services from US Federal Government Agencies that you should consider following:

@CDCEmergency CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: increasing the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies (NB: follow this twitter service to keep track of the swine flu pandemic)

@CDCFlu Flu-related updates from the CDC

@FDArecalls Get notified about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts.

@FoodSafety The Food Safety Information Center of the USDA provides food safety information to educators, industry, researchers and the general public.
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Roundup: Freeware Software Resources

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This week's roundup of freeware software resources:
  • PDF Creator: PDFCreator is an open-source free software for converting documents into PDF format on Microsoft Windows operating systems. Once installed, it allows the user to select PDFCreator as their printer, permitting almost any Windows application to print to PDF.

  • John Haller's Portable Applications: The main source for portable Windows applications that run off a flash drive.

  • Nirsofer's Freeware Utilities: A collection of useful freeware utilities for Windows.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mastering Firefox's Hidden Configuration Tools

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Over the past 12 months, Mozilla's Firefox browser has been gaining market share at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, driven in large part by Internet Explorer's vulnerabilities to malware. While many use Firefox in its default mode, not many realize that Firefox is not only highly configurable, it can also perform tasks that are accessible through its "about" URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). For more information, see the following links:


Friday, April 24, 2009

MyEnvironment: A New Map App from EPA

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What do you get when you overlay Google Maps with EPA's environmental data, e.g., industries, polluters, air quality index, ecological data, etc.? You get EPA's latest powerful mapping app on steroids (with all sorts of environmental data): MyEnvironment.

MyEnvironment search application is designed to provide a cross-section of environmental information based on the user’s location. The desired location is keyed in from the EPA Home Page (www.epa.gov) under the section called MyEnvironment.

This is a very innovative and informative tool for you to play around with. When I input my zip code, I found out all the industries, etc. around my house. This is especially useful if you are searching for a house and want to be sure there are no toxic dumps or polluting industries nearby :-)

More information:

Drug Digest Database

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The Drug Digest Database, which is maintained by Express Scripts, is a noncommercial, evidence-based, consumer health and drug information site dedicated to empowering consumers to make informed choices about drugs and treatment options. You can search by drugs or herbs, medical conditions, or for news and reviews.

See also my various blog posts about other open access databases.
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Transnational Law Research

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Announcing a new database: Transnational Law Research, a project of the Central University of Cologne. You can filter your search by principles, materials, bibliographies or links.

See also my various blog posts about other open access databases.

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May 2009: Celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 2009

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In celebration of the annual Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May 2009), the U.S. Census Bureau has issued its annual Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2009, available as follows:
Origins of the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month:
In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed on May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration. Per a 1997 Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Medpedia Project

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Link: www.medpedia.com

The Medpedia Project is an online collaborative project that was launched on 17 February 2009 with the principal objective of creating an open access medical encyclopedia. Institutional supporters of The Medpedia Project include Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School, the U.K. National Health Service (NHS), and others. Here is the full description of this project from the "About the Medpedia Project" page:

The Medpedia Project is a long-term, worldwide project to evolve a new model for sharing and advancing knowledge about health, medicine and the body among medical professionals and the general public. This model is founded on providing a free online technology platform that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and transparent. Read more about the model.

Users of the platform include physicians, consumers, medical and scientific journals, medical schools, research institutes, medical associations, hospitals, for-profit and non-profit organizations, expert patients, policy makers, students, non-professionals taking care of loved ones, individual medical professionals, scientists, etc.

As Medpedia grows over the next few years, it will become a repository of up-to-date unbiased medical information, contributed and maintained by health experts around the world, and freely available to everyone. The information in this clearinghouse will be easy to discover and navigate, and the technology platform will expand as the community invents more uses for it.

In association with Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, Berkeley School of Public Health, University of Michigan Medical School and other leading global health organizations, Medpedia will be a commons for the gathering of the information and people critical to health care. Many organizations have united to support The Medpedia Project. See the Record of Merit.


See also my various blog posts about other open access databases.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roundup: Audio & Video Related Resources

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This week's roundup of useful online audio and video-related resources:

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Stuff from Google Labs: Google Similar Images & Google News Timeline

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Google Labs has announced two innovative products: Google Similar Images Search & Google News Timeline.
  • Google Similar Images Search allows you to search for images using pictures rather than words. Click the "Similar images" link under an image to find other images that look like it.

  • Google News Timeline organizes information chronologically by presenting results from Google News and other data sources on a zoomable, graphical timeline. You can navigate through time by dragging the timeline, setting the time scale to days, weeks, months, years, or decades, or just including a time period in your query (i.e., "1977"). This is a novel way to keep track of the news if you don't have time to browse individual newsmedia sites.

World Digital Library goes online!

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The World Digital Library has gone online! I have played around with it and am truly amazed by the stunning images that have been digitized for this library. Here is my review of what I have discovered while poking around the site:
  • You can search in 7 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish
  • You can search by keyword(s), or browse by using a timeline, place, time, topic, item type, or institution
  • You can sort your results by place, time, etc.
  • You can view your results as a list or gallery.
  • Video commentaries are available for a limited number of searches (example).
At present, the number of items are limited, but new items are added regularly. This is a truly remarkable and wonderful resource of rare visual images from the world's varied cultures that are are now easily and freely accessible for researchers, scholars and anyone who is interested in the rich kaleidoscope of the world's diverse cultures.

Happy browsing!
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Looking for Old Versions of Freeware or Shareware Software?

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Are you looking for old versions of your favorite freeware or shareware software? Newer versions don't work well on your older hardware? Looking for old versions of software for research/testing purposes? Then you should visit oldversion.com, which archives old versions of popular freeware and shareware. Founded in 2001, oldversion.com archives Internet-related freeware and shareware Windows software. Here is how the site explains its raison d'etre:
Sometimes upgrading to a newer version can be a good thing. Other times, your computer may not be compatible with the new version, the new version is bloated, or all the options you liked are no longer available. OldVersion.com has been supplying the online community with old versions of various programs since 2001. The service is utilized by thousands of users every day and has been featured in newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television.

OldVersion.com has several objectives. One is to discourage the use of spyware by software companies. Also known as adware, these hidden programs come bundled with certain applications and secretly transmit user information via the Internet to advertisers. It is sometimes possible to avoid spyware by downloading an older version of a program. Use OldVersion.com and show the industry your dissatisfaction with these types of business practices.

OldVersion.com assists computer users who are unable to continually upgrade their computer. Those who find that their machine is not able to run the latest version of a certain application have no choice but to use an old version of the program. Unfortunately, the vast majority of software companies do not offer this opportunity. We are doing our small part to help bridge the digital divide by allowing everyone to enjoy the same software titles regardless of their hardware.

We believe that every computer user has the right to use a version of the product that he or she is most comfortable with, not the one dictated by the software developer, so we provide access to the files that are no longer obtainable. BulletProof Software is one company that recognized this right and helped us to build our archive. One day, we hope to see both small companies and major corporations with their very own, easy-to-find old version section.

Lastly, there is a need to archive cultural artifacts. If software is allowed to disappear into the past, a piece of history is lost. People must have access to this data in order to understand the direction of computer industry and civilization as a whole.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Roundup: Useful Web Design, Building & Publishing Resources

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This week roundup's of useful web design, building & publishing resources:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Sheet Music Resources

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Here are my favorite sites for free/low cost sheet music downloads:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Free Comprehensive Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs)

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All serious researchers and students are familiar with OCLC's FirstSearch WorldCat database, which aggregates bibliographic records from more than 71,000 libraries with 135 million records in all formats (books, journals, videos, audio records, etc.). Unfortunately, this is a fee-based service that is only accessible through the library of one's institution. What if you are on the road and, for whatever reason, do not have access to OCLC FirstSearch? Below are three free Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) and one fulltext digital journals collection that are comprehensive enough for most scholarly research. Unless you are searching for the most abstruse or esoteric item, these free alternatives are more than sufficent for your research:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

East Asian Cinema: China, Japan & Korea

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Link: East Asian Cinema: China, Japan & Korea

If you are a fan of films from China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan),Japan, Korea or are looking for movies to show to your students, you would want to consult UC Berkeley's Media Resources Center at Moffitt Library's East Asian Cinema: China, Japan & Korea, which provides a detailed listing and synopsis of East Asian films.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Resources: Asian Americans Studies

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Here are useful resources for Asian American Studies:
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Richard Florida

Richard Florida discusses his new book "Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life

Internally Displaced Persons: Guide to Legal Information Resources on the Web

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Link: Internally Displaced Persons: Guide to Legal Information Resources on the Web

This is a very useful collection of international, national and regional documents and resources on "internally displaced persons" (or in plain-speak, migrants, undocumented persons, refugees, etc.). According to the United Nations, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are
persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border" (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 1998, Introduction, para. 2).
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Newly Released 7th Ed MLA Handbook Favors Web Citations

Article source: Ars Technica

For those of you who use the MLA Citation Style, the recently released 7th edition of the MLA Citation Handbook has, among other things, new rules on citing web sources:
The Modern Language Association's (MLA) new handbook for academic citations does away with the primacy of print, along with the need to include URLs for Web citations. All hail the rise of the Internet.
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Even more interesting is the MLA's decision to ditch URLs in citations. URLs "often change, can be specific to a subscriber or a session of use, and can be so long and complex that typing them into a browser is cumbersome and prone to transcription errors," says the book. "Readers are now more likely to find resources on the Web by searching for titles and authors' names than by typing URLs."

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For those in academics, though, the move is just further evidence of the Web's mainstreaming. Print, for long the superpower, now sees itself reduced to just one more format among others. As archives like Project MUSE and JSTOR continue to digitize old journals and projects like Google Book Search digitize old books, even information that originally appeared in "print" is increasingly accessed through electronic systems, read off of screens, or (rather ironically) printed again by the ream in campus computer labs.

Now, we'll wait and see whether the other citation bible, the University of Chicago/Turabian Style follows in the footsteps of the MLA.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Online Resources for Turabian Style

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Yesteday, I blogged about online resources for the MLA Style. To continue, here are excellent resources for the Turabian Style that is favored in the humanities:
If you know of other sites, please let me know in the comments section. I'll be happy to add your recommendations to this list.
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Friday, April 10, 2009

YouTube's Research Resources

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Beyond user generated and other time wasting videos, YouTube is fast becoming a useful resource for documentaries, as well as archival, historical and scientific clips. Many video clips that once languished in library archives have now been uploaded to YouTube for easy research. Here are my recommended YouTube Channels for your research or curiosity:
Happy viewing!
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Online Resources for MLA Style

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Several universities' libraries have created online resources for the MLA style that are very useful for on the fly consultation. Recommended ones include:
If you know of other sites, please let me know in the comments section. I'll be happy to add your recommendations to this list.
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Time Traveling with the Wayback Machine

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Link: Wayback Machine

Have you ever wondered how you could travel back in time to see how the web looked like in bygone years? Now, the Wayback Machine allows you to do exactly that. You enter the URL into the search block and click the "Take Me Back" button. This brings you to the next screen which lists all the archived pages available for that link. This is an excellent tool to do "virtual archaeological digging" into web history. While it is certainly fun to see how Google looked like in Dec 1998, this archival search engine offers lots of possibilities for researchers who need to go back in time to study news and other information on archived or defunct websites.

For more information, please read this Computerworld article.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Statistics on Violent & Property Crimes against Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders

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Link to the news release and reports

In its March 2009 report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the Department of Justice states:
The nation’s Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander population had the lowest rates of violent and property victimizations among all racial and ethnic groups between 2002 and 2006, according to a study released today by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Asians, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders comprised about four percent of the U.S. population between 2002 and 2006 but were victims in two percent of nonfatal violent crimes and three percent of property crimes per year.
Read the summary & access the full report.
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Directory of Online Law Reviews & Journals

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Link: Directory of Online Law Reviews & Journals

Very useful directory for searching online law reviews and journals.

Credit: Adjunct Law Profs Blog
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Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning

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Link: Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning

The University of Manitoba's Learning Technologies Centre's Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning is an excellent resources for educators who are looking to incorporate technologies in their teaching and classroom learning.

Also available: PDF Version
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How Much Energy Goes into Making a Bottle of Water

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Link: How Much Energy Goes Into Making a Bottle of Water?

Answer: way too much!

An informative discussion from the physorg.com website.
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Data of Federal Prosecution of Immigration Cases for Dec 2008

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Data of Federal Prosecution of Immigration Cases for December 2008

SUMMARY: The latest case-by-case data from the Justice Department show that in December 2008 the government reported 13,457 new prosecutions. This represents an increase of 14% from the previous month, but a significant 27% decrease from September's high of 18,434 new filings. The immigration category continues to dominate the DOJ's caseload, accounting for 59% of all new cases filed in December in U.S. Federal Court.

Link: Data of Federal Prosecution of Immigration Cases for December 2008
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New USGS Study Documents Rapid Disappearance of Antarctica’s Ice Shelves

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The U.S. Geological Survey has issued a new study documenting the rapid disappearance of Antartica's Ice Shelves. This study is especially useful if you are researching on environment and global warming issues.
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Saving URLs for Later Reading

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If you, like me, can't read everything at once, you might be interested in the following services that allow you to save URLs of interesting online articles for later reading.
Both services save your to-read lists to a cloud so that you can access it from any computer, even public computers without the need to install anything.
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Library of Congress YouTube Channel

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The Library of Congress YouTube Channel is a treasure trove of all sorts of videos that are being digitized and uploaded to this site. Enjoy!
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Legal Planet: The Environmental Law & Policy Blog

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If you are interested to keep track of the legal and policy developments in environmental law, I strongly recommend Legal Planet: The Environmental Law & Policy Blog. This blog is a colloboration between the Law Schools of UC Berkeley and UCLA. Here is the blog's official description:
Legal Planet, a collaboration between UC Berkeley School of Law and UCLA School of Law, provides insight and analysis on energy and environmental law and policy. The blog draws upon the individual research strengths and vast expertise of the law schools’ legal scholars and think tanks. Our goal is to fill a unique space on the blogosphere, not only by bridging the worlds of law and policy, but also by translating the latest developments in a way that’s understandable to a mass audience. We write about Supreme Court decisions, regulatory actions, and state and national legislation that affects water resource management, toxic waste disposal, renewable energy, air quality, land use, and more. The global challenge of climate change is the driver behind our work.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Directory of Open Access Journals

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The Directory of Open Access Journals provides free fulltext peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals across disciplines and languages. As of today, there are 4009 journals in the collection. This is a welcome addition to commercial content providers like EBSCO and others, which operate on fee-based research model.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

TOXMAP: Tri and Superfund Environmental Maps

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Researchers who are interested in environmental pollution in the US might want to consult TOXMAP: TRI & Superfund Environmental Maps

Here is the official description:
TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) from the Division of Specialized Information Services of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) that uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Flare Index to Treaties

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If you are researching international treaties, you might want to visit consult the Flare Index to Treaties, which is released by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

For more information and instructions about how to use the Flare Index to Treaties, please refer to the Yale Law Library Foreign & International Blog.
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Online Academic Lectures

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Here are two very useful online lectures sites for academics and students alike:

AcademicEarth showcases lectures by well known academics from UC Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale, etc. It's so fascinating to watch the lectures and learn something new from the well-known luminaries from top-rated universities for free.

Not to be outdone, Google has just created YouTube-Edu featuring lectures from various universities and colleges. In terms of selection, Youtube-Edu has more lectures than AcademicEarth, but AcademicEarth's lectures are much higher quality in content and video.

Sites referred to in today's blog:
http://academicearth.org/
http://youtube.com/edu
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Top 100 Twitter Feeds for Law Students

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Link: http://www.onlinebestcolleges.com/blog/2009/top-100-twitter-feeds-for-law-students/

Onlinebestcolleges.com has just come out with their Top 100 Twitter Feeds for Law Students. Listed here are law students, law firms, law librarians, professional lawyers, "multitasking" lawyers, professors/academics, technology & the law, paralegals, law schools, & State and Federal law twitter feeds.

Notwithstanding its name, even legal professionals, academics, and the plain curious folks would find lots of interesting twitterers to follow.

Enjoy!
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Law Library of Congress Hosts Archive of Legal Blogs

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Link: http://www.loc.gov/law/find/web-archive/legal-blawgs.php

The Law Library of Congress has recently announced an archive of legal blawgs dating back to 2007, comprising more than 100 blogs categorized by topic. This is an extremely useful research resource for both legal scholars and students alike. The blogs were selection based on variety, authority (frequenty cited, widely read, awards won, and scholarly nature) and user nomination. Blogs are monitored regularly to ensure that they continue to fit the selection criteria.

Happy researching!

Thanks to Wisblawg for this info.
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World Digital Library
















Huexotzinco Codex, 1531, documenting in pictographic language part of the testimony in a legal case against representatives of the colonial government in Mexico, ten years after the Spanish conquest in 1521. Photograph: Library of Congress

Link: http://www.worlddigitallibrary.org/

Coming online on April 21, 2009:

The World Digital Library will make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. The objectives of the World Digital Library are to promote international and inter-cultural understanding and awareness, provide resources to educators, expand non-English and non-Western content on the Internet, and to contribute to scholarly research.

I am looking forward to its launch on April 21 and hope to review it on this blog. I'm always excited about free resources that promotes knowledge and research.

LATEST UPDATE:
The Guardian has just published a write-up on the World Digital Library: New Digital Library to Display World on a Website
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Technola: Public Interest Law & Technology Updates

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Technola covers issues at the intersection of public interest law and technology, with a focus on sharing tools, resources, and best practices for the effective use of technology in the nonprofit legal sector.
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Guide to Free/Low Cost Legal Research

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If you, like me, don't have access to Lexis/Nexis and Westlaw on someone else's dime, fret not.

Georgetown University Law Library's Free & Low Cost Legal Research gives useful pointers on how to locate alternative free/low cost resources. The first part of the guide explains the free resources, while the second part introduces the low cost databases.
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Teaching Philosophy 101

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Teaching Philosophy 101 presents strategies and resources for teaching the introductory philosophy course. While I am not a philosophy professor, I admit that I find many of the ideas very useful to my own teaching. You will find that many tips and ideas are adaptable across different disciplines.
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Welcome!

This blog is my attempt to highlight excellent resources that are useful for academic and legal research. I hope to update this blog daily. Please let me know what you think. Thank you very much!