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July 30, 2009

PBS Launching Digital Learning Library Aimed at Educators

From ResourceShelf, July 21, 2009

PBS today announced the launch of the PBS Digital Learning Library, a PBS system-wide online repository of digital education assets from public broadcasting programs and services nationwide. The PBS Digital Learning Library will be a comprehensive source of “learning objects,” including video, audio, images, games, and interactive simulations designed specifically for classroom use, delivered to teachers exclusively through local PBS stations. Services to deliver these resources to teachers and learners will be available in fall 2009.

As part of an ongoing, multi-year research initiative to identify and provide effective digital media in the classroom, PBS is aggregating its educational content to make it more accessible and practical for classroom use.

Learn More About the PBS Digital Learning Library.

Help Us Catalog: University of Michigan's Islamic Manuscripts Collection Going Online

From ResourceShelf, July 21, 2009

The University of Michigan Special Collections Library needs help cataloguing its vast Islamic Manuscripts Collection.

But the library doesn't plan to hire an expert. Instead, almost all of its 1,250 pieces are being scanned in-house to put the work on the Internet.

And the library hopes interested scholars will get involved.

The manuscripts are mostly in Arabic, but also include works in Turkish and Persian, with one in Chaghatai. Works date from about 750 to 1906.

Subjects covered are varied, including Quran texts, commentaries and criticism, Islamic traditions, philosophy, and poetry, history and mathematics, among others - and all of it is hand-written.

"It will be presented to the public in Wiki or blog-type interface, so people can comment on what they see. In that way, we hope we can get help from scholars all over the world in identifying the manuscripts and cataloguing them properly," said Peggy Daub, director of Special Collections.

Read more . . .

July 21, 2009

MyMoon - A Portal to Everything about the Moon

Developed by The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), MyMoon Portal is designed to engage 18- to 35-year-olds in lunar science and research. The site provides facts about the moon and space, lunar research and mission data, and information about NASA’s future plans for lunar exploration and habitation. The interactive site will also include media exhibits, downloadable images, news, events, and opportunities for the public to interact with lunar scientists and educators.

July 17, 2009

Exxon to Invest Millions to Make Fuel From Algae

From the New York Times

The oil giant Exxon Mobil, whose chief executive once mocked alternative energy by referring to ethanol as "moonshine," is about to venture into biofuels.

On Tuesday, Exxon announced an investment of $600 million in producing liquid transportation fuels from algae -- organisms in water that range from pond scum to seaweed. The biofuel effort involves a partnership with Synthetic Genomics, a biotechnology company founded by the genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter.

The agreement could plug a major gap in the strategy of Exxon, the world's largest and richest publicly traded oil company, which has been criticized by environmental groups for dismissing concerns about global warming in the past and its reluctance to develop renewable fuels.

Read more ...


On July 16, NASA released newly restored video from the July 20, 1969, live television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first mission to land astronauts on the moon. The initial video release, part of a larger Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project, features 15 key moments from the historic lunar excursion of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. A team of Apollo-era engineers who helped produce the 1969 live broadcast of the moonwalk acquired the best of the broadcast-format video from a variety of sources for the restoration effort. The black and white images of Armstrong and Aldrin bounding around the moon were provided by a single small video camera aboard the lunar module. A copy of the newly restored scenes from the Apollo 11 restoration effort can be found at:

July 15, 2009

First Names and Crime: Does Unpopularity Spell Trouble?

This article is published in the Social Science Quarterly, v.90, no.1.

"We add to the literature on first names by finding, regardless of race, a positive correlation between unpopular first names and juvenile delinquency. The first names of juvenile delinquents do not represent a random sample of first names in the general population. A 10 percent increase in the popularity of a name is associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in the number of juvenile delinquents who have that name. Because unpopular names may signal an increased propensity to commit crime, this study provides additional insight (beyond that of a discrimination motive on the part of employers) as to why job applicants with unpopular names may be disadvantaged." -- Docuticker

How Teenagers Consume Media

Full Report by Morgan Stanley Research

Digital media is profoundly transforming consumer behaviour and traditional media business models. While creating new opportunities, its disruptive influence is being accelerated by the global recession.

At the vanguard of this digital revolution are teenagers. While their habits will obviously change (especially when they start employment), understanding their mindset seems an excellent way of assessing how the media landscape will evolve. To this end, we asked a 15 year old summer work intern, Matthew Robson, to describe how he and his friends consume media.

Without claiming representation or statistical accuracy, his piece provides one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights we have seen. So we published it. There are several issues that immediately jump out from the piece. Teenagers are consuming more media, but in entirely different ways and are almost certainly not prepared to pay for it. They resent intrusive advertising on billboards, TV and the Internet.

They are happy to chase content and music across platforms and devices (iPods, mobiles, streaming sites). Print media (newspapers, directories) are viewed as irrelevant but events (cinema, concerts etc.) remain popular and one of the few beneficiaries of payment.

From Docuticker

July 9, 2009

The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President 2009

The 2009 edition of The Small Business Economy documents the 2008 recession’s effects on small business as well as their role in the 2008 economy. The report includes chapters focusing on the state of small business (with brief subsections on small business challenges such as health care and globalization, as well as contributions in job creation and innovation) and financing. Appendices include additional data on small firms and a summary of Advocacy research published in 2008.

New Database: Salem History

Through the Salem History database the Library now has online access to the complete content of its print versions of The Fifties in America, The Seventies in America, The Eighties in America, The Nineties in America, Historical Encyclopedia of American Business, Great Events from History: The Twentieth Century, 1901-1940, Great Events from History: The Twentieth Century, 1941-1970, Great Events from History: The Twentieth Century, 1971-2000, and Milestone Documents in American History. There is a link to this database on the library’s Research Tools page under History. In Webster, the library’s online catalog, there are records for the print versions of each of these titles with links to the Salem History database.

This electronic resource includes flexible search and browsing capabilities. Articles include Illustrations, indexes, appendixes, cross-references to related entries, and bibliographies for further reading.

Bridgewater State College librarians Marcia Dinneen and Cynthia Svoboda contributed articles to several of these sources. Search for Dinneen or Svoboda to locate their articles.

July 8, 2009

July eBook of the Month: Beowulf, retold as a graphic novel ...

by Storrie, Paul D.; Randall, Ron
Lerner Publishing Group, 2007

Retold as a graphic novel, this action-packed edition brings to life one of the most enduring legends in the English language.

The hero of Beowulf is a brave and mighty warrior, known to have the strength of thirty men. At home in Geatland, Beowulf hears about the terrible troubles of his father’s friend, Hrothgar, the king of the Danes. Hrothgar’s land is plagued by Grendel, a vicious monster who attacks the Danes by night. Beowulf sets sail to aid Hrothgar and the Danes. But is Beowulf strong enough to slay the monstrous Grendel? And even if he succeeds, what other dangers lie ahead for the warrior-hero?

In this Graphic Universe™ edition from Lerner Publishing Group, the author and illustrator of Beowulf: Monster Slayer bring to life one of the most enduring myths in the English language. Action-packed and richly illustrated, this age-old story will engage readers of all ages with supreme artwork and a faithful interpretation of the original epic.

The July eBook of the Month is provided through the generous support of Lerner Publishing Group. This ebook will be available with free, unlimited access July 1-31, 2009. You can go the Library's NetLibrary web site to read this book online. (If the link doesn't work, please use the refresh button to reload the page.)

Four Web Sites Added to the Library's Web Resources Collection

1. Checklist of United States public documents 1789-1909, congressional on the US Government Sources page; Contains lists of congressional and departmental publications.

2. Massachusetts State Documents Online on the Massachusetts Information page; Includes recent documents that are published solely in electronic form and heavily-used series that have been digitized, such as Massachusetts Election Statistics and the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves.

3. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online on the Science Sources page; Includes Darwin's published writings and unpublished papers.

4. Correspondence of Charles Darwin on the Science Sources page; Contains around 14500 entries which summarise the contents of all the known surviving letters written both by and to Charles Darwin.

July 7, 2009

Codex Sinaiticus - Historic Bible Pages Is Online

"About 800 pages of the earliest surviving Christian Bible have been recovered and put on the internet. Visitors to the website can now see images of more than half the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus manuscript.

Fragments of the 4th Century document - written in Greek on parchment leaves - have been worked on by institutions in the UK, Germany, Egypt and Russia." It provides "a window into the development of early Christianity". -- From BBC News Online,

A Codex Sinaiticus link has been added to the Library's Internet Humanities Resources page.

Art Exhibits by Professor Mary Donderlo and Preston Saunders

July - August, 2009
2nd & 3rd Floors, Maxwell Library

Artist Statement:

I am inspired by how the natural environment affects me: its temperature, humidity and smells. In my work I attempt to resurrect, decipher, and represent these conditions. Rather than working from direct observation, my ink paintings are created from a sensual point of view, held in my memory. In these works I have focused on the mystery of night, representing the illusiveness of our natural environment, and as it turns out, the impermanent nature of my memory. -- Professor Mary Donderlo

This project was partly funded by a CART grant.

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