Web Research Resources

Walk Score -- city rankings for pedestrians

This web site takes a new slant on city rankings.
http://www.walkscore.com/

It shows rankings for major cities based on the ease of use for pedestrians. One can also create a personal ranking based on a particular address. Results will show distances to amenities such as businesses and services. It will display a Google map based on the address with the businesses identified. The intention is to help citizens reduce dependency on automobiles to carry out daily activities.

For those to whom that is important, this an interesting, potentially a useful tool.
However, the nature of the criterion, walkability for a commuter or shopper, is possible more for urban dwellers than for any other group. Another caveat, although it may change, is that distances are calculated 'as the crow flies', that is in a straight line from starting point to destination. Of course, nobody in an urban, suburban, or rural setting, can walk in a straight line to a market, a bank, a library, or whatever. There is false information included in the database (it claims that in my suburban neighborhood, one of my neighbors is operating a Subway shop!). These factors may be minor to some users, may be crucial to others.

One can join a discussion, vote on criteria to improve the algorithm, and participate in other aspects of the site. It is an interesting site that offers urban dwellers, and potential urban dwellers, an additional method to evaluate or to choose a place to live. It also offers the student of urban life an additional tool for that area of study.

THOMAS provides new RSS, Top Five Bill, and full-text options

THOMAS, the free-access legislative database maintained by the Library of Congress, yesterday announced several new features for the Web site.

New RSS feed: Bills Presented to the President
This new RSS feed lists bills that have passed both the House and Senate and have been sent to the White House for the President's signature.

Top Five Bills
The five most-searched-for bills from the past week are listed in the center box on the right side of the homepage. Hovering the mouse over the bill number will display the title of the bill. Clicking on the bill number will bring you to the Bill Summary and Status page for that bill.

Bill Text PDFs
Changes to bill text display pages were made to make the PDF more visible and accessible. Clicking on a PDF link will bring you to the Government Printing Office (GPO) PDF for a specific version of a bill.

Other site additions, including social bookmarking options, are described at the THOMAS What's New page.

Originally launched in 1995, THOMAS provides free, public access to an ever-expanding catalog of Congressional activity. For more information on it, and other sources of Congressional information, contact the Government Documents librarian.

More Content Added to U.S. Government's Digital Repository

FDsys, the digital repository created by the U.S. Government Printing Office, continues to grow with new content additions.

Over the holiday break, FDsys was expanded to include the following government publications:

* Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (1991 to 2005)
* Code of Federal Regulations (2007 to 2009)
* Precedents of the United States House of Representatives (as part of the GPO Federal Publications collection)

Released to Public Beta in 2007, FDsys is home to scores of contemporary government publications, including Economic Indicators, the Congressional Record, and the weekly and now daily Compilations of Presidential Documents.

For more information about FDsys, or help on how to use it, visit the extensive FDsys Help Center, view an online tutorial, or contact the Government Documents Librarian.

Freely accessible, reliable e-resources for H1N1 influenza information

Ebrary, a platform for viewing digital content, has created an information center to bring together current information about the H1N1 influenza. The site was created by ebrary employees, in the course of researching H1N1 to protect their families and friends.
While some of the most important information in the world is contained within PDF documents, it is a very difficult format to search, use, and manage online. To enable people to discover valuable H1N1 data, ebrary has created a highly interactive database of PDF documents from government agencies and other authoritative sites (copyrights permitting or with permission).

Access the information center here:
http://h1n1.ebrary.com/home.action

Due to Pandemic H1N1 Influenza (formerly known as Swine Flu) and concerns about the 2009/2010 flu season, the EBSCO Publishing Medical and Nursing editors of DynaMed™, Nursing Reference Center™ (NRC) and Patient Education Reference Center™ (PERC) have made key influenza information from these resources freely available to health care providers worldwide. The information is designed to inform patients and their families and provide information to clinicians to help them with H1N1 diagnosis and H1N1 treatment by making up-to-date diagnosis and treatment information available. The resources being made available will also provide up-to-date information about the H1N1 vaccine.
The editorial teams will monitor the research and update these resources continuously throughout the flu season.

Access the portal here:
http://www.ebscohost.com/flu/

Afghanistan - Pakistan : new maps of this strategic region

The recently announced policy for the conflict in Afghanistan returns this region to the front of international news. Recent maps help make more comprehensible the complex physical and cultural geography of the region. Here are few items recently added to the Libraries map collections.

Afghanistan-Pakistan : central border area

Science Map Coll G7631.F2 2008 .U5
is a recent publication from the Central Intelligence Agency. It shows the provinces and districts on both sides of the border between these countries. This includes Pakistan's Northern Areas, the Northwest Frontier Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Regions frequently in the news include the agencies of Northern and Southern Waziristan, the province of Nangarhar, home of the Tora Bora Hills. The names resonate with old and modern history; they will continue to be in our news.

Afghanistan-Pakistan administrative divisions

Science Map Coll G7631.F7 2008 .U5
This another CIA map, showing all of Afghanistan and a wider area of Pakistan. Kandahar, Balochistan and other areas also in the news appear. Shaded relief on this and the map above show the terrain.

Natural-Color Image Mosaics of Afghanistan: Digital Databases and Maps

Philip A. Davis and Trent M. Hare

Science Map I 19.121:245/DISC.1-3/DVD is a data set of three DVDs of imagery of the terrain and other subjects

The Northern Area of Pakistan is a pair of maps, by a Pakistan-based publisher. They portray the provinces and agencies in larger scale. They include maps and texts describing history and cultural aspects of these isolated areas.
Map one (Science Map Cabinet G7643.N62 2004 .M2), covers the agencies of the Northern Areas. Map two (Science Map Cabinet G7643.N6 2004 .M2), covers the Northwest Frontier Province.

Finally, a set of maps from The Survey of Pakistan shows several of the major cities. Several of these appear in the news as well as the territories named above. All of these are in Science Map Coll.

Islamabad, G7644.I8 2002 .S93, Peshāwar, G7644.P45 2003 .S8, and Rawalpindi, G7644.R37 2003 .S9 are the major cities of the area. Others cover Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderābād.

Vladimir Nabokov's new novel

Original of Laura
Yes, you read that right. When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left an unfinished novel called The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun). Despite Nabokov's explicit instructions that his penciled index cards for this novel be destroyed, neither his wife nor his son could bring themselves to do it. Now his son Dmitri has published perforated fascimiles (if you check out our library's copy, please don't tear them out!) of these index cards along with typeset transcriptions. The book includes an introduction by Dmitri that explains his decision to publish this work. It's a beautifully done book. It's fascinating to see Nabokov's smudges and examine what he decided to cross out and change. You can see images of some of the index cards here. You can also read an interesting review here. Finally you can check out the book at King Library (PS3527.A15 O75 2008), though you'll have to wait for me to finish it first!

Connected Histories

On Monday November 9th I went to a sponsored Miami University Humanities Center talk called "Connected Histories" at Bachelor Hall. Professor Robert Shoemaker, 18th-century historian from Sheffield University, and Professor Tim Hitchcock of the University of Hertfordshire, spoke about digital repositories of 18th-century history funded by the British government that they have created especially for the sake of preserving "other" histories.

I thought the projects they spoke about were so fascinating that I wanted to share it.

Their finished project is called The Old Bailey Online. It's the proceedings of London's Central Criminal Court from 1674-1913. It's a fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. In addition to the texts themselves, the site provides historical background and information about related sources. There's even a trial of the day!

Some of their upcoming projects build on the ideas of connecting texts to related sources. One is called Plebian Lives and the Making of Modern Lives. It will use recent technical advances in the creation and analysis of multiple digital resources to create a comprehensive electronic edition of primary sources on criminal justice and the provision of poor relief and medical care in eighteenth-century London. It's going to allow users to register and add biographical information to a wiki, among other things.

The other is called Connected Histories, which is going to be a new community and website for aggregating digital resources in British History. It will point to sources like British History Online, the Burney Newspaper Collection, Parliamentary Papers, Charles Booth Online Archive, Collage, etc.

Perhaps the most exciting project will be a Firefox extension called Scrutiny. It will be used for entity recognition within research data. It will be able to scan web pages selected by individual users and highlight entities that it thinks will interest them. Users will be able to train Scrutiny to identify entities which are relevant to their field of research both by using pre-defined, subject-specific 'entity recognition files', and by refining Scrutiny´s understanding of their personal interests through an iterative process of accepting or discarding the suggestions which Scrutiny presents. Scrutiny will be developed using natural language processing, including `named entity recognition´ based on a Bayesian learning methodology.

I'll be honest I don't understand all the details (I got the above wording from their website), but Scrutiny will be designed to help researchers shift through the large number of documents now available digitally to find what is relevant to their research. The example they gave during their lecture was domestic violence. In the 18th century the term domestic violence didn't exist, but there were still cases of it (namely one spouse killing another). Scrutiny could be trained to find matches between one case that was definitely domestic violence and then other cases located in another collection.

The Old Bailey Online can be used now. The other projects should be finished in February or March of 2010. I'll keep you posted, especially as I hear more about Scrutiny!

Almost as good as a trip to the British Library

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground

The British Library has a neat collection of virtual books on their website.  You can look at the books using their "Turning the Pages" software.  This software allows you to leaf through the books and magnify the details.  Books include a Bible for Ethiopia, the first atlas of Europe, an early work of Jane Austen, and selected sketches from Leonardo da Vinci.  My favorite one is Alice's Adventures Under Ground.  Click on the picture above to see it.

Personalized Research Help!

Your professor just assigned a paper requiring scholarly citations, and you have no idea where to begin.  Or you’ve looked around and can’t seem to find anything on your topic. Where can you go? Who can you ask for help?

Schedule an appointment with a subject librarian! With the new webpage, the Libraries have implemented a research consultation program.  It’s as easy as clicking on the “Research Consultation” link under Services on the Library’s homepage.  Fill out the form, and a librarian will contact you to arrange a meeting.  Get help from one of the best resources at your disposal!

 

欢迎来到迈阿密大学: Chinese language video tour now available

video screenshot A Chinese language video introduction to the Libraries' is now available.
It covers services and resources available in King Library and introduces all Libraries on campus.

To access the video:

View the video here: http://www.lib.muohio.edu/media/tour_chinese.mov

Find the link under Workshops and Instruction on the Libraries' website.

Download the podcast version from iTunesU: http://www.units.muohio.edu/itunes.

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