Friday, August 27, 2010

Improvements to Realtime Search

The blogosphere is a dynamic environment that changes almost as quickly as the world that we live in. And as access to information becomes more widespread and more immediate, the blogosphere is steadily closing that gap. That’s why the Blogger Team is excited to spread the word about Google’s new improvements to Realtime Search, which provide richer and fresher results than ever before.

From the new Realtime Search homepage, you can search live updates, recently-published blog posts, and news from around the web in brand new ways. Now you can restrict your search to include just updates from a specific geographic region or just nearby you. You can also check out complete conversations from Twitter. You can also now set up custom alerts for Realtime updates to be sent directly to your inbox once a day or week, or as soon as the happen for instant blog post fodder.

For more information about Realtime’s new features, please visit

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Add blog to web site

You see blogs everywhere nowadays. Why have blogs become more popular than conventional web sites? Because they are is much easier to maintain and update. Blog software lets you add, edit and deleted web pages and content through a nice graphical user interface and you don't need to mess with any web programming (including the simple HTML). Now there are several ways to add a blog to a web site and the method you choose would depend on your technical expertise, available resources and the platform on which the web site is hosted. On this page, we shall look at the simplest way to get this done first and then move to more complex options.

Get a blog from a free service and link to it from your existing web site

The easiest and quickest way is to get a free blog and provide a link to it from your existing web site. There are tons of services that will let you make a blog for free - Google's Blogger is probably the most popular of them all. These free blogs can also be customized to reflect your actual web site's layout and colors. Remember the free blog will be hosted on another server though you may be able to get it on your too - this depends on the service you choose.

Add a professional blog to your web site

Obviously, free blogs have limited options. For a professional approach, shell out a few dollars each month and get a fully customized blog. Your blog can actually look exactly like your web site. You again provide a simple link from your existing site to the blog.

Install blog software on your web site through the control panel

Many web hosting companies let you install blog software such as the famous WordPress with a click of a mouse. This is typically done via the Fantastico script library - check with your hosting company. Such blogs can be made to install in a subdirectory on the web server space - don't put them in the document root else the blog will replace your main web site. You can then link to it from your web sites pages.
WordPress is very flexible blog software. You can use a premade design (there are available aplenty on the web), buy one that fits your requirements or even have a template made that looks exactly like your present site.

Install blog on your web site manually

This is a more complex approach and involves download, uploading and then installing blog software on your web server. The options depend on the choice of software and the configuration of the web server.

Which method do I advice?

For business and professional web sites, I suggest going in with the Fantastico option. The only requirement is having PHP and MySQL running on your web server. I recommend Hostgator and Lunarpages web hosting companies who provide excellent hosting plans with the Fantastico scripts library in the control panel.
If you were looking to create a blog web site from scratch, please refer that link for more information.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

National Health Information Collaboration - Health Repository

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
National Health Information Collaboration - Health Repository

View more presentations from Anil Mishra.

How to Install PHP on Windows 7

Installing PHP on Windows 7 is quite a simple affair. However, as the more experienced developers would know, you need to have a web server running first. I suggest using the world's most popular web server - get instructions on how to install Apache on Windows 7 operating system. And if you are a budding PHP programmer, you would very soon like to use it with MySQL database. So once you have finished with PHP installation, read the steps to install MySQL on Windows 7.

Assuming you have successfully been able to install Apache on Windows 7 and have seen the "It works" page, download the PHP file from Though I am on a 64 bit Windows 7 system, I downloaded because PHP doesn't come in 64 bit flavour.

Create a folder to install PHP

This tutorial will tell you how to install PHP from the zip archive and not from the installer file - [Slide 1]. Somehow, I've found this is a little simpler. So the first thing is to create a folder where you would like to unzip the PHP files. I like to keep things segregated and yet accessible. Giving PHP its own directory under the C: drive is what I generally do. So go ahead and create a folder called PHP in the C drive on your hard disk. Now unzip the contents of the downloaded PHP zip file into this folder - [Slide 2].
In this C:/PHP folder, you'll see a file called php.ini-recommended. Right-click on this file and choose Copy - [Slide 3]. Now paste the file in the same directory - [Slide 4].
Very important: Rename this file to
php.ini. Windows will tell you that changing the extension will make it unusable - Ignore the message and continue - [Slide 5].

Configuration Apache 2.2 web server for PHP installation

Though you have been able to put PHP on your computer, it's still not "installed" in the true sense of the word. We have to help the Apache web server communicate with PHP. This is done by editing the Apache configuration file, httpd.conf. Go to All Programs -> Apache HTTP Server 2.2 -> Configure Apache Server -> Edit the Apache httpd.conf Configuration File. This opens httpd.conf file in Notepad - [Slide 6].
Gear up to make some changes to this file- check the screenshots from the slideshow as you go along.

  • Locate the "LoadModule section" (Tip: use the Find feature or the Ctrl-F key combination). Add the following line - [Slide 7]LoadModule php5_module "c:/PHP/php5apache2_2.dll"

    Note: If you have chosen to install PHP is a different folder and not C:/PHP, you have to change the path in the above line.

  • Find the "AddType" section and put in the line below - [Slide 8].AddType application/x-httpd-php .php

    Note: You can also use other file extensions for PHP like .php3 or .php4 - simply add them at the end of the above line separated by a blank space.

  • Move to the end of the httpd.conf file and add the line below - [Slide 9]PHPIniDir "C:/PHP"

    Note: This tells the Apache web server the location of the PHP configuration file -

  • If you've read my instructions on installing Apache on Windows7 know that all web site files are to be kept in the htdocs folder located under the Apache install directory. This means when you load http://localhost, Apache checks the htdocs folder - the "It works" file that's displayed the first time you test Apache installation is actually the index.html file in this folder.
    In accordance to my habit of having things organized, I like to keep web site files in their own folder away from Apache program and configuration files... something like
    C:/websites. The good news is that Apache allows you to make such a change pretty easily and to do this, you need to specify this new directory path as the document root.
    First create a folder for your web site files -
    C:/websites is what I use and is a nice choice. Find the DocumentRoot "C:/Apache/htdocs" in the Apache configuration file and change it to DocumentRoot "C:/websites" - [Slide 10].

  • Lastly, change <Directory "C:/Apache/htdocs"> to <Directory "C:/websites"> - [Slide 11].

Testing the PHP installation

Save the httpd.conf file - "File" -> "Save" [Slide 12] and restart your computer. You actually don't need to restart the machine; stopping and starting the Apache service would have probably worked but I needed a cup of tea.
It's now time to test whether PHP was properly installed on Windows 7. Open a Notepad window and type in the line below exactly as it appears - you can copy-paste if you want.
<?php phpinfo(); ?>
Save this file as phpinfo.php in the document root folder which should be C:/websites if you have followed by instructions above.

IMPORTANT: By default, Notepad will save the file as
.txt. So you need to select "All Files" from the "Save as type" drop down and enter the full file name in the "File name" field. Confused? Check the screenshot - [Slide 13].

Open a browser window and load http://localhost/phpinfo.php. A long page with details of the installed PHP version should display - please refer the screenshot in the slideshow - [Slide 14]. If you don't get this and see the PHP code instead, you've probably not saved the file with a .php extension.

This completes the instructions on how to install PHP on Windows 7. I also advice going through the PHP configuration file (php.ini) and making modifications as required.

How to install MySQL on Windows 7

This blog post is on how to install MySQL on Windows 7 is in continuation to the Apache and PHP installations on the same operating system. Before we begin, I like you to determine the system type - whether your computer is 32 bit or 64 bit. This is important as I had a horrendous time trying to troubleshoot PHP-MySQL connection problem - I have detailed this in a blog post - MySQL on a 64 bit Windows 7. You can know the system type from the "Control Panel" -> "System and Security" -> "System".

Download MySQL installer file
Be sure to choose the MySQL installer file that corresponds to your system type. For me, it was the mysql-essential-5.1.40-winx64.msi file from the web site. I chose the essentials file because it is sufficient for my needs. However, there is nothing stopping you from picking the bulky Windows MSI Installer if you want.

Instructions to install MySQL on Windows 7
The screenshots have been presented in a slideshow below - refer these if you have doubts. The process of installing MySQL is not very difficult, so don't be intimidated by the large number of slides; I just wanted to be thorough.

  • Start MySQL installation by double-clicking the .msi file - click "Run" when prompted - [Slide 1].

  • Click "Next" button in the introductory window - [Slide 2].

  • In the following screen, select Custom installation which will allow you to specify the folder to which MySQL will be installed. You can go ahead with a Typical MySQL setup but this will put MySQL deep down in the "Program Files" folder - [Slide 3].

  • Click the "Change" button and enter C:\MySQL in the Folder name field. Hit "OK" when done - [Slides 4 and 5].

  • The installer will change the MySQL installation folder to the one specified by you - [Slide 6].

  • You are now ready to install MySQL on Windows 7 operating system. Click "Install" - [Slide 7].

  • It would take some time for the progress bar to move ahead... be patient - [Slide 8].

  • You may also get messages along the way - simply click on "Next" to proceed - [Slide 9].

  • When the process finishes, you'll get to see the final screen. Congratulations - MySQL has been installed on your computer. You are now prompted to Configure the MySQL server and register the product. In the interest of time, I had unchecked the second box and clicked "Finish". You can do the same if you want - [Slide 10].

  • MySQL instance configuration is important - you cannot use the software until you do so. Click "Next" to proceed - [Slide 11].

  • Select "Detailed Configuration" option - [Slide 12].

  • Choose "Developer Machine" - [Slide 13].

  • I suggest going ahead with "Multifunctional Database" unless you know what you are doing - [Slide 14].

  • In the following screen, don't mess with the default values and click "Next" - [Slide 15].

  • The same goes for the subsequent screen - click "Next" - [Slide 16].

  • For the networking options configuration, put a check mark in front of "Enable Strict Mode" if it's not there - [Slide 17].

  • Yes, it's recommended to install MySQL as a Windows service and have the system include the MySQL bin directory in the Windows PATH variable - [Slide 18].

  • The password for the MySQL server instance has to be typed in twice. Remember to keep a note of it - Don't lose this MySQL password - [Slide 19].

  • The configuration wizard has received all the information it needs and is ready to create a MySQL server instance. Click "Execute" button - [Slide 20].

  • The instance should be configured without problems. If you do get a message from an anti-virus program or the Windows 7 operating system - choose the option to move ahead - [Slides 21 and 22].

Checking the MySQL installation

The easiest way to check MySQL installation and confirm that it's working properly is to use the MySQL Command Line Client. Fire it up from "All Programs" -> "MySQL" -> "MySQL Server 5.1" - [Slide 23].
Now enter the MySQL password - the characters you type will be replaced by the asterisk sign (the password is not shown for security reasons - obviously) - [Slide 24].
The MySQL client displays the mysql> prompt on successful login - [Slide 25]. Type show databases; (the semi-colon at the end is not a typo) and hit the enter key. This simple SQL command instructs MySQL to display the names of the installed databases, which should be three. Hurray - rejoice because you have been able to correctly install MySQL on Windows 7! [ Slide 26]

Configuring PHP to work with the MySQL installation

The PHP configuration file is php.ini located right in the install directory which should be C:/PHP if you have followed my instructions on how to install PHP on Windows 7 computer. We now have to modify this file so that all the three - Apache, PHP and MySQL - work together.

  • By default, PHP doesn't display error messages. This may be a good idea on a web server (security reasons) but for a developer machine (such as your local computer), you would like to see errors. The PHP error messages can point to the line which is causing your scripts to fail.
    [Slide 27] - Find the line
    error_reporting = E_ALL and change it to error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE
    [Slide 28] - Also change
    display_errors = Off to display_errors = On.

  • PHP also needs to be told the directory in which the extensions reside. Unearth the extension_dir = "./" line and change it to extension_dir = C:\PHP\ext. (I've assumed you've installed PHP in C:/PHP. If not, you have to specify the correct path.) - [Slide 29]

  • We need PHP to work with MySQL and, hence, have to load the required extensions. Locate the 'Extensions' section and uncomment (remove the semicolon in front of) the following lines - [Slide 30].extension=php_mysql.dll

  • [Slide 31] - Locate the register_globals = Off line and change it to register_globals = On. Experienced developers would tell you not to go ahead with this modification. I do this because a lot of my scripts won't work otherwise - I leave the decision to you.
Save the php.ini file and restart your computer - this will give you time to stretch your legs. By the way, as I had mentioned in the beginning, you have to a web server for PHP to work - read install Apache on Windows 7 for instructions.
Finally, if you have already been using MySQL on another computer you can quickly transfer the databases and tables using mysqldump and the mysql programs.

How to Install Apache on Windows 7

This blog provides detailed step by step instructions on how to install Apache on Windows 7 operating system. Chances are that you would follow the Apache installation with PHP and MySQL database.
Though not required for installing Apache, I suggest you check the system type - whether the Windows 7 your computer is running is 32 bit or 64 bit. This information is available from "Control Panel" -> "System and Security" -> "System" -> "System type". We'll need it when we come to installing MySQL.

Download the Apache Windows installer file
Point your browser to the Apache download page. Click on Win32 Binary without crypto (no mod_ssl) (MSI Installer) file; for instance, I downloaded apache_2.2.14-win32-x86-no_ssl.msi. Double-click on this file to start Apache installation. If you are shown a security warning, ignore it and click "Run" to continue - [Slide 1 in the slideshow below].

  • Click on "Next" in the introductory screen - [Slide 2].

  • Select the "I accept the terms in the license agreement" radio button and hit "Next" - [Slide 3].

  • Enter localhost for both "Network Domain" and "Server Name". In the "Administrator's Email Address" field I generally type in webmaster@localhost. Move to the next screen - [Slide 4].

  • Proceed with Typical installation type, unless you want to be adventurous! - [Slide 5]

  • As you can see from the screenshot, by default, Apache is installed in a folder deep under the "Program Files folder. I don't like this and would recommend that you change the installation directory too. I like to keep things slightly organized and prefer Apache to reside in its own folder on the C: drive. I entered C:\Apache as the destination folder and I suggest you do the same - [Slides 6 and 7].

  • To start installing Apache 2.2 on Windows 7, click on the "Install" button and sit back - [Slides 8 and 9].

  • By the way, if the installation process is interrupted by the anti-virus program on your computer, just provide permissions for it to continue - [Slide 10].

  • In a few minutes, the Apache web server would be installed on your Windows 7 computer - [Slide 11].

  • To test the installation, open a web browser window, enter http://localhost/ in the address bar and hit the "Enter" key - [Slide 12].

  • If you get a page with the words "It works!", celebrate, because you now have the Apache web server running on your Windows 7 computer. Didn't get this message? You may need to start Apache. Go to "All Programs" -> "Apache HTTP Server 2.2" -> "Control Apache Server" and select either "Start" or "Restart". The Apache server can also be started and stopped from "Services" under the Control Panel - [Slide 13 and 14].
For the newly initiated, the HTML file that is displayed when you load http://localhost/ is index.html located inside the htdocs folder in the Apache install directory. Now that Apache has been installed on your Windows 7 computer and is successfully running.

Digital Futures Project: Who Trusts Digital Information?

The Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism created the World Internet Project, which includes the Digital Future Project and similar studies across the globe.
The recently released 2010 Digital Futures Project looks at a variety of trends, including the public's lack of "trust" in information online. Maybe that is the angle librarians need to take -- how they can teach students how to evaluate information so they can determine which sources of info they can trust. Here are highlights from "Media Use and Trust" section of the report:
  • Views about Sources of Information and Entertainment:In the current Digital Future Project, a large majority of respondents age 17 and older said that the Internet was an important or very important source of information for them -- higher than the figure reported for television, newspapers, or radio. Comparing the views of users about the importance of entertainment sources, television ranks highest, with 79% of users saying it is an important or very important entertainment source for them, compared to the Internet, radio, and newspapers. (Page 67)
  • Reliability of Information Online: Views of Internet Users: For the third year in a row, a declining percentage of Internet users said that most or all of the information online is reliable. (Page 71)
  • Online Information: Reliability and Accuracy of Frequently-Visited Web Sites: Internet users have much more faith in the Web sites they visit regularly than they do in information online overall, but that faith continues to decline. (Page 73)
  • Web Sites: Which Are Reliable and Accurate, and Which Are Not?:The percentage of Internet users who said that most or all of the information posted by individuals, governments, and established media is reliable and accurate rose slightly in the current Digital Future Study. (Page 75)
  • Social Networking Sites: Reliability and Accuracy: A new question for the Digital Future Project found that only 15% of users said that most or all of the information on social networking sites is reliable and accurate. (Page 81)
  • Search Engines: Reliability and Accuracy: A majority of Internet users said that most or all of the information provided by search engines such as Google is reliable and accurate. However, 12% of users said that only a small portion or none of the information provided by search engines is reliable and accurate, up slightly from 10% in 2008.(Page 82)
  • Trust in the Internet: Forty-two percent of respondents said they have some trust or a lot of trust in the Internet. Fourteen percent of respondents said they have no trust in the Internet. (Page 84)
  • TV Viewing and Time-Shifting: Time-shifting of video viewing is increasing, but only marginally. (Page 86)
  • Trends in Online Media Use:Internet users continue to report considerable time each week using a variety of online media, but in the current study, use of the two most popular online media declined. (Page 88)
  • Twitter, E-books, Internet Video, and Audio Podcasts: In several new questions for this year's Digital Future Study, Internet users were asked about their use of media that have been growing in popularity, including Twitter, e-books, and audio podcasts. Among other responses, the study found that 1/2 of those who go online have used free micro-blogs such as Twitter or Facebook. (Page 89)
  • Would You Miss The Print Edition of Your Newspaper? While Internet users report that they devote significant amounts of time to reading online newspapers, 62% of users who read newspapers offline said they would miss the print edition of their newspaper if it ceased to exist -- an increase for the second year in a row. However, 22% of users who read newspapers said they would not miss the print edition of their newspaper, down from 24% in 2008. Page 91)
  • Does Online Content Lead to Canceled Print Subscriptions? Even though large percentages of users who read newspapers would miss the print edition of the publication if it was no longer available (see the previous question), a notable percentage of Internet users – 18% -- said they stopped a subscription for a newspaper or magazine because they now get the same or related content online, a decline from 22% in 2008. (Page 91)
  • Cell Phones and Text Messages: Text messaging by cell phone users has more than doubled in only two years; overall, cell phone users who send text messages average 38 messages per day, compared to 16 in 2007. More specifically, text messaging is almost exclusively a medium for young cell phone users; the number of messages sent per day is by far the highest among those under 18 -- 81 per day in the current study, up from 33 per day in 2007. (Page 99)
  • Posting Information Online: Blogs, Photos, and Maintaining Personal Web Pages: Content creation and distribution by Internet users on a blog, through a display of photos, or on a personal Web page, continues to increase substantially, while the percentage of respondents maintaining a personal Web site has remained generally stable for three years. (Page 100)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

25 Important Legal Issues Every Librarian Should Research

Most people don't think of librarians as legal entities, but the fact is there are a number of legal issues that are important for librarians to understand. Whether you're dealing with copyright or disabilities, the best way to protect yourself is to be informed. Be sure that you've brushed up on these important issues.
  • Filters: Many public libraries are under pressure to filter Internet access to patrons. Whether or not you do so can have legal implications for your library.
  • Accessibility: It's important that libraries comply with the Americans with Disabilities act in order to make accessing the libray easier for people with disabilities.
  • Accessible website and written materials: Accesibility in your library also extends to your website and written materials. Make sure you're in compliance with this resource.
  • Privacy: As many libraries become more technologically savvy, the issue of privacy will often come up. You will have to be careful about publishing your patrons' information, images, and more.
  • Freedom of information: According to the First Amendment, the government is allowed to restrict information in the library. Find out what you can do about it and how you have to comply.
  • Children on the Internet: Your library may be held responsible for offensive content accessed using the library's computers, so it's important to find out how to protect yourself.
  • Employee rights: Just like other employment entities, libraries have to be well aware of employment law, avoiding discrimination and wrongful treatment of library workers.
  • Hate meetings: Your library's meeting rooms and computers may be used in order to spread and promote hateful speech and thoughts. Additionally, you may find that hateful literature is requested. Find out how to deal with this issue before it comes up.
  • Book removal: Librarians have to be careful about removing books from a library's collection. You will find that you often do not have unrestricted authority to remove offensive library books from your library.
  • Licensing: Public use of electronic resources will almost always require a license, so it's key that you fully understand how to use the licenses that have been granted to your library.
  • Information liability: If a patron uses your library resources to learn how to build a bomb, and then uses the bomb to harm people, can your library be held partially responsible? Find out the exact legalities and how you can protect your library and resources from this issue.
  • Digitizing material: By creating digital collections, you may be violating copyright law. Be careful not to violate any copyright laws as you make information more available.
  • Library policies: You may make the rules in your library, but that doesn't mean they are legal. Ensure that your library policies are legally enforceable with this resource.
  • Banned books: Many books can be offensive to library patrons and parents of young patrons that visit your library, and books are often challenged by groups and individuals. How you deal with the removal or preservation of a book is important.
  • Software lending: If you're lending software out to patrons, be careful that your policies do not violate any legal issues. Considerations to pay attention to are licensing, copyright, and liability.
  • Bulletin boards: Your library's bulletin boards may be used as a community resource, so it's important to consider whether or not you're violating free speech with your bulletin board policy.
  • Latchkey kids: Often, libraries find that children are left to do homework and entertain themselves in the library. Consider how your library could be held liable if something were to happen to a child on the library's property.
  • Reproduction: It's important for libraries to respect copyright law when making reproductions for their collections and archives. Additionally, your library may need to monitor patron usage to ensure that they are not violating copyright laws.
  • Video performance: Consider whether allowing patrons to watch videos individually or in a group performance voilates the copyright laws of the motion picture.
  • Game night: Like video performance, allowing copyrighted video games to be played in the library and with library resources may violate copyright law.
  • Homeless people: Educate yourself on the legal rights of homeless library users, particularly solicitation, harassment, odor, and helping to provide homeless people with resources.
  • Fair use: Educate yourself on the law surrounding fair use so that you can understand when usage is fair, and when it violates a work's copyright.
  • Public domain: Learn about public domain so that you can provide copyright-free resources to your patrons. It's especially useful to learn how to identify a work in the public domain.
  • FBI in the library: The FBI can use your library as a resource for investigating the public's usage of your resources, so it's important to know how to deal with it. One librarian has come up with a few technically legal signs that you can use to let patrons know they may be monitored.
  • Rude patrons: Be careful when dealing with rude patrons. Be sure that you know the laws regarding issues like defacement, theft, violence, and trespassing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

25 Exciting Google Apps and Tools for Educators

Teachers at all levels are expected to be on the cutting edge of technology and Internet education, despite the level of technical or computer training they've received. But with these Google applications and tools, creating websites, collaborating with students and other teachers in real-time over the Internet, and staying organized through your cell phone has become a quick and easy way to bring technology to students, find more relevant information from specialized search engines and utilize multimedia tools to make learning more fun and a teacher's job just a little bit less hectic.
Staying Organized
Stay organized with these management and collaboration tools, including online calendars, notebooks and cell-phone friendly systems.
  • Google Calendar: Google Calendar is a Web-based version of the community calendar out in the hall or on your bulletin board. You can invite other teachers, club leaders or even students to put up events, birthdays and test dates on the calendar depending on your privacy settings. Google Calendar also lets you set up automatic reminders sent straight to your cell phone.
  • Google Desktop: If you plan to use several Google tools and applications, then using Google Desktop to keep you organized could be a smart move. Google Desktop lets users perform a quick search for items on their computer, keep a Google Gadgets button on their Dashboard and on their iGoogle page, search your Gmail account and web history, and enjoy the automatic indexing feature. Google Desktop is designed for Macs, but there are also versions for Windows and Linux available.
  • Google Pack: Google Pack is designed for PCs, but there is a Mac-friendly version available too. Software that comes in the Pack includes a Norton Security Scan, Picasa, Google Desktop, Google Earth, Real Player, Skype, Adobe Reader, Google Toolbar, StarOffice, and more. Google Pack is completely free and loads quickly, so all of your tools are ready to use as soon as you are.
  • Google Mobile: Google Mobile allows you to "take Google with you on the go." Teachers who have to commute to class can work on their lessons from their cell phones by having Google send them a mobile-friendly set of Google tools just for their phone.
  • Google Notebook: Google Notebook is a great tool for teachers organizing their lecture notes or lesson plans. While you're online, you can easily transfer images, text and links to your Google Notebook from your browser window. The tool also lets teachers manage several notebooks at once, publish their notes to the web and work with Google Notebook from a cell phone.
  • Google Reader: Get automatic feeds and updates from your daily online reads sent to your inbox with Google Reader. This method will save you time spent weeding through unrelated posts or news and lets you discard or star certain items at a glance.
Communicating with Students
Communicate with students in a nontraditional way through private websites for class projects, Google translators that help with distance education classes and more.
  • Google Groups: Google Groups are great for working on class projects and classroom camaraderie even when you're finished for the day. Teachers can set up a customizable group page, and students can discuss new ideas and post links to keep the dialogue going.
  • Translate: This easy-to-use tool can be a big help for distance learning teachers wanting to reach out to students around the world and for teachers who need to quickly translate a text from its original form.
  • Google Page Creator: Teachers without a lot of techie experience don't have to sign up for a web design class or stress about blogging when they use the Google Page Creator. This tool lets you "create your own web pages, quickly and easily," without needing to know HTML code or hosting. Your students will benefit from being able to access class information and view multimedia presentations even when they're at home, studying for a test.
  • Google Sites: Provide your students with a safe, private platform to discuss class materials, work on a project or ask you questions with Google Sites. This app lets you set up a secure group website that only certain people can visit and edit. Google Sites does not require any knowledge of website design or HTML code, and it's all free.
  • Google Talk: Choose to talk with students or other teachers by instant message, Gmail chat, file transfers or PC to PC voice calls. The Chatback feature "let[s] visitors to your site chat with you" if they have a question outside of class.
Teaching Tools and Designing Lesson Plans
For help planning your next class, turn to these Google apps and tools that will connect you to quality, relevant information fast.
  • Google Earth: Geography, urban planning, geology and social studies teachers can use Google Earth to zoom in on satellite images from locations around the world, giving you free and fast access to places just by typing in a keyword or address. The current version also has a sunlight feature, allowing you to view the area at different times of the day.
  • Writely: Writely was acquired by Google in 2006 and is now generally referred to as the word processer in Google Docs. You can create and edit documents while collaborating with other teachers or parents in real time through this application.
  • Google SketchUp: This 3D modeling software program comes in two versions: one for professionals and one designed just for educators and students. SketchUp for Education features a free or discounted offer on the software, and K-12 or college-level instructors who want to teach architecture, design, Web design, construction or other subjects will want to try it out.
  • Picasa: Google's photo editor is called Picasa, and it's totally free to use. Educators can easily organize and edit digital photos for presentations or for the bulletin board.
  • Google Finance: Math, social studies and finance teachers can easily design class projects that study the stock market and economy with this tool. Google Finance allows users to manage a portfolio, view market data in their iGoogle Tab or in charts, view a stock screener, do a company search for stock and mutual funds information, read related news stories, search for blogs from the companies you're studying and more, right on the same page.
  • Google Image Search: If you're doing a search just for specific pictures to match a presentation or lesson, you can cut your search time in half by using Google Image Search.
  • Alerts: Many teachers don't have time to research every little detail from their lesson plan, but wouldn't it be nice to pull great resources from the web without having to search for them yourself? You can set up several Google Alerts so that whenever an entry with your keywords shows up, Google will automatically send them to you in an e-mail. You can have the alerts sent daily, weekly, or as it happens.
  • Scholar: Search for scholarly journals, papers and citations from this quick search engine.
  • Google Patent Search: All types of educators can benefit from the Patent Search, which finds graphs, inventor information, issue dates, filing dates and patent numbers for over 7 million items and ideas.
  • News Archive Search: Uncover historical documents and old news stories with this easy search engine. You can search by topic or by time period, and Google automatically creates a graph timeline and organizes your search by date if you choose that option.
  • GOOG-411: Google's 411 service is free to use from any type of phone, and you can choose to get a map of the area and information about the business sent to your cell phone.
  • Book Search: Search any kind of book with this tool by browsing categories like philosophy, romance, women's rights, computer history, short stories, poetry, political science, classics, biology and more. When you select a book, you can choose the option to buy it from different online retailers, read or write book reviews, preview the book, and even read the whole text online.
  • Google Transit: Easily plan field trips around your city with Google Transit, which finds maps of public transportation along your route in cities like Detroit, Cape Cod, Irvine, Las Vegas, Tampa, Sacramento, Austin, Seattle, Pittsburgh and more.
  • Google Special Searches: Educators who teach one subject will love the Google Special Searches tool, which allows them to use search engines just for their niche. Examples of these engines include U.S. government, public service, university, and more.

50 Awesome Search Engines Every Librarian Should Know About

Students, teachers and the public turn to their librarians for help researching everything from technology to genealogy to homework help and lesson plans. Even if your library is equipped with subscriptions and memberships to top of the line databases and online journals, you've probably had to get creative during a patron's requested search for something unfamiliar. Next time, though, you can turn to one of these 50 search engines, designed to pull from the Web only the information you really need.

Meta Search and Multi Search Engines

These meta search and multi search engines can search numerous engines and sites at once, maximizing the number of results you get each time you conduct a search.
  • Ms. Freckles: Adorable Ms. Freckles can search online for different file types, definitions, translations, film, finance sites, and a lot more all at once.
  • Kart00: This cartoon-inspired search engine lets you hover over results to get a preview of the site before you open it. Results are also organized by topic so that you can narrow down your search and organize hits.
  • Fazzle: Search the web's best, the entire web, downloads, images, videos, audio or headline news. You can also select an advanced search to find incredibly specific results.
  • Trexy: This site saves your search memory so that you don't have search multiple times on different engines.
  • Mamma: Here at "the mother of all search engines," librarians search the web or video. Next to your results is an option to refine your search by choosing a suggested category.
  • 1-Page Multi Search: Type your search into one or several of the following search engines at once: Alta Vista, AOL, EntireWeb, Gigablast, Hot Bot, Lycos, Scrub, Yahoo!, Google, YouTube, Dogpile, Ask Jeeves, and a lot more.
  • iZito: Busy librarians who are constantly finding new reference sites and search engines will like iZito because of its ability to save your history in an easy drop down tab.
Multimedia and Interactive

For help finding pictures, podcasts, music and shareware, use these search engines.
  • Metacafe: Find videos on this site if you want a change from YouTube.
  • Songza: Patrons looking for music can use this search engine, which "lets you listen to any song or band." You can also search the featured list or top played list.
  • Picsearch: This large photo search engine has more than 2 billion images in its directory.
  • Get a Podcast: Search for podcasts all around the web in this directory.
  • Shareware: If you need to install new software programs on your library computers, turn to Shareware first, which pulls up tons of free programs and downloads.
  • Public Radio Fan: Find information for thousands of public radio stations on this site. You can find the times of different broadcasts, station names, podcasts and more.
Google Search Engines

A Google search doesn't just mean typing in a keyword on the homepage and seeing what pops up. Try out these niche search engines sponsored by Google to find books, images and more information that librarians will find useful.
  • Google Image Search: Ask Google to bring up the most popular images on the web with this engine.
  • Google Scholar: Get connected to scholarly journals and publications here.
  • Google Books: Search online copies of books on this search engine, which features categories like literature and science fiction to biology and linguistics to highly cited to categories organized by subject and keyword.
  • Alerts: Set up Google Alerts for any subject so that you'll get results sent to your inbox every time there's a new site, blog or keyword mention on the web.
Great Niche Sites for Librarians

From family friendly and kid-safe searches to science and medical search engines, these niche sites can help you with very specific research projects.
  • Scirus: Pull up science-related results on this research-oriented search engine. You can find "not only journal content but also scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information."
  • Librarians' Internet Index: Here you'll be connected to quality, authoritative sites. Search by keyword or narrow down your search by browsing categories like business, government, media, health, computers, or the arts and humanities.
  • Family Friendly Search: Librarians at elementary and middle schools, as well as public librarians, may be interested in directing patrons to this site, which is safe for kids.
  • Intute: This British search engine lets you pick search options in the following categories for a specialized search: science and technology, arts and humanities, social sciences, and the health and life sciences.
  • PubMed: PubMed is one of the premier search engines for medical students and researchers. You can find journal articles, citations, clinical information and more.
  • Meta-Index for U.S. Legal Research: On the GSU College of Law site, librarians and patrons can take advantage of this meta-index which brings up judicial opinions, legislation and more.
  • Internship Programs: College librarians may want to direct students to this search engine, which connects searchers to internship opportunities.
  • Congoo: For current events and news searches, use Congoo to connect you to the latest in technology, industry, business, world news, finance, politics, Internet trends and more.
  • CataLaw: CataLaw is another law search engine that organizes "all indexes of law and government into a uniform, universal and unique metaindex."
  • USGenWeb Archives: Help your patrons with genealogy searches with this engine.
Custom Searches

Tailor your search to your daily needs with these search engines, which can be modified by remembering search history, customizing templates and more.
  • mozbot: Pick a language and customize your search with this engine. Mozbot can also add results to your favorites, send results by e-mail, display thumbnails of different sites, and provide suggestions for similar sites.
  • Curriculum Search: Help teachers find reference materials, lesson plans and tools by searching this Google custom search engine.
  • Computer Science Research: Use this search engine or adapt it to make your own to find computer science materials and references.
  • Rollyo: Choose to search categories like health, travel, tech, reference and others using Rollyo, a system that "create[s] search engines using the sources you trust."
  • Ujiko: This sleekly designed search engine lets you choose how you want your results displayed and organized.
Reference Searches

The following list of search engines prove useful to all kinds of librarians in search of dictionaries and other reference materials.
  • JustCite: JustCite is a legal search engine and can help you find citations.
  • Online Journals Search Engine: Search scientific databases and journals here.
  • Powerset: For a basic Q&A session, use Powerset to quickly search Wikipedia entries.
  • Infoplease: Get information on any subject, from history and government to arts and entertainment to world news to biographical information to homework help.
  • Guide Star: This search tool is great for public librarians or librarians who work with teachers wanting information on grants and nonprofits. Type in the name of an organization or keyword to find nonprofit group information.
  • JoeAnt: You can get answers to research queries on any subject at JoeAnt, from computers to science to politics to the humanities to business law.
  • Find Tutorials: Find tutorials for practically everything on this search site, from education to culture to spirituality, to finance to the Internet.
  • RefDesk: RefDesk is known as the "fact checker for the Internet." You can search MSN, Google, Yahoo! or Wikipedia, as well as various dictionaries and periodicals.
  • OneLook Dictionary Search: Get detailed definitions, translations and more on this search engine, which pulls from over 1,000 different dictionaries.
  • The Dictionary of Free Online Books and Shopping: Look up and access books online for free using this search engine, which includes educational books, history books, children's books, biographies, political books and a lot more.
  • Thinkers: Wisdom: This site features a literary search engine called Wisdom that can search the web, images, audio, video, a dictionary and more.
  • Use the web search or search encyclopedias, blogs, articles and online groups to get creative with your reference search.
Library Search Engines

Check out these search engines that are designed to emulate or are sponsored by libraries and librarians.
  • Internet Public Library: Find references, search the collections by subject, check out the reading room or KidSpace when you visit this online public library.
  • The Open Library: Here, librarians discover "one web page for every book." This open source project also features an advanced search, connecting you to the exact book and full-text publication you're looking for.
  • Awesome Library: Find full-text books, journals, kid-safe sites, business information and more on this online library search engine.
  • LibDex: Search the indexes and other information for 18,000 different libraries here.
  • WorldCat: WorldCat helps patrons and librarians "find items in libraries near you." Search for books, DVDs, CDs and articles.

Top 100 Librarian Tweeters

Whether you work with a library, or just want to find out more about what's going on in your community library, Twitter is a great place to stay updated on the latest developments. On Twitter, you'll find librarians in schools, public libraries, and more, and even some working for organizations that have a lot to offer libraries. Read on, and you'll find some of the best librarians on Twitter.
School & University
Find out how librarians are making things work in schools from these librarians.
  • @heyjudeonline: Judy O'Connell is the Head of Library and Information Services at St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill.
  • @joycevalenza: Read @joycevalenza's tweets to hear from a teacher-librarian and learner in Pennsylvania.
  • @griffey: Jason Griffey is a geek librarian at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
  • @kenleyneufield: This community college librarian is obsessed with the social web.
  • @askundergrad: This twitter account supports the undergraduate library at UIUC.
  • @BSULibrary: Stay up to date on the Albertsons Library at Boise State University through @BSULibrary.
  • @Library_Channel: @Library_Channel offers help and more to patrons of the Arizona State University libraries.
  • @amylibrarian: Amy Springer is an academic librarian fascinated by the Millennial student.
  • @heatherloy: @heatherloy is a high school librarian in South Carolina.
  • @acmorton: Andy Morton is the tech librarian at University of Richmond.
  • @OkStateLibrary: @OkStateLibrary features news from the Oklahoma State University Libraries.
  • @neerav: Neerav Bhatt is a librarian, former political candidate, and professional blogger.
  • @dmcordell: @dmcordell is a teacher/librarian in upstate New York.
  • @ekettell: This librarian serves Dentistry at the University of Rochester.
  • @ghardin: Greg Hardin is an academic librarian in Denton, Texas.
  • @chriskeene: Read @chriskeene to learn what's going on at the University of Sussex Library.
  • @jessnevins: Jess Nevins is an encyclopedia author as well as reference librarian at the University of California at Riverside.
  • @MrMLibrarian: @MrMLibrarian works to get boys to read as a school librarian.
  • @monarchlibrary: This K5 teacher librarian is addicted to technology.
  • @jennyluca: Check out @jennyluca to find a cool teacher-librarian.
  • @uncw_library: You'll be able to keep up with the Randall Library at University of North Carolina, Wilmington on @uncw_library.
  • @laurenpressley: Lauren Pressley is the instructional design librarian at the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University.
  • @bookjewel: @bookjewel is an educator, teacher-librarian, lifelong learner, literature lover, and geek.
  • @mstephens7: Michael Stephens is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University.
  • @cathyjo: Check out Cathy Nelson to learn about a school library media specialist.
  • @srharris19: Steven R. Harris is the head of collection development at the University of New Mexico Libraries, and a dog lover.
  • @librarianmer: Meredith Farkas works as the Distance Learning Librarian at Norwich University.
  • @janettefuller: Janette Fuller worked as an elementary school librarian for 30 years.
  • @yalescilib: Check out @yalescilib for updates from the Yale science libraries.
Local & Public Libraries
  • Check out librarians in community libraries to see how they run things.
  • @RyanDeschamps: Ryan Deschamps is the e-Learning Services Manager at the Halifax Public Libraries.
  • @Librarian: @Librarian is the Twitterer behind the Itenerany Poetry Librarian, a non-static, special collections public library.
  • @jdarlinghess: Originally from NY, @jdarlinghess is a librarian in Columbus.
  • @RapidCityPubLib: @RapidCityPubLib shares updates and events from the Rapid City Public Library in South Dakota.
  • @GlendaleLibrary: Stay up to date on the Glendale Public Library system in Glendale, Arizona through @GlendaleLibrary.
  • @SueLawson: Get updates on Manchester libraries from @SueLawson.
  • @jessamyn: Jessamyn West is a librarian consultant in rural Vermont.
  • @webmaster_ref: @webmaster_ref is a librarian and webmaster for Elkhart Public Library.
  • @harriscountypl: Keep updated on the Harris County Public Libraries in Houston through @harriscountypl.
  • @AbingtonLibrary: You can learn more about the Abington Free Library from this Twitter timeline.
  • @cglibrary: @cglibrary will keep you up to date on all the happenings at Casa Grande Library.
  • @ASCPL_Events: Check out @ASCPL_Events to learn about the events going on at Akron-Summit County Public Library.
  • @tashrow: Tasha is the director of the public library in Menasha, Wisconsin.
  • @aclalibraries: @aclalibraries covers the federated system of libraries in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
  • @Cleveland_PL: Cleveland is the third largest public research library in the US, and is on Twitter.
  • @2nickels: Laura Koenig works as a children's librarian in Boston.
  • @ALD_Teens: Get updated on teen news throughout the Arapahoe Library District from @ALD_Teens.
  • @laurasolomon: Laura Solomon works as a web developer and librarian in Ohio's libraries all over the state.
  • @adalib: The Ada Library in Boise shares dreams, ideas, and information.
  • @camdencclibrary: The Camden library is updated by Olivia Nellums, reference and instruction librarian.
  • @gonty: This Australian youth services librarian is the brains behind
  • @mmrl: The Missouri River Regional Library serves the Cole and Osage counties in Missouri.
  • @AustinPublicLib: You'll be able to keep up with all things APL through @AustinPublicLib.
  • @jrriordan: Jim Riordan is the reference librarian at the Bangor Public Librarian in Bangor, Maine.
  • @Jantweepuntnl: Jam is a librarian and manager at City Library of Haarlem Netherlands.
  • @RoCoPubLib: Check out the Roanoke County Public Library system through @RoCoPubLib.
  • @BoerneLibrary: You can learn about the Boerne Public Library from @BoerneLibrary.
  • @skeskali: Cecily is the web services librarian at Vancouver Public Library.
  • @elizabethhdavis: Elizabeth works as a librarian in a children's library.
  • @wlgordon: @wlgordon is a professional librarian in Chicago.
  • @ScrantonLibrary: You'll find out about library industry news, events, and goings on at Scranton libraries through @ScrantonLibrary.
  • @younglibrarian: Katie is a young public librarian.
Other Libraries
  • These librarians work in law, medical, and other libraries.
  • @infobunny: @infobunny is a law librarian who blogs about Twitter apps.
  • @rtennant: Roy Tennant is a librarian, river guide, and father.
  • @lwu5: @lwu5 is a health sciences librarian in Memphis.
  • @sarchet62: Read @sarchet62′s tweets to learn about a medical anthropologist in a librarian suit.
  • @Philbradley: Phil is a freelance librarian, Internet consultant, writer, and trainer.
  • @ultimatelibrarn: Amy Donahue is an aspiring medical librarian.
  • @LPI_Library: Check out @LPI_Library to get updates from the Lunar and Planetary Institute Library in Houston.
  • @Jill_HW: @Jill_HW is interested in digital libraries, social networking, Web 2.0, and more.
  • @conniecrosby: @conniecrosby works as a guerilla law librarian.
  • @vjb: VJ Beauchamp is a web librarian in Northeast Portland, Oregon.
  • @PhilippaJane: Philippa is a librarian that likes to write and podcast.
  • @MegCanada: This librarienne loves technology.
  • @gspadoni: Gina Spadoni is a librarian and competitive intelligence professional, among other things.
  • @wickedlibrarian: This librarian's dream job is to be Neil Gaiman.
  • @olevia: Cheri Campbell is a librarian, union activist, and social progressive.
  • @pfanderson: Read PF Anderson's updates to learn about emerging library technologies and more.
  • @shamsha: This medical librarian is interested in evidence based medicine, librarianship, and social media.
  • @kgs: KG Schneider is a Community Librarian for Equinox, the support and development company for Evergreen open source library software.
  • @djleenieman: Check out Dan Nieman to learn about reference librarianship and more.
  • @glambert: Greg Lambert is a law librarian and geek.
  • @nprlibrary: You'll learn about the latest from the NPR library through @nprlibrary.
  • @stevematthews: Steve Matthews is a fun loving law librarian.
  • Check out these organizations and resources that offer lots of support to libraries and librarians.
  • @librarycongress: Check out the Library of Congress through this Twitter timeline.
  • @msauers: Michael Sauers is the technology innovation librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission.
  • @UtahHive: Learn about the Utah State Library Digital Library Services Team from @UtahHive.
  • @kishizuka: @kishizuka is the technology editor for School Library Journal.
  • @alscblog: The Association for Library Service to Children twitters here.
  • @lbraun2000: Linda Brawn is the YALSA-president elect, librarian, and more.
  • @eagledawg: Nicole Dettmar works as a medical librarian for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
  • @LesaHolstine: Lisa Holstine is a Library Manager and contributing book reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery News, and other websites.
  • @yalsa: @yalsa provides followers with updates from the Young Adult Library Services Association.
  • @libraryjournal: Through @libraryjournal, you'll find news, book reviews, and more.
  • LJBookReview: Read book reviews and other news from Library Journal here.
  • @MLx: Marianne Lenox is a Gadabout Library Trainer.
  • @libraryman: Michael is the Libraryman, with nearly 20 years of experience in various library roles.
  • @AccessMyLibrary: @AccessMyLibrary advocates for increasing disoverability of library content online.
  • @andreamercado: Andrea is a former librarian making a shift.
  • @infogdss29: Beth Gallaway is a consultant for gaming, technology and youth services training.
  • @sljournal: @sljournal will fill you in on children's and young adult books from School Library Journal.

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