Tag Archives: links

If Google Vanished

Hypothetical speculation is a fun sport most people like to indulge in from time to time.  Some of us, for example, like to argue about who would win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a wolverine (or, Wolverine, or The Wolverine Brigade).  Others debate the comparative greatness of various sports heroes, dead presidents, or Mexican artists.  The only limits to the game are your creativity and imagination.

Library workers, being a special kind of nerdy, often consider scenarios like this one:

Google buys every major search tool and is then shut down as a monopoly, and in the same week Wikipedia goes bankrupt. Choose three freely available websites as the best starting points for the widest possible range of inquiries.

–Joseph Janes in I’m Sorry, You’re Out

Never ones to resist a challenge,  your crack team of information mavens here at Main Library pondered the question, then came up with the following list of web resources we would use to help answer your questions, in the event of Googlepedia apocalypse.

About.com
Short introductions to every topic under the sun.

Allmusic
An all-purpose music, movies and gaming portal.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Research Databases
Free to you, because we paid for it!

Delicious
A searchable collection of popular links people like you found useful.

Encyclopedia Britannica
A notable name in encyclopedias opens up its treasury of goodness.

The Internet Movie Database
Titles, actors, roles and more, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Instructables
Visual and verbal guides for doing and making just about anything.

IPL2
The Internet Public Library married The Librarians’ Index to the Internet! This is their baby.

Medline Plus
The National Library of Medicine tackles all your health dilemmas.

The QuestionPoint Ready Reference Wiki
Jam-packed with useful links, assembled by librarians.

Refdesk.com
A useful, diverse, all-purpose search portal.

Reference.com
Dictionaries, thesauri, quotations, and a translator. Mighty!

TV Tropes
Specialized wiki for TV themes and concepts.

USA.gov
An excellent starting point for credible info on U.S. Government services.

WorldCat
Find books in libraries all over the world, or close to home.

Most of the sites mentioned here can already be found via the library’s Ready Reference Links Page, so feel free to bookmark it, or save it as a “favorite” in your browser — it contains a number of other neat and useful sources, too, like Weather Underground and GetHuman.

When do Google and Wikipedia work for you?  Where do they fall short?  What are your favorite free web resources?  Nerdy information herders want to know!

–Leigh Anne

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Celebrating National Library Week

Did you know that it’s National Library Week? Yes, it’s true – a whole week to love your library even more than you usually do. May we recommend some ways to celebrate?

Do you remember the first time you fell in library love?  It happened to me as a pre-teen.  I was already a pretty serious library user, staggering to and from my house (uphill, both ways!) with armsful of books.  It was, however, the serendipitous discovery of The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death that made me the fine, upstanding individual I am today. Ten pages in, I realized that there was more on heaven and earth, Horatio, than I’d dreamed of in my philosophy.

I am, of course, a wee bit biased.  How did you get to know the library?  Tell the world by leaving us a comment, or sending us an e-mail.

–Leigh Anne

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What a difference a day makes…

Every day’s a special day to someone, for some reason. Many authors, including Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, have used the chronological framework of one “normal” day to capture the incandescent moments that make up even the most ordinary of lives. Clarissa throws a party. Leopold goes for a walk. And yet, under the surface of these simple situations, the extraordinary is brewing.

If you’re having a hard time finding anything special about March 18th, keep in mind that any given day is usually somebody’s birthday.  In this particular instance, it’s a cake-and-candlefest for Queen Latifah, John Updike, and Grover Cleveland, to name just a few of the multiple celebrants. Why not bake a cake in somebody’s honor?

March 18th is also Flag Day in Aruba and National Biodiesel Day. On a chilly pre-spring day in Pittsburgh, who wouldn’t want to spend some time daydreaming about Aruba? And since biofuels are a timely topic, why not browse the catalog to learn more?

Twenty-four little hours can mean different things to different people, but regardless of what meaning you attach to it, you cannot help but find something wondrous in your day if you’ll only look. Don’t believe me? Flag down a reference librarian and ask for a peek at Chase’s Calendar of Events, the source of today’s trivia tidbits.  Better yet, keep your eyes open as you walk down the street, and expect a miracle. Who knows what could happen?

–Leigh Anne

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