Thursday, January 15, 2009

Facebook, Skype ... what's all that?

My spouse and I are going to show some friends Facebook, Skype, and some other social networking tools this weekend. Thought you might like to know a bit about what we're going to talk about.

What is Facebook?  It's a Social Networking tool.  Check out this great explanation of social networking by Common Craft:

(or read the transcript).

Facebook is a way to stay connected to friends, family, and colleagues across time & space ... and it's fun!  I'm "friends" with old friends from grammar school days, college, graduate school, work lives 2-5, my family, my spouse's family, and many more times & places in my life.  
If you Facebook, though, you should do so responsibly, by spending some time with their privacy settings.

On to another social networking tool called Skype is kind of like the telephone idea presented by the Jetsons way back when. George Jetson could be in the kitchen talking on the "phone" to Jane (his wife) -- and you could see and hear Jane on a big screen.  It's great fun, and it's free to make computer-to-computer calls via Skype.  All you need is a good network connection, and a computer with video and audio.  We "Skyped" some family members in Ireland over the holidays, and it was fun to see them as well as hear them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Local History Online @ Your Library

Want to see some nice photos of western Mass. "back in the day"? Check out Digital Commonwealth, a free search engine & repository of manuscripts, images, historical documents, and sound recordings from over 100 Mass. instutitions, including CWMars, UMass, and Simmons College.

How about this photo of the A&P in Holyoke, c1931?

Governor Calvin Coolidge and his son Calvin Coolidge, Jr. building a Kart at their home at 21 Massasoit Street, Northampton, MA. July 1920.

And this Biology Lab at the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, c1920s.

All of these and more, for free @ your library.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

International Adoption Resources

VeryMusicalFriend just adopted a baby from China.  I sent her the following email and thought others might find the resources helpful as well:

I just read this review of web sites and resources for international adoption and and to send it to you:
The resources are for people trying to adopt kids but also for dealing with what happens afterwards. Here's one site I thought you'd really like ... in case you don't have time to read the whole thing. :-)

Rainbow This is a volunteer-based advocacy and information center for international adoption founded in 1996. Since 2006, expanded its advocacy to include special needs adoption issues. One of the most valuable resources on this site is the online monthly magazine, with searchable archives back to 2001. Articles feature international issues, such as caring for African hair, learning about Mongolian spots, and handling family tree assignments at school. There is a searchable events calendar that covers all states. The site is sustained by contributions by adoption agencies and sponsorship ads, which are clearly marked as such. Access:

Clark, Janet Hyunju. "INTERNET RESOURCES: International adoption: Education, advocacy, and discovery resourcesCollege & Research Libraries News, November 2007.  Vol. 68, No. 10.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Finding Information About Prospective Employers

A friend and I were discussing the process of looking for work, and stressing to each other the value of doing research on prospective employers. She talked about looking at the employer's web site, for instance, to find statistics to incorporate into your cover letter ("I see that your school has very low graduation rates compared to the state average; I could help you with that by doing XYZ").

Did you know ... you can also look in the local newspaper's archive to find out information about prospective employers (if you're lucky enough to live in an area where your local paper's archives are online).

If you have a library card in western Mass., you can search the archives of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican:

1. Go to the Springfield Republican via Newsbank. Type in your library card number. Click on the logo for the "Union-News" (the paper's former name) or click on the button that says [The Republican (Springfield)]

2. Type whatever you want in the search box & click [SEARCH]. The archives go back to 1988 and just about everything from the paper is in there, including newspaper stories, book reviews, composition of the local school committee, sports stories...

The only limit to what you can find is your imagination! Look for yourself or your spouse; find out what your neighbor's house sold for; find out when that restaurant is opening in Williamsburg; check the safety of local bridges ... and so much more!

Here are some search suggestions and tips:

1. Put phrases in quotes, such as "Hampshire College" or "department of public works." Names can be tricker, because the paper's policy is to include middle initials whenever possible. To make sure you get all stories about Holyoke's "Mayor Mike", search for ("Michael J. Sullivan" or "Michael Sullivan") and mayor and holyoke. That'll get thousands of stories, most of which will mention Holyoke's mayor.

2. The default sort order of results is by date, with the most recent appearing first. This is ok if you're looking for recent news or if there isn't a lot about your topic.

You can change the sort order by clicking on the pull-down menu under the search box & selecting "Best matches first" to get the most relevant stories first (the way Google results appear).

You can also limit stories to those published in the last 12 months, in 2007, 2006, 2005, etc., or your can type in custom dates like Jan 1, 2000 - Feb 3, 2000.

3. Your results will first show the paper name (Republican or Sunday Republican), the date, and the article length, which gives you a sense of how detailed the article will be. Then you'll see the article's title -- click on that to get the full-text -- followed by the "lead" or first paragraph of the article.

To find out about your prospective employer, type in the company name in the search box. You may need to try some variations, such as MassMutual or "Massachusetts Mutual." In the case of a large employer, you might want to add a department to narrow your results, or even search for the hiring manager or person with whom you have an interview.

Successful job hunting @ your library!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Job Hunting Assistance ... Online! ... Free!

Did you know that you can get resume and cover letter assistance online, for free? Western Mass. library-card holders can access "electronic books" via netLibrary.

I found 35 books about "resumes - employment" in netLibrary. They include

And once you get an interview, take a look at The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Interview, by by Marc Dorio (Alpha Books, c2000)!

all free, @ your library

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fodor's Guides -- online! free! (@ your library)

If you live in Massachusetts or Connecticut (and many other states), you have access to hundreds of free online Fodor's Travel Guides. Yay!

Here's how to get there:
1. In Massachusetts, go to & type in your library card number
2. At the next screen, click on the OneFile logo
3. At the next screen, you'll see a search box
4. Type in the name of a place you're going or would like to go ... say, Amsterdam
5. You'll see thousands of results!
6. Click on the tab at the top of the list
7. For Amsterdam, "Fodor's Amsterdam" is the 2d result
8. Click on the title, and there you are -- a 140 page guide to Amsterdam. Free!

@ your library.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Vacationing with Grandchildren

This is a rare treat: a (non-librarian) friend sent me her list of web sites & asked me to share with other librarians & anyone else interested in ...

Where to vacation with your grandchildren.

This list provides links to web sites & book suggestions of where you might travel with your grandchildren.

She notes, for instance, the Amtrak web site, which offers a discount for those over 62 and "kids." Friend also notes the Taking the Kids web site, created & maintained by Eileen Ogintz, who writes the Taking the Kids newspaper column.

She notes a few books, as well, including the Best Hikes with Kids series (link to books available in western Mass. libraries)

My friend said it took her a while to compile and she hopes it helps others. Thanks, Friend!