Healthfinder.gov: Government websites you should know

healthfinder.gov screen shotHave you ever looked for health-related information on the web? Most people do, either for their own health or for someone they love.

Government information often does not appear on the first page of search results.

Therefore, few people think of it or know where to look for it. Healthfinder.gov is an award-winning site for the general public dedicated to prevention and wellness. Continue reading

What they say about the library: provocative quotations

library door, quotations on librariesWhen I graduated from library school, I went on a lot of informational interviews. One librarian told me, “Libraries have changed a lot since you were in library school.”

When I reminded her that I had graduated only two weeks earlier, she replied, “Like I said, libraries have changed a lot since you were in library school.”

Few modern institutions are more ancient than the library, and few are as consistently on the cutting edge of change.

So naturally people have talked and written a lot about libraries over the centuries.

Cicero, the Roman orator, said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” But what about now? Continue reading

Major disruptions in the book publishing business

eBook readers -- book publishing business

Ebook readers and potential ebook readers

Ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle roiled the book publishing business.

Big time.

Ebooks now outsell printed books. We can carry one device with dozens of books, and it weighs less than any one of them would in print. Major bookstore chains went belly up.

But ebooks are hardly the first major disruption in book publishing. The printing press only came along about 700 years ago. It eventually put an end to the scriptoriums that had produced manuscript books for centuries.

Printing put books in the hands of more readers than the scriptoriums ever could, but books remained relatively expensive well into the 20th century.

Selling books by subscription and cheap paperbacks sold in other places besides bookstores revolutionized book publishing. These practices made books available to people who couldn’t otherwise afford books. Or who couldn’t otherwise easily find them. Continue reading

How to take expensive online courses free at the library

woman with laptop computer on couch -- taking online courses?

Taking an online course?

Do you want to take online courses? And know they’re legit? Some companies offer thousands of courses.

You can take as many as you want, if you want to pay $20-30 a month for a subscription.

A bit out of your budget? Maybe you can get around it the same way you can get around other information expenses. Go to the library. Continue reading

Banished words list: fun for a slow news day

banished words listYou have probably noticed an article or two about the annual banished words list. Did you notice that it came out on January 1?

The public relations department of Lake Superior State University has issued the list since 1976. It’s a lot of fun for word lovers.

New Year’s Day is a slow news day, so when the list was new, it seemed a good day to get some press.

I thought it would be fun to look back at previous lists to see if our society has actually stopped using any of the words. Continue reading