Government websites: National Park Service

Yellowstone national park service
Yellowstone national park service

Yellowstone National Park, tent camping

This installment of the occasional series on federal government websites looks at the National Park Service. Travel season will be here before we know it, and the national parks make wonderful vacation destinations.

Nearly everyone knows parks like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but the National Park Service operates 407 national parks, national monuments, and other properties. Click on “Find a Park” in the header menu to find parks by name, location, activity, and topic. Here are the ones that begin with the letter E.

  • Ebey’s Landing
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Effigy Mounds
  • Eisenhower
  • El Camino Real de los Tejas
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
  • El Malpais
  • El Morro
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Ellis Island
  • Erie Canalway
  • Essex
  • Eugene O’Neill
  • Everglades

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Writers write about reading, writing, research

quotation-marks172x172Not everyone who reads is doing research. Not everyone who does research in the broadest sense (looking up useful information) writes about it. But everyone who publishes research must read first.

Indeed, anyone writes anything must read first. A friend of mine wrote an autobiography, and compiled as much documentation as he could find in order to refresh his memory and insure accuracy.

Novelists must not only read other literature voraciously, but if they want respect for their novels, must conduct research to make sure that they describe places, customs, etc. accurately.

Whatever else they write about, writers often write about reading, research and writing. The title of my blog replaces ‘rithmetic in the familiar “three Rs,” but the previous sentence puts them in their logical order for organizing this post. Continue reading

Innovative library services: some kudos and a rant

student writing

student writingLibraries exist to serve the needs of their public. Traditionally they have existed to serve needs for information and entertainment. That accounts for the books, periodicals, computer resources, and audiovisual collections, but not necessarily every service or collection.

The Helen Plum Library in Lombard, Illinois lends out paintings and sculptures. I found the sculptures handy when I was teaching a humanities course, but apparently most people borrow them just to redecorate their homes for a short time.

In earlier posts 3 unusual and unexpected library services and 5 more unusual and unexpected library services I have called attention to unusual ways academic and public libraries have found to serve their patrons. Printing fish? Cooking classes in a professional kitchen?  Here are some more innovative  programs.

School libraries, unfortunately, seem under attack. Too many of the articles I have read still seem to find it unusual that libraries can be anything more than book warehouses. How will today’s children get to know libraries any better if they are denied access to them now? Continue reading

Reference books and sets you must read in print

Bookshelves -- words about lovers of words

reference books in printIn my last post, about editing, I cited my father’s entry in Contemporary Authors, a still-growing set with more than 200 printed volumes.

I couldn’t find the photocopy I made several years ago when I first stumbled across it. I found an online version in WorldCat, but it’s available only at 8 libraries, none within 500 miles of my home. I had to go to a local library to consult the print version.

How many other important reference works are available only in print? Continue reading

Why you should edit before publishing–especially online

editing -- passive voice

Editing the old fashioned way

I have no need to make the case for good writing here, but the act of writing doesn’t end with the first draft. Very few people write first drafts that are ready to be sent out into the world. Every bit of writing, from a job application to a book, benefits from coming back to it with fresh eyes.

A few years ago I stumbled across an entry for my father in Contemporary Authors. He was a giant in the field of industrial and organizational psychology, and all of his published works are in that very narrow specialty. But he made a comment to the editors that applies directly to my subject matter. Continue reading