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

A new President and the End of Term Web Archive

Obama inauguration, 2009. end of term web archive

Obama inauguration, 2009

Preservation of online information presents a very difficult problem in general.

Federal government websites are especially vulnerable at the end of a presidential term. The End of Term Web Archive has preserved a snapshot of them since 2008.

I have seen web posts that speak of a frantic effort to preserve government information. They attribute it to fear of the incoming Trump administration.

Don’t believe such mindless hysteria.

Regardless of who won the election, the End of Term Web Archive team would be hard at work. Even when a President is reelected, turnover in the cabinet and at other agencies can be high. The new team often takes down the old sites to make room for its own.

If a government document exists in print, some archive preserves it. The National Archives or a presidential library preserve a lot. Government information that exists only on the web easily disappears without a trace. Just like any other web-based information. Continue reading

Surprising place to get healthy: at the library

health at the library screen shot

Healthy Library Initiative home page screen shot

As the Affordable Care Act’s flaws become more apparent and politicians bicker over how, or whether, to fix it, where can we look for real leadership on health? At the library!

The library’s role in health shouldn’t be surprising. Libraries have long dedicated themselves to educating the public about many critical issues.

They have long provided the poor with services they can get nowhere else. They have long sought innovative ways to expand their influence.

Here are four  health initiatives I have recently learned about. Continue reading

6 outdated phrases and their forgotten meanings

Ps and Qs--outdated phrases
Language changes, but technology changes faster. We still keep using outdated phrases long after we’ve left the old technology behind.

Sometimes we update their meaning. Sometimes not.

Some of these phrases are centuries old. Others, older generations remember the technologies well—fondly, even. But younger people have never used them. Or perhaps never even seen them.

But the language lingers. Continue reading