Winter break reading list

Congratulations on completing your finals and finishing up another semester.  Winter break is the time to relax and catch up on some leisure reading that you may not have time for during the semester. On the reading list below are some great choices for Christmas holiday reading including short stories, haunting tales, and Christmas poetry. As a gift to our readers, we’ve opened these books up for free for your winter break! Enjoy! Read more

5,000 books! Read books online free at Questia.com

Questia is the perfect research tool for students, professors, and curious minds everywhere. You probably know that Questia offers subscribers full access to the world’s largest online library of books and journal articles as well as magazine and newspaper articles, but did you know that even non-subscribers can read books online free? Read more

When writers go bad

Ensuring what you mean is what you write.

Sometimes when writing, we may begin a sentence without knowing how it will end. If you’re not careful, it could come out with the entirely wrong meaning. Self-editing prior to handing in work can help avoid some serious writing disasters.

“When something is awful, why not say so?” asks Richard Palmer, author of Write In Style: A Guide to Good English(London: Spon Press, 1993, 3).  He says so in the chapter on Disasters, – using the following passages to explain what to do to avoid such mistakes: Read more

Who do you trust?

Which online resources are safe to use?

Search expert Barbara G. Friedman emphasizes the importance of knowing how to evaluate Web site reliability in her book Web Search Savvy: Strategies and Shortcuts for Online Research (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005, 158). In Credibility at a Glance, she notes that one “quick measure of a Web site’s credibility is to look at the domain.”

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Harvesting Creativity

Become an Idea Person

Being able to come up with good ideas on command is a valuable – and valued – skill. In Communication World’s “Be Inspired to Innovate”, Sam Harrison shares a five-step, idea-generating methodology he designed, which begins with exploring. “Exploring is being a sponge. You absorb data and information. But what you’re really after are insights that can help you generate ideas.” Read more

Roots and Branches

Hints for looking up your family history

Whether you’re just beginning to dig into your family history or you’re ready to take your research to the next step, you’ll be dazzled by the vast genealogical resources available online and they’re growing every day.

Doing some legwork before you turn to the web will boost your effectiveness. FamilySearch – a site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and “the largest genealogy organization in the world” – recommends looking in your home for “birth, marriage, and death certificates; family bibles; funeral programs; obituaries; wedding announcements; family registers; and ancestral tablets” and other information. Also, “Make a list of other relatives and the family information they may have. Contact the relatives—visit, call, write, or e-mail them.” Find more good tips in How to Start Your Family History. Read more

Red Letter Days

“Handwritten letters are becoming a thing of the past,”

says Wendy Lustbader, adding, “We have e-mail now…” In her Aging Today essay The Demise of Letter-writing, she acknowledges, “It is true that e-mail from dear friends can be printed out and given the heft of paper. I have done this, placing each email in a file folder labeled with the friend’s name. But I prefer my shabby boxes filled with 30 years’ worth of letters from these same friends. When I open them, envelopes of different colors and shapes, stamps of all varieties and postmarks greet me. I see my name written in familiar handwriting, addressed to past domiciles…However, when I open a file folder of accumulated e-mail, I remain unmoved by those pages of bloodless, typed uniformity.” Read more

At your leisure: Good Times!

Are you taking advantage of your free time?

Most of us spend our days scrambling to get everything in. So when school or job breaks offer up a chunk of free time, we can be at a loss for how to fill it. Rather than zoning out until the hours dribble away or filling up the time with busy work, consider these fun – and frugal – alternatives. Read more

Matters of opinion

Where to look for research perspective

When you need to examine how people are reporting or commenting on different aspects of an issue or situation, these resources – among NoodleTools.com’s valuable guidelines to help Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need – are a great place to start.

Here are NoodleTools’ suggestions for opinion and perspective resources: Read more

Analyze This

How to write a good book review

A book review is “not a retelling,” emphasizes Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC), nor is it “a book report or a summary.” Instead, they explain in How to Write a Book Review, it is “a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling. It should focus on the book’s purpose, content, and authority. Read more