Knowledge Handler

Information Sources & Information Sifting Techniques

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Location: Independence, Ohio, United States

Librarian at Indiana Wesleyan University's Cleveland Education Center.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Infomine Directory

I chanced across the Infomine directory today, and as it is compiled by academic librarians for university research, everything indexed seems to be quality material.
-D.D.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Floppy Disks Are Unreliable

It seems that weekly I encounter faculty and students who discover that their floppy disk was corrupted or erased, causing them to lose their PowerPoint presentation or their Microsoft Word document.
My recommendation is that faculty and students should transport information either on a USB memory device (often known as a “thumb drive” or “jump drive”) or on a CD-R or CD-RW. USB memory devices are typically available at stores selling consumer electronics starting at $20 and have the capacity to store the same amount of information as ten or more floppies. CD-RW disks typically sell for no more than $2 each.
If students or faculty are compelled to use floppy disks for transporting data, it is recommended that a backup copy of presentations or documents be emailed as an attachment to an email account that can be accessed over the web, such as a Yahoo account. Then if the floppy disk is corrupted, there is an excellent chance of recovering the work from the email account, using the Internet connectivity of any computer.
There are three common additional problems students seem to encounter saving documents. Occasionally people erroneously save only a “shortcut” to their document on their storage media or email attachment. Or in the attempt to “burn” a CD, the files are not properly recorded, so they arrive at school with a blank or partially recorded CD. Or the floppy drive that they use at home is out of alignment, so diskettes recorded there can only be read on that machine. Attempting to read the file(s) on a second machine (at work, at a friend’s home, or at a suitably equipped library) will catch all of these recording problems.
-DD

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A9.COM Search Engine Offers Image Thumbnails

Today I discovered www.a9.com, which according to its company information page is: "A separately branded and operated subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. A9.com opened its Palo Alto, California, doors in October 2003." The niftiest thing about this search engine is that it offers the option of providing image thumbnails in the search results. A9 is also photographing commercial districts in major cities, as a tool for shoppers, travelers, etc. From a few simple tests, the search engine provides adequate results for major sites, but is not as comprehensive as Google.
-D.D.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Safesearch" and Webmasters Use Of Website Meta Tags

One of the options many search engines offer is a "safesearch" option to block known pornography from being displayed. This option is typically toggled on an "advanced" or "preferences" control page of the search engine. It only limits the results displayed on that engine, but is a way to limit the likelyhood of inappropriate content being displayed while helping students use that search engine.

It would be easier to avoid inappropriate content if all webmasters would utilize the standardized metatags for marking content - either using Internet Content Rating Association or Platform for Internet Content Selection coding to define who their audience might be. Microsoft's Internet Explorer has an Internet Option for limiting the display of Internet Content according to these codes, but if employed, most useful sites (which are not rated) are not displayed.

-DD