Wednesday, February 28, 2007


DivShare is another free and easy way of sharing files (similar to Senduit, reviewed below)

LetterPop is an entirely web-based 2.0 application that enables you to edit, publish, share print and share newsletters. This won't be of much use to anyone who has a dtp program at their disposal, but it serves as an interesting example of how much can be done on a web platform. You can choose from a selection of newsletter templates, add formatting and style to your taste, and upload photos and paste them into your newsletter. It took me just a few minutes to produce this dummy newsletter...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Badger uses Yahoo! Pipes and JavaScript to create Web badges out of any RSS feed. You can see examples of RSS feeds in the left margin of ircworld - for those I've used another service, Feedigest, but Badger is easier to use (and free). Badger is essentially the same kind of tool as USINFO's magnet, which allows you to stream USINFO's RSS feeds to a webpage of your choice, but with Badger you can select from any valid RSS feed. Here's an example of three colorful Badger-generated feeds. (For some reason, the page does not render correctly when viewed through Firefox..but it works in IE)

Golden Mouse Awards

Brazenly grabbing the limelight from Helen Mirren and others, the Congressional Management Foundation shifts public attention away from the Oscars by awarding the Golden Mouse Awards only 24 hours after the Academy's gala event. The Golden Mouse Awards go to the best congressional member and committee websites. The 2006 Golden Mouse report includes useful information about latest Web developments and user expectations, analysis of trends and important findings regarding the overall state of congressional Web sites, best practices of the award-winning sites, and a handy guide for congressional offices seeking to improve their site.


(Tatiana, thanks for alerting us to this!)
excerpt..."OpenCongress is a free, open-source, non-profit, and non-partisan web resource with a mission to help make Congress more transparent and to encourage civic engagement. OpenCongress is a joint project of the Sunlight Foundation and the Participatory Politics Foundation.

OpenCongress brings together, for the first time in one place, all the best data on what's really happening in Congress:

* Official Congressional information from Thomas, made available by bills, votes, committee reports, and more.
* News articles about bills and Members of Congress from Google News.
* Blog posts about bills and Members of Congress from Google Blog Search and Technorati.
* Campaign contribution information for every Member of Congress from the website of the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics,
* Congress Gossip Blog: a blog written by the site editors of OpenCongress that highlights useful news and blog reporting from around the web. The blog also solicits tips, either anonymous or attributed, from political insiders, citizen journalists, and the public in order to build public knowledge about Congress."

Thursday, February 22, 2007


This new Washington Post site by Jennifer Crandall has a pd angle (domestic pd?) and is graphically very impressive. In its own words, Onbeing is

"a project based on the simple notion that we should get to know one another a little better. What you’ll find here is a series of videos that takes you into the musings, passions, histories and quirks of all sorts of people. The essence of who they are, who we are. There will be a new video every Wednesday, so check back often. In the meantime, feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section and tell us about someone you’d like to see in onBeing. Over time, we should end up with a pretty cool community."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

CQ Researcher: "Rethinking Foreign Policy"

CQ Researcher has published a new 24 page resource "Rethinking Foreign Policy," dated February 2.
It offers a broad survey of the current state of American foreign policy and the issues at stake, a little historical background, some "where do we go from here" ideas, links and a bibliography.
This resource should serve as introductory material for high school and first-year college students, via a subscription to the online edition, which our post is fortunate to have. The approach is very professional, as you would expect from this source. New reports are published weekly, and give useful outlines of topics in the news.
While the CQ Researcher is not freely available on the web, the Ralph Bunche Library has access to the print edition in its print periodical collection.

Friday, February 16, 2007


With Senduit you can upload a file to the internet, generate a url for the file, and set an expiration date from 30 minutes to 1 week. If you need to share a file with someone but are having trouble emailing it (and sometimes OP+ firewalls can cause problems with emailing files..), just upload the file to Senduit and send your contact the url. Very easy to use...and free!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

FGI Toolbar

The Free Government Information site now offers a toolbar, with (among others), the following features:

* Easy access to federal government publication web sites.
* Quick access to reports from the Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office.
* Four ways to ask government information questions online.
* Links to easy-to-understand information guides written up by documents librarians from around the country.
* A 50-state directory of Federal Depository Libraries
* Links to major Freedom of Information Act pages and written guidance on filing FOIA requests
* Easy access to all sections of the Free Government Information web site

I installed it in Firefox, and it looks very useful. The screenshot above shows what comes up when I hover over the RSS button. (practicing what I preach, the screenshot is enabled by the really cool tool FastStone Capture, discussed in a post below)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A-Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

(another interesting post from Marylaine Block's Neat New Stuff)"The Union of Concerned Scientists has produced this guide to the ways in
which the work of scientists at federal agencies has been suppressed or
distorted for political purposes. Browse alphabetically, by agency, or by
topic, or view the timeline. See also Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization devoted to explaining to the public the importance of scientific integrity. It includes a "scientific bill of rights."

Primary document resources

This posting to PubLib is a compilation of useful sites for locating primary documents. (thanks to MaryLaine Block's Neat New Stuff)

Alternative search engines

Here's an article about search engine alternatives to the big 4, Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Includes a listing of the "top 100."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Here’s the Online Line on Online Politics - New York Times: The New York Times describes Techpresident as an "online equivalent of a trade magazine, aimed at political professionals who need to keep up with the Internet and technology executives involved in creating the tools they use. A group blog with a dozen contributors, it is an extension of Personal Democracy Forum, an online publishing and conference business owned by an Internet entrepreneur, Andrew Raseij." thanks for the tip, Ute!

Friday, February 9, 2007

FastStone Capture

FastStone Capture is a very handy (and free)screen capture utility that allows you to capture all or parts of screens (also scrolling screens), and save, edit and add captions to the images. Very neat..get it at

Brain Pop and Black History Month

Here's a posting from LIS news - something that might be useful for younger audiences or American Corners in connection with Black History Month..
"BrainPOP is an educational computer program, providing content spanning 7 main subjects including: Science, Math, English, Social Studies, Health, Arts & Music and Technology. They feature a special Black History Month Module, which is free for all during the month of Febrary."

Images of American Political History

This is a good source for digital images of American political history. "About this site" information is scanty, but it appears to be the work of Dr. William J. Ball of the Dept. of Political Science at the College of New Jersey. The search feature doesn't seem to be working, but you can find lots of images by browsing by era or by special topic. The noble intent of the site is "to support the teaching of American political history by providing quick access to uncopyrighted images for inclusion in teaching materials. All images are strongly believed to be in the public domain. They were obtained from non-copyrighted U.S. government holdings and publications and from published works with clearly expired copyrights. Thus there are absolutely no restrictions on their use."


Page2rss is a service that helps you monitor web sites that do not publish feeds. It will check any web page for updates and deliver them to your favorite RSS aggregator.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

13th Amendment Anniversary

Here's a Black History Month resource from Virtual Library Cat:
"On January 31, 1865, the House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that abolished the institution of slavery in the entire country. Having already passed the Senate, the amendment was on its way to the states for ratification. The fascinating story of the proposed and adopted methods for ending American slavery, with a timeline, biographies of the major players, and links to articles and documents, can be found at the 13th Amendment Site--"The End of Slavery: the Creation of the 13th Amendment." What makes this site especially engaging are the primary source materials--news items, editorials, illustrations, cartoons--taken directly from the pages of Harper's Weekly, described as "the leading American illustrated newspaper in the second half of the nineteenth century." Check out this outstanding source for Constitutional history background and research."

Friday, February 2, 2007

Pipl - People Search (BETA)

a search engine to add to other favorites such as zabasearch and peoplefinders

A "New Paradigm": the private sector and public diplomacy

Craig Hayden at USC's Center for Public Diplomacy takes a critical look at the "Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy" hosted by the State Department in January. He concludes, with little enthusiasm, "A corporate vision for public diplomacy appears to be on the rise again... It would seem that branding-as-public diplomacy has once again surfaced as a corrective for U.S. communication strategy. Does any of this sound familiar?" Richard Edelman's words will presumably be music to the ears of USIS diehards... (p.s. - that was another example of CiteBite in action...wonderful tool!"

Reporters Without Borders Issues 2007 Annual Press Freedom Survey

(from BeSpacific)"The survey, published on 1 February, reports on press freedom in 98 countries and includes the main violations of journalists' rights in 2006 and regional aspects of media and Internet freedom...The report lists the worst violations in repressive countries, including major culprits North Korea, Eritrea, Cuba and Turkmenistan, but also looks at democracies, where progress needs to be made too,” the organisation says."
  • 2007 Annual Report (156 pages, PDF)
  • Key Facts: Race, Ethnicity and Medical Care, 2007 Update

    The Kaiser Family Foundation's updated version of Key Facts: Race, Ethnicity and Medical Care, 2007 Update, serves as a quick reference source on health disparities, presenting the best available data and analysis.

    This report includes data on the uninsured and access to care by race/ethnicity as well as information about the disproportionate effect that specific conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and asthma have on racial and ethnic minority populations in the U.S. New in the 2007 Key Facts are demographic data on the racial/ethnic minority population in each state and the U.S. territories. This edition of Key Facts also includes data from the National Healthcare Disparities Report, examining changes in health care disparities over time. (source Kaiser Family Foundation via Docuticker )

    Public Papers of the President

    I was recently looking for Public Papers of the President for the Nixon administration. A quick check at GPOaccess and NARA suggested that the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents are searchable from 1993 and browsable from 2001, and the Public Papers are available (search and browse) from 1991. I thought I was out of luck and then stumbled upon the American Presidency Project - there you can search or view by month/year public papers from the Hoover administration onward, as well as The Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1913!!! Perhaps everyone knows this (I'm rusty on reference) but I was amazed and delighted!

    A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

    This is an impressive example of displaying graphic information through mouseovers.