Monthly Archives: November 2007

Ghosts in P-Ville??

I couldn’t let Halloween go by without throwing a little creepiness into things — and yes, you guessed it, it involves haunted libraries! Apparently the Phoenixville Public Library is haunted by a woman in the attic of the 1902 Carnegie designed building. “She’s wearing a bustle dress, a high hat, and having a grand old time” says director John Kelley. Photos taken by the Chester County Paranormal Research Society document the oddities seen by various staff members in different parts of the building.

Want to know if your local library’s made it to the H-List? Check out this listing for some spooktacular times.

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A New Way to Google: TouchGraph

You know who you are – the kid who sat in the back row and doodled endlessly because the drone of Ms. Frizzle’s history lesson promised nothing but boredom and maybe a few chuckles on the new ‘do. Reading lists or paragraphs didn’t quite cut it; listening to a lecture just went in one ear and out the other. But you always remembered when she brought in a political cartoon or she drew some kind of diagram on the blackboard.

Now, folks, we have Google in a whole new light – behold TouchGraph. I must admit that I was forced into using this application for class, but after fiddling with it for a few hours, it has grown on me considerably. There’s also a version for Amazon and Facebook (but the Facebook one doesn’t seem to be in any kind of working order). What I enjoy about this tool is the fact that I can start out a search with a broad keyword (“journals”) and narrow it down to a single page that speaks to exactly what’s on my mind (“open access scholarly e-journal directory, biology-related”). Basically what it does is bring up the first ten results as they would normally appear in Google, but encase each result with a colored bubble of its own color. Each of these ten would then be circled by the top ten results of its own search, also encased with the same colored bubble. In that way you end up with 100 pages on your first search, perhaps with 100 different outcomes that you’d never have expected to find with a single click of a button.

What I mean is that the search is more of a journey than a bored hack through barren text-laden wasteland. A happy, bubbly journey full of sweet surprises and treats for the inquisitive traveler. So go ahead, give it a try.

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A New Way to Read: BookGlutton

Check out this new e-book reader.  It’s in beta, but you can sign up to try it out.  Looks like it combines the social web with traditional e-reading at a level not yet seen.  Basically, you can read a book while chatting with someone else who’s reading the same book at the same time.  Or, you could leave comments and conduct an asynchronous conversation over a period of time.  An interesting way to conduct a book club, possibly with friends across the country or the world.

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Filed under books, open access, open source, web 2.0