Mother of all Map Tools, RedLightGreen, A to Z and more!

This week: Google’s new map tool, RedLightGreen union catalogue, Library’s trial of A-to-Z, more fun with feeds, and Bloglines as a course tool.

1) Mother of all Map Tools Has Arrived!
Joining Yahoo and Mapquest in the mapping fray is the Mother of all Map Tools: Google Maps. This is now my new favourite mapping tool. It is the easiest to use and the map displays are works of digital art (well, almost!) Truly, the map images are the clearest (okay, the prettiest) I have seen so far and the directions feature is super easy to use. In addition, it is simple to find local restaurants, coffee shops, bowling alleys, taxidermists, etc! After your map is displayed, simply type in the type of establishment you are after. Little red tags show up wherever these spots are located on your map. Click on a red tag and a balloon gives you the address and phone numbers and options to get directions. It doesn�t get any better than this!!
Thanks Gaye for the tip!

2) Serious Researchers Get a Green Light!
RedLightGreen is a catalogue of 130 million books from libraries all over the world. RLG is ideal for the busy researcher as you need only perform your search once and then you can see which libraries own that item. You can also set it up so that RLG remembers your home library and links you directly to that library�s holdings. The other very neat feature is that RLG automatically formats the titles you�ve found into the bibliographic format of your choice (the options being MLA, APA, Turabian and Chicago.) You can also save your list of titles and/or formatted bibliography within RLG and email your lists to yourself or others.
RedLightGreen searches millions of records describing library books to put the most widely held, most relevant items near the top of any search results list, which helps you to zero in on the most credible books and authors quickly. If a particular book is widely available, it can be considered an important source of information in its subject area: selection by dozens of academic librarians is an implicit endorsement of its worth.

3) Trial Web Resource Links You from A to Z
Until April 8th, head on over to the Library�s A to Z to try out a new tool that lets you find full-text journals and magazines with ease! Search or browse by title or subject and then link directly to the journal you need! We’re trying this out for a month so give it a whirl and let us know what you think! (Sorry, no remote access for this trial, access is onsite only.)

4) More Fun with Feeds!
A few weeks back I mentioned RSS feeds and a couple of tutorials to get you going. Another neat thing you can do with feeds is to perform a search and then add this search to your aggregator! FindArticles, an article search engine, offers this capability. Here�s what to do:
1. head on over to the findarticles.com search engine.
2. type in your search. Try to be as specific as possible as findarticles.com contains loads of articles!
3. Note that you can limit your search to only the free articles or to specific subject categories.
4. Click Search.
5. At the top of your search results, you�ll see an orange RSS button. Click the button to get the URL that you can add to your aggregator!
Now you don�t need to come back to findarticles.com again and again to see what has been newly published in your area. Yahoo news offers a similar feature…simply enter your search and grab the feed to plug into your aggregator!

5) Information Overload Be Gone!
How would you like a tool that allows you to save relevant web resources for your class and that also records your notes and comments about these resources and then bundles up all these goodies you�ve gathered into a web page that that your class can access? Dream no longer! There are a few tools that do just that. I�ll cover a few of these tools over the next few issues of BRAIN_blog. This week, Bloglines!
Bloglines is a free web management tool that is predominantly used for aggregating RSS feeds. (There are those feeds again! �Aggregating RSS feeds� is just fancy talk for �gathering up news web sites in one spot�!)
(More info about RSS Feeds) But not only can you gather news and web sites, you can also annotate the news you find and share these comments on a web page. This is ideal if you want to point out some web resources to students and then provide further information and generate discussion. (Unlike Blogger.com however Bloglines doesn�t allow for comments on your blog postings.)
Here�s how:
1. Head on over to bloglines.com
2. Look for the �new user?� text and link to sign up. Create a log in for yourself.
3. Once logged in, search for blogs using the �search for blogs� drop down and search box at the top right.
4. Alternately, click on the Directory tab to search for a feed. (Many publishers create feeds, for example, the New York Times, CBC, BBC, etc. As well, journal publishers create feeds, for example the journals Nature and the Chronicle of Higher Education offer news feeds.)
5. Another option is to add the �easy subscribe bookmarklet� to your favourites so that you can add feeds as you find them on the web. (See the bottom of the left side pane.)
6. Once your feeds are added, you can read them by clicking on the �feeds� tab on the left side and clicking on feeds one at a time.
7. See a posting that you�d like to comment on? Click the �clip/blog this� link under the posting.
8. A window opens where you can add your comments. Then click �Publish to blog� to push your posting to your blog.
9. Click the �My Blog� tab in the left side pane.
10. Click the �options� link and ensure that your blog is public.
11. One the right hand side you will see the URL for your blog. This is the URL that you can share with your class. Your postings will appear in the middle of the blog and the feeds you�ve collected (or class readings) will appear on the left hand side.
You could also use deli.cio.us (discussed in January )for this same purpose as it too lets you add sites and commentary and then share your list of sites as a web page.
Next issue: furl.net!

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