I�m not even going to try to come up with a common theme for this week�s issue. We�re all over the map� in fact, we feature a few map tools! Oh! and look to the left…a satellite image map! We just can’t help but be thematic! Tune in this week for: 1) Wowsers!: Google Earth! 2) More new stuff at the Library: Access Science and Library FAQ, 3) RSS feeds for the health sciences folks, 4) Nifty news tools, 5) Shameless self promotion.
1) Find your inner computer geek with Google Earth
The latest offering from Google got me way more excited than computer stuff should. There, I�ve admitted it.
Google Earth is a free, downloadable application that displays 3D digital satellite images. The photos were taken �sometime in the last 3 years� and are updated on a �rolling basis� according to Google. Imagery is available for the whole world with high-resolution (with details of individual buildings) available for most of the major cities in the US, Western Europe, Canada, and the UK. 3D buildings are represented in 38 US cities (the major urban areas). Detailed road maps are available for the US, Canada, the UK, and Western Europe. Google Local search is available for the US, Canada, and the UK.
Ok, straight to the goods: First, you�ll need to download the Google Earth software here. You will need a newish computer with a 3D graphics card and either Windows 2000 or XP (no support for Macs yet.) Once downloaded, here are some of the neat-o things you can do:
1) The Fly To feature allows you to type in a place name, address or latitude/longitude coordinates and then the application flies you to that location. Seeing the earth whiz by as you fly through the air to your location is exciting enough but seeing the place where you live from 3000 feet up is downright flabbergasting!
2) The Local Search allows you to search for local businesses within an area. Icons display on the satellite image with pop-up balloons that have links to display driving directions, more information about the business, etc.
3) The Directions feature is similar to Google Maps in that you type in a starting and ending point and directions are displayed. Text directions are displayed in the left hand window and an image of the route displays on the satellite image. And here�s the fun part: once your driving directions are displayed in the left side panel, highlight the first direction, and click the �play tour� arrow button in the bottom right of the window. Your entire route is then shown like a movie in the satellite image window. It�s truly giddy, I tell you!
There are many, many other spectacular features (I�m running out of superlatives). For example, a �Layers� feature displays hotels, coffee shops, volcanoes, etc. on the currently displayed map. You can set placemarks, save the placemarks in folders, save map images, send images by email, and lots more. I�ll leave you to uncover the excitement for yourself. More details can be found at Search Engine Watch. See the satellite photo of the e-Library and Library @ Fennell above for an example of the wonder that awaits you! (Click to enlarge.)
2) More New Stuff at the Library: Access Science
Yet another new database added to the Library�s database collections, Access Science contains the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology as well as Research Updates from the McGraw-Hill Yearbooks, and the latest Science News. It works pretty much like other online encyclopedias in that you can search for a topic or browse a list of subjects but check out the nifty study guides, suggested essay topics, Q&A�s, bibliographies and tables! Oh yes, there are tables! Tables galore! Most articles include a citation so that students can cite articles in their bibliographies without going through the rigamaroll of figuring out how to do a properly formatted bibliography (where was this when I was in school?) All this and more at the Library�s Databases page.
3) And another thing: Library FAQs
All of those questions you�ve been dying to ask about the Library @ Mohawk are finally answered here at our FAQ page! Are we missing a question you�d like to see answered? Just let us know!
4) For the health sciences folks
From the blog MedPDA.net (where they blend �Tech & Medicine�On The Go�), a convenient list of links to RSS feeds for prominent journals in the health field. The RSS feeds alert you to new issues of the journals and include a table of contents. Add these to your RSS reader and say good-bye to email overload! Some of the journals included are Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, and British Medical Journal. See also the handy tutorial on how to create these feeds yourself in PubMed.
5) Nifty News Tools
If you like to see exactly where in the world news is happening, you need World66�s Mapsonomy. Using BBC�s RSS feed of late-breaking news, the map displays news stories on a world map. Click on a news headline and you are linked to a BBC news article. Last I checked there were no news items in Canada�not sure what that could possibly mean.
NewsNow out of the U.K. scans over 20,000 news sources every 5 minutes and posts them to this site. From the left panel you can select a current news item and view the latest stories on that topic. All kinds of neat stuff for the newsoholic.
6) Shameless Self-Promotion
We couldn�t let another BRAIN_blog issue go by without mentioning that the BRAIN_blog is the winner of this year�s Community and Technical College Libraries Innovation Achievement Award! We here at the BRAIN_blog are truly honoured and thrilled (not to mention ecstatic)! Thank you to all of our loyal readers�.without you we�d have a hard time justifying having all this fun posting here every 2 weeks!
7) And now for something completely different
On a completely different and unrelated note, wanted to say a big “way to go, guys!” to the Mohawk College Dragon Boat Team (team name: We’re Mohawk Water You!) for their great showing on Saturday at the Dragon Boat Races in Hamilton! One out of three ain’t shabby – awesome job, team!