Let the good times roll

We’ve just passed the midpoint of both the semester and the winter season …..that time of year when stir craziness beckons and we could all use a little break. For that reason, we have nothing but fun, footloose tools to talk about on this week’s BRAIN_blog! So in lieu of a trip to Mexico, feast your eyes on these fabulous and fancy-free web search tools and go a little wild!

Various library entertainments…
For your listening pleasure

Check out the BRAINcast web site this week to get an uncommonly good tour of the Learning Commons, find some common ground and share some good old common sense! Common cliches abound in this, our latest audio tour! Join us: Making Common Sense of the Learning Commons (at Stoney Creek Campus)

E-Journal Portal fans unite
Access the E-Journal Portal with the greatest of ease! Now when you click on E-Journal Portal in the blue navigation bar on any BRAIN web page, you’ll go to the E-Journal Portal entry page. Choose whether you are onsite or off campus and then you are off to the races! Why the change? Well, now if you are off campus you can get all of that logging in out of the way at the beginning and then enjoy a hassle-free searching experience! Similarly, if you are on campus; after choosing the oncampus link, you are never asked for a login! Also new –tutorials! Download a Word or PDF step-by-step guide or watch a 5 minute video!

New stuff in BRAINlinks
BRAINlinks now includes podcasts! We are in the beginning stages of collecting in this area so there are not many there right now but drop on by later to see even more. To find them, go to BRAINlinks and choose podcasts from the Resource Type menu. New this month: the English as a Second Language Podcast! What better way to learn English than when you’re on the go!

For your web searching enjoyment…
Online movies!

Jaman is a fun, new tool (so new it’s still in Beta) that has been making lots of waves on the Internet lately. Why? Because it’s a new way to view and rent movies and probably indicates that the change in how we access videos that has been coming for a while is finally here. Jaman is a great resource for film buffs but in particular international cinema buffs, providing access by region and general categories. You can download for a fee or view free films at the site and view the movies on the special downloadable Jaman Player/Browser. And like many new tools today, there’s the social part – add reviews, comment on reviews and create your own groups!

Power to the people
Another social/information resources new to the web is Helium.com Similar to Wikipedia, Helium gets all of its content from the user community – all articles are written by users. Unlike Wikipedia, they use a “peer-review” process to decide on which articles make it to the site. Not many details on the site on how this peer-review works but they also mention a ranking engine that “knows which article should be on the top”. And also unlike Wikipedia, contributers get a reward. But remember…even though it looks like a professional site, the articles are not written by professional reviewers or writers, just regular folk like you and me.

Fun with research
Even though these are supposed to be the stodgy, scholarly tools, these are in fact just as fun as the so-called fun tools! Thanks to Nature and the University of Virginia School of Medicine for bringing the fun back to research!

Health research made easy
First, we have: Relemed: http://www.relemed.com/ from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Relemed is an easy-to-use interface for the scholarly health site Medline. Why use Relemed? Because it’s easier to use, that’s why! Relemed provides a simple, Google-like seach interface with only a search box. And…the results are relevance ranked with a handy green horizontal bar at the beginning of each citation that shows the degree of relevance (the darker the more relevant.) When you hover the mouse on the indicator bar, it will show a yellow tip explaining the types of sentence-matches for that article. Medical research for the rest of us!

The Natur(al) way to have fun with research
Late last month, the scholarly publisher Nature launched the Nature Network, a “new free online networking site for scientists worldwide.” From the press release: “This Web 2.0 toolkit will help scientists everywhere to meet like-minded researchers, hold online discussions, showcase their work via personal homepages, share information with groups (open or private) and tag content. Participation is free to all, requiring little more than nature.com registration. User-driven upgrades will roll out regularly from now on.” It is so refreshing to see an old skool publisher taking the web2.0 bull by the horns, so to speak! Check out the forums, groups, blogs, tags! Who would have thought a scholarly publisher could be so much fun

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