You’re already reading Hack Library School, and you’ve undoubtedly heard about the magic being done at INALJ. Therefore, it can be deduced that you are indeed a savvy library student. But don’t you ever feel the need to branch out? Don’t you ever want to diversify your list of go-to blogs and websites for the latest in library news? Don’t you want to be able to watch your classmates turn green with envy when your presentations are so great they practically leap from the computer screen and shake people by the shoulders? Of course you do!
So here is an unofficial, unsolicited list of some of my favorite library-related sites. Proceed with caution, as some of these sites may cause you to spend hours upon hours neglecting your studies.
Creative Commons US: This site compiles photos, music, and videos that have been licensed for public sharing. As future librarians, information policy should always be on our minds when we’re publishing online, and this site provides legal access to a ton of free media. Just be sure to cite your sources!
Prezi: This one is the cool kids’ PowerPoint. It’s been around for a bit, but there are still enough people who don’t know about it that they’ll be impressed by it. There are various templates for creating timelines, resumes, and digital stories, but its most notable feature is that it allows you to zoom in and out of the slides and create an almost interactive, panoramic view within the presentation.
First Monday: This is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal about the Internet, and it publishes some of the most interesting, most accessible scholarly articles I’ve ever read. A new issue comes out on the first Monday of every month, and archives are available dating back to the mid-1990s.
Google: It’s more than a search box, y’all. The most impressive project I’ve seen lately is Google’s Person Finder, a database that allows people to search for loved ones after natural and humanitarian disasters. Also try Picasa, which is Google’s photo editing program, and the search refinement tools that allow you to sort results by date, time, and even reading level.
Library of Congress: Count on the LOC to have media you never even imagined existed, like voice recordings of Zora Neale Hurston speaking with people who were formerly slaves. Offering great podcasts, amazing photos, and even internship and job opportunities, the LOC site is a must-view.
Instructables: Library people love arts, crafts, and tech, and this site is a great source for new project ideas. Each project, created/uploaded by various users, comes with a set of instructions and helpful pictures to guide you in making speakers, robots, and other cool stuff that lights up.
Booklist Online Webinars: Booklist Online hosts a series of webinars about all topics bookish, from weeding practices to YA trends to working with reluctant readers.
IPL2: Internet Public Library has been around since the mid-1990s, but it continues to curate collections and provide services that I haven’t seen compiled anywhere else on the Internet. IPL2 offers special collections about the digital divide and web technologies, a wiki for teens to share their poetry, and general reference information on various topics.
Tech Tools with Tine: This is a webinar series in conjunction with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and hosted by technology trainer Christine Walczyk. Each webinar offers a good overview of various web tools, such as Facebook and SurveyMonkey. The site is updated frequently, and it also features archives of past presentations.
SlideShare: Did you ever create a presentation that you’re really proud of and want to share? This program allows you to upload that presentation so that others can benefit from your expertise. Search for “library” and you’ll get access to hundreds of thousands of presentations, created by students and scholars alike.
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project: This site is great for those who love statistics, or need them to support research for papers and presentations. There are a number of infographics, data sets, and trend reports available focusing on subjects from online dating to home broadband adoption.
International Children’s Digital Library: I love this site. You can read full-color, unabridged children’s books online for free. There are books available in dozens of languages, and it has the cutest search engine ever, perfect for the young and young at heart.
Fellow hackers, take this information, go forth, and browse! And be sure to report back about your findings. What kind of neat tricks did you uncover? Which sites had you already explored? Which sites would you recommend? What are your must-views?