Showing posts from 2009

Finding the laws that govern us

Here is a snippet of a recent announcement from Google:

Starting today, we're enabling people everywhere to find and read full text
legal opinions from U.S. federal and state district, appellate and supreme
courts using Google Scholar. You can
find these opinions by searching for cases (like Planned
Parenthood v. Casey
), or by topics (like desegregation)
or other queries that you are interested in. For example, go to Google Scholar,
click on the "Legal opinions and journals" radio button, and try the query separate
but equal
. Your search results will include links to cases familiar to many
of us in the U.S. such as Plessy
v. Ferguson
and Brown v.
Board of Education
, which explore the acceptablity of "separate but equal"
facilities for citizens at two different points in the history of the U.S. But
your results will also include opinions from cases that you might be less
familiar with, but which have played an important role.

This looks like a useful feature.

My Wife Wrote a Book

This blog doesn't usually touch on my personal life, but I just wanted to brag about my wife a little bit. After a few years of hard work and prayer, her first book has been published! A Dress for Anna, the memoir of our first adoption has been published by CSS Publishing, and is available through Amazon, as well. Deb hopes that the book inspires many people to look into adopting a child, and that it would also be an encouragement to anyone currently facing difficulties in their own adoption journeys.

Why I'm Not Using Google Chrome

Image by Matrixizationized via FlickrAs readers of my blog may have noticed, I'm a heavy Google user. I use Google as my primary search engine, I use GoogleDocs, Blogger, Gmail, GoogleVoice, etc., and I eagerly await an invitation to try out Wave. When Google Chrome was released, I immediately downloaded it and started using it exclusively for awhile. I have noticed that I'm using it less every day, though, so I thought I'd take a look at my usage patterns to see if I could identify the source of my discontent.

The first, and probably most important, thing I noticed was that I rely on a large number of Firefox extensions: Delicious, FireShot, Zotero, ScribeFire, WebNotes, Zemanta, Twitter Bar....My Firefox browser has become my Personal Learning Environment (PLE). At this point, Chrome offers very little of this functionality, although that may change.

Secondly, although Chrome loads much faster than Firefox, and renders pages faster, there are pages that don't load pr…

WXIX on Libraries and Rally

Video on Importance of Libraries

Here is a nicely done video on the importance of libraries. The embed feature was not working, so here is a link:

A Call for Transparency in Ohio

Image via WikipediaFriday morning, libraries across Ohio prepared for another busy day as a new generation of library users discovered the benefit of free libraries in the middle of a down economy. By Friday evening, those same libraries were scrambling to alert these new patrons that the pot of gold they had just discovered was in danger of being ripped away.

Public libraries in Ohio have been dealing with budget cuts since 2001, so news of more cuts was hardly a surprise. Many libraries had drawn up plans to deal with this year's reductions, as well as anticipated cuts for next year. Apparently, however, institutions that were told to expect cuts of up to 20% were shocked to find out that they were being asked to shoulder an excessive 50% cut in state funding. Libraries were blindsided by a process that, in today's communication utopia, should no longer be the norm.

How many of us are aware of the workings of the state budget? As numbers get shuffled, twisted, added, erased an…

While Stressing the Need to Modernize Ohio's Education System, Ted Strickland Reverts to an Old School Concept of Centralized Education

In a Columbus Metropolitan Speech given on Monday, May 4, 2009, governor Ted Strickland referred to the need to reform education for the "21st century economy." However, in laying out his plans, Mr. Strickland reverted to an old fashioned way of thinking of the school as "place."

As advances in communication have allowed for instant access to some information, education has expanded beyond the classroom. For Ohio's citizens (of all ages) to have a national and competitive advantage, they need access to a breadth of information sources anytime and anyplace. While the internet is an invaluable tool for society, the closest thing we have to a true information infrastructure is our library system.

Schools have a certain role in every society, but while we place all of our hopes in one institution, the cultures which outpace our educational system emphasize the value of learning which extends beyond the school walls and into the library.

Here are some of governor Stric…

Ohio's Libraries in Danger

An open letter to Ted Strickland and Ohio's lawmakers,

It has come to my attention that you plan to cut public library funding in Ohio by over 50%. That would be a mistake. To do so would cripple the state's economic recovery. Free public libraries represent society's last chance at educating and empowering our most desperate citizens. They provide free opportunities for families, workers, entrepreneurs, students, and small businesses to move forward and contribute to the community.

Families across Ohio are relying on public libraries to get them through these hard times. As budgets tighten, they are able to seek enlightenment and entertainment for free at their public libraries.

Boomers who have had steady employment for years find themselves out of work, and are told when they apply for new jobs to apply online. Many of these people have felt no need to own computers or to have internet access. When they tell potential employers of their predicament, they are inevitably tol…

PLE in the Works

My wife has asked me to help her in the creation of a research skills class for the homeschool co-op we participate in. I accepted, but the challenge has reminded me of how much I do is on the spur of the moment or off the top of my head. I decided it would be in my best interests to create a formal Personal Learning Environment (PLE). I will try to document my efforts over the next few weeks. I have a few articles and documents I have collected over the last two years and I will try to make those available here, either through links or references.

The first thing I have done, however, is to make sure that my Firefox browser is equipped with the latest versions of Zotero, Scribefire, FireShot, and Delicious plugins. Zotero allows me to capture web pages and journal articles, as well as the accompanying bibliographic information. Scribefire allows me to create blog entries on the fly without actually signing into my blog account. FireShot is an excellent screen capture utility. I can ea…