The Internet Archive has added a new feature called BookServer, which provides a venue for publishers, authors, libraries and others to make digital books available directly to the public. You’ll currently find the search engine by scrolling down to the bottom of of the BookServer page. Some of the results are free, others are available to purchase. A brief article about BookServer appears in The Chronicle of Higher Education. You can find a more substantial piece on CNET’s Web site.


candy from strangers

If you have children who trick-or-treat, it may have crossed your mind to worry about what ends up in the bag. Several years ago, University of Delaware Professor Joel Best decided to put that worry to the test. Has anyone ever died by Halloween candy from strangers? Listen to this NPR interview for some research results you can really use! 😉  (BTW, I ran across this topic while reading one of my favorite blogs, Free Range Kids.)

reading radar

Reading Radar is a nifty mashup that combines the New York Times Bestseller Lists with ratings. It allows the avid reader to view the lists but also get a sense of whether the book really is a great read or a case of buyer’s regret, as measured by customers.

After prowling Reading Radar, I came away thinking about other great tools for sharing thoughts on books, such as LibraryThing and GoodReads, taking a common reading experience, assigned reading, or reading for pleasure to a new venue for discussion. Perhaps this is a “plug-in” for the Big Blue Network!


I’ve been playing around with Weebly this morning. Fun! It’s a tool that bills itself as a free service that allows people “to easily create personal sites and blogs or establish web presences for businesses, weddings, classrooms, churches, artistic portfolios, and more.” It is easy to use, with drag-and-drop design elements and easy-to-insert graphic and media elements. I’m working on a page and will post when I get it set up.

It occurs to me that it may be a tool that is useful for student projects. Although I don’t see that it is “wiki-like” in allowing multiple users to edit a single site, a group of editors could share one user name and password to get around that. Pages may be locked by a password, and an entire Weebly site can be deleted if desired, as well. See a video demonstration of Weebly in my Vodpod collection, at the top of the left column in this blog.

Has anyone else built a Weebly site? If you have, post it here in comments to share.

Common Reading Experience – in SL

CRE in SLThe University of Kentucky Libraries and UK’s Common Reading Experience will host a discussion of the book The Color of Water, by James McBride, today, (Monday, Oct. 12, 2009) from 6pm until 7pm Eastern time (that’s 3-4pm Second Life Time) in the virtual William T. Young Library on University of Ky Island in Second Life. The slURL for the event is A face-to-face observation of the in-world discussion will be provided simultaneously in the Young Library Gallery on Oct. 12th from 6:00-7:00pm (EST).

The discussion will focus on issues such as race, religion, education, identity, family and more found throughout the book as well as how those things shaped the character’s experiences and perceptions of the world around them. This discussion provides student participation credit for the Common Reading Experience.

While on the island, be sure to visit the W.T. Young Library exhibit The Color of Water: A Common Reading Experience at the University of Kentucky. The exhibit, housed in the virtual W.T. Young Library, includes information about James McBride, his book, The Color of Water, the Common Reading Experience, and campus resources at the University of Kentucky. In addition, the exhibit provides supplementary information to expand the reader’s understanding of the author’s background and to address issues such as religion, interracial families, and African American history that are discussed in the book.

For more information about the book discussion or the exhibit, contact UK Libraries’ Second Life avatars Erimentha Hitendra, Ginevra Merlin, or Alice Burgess.

For help with Second Life or more information, visit the University of KY Island blog. For a tutorial in getting started in SL, including setting up your avatar, visit Blue 2.0.

KY Convergence Conference

I’m off to the KY Convergence Conference. Stacey Greenwell (University of Kentucky Libraries) and I will be presenting on Blue 2.0 – maybe we’ll see you there! If not, you can view our presentation on Slideboom.


I love this site, featured recently in The Chronicle online:  ProfHacker features “tips, tutorials and commentary on pedagogy, productivity and technology in higher education.” It’s created by profs, for profs … and its interesting for the rest of us, too. Contributors are welcome: find out more here.