Cool Sites

Refine Your Search Terms with SortFix

Lifehacker pointed the way to Sortfix.

Search engine front-end SortFix takes a graphical approach to including and excluding phrases and terms from standard searchs. Type in "iPod Touch," for example, and you can drag the "8gb" and "online sale" phrases to the "Add to Search" box while moving "rumors" into "Remove" to avoid all the pre-launch press.

FreeRice - Boost Your Vocabulary and Feed Hungry People

The website FreeRice ( has two purposes. First, they want to help people improve their English vocabulary. The site gives you a word and four possible synonyms. Get it right, and you advance to a higher level with tougher words.

At the same time, advertisers who appear at the bottom of the screen donate 10 grains of rice per correct word to the World Food Programme, which in turn sends it to countries in need around the world.

As of now, FreeRice has paid for just under 4 billion grains of rice, hovering at around 200 million grains per day. Not bad considering it launched on October 7 with 830 grains!

The Library History Buff

The Library History Buff: Promoting the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of library history. A library history buff, also sometimes referred to as a library history nut, is an individual with a passion for library history and its artifacts. Larry T. Nix is the library history buff who created and maintains this Web site. This site is divided into three broad categories. The "Library History" category includes Web pages with information about library history. The "Librariana" category includes Web pages with information about the collecting of library memorabilia and artifacts. The "Postal Librariana" category includes Web pages with information about the collecting of postal artifacts related to libraries.


The Wise Guide

I want to point out this pretty cool resource that is offered by the Library of Congress, the Wise Guide. According to their "about" page, the site "links to the best of the Library's online materials." The Wise Guide is definitely meant as a jumping-off point, but is an excellent way to learn about some of the Library of Congress' resources. This month's topics include WWII, Native American Indian health, and notable occurrences that have happened during the month of November.

Directory of Experimental Library Tools Sites

Ken Varnum started his Directory of Experimental Library Tools Sites - web sites where libraries of all kinds publicize their experimental, "beta," or trial services. The pages linked offer a wealth of ideas and innovations. The full list will be maintained as the Directory of Experimental Library Tools.


LibVibe: The Librarian Newscast

It seems almost impossible, but I don't remember ever seeing LibVibe before: "A newscast of our own. Concise, professional, listenable." Done by Marv K. who is a former broadcast radio personality and reference librarian living in the Midwest USA.


Today in Literature: Great Books Everyday

Sean writes "Today in Literature began in 2001 with the naive idea of an English teacher on leave from the classroom. It was a weekly radio series in Canada before moving to the internet, on and several other sites. It is now an independent web-site and subscription service, with over 25,000 visitors a day and subscribers in virtually every country in the world. It is pleasing to think that TinL helps to keep the world of books alive for so many — especially those two subscribers on Bouvet Island in the Antarctic, whoever you may be."


Cool Twenty Questions Game

Based on my experience, out of five or so categories (classic and people), the game was able to answer two out of five times before the twentieth question. The three tougher answers were answered with fewer than thirty questions.

The game FAQ tells us about the possibility of 'contradictions', explaining: "Since 20Q learns everything it knows from the people who play, it is dealing with opinions, not facts. It's more like a folk taxonomy. Folk taxonomies are generated from social knowledge and are used in everyday speech. Since the opinions of people often differ, 20Q must do its best to sort out conflicting information. Contradictions are also one of the main ways that 20Q learns more about something. If enough people contradict what it currently thinks, it slowly changes its mind about that subject and eventually the contradictions will no longer happen." Try 20Q!

Barcode ARt

Think about these neat techno-toys when the holidays come around (or before!) Check out barcode art, a web store by artist/designer Scott Blake. Some of his creations include: a barcode clock, barcode tattoos, t-shirts, some cool flipbooks and so on.


Check Out Uncontrolled Vocabulary Live Tonite

If you haven't tried out Into libraries? Uncontrolled Vocabulary , maybe tonite can be the night. Greg Schwartz, library podcasting pioneer has started a new podcast series for and about libraries and librarians called Uncontrolled Vocabulary. Each Thursday at 10:00 p.m. EDT (GMT -5), Greg and several others get together to chat about the week's library-related current events.



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