Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Holidays everyone for this blog I am going to discuss and old tool.  As librarians we probably have all used or the paid database version of this useful e-resource.  For those of you who may not have heard of it, this tool is a database of library catalogs from around the world.

Now you may be asking yourself why is he going over  It has been around since 1971 in one form or another.  Well, I think that sometimes going back and giving overviews of older tools is good idea because with all of us being busy we might not notice new features or even realize that the data available has expanded or been reduced for any given tool. Also for those institutions that have distance learning programs where users may be in other states this WorldCat gives librarians access to library catalogs from all over the United States.

The first thing that I would like to point out is that there is a free version available at  It can be accessed by anyone who has an internet connection.  This is great for libraries that have lost there subscription to the OCLC First Search database version of this electronic resource or those institutions which may be on a budget.

Next the folks at WorldCat have gone mobile.  There are now apps of this tool for iPhone and Android.  This is pretty cool because now you can search for books and other material through your smart phone and other devices without having to worry about screen compatibility issues.  It is also useful for libraries that are trying mobile reference but whose online catalog does not have a device ready platform.

Some new innovative features that librarians may want to check out include social media function where users can rate as well as review materials and the WorldCat Identities Network.  This latter feature is most intriguing.  It allows users to create visual maps between different subjects or people.  You can see their interrelationships in expanded data trees that are easy to interpret.  The WorldCat Identities Network also lists books and other materials connected with with your searches.  It is a very power research tool that can be a great asset to public, school, and academic school librarians as well as other educators. is a powerful tool that contains the records of 2 billion items.  It allows users to find books, articles, video, audio, and other materials that their local libraries may not have but which may be obtainable through inter-library loan.  WorldCat now features innovative new features which turn it into a learning and social media tool.  The electronic resource is a must for librarians no matter if they are in academic, public, or school libraries.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013


MERLOT II is a free peer-reviewed site of online learning material.  It is program of the California State University and the web resource is free for anyone to use.  MERLOT II covers a number of disciplines including Arts & Humanities, Business, Mathematics & Statistics, Education, and Science.  The web resource has close to 50,000 materials covering a large number of subjects.  These include open access online text books, presentations, tutorials, animations, and even assignments.  All of this is available and open to anyone.  You do not even need to create a user account.

MERLOT II has over 100,000 members including educators from universities, public schools, and librarians. They encourage individuals to join.  When you setup an account on this web resource you can rate online learning materials and more importantly network with other education professionals.  Being a part of MERLOT II also gives you the ability to post your own electronic content.

The online resource is easy to use.  To get started, once you are on the website, just click on the Search MERLOT icon.  From there it is just a matter of searching for online instruction materials or you can also use one of the many other options such as the browse feature.  It is an impressive resource giving educators vast amounts of online learning materials that can be used to enhance distance learning programs.

To access MERLOT II follow this link:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free eBooks

I recently did a presentation on free eBooks at the District 1 Annual Media Conference on South Padre Island.  What is surprising to me is the amount of free eBooks available online.  I have always gone to a few sites like Baen Free Library and Project Gutenberg but I had no idea about some of the other sites that I have found during the course of my research into this interesting subject.  Here is a list of the Free eBook providers I discussed at the Media Conference as well as some new resources.

Project Gutenburg

Google Books

Internet Archive

University of California – California Digital Library

Baen Free Library

Cambridge Free eBooks

Good comics for kids! = Aggregated Site

The ecomics link was added for fun.  Out of all the e-content providers I really like Internet Archive.  It has content that is not available on Project Gutenberg and has over a million free eBooks most of them are available in formats that you can download to Nooks as well as other mobile devices.  If any of you have any suggestions for this list or any other free e-tools that you think should be showcased please feel free to add them here or email me.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hello again!  This is the second blog for the TLA DELRT page!  The tool I am going to talk about today is  It is a great website/tool for librarians who work in the field of genealogy.  It is freely available for anyone to use.  Libraries with small or non-existent genealogy budgets will find it invaluable. Roots Web is easy to use.  The first page of the website allows users to enter the name of an ancestor. Users should use the search boxes that are available under  The other two areas are for pay services.  Roots Web also offers multiple links to other sources of information for individuals working on their family trees.  Of particular interest to genealogists will be Charts and Forms link which gives access to useful record sheets for keeping track of information.  For beginners the website has a Getting Started at RootsWeb link which provides information on how to get help and interact with other users of this resource.  This is a great tool which offers users a great deal of material and help in the field of genealogy.    

If you want to check it out here is the URL:

Friday, August 2, 2013



This is a web based service that allows organizations and individuals to share presentations.  Anyone is allowed to view the content which opens up the whole of the World Wide Web to the information that you would like to present to the world.

There are a number of applications of the program depending on the functions selected.  The lowest, which is free, permits the uploading and use of PowerPoint, PDF, keynote or Open Office presentations and the use of audio.  There are a number of applications of this service depending on the level of function selected.  The more advanced silver, gold, or platinum memberships offer video and  other features such as analytic, meetings, captive leads and track presentations.

The silver level cost for educational institutions is $114.00 per year and gold is $249.00 per year.  The platinum level cost is available by contacting the organization.

So far ten million presentations have been uploaded to this service.  It is used by Dell, Pfizer, Daimler, the BBC, and McGraw Hill and many other organizations.  This also includes many educational institutions.

To check out Slideshare go to: