Thursday, September 01, 2005

Newsroom Training

TECH TIPS is a FREE periodic e-mail column by, Debbie Wolfe, focusing on tips, tricks, traps and techniques for technology training in newsrooms. Guest postings and reader questions are encouraged. Debbie is the Technology Training Editor at St. Petersburg Times.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


This Forbes article explains much better than I can here the wealth of info you can access on the web for FREE from your local public library. The library (if you have a library card) will give you a password for the databases at NC Live. The databases NC Live gives you free access to are normally fee-based. (and not just fee based, but expensive fee based).

Monday, August 01, 2005

Yahoo! Search Subscriptions Beta

Although you do not have access to subscription services that the news library uses, you can now search Yahoo! Search Subscriptions (it is in Beta) and get results that include Consumer Reports, Wall-Street Journal, New England Journal of Medicine and others.

You still need a subscription to access the full content of the article, but now you will at least know that the information is there. A normal web search would exclude results from subscription based databases.

News University

News University’s online journalism training designed with busy journalists in mind. Writing and reporting techniques. Insights into visual journalism. Courses on ethics and values.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sex Offender Database

U.S. Department of Justice has launched a searchable sex offender’s database. The criteria for searching are limited to what each individual state may provide. Also, because information is hosted by each state and not by the federal government, search results should be verified by the user in the state where the information is posted.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What's On When

Want to do something bizarre in Borneo in August? Check out What's On When Web site.

This is a travel and entertainment content service. Here is a list of their themes:
Themes: Adventure, Bizarre, Classical Music, Clubs & Parties, Film, Food & Drink, Gay & Lesbian, Heritage Jazz, Kids & Family, Lifestyle Literature, Mind, Body, Spirit, Music, Nature, Phenomena, Opera, Performing Arts, Religion, Spectacle Sport, Theatre, Visual Arts.

You can search these themes, or you can search a destination or even a combination. Their homepage highlights events by date.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Government Reporters: RSS Subscription Service

PubSub is a matching service that instantly notifies you when new content is created that matches your subscription. Using a proprietary Matching Engine, PubSub is able to read millions of data sources on your behalf and notify you instantly whenever a match is made.

A section of the PubSub site allows you to set up RSS feeds for any news about US or state government officials. PubSub Government has links to Congressional Committies, State elected officials, U.S. Supreme Court Judges, Cabinet members, George Bush and Richard Cheney.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

American Shoppers

Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study about American shopping habits and knowledge. Click on the link to see the report. There is also a Q&A of Seventeen Facts American Shoppers Need to Know - But Don't. For example: True or False:


FALSE: Many charities buy, sell and trade mailing lists and no laws prohibit this.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Education Reporters

The National Center for Educational Statistics as just released the Condition of Education -2005 report. It includes a teacher mobility report, enrollment trends, student achievement, societal support (including public and private financial support). Some indicators have been updated for this online report.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pod Casting

You all know what Pod Casting is, but do you know where to go to find content? Here are some pod cast directories:

Podcast Alley - this directory has the Top 10 Podcasts (as voted by the listeners). The site also has software, forums and general podcast information.

Doppler Radio is a podcast aggregator. It’s a tool to subscribe to RSS feeds which supply downloadable files. Doppler will go out and fetch the files enclosed in the RSS feed and will automatically add them to your preferred media player

Ipodder Directory is a decentralized, categorized directory of links to podcast feeds.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Dogpile Meta Search Engine

Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch has written an article about the enhancements at Dogpile: "Dogpile Enhances Meta Search, Offers Comparison Tools"
"Dogpile has redesigned its meta search site and introduced a nifty new utility that visually displays the overlap (or lack thereof) of results from the multiple search engines it queries."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Star Wars' Fans

Did Vader rejoin the force when he died? Tish Wells, Knight Ridder Washington Bureau Researcher answers your questions on the Star Wars series.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Saturday, May 14 help the National Association of Letter Carriers stamp out hunger. Put some non-perishable food items in a bag and place it by your mailbox. Your letter carrier will pick it up and deliver it to a local food bank.

Do not include out-of-date items or those in glass containers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Search Engine Math

This 2001 article by Danny Sullivan, at Search Engine Watch is still a great primer on using search engines.
Some of his math tips: 1. use the + symbol to make sure specific words or phrases are used (+apple +computer) 2. use the - symbol to exclude words (+apple -computer)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Best Places for Doing Business in America 2005

Inc. Magazine examined 274 population centers, looking for job creation and other signs that businesses are thriving. Here is their report.

Hispanic Resource

Aguilar Productions and, in partnership with the James J. Hill Reference Library, brings you information on the Hispanic community. You have to register, but it is free. Demographics, statistics, research, white papers and more.

Friday, April 29, 2005

2005 CIA World Fact Book

What's New- Country information has been updated as of 21 April, 2005. Revision of some individual country maps, first introduced in the 2001 edition, is continued in this edition. Several regional maps have also been updated to reflect boundary changes and place name spelling changes. This factbook has frequent online updates.

Cover the Uninsured Week May 1-8

National, regional and local events across the country will spotlight the fact that too many of us are living without health care coverage. Check out the events planned for North Carolina.

Did you know that 1,424,000 people do not have health insurance in North Carolina? That's 17.3% of the population.

New Drug Report

A new report on The Economic Costs of Drug Abuse in the United States 1992–2002 issued by the Office of National Drug Policy has just been released. You can download the document in PDF; it is 110 pages, so don't hit the print key unless you specify the pages you need.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

CEO Compensation

Last week Forbes posted another in its famous lists: CEO Compensation. The heads of America's 500 biggest companies received an aggregate 54% pay raise last year. As a group, their total compensation amounted to $5.1 billion, versus $3.3 billion in fiscal 2003. You can sort the list by rank, company, name, age or total compensation.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Peanuts & Crackerjacks!

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's educational unit offers this free course on the economics of pro sports . It's free, fun, and easy to use — even for rookies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

DEA Drug Publication

Check out this new online magazine produced and published by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration titled, " Drugs of Abuse". "This DEA magazine delivers clear, scientific information about drugs in a factual, straightforward way, combined with scores of precise photographs shot to scale."

The report also comes as a pdf doc. It is 83 pages, so think twice before hitting the "print" button.

Monday, April 11, 2005

FREE Online Math Course

From Debbie Wolfe, the Technology Training Editor at the St. Petersburg Times:

WHAT: Math for Journalists, a new and interactive online course and reference toolWHO: Written by Debbie Wolfe, technology training editor, St. Petersburg Times; designed by Casey Frechette, Poynter NewsU course administrator and Flash wizard
WHEN: Available beginning today, Mon., April 11, 2005 after Noon EDT (US)
WHERE: It's available where ever you are and when ever you need it. Just log onto the Web even if you only have a 56K dial-up modem.
HOW MUCH: FREE thanks to the Poynter Institute and the Knight Foundation; just spend a few moments registering at Poynter's NewsU Web site at
WHY: Because many journalists need an easy to understand, available 24/7 and free resource to turn to for self-help with math. The content of the course is the collective wisdom of plenty of gifted math types written by one who is not, so it's the best of both worlds. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Breaking the Law

At least one in five companies lobbying fail to file required forms - A report from the Center for Public Integrity has just been posted. Check out North Carolina companies that lobby the government and the amounts of money involved.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Did they count me?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report on the working poor in March titled, A Profule of the Working Poor, 2003. The 14 page report contains statistics and graphics.

Friday, April 01, 2005

New Search Engine

Topic Hunter's main page contains all the major search engines, Yahoo! MSN, Google, WiseNut, etc. Hold your mouse pointer over the engine name and you'll get a description of the engine. Click on the topics at the bottom and you'll get search engines specifically for those topics: Blogs, Directories, Image Searches, News, Shopping, Business, Financial -- and more.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Here is a white paper compiled by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press titled, "Homefront Confidential: How the War on Terrorism Affects Access to Information and the Public's Right to Know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Brainboost, a natural language search engine, recently unveiled a new version of its "answer" engine.

How BrainBoost is different BrainBoost is a 100% automated Question Answering search engine.
What does BrainBoost know? If the answer to your question appears on a website, somewhere out on the web, BrainBoost can find and extract it.
BrainBoost can answer most any factual question, as long as the answer appears somewhere on the Internet. From Astronomy to Zoology, and everything in between, ask BrainBoost.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Podcast: Jeri & Nicole

GoRadio is up and running, and we're moving into episode 4. You can listen to Jeri & Nicole talk about upcoming weekend events and interview folks that will be performing.

It's now listed on

Monday, February 28, 2005

AP RSS Feeds

The Associated Press has a list of their RSS news feeds. They have a featured FEED that is changed regularly with new or topical feeds. Right now the featured feed is Pope John Paul II.

Friday, February 25, 2005

New Books in the Library

The Vanishing Newspaper - Saving Journalism in the Information Age by Philip Meyer. Meyer is Knight Chair and Professor of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author or coeditor of a number of books, including Assessing Public Journalism and The Newspaper Survival Book: An Editor's Guide to Market Research.

We the Media - Grassroots Journalism By the People For the People by Dan Gillmor.
Gillmor is a nationally known columnist for the San Jose Mercury News. We the Media is his first book.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Demographic Resource

Population Reference Bureau Datafinder contains data on 95 demographic variables for more than 220 countries, 28 world regions and sub-regions, the world as a whole, the United States as a whole, and the U.S. states. (Not all countries have data on all variables.)

North Carolina Open Government Coalition

Parts of this new web site are still under construction, but under "In NC" there are active links to Public Records (answers questions), Open Meetings, In the News, Case Law and Not Public. This looks like a great resource.

The coalition's mission statement: "The North Carolina Open Government Coalition unites organizations interested in ensuring and enhancing the public's access to government activity, records and meetings. The nonpartisan coalition will educate people about their rights and support their efforts to gain access; advocate the principles and benefits of open government; and initiate or assist in legal proceedings when necessary."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Google Scholar

Although still in Beta Google Scholar can be a great research tool.

About Google Scholar: "Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research."

For example, use Google to search "Mercury". Note your results range from articles on spacecraft and automobiles to newspapers with Mercury in the title. Now do the same search at Google Scholar. You will get all sorts of scholarly articles on the chemical. Add 'god' and get articles on the Roman god and mythology.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Quote of the day

From Digby at Hullabaloo:

Who are the real traitors to western enlightenment values -- those of us who find both totalitarianism and religious fundamentalism abominations or those who topple dictators to install theocracy? I'd ask the women of Iraq in about five years what they think. Of course, they won't be allowed to speak freely, so we'll probably never know.

What is RSS?

Update: This in from Lex:
Mark Schaver has a quick tutorial on using RSS feeds to help you keep up with Web-based info on your beat. Don't know what an RSS feed is? He explains it and includes practical examples of how to use them.
A Web Tips article by Jonathan Dube on Poynter's site gives you the lowdown on what RSS is. As journalist, RSS can be beneficial to help cut down on the amount of time you spend surfing from one site to another to check for updates.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Government Reporters & Editors

A must visit daily web site: ResourceShelf's DocuTicker
Docuticker is a daily update of new reports from government agencies, ngo's, think tanks, and other groups. DocuTicker is compiled by the librarians who bring you

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 has launched a redesigned home page. They changed the left-side navigation to roll-down top navigation. Registration is required, but free.

Pod what?

In its simplest sense, “podcasting” is very much like a subscription to an audio magazine. It’s very different from current Web or radio broadcasts where you, the user, have to “tune in” at a particular time to hear it.

Podcasting, on the other hand, is like TiVo, which allows you to record and save a TV broadcast (in podcasting's case it's audio) for later. In podcasting you can download a recorded broadcast, captured in the form of an mp3 file format, from the Internet and listen to it at your convenience on your computer (using QuickTime, Windows Media, RealPlayer, etc.) or load it to your mp3 device, such as a Rio or an iPod.

With podcasting, you use software to “subscribe” to a service and automatically (or manually) download the newest broadcast once it’s put on the Web.

Here are some links that might help explain more about podcasting:

Wikipedia definition
iPodder definition of podcasting
NPR story on podcasting
USAToday story on podcasting
iPodder resource site
Former MTV VJ Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code site

UPDATE: Here's another link I just found with even MORE links to great info about podcasting.


Forbes Magazine's annual ranking of technology's top 100 dealmakers (The Midas List) is now available at their web site. Ranking is determined by size and frequency of deals.

Friday, February 11, 2005


Use Google to get a quick definition. But don't just type in your word, type define:then your word
You will get definitions from a range of glossaries, dictionaries and lexicons.

See Google Help Features for a list of Google shortcuts.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Searchable Postsecondary educational database

This database lists approximately 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an accrediting agency or state approval agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
Click on "Institutional accreditation system" to enter the database.

FREE digital archive

PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. NIH has mandated that its scientists release to the public their manuscripts within 12 months of publication.

NEW: Google Maps

One of the easiest maps I've found on the internet!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New Resource in the Library

World in Figures 2005 Edition: includes country profiles and world rankings.

North Carolina Minority Business Links

Minority Business Roundtable (a registered non-profit corporation) provides links to minority business information, including business directories, minority demographics, etc. - state and national data.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Need to look at a bunch of blogs at once?

Check out Technorati and Bloglines. Both help you read a bunch of blogs at once without having to surf to each Web site.

For those new to Technorati, click here to look at their FAQ. Both are Web-based so you don't have to download software.

I'm sure there are more out there, but these two will get you a start.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

You! And Dave Winer! In the same room!

I don't usually blog here during the work day, but I'm doing so for a work-related reason: Scripting News editor and blogging/community journalism guru Dave Winer is coming to Greensboro and will participate in an open forum/discussion next week. It's free and you're invited; details here.

Public records databases

Welcome to the largest directory of links to free public record databases on the Internet. Find business information, corporate filings, property records, unclaimed property, professional licenses, offenders, inmates, criminal and civil court filings, and much more. Click on the links below to browse the public record links by geographic location or use our "Public Record Locator" above to search for a type of public record in a specific area.