Archive | September 2006

Museum Day

Tomorrow (9/30) is Museum Day.  Sponsored by the Smithsonian, admission is free at all participating museums nationwide (which, in Memphis, include Stax, Rock & Soul and The Dixon).  For a list of participating museums, click here.

A card must be presented to gain free admission.  To download the card, click here.

Happy Touring!

Early Medieval Cartography, 400-1300 AD

Cartography is an important but oft-overlooked aspect of historical study. The maps people drew tell us more about themselves than the world they inhabited. Medieval cartographers had to rediscover the lost art of mapmaking after the 500 year-long era commonly called the Dark Ages. Their maps placed the Earth (and humanity) at the center of a divinely-ordered cosmos. As inaccurate as they may have been from a geographical standpoint, we are nonetheless very lucky they survived. Not only are they incredibly aesthetic, but they also tell us a great deal about the Medieval world’s perception of itself and its place in the universe. To view a massive collection of these maps, make sure to visit the following web address:

Hosted by the Henry Davis mapmaking consulting company, this database includes a timeline of Medieval cartography, a bibliography and countless medieval maps, all of which are accompanied by an essay describing the map in question. I promise you, you’ll enjoy this website.

 Happy Searching!

Gregg Newby, History Dept.

Tennessee Criminal Information

Several links from Philip Williams (Hollywood):

Tennessee Felony Offender Information Lookup

“Information on the status of felony offenders in Tennessee, including an individual’s current status (whether the individual is an inmate, on parole, etc.) or parole eligibility is available on this state of Tennessee website.  Individuals may be searched by name, by TOMIS ID (An 8-digit number assigned by the Department of Correction that identifies the offender in the Tennessee Offender Management Information System (TOMIS), or by State ID Number (A unique number assigned by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation when the offender’s fingerprints are verified).”

Tennessee Sexual Offender Registry

“This site offers access to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation database of offenders who committed sexual offenses on or after July 1, 1997.  Offenders can be searched by last name, city, county, or zip code.  Information on the offenses of the individuals is included, as well as photographs of the individuals.  There is a disclaimer, from the TBI, that needs to be read.  In addition, there are other links to other useful sites that provide information on the Sexual Offender Registry.”

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office — Warrant Information System

“This database is updated hourly and includes information on individuals who have outstanding warrants.  There are several disclaimers and warnings that need to be read.  Individuals with possible warrants can be searched by name or address.  Photographs of some individuals are included and there is a way to send a tip to law enforcement about an individual with a warrant.”

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Mid-South Most Wanted

“This site includes photographs on individuals who have open warrants for their arrest in Shelby County.  Clicking on the image of the individual provides a detailed window on each wanted individual.”

The Indonesian Distance Calculator

It seems like a random place for it, but the Indonesian tourism website has an online distance calculator that will give you the straight-line distance between any two places on earth. The database allows for several query formats, such as “Chicago, IL” or just “Jakarta.” You can also input latitude and longitudes. So if you want to know just how far 40:26:26N is from 79:54:56W, then this is the place to go. You can even mix and match your entries, such as looking up the distance between Tallahassee, FL and 22:59:41W.  So the next time somebody asks you how far Athens, Greece is from Athens, Georgia, just go to: 

Happy searching!

Gregg Newby (History)

Virtual Instrument Museum

From Wesleyan University’s World Music Collection, this site gives information on musical instruments from around the world.  Users can search by type of instrument, geographic region, or composition materials.  Entries can include images, audio files, or video files.

Update: New Rules for Carry-On Luggage

The Transportation Security Administration issued new guidelines on Permitted and Prohibited Items for carry-on luggage.

Federal Trade Commission for the Consumer

From Philip Williams (Whitehaven):

“Consumer information on a variety of topics from the Federal Trade Commission is found on this site. Information here can help a consumer avoid scams and ripoffs and there are many consumer tips here as well. In addition, there is a link that will allow you to file a complaint with the FTC against a particular business or organization.  There is also a link that you can use to order FTC publications.”

Spinach and E. coli Outbreak

The FDA has created a hot topics page for news of the Spinach/E. coli outbreak.  The page indexes the press releases and provides links to the CDC, Food Safety Info and a Q & A page.

Computer Buying Guides

CNET has long been considered one of the top sites for information about computers and other tech products.  They have created buying guides for the home user, student, frequent flier, power user, home office worker, multimedia enthusiast, etc.

Consumer Reports also offers a Decision Guide for potential computer buyers.  A subscription is needed to view the full ratings, but the guide offers very helpful advice on what to look for when considering a product.

Shakespeare Searched

From their site: “Shakespeare Searched is a search engine designed to provide quick access to passages from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. We cluster search results by topic, work, and character to make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. From something as simple as identifying the speaker of a particular quote to discovering underlying thematic elements across works, Shakespeare Searched has you covered.”

Internet Tutorials

Thanks to Philip Williams (Whitehaven) for sharing this site!

“This site, published by a Web Support librarian at the University of Albany, is an excellent site to refer customers to who can benefit from tutorials on the Internet and the World Wide Web.  In addition, there is much information on subject directories, search engines, and the Deep Web.  Under the link ‘Getting Started : Selecting a Tool for Your Search’ there is an excellent chart that shows a listing of general query types and the kinds of search tools that support them.  There is also information on Boolean searching and as well as much other helpful information on the Internet.”

Driver License Practice Tests

The Tennessee Department of Safety offers four practice tests to help citizens prepare to take the driver’s license exam.

Writely – The Web Word Processor

Writely is a web-based word processing program that allows multiple users to collaborate and share documents.  It also allows users to post documents to the public as blogs.  The site is secure and allows you to upload/download documents to/from Microsoft Word and your desktop.

Update: Now part of Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Acronym Finder

With more than 500,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms.”  Users can search by acronym, a word in the description, or filter by category.

You can also try