Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Create a WorldCat login.
  2. Create a brief list of books or movies. (You can duplicate one of the library’s book lists, if you would prefer.)
  3. Share a link to your public list in the comments below.

Example:  The Fan’s Guide to Baseball


The New ReferenceUSA

July 20, 2009

Ever wanted to see how many lawyers practice in your zip code? Ever want to compile the addresses of your neighbors for a direct mail campaign? Ever wanted to find out the names of the top executives at local corporations?

You can’t go wrong with ReferenceUSA, the mighty business directory and list-generator.  Now, they’ve streamlined things a bit. So, take a look at the new ReferenceUSA and compile some business lists. View our tour!

Wolfram Alpha – a new “computational knowledge engine” – had been out for a few weeks now and it has taken every bit of that time for it to make even a little sense. When I first heard about it, I immediately pulled it up and tried a few searches. And I got nothing. “What kind of search engine is this?!” I cried.


Lesson: Don’t approach Wolfram Alpha like you do Google or Yahoo.

I think my first search was “woodworking” or something vague like that. I got a definition, pronunciation, and some synonyms. Not quite what I expected. Where were my search results?

But, Wolfram Alpha isn’t a search engine. It’s a “computational knowledge engine” – meaning we’re not going to get google-like results page. We’re going to get data. Wolfram Alpha seeks to pull you from the mire of millions of search results. Because who needs a search results page when you can get actual data?

Wolfram Alpha gives you data, not for a list of websites.

If you want to search for websites to plan your upcoming trip to Canada, you might be barking up the wrong tree.

A search for canada travel gives zero results.

If you’re looking for real data about a city, state, or country, Wolfram Alpha will knock your socks off.

A search for canada gives us the population, flag, satellite image, demographic info, cultural properties (with charts), related links, and a link to source information (so you can see where Wolfram Alpha got all this data).

Example Searches:

Looking for a historical stock price? How about the price of IBM stock in May of 1982. Click on the chart where the red line intersects the blue line and you get a price.

Looking for an overview of the exchange rate for Dollar to Yen? You can view the history of the exchange rate for the last month, last year, last few years…

Would you like to know weather conditions for Nashville on March 28, 2008? You can see results in metric and non-metric. You can get the temperature, rainfall, humidity, and historical temperatures.

Browsing Wolfram Alpha:

Maybe you thought your search string was a good one but Wolfram Alpha gave you zip. What do you do now?

When Wolfram Alpha doesn’t know how to interpret your search, you’ll get a list of category links to explore. Each category gives example searches. This will give you a good idea of the type of information you can pull out of Wolfram Alpha.

Want even more info?

Read this article from PC World.

“But it doesn’t work on iPods,” has been our refrain ever since we introduced Downloadable Audiobooks. Traditionally, iPod devices have not worked with our Netlibrary or Overdrive services because they use the Apple copy-protection format .AAC instead of the Windows codec, .WMA.

Now, both services have introduced books that are compatible with iPod, but each works differently.

mp3MP3 files have no copy-protection, so they are compatible with any MP3 player (Creative, Archos, SanDisk, etc.), including iPods. Many MP3 audiobooks are now available from both Overdrive and Netlibrary.

In addition, Overdrive now allows some of the WMA books to be converted to the iPod-friendly AAC format.


To access this feature, you must download the latest version of Overdrive Media Console 3.2 from the library web site: » Books Movies Music » Audiobook Help » OverDrive Media Console


  • Check the icon chart to see if your book is compatible (see images above for examples).
  • Plug in your iPod to your PC before you download the book.
  • iPod-friendly WMA books do not work with Overdrive on the Mac OS, only Windows XP or Vista.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Use NetLibrary or OverDrive to find an iPod-friendly audiobook.

2. Download the book to your computer. Or, if you’ve already downloaded audiobooks, find a colleague who needs help.

If you have any problems, ask for help in the comments.