Archive for the ‘Online resource’ category

The world’s best search engine

February 24, 2010

Seems like librarians are under siege recently. Shrinking budgets, claims that in the Internet age they are obsolete. Well, not so fast…

Google Technology Director Craig Silverstein recently said their goal is to make a search engine as effective as a librarian.  “The idea is having the computer be as smart as a reference librarian…(Librarians) put some element of intelligence into it that a computer cannot,” he said.

A recent book by Marilyn Johnson makes the same claim–even with many resources being digitized and online search capabilities improving, librarians are still more important than ever. Her book, This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All, points out that librarians can find “hidden” resources that might not be available on the Internet. “It’s an illusion that everything is digitized and at our finger tips.”

NPR’s On the Media recently did a radio interview with her. And, Salon has a piece also.

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The question no parent wants to hear

January 25, 2010

Dad, how do you do this problem?

Calculus problem

Find the value of this integral or show that it diverges.

Several years ago, my son advanced past my ability to help him with his math homework. And, when my wife had the same blank stare I usually display when my high school senior asked for help with this calculus problem, we were stuck.

Fortunately, the library’s Live Homework Help service was there. Open each day from 1 to 10 p.m., Live Homework Help is an online services where students from Kindergarten through college can log on with their San Diego Public library card and get live, free and professional one-on-one help with math, science, English and social studies assignments. Spanish-speaking tutors also are available.

So, Stephen signed on and had a live online chat with his math tutor, April. She did not provide him the answer, but used a whiteboard to show him the formulas and concepts he needed to solve the problem. A half hour later his calculus homework was finished.

“That online homework thing was pretty cool,” Stephen mumbled. That is a rave and overly enthusiastic endorsement from a high schooler!

Below is a public service announcement explaining the free service.