The World Wide Web in Plain English

Posted by Celia Walter | 9 Apr, 2009

The Common Craft Show has produced another in Plain English video - this time on how the World Wide Web works including explanations of browsers, packets, servers, addresses, and links.

From: iLibrarian blog

Survey and Questionnaire Design

Posted by Celia Walter | 16 Apr, 2009
Survey & Questionnaire Design
Free online tutorial made available by StatPac Inc.: it has been taken from a chapter in the book 'Survival Statistics' by Prof. David Walonick from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. The whole book can be purchased from the site. The tutorial, which aims to teach users how to conduct a survey and design a questionnaire, is over 20 pages long can be downloaded in Word or PDF format, or read online. Topics covered include: research methods; cost considerations; order of questions; incentives; flow charts; response rate and following up of non-respondents; anonymity and confidentiality; sampling methods; time considerations; non-response bias and the meaning of 'significance'. The tutorial can also be emailed to the user. The focus is on questions that will collect quantitative data rather than qualitative. From

Typing Chinese Online

Posted by Celia Walter | 16 Apr, 2009
Typing Chinese online
Typing Chinese Online is a simple, useful web-based tool that allows users to imput Chinese in pinyin romanisation, for them to be translated into simplified characters. The main website instructions can be read in English, Chinese, French and German. Users type pinyin into a text box, and can select the corresponding character from a list that appears below. It is then possible to copy and paste the text into other documents. The possibility of characters which appear can be narrowed down by using the keyboard to indicate the tone of the character that you would like to type (for example, typing in capitals indicates that the character has the third of four tones).

The website would be of use to anyone who wishes to type a small amount of Chinese, especially undergraduate students or beginners (who need to know some Chinese words). Although the tool does not include complicated characters, it is a simple tool that can be used without the need to purchase a complicated software programme. Although it may seem difficult to use at first, all users need to do is to type pinyin into the text box. From

Dress and the African Diaspora Network

Posted by Celia Walter | 19 Apr, 2009

Dress and the African diaspora network
This is the website for the AHRC-funded Dress & the African Diaspora Network, which provides a series of focussed research forums for new and established researchers to “discuss the consumption, production, collection and display of dress, textiles and beauty regimes” of the African diaspora. The network aims to identify new areas of study and create scholarly information resources for the field. From

Free Mobile Learning E-Book

Posted by Celia Walter | 24 Apr, 2009

Free Mobile Learning E-Book

April 21st, 2009 iLibrarian


Athabasca University Press has published Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training and licensed it under a Creative Commons License. The entire e-book is available for download via the AU Press website.

“This collection is for anyone interested in the use of mobile technology for various distance learning applications. Readers will discover how to design learning materials for delivery on mobile technology and become familiar with the best practices of other educators, trainers, and researchers in the field, as well as the most recent initiatives in mobile learning research. Businesses and governments can learn how to deliver timely information to staff using mobile devices. Professors can use this book as a textbook for courses on distance education, mobile learning, and educational technology.”

via Reference Notes

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write

Posted by Celia Walter | 24 Apr, 2009

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write

April 21st, 2009 iLIbrarian

Steven Johnson writes about the future of the book for the Wall Street Journal in How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write. In this insightful article, the author poses that new devices such as the Kindle and iPhone are changing the way people read, buy, and write books. According to Johnson, books will become increasingly social and accessible, however this increased access may lead to dimished attention, books being written with search engine rankings in mind, and new distribution models such as paying per chapter.

“Because they have been largely walled off from the world of hypertext, print books have remained a kind of game preserve for the endangered species of linear, deep-focus reading. Online, you can click happily from blog post to email thread to online New Yorker article — sampling, commenting and forwarding as you go. But when you sit down with an old-fashioned book in your hand, the medium works naturally against such distractions; it compels you to follow the thread, to stay engaged with a single narrative or argument…

As a result, I fear that one of the great joys of book reading — the total immersion in another world, or in the world of the author’s ideas — will be compromised. We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there.”

The Penguin Prize for African Writing

Posted by Celia Walter | 24 Apr, 2009


Penguin Books announced today a new literary award for writers from the African continent. The Penguin Prize for African Writing has two categories: a previously unpublished full-length work of adult fiction and one of non-fiction. The prize in each category will be R50 000 and a publishing contract with Penguin Books South Africa, with worldwide distribution via Penguin Group companies.

Penguin South Africa’s CEO Alison Lowry commented, “Although this prize does not exclude established authors, we believe that there are new writers from Africa for whom Penguin can provide a platform, and in so doing we hope to reflect and showcase the diversity of voices on our continent both at home and abroad.”
Books to be considered for the non-fiction award will be serious narratives that examine and explore African issues and experiences for both local and international audiences in an engaging, thought provoking and enlightening way. 
For the fiction prize the judges will be looking for novels of freshness and originality that represent the finest examples of contemporary fiction out of Africa.
Penguin’s Chairman and Chief Executive, John Makinson said, “As we approach the end of our second decade of publishing in South Africa, it is exciting to be able to look ahead to the next phase of the company’s development. The Penguin Prize for African Writing will give us opportunities to reach new readers across Africa and bring talented and important writers to the attention of book lovers around the world.”
Submissions for both categories are now open, and close on the 30th of January 2010. The shortlist will be announced in April 2010 and the final prizes will be awarded in September 2010.
See below documents for the fiction and non-fiction prize criteria.

Penguin Prize for African Writing Fiction Criteria

Penguin Prize for African Writing Non Fiction Criteria


Thanks to Fareeda Jadwat for this information.

BBC News Radar service

Posted by Celia Walter | 28 Apr, 2009
BBC News radar
The BBC News Radar service is a site maintained by the BBC. It provides a chronological listing of all the headlines recently added to the BBC news site, regardless of their category or importance. It is therefore a useful resource for tracing the latest political, social and economic news. There are links through to the main BBC pages where the full stories can be read. From

WUN China Center

Posted by Celia Walter | 28 Apr, 2009
WUN Contemporary China Center
Part of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), the WUN China Center aims to combine the expertise of member institutions in the US, Great Britain, Australia, and China in order to reach a more thorough understanding of China and the Chinese through a cross-disciplinary approach. On the main page, users will find a textual introduction to the centre's aims and ideals, and can access links to staff members in participating universities (for example, UK members include The University of Bristol, The University of Leeds and The University of Sheffield, all leaders in East Asia research). The centre organises live 'virtual seminars' which can be accessed online by interested participants (international start times are listed), and details of past seminars can be viewed by e mailing the centre to request an authorisation password. subjects of past seminars cover: civil society in China; rural life; marriage and migration; the young in contemporary China; and educational inequalities in China.

Users will also find a list of past conferences and workshops organised by the centre. The organisational impetus behind the centre and WUN is The University of Leeds, UK, which is its main point of contact. Although some sections of the website appear to be maintained more often than others (the resources page, for example, needs to be filled, whilst the virtual seminar page is updated frequently), the resource remains valuable as an example of an innovative international, cross disciplinary approach to the study of China, which is moving further and further beyond the traditional 'Sinology' of the past. From

Podcasts and Audio Presentations: Four Copywriting Techniques

Posted by Celia Walter | 28 Apr, 2009

Four Copywriting Techniques for Engaging Podcasts and Audio Presentations

iLibrarian blog April 25th, 2009

Brian Clark at Copyblogger puts together a guide to Four Copywriting Techniques for Engaging Podcasts and Audio Presentations. This useful article discusses how to structure an audio presentation using techniques such as attention, empathy, solution, and action as well as how to present content in a compelling well through the following four techniques:

  1. Stories and Anecdotes
  2. Metaphors, Similes and Analogies
  3. Mirroring
  4. Mind’s Eye Scenarios

BitTorrent: an e-book

Posted by Celia Walter | 28 Apr, 2009

The Big Book of BitTorrent

From iLibrarian blog April 27th, 2009


If you still aren’t sure about what BitTorrent is (peer-to-peer file sharing technology), and how to get started using it, there is now a free 28-page illustrated e-book from on the topic. The book is available for free download as a pdf.

Swine Flu. From Updated 3rd May 2009

Posted by Celia Walter | 29 Apr, 2009

Swine influenza
This is the World Health Organization (WHO) page for information about swine influenza A (H1N1). WHO is coordinating the global response to human cases of swine influenza (swine flu) and is monitoring the threat of an influenza pandemic. Information on this page gives access to both technical guidelines and information useful for the general public. Regularly updated, there is also a link provided to Frequently Asked Questions.

Swine flu
This podcast on swine flu (swine influenza) has been provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been authored by the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID), National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and Influenza Division (ID). The podcast describes swine flu and includes: signs and symptoms; transmission; medications; steps people can take to protect themselves; and what people should do if they become ill. Running time is just over 5 minutes and a transcript of the podcast is available to download.

Swine influenza
This is the swine influenza (swine flu) page of the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA). The site gives access to: Recent updates (including travel advice, management of close contacts, questions and answers for the public etc); Press releases and media updates; Advice for the public; Information for health professionals; and links to external organisations including: Department of Health, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, National Travel Health Network and Centre, NHS Choices, NHS Direct and the World Health Organization. The site is regularly updated and an RSS feed is available.

Pandemic and flu planning
This is the pandemic and flu planning page of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) website. It gives a swine flu (swine influenza) update and provides access to the RCGP's and BMA's joint pandemic flu guidance document (2008) 'Preparing for pandemic influenza' which is aimed at Practices looking to prepare for enquiries about swine flu. The latest RCGP statements on swine flu can be accessed via a link to their News Room and links are also provided to further information on swine flu, other pandemic guidance and pandemic planning documents.

Preparing for pandemic influenza : guidance for GP practices
This guidance document has been prepared by the British Medical Association's General Practitioners Committee and the Royal College of General Practitioners with the support of the Department of Health. The document sets out guidelines for business continuity planning within GP Practices and also introduces new systems and procedures such as the National Pandemic Flu Line Service, which will operate in an influenza pandemic. The document tells Practices what they need to do now and in the future in order to prepare for, and respond to, a pandemic influenza outbreak in the UK. This is the first issue of this guidance and the document will be regularly reviewed to include any new decisions as they are agreed, plus any relevant changes which relate to General Practice.

Swine influenza backgrounder
This backgrounder on swine influenza is published on the Web by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The document briefly covers the 2009 H1N1 flu virus (a hybrid of North American swine influenza viruses), also known as swine flu. The focus of this document however is swine influenza and topics covered include causative agent, natural distribution, transmission, clinical signs, diagnosis, available treatments, and prevention and control measures. Last revised in April 2009.

Emerging Pathogens Initiative : animal pathogens
This is the animal pathogens section of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Initiative (EPI) website. In relation to animal diseases, the EPI aims to “provide the tools needed to prevent foreign animal diseases and other emerging pathogens from impacting the health of Floridians, their animals and the State's economy.” Currently (October 2006) the following animal-pathogens are discussed in detail: African Horse Sickness; Avian Influenza; Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD); Heartwater; Rift Valley Fever; and African Swine Fever. Additional topics covered include the economic impact of emerging infectious diseases, the aims and objectives of the EPI, and links to other authoritative external resources on emerging pathogens. Much of the information available here naturally focuses on Florida as a 'sentinel state' and a 'reservoir state' for diseases of plants, animals, and humans.

Swine flu : updates from the DynaMed clinical summary
As a result of the global outbreak of swine influenza in late April 2009, EBSCO Publishing and DynaMed have made freely available the main elements of the DynaMed clinical summary on the condition, for health care providers and institutions. Information is consolidated from multiple sources on latest recommendations for monitoring, diagnosing and treating patients who have or may have the disease. The site offers latest epidemiological data, general information about the condition, causes and risk factors, complications and associated conditions, history, physical symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prevention and screening, references including reviews and guidelines, and links to sources of patient information.

Seasonal flu
This resource on seasonal flu is produced and made available on the Web by the of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This US focused resource provides information for both the public and health care professionals. It provides information on: flu basics; preventing flu; what to do if flu is contracted; information for health professionals; information for specific groups (e.g. parents, schools, workplaces etc). New and updated resources are provided including a quiz, podcasts and questions and answers. Links are also provided to other flu websites including avian flu, canine flu, swine flu and pandemic flu.

New Search Engine Duck Duck Go

Posted by Celia Walter | 29 Apr, 2009

The wonderful people at Pandia alerted me to Duck Duck Go which is a new search engine that's trying to provide better results with less spam. It has a nice simple Google like interface, which is as minimal as you can get. Depending on the search query, Duck Duck Go (I have no idea why it's called that by the way) either provides a small factual box with information (which unfortunately it takes from Wikipedia; disappointing), asks for clarification (Duck Duck Go knows Apple can mean different things. Which meaning?) or displays a series of results, though quite limited. Any serious searcher is going to continually be clicking on the 'more links' option.

There is a nice shortcut icon bar to the right which allows searchers to copy their search directly across to YouTube, Twitter, IMDB, Amazon and so on. Nice touch.
I'd like to see this engine doing a lot more however. No help options! No RSS feeds, no indication of any options to allow users to search across news, images, blogs and so on, without leaving the site. While I was happy with the search engine it didn't hugely inspire me to be honest, and while a spam free search engine is great, I generally do find Google works pretty well for me in that area, and I'm still to be convinced about DDG. One to bookmark and revisit in 6 months or so I think. From Phil Bradley's weblog


Posted by Celia Walter | 30 Apr, 2009

For converting "just about anything to anything else" try OnlineConversion at


From FreePint: My Favourite Tipples by Jane John

From: Backdoor Broadcasting Company

Posted by Celia Walter | 30 Apr, 2009

Backdoor Broadcasting Company. We are a mobile audio webcasting service, broadcasting sound or any audio source from anywhere to anywhere via the Internet. We are based in the United Kingdom, in Oxford, and at present only operate within the UK...

We offer two different kinds of services:

The Academic Service is specifically designed to broadcast academic conferences, symposia, public lectures and workshops to further the dissemination of academic research and knowledge. Our other service, the Sound Experiment, wishes to encourage new and experimental music, sound art and sonic events by making them available to the widest possible audiences...

Two items from the Academic Service archive


Professor Michael Mann (UCLA): Explaining the Rise and Fall of Fascism

speaker_michaelmannThe Birkbeck-Wiener Library joint lecture series cotinued on 15 April 2009 with a lecture by Professor Michael Mann on ‘Explaining the Rise and Fall of Fascism’. This lecture took place at Birkbeck, University of London (main building, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX, in Room B34) at 7pm.

Professor Michael Mann is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a world authority on political theory and history. He is widely well known for his publications on capitalism, nationalism, militarism, globalisation, imperialism, ethnic cleansing and fascism. His major works include ‘Fascists’, a comparative study of fascism in six European countries (2004); ‘The Dark Side of Democracy’ on ethnic cleansing (2004); ‘Incoherent Empire’ on contemporary American imperialism (2003); and the prize-winning series ‘The Sources of Social Power’ (Volume I: A History of Power from the Beginning to 1760, published in 1986, and Volume II: The Rise of Classes and Nation-States, 1760-1914, published in 1996).

The lecture is followed by a commentary from Professor Lucy Riall (Birkbeck), who has published widely on European and Italian history. Her most recent book is ‘Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero (2007), which analyses the political strategy behind the construction of a popular cult of Garibaldi in nineteenth century Europe.

Download audio


Round Table:  THE DECLINE AND RISE OF CHINA: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Royal Holloway University of London Department of History


Dr Weipin Tsai: The ‘Self-Strengthening Movement’ Revisited

Download audio

Dr Chi-Kwan Mark:  Negotiating with Communism: Britain and China.

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Dr Evelyn Goh: China’s Rise and the Regional Hierarchy in East Asia

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