Monthly Archives: November 2012

Visualization Tools – Microsoft Word’s SmartArt

You can use Microsoft Word’s SmarArt as a visualization tool. The SmartArt feature can create all kinds of diagrams to illustrate concepts and processes in your document. Word 2010 includes several diagram types from which to choose, including list, process, cycle, hierarchy, relationship, matrix, pyramid, and picture (see examples below).
Tips from Marcy Phelps’ Article:
Always begin with the end in mind. First decide what information you want to convey, and then determine the best graphics for your purpose.
Know your audience. What are their goals? How do they like to recieve information, and how will they use it?
Make sure your diagrams serve a purpose besides adding color or other decoration to your slides or documents. Use them only to help readers.
Keep it simple, and include only what’s needed to convey the information. Effects such as 3D can distort the data and cause readers to draw incorrect conclusions. Keep grid lines and text in titles and labels to a miniumum, and let the graphic tell the story.
Phelps, Marcy, “Visualization Tools for Turning Information Into Insight”. Online: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. 36.5 (2012): 15-19. Print.
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Article, Teaching Tools, Technology



 AbiWord ( is a free word processing program, similar to Microsoft Word. AbiWord supports basic word processing features such as creating of documents, mailing lists, tables, and so on. What makes this word processing program unique is that its ability to run across difference operating systems (UNIX, Windows, and MacOS X) and available in more than 30 languages. The online tutorial ( walk users through all the features of AbiWord. AbiWord can be considered as noteworthy alternative to traditional (and expensive) programs.

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Teaching Tools, Technology

Change is happening in cyberspace. I was reading a newspaper article about the Black Friday controversy. The report mentioned claims to be the world’s largest petition platform. People can start or browse petitions. I searched for “Black Friday” petition Friday. I found a lot of active petitions for Target, Wal-Mart, and so on. This website could be a good online resource for any student researching opposing viewpoints or controversial issues.


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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Teaching Tools, Technology


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Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha has redesigned its homepage. Wolfram Alpha is a knowledge search engine I use it to assist my children with their math homework.

The new homepage is interactive for browsers or fact junkies like me. A person can click one of the hand drawn icons and a prefilled search box appears.

Searchers now can create a free Wolfram Alpha to save search history, annotate queries, and copy results in plain text.


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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Teaching Tools, Technology, Uncategorized


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What is Big Data?

Big Data is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems ( Billions of people and the popularity of internet accessible devices contribute to the large amount of data available today.

Recommended Reading on Big Data

Anderson, Janna and Lee Rainie, “The Future of Big Data”, July 20, 2012 (

Avanade, “Global Survey: The Business Impact of Big Data”, November 2010 (

Hswe, Patricia and Ann Holt, “Transforming Research Libraries: E-Science Guide to Research Libraries: The NSF Data Sharing Policy”, Association of Research Libraries (


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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in Article, Reading List, Technology


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DuckDuckGo – Search Engine

Are you looking for a new search engine…. try

DuckDuckGo has an interesting setting option that lets searchers use Web of Trust (WOT) ratings next to each result instead of favicons.

  1. begin your search
  2. click on “More”, a drop down menu will appear
  3. click on “Setting”
  4. click on the drop down menu of “Site Icons”
  5. Select “Just WOT (trust) ratings” — There is an option for “ALL WOT and favions (both)”.

The WOT ratings are based on a traffic light model with red for low, yellow for medium, and green for high level of trust.

Clicking an icon will link to more details from WOT.


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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Teaching Tools, Technology


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Bing Updates

Bing’s Advanced Search and Search Links:

On the homepage, after clicking in the search box, the drop-down includes recent searches and popular searches with the Manage Search History link at the bottom. The Advanced Search Link also shows up in the drop-down box, but only on search results pages (not on the homepage).

Bing's Advanced Search

Encyclopedia Britannica: Bing has new partnerships with Encyclopedia Britannica and Qwiki to include Britannica Online answers and Qwiki videos directly in the Bing results page.


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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Teaching Tools, Technology


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