From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 05 Jul 2005 - Internet Public Library


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Way back in 1995 September 1995, the TOURBUS stopped for a visit to IPL - The Internet Public Library. Since the IPL is celebrating its 10th anniversary, we're going to stop by again and see what's new...

What is the Internet Public Library?

The IPL is an online library of and for the Internet community. It's an experiment to discover the unique hybrid of librarianship and the Internet. It's mission is to provide services and information which enhance the value of the Internet to its varied community of users. You can find it online here:


Welcome to the IPL Lobby

Every good library has a lobby - a place where one can comtemplate the riches the lie just beyond the uhh... lobby. In the small town where I live, the lobby is better known as "the hallway". While in this hallowed place, you can wipe your feet on the fraying rug, visit the bathroom or proceed to the library proper.

The Lobby at the Internet Public Library is kind of the same, except they don't have a rug or a bathroom. But let's see what we can find here to make up for the lack of these amenities.

From the Lobby, you can access the following divisions of the IPL:

  • Subject Collections (Arts, Business, Education, Science, etc.)
  • Ready Reference (Almanacs, Calendars, Dictionaries)
  • Reading Room (Books, Magazines & Newspapers)
  • KidSpace and TeenSpace
  • Searching Tools
  • The Subject Collections

    Let's take a peek at some of the subject collections, which have links to selected documents which the IPL Reference Staff has found to be of high quality and content. You can find information on:

    Business, Computers, Education, Entertainment, Government, Health, Government, Science and more.

    IPL Collections -

    You can also search each collection by keywords. I checked out the Computer section and found the "Free Online Dictionary of Computing". In the words of its creator: "The FOLDOC is a searchable dictionary of acronyms, jargon, programming languages, tools, architectures, operating systems, networking, theory, mathematics, telecomms, institutions, companies, projects, history, in fact anything to do with computing." Yes, but does it come with free steak knives?

    FOLDOC -

    OK, let's try a search on "national anthem etiquette". Hmmm, 1343 hits to explore, a bit overwhelming. How about "astronomy"? That's better, just 73 hits. From here, you can check out "The Astronomy Cafe" or "StarDate Online" at your leisure.

    If you get stuck, you can even send a question to the IPL staff by filling out a form at the Contact Us link. But you should read the submission guidelines before sending questions. They probably won't be able to help you with your calculus homework.

    Kids Only

    Alright, we're checking ID here. But this time you have to be UNDER 21 to get in, or at least lie about your age - which is pretty easy
    to do in cyberspace.

    IPL KidSpace -

    You'll find Culture Quest, Story Hour, Science Fair project ideas, a Learning HTML guide, and special Subject Collections with links to materials on Computers, Nutrition, Math & Science, Art, Music and Sports -- all selected to be age-appropriate for pre-teens.

    Read Any Good Books Lately?

    No? Then by all means pop into Reading Room at the IPL. The reading room contains links you can browse for hours of online reading.

    IPL Reading Room -

    Visit the Shakespeare shelf, or check into the various catalogs of online books, such as:

    * Alex: A Catalogue of Electronic Texts on the Internet

    * The English Server Drama Collection

    * The Internet Classics Archive

    That should keep you in digital ink for a while.

    Mea Gulpa

    Patrick wishes to pass along these comments: "In our last edition, I jokingly wrote that my department, the Faculty Technology Center, is now part of the University Library. So I guess that makes me a librarian. As several alert Tourbus riders have pointed out,

    > just because your org chart has shifted, placing your
    > department under Library oversight, doesn't mean you're
    > now a librarian. If you were a janitor at NASA would you
    > claim you're an astronaut?

    "I apologize. I am not a librarian. I have nothing but the utmost respect for librarians and the years of schooling that librarians must complete in order to earn that important and respected title. In trying to go for a quick laugh, I accidentally offended the hardest working and most overlooked people in our schools: REAL librarians.

    "On a unrelated topic, now that my name has been successfully destroyed on the surface of Comet Tempel 1, I am proud to announce that I am now an astronaut."

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

    That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

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