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October 2003 Web News
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Favorite Web Sites: Weather and Astronomical Information

The web sites featured this month have been critically evaluated and selected by the IU Northwest librarians as well as a group of academic and public librarians across the United States who compile a yearly Best Free Reference Web Sites List  for the American Library Association  . Here is a list of selection criteria  initially created by the MARS Best Free Websites Task Force to choose these sites. The Library hopes our readers will find these web sites useful for locating reliable, accurate and authoritative information on the Internet. Using information provided by the National Weather Service, users can locate weather information and forecasts for over 60,000 US and international cities. Users may also search by state, ZIP code, airport code or country. In addition, the site includes historical data back to 1994, as well as an astronomy area for sun rise, sun set information and the moon phases. The format is easy-to-use and can be personalized by language, time zone, metric or English units, and "favorite" cities to display on the opening screen. For a $5.00 membership fee per year users can access an "ad-free" version of the site and receive weather forecasts and weather alerts by email for cities of their choosing. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee)
  Weather.Com, the official web site for Weather Channel Enterprises, Inc., is an excellent ready reference source for current forecasts and weather-related news stories as well as informational features like "storms of the century." Over 1700 U.S. city forecasts can be retrieved by zip code or city name. The forecast and current conditions page, which is updated regularly throughout the day, contains the seven-day forecast in graphic form as well as a link to a more detailed forecast issued by the National Weather Service. Regularly updated local and regional Doppler radar and satellite maps are linked from the current conditions page. The web site contains similar search indexes for locating international forecasts. (Summary used with permission of the MARS Best Free Websites Committee) This comprehensive, practical and easy to use web resource provides a myriad of information on all types of astronomical phenomena. Data covered includes phases of the moon, sun and moon positions, eclipses, date of Easter, the Earth’s seasons, Julian calendar date conversion and information on sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset and twilight times. Ultimately, the link for complete sun and moon data for one day is the most useful section of this web site. The user simply has to choose Form A- U.S. Cities or Towns, enter the appropriate date, state and city or town and the correct sunrise, sunset, twilight and moon data appears. This section also provides Form B for locating international sun and moon data. The web site additionally provides a frequently asked questions section along with a handy site map and index. The U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department’s Data Services web page serves as an excellent web almanac devoted to all types of astronomical data.

Digital Sanborn Maps for Illinois and Indiana Now Available on the IU Northwest Library’s Web Page

The IU Northwest Library recently acquired access to Illinois and Indiana maps through the IU Libraries’ system-wide subscription to Digital Sanborn Maps. Produced by University Microform International’s Proquest service, Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970 provide electronic access to large scale maps of hundreds of towns and cities in Indiana and Illinois. According to its web site, “Sanborn fire insurance maps are most frequently consulted maps in both academic and public libraries. Sanborn maps are valuable historical tools for urban specialists, social historians, architects, geographers, genealogists, local historians... and anyone who wants to learn about the history, growth and development of American cities, towns and neighborhoods.”

IU Northwest students, faculty and staff can view the Digital Sanborn Map collection from IU Northwest or off campus computers by going to the IU Northwest Library’s Electronic Information Sources Page  and clicking on the All Databases Listed Alphabetically link. At the next screen, scroll down to the D section and choose the Digital Sanborn Maps (Illinois & Indiana link.

  1. At the database’s main page, click the Browse Maps to start using the collection.
  2. At the next screen, select either Illinois or Indiana from the Select a State pull-down menu and then choose a specific town or city and the appropriate date to view specific maps.

NetLibrary E-Books Gain Popularity

Since the IU Libraries’ subscription to NetLibrary’s e-books service began nearly a year ago, the IU Northwest Library was the first regional campus library to purchase e-books when it acquired Gale’s Encyclopedia of Education. IU Northwest students, faculty and staff have access to approximately 7,642 books excluding government publications which constitute about another 30,000 items through this system-wide contract. Subject areas covered include but are not limited to:
  • American Literature
  • Commerce
  • Family, Marriage and Women
  • General Technology
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Photography
  • Theory and Practice of Education
  • Transportation and Communication
  • United States Law

According to the most recent usage statistics, the most popular titles accessed electronically through the NetLibrary database were:

  • Aeschylus' Agamemnon, The Choephori & The Eumenides : Cliffs notes
  • Alex Haley & Malcolm X's The Autobiography of Malcolm X: Bloom's Notes
  • American Homelessness : A Reference Handbook
  • The Catcher in the Rye : Cliffs Notes On--
  • Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn CliffsComplete
  • Black Elk Speaks Cliffs Notes
  • CliffsNotes Rand's Atlas Shrugged
  • CliffsNotes, Adams' The Education of Henry
  • Finding What You Want On the Web
  • CliffsQuickReview Anatomy & Physiology
  • CliffsQuickReview Basic Math and Pre-algebra
  • CliffsQuickReview Physics
  • CliffsQuickReview Statistics
  • CliffsTestPrep Praxis I, PPST
  • Companion Encyclopedia of Geography : The Environment and Humankind
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning German On Your Own
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Sign Language
  • The Death Penalty : For and against Point/counterpoint
  • Encyclopedia of Education, 2nd Ed
  • Encyclopedia of Urban Legends
  • Endangered Species : A Reference Handbook
  • EResumes : Everything You Need to Know About Using Electronic Resumes to Tap Into Today's Job Market
  • Fast Food Nation : The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
  • Grant Seeker's Budget Toolkit

For further information about how to access the NetLibrary e-book collection from on or off campus computers and establish a free personal account, read the article NetLibrary E-books Now Available Through IUCAT in the IU Northwest Library Web News’ March 2003  issue.

, Library News Web Editor