Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. ~ Zora Neale Hurston
"The web is kind of a self-cleaning oven and what you have up there can grow more accurate as time goes by. That's never true of print. It's always there for the ages." ~ David Carr: The News Diet Of A Media Omnivore
(great website for finding radio stations near a certain zip code -- and other variables)
Time of day? U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock hotline
(with various ways of translating it into your time, U.S. time)
Maps That Changed the World
. Peter Barber, head of maps collections at the British Library, shows ten of the greatest maps, from the USSR's Be On Guard! map (1921) to the London Tube Map (1933) to Google Earth. Fascinating.
(pat at patmcnees dot com)
Dying: A Book of Comfort
This site built to support the book expanded into Illness and Recovery
Writers on Writing
(complete archive of the NY Times series, writers exploring literary themes. Requires free membership.)
Letters of Note
(fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos--that you were never expected to see)
(from the brilliant Mutual of Omaha campaign to record people's stories about moments of clarity, defining moments when they gained the wisdom to change their life)
TED: Ideas worth sharing
Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world
Freelance National Anthem
(Bill Dyszel, 4 minutes)
(addicted to a website? bookmark this page and it will remind you to get back to work!)
Today's Front Pages
(check out Newseum's U.S. map -- move your cursor across the map and see the front pages change)
Online Education Database
150 resources to help you write better, faster, or more persuasively
Help a reporter out (HARO)
(useful for reporters and for sources)
Paris Review "Writers at Work" Interviews
(selections from 1953 on, a gift to the world, and with a single click you can view a manuscript page with the writer's edits)
(if the news is making you sick, try this approach)
Online libraries, fact finding and checking, and news resources
Library sites and portals
Search engines, tools, and indexes
Quotations, sayings, aphorisms, etc.
Fact finding and news resources
Check out hoaxes and urban legends
Sarah Wernick on online viruses and petitions
See more excellent up-to-the-minute resources under Blogs
. For links to resources on language and usage, see Style, grammar, word choice, and pronunciation.
In the column to the left you will find links to fact-checking sites, whether about politics or urban legends and rumors.
Library sites and portals
Libraries and Libraries of the world: Writers and editors love you. We know that librarians are among the best (most helpful) researchers in the world, and many library systems are excellent portals to whole other research worlds. I will add more links here as time allows; here's a start:
The British Library
Federal Depository libraries
Internet Public Library (IPL)
. Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens. Also known as Librarians' Internet Index
.(Is it accurate to say this is a library,run by trained librarians?)
Jacksonville Public Library
(good general links)
(Stacy Reed's fab site)
Libraries on the Web
(LibWeb, US public libraries). Use interlibrary loan if you find what you need
(gateway to many excellent library and reference sites), sister site to Homework Spot
Library of Congress (LOC)
. Online reference materials, digitized collections, photos, films, poems, the works--our nation's library)
Library of Congress Online Catalog
Library of Congress American Memory Collection
(old motion pictures, Coca Cola ads, etc.)
(a database containing 1.7 million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world--historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts and family histories, described and cataloged by librarians and archivists)
Columbia Center for Oral History
(Columbia University's living archive of more than 8,000 aural and visual interviews that explore diverse topics in United States and global history)
Oral history collections, online
(Telling Your Story, Pat McNees site)
Musings about librarianship
(ideas librarians might use and others might eavesdrop on!)
National Agricultural Library
(great links and not just agricultural)
OCLC Global Gateway
. The world's libraries. Connected.
(combines content of Oxford Reference Online and Oxford Digital Reference Shelf). Subscribers have full access to the sites two million entries; free resources include more than 300,000 overview pages, with definitions of topics and links to more information; 270 timelines, with links to free reference entries; and an online-only section of quotations.
, a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). Possibly helpful: PubMed Tutorial
USDA A-to-Z Index
U.S. National Library of Medicine Databases & Electronic Resources
(National Institutes of Health, NIH/NLM)
World Digital Library
(scans of original works and images of primary materials from cultures around the world, from ancient Chinese oracle bones to the first European map of the New World, plus photos, films, audio tracks)
(world's largest library catalog, a global catalog of library collections)
LINKS TO FACT FINDING AND NEWS RESOURCES
Accents, symbols, scripts, diacritical marks (how to type on computer)
(with foreign language characters, diacritics, accent marks, for Windows, Macs, etc.), including Alt Key Codes or Alt numbers
, so you can memorize codes for frequently used symbols -- e.g., ALT + 0224 = เ, ALT + 0225 = แ, or the Control key codes for Windows
(character codes for accents in online copy, on the helpful PennState website on Computing with Accents, Symbols & Foreign Scripts), which includes Accent codes for the Mac
. Check the Straight Dope message board I Recently Found the 'Character Map' on My Computer, and Just Have to Try It Out!
American Folklife Center
(online archive of webcasts of concerts, lectures, symposia from 2000 on)
American National Biography Online (ANB)
. Your library may have this important reference.
Society of American Archivists (SAA)
, whose many resources include Richard Pearce-Moses's Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
and Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research
(by Laura Schmidt)
(a database containing nearly a million descriptions of archival collections from all over the world, including Historical documents, personal papers, manuscripts)
C-Span Puts Full Archives on the Web
(Brian Stelter, NYTimes, 3-15-10). Find them at C-SpanVideo.org
about archival military records, veterans' service records, military personnel records,
(brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland. Here's a Fuller description
U.S. news archives on the Web
(for papers in states from Alabama to the District of Columbia)
Timelines, archives, family history, genealogical and other historical resources
(Telling Your Story, Pat McNees's website)
Resources for Genealogists
(National Archives). Most requested: Military service records, immigration records, naturalization records, passport applications, land records, bankruptcy records.
Census Records, U.S.
National Archives, where you can go to find a huge amount of information (but if you need to do it online, go to ancestry.com or HeritageQuestOnline). See How can I search the Census Records?
(National Archives how-to page)
National Archives FAQs
The National Archives (UK)
(official govt archives, from Domesday Book to various websites. Here's Getting Started overview
National Archives of Norway
(now in English)
BYU Family History Archives
(Mormons, Family Search)
Canadian Library and Archives
(in English and French)
GenealogyBank's Historical Newspaper Archives
(over 320 years of obituaries, birth, marriages and newspaper articles about other key life events)
America's historical newspapers
(Readex's online database, from 1690 to recent past)
Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip)
(an industry association for owners of independent information businesses -- hire them to do various kinds of searches for you)
(searchable Bible, with translations available in several languages)
, site for Bible studies, with atlases and maps, concordances, Bible timeline, parallel texts, lists of names, thesaurus, chronologies, story lists, translations, and more.
(a visual search engine from Microsoft)
(a directory of wonderful things)
The British Library
, tremendous resources, including a sizable online gallery
Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS, data on inflation, prices, employment, unemployment, pay & benefits, productivity, workplace injuries, more)
(NY Times guide to business, financial and investing resources on the Internet)
Calculators and converters
Calculators and converters
for algebra, statistics, geometry, calculus, day/date, units, physics, chemistry, weather, colors, etc. (Easy Calculation.com)
(this website, created by economists Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, offers a number of calculators using different methods for measuring worth (annualized growth, relative values, conversion, purchasing power, savings growth, inflation rates, stock growth rates --DJIA, SP500, & NASDAQ). Descriptive material gives the pros and cons of these methods using examples ranging from the cost of Big Ben to the cost of putting a man on the moon.
Current value of old money
((run by Roy Davies of the University of Exeter, this site links to a number of sites that show or calculate changes in the links to inflation statistics, price indexes, and sources of data on changes in the value of money)
CPI Inflation Calculator
Martindale's Online Center for Calculators
(calculators, applets, spreadsheets, and more, including courses, lectures, manuals, handbooks, videos, simulations, and animations)
How Much Is That?
(Economic History Services). Interactive tool for scholars in economic history to compare prices, purchasing power, earnings, GDP, interest rates, exchange rates and other economic variables, from the 1600s on--to convert past values into current values (and vice versa).
Calendars and calender converters
(art, celestial, cultural, daily, event, geographic, historic, holidays, interactive, reference, reform, religious, software, traditional, Web, women)
(world clock, time zones, stop watch, etc.)
Hebcal Jewish Calendar
(useful if you need to schedule around Jewish holidays)
Virtual Perpetual Calendar.net
(calendar for any year from 19th C. on, with dates for holidays in U.S. and Canada for 1995-2010)
(Gregorian, Julian, Hebrew, Islamic, Persian, Mayan, Bahแ'ํ, Indian Civil, French Republican, ISO-8601, Unix, Excel Serial Day Number)
Calendars Through the Ages
(history exhibit, about calendars over time and efforts to organize our life according to sun and stars).
Carlos Barrios's excellent explanation of Mayan calendar
(the world will not end).
Campaign Finance Information Center
, the center's quarterly newsletter, and the website contain stories, tips, tactics, links helpful for tackling complex pieces. Administered by Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.(IRE) and the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR).
Charitable, nonprofit organizations, rated:
rates 3,600 charities with one to four stars, rating them on organizational efficiency provides free financial evaluations of America's charities, rating them on organizational efficiency and organizational capacity.
. Donors, grantmakers, and businesses can use Guidestar's database of 1.8 million nonprofit reports.
American Institute of Philanthropy
, a nonprofit charity watchdog, rates nonprofits with a letter grade (A to F).
Forbes's list of America's 200 Largest Charities
. Forbes lists American's largest charities (by donations) and America's most efficient charities.
Evaluating Charities Not Currently Rated by Charity Navigator
. One helpful tool is the Foundation Center's 990 Finder
Convert.me, online conversion tables (convert units of mass and weight, distance and length, capacity and volume, area, temperature, weight to volume, cooking, fuel, power, torque, etc.)
Countries, background on
. You can learn a lot about the world's countries in states in various sets of notes, including the U.S. State Department's Background Notes
and the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, online
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
. Directory of thousands of open access, peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journals (which do not charge readers or their institutions for access), with link to journals' websites.
Earthquakes in U.S., last 7 days
(USGS, and there are many other pages of resources: maps, animations, seismogram displays, etc.). And here's a good explanation of the Mineral VA earthquake of August 23, 2011
, Callen Gentley's entry on the AGU Blogosphere
EDGAR (SEC) database
. Every domestic public company in the United States with must submit forms and reports to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. EDGAR is the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system the SEC uses to transmit documents to investors. Anyone can access and download this information for free. Possibly helpful:
Important Information about EDGAR
Researching Public Companies Through EDGAR: A Guide for Investors
Search the Next-Generation EDGAR System
, sponsored by AAAS, the science society, as a way to disseminate info through reporters to the public. There's a public section, a reporters section, and an embargoed news section (for research appearing in peer-reviewed journals). News is filtered by subject: Agriculture (crops, food, forestry...), Archaelogy (new world, old world), Atmospheric Science (climate, pollution...), Business & Economics (health care, grants...), Chemistry & Physics (energy, atoms, superconductors...), Earth Science (geology, oceanography...), Education (science literacy, K-12, graduate...), Mathematics (models, systems, chaos...), Medicine & Health (cancer, diet, drugs...), Policy & Ethics (patients, treaties, laws...), Social & Behavior (addiction, parenting, mental health...), Space & Planetary (astronomy, comets, space missions...), Technology & Engineering (electronics, Internet, nanotechnology...). And various portals: News for Kids, Marine Science, Nanotechnology, Disease in the Developing World, Bioinformatics, Multi-Language.... And there is a Calendar of events in science
Especially handy during presidential debates!
(Annenberg sorts political truths from half-truths). See, for example, A Campaign Full of Mediscare
, 8-22-12. (Obama and Romney both aim to slow Medicare spending. But each accuses the other of hurting seniors in the process. What are the facts?)
(nonpartisan political fact checker, whose truth-o-meter
ranks findings from "true" to "pants on fire"), St. Petersburg Times service, and here are articles on current issues, events
. Get the app!
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
(Challenging media bias and censorship since 1986)
The Fact Checker
(Glenn Kessler, Washington Post column, The Truth Behind the Rhetoric).
(E-mail story sound too good or scary to be true? Check to see if it's an urban legend)
Truth or Fiction
(another reality check on email hoaxes, rumors, viruses, and advisories)
Miscellaneous research tools
(SPJ, Journalists' Toolbox)
Also of interest, especially during election campaigns:
(Center for Responsive Politics)
On the Issues
(every political leader on every issue)
Real Clear Politics
[Back to Top]
Family history and genealogical resources
(timelines, archives, genealogical links, etc.)
(providing legal information, lawyer profiles, and a community to help you make the best legal decisions (check out Findlaw Answers).
FOB (firms out of business)
(www.fob-file.com)...a database of publishing, literary and other firms out of business -- that is, printing and publishing firms, magazines, literary agencies and similar organizations that no longer exist -- and, where possible. which successor organizations might own any surviving rights. More
, which is run jointly by the Harry Ransom Center (University of Texas, Austin) and University of Reading Library.
Getty Digital Collections
Getty Photo Archive
(structured vocabularies on specific topics related to art and architecture)
The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)ฎ
(terms, descriptions, and other information for generic concepts related to art and architecture)
The Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA)
(a new vocabulary now accepting contributions, includes titles, attributions, and other information for art and architecture)
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)ฎ
(names, descriptions, and other information for places important to art and architecture)
The Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)ฎ
(names, biographies, and other information about artists and architects)
GOOGLE -- Making the most of it
How Google Works
Live Trainings in Better Search Results
Power Searching with Google
. To see how handy this site is, take a look at Lesson 4 ญ Image Searching. Did you know you can drag a photograph into the search bar and find out what or where it is and
even its provenance?
Power Searching with Google Quick Reference
Google News Revamped: This Is Your News, Personalized and Localized
(Dan Nosowitz, Fast Company, 7-1-10)
Google news archive search
10 Simple Google Search Tricks
(Simon Mackie, NY Times Technology, 4-2-10). These items may become dated as Google changes constantly.
How to Ghost-Google: Searching Google without Google to Know about You
[sic] (SEO Smarty)
(finds scholarly documents on a subject and citations of such documents in other texts)
( top results from the World's favorite search engines: Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Yandex)
(top results from Googe, Yahoo!, Yandex)
Internet Public Library (IPL)
Find resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, special collections, material for kids and for teens
Investigative Reporting Resources
(Padraic Cassidy's great links for investigative journalism--a tutorial on the Web). Some of the sites linked to:
Five Easy Pieces: The S.E.C. Starter Kit
and other tips for checking out companies
How to Conduct a Historical Investigation
7 tips on covering bankruptcy court
Breaking and Entering: How to dissect an organization
(Eric Nalder, Seattle Times)
Many more useful links at that site.
Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others
. William Cronon surveys essential stages of the research process and different kinds of documents that can offer information and insights about the past
Musings About Librarianship
(interesting and cool ideas librarians might use)
NIH Research. CRISP
replaced by NIH RePORTer
(NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting), a searchable database on federally funded biomedical research projects and programs. News updates here
(National Agricultural Library Links)
Finding People (via The Virtual Chase)
(Shirl Kennedy, senior editor of ResourceShelf, offers tips and links to help track down certain types of people)
NY Times Cybernavigator to telephone & email directories
Place Finders. Software for locating old place names.
Linda Coffin of HistoryCrafters (www.historycrafters.com) recommends two simple pieces of software, Animap
, put out by Goldbug
software (www.goldbug.com), which work with a database of thousands of U.S. names for towns, counties, churches, schools, cemeteries, parks, railroads, townships, etc. Today they help you find not only current place names but also names from old records and databases that are no longer found in current maps and gazetteers.
Quotations, famous sayings, anecdotes, bits of wisdom
(many consider "famous quotes" poor usage)
(Garson OToole diligently seeks the truth: Who really said what?--excellent for checking attributions). Tweets at https://twitter.com/QuoteResearch
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
(searchable quotations from the original Bartlett, on Bartleby
, plus other Bartleby-scanned collections
of quotations and aphorisms)
For the Speechwriters Reference Shelf
(a booklist of quotations anthologies, compiled by Pat McNees and Joan Detz, on Washington Speechwriters Roundtable)
(for quotations, anecdotes, humor, historical tidbits and other material to jazz up speeches)
Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages
(classified subjectively, arranged alphabetically, by Robert Christy, on Bartleby
2InspireDaily -- Inspirational and motivational quotations
Quotations Home Page
The Quote Garden
Top Bible Verses
(Bartleby's searchable classic anthologies)
USEFUL BOOKS OF QUOTATIONS
The Yale Book of Quotations
, ed. Fred Schapiro
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations
, ed. Elizabeth Knowles
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
by John Bartlett, ed. Justin Kaplan (A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature)
The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women
, ed. Rosalie Maggio (many missing from Bartlett!)
(Supreme Court of the United States)--absolutely the best interpretations of what is going on in the Supreme Court. Here, for example, are stories about the decision onthe Affordable Care Act
(Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida, and National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius)
Search Engines, Tools, and Indexes (Selected)
(great information on books, but it has expanded to many other products)
(a/k/a Ask.com; see its FAQ
(previously MSN Live Search)
(searches many Web search engines)
(top results from Google + Yahoo! search+ bing)
(top results from Google + Yahoo + bing)
(current King of Search Engines, with powerful ranking algorithms and special searches: images, groups, news, maps, shopping, etc.)
(searches peer-reviewed journals and scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles)
Librarian's Ultimate Guide to Search Engines
My Web Search
(comprehensive Web directory edited by human volunteers)
(a news site addressing trending topics in science and medicine, which also posts articles debunking popular rumors--links to sources when it can)
(has a huge database of articles to search, most of which link to the source journal articles and studies)
Search Engine Colossus
(international search engine -- search in other languages and 310 countries)
(for scientific information)
(a rumor debunker, which detects if something that has been forwarded or linked to is an urban legend, folklore, myth, rumor, or other misinformation)
(U.S. government's official portal)
The WWW Virtual Library
(the oldest Web catalog)
(being voluntary, it is not always correct, but you can generally track down information through the sources)
(second only to Google and bing in popularity)
(major Russian search engine; search for pages in English, German, French and other European languages)
Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines
50 Cool Search Engines for Serious Readers
"Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources"
(PDF, Marcus Zillman's Internet Annotated Link Dataset Compilation). Here are a few of the items listed:
~Academic Archive Online (DiVA
(full text theses, dissertations, and other publications from Nordic universities)
(a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give people all over the world access to video courses and lectures from the world's leading scholars)
(Michael Bell's meta-search tool indexes only research-quality reference and information sources selected by prof. librarians and educators)
(brings together ArchivesUsA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland--annotations are fuller
~Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Check the PDF for the full list of academic and scholarly search engines and sources
(a way to organize and store bookmarks to online resources)
List of sSocial bookmarking
Top 15 Most Popular Book Marketing Sites
(e.g., August 2012: Twitter, digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, deLicio.us, tweetmeme, Fark, Slashdot, friendfeed, clipmarks, newsvine.com, Diigo, DZone, Chime.in--as tallied by eBiz/MBA)
List of Niche Social Networking Groups and Websites
(Research Analyst, Hub Pages)
List of social networking websites
Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites
Time of day. U.S. Naval Observatory Master Clock hotline
(with various ways of translating it into your time, U.S. time)
Daylight Saving Time Around the World 2012
Official U.S. time
(NIST and USNO)
(Timeanddate.com, current times around the world, by time zones)
(interactive map, excellent radar interface)
National Weather Service
(local video weather reports, etc.)
(this was great during Hurricane Sandy)
Dial a Forecast
(NOAA phone numbers for local National Weather Service forecasts in U.S.A.)
(beta), interactive weather graphs allow you to pan and zoom through entire history of any weather station on earth
. Historical weather data. Want to know if it was raining in a certain year and place?
Internet Weather Source (U.S. Weather)
(NOAA, National Weather Service)
Plymouth State Weather Center
(a searchable online international food dictionary)
CHECK OUT HOAXES, URBAN LEGENDS, AND SCAMS
Several websites are devoted to fact-checking and identifying hoaxes and urban legends. Before you forward that "true fact," e-mail petition, warning, amazing opportunity, or piece of gossip, run it by one of these sites. To check out accuracy in media reports, go to Regret the Error (http://www.regrettheerror.com/) as well as the "Accuracy in Media" sites it links to.
(a practical Internet reference source for detecting urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation)
(find out if a charity or charitable request is legitimate)
(check out financial scams and fraud)
Sree's tips on hoaxes
Current hoaxes and legends
(verify virus hoaxes, chain e-mails and urban myths)
How to Determine If A Controversial Statement Is Scientifically True
(Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12)
(freely searchable database of scammy spams)
The Red Tape Chronicles
(Bob Sullivan, MSNBC, looks at Internet scams and consumer fraud)
(a consumer affairs blog, hosted by a division of Consumer Reports)
Urban legends, fact-checking
(Journalist's Toolbox, SPJ, excellent links)
Symantec Threat Explorer
(a comprehensive resource for daily, accurate and up-to-date information on the latest digital threats, risks and vulnerabilities)
The following material was migrated here from the website of the late, great Sarah Wernick, by permission of her husband, Willie Lockeretz.
Emailed Virus Warnings and Petitions:
A Responsible Approach
Someone emails you a warning about a scary computer virus. Or you receive a petition for a worthy cause that urges you to sign at the bottom and pass it along to all your friends. Before you hit the “Forward” key, check it out – even if the mailing came from a trusted friend or expert.
People who pass along emailed virus warnings mean well - but nearly all these warnings are hoaxes. At a minimum, they waste time and cause needless worry. But some of these hoaxes are as dangerous as viruses, because they direct people to delete files that are actually necessary parts of their computer's operating system.
Before you forward a warning to others, take a minute to verify it at one of the many reliable anti-virus sites online. If the warning is legitimate, include a documenting URL when you forward it. That way, people can rely upon your information. And if you learn that it's a hoax, discourage others from spreading it further: Copy the debunking URL and send it with a brief summary to the person who warned you and to everyone else who received the warning.
For reliable information about viruses warnings, see any of the following:
- The Urban Legends Reference Pages – http://www.snopes.com – offer an extensive searchable archive with excellent information.
- The urban legends page of About.com – http://urbanlegends.about.com– is
an excellent resource for hoaxes and urban legends, with articles and extensive searchable archives.
- The Department of Energy's Cyber Incident Response Capability (DOE CIRC) – http://www.doecirc.energy.gov/– provides good articles and searching capability.
- Another venerable Internet resource is Vmyths.com – http://www.vmyths.com– with reliable information on specific virus myths and urban legends, as well as useful general information.
Are You Infected?
The following two sites allow you to screen your computer viruses at no charge. If you're infected, they also provide free instructions or free programs for eliminating many viruses.
Has this urgent appeal to save NPR turned up in your inbox?
On NPR's Morning Edition last week, Nina Totenberg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), NEA & the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding....
The letter asks you to sign a petition and forward it to as many people as possible. Don't bother: This petition has been circulating since 1995, and it's hopelessly out of date, as NPR explains
on their website.
This is just one example of a petition that’s either pointless or a hoax. Think about it: Everyone submits the same lists, so there are hundreds or even thousands of duplications. How can such petitions be credible? And signatures are lost if someone breaks the chain.
Can it hurt to pass along a petition, even if you’re not sure it’s for real? Yes – because it wastes people’s limited time and energy for activism. Better to focus our efforts where they can do some good.
Here are other options:
- Send people to an online organization that is collecting signatures – or that facilitates more direct action, such as writing to members of Congress.
- If you want to start your own petition or find one to sign – visit Petition Online (http://www.petitiononline.com). As they explain: “Unlike the various flaky email petitions that periodically wander around the Internet, with PetitionOnline there is exactly one authoritative master copy of your petition. Each signature and email address (always required, but optionally confidential) is logged for possible explicit or statistical validation. Duplicate signatures are automatically rejected, and each person who signs is automatically sent a confirming email message.”
by Sarah Wernick
Revised December 1, 2004.
A GREAT READ
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
WRITERS AND CREATORS
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and the like
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus media watchdogs, FOIA
EDITORS AND EDITING
And views on the author-editor relationship