Harvard University ‘s library materials are disintegrating. That’s true of materials in all the research libraries in the U.S.–and the world, for that matter. But Harvard’s librarians, as one example, have been diligently undertaking a preservation project to digitize these materials before they’re gone altogether. Additionally, they’re making some of these digital libraries accessible by the public for free in their Open Collections Program. One such collection to take note of is the READING Harvard Views Of Readers, Readership and Reading History.

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. For Internet users worldwide, Reading provides unparalleled digital access to a significant selection of unique source materials:

  • personally annotated books owned by John Keats, Herman Melville, Hester Lynch Piozzi, and others
  • William Wordsworth’s private library catalog
  • commonplace books used by Joseph Conrad, Washington Irving, Victor Hugo, and more
  • records of the Harvard College Library that reveal the reading activities of Emerson, Longfellow, and Thoreau
  • historical textbooks that document the principles, and some of the biases, in reading instruction from the 18th to the early 20th centuries
  • more than 250,000 pages from 1,200 individual items from the Harvard collections, including 800 books and 400 manuscript selections

For researchers, teachers, and students who may not have ready access to extensive historical collections, Reading provides an inspired opportunity to participate more fully in this rapidly expanding research area.


Since launching last April, American History in Video has grown to include more than 4,000 titles and 1,000 hours. It will continue to grow to include more than 5,000 complete titles and 2,000 hours of rare newsreels and important documentaries from leading producers such as PBS, The History Channel®, Bullfrog Films, Media Rich Learning, and California Newsreel.

In the past year, American History in Video was named a Booklist 2009 Editors’ Choice Best Reference and a Library Journal 2009 Best Reference, and the collection received rave reviews from both publications.

To celebrate its success, they’ve opened access to the entire collection through April 16th. No username or password is required.


Explore music, theater and dance at the Library of Congress with the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. The PAE provides information about the Library’s unsurpassed collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials. Users can find digitized items from the collections; special Web presentations on topics and collections; articles and biographical essays; finding aids to collections; databases for performing arts resources; information on concerts at the Library; and a special Performing Arts Resource Guide which contains entries for hundreds of Library collections, Web sites, databases and exhibits.


Looking for something your kids can do over the holiday break besides reading books? Game Classroom is the next generation of homework help. They scoured the web for the best and most trustworthy educational games with the single goal of providing students, parents and teachers with the best interactive homework help the web has to offer! The games are focused on math and language arts and can be selected based on the student’s grade level.


Free Online Tech Manuals

December 21, 2009

Manuals-Search-Engine.com is a Google-powered search engine that allows you to search for all kinds of manuals online for free. You can find manuals for: motorcycle repair and maintenance, electrical wiring diagrams for home construction, elevation drawings, study guides for AP exams, as well as all kinds of manuals for software and tech gadgets. This is a very handy place to go when you’ve got a question about almost anything.


The U.S. Government Printing Office provides publishing & dissemination services for the official & authentic government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Federal depository libraries, & the American public. The core mission of Keeping America Informed, dated to 1813 when Congress determined to make information regarding the work of the three branches of Government available to all Americans. They are trying to make all GPO documents available to the public online. Check out their site next time you need federal information.


Read Books Online For Free

November 14, 2009

If you’re looking for things to read online, you’ve hit the jackpot. Below is a link to the Sharing Learning blog which has a post on 20 free online libraries and reading rooms. These links are to literature that’s out of copyright protection as well as to current literature, books and academic journals that can be accessed because of the authors’ belief in free and open access to information.