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.


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.


Our Courts is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. Our Courts is the vision of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who is concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation, and that civics teachers need better materials and support.


Great Web Sites For Kids

September 3, 2009

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, maintains a list of hundreds of links to recommended web sites for kids up to 14 years old on its Great Web Sites for Kids page. The links are organized into subject categories including: Animals, The Arts, Sciences, Mathematics & Computers and History & Biography.  There is also a link to sites of interest to parents, caregivers and teachers.


The Cognition and Language Laboratory at Harvard has a website where they get help on their experiments from regular folk like you and me. Trying to find thousands of volunteers to ‘drop by’ the lab isn’t always practical but asking for volunteers on the Internet has shown far more potential for obtaining large numbers of human guinea pigs. There are currently 5 experiments with which they’d like your help.  Take their tests and show these Harvard scientists a thing or two about cognitive learning.


YouTube EDU

April 16, 2009

YouTube EDU is a new service that aggregates all of the content from over 100 colleges and universities. You can view campus tours, lectures and college news in one handy place. This is a great site for students trying to make a school choice as well as adults interested in some lifelong learning online.