Monday, September 28, 2009

Trademark Search

If you're a company/small business that is looking to file a trademark, are a brand logo designer or researching trademarks in general, check out the newly launched Trademarkia Web site/search engine. Trademarkia allows you to search (by company, theme, product category or filing attorney) all U.S. trademarks filed since 1870, including dead trademarks. The site even allows you to register for a trademark (for $159). Searching is free.

Brand managers will find the logo theme search/browse especially interesting. Say I want to create a logo for my Web site. Let's say I want a panda. I can click into the Animals section of Logo Themes, click on Panda bears, and voila, see the 595 other logos out there currently using the cute and cuddly Panda as their logo.

A bit less user-friendly is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's TESS system (Trademark Electronic Search System) and the USPTO Design Search Code Manual. Finding Panda logos in this government tool is definitely less straightforward than the Trademarkia version.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top 100 Web Sites of 2009

Wondering what Web sites are/were hot in 2009? Check out PC Magazine's list, which not only includes the usual suspects -- Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Google Docs -- but some others you may not have heard of. If you're looking for laughs, I suggest you try some of the following sites:
  • Item Not As Described - With the tagline, "FREE is a Four Letter Word," you'll find a plethora of ads posted on Craigslist for truly unsellable items (old underwear; a random, single shoe; a swing set that appears to only include the base/cement; a burned out RV, etc.). Vote for the worst ads.

  • Awkward Family Photos - The photo entitled "Soulmates" has to be one of my favorites.

  • AlternativeTo - Find free/cheap alternatives to pricey software.

  • Apology Center - If you can't bring yourself to apologizing in person or confess to a clergy member, post your apology anonymously.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Microsoft Office 2007 "Cheat Sheets"

Let's face it. Microsoft Office 2007 can be a little confusing/overwhelming to people used to Microsoft 2003, especially the "ribbon" interface. Below are links to some helpful cheat sheets from that are sure to make your life easier. Note that you'll need to have the free Adobe Reader loaded on your computer in order to view these documents.
  • Microsoft Office 2007 - Explains the "ribbon," smart shapes, formatting, adding a digital signature, document protection and more.
  • Excel 2007 - Includes a section on forumulas and functions, workbook management and charts.
  • Word 2007 - Copy/paste text, formatting, mail merge and tables are covered.
  • PowerPoint 2007 - Slide show delivery, transitions, animations and viewing options are discussed.
  • Publisher 2007 - Quickly create professional looking flyers, brochures and more with this powerful publishing program.
Other versions of Microsoft Office, as well as Internet Explorer 7 and a Computer Basics tip sheet are also available for free at the Web site.

If you're using the library's public access computers, which come equipped with Office 2007 as well as Internet Explorer 7, be sure to refer to this site. There are also hard copies available at the Reference Desk.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ferguson's Career Guidance Center Update

Job hunting? Looking to switch careers? The library's subscription to Ferguson's Career Guidance Center has you covered.

New Features This Month...
  • Users can now access the most viewed, emailed, and saved records in the database. Anyone interested in job market/career trends will appreciate the insight they'll gain into what jobs and career topics are being researched;
  • New/updated job profiles covering the casino industry, including Blackjack Dealer, Casino Hotel Executive Chef and Director of Casino Marketing;
  • New/updated job profiles in the retail and wholesale industry, including Buyer, Mall Manager and Sales Associate;

Be sure to check out my earlier post on the library's additional resources on careers, or ask library staff for more details.

Craigslist 101 is a popular online community/website for local social networking. It includes local community classifieds and forums - a place to find jobs, housing, goods and services, social activities, romance, advice, community information, and just about anything else in a relatively non-commercial environment.

If you're new to Craigslist, there are a number of websites that provide information about using the site to sell products, promote businesses and services, generate leads and find employees, lease/rent housing and more. The first site you should review, however, is Craigslist's own help pages, which provide the details you need on how to post an ad, repost, reply, etc. The FAQs are especially helpful. Also be sure to check out craigslist blog, written by Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster.

If you do a simple Google search on Craigslist, you'll see that there is lots of discussion out there. For newspaper and magazine articles on Craigslist, do a Power Search on the library's Articles & More page.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holding Politicians Accountable

The Center for Responsive Politics' (CRP) Web site is a treasure trove of information on the influence of money on U.S. politics, a "a clearinghouse for data and analysis on multiple aspects of money in politics—the independent interest groups called 527s committees, federal lobbying, Washington’s “revolving door”, privately sponsored congressional travel and the personal finances of members of Congress, the president and other officials."

For example, a common refrain heard from politicians during an election year is their goal to do away with "pork" spending and earmarks. The CRP, along with Taxpayers for Common Sense, has put together a sortable chart detailing earmarks and campaign contributions for FY '08 and FY '09 that is enlightening to say the least. Virginia politicians don't appear to be too abusive, but check out the entry for David Loebsack (D-Iowa)!

The easy-to-use search tool allows you to look up information by the donor, person (politician or other person's name), zip code, organization, keyword or industry. The Most Popular Searches feature allows you to see what stories other users are digging into on the site (Hilary Clinton, natch). The Quick Links section provides you with direct access to the most frequently used tools on the site such as member profiles, political action committees (PACs) and various races.

Comprehensive Sports Calendar

The International Olympic Committee's International Sports Calendar, provided by the General Association of International Sports Federations (there is a version of the calendar on the GAISF's Web site, but it's harder to use), provides sports junkies all the key dates of international sporting events. Search by date, sport and/or country and get the scoop on your favorite sports. A nice feature of the IOC's version of the database is that the sport categories (volleyball, tennis, etc.) are clickable, and take you to additional information/history of the specific sport in the Olympics, as well as links to the latest news about the sport.

New Food Safety Consumer Web Site

Wondering what's lurking in that burger you're about to bite into? Is that batch of cookie dough safe to bake? The USDA and HHS recently unveiled, a site designed to help consumers and families get all the latest information on food safety and food recalls in one convenient place. Specific food safety resources are broken down by food type - Meat, Poultry, Fish; Eggs & Dairy Products; and Fruits & Vegetables. The site also includes a number of tips on keeping food safe and ways to avoid food poisoning, an "ask the experts" feature and options to get e-mail updates (and eventually text messages to your mobile phone) on the latest recalls and alerts.

Explore energy Kids

The Energy Information Administration (I confess I wasn't even aware such an administration existed) recently launched energy Kids, a slick new Web site for kids and educators. The site covers:
  • the basics of energy (sources, forms, physical units, etc.);
  • more in-depth discussion of the various sources of energy (geothermal, solar, wind, etc.);
  • an overview of how energy is used (and how to save it);
  • historical facts, including an energy timeline and biographical information on scientists associated with energy issues/breakthroughs;
  • games and activities that will help make learning about energy a bit more fun for kids and adults alike
Teachers can find energy-related lesson plans by grade-level, suggested field trips and other free resources to "energize" students, and parents/students will be happy to find a number of science fair experiments for all grade levels.

For additional children's resources on energy, check out the library's online catalog.

Monday, September 14, 2009

H1N1 Flu and You

To provide library patrons the most up-to-date news on H1N1, Gale, one of the library's database vendors, is giving free access to the newly-created Swine Flu Portal. Updated daily, this portal offers:

  • an in-depth expert overview;
  • 279 perspectives (editorials) from international publications, such as The London Times and Africa News Service;
  • 191 podcasts; 17,000+ news articles;
  • access to the World Health Organization's pandemic alert status

Check it out by clicking on the "I want to know about..." drop-down menu below. The free access has been extended indefinitely.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sept. 2009 e-Resource of the Month: General Reference Center Gold

School has started and the homework assignments are beginning to roll in. Start your research quest with this month's e-resource -- General Reference Center Gold™. A goldmine if information, students and the casual research can access a variety of sources -- newspapers, reference books, magazines and trade publications, including full-text and images, all in one comprehensive database. General Reference Center Gold™ saves you time, as many of the encyclopedia articles also provide links to related sources outside of the current article, including other reference books, magazine and newspaper articles. General Reference Center Gold™ features a wide variety of general interest and business magazines and periodicals including:
  • Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service Newspaper articles

  • The New York Times

  • The Wall Street Journal

  • The Christian Science Monitor

  • Children's magazines (Appleseeds, Calliope, Cricket, Weekly Reader, etc.)

  • Professional/trade journals, many in full-text (Archives of Family Medicine, Design News, Journal of Taxation, etc.)

  • More than 20 reference books

  • More than 4,500 titles including 3,500 in full text

Unlike a regular Google search, General Reference Center Gold's™ 25-year backfile is integrated and included with the library's subscription.

To access the General Reference Center Gold™ database (or any of our databases), visit the library's Web site at and click on "Search for Articles & More." You'll need a library card to access the databases from home, but if you don't have one, you can sign up online and gain immediate access.