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Darren Blair

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Well, the school year is starting folks. To this end, I’ve decided to compile a list of some websites that everyone might be interested in. I figure these should all, in some way, be able to help everyone – teachers, students, and parents alike – with their efforts.

1. Project Gutenberg: . Whoever said that it was easier to get guns than books apparently never heard of this web site. Project Gutenberg is devoted to the task of collecting those books that are no longer protected by copyright (or in which the copyright holder has given consent) so that the books can be made available digitally to the general public. If you’ve got a smartphone or other such internet-capable digital device, you’ve got a library with over 50,000 titles (many of which with numerous variations thereon) right at your fingertips. Shakespeare? Poe? Twain? All right here.

2. CIA World Fact Book: . Say what you will about the CIA, but one good thing they’ve given us is this, an in-depth almanac covering every nation of the world. To quote them, “The Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.” In my opinion, this is a must for anyone wishing to study geography or civics.

3. Purdue University OWL: . Anyone who’s ever had to write an academic research paper has probably had to fiddle with proper source citation and document style. So the good folks at Purdue decided to make this process a little less painless thanks to their OWL Online Writing Lab. The website goes into considerable depth on how to format papers, and includes extensive discussions on proper APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style source citation protocols. Folks, this website is how I made it through grad school.

4. UT Austin Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: . The University of Texas at Austin’s Perry-Castañeda Library has in its possession an absolutely massive collection of maps, and they’ve spent the last several years (seriously – I found this site well over a decade ago) digitizing them and putting them online. Not only do we have current maps (that is, within the last decade) and maps of current events, we’ve got historical maps that go back all the way to the 1800s… that is, they were done up *in* the 1800s. Another must for civics and geography.

5. Texas State Historical Association: . This is the official website of the Texas State Historical Association. The TSHA maintains two publications that are of note here, both for their thoroughness and their educational value. The first is the Handbook of Texas ( ), an encyclopedic work about the state of Texas, its history, and its people by topic. The second is the Texas Almanac ( ), which as the name implies is an almanac listing facts and figures about the state.

6. HFH’s Education Place: . Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt maintains this website as a repository for educational supplements. These supplements, the site notes, are for students in grades 1 – 6, plus their families and teachers. The material covers a variety of subjects, and some pages are even formatted for printing.

7. Caffeine Informer: . Using an energy drink or four to push you through an all-nighter? Then you might want to read this website. It lists the caffeine content of various foods, beverages, and supplements. The numbers might surprise, or even horrify, you.

I have more links, but that’s for another column…


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