Spun to distraction – surviving life between the primaries and the general election

unspun This is probably the most exciting election year I’ve ever seen. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. Just keeping track of the code words and the spin cycles, not to mention the charges and counter-charges is enough to give even a committed political junky a headache. Enter unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation. Written by the founders of FactCheck.org, this is your guide to separating fact from “disinformation.” While the authors briefly touch on unsavory tactics of consumer sales, the heart of the book is a primer on political deception and the complicity of the news media. If you are suffering from FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) page through unSpun. It’s a quick read filled with tips that will help you maintain your information sanity through the wild ride of the presidential election season.

Fields of Blood and Sacrifice – Christian Fleetwood and his brothers in the Black Regiments of the Civil War

 uncommon-valor.jpgUncommon Valor: a story of race, patriotism and glory in   the final battles of the Civil War, by Melvin Claxton.   Christian Fleetwood was a 23 year old free-born black man living Baltimore when the recruiters of the 4th US Colored Infantry began assembling their forces.  He joined the ranks on August 17th 1863 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major (the highest noncomissioned ranking) just 4 days later.  He became one of the earliest black Medal of Honor recipients in 1864.  By all accounts Fleetwood was a gifted officer and inspired leader of men. 

Continue reading “Fields of Blood and Sacrifice – Christian Fleetwood and his brothers in the Black Regiments of the Civil War”

Using Your Databases

Many of the databases that SPL subscribes to for you offer information found nowhere on the Web, and most can be accessed from any computer with Internet access. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the SPL homepage at  www.spl.org
  2. Click on the Databases and Websites link in the middle of the page under the word “Browse”  (or click here).  You will see several categories of databases and websites which you can browse.
  3. For an alphabetical  list of the the databases, click on the link in the green sidebar that says  “Databases A-Z.” Click on that link or click here.
  4. You will see a list of databases with a small blue or gold logo beside the name. The blue logo means that you can access that database from anywhere with  your SPL card number and PIN. The gold logo with the little roof over the card image means those databases can only be accessed from inside the library. Companies providing databases set their licensing rules; we  comply in order to provide the resource to you.
  5.  When you click on the name of a database, you’ll be given a screen that asks you to type in your SPL library card number and PIN.  Once you do, you’ll be taken to the database you chose.

That’s it! The world is your oyster and Bob’s your uncle!

 

TV Terror: Feb. 17, 2009?

TVI was part of the TV panic.  I heard the warnings that my TV would not work in 2009.  Patrons called and asked the same question.  Do we have to throw our televisions in the trash and buy a new one?  Don’t panic! The truth is that you will be able to use your analog TV in 2009 with a digital-to-analog converter box available from electronics stores and major retailers.   What is more, the U.S. Government is currently subsidizing the cost of converter boxes by issuing coupons to applicants. (All households are eligible at this time.)  

To make TV transmissions more efficient and free up frequencies for services such as emergency services and new digital data services, Congress ordered the elimination of analog TV channels.  In 2009, television stations will broadcast in digital from a different part of the spectrum.  The spectrum occupied by analog TV signals will be auctioned off. 

At this time, the converter boxes are necessary for the 16 million Americans who watch free TV with an antenna and are not needed for satellite and cable subscribers because those services convert the signals. 

For a more thorough explanation and information on the voucher program, check out this article

America’s Genealogy Bank – an enticing new resource

America’s Genealogy BankGenealogy is the Internet’s second most popular past-time.  At Seattle Public Library we love to work with Genealogists and we’re excited to present a great new electronic resource for our patrons.  America’s Genealogy Bank is the perfect complement to our other fabulous genealogy services.  From one very easy to use search screen you can review millions of historical newspapers, books, pamphlets, government documents and genealogies as well as a seperate file of obituaries from 1977- the present.  AGB offers full-text of many small-town newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, 1886-1922,  Eastern Argus (one of the nations earliest newspapers – published in Maine) 1803 -1880 and Dallas Morning News, 1885-1977.  Read the ads, the social news, the business and sports pages!  Discover what was happening in their communities as your ancestors went about their daily lives.  Or search the Federal Government’s publications — Was your ancestor a mail carrier?  Did he work as a meat inspector for the FDA?  Maybe he’ll show up on the annual list of employees and their salaries published by various goverment agencies. My ancestor did — as a Meat Inspector in Kansas City, Missouri — he made $1,200 a year!  A pretty good salary for the times.  What can AGB help you discover about your family?