Coding for all!

What is coding? If you’d like you may access this clear, brief explanation of it on YouTube, but for those who just want a definition in a nutshell, code is instructions you give a computer so that it will do what you want. Everything that has any level of computer in it has code of some kind or another: your watch, TV, car, etc.

If someone is attempting to learn how to code, it falls within the realm of our department. We need to be able to point them to helpful, valuable resources. One great resource for coding is code.org.

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Code.org is dedicated to helping anyone who wants to learn how to code for free. They focus on underrepresented populations, such as minorities, the poor and women, but they won’t turn anyone away.

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They also want to always offer their services for free. Even those who may want to use their service and/or materials for a formal class setting.

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From their home page, click the “Start Learning” link and you find yourself here:

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You are then to choose your learning level, then you move on to about what specifically you wish to learn. It’s intuitive and simple.

You may even search for in-person classes staged in your particular area, though I have to say no classes are listed in the Memphis area. Either available classes are not listing their classes on this site or there is a dearth of such classes available in this area.

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Ultimately this topic is much larger than one simple post. This is, however, a great introduction to an entire world of possibilities.

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Comprehensive Assistance for Those Seeking Addiction Treatment

As part of our mission as a medical information provider we can provide life saving help to our patrons. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA, has a Treatment Navigator which may be found here: https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov. The purpose of the Navigator is not to simply spit out a few names and addresses of therapists, but to be a nuanced guide to help a potential client make good treatment choices.

You may go to the NIAAA page directly for a link to the Navigator:

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Once you get there you find this:
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The crux of this page is to highlight principles to help guide you to make sound treatment choices that fit your particular situation. You will learn about what makes a good therapist, how to choose the right therapist, what treatment is like, and many other relevant questions. There is an FAQ to help prime the pump if you don’t even know what questions to ask.

Once you are ready to search specifically for a therapist to visit, go to the middle of the page to click on this highlighted link:

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This takes you here, where you will click on the highlighted link to search for therapists:

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Once you begin the actual search you will be redirected to the Psychology Today therapist search tool. This is a separate site for the online version of the well-known, longstanding popular magazine. This is a legitimate search tool for local therapists you may also access by simply going to the Psychology Today site—it’s always at the top of the page, anywhere on the site. The link from the NIAAA page sends you directly here:

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Then once you enter a zip code you come up with results like this:

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Once you find this page you choose when and how to contact prospective therapists, and using the information provided by the Treatment Navigator you can make your choice.

If you feel like more comprehensive treatment may be in order there is a link directly on the Navigator to search for treatment facilities; simply follow the link highlighted in green, rather than red.

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The facility search is done within the NIAAA site rather than through a redirect, and here is an example of a search done locally here in Memphis:

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Often treatment in a facility begins on an inpatient basis, similar to a hospital, in which you go to stay at the facility for a period of time, and then as progress is displayed treatment intensity steps down. Inpatient treatment of this nature can be expensive and impractical, so often a facility offers an outpatient option. One example of how this can work may involve spending part of a day at a facility for treatment, then departing for home or work, then augmenting treatment by attending a support group a few evenings a week. Treatment iterations are many, and a good facility likely offers multiple options suited to each patient.

An overriding component of the Navigator and the NIAAA site is the idea of evidence-based treatment, which is defined by the APA (American Psychological Association) as “…the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture and preferences.” Evidence-based simply means that research has demonstrated the efficacy of a particular mode of treatment. Evidence-based treatment is favored by treatment centers, therapists, insurance companies and other important entities over older modalities that may remain popular, but fail over the long term to exhibit lasting efficacy or positive results. If you are researching a facility or therapist, or any other treatment option for that matter, and they cannot clearly explain their evidence-based approach or demonstrate how they execute an evidence-based approach then they are not a good choice.

Deciding to seek treatment is difficult, and once one has made that decision it can be helpful and relieving to have a tool such as this Navigator to assist decision making. The NIAAA Treatment Navigator may be a very helpful tool for those who need this valuable information from us.

How Well do you Use the Googler?

 

Of course there are multiple search engines, but Google is currently the ubiquitous, monolithic boss of them all. We all likely know how to use it, just go to http://www.google.com, enter whatever you’re interested in searching, and bang, you have millions of results. That, however, is often a problem: how do you know if all those hits are relevant? How do you know if your search is thorough enough, or how do you find more specific information in the vast array of links any given search offers? Thankfully there are some tools available to help you pinpoint information more precisely.

Let’s say a patron wants information on the business dealings of presidents before our current president. In the Google search bar you would include the original word or phrase, “business dealings of presidents of the United States”, then follow it up with search terms you want left out of the search, in this case Trump, preceded by a hyphen. So, like this:

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As you can see, several presidential predecessors are cited, but there is no sign of Trump in this particular search.

You can do the same with any topic, even using multiple hyphens for multiple terms to omit:

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This could be handy if we are trying to find a book for a patron about a particular topic but are having trouble finding the subject in WorkFlows. Let’s say further they know they don’t want books by a specific expert in that subject area, possibly because they already own all the books by that author. That search might go like this:

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Finally, another trick you may want to use involved finding specific information on a particular site. Let’s say you know there is a money management program coming up somewhere in the city, because though you don’t remember the details you do remember reading about it in the Commercial Appeal. You can search the Commercial Appeal website in this manner:

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There are other creative ways to use Google in a more focused manner, but this will suffice for today.

 

 

Biodiversity Heritage Library

For patrons interested in various biology topics, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is a great open source site with this stated goal:

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.

BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life.

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Biodiversity is defined by Merriam Webster as “biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals“. So this topic is broad and vast, covering animal & plant biology, classification, extinct and surviving species, evolutionary history and many others.

Slate.com did an article on the site’s flickr.com image page: “2 Million Beautiful Images of Biodiversity Are Now Available for Free“.

So here’s how it works: I searched “platypus”:

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and it took me here:

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I chose to look at an article, as opposed to a book, book review or other resource, and after choosing the “article” tab and “view article” this is what came up:

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As you can see, this is an actual article from an actual academic journal that someone may find useful for their research. This search is good for searching across books and journals, scientific names, authors and subjects. You may also browse by title, author, date, collection and contributor.

They have many of the other features standard to most pages these days, such as their social media links, a blog, a link to other media and links to their visual resources.

Practical, Information Rich Resource for Local Gardeners

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The Tennessee Home Vegetable Gardener 2018 Calendar is a great resource for the local home gardener. It is a resource rich in practical information to assist anyone wanting to use methods specific to our particular area.

You can find the calendar here: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W436.pdf, or you can go to the UT Extensions publication page and search “Tennessee Home Vegetable Garden” as I’ve done here:

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This search gives you the following screen, from which you select the encircled link:

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So, what’s in the calendar? Here’s a quick rundown:

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Aside from having the conventional calendar, each month also has an information page full of what tasks are best done in any given month. The top page of any month spread includes a to do list as shown above, while the bottom page has the conventional calendar with key dates marked:

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The back of the calendar includes several indices for more specific notes to record crop yield, weather patterns and crop issues such as pest and disease problems:

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This resource is free as a pdf to anyone who wants to access the link above. It could be useful simply printed out on regular copy paper, but may be more practical printed out on card stock, or placed in a binder to better last throughout a whole year of gardening.

A Free, Comprehensive Legal Resource

Courtlistener.com is an open source legal resource curated by the Free Law Project. The purpose of the site is to offer users “…a free legal research website containing millions of legal opinions from federal and state courts. With CourtListener, lawyers, journalists, academics, and the public can research an important case, stay up to date with new opinions as they are filed, or do deep analysis using our raw data.”

The opening page looks like this:

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I began my search with a simple Shelby County Tennessee and got this hit:

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If you look at the encircled field indicated by the arrow you can see in this next screen that I further narrowed down my search with a date and received more specific results:

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You have several different tools at your disposal on this site, which is full of much raw data. This can augment our legal offerings in a valuable way.