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.

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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.

Fact Checking Claims for Nutritional Products

http://www.consumerlab.com/ Has the stated mission “To identify the best quality health and nutritional products through independent testing.” If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, the leader for decades in unbiased testing of consumer products and services, then you understand what Consumer Lab is all about. They appear mostly to focus on products such as vitamins, herbal supplements and similar products. They have no advertising on their site, similar to the approach long practiced by Consumer Reports. They have a page on their site dedicated to a long list of various press releases, news stories and testimonials related to the foundation here. Additionally they have a “Where to Buy” page that helps people find where to buy products recommended on the site. Some online vendors pay a fee to be included on this page, but they receive no proceeds from sales through Consumer Lab. Suffice it to say, consumerlab.com appears to be the gold standard of information regarding effectiveness, safety and legitimacy of these products.

Memberships may be purchased by organizations such as libraries, or for around $40 a year individuals may subscribe to all articles on the site.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

http://www.almanac.com/

Ever wondered what the weather was like the day you were born or when you should plant those heirloom tomatoes?  The answers to these and many more interesting facts can be found at www.almanac.com.  From this website you can find information about weather, gardening, astrology, and cookery. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index

www.umm.edu/altmed/

From the University of Maryland Medical Center, this site provides information on most forms of complemetary and alternative medicine, including: acupuncture, aromatherapy, ayruveda, biofeedback, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, massage, mind/body medicine, naturopathy, nutrition, osteopathy, relaxation techniques, spirituality, tai chi, therapeutic touch, traditional chinese medicine and yoga.  Users can also search the site by condition.

ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

www.arkive.org

This is a wonderful collection of thousands of images and video clips of threatened and endangered animals from around the world.  Besides colorful photos, for most animals video clips are also available.  Users can also learn more about each animal: Facts & Status, Description, Range & Habitat, Biology, Threats & Conservation, and more.

Dietary Supplements Labels Database

http://dietarysupplements.nlm.nih.gov/dietary/

This database indexes over 2000 dietary supplements and allows users to compare the ingredients of various brands.  Each entry will supply information such as uses in humans, adverse effects, mechanism of action, and claimed health benefit.  Information on warnings and recalls is also provided.