NaNoWriMo: Go, Team, Go!

Looking for a name for a fictional sports team that has a role in your story? Seeking the name of a real high school team or school nickname?

You’ll want to visit the website High School Nicknames.

On this site, you can find:

• Many, many high school team names, organized alphabetically (did you know that there are two US high school teams called the Aardvarks? How about a team called the Zebras? Would you believe, the Lawyers? The Sea Turtles? The Grape Pickers? The Pied Pipers? The Koalas?

• Top team names by state.

• Top team names across the country. Quick, what’s your guess for most popular high school sports team name?

After you learn that Eagles is the most popular high school sports team name, you might want to check out the teams at Junior CollegesFour Year Colleges, and Professional Sports Teams.

NaNoWriMo: Valuable Sources for Character Names

I ran across some useful sources for character names today that I’d like to share.

• Native American names at Writing Adolescent Fiction/Character Names/Native American but be sure to carefully distinguish tribe-appropriate names.

Wikipedia Category: Surnames a listing of a large number of surnames that can be searched by the first two letters

White, a place where you can see the distribution of a surname across the United States and also find out how popular it is

Baby Name Data from the Social Security Administration, in case you have a question like: what boys names were popular  in the U.S. in the 1890s? Data is available by decade and state, and you can also find popular names for twins.

Baby Names World, a particularly useful name site because besides searching by name, you can search by a set of letters that appear at the start, end, or anywhere in the name.

Found by Accident 2 – Climate Change Information

There I was, looking for information on climate-related science projects for an article, when I happened on several very interesting – but not for the article, which turned out to focus on variations on creating a greenhouse effect.
Items found include:
• Yale F&ES Project on Climate Change, which offers a number of downloadable reports and publications
• The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences, a booklet offered by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program CCSP)
• The US National Phenology Network volunteer program to monitor plants and animals in order to gain an understanding of the effects of climate change.
Possibly of interest to writers who cover the environment, as well as for school science projects, homeschool use, and members of the general population who are interested in the topic.

Found by Accident – DIY Space Exploration Fleet

Looking for one thing and turning up something completely different but really cool is a common occurrence for me in researching on the web.
So far this week, this is what I’ve found unexpectedly:
Looking for useful material for an article about making a scale model of the solar system, I found this great set of materials from NASA that let you (or your child) build your own space exploration fleet at NASA Solar System Exploration Paper Models The models range from easy to challenging and are available as downloadable pdfs, with a link to Adobe Reader, should you need it.
There were also two solar system model sites (the material I was looking for) that I’d like to recommend:
• The Exploratorium site, where you can calculate the relative sizes and distances needed for a solar system model (and you can still include Pluto, if you haven’t gotten over it being demoted ;^) – note the Javascript is required
• The description of “The Thousand-Yard Model, or The Earth as Peppercorn” at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory site

Twitter Research 2

Consider setting up a separate account from your personal Twitter account if you’re using Twitter for research. Advantages include the following:
• Tweets about what your best friend ate for breakfast, wore to the movies last night, or is watching on YouTube won’t obscure the latest tweets from your research subject and vice versa. 
• You can focus on friends or research without the other interrupting by having only one account open.
• You can keep an eye on both Twitter accounts with a multiple-account enabled app, like Tweet3 (and hopefully TweetDeck, et al. will see the importance of this soon).
• If you need to save tweets (e.g., using Tweetbook, you won’t then have to sort through the pdf or xml so much to find what you need.

Twitter Research 1

A new way to do online research is to follow one or more libraries who are tweeting things like:
• acquisitions
• events
• general library news
• links to their blog posts
• new digital services
• hints on doing library research
All you have to do is click on Twitter Library Search and choose which libraries you’d like to follow.
Alternatively, you can search for libraries at WeFollow.
You might wish to follow your local library, a large state library or a university library in your state, and other libraries whose tweets are useful to you – as availability allows.
I’ve found some items of general interest @UVM_Libraries (University of Vermont libraries), where, e.g., they’ve linked to an article telling how faculty can help students improve their library research.

Free Sheet Music

There are several reasons that might send someone looking for free sheet music:
• when you need a piece for research or analysis
• when you need a piece for performance
• when you want to create your own arrangement of a piece
• when you can’t remember how a certain piece sounds
Here are some of the places on the web worth checking for large collections with free access. Note that viewing some scores may require additional software, for example Adobe Reader or Scorch.

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Value of the Library—Online Subscription Services

Online subscription services are expensive for individuals. Online access to Encyclopædia Britannica is $69.95 per year. A subscription to Grove Music Online is $295.00 per year. With costs like these, it’s a bit challenging to build up your virtual resources.
But there are ways that you may be able to access these services and more . . . for free.

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Value of the Library—Overview

With so many people owning a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a cellphone+, etc., it may not be entirely clear what the value of the library is today, when actually, the library is still an invaluable resource.
This is the first in a projected series of blogs about library resources and references.
And to start with, here’s a list of some of the key library resources:

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What You Don’t Know . . .

Whenever I seek information from a specialist—whether tech support or some other expert—no matter what the topic, I try to remember to make my last question something like this:
What have I not asked you that is important for me to know about [topic]?
Asking a question like this can help in making a leap beyond neophyte knowledge and simplistic categories, so it often proves useful.
The situation gets a little trickier when gathering information from print, the web, and other situations in which there’s nobody to ask. And I ran into this issue yesterday as I worked to set up two blogs—this blog, Rogue Researcher, and A Writer Reads—in Twitterfeed with corresponding Twitter accounts.

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