The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up

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Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Austin area, it’s better to be in Lee County than in Caldwell County or Travis County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to Lee, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.

via NYTimes.com.

Significant Web Presence through Open Access

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Webometrics analyzes about 15,000 universities around the world and ranks 5,000 on their ‘web performance’ based on the institutions’ proclivity for a significant web presence. The criteria was determined by a weighted combination of visibility (external inlinks), size (web pages), rich files, and Google Scholar availability [via].

Their aim is to promote web publication and not rank institutions thus supporting open access initiatives and electronic access to scientific publications for research. Such a ‘web presence’ might have a correlation with academic quality and prestige as is evident through the ranking of top 4000 institutions (I’m glad to see Texas A&M ranked 16).

On a related note, there is a call for JSTOR to release academic research material into public domain as the content was created by academics funded by not-for-profit institutions. JSTOR in fact also is a self-sustaining not-for-profit institution.

Questia Online Library

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One of the first things I noticed when I came to the United States for my graduate education was the ubiquity of online resources. The Internet back home in India was still a novelty and its potential for educational resources was extremely limited.

Questia Online Library is an example of one such online library that gives you access to a large collection of books and journal articles in the fields of humanities and social sciences. The database also includes magazines and newspaper articles and is searchable by title, author, subject, and keyword.

One of the impressive options in Questia is the availability of online tools that enable users to create footnotes, bibliographical references, and hyperlinking across titles. I cannot overemphasize the importance of such tools that not only recreate the way you would use physical resources but also enhance your experience in using online tools in order to help you maintain a list of resources you accessed. One more additional feature that impressed me was the availability of more than 5000 books in online format. These books are public domain books whose copyright has expired hence are available to read for free in their entirety. No more buying expensive books or looking them up in libraries. You can use all the above mentioned reference tools in these books as well.

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