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February 26, 2007 | by  | in Games |
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New Media

To start off this year’s New Media section we bring you three essential websites for students.

Google

If you haven’t yet heard of Google then you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years. Universally considered the best internet search engine, Google uses a ranking system that accurately scans over 8 billion websites (and counting) and lists your search results in the order of relevancy. Boasting a homepage completely free from annoying pop up ads and other distractions, you can search for literally anything. You can also find images, videos and now books with Google’s highly ambitious book search. Google Books is an ongoing project with wide academic support where millions of books are being scanned from top libraries around the world, including those of Harvard and Oxford Universities and the New York Public Library. Google News has been a popular addition to the search function and is a good first stop for the latest news. What it does is scan all the news feeds globally and locally throughout the internet and lists top stories by date and time of publishing. You can also sign up for Google alerts where you will receive email updates based on your topic or query. This is handy for politics and media students following a developing story. Google Trends, around since 2004, is a useful tool charting how often a particular search term is entered relative to the total search volume across regions of the world and in various languages. Also available is Google Scholar (GS), a freely-accessible web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines. Released in beta in November 2004, the GS index includes most peer-reviewed online journals. Finally, for those with lots of bandwidth you might want to try Google Earth, a map where you can zoom into anywhere on earth using high resolution satellite photos. It even shows the infamous Area 51 which is not supposed to exist! If you’re new to Google it won’t take long for you set it as your homepage.

Wikipedia

Warning! Do NOT quote Wikipedia as your source in an essay. Having gotten that out of the way, Wikipedia is the essential online encyclopedia, claiming to be more accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is open sourced which means amateurs contribute the content and edit the entries. It has listings on almost everything in existence, such as history, popular culture, music, politics and everything else you would find in an encyclopedia. The main criticism of Wikipedia is its lack of academic merit and the common occurrence of what it terms weasel words and peacock terms. This generally applies to contributers with an ego who like to show off and as a result write entries that are too convoluted and generally inaccurate. Luckily there’s a help section on the main page that gives you an overview of the best methods for using Wikipedia and the expected protocols and etiquette. At the bottom of each entry are links to other websites and a sources list with books for further reading. This makes Wikipedia an essential first stop for your online research.

Newztext:

Newztext is a journalistic goldmine. It scans a database of newspaper and magazine articles and news wires dating back to 1980 and lists all the articles that are relevant to your search. You then click on an article and you get a complete copy of the article as it was originally published. It’s like an online microfiche but much better as you can copy and paste it into a word document which may then be used for academic purposes. If you are a media studies or politics student, Newztext will come in handy for your research during those late night essays. Widely used in the print media industry and in politics, Newztext has saved many journalists’ and parliamentary researchers’ bacon when those deadlines creep around. The good news is that Newztext is free for university students. To access Newztext sign into your student services account – i.e. http://www.studentvuw.vuw.ac.nz/ – click on Library databases, click on the N and then select one of the Newztext options like Newztextnewspapers, Newztextmagazines or Newztextplus

Youtube video of the week:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCzs-Ls3IXs
You will both laugh and cringe as you watch a Dutch television talk show host have an inappropriate attack of the giggles while interviewing an audience who have had their testicles removed and as a result he lost his job.

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