In the News: Social Media as a Force in Social Movements

The recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have been fueled by news and other communications relayed through the Internet in general and new social media such as Facebook and Twitter in particular.  Iran has restricted access to Facebook and Libya reportedly cut off Internet access intermittently (perhaps following a precedent set in Egypt), which was seen as a means of eliminating communication between protesters and the outside world.

Some critics have said that the role of social media has been overplayed and that the movements arose from longer-term social forces.  Yet one cannot deny that social media have played a major role in the events now shaking Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, Bahrain, Iran, Yemen, and Libya.  Read more about these events below.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

NEW! How Cyber-Pragmatism Brought Down Mubarak

This article in The Nation describes how “cyber-pragmatism,” or dissemination of historical examples of nonviolent social activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King and organization of protests, through social media influenced the revolt in Egypt.

NEW! Facebook Officials Keep Quiet on Its Role in Revolts

Despite the major role played by social networks, particularly Facebook, in the revolts rocking North Africa and the Middle East, Facebook officials are trying to stay silent on the matter.  This article details Facebook’s desire to remain neutral so as not to alienate countries where it has just gained a foothold, and its determination to continue its policy of requiring users to sign up with their real names—a policy that has been criticized for possibly putting dissenters at risk—though it has assisted Tunisian protesters in their efforts to block government attempts to access their passwords.  The article also describes how other social media, such as Twitter and YouTube, have been more vocal in their support for the movements and even have taken initiatives to assist protesters.

NEW! The Twitter Revolution Debate Is Dead

This article from The Atlantic discusses how the argument that social media singlehandedly cause social movements that lead to revolution is passé and notes that authoritarian governments also can use technology to further their own goals, but points out that perhaps the most exciting development is that political pundits are now discussing the structure of revolutions and the role of technology in furthering them or subduing them.

NEW! All Eyes Turn To Internet In Libya, Bahrain

As part of efforts to stem growing protests, Libya apparently cut off access to the Internet at the end of last week.  Internet access was restored, but was intermittent over the weekend.  This article points out that the outages could have been caused by power failures and the relatively small number of Internet service providers in the country, but also describes how many believe that Internet access was deliberately shut down.

Thank you for checking in.  The teams at the ipl2 hope you find this information useful for learning more about social media as a force in social movements.

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


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In the News: Digital Fine Arts Repositories

This week the ipl2 blog will highlight digital fine art repositories.

On February 1, 2011 Google released the Art Project, an online art repository that brought Street View technology to portions of seventeen of the world’s best known art museums. The Art Project joins a wealth of free content websites that allow users worldwide to view the works of past and current artists from home. We hope the four links below will provide you with the opportunity to revisit the works of your favorite artists, as well as find new images to inspire your imagination.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

NEW! Google Art Project
This website, provided by Google, allows users to “walk” pre-selected galleries in seventeen museums worldwide. Users can zoom in on selected works, review information about the artwork and artists that created them, and in some cases view short videos about selected works. Collaboration with additional museums in the future is expected.

Visual Arts Data Service – VADS (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Arts & Humanities)
“A searchable collection of digital images “covering all subject areas of the visual arts, from textiles to architecture, including their practise, study and curation.” It contains databases from the Imperial War Museum, London College of Fashion, National Arts Education Archive, and The Design Council Archive, plus student show and other Web sites. Based at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design.”

Digital Archive of Art: Online Images from Boston College (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Arts & Humanities – Fine Arts)
“A collection of images of paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and sculpture from the ancient Greek period, the Renaissance, and the 19th and 20th centuries. Artists represented include Michelangelo, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh, Rodin, Daumier, Munch, Arp, Duchamp, Ernst, and many others.”

Artcyclopedia (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Arts & Humanities – Fine Arts)
“Over 700 leading arts sites indexed to create a searchable, thorough database of online images of visual art and the locations of the original works worldwide.”

For more information on additional free digital art repositories visit ipl2’s Fine Arts collection:

ipl2 – Arts and Humanities – Fine Arts

Thank you for checking in.  The teams at the ipl2 hope you find this information useful for expanding and enhancing your appreciation of fine art.

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


In the News: Protests in Egypt

Welcome to this week’s ipl2 Weekly Blog post.

This week’s post will highlight resources about the current protests in Egypt.

On January 25th, 2011, protests began in Egypt calling for the removal of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak from office. The past few days have seen a violent backlash from pro-Mubarak supporters, with several western journalists being violently assaulted and accused of instigating rebellion against the regime.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources are already listed in the ipl2 collections.

Resources about the protests:

NEW! Al Jazeera News – Spotlight on “Anger in Egypt”
The English language version of the website for Arab news channel Al Jazeera. Includes videos and print articles about the protests.

NEW! BBC News – Egypt Unrest
The latest BBC coverage of the events in Egypt. Features print articles, videos, and interactive maps.

NEW! Egypt News—The Protests
The New York Times aggregate page including all of their coverage on the situation in Egypt. Includes interactive maps, timelines, slideshow, print articles, and video coverage.

Resources with general information about Egypt:

BBC Country Profile (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Country Studies)
An overview of the country as presented by the BBC (British Broadcasting Company). Includes country facts, leadership information, and links to Egyptian media websites.

Egypt (find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Country Studies)
Maintained by the Columbia University Libraries, this is an aggregate of links about Egypt’s economy, education, history, foreign policy, politics, and online news.

NEW! The World Factbook – Egypt
Statistical information about the country’s geography, demographics, government, economy, transportation, and military. Includes maps and photographs of the country.

For more information about past and present Egypt, visit the ipl2 and search for “Egypt.”

Reminder: You can now subscribe to ipl2’s newsletter and weekly blog posts via email as well as RSS. The “Email Subscription” feature appears prominently in the upper left page on the ipl2′s News and Information WordPress blog. Subscription is free and open to all!


The Link: Floods and Flooding

February 1, 2011 – theipl2blog

The ipl2’s February newsletter concerns the topic of floods and flooding.  Recently several very large floods have occurred around the world.  The most widely covered of these struck Australia, Pakistan, and Brazil, yet there has also been flooding in Europe and the U.S.

We begin by providing links to information about some of these recent floods around the world.  Next we provide resources to help you to visualize the extent of the recent floods.  If you are ever faced with an impending flood, we include websites containing information about how to deal with a flood when one occurs.  We also have some information about volunteering to help out those impacted by disasters.  And since floods have been important factors in shaping human societies, we conclude with information about various historic floods and with some links to information about religious and mythological stories involving floods.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All others are already a part of the ipl2 collection.

We hope this month’s selections will provide you with a well-rounded view of the subject of floods.

Recent Floods in the News

NEW! BBC World Service — Australia Floods: “Inland Sea” Moves Across Victoria
One of the most dramatic recent floods occurred in Australia.  You can read some background information and find links to other stories about the Australian flood at the BBC World Service.

NEW! BBC World Service — Pakistan Floods
Pakistan has also recently experienced major flooding.  Find information and resources on the subject from the BBC World Service.

Visualizing and Understanding Flooding

At times it can be difficult to understand the scale of a massive environmental disaster, such as a flood. These links are intended to provide us with tools to better visualize and understand the scope of a flood’s impact.

NEW! ABC QLD Flood Crisis Map — Australian Broadcasting Corporation
This Australia-based website uses crowd sourcing technologies to track the impact of the 2011 flooding in Queensland, Australia.  The site, sponsored by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, receives updates from the community, the Queensland Department of Main Roads, and State Emergency Services.

NEW! Visualizing the Pakistan Flood —
This U.S.-based website allows users to compare the size of the 2010 Pakistan flood impact zone to their own home, or regions with which they are familiar.

Emergency Preparedness

Are you ready for flooding or another natural disaster?  These websites can help you prepare for such emergencies.

NEW! – Flood
This U.S. government website provides information and a directory to other websites such as the CDC, Red Cross and FEMA for “information and services relating to … disaster management: preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.”

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness (Find it on ipl2:  Resources by Subject — Civil Defense)
“Are You Ready?” is an in-depth guide to disaster preparedness available online, as a PDF and also as a video. Available in English and Spanish. Federal Emergency Management Agency (Find it on ipl2:  Resources by Subject – Disaster Preparedness and Recovery)
This U.S. government agency has current disaster news, storm watches, disaster assistance, mitigation, preparedness, flood insurance, and photographs and video clips of disasters. Visit “Plan and Prepare” for advice on preparing for a flood or other disasters, including Protecting Your Family (disaster supplies kits, shelter, etc.) and Protect Your Property (flood insurance, information on flood plains, and How To guides).

Volunteer Opportunities

Floods are often so devastating that local and national institutions can be overwhelmed.  Volunteers often help fill in the gaps.  You can find ways to volunteer your time and talents in all sorts of areas using these links.

Volunteer Match (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Social Sciences – Social Issues and Social Welfare – Philanthropy and Social Service)
Volunteer Match puts those interested in volunteering in touch with non-profit organizations with over 70,000 participating non-profits.  Site visitors can search for volunteer opportunities in the United States based on location or by skills needed.  The advanced search option allows for searching by interest area such as disaster relief, environment, and politics. (Find it on ipl2: Resources by Subject – Reference – Associations and Organizations)
The Volunteer Resource Center at explains the nature of volunteering, the importance of volunteering, and the different types of volunteer positions.  The site also includes information about international volunteering.

Historic Floods

The disastrous floods of recent years have their counterparts in history.  Here are links that describe some of these historic floods.

NEW! Kansas Water Science Center
The most significant floods in terms of amount of flooding, damage, and deaths of the 20th century are described by the United States Geological Survey website.  Included are a flood data table, a map showing locations of the floods, descriptions of various kinds of floods, and links to additional flood information.

NEW! Yangtze River Peaks in China
In what was perhaps the worst natural disaster of the 20th century, the Yangtze River in China overflowed, killing 3.7 million people during and after the flooding.  The History Channel website provides background on this flood.

NEW! Dealing with the Deluge
Sites of frequent flooding, with reference to significant historic floods, are described on the website of PBS (Public Broadcasting System).  Included are the Yellow River, the Nile River, and the Mississippi River.

Religion and Myth

As many of the above links amply demonstrate, the history of the world is full of stories of major destructive floods, many of which changed the course of world events in dramatic and permanent ways.  You can learn about floods in myth and religion, and also read the biblical Noah story, using the following links.

NEW! — Flood
This entry on floods includes information about the flooding process, historical floods, and floods in myth and religion.  Click on the tabs to find information on these different topics.

NEW! Bible, King James Version — The Book of Genesis
One of the most famous religious stories involving a flood is that of Noah, who is mentioned in both the Bible and the Koran.  You can read the biblical version of his story in chapter 6 to 8 of the Book of Genesis, here offered in the classic King James translation.



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