ipl2 Closure

We regret to inform you that the ipl2 is ceasing operations on June 30, 2015. The Ask an ipl2 Librarian service will close on June 24, 2015 to allow us time to answer every last question. The ipl2 site (http://ipl2.org/) will remain up but unmaintained for an unspecified period of time after June 30. We sincerely thank all our loyal patrons for 20 years of support and enthusiasm.


In the news: It’s that time of year again!

The leaves are falling, the air is cold and crisp, and it’s time to celebrate ghosts, goblins, witches and everything Halloween. Come visit the ipl2 for some history behind this scary holiday along with traditions and treats to make the most of any Halloween celebration. 

Historical and Traditional Halloween

Halloween may be known as a time for costumes and treats, but the holiday did not start out that way. It came about as a Celtic holiday that marked the beginning of a new year by ending the summer crop and beginning the winter crop. On the night of October 31 the Celts celebrated Samhain, which was believed to be when the worlds of the dead and living became fuzzy. Once the dead returned to earth they enjoyed playing tricks by causing damage to crops. In the 1920’s and 1930’s Halloween in America became about “trick or treating,” which stems from the All Souls Day in England where poor people would beg for food and in return for the food, the poor would pray for the families’ dead relatives. Now, kids and adults beg for candy and wear costumes and celebrate by throwing parties. Check out the sites below to read more about traditions and history along with ways to make the most of your Halloween parties.

The history of Halloween and more!  (Find it on the ipl2)


The history channel gives a timeline of Halloween from the early days to present. A series of videos explains different aspects of Halloween such as pumpkins, witches, cultures, and the haunted history of the holiday.

The Statistics of Halloween  (Find it on the ipl2)


Contains facts and statistics regarding trick-or-treaters, pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns, candy, and costumes. Includes relevant place names in the United States, such as Transylvania County, North Carolina, and Tombstone, Arizona.

The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows  (Find it on the ipl2)


An essay about the historical origins of Halloween in the Samhain holiday, “the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year.” Also includes a brief bibliography. From the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

The Halloween Safety game  (Find it on the ipl2)


This game is a fun way to learn about Halloween and trick-or-treating safety. The site includes articles about Halloween traditions but also how to stay safe while executing those traditions. 

NEW! The Pagan Roots of Halloween 


Want to know more about some Halloween symbols? Take a stroll through some Pagan roots and how these roots relate to this scary holiday on the Christian Broadcasting Network. 

NEW! Halloween Traditions 


What is a Jack-O-Lantern? Ever hear of Mischief night? Factmonster will provide all the answers to these questions and answers to questions you never thought about for Halloween traditions..

Halloween- Party Time!

It is time for a party. Want to know how to roast pumpkin seeds? How to carve that perfect pumpkin? Or plan the scariest haunted house? Or plan the perfect Halloween meal? Well, you have come to the right place. These sites will help you plan a great Halloween party or small get together and everything in-between. Let’s get the celebration started!

Halloween online  (Find it on the ipl2)


Pumpkins, bats, and spider webs meet and “creep” you at this indispensable Halloween site. It’s been around a long time, since 1994. Everything Halloween in one click—costumes, Halloween parties, pumpkin carving, articles and more. Especially useful are the Halloween decoration tips and Halloween party resources.

PBS Kids  (Find it on the ipl2)


Collection of links to Halloween-related activities and content for children, such as a card creator, coloring pages, spooky sounds music maker, games, and write-your-own stories. From PBS Kids.

NBC news  (Find it on the ipl2)


Want to build your own haunted house? This is a great way to see what others have done and the economics behind the haunted house industry, as told by NBC news. This is no longer a kids holiday with adults now forking over cash to receive a good scare.

Costume idea zone  (Find it on the ipl2)


Are you the creative type? Do you start planning your Halloween costume in May or June? Then, the Costume Idea Zone is the place for you. Offbeat, unusual and just downright clever ideas will set you on the path to winning a best costume contest on Halloween night.

Better homes and gardens  (Find it on the ipl2)


Scare up some delicious Halloween party food with our easy-to-make Halloween recipes. Make a creepy cupcake or tasty punch. And don’t forget to build your gingerbread-hunted house.  

How to build a haunted house  (Find it on the ipl2)


Time to make the house haunted. Everyone loves a good scare and building your own haunted house can do just that. Ehow gives simple and elaborate ways to build your own haunted house.

 Grab your favorite costume. Plan a trick!  Take your favorite treat!  And come celebrate everything Halloween!

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: The Quest for Science

The shortest and best definition of the term ‘science’ can be summed up in one short phrase, “science is life.” In one way or another, science plays a vital role in the lives of everyone, everywhere. Science often widens and enhances our lives and can challenge our misconceptions about the world in a systematic way. According to the European Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, (ERASMUS) the true purpose of science is to create helpful models of reality in order to better understand the universe.

The French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science Henri Poincaré stated that, “[t]he scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.”

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

Applied Sciences 

A Sightseer’s Guide to Engineering (find it on ipl2)
This travel guide from the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) highlights engineering achievements throughout the United States. The database may be searched by keyword, engineering discipline (such as automotive, civil/environmental, or mining), category (such as amusement park, bridge, tunnel, or monument), or geographically by clicking on the image map of the United States. Contact information, hours of operation, engineering details, a photo, and a “fun fact” are given for each sightseeing destination. 

NEW! Engineers without Borders
Find information on current projects and overseas development and relief from Engineers without Borders, a community-driven network of volunteers committed to making a difference around the globe. Engineers without Borders aims to use engineering to apply solutions in disaster and development scenarios directly for the good of mankind. Locate information on chapters across the United States, how to become a volunteer, and community projects you can become involved in.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (find it on ipl2)
This searchable site serves as “a gateway to hundreds of Web sites and thousands of online documents on energy efficiency and renewable energy,” including information about buildings, transportation, industry, bioenergy, hydrogen, solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, and geothermal power. The site features consumer information, an “energy lab” for children, and information about the various other programs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The Archaeology Channel (find it on ipl2)
This site from the Archaeology Legacy Institute (ALI), explores “the human cultural heritage through streaming media,” which allows users to travel through time to discover the diversity of the human experience. Visitors can watch videos about archeological sites, read news about research, and explore further great finds. 

NEW! Society for American Archaeology: Archaeology for the public
This site from the Society for American Archaeology provides information on archaeology including news and events; educational resources for educators and archeologists; and an interactive explore archaeology section that provides information on visiting an archaeology site or an archeology museum exhibit. The site strives to not only provide information for those interested in the field of archaeology, but for archaeologists wanting to know more about working with the public.

Physical Sciences

NEW! Chemical & Engineering News
Did you know those trick candles on your birthday cake use magnesium powder? Check out these collections for everything from the chemistry of everyday items (“What’s That Stuff?”), science in movies, how chemistry affects living things (“Critter Chemistry”), green chemistry, chemistry news on topics ranging from the effects of oil spills to chemicals and the economy, and more.

Physics.org (find it on ipl2)
Ever wonder how 3-D films work, or whether you can really levitate a frog with a magnet? The Institute of Physics, an England-based scientific society with roots going back nearly 150 years, has put together this site to answer these questions and more. They offer explanations of the physics of everyday things, cartoons explaining physics experiments you can do at home, articles on physics topics, physics news, information about careers in physics, and links to other physics-related websites. 

University of California Museum of Paleontology (find it on ipl2 – Science and Technology – Paleontology)
Come for the dinosaurs, stay for the science! These online exhibits from the University of California, Berkeley, cover even more than special exhibits about dinosaur and mammoth fossils (though those alone are worth the virtual visit). You can read about Earth’s biomes, try to identify a “mystery fossil,” tour Earth’s geological and biological past, examine the evidence for evolution, get resources for teaching science, and read up on what exciting research the Museum of Paleontology’s scientists are working on right now. Be sure to check out their section on “Understanding Science.”

Faultline: Seismic Science at the Epicenter (find it on ipl2) – Science and Technology – Earth Sciences)
The San Francisco Exploratorium, a museum for exploring science and art, is located in a city known for its earthquakes. Their “Faultline” exhibit covers more than the history of the famous 1906 and 1989 earthquakes: check out this site to learn about what causes earthquakes, how earthquakes affect buildings (and what we can do to make the buildings more earthquake-proof), activities to demonstrate earthquake principles, and links to real-time data on where the earth is shaking now.

Social Sciences

NEW! 100 Top Library Sites
This site provides the 100 most relevant web sites for each major category, selected, edited and ranked by professional editors.

NEW! Online Dictionary
This glossary of library terminology contains thousands of definitions, with words in the definitions hyperlinked to more definitions. Maintained by Joan Reitz, librarian at Western Connecticut State University. An excellent source for librarians and librarianship!

NEW! Cultural Studies Research
Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East Londonwas established to serve as an international centre for research in contemporary cultural studies, cultural theory and cultural production. The centre supports research into political and theoretical issues in cultural studies and cultural practice.”

NEW! Culture Machine
Culture Machine is a series of experiments in culture and theory. The aim of Culture Machine is to seek out and promote the most provocative of new work, and analysis of that work, in culture and theory from a diverse range of international authors. Culture Machine is particularly concerned with promoting research which is engaged in the constitution of new areas of inquiry and the opening of new frontiers of cultural and theoretical activity.”

Science Learning Network (find it on ipl2)
If you are a science teacher or a parent who wants to link your child to excellent science resources on the Internet, this site is for you! “The Science Learning Network (SLN) is an online community of educators, students, schools, and science museums”. Going deeper into the above link you will discover more links that further address information that pertains to science, education, and cultural topics. Also, this source has an educational Hotlists link to online resources that science educators and enthusiasts may find useful.

 NEW! 100 Best Websites for Science Education
This is a great collection of the 100 best websites for science education. Click on the Educate tab for teaching tools and activities.

Museum of Science (find it on ipl2)
The Museum of Science contains extraordinary exhibition of Egyptian antiquities and numerous exhibits and films for all grade levels and subjects.

NEW! American Studies
This is a must-visit site for professional anthropologists and students. It has numerous links to visual record of current and former Indian groups from the Northern Great Plains.

Formal Sciences 

Fractal Geometry (find it on ipl2IPL — Science and Technology — Mathematics — Calculus and Advanced Mathematics)
This site provides an “introduction to fractals for students without advanced math skills” and allows all students to understand their presence without an extensive scientific or arithmetical background. While employing mathematical principles, this site involves students outside of mathematics with practical applications of fractals within the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Game Theory.net (find it on ipl2)
Game theory (also known as decision theory), a method for calculating circumstances based on others’ choices, has become a popular formal science discussion and research topic and this website provides teaching, learning, and strategic materials for its application. Many of the resources provided are from educators’ notes or student experiences and are intended to “demonstrate [game theory] concepts in a fun, interactive way.”

The History of Computing Project (find it on ipl2IPL – Science and Technology – History of Science and Technology)
Built by global partners, this site is a compilation of biographies, hardware, companies, games and software which comprise the history of computing and computer science. The extensive computing timeline serves as the center of the site and provides a year-by-year history of computing since 300 BC, beginning with simple calculations and traveling into the 2000s with the invention of the smartphone. Historical hardware, software, persons, and contributors to the history of computer science are indexed and highlighted as well.

NEW! The Polymath Blog
Polymath projects, or “massively collaborative mathematical research projects,” are hosted by this blog which is administered by mathematics professors, writers, and analysts. The problems proposed to the blog are collectively documented and worked on by administrators and contributors and polymath rules, many taken from the site’s associated wiki, and theories are tested and re-worked in the open space of this weblog.

Cognitive Sciences

AskPhilosophers (find it on ipl2Arts and Humanities – Philosophy)
Most people have not studied philosophy and “AskPhilosophers aims to bridge this gap by putting the skills and knowledge of trained philosophers at the service of the general public.” Here you can ask philosophers questions and receive answers. Previous questions are also archived by category.

Psychology.com (find it on ipl2Social Sciences – Psychology)
This site provides a therapist directory, articles by therapists on mental health, and general information about various mental health topics. It also has free tests for self discovery, including career interests, personality, and depression and anxiety scales.

NEW! The Sociological Cinema
Geared towards sociology instructors, this site provides video clips helpful for learning about different sociological themes. Each video clip has a description of the major topics addressed in the clip as well as how to incorporate them into your lessons.

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-hand side of the page on the ipl2’s News and Information WordPress blog.  Subscription is free and open to all!


ipl2 Blog update

In response to comments from our followers, the current blog will be going through some changes this week.  This blog will be for the ipl2 Newsletter – The Link.  All other ipl2 resources and  information, along with our social network widgets, will be moved to a new blog.  We hope that this will not cause too much inconvenience.  The new blog URL will be posted by the end of the week!

Thank you for following and sharing your comments!

Day Two – ipl2 Institute on the Future of Reference: Live Blog

Live blogging the ipl2 Institute, March 16, 2010 (12:30 – 2p EST).

Follow our coverage of today’s event by clicking the link below:

Click Here


Lorri Mon – Digital Media and ipl2

Steven Bell – Preparing Today’s Student for Tomorrow’s Reference

Dave Lankes – What Does the Future Hold?

ipl2 Institute on the Future of Reference: Live Blog

Live blogging the ipl2 Institute, March 15, 2010 (4:30 – 5:45p EST).

Follow our coverage of today’s event by clicking the link below:

Click Here


Mick Khoo – ipl2 Merger Surprises

Joyce Valenza – Web 2.0 Reference on the Ground K-12

Joe Janes – IPL’s Birthday (Past, Present, Future)

Happy Holidays!

The Ask an ipl2 Librarian service question forms will be unavailable for the winter holiday break from 10 p.m. EST, December 10, 2009. We will reopen at 12 p.m. (noon) EST, January 4, 2010. During this time, the IPL website will have periods of unavailability as we begin to transition to the new ipl2 website.