In the News: Shop Smart, Shop Safe

With the holidays approaching many people are starting their shopping. Next week comes one of the busiest shopping days of the year: Black Friday. Plus pre-Thanksgiving sales, Cyber Monday, and all the other holiday sales make this time of year a little hectic when it comes to finding the perfect gift. With some of the economic challenges people are facing this year, finding the best bang for the buck is even more important. So take a break and check out the history behind Black Friday and some tips and tricks you can use to find the best deals and to keep yourself safe as you shop for your loved ones this year.

NEW! Why is it called Black Friday?

Black Friday got its name originally because of the car accidents and violence that took place as the crowds rushed for the sales. Stores didn’t want the day associated with something so negative so they changed it to represent the way the sales would help get them back in the “black” financially speaking.

The History of Black Friday (find it on the ipl2)

Find out more about Black Friday on this site devoted to the day and everything surrounding it. Learn more about when it started, who coined the phrase, and why it’s become something shoppers look forward to almost as much as Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Personal Safety Plan for Black Friday (find it on the ipl2)

The National Crime Prevention Center offers tips to keep you safe if you go out to face the crowds on Black Friday. These ideas will help you make a plan ahead of time and keep you, your money, and others around you safe. Remembering to take your time, not carry more than you can, and being aware of your surroundings are just a few of the tips offered to make your shopping more enjoyable and less stressful.

Black Friday Ads and Shopping (find it on the ipl2)

This site gathers all the sales and information you need to make your strategy for Black Friday shopping. Browse the ads ahead of time, find out special shopping times, and learn any restrictions you need to know before you head out the door.

Tips: Safe Online Shopping (find it on the ipl2)

Because of the crowds and the craziness you might prefer to shop from the comfort of your home. This site offers practical advice and tips on how to protect yourself as you shop. Valuable suggestions on how to tell if a website is secure to shop on and reminders to trust your instincts are just a couple of the tips that can help you have a safe and enjoyable shopping experience, even on the web.

Cyber Monday Ads and Shopping NEW!

With the advent of online shopping, stores decided to get in on the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and extend special deals that would be available only online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. This site will give you tips on all of the deals to watch for on Cyber Monday. Plus they offer the inside scoop on online deals all throughout the year.

Better Business Bureau Consumer Tips (find it on the ipl2)

The Better Business Bureau offers plenty of tips on how to shop online safely. They offer suggestions on how to avoid scams, lists of reliable sites, and ratings on specific businesses to help you make better choices. There are a lot of useful links and articles to help you stay safe while shopping all year long.

NEW! Shopping Tips and Tricks

This blog is updated regularly and is focused on helping you find the best deals. There are regular pages of links to places you can find coupons or ads, information about freebies, and other sites you might find useful. Plus, the author posts about special promotions as she finds them.

National Retail Federation (find it on the ipl2)

This site gives you all the news you could want about past and present shopping trends around the holiday season. Get statistics, articles, and information about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It will help you check out what’s big this year or look at what happened last year at this time.


The Link: Parks and Recreation

In recognition of U.S. National Park and Recreation Month, we’ve compiled some resources that are sure to be helpful in planning the perfect mid-summer getaway. Whether your dream vacation is spent on a roller coaster, hiking through Yellowstone, camping with the kids, or visiting a few natural national treasures abroad, this month’s newsletter aims to assist with your parks and recreation research needs.

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

Theme Parks

Amusement Park Physics (find it on the ipl2)

This site provides simple explanations for the physics that make amusement park rides possible. Find out what Newton’s laws of motion have to do with bumper cars, design a roller coaster, see what Galileo has to do with the design of free fall rides.

Theme Park Insider (find it on the ipl2)

A consumers’ guide to the world’s most popular theme and amusement parks. The site is not run by or affiliated with any theme park company. It is an independent news resource offering coverage, information and opinion about themeparks.

Yesterland (find it on the ipl2)

This entertaining and informative site showcases discontinued Disneyland attractions. There are numerous links to both official and unofficial Disney sites. It is a delightful historical look at the park.

U.S. National Parks

Mapping the National Parks (find it on the ipl2)

This small part of the U.S. Library of Congress’s American Memory Collection documents the history, cultural aspects, and geological formations of four areas that eventually became National Parks. The maps date from the 17th century to the present for Acadia, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone. Nautical charts are included for Acadia.

National Parks and Conservation Association (find it on the ipl2)

This site contains information about U.S. national parks, including wildlife, ecology, threats to the parks, and various conservation and preservation actions to protect the parks. The NPCA is dedicated to safeguarding “the scenic beauty, wildlife, and historical and cultural treasures of the largest and most diverse park system in the world.”

National Park Service: Digital Image Archives (find it on the ipl2)

The U.S. National Park Service provides all necessary information for visiting parks, each with its own homepage and links to other non-NPS sites. The Digital Image Archive is a collection of dozens of detailed histories of the national parks of the United States, written by National Park Service (NPS) staff.

National Park Service: Park Histories (find it on the ipl2)

This NPS collection contains public domain images of national parks, monuments, battlefields, and historic sites. You can easily browse by park name.


Mr. Steiro, Mr. Moon and another man at campfire along Turtle Creek in October, 1936.

Camping Health and Safety Tips and Packing Checklist – CDC (find it on the ipl2)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a mission to “promote quality of life through the prevention and control of disease, injury, and disability.” Their information on camping includes information on proper vaccinations before camping, the importance of safe physical activity, and maintaining of state of active preparedness.

NEW! Joy of Camping

Joy of Camping is a website dedicated to providing information on a wide variety of camping topics.  Some of these topics include basic camping skills, cooking while camping, proper camping gear, and information on safety.  From discussions on bugs to finding the right camping spot for you and your family, Joy of Camping is a useful website to explore before setting out on a camping adventure.

Love the Outdoors (find it on the ipl2)

Love the Outdoors is a website and blog that focuses on camping and other outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking.  Information found within the site include tips on camp cooking, camping checklists, and keeping your campsite safe.

Kids and the Outdoors

30 Classic Games for Simple Outdoor Play – Wired (find it on the ipl2)

Wired Magazine typically publishes information on the future of business, culture, innovation, and science. While this list of outdoor games is a bit of a deviation from their normal technology-laden articles, it’s a reminder that imagination is important for kids of all ages.

NEW! Kids Outdoors Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia

Kids Outdoors is a part of the Appalachian Mountain Club community that strives to get children outdoors. The website serves the greater Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia area, but has articles and information for parents and kids in all areas of the country.

Sun and Water Safety Tips – AAP (find it on the ipl2)

Healthy Children is a part of the American Academy of Pediatrics. These safety tips are a good reminder of the needs that children have when out in the sun and in or around water sources.

International Parks and Recreation Sites

National Parks in England, Wales, & Scotland (find it on the ipl2)

The official website for the United Kingdom’s national parks provides details about visiting and preserving parks such as the mountain zone of the Cairngorms, Loch Lomond, the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales. The site also includes photos, news, and links to individual park websites.

NEW! National Parks of Japan

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment maintains this site. It offers information on park protection and maintenance, photos and profiles of each of the parks, and information on visiting each of them. The homepage includes an interactive map and a link to “live images” of several parks.

Parks Canada (find it on the ipl2)

This site contains information on Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, national marine conservation areas, heritage buildings, heritage rivers, and heritage railway stations. All content is searchable and available in both English and French.

Tanzania National Parks (find it on the ipl2)

The official website for the Tanzanian national park system features high-quality images and information about 14 parks, including Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara (location of the “mass deaths of water birds, mainly Lesser Flamingo,” in the summer of 2004), and more. Content is available in English, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese.

Thank you for visiting the ipl2!

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!

In The News: Connecting Through Social Media

Social Media Word Cloud created at

Social Media Word Cloud created at

It has become evident in the last few years that social media is about more than keeping in touch. Social media has become a way for us to become connected in more ways than ever before. This week’s In The News highlights recent events in which the importance of the social media connection exists.

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

Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking – TED (find it on the ipl2)

Musician Amanda Palmer is famous for breaking with her major recording label so that she could create music her way. She has infamously used her twitter account to connect with her fans all across the world in order to find boarding, food, musicians, and possible “ninja gig” locations. The strong connection she has with her fans allowed her to raise over $1 million in her kickstarter  project in 2012.  At the 2013 TED Convention, Amanda Palmer shares the importance of connection – online and in-person – and why no one should ever be afraid of asking for what they need.

NEW! I’m Still Here: Back Online After a Year without the Internet – The Verge

On April 30, 2012, The Verge tech writer, Paul Miller, left the internet that he thought was making him an unproductive. In this article he details his year long journey without the internet and the surprising conclusions he developed about the internet’s part in the real world and staying connected with those around you.

Social Media and the Search for the Boston Bombers – CBS News (find it on the ipl2)

This CBS News article discusses the search for the Boston Bombing suspects last month via twitter with Mashable<; Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff. In this recent crisis people turned to social media to discover information and to help with the search. Ulanoff explains that while the crowdsourcing information wasn’t always correct, the people on Twitter and Reddit would start over and get it right.

Social Media Helps Cancer Patient – Huffington Post (find it on the ipl2)

Through YouTube, Reddit, and twitter, social media helped dying cancer patient Marie Sowler reach out to Sleeping With Sirens singer, Kellin Quinn. It took a less than a day for Kellin to respond and figure out how to meet her young fan.

Social Media Safety – (find it on the ipl2)

Social media is a wonderful way to stay connected with people, but it’s also important to remember the rules of online safety.  NetSmartz is supported by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and provides internet and social media safety advice for parents, teens, and children.  Stay safe!

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Thank you for visiting the ipl2!

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!