Tax Time

Need help with filing your taxes?  Check out the Virtual Library’s Hot Topics – Taxes.  Here you will find links to forms, the latest books and tax tips.  There is also a list of libraries which will have AARP Tax help throughout the tax season.

HeritageQuest® Online – Census Browse

Every genealogist struggles with the following challenge at one time or another: You finally find that elusive ancestor on the census, just to lose the trail on the very next census, only to find him or her later in the neighboring county in the same house! How do you know when county boundaries have shifted? Use the Browse option in the HeritageQuest Online Census collection!

  1. Simply go to Census > Browse, then select the year and state for the Census of interest.
  2. To the right of the state drop-down menu you will see the “View State Map” link; clicking this link will open a new window with a printable PDF state map from The Census Book with both modern and census-year specific county boundaries.
  3. Select different years to track the progression of the boundary changes over time.

Antarctica—Mysterious Continent

This year (2011) marks the 110th anniversary of the start of the major exploration of Antarctica (1901-04) by the British Naval Commander, Robert Falcon Scott.

Known as the Discovery Expedition, it was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross’s voyage sixty years earlier. Organized on a large scale under a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), the new expedition aimed to carry out scientific research and geographical exploration in what was then largely an untouched continent. It launched the Antarctic careers of many who would become leading figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, including Robert Falcon Scott who led this expedition, and Ernest Shackleton, who would lead future expeditions.

Its scientific results covered extensive ground in biology, zoology, geology, meteorology and magnetism. There were important geological and zoological discoveries, including those of the snow-free McMurdo Dry Valleys, and the Cape Crozier Emperor Penguin colony. In the field of geographical exploration, achievements included the discoveries of King Edward VII Land, and the Polar Plateau via the western mountains route. Despite all these accomplishments, the expedition failed to reach the South Pole.

As a trailbreaker for later ventures, the Discovery Expedition was a landmark in British Antarctic exploration history. After its return to England, the Discovery Expedition was celebrated as a success, despite having needed an expensive relief mission to free Discovery and its crew from the ice, and later disputes about the quality of some of its scientific records. It has been asserted that the expedition’s main failure was its inability to master the techniques of efficient polar travel using skis and dogs, a legacy that persisted in British Antarctic expeditions throughout the Heroic Age.

Research/Learning Activity
Assign students to write a report of at least 100 words (or a presentation of at least five slides) that cites at least three resources from the Pathfinder listed below.

Students should address the following essential questions for critical thinking in their reports:

  • What are the most unique geographic characteristics of the continent of Antarctica?
  • What are the most unique species of wildlife in Antarctica?
  • What are two practical benefits of Antarctic exploration for the countries of world?
  • Would you like to go on an Antarctic exploration today—why or why not?

Student-Ready Content Pathfinder

Have Students use online resources on the Virtual Library’s Databases A-Z page to answer the above questions.

Suggested resources:


SIRS Knowledge Source

Select the Subject Heading search option > Type “Antarctica” in the Search box > Click links that provide information that addresses the essential questions above.

Your students can use our custom ProQuest models for written and PowerPoint-style reports.

Teachers may be interested in a ProQuest flexible rubrics model for evaluating inquiry-based learning activities.

Educators may also wish to employ the Quizinator Web tool (free, but registration required) for creating a variety of printed resources, including short assessments.

Brain Teaser – Cathedrals

Rouen Cathedral, Full Sunlight

Image via Wikipedia

This week’s brainteaser is about cathedrals and the cities they are in.

Need help? Use Credo Reference.

1. Who designed St Paul’s Cathedral in London?

2. Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral is on an island in which river?

4. In which country is Chartres cathedral?

5. In which city is the largest Gothic cathedral in Italy?

6. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built to serve as what for the city’s cathedral?

7. Who designed the dome of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome?

8. Who wrote the verse drama “Murder in the Cathedral” (1935)?

9. Which French artist painted the picture “Rouen Cathedral, West Portal, Grey Weather, 1894″?

10. Name the architect who designed the dome of Florence cathedral.

Questions set by Tony Augarde (