Which search engine do you use?

Google

Courtesy of google.com

Google.

It’s the default and it’s always there. Right?

Yet, did you know that there are plenty of other search engines out there? I have to admit that I didn’t.

Recently I have been introduced to specialist Google search engines like Google Scholar and Google Books which, if you are a writer and are researching a topic, can be more relevant than a normal Google search.

Here are some others:

Bing Images – image search across the web including copywrite and use details

Europeana Collections – access to cultural artworks, artefacts and books situated in museums throughout Europe

Worldcat – worldwide library catalogue – access to more than 10,000 libraries

Refseek – a way to prioritise only academic sources

DuckDuckGo – general search engine that does not follow your searches (unlike Google so I have learned)

For research purposes I have found all of these search engines eye opening and with DuckDuckGo, I particularly like the layout and the way that the sources are easily signposted.

Try them out, you might be surprised at the results.

Any other search engines anyone can suggest?

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Article writer? Think Readly

Helpful tips and advice on a yellow office noteAs a keen article writer I was thrilled to recently discover the Readly app. Essentially a magazine reading app it is linked to literally hundreds of magazine titles around the world. By downloading this app you can, at the touch of a button, read the latest edition or even a back copy of any one of those magazines. You can also download the magazines so that they are available when you are offline.

Readly is free to download and offers a free trial period which allows you a couple of days to test it out. After that it is a monthly fee of £7.99 (UK) but when you consider the sheer number of magazines that you can digitally read for that price, it is worth its weight in gold. You can also link multiple accounts to one app meaning that more than one member of your family can enjoy Readly  for the same monthly fee.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than physically leafing through your favourite magazine. Seeing the articles in all of their glory and inhaling the unique scent of glossy paper cannot be beaten, however, if like me you need to purchase a number of magazines for research, then it can be a costly activity. The last time I bought several magazines it cost me almost £20 and that was just for one edition of each. With Readly I can now access multiple editions of all of these magazines (and many more) at a price which is considerably more affordable.

serge bertasius photography

serge bertasius photography via freedigitalphotos.net

If you haven’t tried out Readly yet then I really suggest that you do. As a source of inspiration for magazine markets then it is tough to be beat and once you get reading, it is oddly addictive. I have found myself reading articles in magazines that I know I never would have picked off the shelf and as a writer that can only be a good thing.

Does anyone else use Readly? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Writing: Is further learning just another great way to procrastinate?

2016-05-25 11.23.45The fantastic Writing Magazine (UK), introduced me in its latest edition, to MOOC’s – Massive Open Online Courses. (See Writing Magazine, June 2016, pg.85).

A MOOC is essentially an online, university-level course which offers ‘high-quality learning materials‘ that have been compiled by ‘prestigious universities around the world‘. What’s more, a vast number of MOOC’s are FREE. The courses run entirely online and cover a huge range of subjects – great for us writers for both research and learning purposes.

There are several websites which offer these courses – www.coursera.org being one of the largest – but I opted to try out www.futurelearn.com which is run by the Open University.

With very little searching I found a free course dedicated to online researching techniques. The course is only two weeks long and comprises exercises which can be completed whenever it is most convenient. The course is due to start on 6th June and I am already excited about what I will learn.

hyena reality

hyena reality via freedigitalphotos.net

I also discovered a course on forensic science – a field which fascinates me – and so I have registered my interest for that one too. There is no start date as yet but it is a longer and more in depth course again, about which I am truly excited.

As far as I can understand with the free courses there are no costs – if you would like a certificate at the end however, there is often a charge for these. This being the case and having spent a few minutes browsing the courses, I can see myself taking more of these in the future. This, however, is where my dilemma comes in.

I love learning. I love research. I love to know everything that there is to know about everything, yet I can also do a heck of a lot of procrastinating. My concern, therefore, is that I am going to be spending so much time learning that my procrastinating will increase and I will forget to actually write – which, after all, is what my love and passion is all about.

For an answer to this dilemma though, I am going to turn to Henry Ford:

al-inspiring-quote-on-learning

courtesy of refe99.com

I think I am going to keep learning, stay young and take my chances with procrastination.

And sign up to as many MOOC’s as I have time for…

What about you? What is your approach to learning?

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