Awesome Library
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About the Awesome Library
Selection Criteria
Selection Methods
Star Ratings
Parental Controls

A Short History of the Awesome Library
In 1995, Dr. R. Jerry Adams began developing an Internet library database.   Federal funds were used to sponsor a Web site that allowed the public to gain access to the privately held database.   In 1996 a second federal program sponsored a Web interface under the name of "Library-in-the-Sky" so that the public could continue to gain access.

In May of 1997, the Evaluation and Development Insitute (EDI) began offering the database through the Web portal "Awesome Library."   EDI, co-owner of the database, has also issued licenses to other organizations to utilize it.

Awards and Recognitions
The Awesome Library has received some Awards and Recognitions.

Awesome Library's Sponsor, EDI
EDI has objectives related to the Awesome Library in each of its three program areas:

Program Area 1: Programs and studies to promote long term world peace

- To bring information to students, teachers and librarians that will broaden appreciation for different cultures

- To bring information to students, teachers and librarians that will promote world peace.

Program Area 2: Programs to enhance communication through the use of Web-based solutions

- To promote communication among students, teachers and librarians through online information

- To improve access to online information for students, teachers and librarians

Program Area 3: Studies to evaluate solutions in the fields of health, education, and criminal justice

- To provide information to students, teachers and librarians that promotes healthy lifestyles

Selection Criteria
The Awesome Library provides only resources that have been reviewed and found to be of high quality for our users.   In that sense, all of the resources are highly rated at the time of review.   In order to be included in the Awesome Library, resources need to meet all of the standards below.

-   Only child-safe links
-   Useful for teachers, students ("kids" or "teens"), parents, or librarians
-   "Real Stuff" (Actual documents, projects, pictures, and discussion groups)
-   Current
-   Load quickly
-   Small percentage of "dead" links
-   Best version available

Even if all of these conditions are met, later the resource may need to be removed because it no longer meets all of the conditions and standards.   Web pages change rapidly; if you encounter resources that do not meet the conditions or standards, please inform us by selecting the email link at the bottom of each page of the Awesome Library and tell us the address of the resource we need to remove.   Likewise, if you know of pages that should be added to the Awesome Library, please share that with us.

Selection Methods
We explore the World Wide Web for you and bring back resources that are brought to our attention in the following ways:

-   Recommended by a teacher, student, parent, or librarian
-   Recommended by a national reviewer
-   Requested information on a topic
-   Emerging current events

The Project Director for this effort is Dr. R. Jerry Adams, who has over 25 years of experience in managing educational programs on a national, state, and local level.   He has served on half a dozen national advisory boards related to educational program development.   Dr. Adams is the Executive Director for the Evaluation and Development Institute and the author of the database upon which the Web site is constructed.

What About the Star? Star
All of the resources included in the Awesome Library were reviewed for usefulness and appropriateness, but 2% of the Awesome Library's resources were also given a star.   The star is given to a resource because it is at least one of the following:

-   The source for many other sources on the page
-   A very comprehensive source of information
-   Unusually Well Organized
-   Contains essential information for the topic

You may also be interested in a related page, the Ideal Web Site.

How To Find Just the Stars
Select "Word Search," available on the top area of each page inside the Awesome Library, and type in the subject you are pursuing plus "star."   For example try:

social studies star

This will give you all of the sites in Social Studies that have a star. Star

What if you want the stars for just one type of resource, such as Lesson Plans?   No problem:

lesson plans star

This will give you all of the lesson plans that have a star.

Parental Controls
Resources in the Awesome Library have been reviewed for child-safe content, but adult supervision is still appropriate.   Children can leave the Awesome Library; its doors are not locked.   For example, children can find additional resources on the World Wide Web through other Web libraries on the Word Search Page.

To restrict children to safe sites when using other major search engines, several approaches are available:

1.)   If you are using Internet Explorer (5.5 or later), you can turn on the built in filtering software and password protect your settings. To turn on the filtering program, select Tools (at the top of the Internet Explorer), then select Internet Options, Content, and then Content Advisor. Select Settings and provide a password. (The first password you invent will be the one that will be used.) Select an RSACi setting for each category. The most restricted setting is "1."

After setting your preferred levels of restriction, go to General within the Content Advisor (not in Internet Options). This will be the hard decision. If you check "Users can see sites that have no rating," pornographic sites that have not been rated, which is most of them, can get through. If you do not check it, you will need to spend a great deal of time adding sites to the approved list--most sites on the Web do not have ratings.

If you have your child only conduct searches of the Web from within the Awesome Library, or from search sites listed in the Awesome Library, no pornographic sites should ever appear, even with this option checked. This is the recommended approach.

2.)   Have your children use the "Homework Helper".   This page includes Web searches just for Kids; ask your children to use only this page for keyword searches.  You can also make the Homeworker Helper page your Home Page.   Then, from anywhere on the Web, your children can select "Home" on the toolbar to return easily.

In order to create the Home Page in Internet Explorer (5.5 and higher), select "Tools" on the toolbar at the top, then "Internet Options."   Place the following address in the space provided:

3.)   Use software that provides parental control.   Go to Parental Controls and select the software you want; some of it is free, some is not.   The limitation with these filters is that they may restrict your children from access to sites needed for homework. Most are very difficult to uninstall from your computer in case you are not happy with the results. Option no. 1, above, using the Internet Explorer filtering, while staying with search engines approved by the Awesome Library, is currently recommended over other filtering software.

Exploration of the World Wide Web can be a great adventure if a few reasonable precautions are taken.   Have a safe and pleasant journey.

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