Category Archives: Document and Data Sources

Free Virtual Tours, Online Collections, and Other Free Resources to Explore on the Internet

Peter Lobner

This post contains links to many free virtual tours and other online resources that may be of interest to you.  Also check out the long list of recommended external links on the introductory webpage for Pete’s Lynx, here:

https://lynceans.org/petes-lynx/

This is a great time to explore. Happy surfing!

1. Google Arts & Culture portal:

Here you’ll find virtual tours and online collections from many partner museums and other organizations.  So many, that I suggest that you try finding something of interest in the “A-Z” view.  There are 145 “A’s” and 8 “Z’s,” with more than 2,500 other museums and collections in between.  Start at the following link: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner

Also check out the Streetview tours of famous sites & landmarks here: https://artsandculture.google.com/project/street-view

2. MCN’s Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections

On 14 March 2020, MCN (formerly the Museum Computer Network) posted “The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections,” at the following link:  http://mcn.edu/a-guide-to-virtual-museum-resources/

This is a very extensive list of free online resources and their links. MCN notes, “This list will be continually updated with examples of museum and museum-adjacent virtual awesomeness. It is by no means exhaustive….. Every resource is free to access and enjoy.”

3. Library of Congress (LOC)

The LOC has a wide range of digital collections that are easy to access here:  https://www.loc.gov/collections/

4.  Other museums & historic places:

Here are some additional virtual tours to supplement what you’ll find on the Google Arts & Culture portal and MCN’s extensive list of links.

5. Drone video collection:

6. Video and photographic tours:

While you’re browsing these, you’ll find many similar YouTube videos and photos from other sources on the sidebar of your screen.

7. TED Talks:

More than 3,300 talks to stir your curiosity:  https://www.ted.com/talks

8. Internet Archive:

Check out the Internet Archive, which is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.  The main website is here:  https://archive.org.  Direct links to some of the specific parts of the Internet Archive are here:

9. Open Culture: 

The best free cultural & educational media on the web, with more than 1,500 free online courses from top universities, 1,150 free movies, 700 free audio books, 800 free eBooks, 300 free language lessons, 15,000+ free Golden Age comics from the Digital Comic Museum, and more:  http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses

Also visit these related websites:

10. Libraries: 

11. Maps:

12. Additional resources:

Other authors have provided similar information in the recent articles listed below.  Many of the museums listed in the following articles are accessible via the Google Arts & Culture portal.

Internet Archive: a Great Access Point to Many Web Resources and Vintage Science Fiction

Peter Lobner

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, audio books, movies, music, software and more, which you can access at the following link:

https://archive.org

It’s hard to navigate this site to find out what’s there. The home page presents icons for the “Top Collections in the Archive,” but you have to scroll through many pages to view hundreds of these icons, each of which links to a corresponding collection. Interesting collections I found include:

  • American Libraries
  • The Library of Congress
  • The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
  • Software Library: MS-DOS Games
  • Computer Magazine Archives
  • Television Archive
  • Grateful Dead
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Gallery Images
  • Kahn Academy

Archive icons

There’s a Pulp Magazine Archive at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/pulpmagazinearchive

Once there, select Topic: “science fiction”, or use the following direct link:

https://archive.org/details/pulpmagazinearchive?and%5B%5D=subject%3A%22science+fiction%22&sort=-downloads&page=2

Then you’re on your way to libraries of vintage science fiction.  Below are results from my own searches.

Galaxy Science Fiction:

Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine published from 1950 to 1980. It was founded by an Italian company, World Editions, to help it break in to the American market. World Editions hired as editor H. L. Gold, who rapidly made Galaxy the leading science fiction magazine of its time, focusing on stories about social issues rather than technology.

The Galaxy Science Fiction archive, with 361 results, is located at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/galaxymagazine

Galaxy SF archive pic

If:

If was an American science fiction magazine launched in March 1952 by Quinn Publications. The magazine was moderately successful, though it was never regarded as one of the first rank of science fiction magazines. It achieved its greatest success under editor Frederik Pohl, winning the Hugo Award three years running from 1966 to 1968. If was merged into Galaxy Science Fiction after the December 1974 issue, its 175th issue overall.

The If science fiction archive, with 176 results, is located at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/ifmagazine

If SF archive pic

Amazing Stories

 Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 as the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Amazing Stories was published, with some interruptions, for almost 80 years. Although Amazing Stories was not considered an influential magazine in the genre, it was nominated for the Hugo award three times in the 1970s. It ceased publication in 2005

The Amazing Stories archive, with 160 results, is located at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/pulpmagazinearchive?and%5B%5D=amazing+stories&sort=-downloads&page=2

Amazing SF archive pic

The Skylark of Space is one of the earliest novels of interstellar travel and is considered a classic of pulp science fiction. Originally serialized in 1928, it is available as a 9-hour audiobook at the following link:

https://archive.org/details/skylark_space_2_1012_librivox

Skylark of Space

Good luck navigating the Internet Archive website. I hope you find some interesting things.

New From The National Academies Press

Peter Lobner

My 14 March 2015 post provided an introduction to The National Academies Press (NAP), which is a very good source for reports and other documents on the following topics:

  • Agriculture
  • Behavioral & social sciences
  • Biographies & autobiographies
  • Biology & life sciences
  • Computers & information technology
  • Conflict & security issues
  • Earth sciences
  • Education
  • Energy & energy conservation
  • Engineering & technology
  • Environment & environmental studies
  • Food & nutrition
  • Health & medicine
  • Industry & labor
  • Mathematics, chemistry & physics
  • Policy for science & technology
  • Space & aeronautics
  • Transportation

Most of the NAP reports can be downloaded for free as pdf files if you establish a MyNAP account. If you haven’t set up such an account, you can do so at the following link:

http://www.nap.edu/content/using-mynap

With this account, you also can get e-mail notifications of new NAP reports.

For those of you who have not set up a MyNAP account, here are several new NAP reports that I found to be interesting.

Infusing Ethics into the Development of Engineers (2016)

Ethical practice in engineering is critical for ensuring public trust in the field and in its practitioners, especially as engineers increasingly tackle international and socially complex problems that combine technical and ethical challenges. This report aims to raise awareness of the variety of exceptional programs and strategies for improving engineers’ understanding of ethical and social issues and provides a resource for those who seek to improve ethical development of engineers at their own institutions.

NAP-infuse engineers  Source: NAP

Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors (2016)

Today, 74 civilian research reactors around the world, including 8 in the U.S., use or are planning to use HEU fuel. In the past decades, many civilian reactors around the world have been either shut down or converted from HEU to low enriched uranium fuel. Despite this progress, the large number of remaining HEU-fueled reactors demonstrates that further progress is needed on a worldwide scale.

Print  Source: NAP

Enhancing Participation in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (2016)

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is a collection of 13 Federal entities charged by law to assist the U.S. and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. As the understanding of global change has evolved over the past decades and as demand for scientific information on global change has increased, the USGCRP has increasingly focused on research that can inform decisions to cope with current climate variability and change, to reduce the magnitude of future changes, and to prepare for changes projected over the coming decades.

NAP-global change  Source: NAP

Frontiers of Engineering – Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2015 Symposium (2016)

This volume presents papers on the following topics covered at the National Academy of Engineering’s 2015 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium:

  • Cyber security and privacy
  • Engineering the search for Earth-like exoplanets
  • Optical and mechanical metamaterials
  • Forecasting natural disasters

NAP-frontiers of engg 2015  Source: NAP

There are many other annual reports in the NAP “Frontiers of Engineering” series, dating back to at least 1997, and covering many other engineering topics.

I hope you’ll take some time and browse the NAP library for documents that are of interest to you. You can start your browsing, without a MyNAP account, at the following link:

http://www.nap.edu

World Bank Open Data Website Provides Free Access to Data About Development in Countries Around the Globe

Peter Lobner

You can access World Bank Open Data at the following link:

http://data.worldbank.org

Your basic navigation options are shown below:

World Bank web site navigation

As an example of what you can find, I selected the “Indicators” tab, then looked under the “Infrastructure” heading and found that data on “Internet users (per 100 people)” were available. These data are viewable in different formats (tabular, map, graph). The map results for the period 2010 – 2014 are shown below:

World Bank internet usage 2010 - 2014

Resolution is at the country level, so the country-wide average values are not representative of usage in remote areas of the country (i.e., the Canadian northern territories).  Nonetheless, the map of the global distribution of Internet users is an interesting result that is quickly available from World Bank data.

The World Bank website look like an interesting site to explore at your leisure.

National Academies Press (NAP)

Peter Lobner

The National Academies Press (NAP) was created by the National Academy of Sciences to publish the reports of the National Academy of SciencesNational Academy of EngineeringInstitute of Medicine, and National Research Council, all operating under a charter granted by the Congress of the United States.   The NAP publishes more than 200 books a year on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and medicine, providing authoritative information on important matters in science and health policy. NAP offers more than 5,000 titles in PDF format.  All of these PDFs can be downloaded for free by the chapter or the entire book.

If you do not already have a NAP account (free), then you can do this easily by clicking on the following link:

http://www.nap.edu/content/about-the-national-academies-press

At this site, you will see a “Help” column on the right side of the page.  Under the heading “Using NAP.edu”, select “MyNAP”. On this new page, follow the instructions under “Getting Started” and register for your account.  Once you have an account, you’ll be able to select and download the NAP pdf documents you find interesting.  You also should receive periodic e-mails announcing the availability of new NAP publications.

I hope you’ll find NAP to be a valuable resource.