Earth Primer (fun) and Map of Life (for citizen science)

Best Apps for Teaching & Learning 2016 | American Association of School Librarians (AASL)

Earth Primer by Chaim Gingold

Level: Elementary and Middle School
Platform: iOS money icon

Website external link icon

Earth Primer is a cross between an intro to earth science textbook and an interactive sandbox game. This creative application allows students to play with the powerful concepts that make up the physical aspects of our planet. Manipulate glaciers, volcanoes, biomes, weather systems, and more and experience how all of these structures combine to affect the makeup of our awesome planet.

Tip: Use Earth Primer to reinforce content in an earth science class.

app icon Map of Life by Map of Life

Level: Middle School, High School
Platform: iOS | Android

Website external link icon

Map of Life is a field guide applicable to anywhere in the world. Search species by category and/or location, and contribute to the map by recording your sightings in your location. Several categories of species are represented, such as trees, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles. Choose a type of species and view images, read about characteristics and habitat, and view a map showing range. Helps with conservation efforts worldwide!

Tip: Great application for classes using GIS data. Use Map of Life on science field trips to report wildlife and to identify plants and animals.

National Geographic enables free 8×11 printing of USGS topos

Here are some useful USGS map tips from Emily Wild, Hydrologist/Librarian at the USGS:

This may be of interest if you and(or) your library users are looking for an easy-to-use tool to search, download, and easily print (by using 8×11 printer) for topographic maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

– Examples of recent USGS Denver Library inquiries and instruction of USGS topographic maps include, but not limited to: outdoor recreation, emergency management, disaster planning, search and rescue, bureau of investigations searches and(or) instruction, military, educational outreach, citizen science, and so on.
– Go to the “FREE!! Printable USGS PDF Quads” web site available from National Geographic:

– Search selected area

– Click on thumbnail image of the USGS topographic map to open pdf

– Download and(or) print the pages,


Just some quick reminders about features available for using USGS Topographic Maps:

– USGS Topographic Maps can be uploaded into Google Earth by using this USGS National Geologic Map Data Base (NGMDB) access point to search, download, and import the KMZ files :

– The geopdf versions of USGS Topographic Maps can be annotated, measured, etc when users download the free TerraGo Toolbar :

– Library users mention that the transparency feature and snapshot of all USGS topographic maps through time for a point on Earth are useful features in the USGS-ESRI’s “USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer”

– the how-to is available online through GPO at :


And as an aside, many library users still find this map source useful for historical research of the United States :

Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States


Enjoy the day/weekend,


Disclaimer: the use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Emily C. Wild

Librarian (Physical Scientist)
U.S. Geological Survey, Denver Library
Denver Federal Center
ph: (303) 236-1003

USGS Libraries:



Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet

Source:  The Scout Report — Volume 22, Number 16

“NASA’ s Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet website features a diverse set of resources related to the measurement, analysis, and dangers of global climate change. Here readers will find a collection of Interactive Features all designed to bring to life the sometimes abstract conclusions of scientific articles on climate and its effects on human and other life on Earth. For example, the Climate Time Machine allows readers to go backward and forward through four different key climate indicators, including Sea Ice, Sea Level, Carbon Dioxide, and Global Temperature. Perfect for educators who are looking for impactful visual representations of the rising temperatures on the planet, the interactive makes these measurements visceral in a way that charts and graphs are seldom able to do. Other interactives on the page include the Global Ice Viewer, Quizzes, The Sun: A Virtual Tour, The Water Cycle, and others. [CNH]”

Climate Change and Extreme Events

Attributing Extreme Events to Climate Change

It is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, such as heat waves, drought, and heavy precipitation, says a new Academies report.

From What’s New at the National Academies, March 11, 2016

GenBank has reached 200 billion base pairs from > 350,000 spp.

“Almost the number of stars in the Milky Way.” Through this stellar comparison, the National Institutes of Health proudly announced in 2005 that the content of their computerized collection of DNA sequences called GenBank had reached 50 billion bases or units of DNA. Today, it contains far more, over 200 billion bases from over 350,000 different species, making it one of the largest scientific database in the world.

Here is the announcement of the availability of the Nirenberg papers: “GenBank & The Early Years of “Big Data”

“Deciphering the Genetic Code: A 50 Year Anniversary” January, 2015

Marshall Nirenberg in the lab in early 1960’s, when he completed the first summary document of the genetic code — how triplets (DNA sequences) direct amino acids to form proteins.  Pictures of the group and more about the papers are here:

A young man in a lab coat and plastic gloves holds up a glass tube in a laboratory.


Arctic Matters day, according to the National Research Council of the National Academies is January 14th.  Go to to read about it.  Link to their Interactive web tool, or download a PDF of their 32-page, well-illustrated booklet or download a poster.  What happens in the Arctic, affects the whole globe.

Interactive web tool: see the global effects of changes in the arctic

Arctic Matters interactive web tool:
see the global effects of changes in the arctic


The Cambridge Structural Database has reached no. 800,000

“The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre is delighted to announce that there are now over 800,000 entries in the Cambridge Structural Database. The 800,000th entry is a copper-containing metal-organic crystal structure determined by researchers in Spain and published in Crystal Growth & Design.

You can read more about this structure and the significance of this milestone at and in our blog post at

We take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the immense contribution made by researchers past and present to the continuing growth and success of the Cambridge Structural Database.”

As reported to the CHMINF-L on Oct. 23, 2015, by

Dr Ian Bruno: Director, Strategic Partnerships

The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC)

Tel: +44-1223-336013   Email:

Life on Earth, 4.1billion years old?

Life on Earth likely started 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists thought

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 12:41 PM PDT

“Geochemists have found probable evidence for life on Earth at least 4.1 billion years ago — 300 million years earlier than previously documented, pushing the origin of life close to when the planet formed, 4.54 billion years ago.


Carbon in 4.1 billion year old zircon.
Credit: Stanford/UCLA.

University of California – Los Angeles. “Life on Earth likely started 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists thought: Evidence that early Earth was not dry and desolate.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2015.

Go to <>. to read more about this, or see the journal reference.

Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth A. Bell, Patrick Boehnke, T. Mark Harrison, and Wendy L. Mao. Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon. PNAS, October 19, 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1517557112

Directory of Open Access Journals — DOAJ

This directory of OA journals is hosted by Lund University Libraries in Sweden.  From their homepage:

“DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.”   One can search by keywords or browse through broader and narrower subject headings.

These stats are from their website, accessed Sept. 28, 2015:

Seen in “Outstanding Websites of 2014”, Choice, Sept. 2015, p. 33

ProQuest full text of scholarly journal content soon indexed by Google Scholar

By Kurt Sanford, CEO

“ProQuest is enabling the full text of its scholarly journal content to be indexed in Google Scholar, improving discovery and research outcomes. Our goal is that by the third quarter of 2015, users starting their research in Google Scholar will be able to access full text via ProQuest.”


Tuesday, 18th August 2015

ProQuest Scholarly Content Now Discoverable in Google Scholar

By Africa S. Hands

From No Shelf Required:

ProQuest has marked another milestone in ease of access to its rich research content. The full text of its scholarly content – including journals and working papers – is now indexed in Google Scholar, enabling Google Scholar users to seamlessly discover and access their library’s ProQuest collections. Efficiency and productivity for both ProQuest and Google Scholar users is improved, while libraries benefit from increased usage for their subscribed collections.

Full story >>

Source via: ResourceShelf Newsletter – 8th September 2015

[ResourceShelf] Newsletter 643