Reference Ratiocination: The Quote Investigator

Quote Investigator

Fearful of creating an oratorical oversight by accrediting words to the wrong writer? At a loss for words when friends, peers, acquaintances, or colleagues want to know who originally uttered a particular phrase? Feel as though famous lines have been erroneously attributed to an individual? A solution to such citational slip-ups would be a great relief to one’s mind.

Well, it turns out that we may all rest with lighter hearts. The Quote Investigator, a tireless tracker of initial utterances, stands ready to rid the world of misquotations whether innocent or iniquitous. The Quote Investigator (QI), also known as Dr. Garson O’Toole, meticulously explores the origins of great quotations. Seeking to substantiate storied statements with a reasoned train of thought, Dr. O’Toole’s blog is a captivating collection of assiduously analyzed allusions, a veritable Study in Citation that would undoubtedly please the Great Detective himself. QI even tweets! If your mind rebels at stagnation and craves for mental exaltation, make stopping by The Quote Investigator a habit. You will be most pleased, and you may quote me on that.

Authoring Tools

Since I am currently visiting a home where high speed internet is essentially hobbled I have been doing a bit of offline reading today. I have been working my way through Paul Ford‘s review of outliners and authoring tools, As We May Type, in the December 2013 issue of the MIT Technology Review. Ford discusses the following:

I am intrigued by these tools and cannot wait to return home where my reliable high-speed internet access will give me an opportunity to explore each. I have seen or heard of most the tools but have not explored their features. I did download Ghost a few weeks ago. Even so, I  have yet to do anything with it.

Source: Ford, P. (2013). Reviews: As We May Type. MIT Technology Review, 116(6), 89-91.

Crawling Back

I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging.

I know I can do it. I just have to keep at it.

In a way, this experience is somewhat humorous to me. I find it funny that I am having to make myself take what spare minutes I can scavenge out of the day and write. There was a point in my life when composing a few lines for a blog was easy. In fact, at one point (about seven years ago), I was something of a blogging maniac. Of course, back then, I was in a magical place, a Camelot of sorts, where all manner of magical content seemed to appear before me and I had time to write.

These days, I have so many commitments vying for my attention that I feel guilty about stepping away to blog. Even so, I am going to do it. I know that reflecting upon what I am discovering and learning matters. Writing like this is akin to coming back to exercise after an absence from physical activity. Initially, there’s little pleasure in the process but over time that will change.

In addition to blogging again, I am also using of Twitter. As I am reading and re-reading Classroom Instruction That Works : Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement (2nd Edition) by Ceri B. Dean, Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, and Howard Pitler, I am delving deeper into the research cited by the authors and tweeting what I find to be most enlightening. I am hoping that anyone who follows my tweets will benefit as well. Having to condense my thoughts down to 140 character summaries is maddening and, strangely enough, addictive.

A Wealth of Syntax Stealth: Grammar Ninja

Silent.  Fast. Unbelievably accurate. Do you have what it takes to be a Grammar Ninja? If so, you may want to hone your skills for the NCTE‘s much anticipated National Day on Writing on October 20 of this year.

GrammarNinjaRelated links:

  • If you intend to become a secretive,  silent stalker moving through literary circles, a shadowy figure, striking fear into the hearts of your enemies, arm yourself with NinjaWords.
  • Many wonder but few live to tell how ninja work.
  • Nimble with numbers? Precise when probing polygons? You may be a math ninja.
  • Any more questions? Ask a ninja!

Enlisting Good Readers: BookArmy

Feeling a need to read but don’t want to end up saddled with poor prose, failing fiction, or a boring biography? Never fear, the BookArmy is here. A literary legion on a mission to connect readers and authors, this battalion of bibliophiles allows bookworms to stay abreast of reading-related events, watch book trailers,  join groups, swap reviews, and be first in line for numerous free giveaways and early-reader copies of much-anticipated texts.bookarmy

This resource, though fairly new on the scene, harbors great potential for media specialists, treachers, and students, not to mention anyone else who enjoys reading. Administrators should be thrilled to see a High School Literature teachers using BookArmy (or other, similar services such as  LibraryThing or Shelfari) to help students share and classify the books they are reading. Mix these kinds of resources with the likes of Bibliomania, WhatShouldIReadNext, LibriVox, Project Gutenberg’s Top 100, and the Online Books Page and educators have a cognitive toolbox ready for some serious intellect-building.

Helping Writers Get it Right

There are definite advantages to having pupils compose written assignments using a word processor. For starters, many young authors are reluctant to write with pencil or pen because they know that, after initial editing, they’ll eventually have to reconstruct the work again and again and again. Typing their thoughts, no matter how meager the text, saves nascent scribes the hassles and frustrations of rewriting. Once aspiring writers have captured the essence of their ideas in digital form crystallizing and refining concepts becomes even more efficient. The availability of a built-in dictionary/thesaurus ever present, ever ready to offer linguistic assistance makes word processing even more attractive. Digital manipulation of written assignments also makes sharing drafts with teacher and peers possible and much more likely. For educators who are prudent enough to allow learners to integrate technology in this manner there’s an additional perk: an online text analysis resource from UsingEnglish.com. After pasting student-generated text into the UE Text Content Analyser this useful site displays statistics such as: