Beyond the Mechanical: How Stuff Works

AADL Select Sites:Reference Tools

A fantastic site for the curious, How Stuff Works sheds light on inner workings of daily life, from the complex to the mundane. Wonder how your cell phone works, or how it got its name in the first place? Perhaps you’re curious about the new hybrid car sitting in your neighbor’s driveway.

The entries aren’t limited to the electronic, however. Satisfy your desire to learn how coffee and chocolate are produced, and find practical information about health insurance and not-so-practical overviews of facelifts and liposuction.

Finally, after your own desires for explanations have been quenched, check out the questions other people have asked. Should that leave you craving more, there’s always a trip to the library for the classic, The Way Things Work.

A Great Resource for Women's History Month

Jane Addams
Jane Addams, 1860-1935

In celebration of Women's History Month, Thompson Gale has launched a free website of information on the history of women--biographies, a historical timeline, a downloadable calendar, quizzes and activities to facilitate classroom discussion. Also included is Women's Rights on Trial, which includes information on 101 key trials of historical importance to American women since the settlement of the colonies.

Tax forms and more, at the Ann Arbor District Library

Tax forms

All outlets of the Ann Arbor District Library are once again distributing federal and State of Michigan tax forms. In addition to the basic forms and instruction booklets, each outlet also has notebooks of reproducible forms.

To supplement your tax form needs, the Library has a link on its website that gathers together dozens of useful links to help you through this annual adventure. Our tax information page has links to the IRS and the Michigan Department of the Treasury where you can find all the tax forms and publications on line. We have a list of places in Ann Arbor where low income residents and senior citizens can receive free tax help. You can also find links to tax forms from the other states and to the City of Detroit.

AADL's Guide to Travel Sites

AADL Select Sites:Travel

With the Spring Break season upon us, look no further than AADL’s Select Sites to plan your midwinter escape from Michigan.

At Frommer’s, you’ll find information on hundreds of destinations world wide, including quite a few off the beaten path. Expect pages of printable practical information, including hotels, restaurants, and activities, as well as the more mundane—when the post office is open, or how much to tip the cab driver. Should you desire more along these lines,

Two New Research Databases Now Available...


The Library is pleased to offer the following two new research databases:

NoveList offers reviews and annotations for 125,000 fiction titles, plus author Read-alikes, book discussions guides, and many other searching and browsing features for the avid reader.

CultureGrams provides information on the people, lifestyles, social customs and courtesies of 187 countries, plus such side items as maps, recipes, and biographies of famous people.

Dexter Michigan Central Railroad Viaduct

Dexter Railroad Viaduct

Reference Questions of Local Interest:

Who Designed the Viaduct (Bridge, Tunnel) and When Was It Built?

Frederick Blackburn Pelham (Fred Pelham), according to an Ann Arbor News article on February 22, 2000 (page D-1), "designed 18 to 20 bridges for the Michigan Central line between Detroit and Chicago."

"Amtrak passengers whiz over two of them in Dexter. One over Dexter-Pinckney Road at the village edge is familiar to drivers who must slow down to pass under it. The narrow opening creates a bottleneck for today's heavy auto traffic and has sparked debate about possible traffic rerouting." The bridge was built in 1890.

Historical Stock Prices

Big Charts

AADL Select Sites: Money and Investing

With the arrival of income tax preparation season comes the need for historical stock quotations to arrive at the basis for determining gain or loss from the sale of securities.

Two websites may help. Both have historical stock quotations available. The dates of coverage are not uniform for all stocks. Both have symbol lookup searches to help find out the stock symbol.

Big Charts has historical stock quotations available from as far back as January 2, 1970. Just enter the stock symbol and the date to find out the opening, closing, high, and low prices for that date.

Yahoo! Finance has historical stock quotations available from as far back as 1962. Enter the stock symbol in the search window, press "GO". The next screen has a link under "Quotes" for "Historical Prices".

Animal Diversity Web

Sandhill Crane

AADL Select Sites: Science

Great for students, great for general information, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology’s Animal Diversity Web is written largely by and for college students but has the materials elementary, middle, and high school students might need for reports and that the general public might need to understand the particular animal.

The information section covers the geographic range, the habitat, a physical description, reproduction, lifespan/longevity, behavior, communication and perception, food habits, predation, ecosystem roles, positive and negative economic importance for humans, and conservation status. There is a box listing the kingdom, phylum, subphylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.

There are tabs for pictures (14 for the sandhill crane) and specimens (skeletal structure, teeth, etc.).

The Internet Public Library (IPL)

Internet Public Library

Available through the AADL Select Sites Libraries heading, the Internet Public Library is always available to quench your midnight AADL cravings. First check out the website’s FAQ to learn about the project’s ten-year history, from its beginnings at the University of Michigan School of Information to its current list of full-time paid staff. Then let your informational cravings take you on an adventure through the IPL’s vast collection of online resources. Just dying to learn more about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa? Check out the Art Attack link in the Fine Arts section to unveil a brief history of art theft and forgery. (Bonus: Mona Lisa’s googly eyes roll around in her head as you do so). Stressing over the number of cups in a gallon? Explore the IPL’s Ready Reference collection, which includes an online version of the Information Please Almanac. Sigh with relief upon discovering there are 16, and relax, because this library is always open and ready to help.

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