Highlights of the internet: a collection by your Templeman Librarians

Many University of Kent Library resources are online to help with your studies, but where should you be looking online if you want to take time out to look after yourself?

This article will give you an insight into the hive mind of your subject librarians and what we’ve been doing when we need a little downtime.We’re trying to be productive and keep our minds active, while taking a breather – it’s a tough balance!

We’ve scoured the internet to find quality sites that are completely free and open to everyone! If, like most of us, you’ve found yourself with extra time on your hands at the moment, take a look at these recommendations and leave some extra ones in the comments for others!

Online Reading

(we’re librarians – of course there’re going to be books!)

Kent County Council Library materials

If you’re not already a Kent library member, you can create a temporary 3 month membership online. You’ll be given a temporary membership number and PIN to borrow up to 10 e-books and audiobooks at a time! There’re a range of fiction and non-fiction titles available, plus access to eMagazines and eNewspapers.

Page by Page Books

This is a site with hundreds of classic books available for reading right now. Catch up on your reading list or get round to those titles that it seems like everyone else has read! Recent additions include The Curious case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald and When The Sleeper Wakes by H. G. Wells so you’ll find plenty to keep you busy at pagebypagebooks.com.

National Emergency Library

For something a little more academic, check out the National Emergency Library. Their aim is to provide universal access to all knowledge and they do this by digitising published works and providing a free to access archive of over 20 years of web content too! The archive also boasts 4 million videos and 4.5 million audio recordings. Had plans to go to a cancelled concert? Well now you can enjoy one from the comfort of your own home instead!

Open Access material

Open Access refers to material that is free to all readers at the point of access, so you can use and share it easily. A lot of research materials is still locked behind what we call ‘paywalls’ by publishers, and we just don’t think that’s the spirit of learning. Luckily, more and more academic content, especially journal articles, is becoming available in Open Access versions. Finding it isn’t always easy though so we’ve put together a guide to finding Open Access material.

Learn a new skill

If you want to use this time to learn something new, there are plenty of options out there on the world wide web!

Future Learn

There are hundreds of free short courses that you can take with Future Learn. Whether you want to explore a hobby, get ahead in your area of study or even find out about keeping your mind healthy, it’s worth checking out! The free courses give you access to the course for it’s entire length, plus 14 days but you’ll have to upgrade for access to course tests and participation certificates.

Professional Photographers of America

PPA (Professional Photographers of America) has a range of photography courses which are all available for free at the moment. We know photography subjects may be a little limited but their educational resources are still definitely worth checking out and then when normality resumes your Instagram account will be on another level! We especially recommend this one if you have a furry friend isolating with you – mostly because we want to see your snaps of them! Tag us @UKCLibraryIT.

Volunteering, but from home!

We’re all trying to do our bit to help the world and one another right now. To anyone working within the NHS as well as all other key workers from carers to those doing their best to keeps groceries stocked on shelves, thank you! To everyone simply staying home, thank you too!

As well as all the great things you’re doing, there are extra projects you can give a little spare time to from the comfort of you own home (and let’s be honest, none of us have hectic social schedules right now). It’s easy to feel restless and unproductive but if you can give any time at all to these projects we’re sure it’d count as your good deed for the day.

Rainfall Rescue

This a fascinating project focused on the thing the British love talking about the most – the weather! There are thousands of hand written paper records from rainfall gages across the UK that have been scanned by the Met Office but they need digitising so if you’re good at deciphering handwriting, this one is for you. It’s especially great because you can help without too much time commitment, just go to the Rainfall Rescue website, click ‘classify’ and spend a few minutes a day typing number in boxes. Good deed for the planet, done!

The National Archives

Online volunteering opportunities come up regularly with The National Archives. As is the nature with most archive material, there are often records and databases that need digitising and cataloguing. Currently you can get involved in recreating the crew lists of Royal Navy ships from the First World War or delve into catalogue results from the 1851 Ecclesiastical Census which gathered information about places of worship in England and Wales. Interesting projects come up here often, so check back if there’s nothing that takes your fancy at the moment!


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