Arts/Humanities Website: May 2008 Archives

A Russian Pop Music Blog From ....

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I know it's another foreign language example, but ... I do like this Far from Moscow blog which combines audio, picture and photos to get you the latest info on the Russian pop music scene.

This is a totally Web 2.0 design, but from a usability perspective, it has some features which help you navigate the site if you're new to Russian pop music. First, I appreciate that a Front Page link is included - there really are a lot of people out there who aren't familiar with clicking the logo to return to the front page.

Second, I do like the categories links on the side (it also works with tags). Who knew there was Russian reggae? A third feature of note is that there are static tutorial Pages with information about the Web site, links to labels and other information. Again, if you're a new to the world of Russian pop may know where to get a basic primer. Finally, the entries themselves are written with the general audience in mind. Many include a short intro to the artist as well as links to audio clips.

This is a good example of how a blog can introduce you to the basics of a topic, then keep you updated in little ckunks (did anyone say "Just in Time Learning").

The biggest surprise of's sponsored by the UCLA Slavic Department (specifically David MacFayden). It's really great to see an Web site from an academic that really understands how to deploy the new tech!

P.S. There's some good music on here. I have no idea if it's on iTunes.

Flickr Photo Contests

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I ran into three Flickr "Contest" Areas where users post photos/digital art on certain themes (e.g. color, abstract and black & white) and a user group votes on it. You can even invite people with a striking image to submit to the contest. I had heard that Flickr was becoming a place to show off your digital art, but I hadn't realized the extent of it.

Not only are the images lovely,but I also found the artist commentary very helpful. Might be a great opportunity for our budding digital artists at Penn State.

Google Map Mashup for Linguistics

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The World Atlas of Language Structures Online ( from the Max Planck Digital Library is a great new resource that maps languages with phonological, morphological or syntactic features.

I wrote it up in my linguistics blog If you've ever wondered which continents have tonal languages, go visit

I love that all the data sources are cited and that you can export map data as XML or KML (for other GIS programs) - I could recreate a version for myself if I wanted. My only recommendation is to shrink the size of the icons to 10.