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Folkstreams: A National Preserve of Documentary Films

by | Posted March 28th, 2013

Folkstreams.net is a digital archive of documentaries about American folk and roots cultures. This archive has two primary goals: first, to build a national archive of hard-to-find documentaries, and second, to give these films new purpose by making them available for streaming on the internet. Much of the films on Folkstreams are accompanied by published research, essays, and other support materials like “making of” features and transcripts.

The caveat with Folkstreams, and I want to be very upfront here, is that these films are made available for free by the filmmaker for home streaming only. For more info see Folkstream’s Rights page.

One of my favorite films on this site is Carnival Train, a documentary about the last carnival to travel from town to town by train. Carnival Train follows the James E. Strates’ Show up and down the east coast, from Florida to upstate New York. You really get a sense of the work it takes to not just put on a carnival, but to then pack the midway and all its people into boxcars.

Carnivals not your thing? No worries! Folkstreams also has lots of films on music - Cigarette BluesGive My Poor Heart Ease: Mississippi Delta Bluesmen, Singing Fisherman of Ghanawomen - Quilt’s in Women’s Lives, Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women, Grandma’s Bottle Village: The Art of Tressa Prisbreyand so much more, like labor, folk arts, dance, and religion, to name a few. Folkstreams has something for everyone, and definitely films you never knew existed.

Wall of Films!

by | Posted March 28th, 2013

Promo material from Film for Action's Wall of FilmsFilms for Action, “a community-powered alternative news center and learning library for people who want to change the world,” has put together a Wall of Films, an expansive list of 400+ documentaries free to watch.

The wall includes popular social documentaries like Food, Inc., Michael Moore’s Sickoand Supersize Mebut also creates space for lesser known docs, like Plastic Planet, The Times of Harvey Milkand Controlling the Web.

Topics range from healthcare, human rights, urban renewal, politics in the U.S., religion, climate change, business and finance, the occupy movement, food production and access, the internet, and so much more. I am positive there is a documentary here that you will find useful for your students, peers, and your own personal benefit.

Free eBook by Cory Doctorow

by | Posted March 27th, 2013

Cory Doctorow is co-founder of Boing Boing, a well-known blogger, and a science fiction writer. I found Cory’s work through his science fiction, particularly Little Brother, a novel about four savvy teenagers fighting Homeland Security in a post-terrorist attack San Francisco. I find Cory’s writing to be accessible and real-world relevant, the things I look for in science fiction. Which leads me to your free goodie: Eastern Standard Tribeanother of Cory’s novels which he provides a free download to on his website, craphound.com.

Each of Cory’s print books is simultaneously published on the internet with a Creative Commons license to “encourage their re-use and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work” (Bio). Eastern Standard Tribe, originally published in 2004, is the only book he provides on his website, I’m sure if you dig around you can find links to more of Cory’s works.

400 FREE eBooks!

by | Posted March 27th, 2013

If you’re anything like me, you aren’t often found without your Nook, or whichever e-reader you own. The problem is, books are typically around $10, which can add up, especially for a poor college student like me. But have no fear, WRAC is here to save you! Here are 400 FREE eBooks. Yes, 400, you read that right. Also included in this post are tutorials on how to load these eBooks onto your reading device.

Want to catch up on the classics that you read in high school? Here is Romeo and Juliet.

Feel like reading a poem? Emily Dickinson is here for that.

And who could forget the Bronte sisters? They’re here too.

This post on Open Culture has iPhone/iPad format, Kindle, Nook, and the option to read online. So what are you waiting for? Get reading… for FREE!

Do you have another great website for FREE eBooks? Let us know @msuwrac.

Project Gutenberg: More Free eBooks

by | Posted March 27th, 2013

Project Gutenberg is a free service with over 42,000 books available to you. If you know what book you’re looking for, search away! If you just want to browse, utilize their “most popular” or “recent books” lists.

42,000 books can be overwhelming. To help out, i’ve put some of the most popular books below! Check them out, and download more FREE eBooks at Project Gutenberg!

Book Cover

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain

Beowulf, J. Lesslie Hall

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Les Miserables, Victor Hugo

Free Font Websites

by | Posted March 26th, 2013

Font choice can make or break the rhetorical effectiveness of your work. I will often spend hours searching for the perfect font to match the tone of the document I’m working on (think flyers, website headers, and pamphlets). I have a few favorite websites with thousands upon thousands of free fonts available for download. Here’s my top 3:

More downloads of some of the “Best Free Fonts”

by | Posted March 26th, 2013

“Cubic Sans”

Typography isn’t always just about creating a fun design to catch people’s attention. “[I]t can also add subtle references to the message you’re trying to convey.” Creative Bloq wrote an article with 70 free fonts that they consider the best of the best. Some look like similar Sans Serif fonts in your average font book, some are perfect for a fashion magazine spread, and some look like they belong on the side of a concrete wall displaying some kind of artistic propaganda. These fonts are meant to “give you greater flexibility in your designs, and add to your arsenal of design tools.” Each one is worth taking a look and using however you choose!

“The Fell Types”

Free High Quality Fonts Presented by Smashing Magazine

by | Posted March 26th, 2013


Whether you’re a designer, a graphic artist, a blogger, or simply trying to create a fun flyer for your club or organization, Smashing Magazine has your answer. If you’re tired of using the same Sans Serif and Brush Script fonts in your standard Microsoft Word or Pages Font Book, check out some of the links Smashing Magazine provides to free, high quality font websites. Some are geared specifically towards designers, some are considered “fresh” and “beautiful.” If you’re like me and you enjoy using new fonts and playing around with design and typography, these are perfect for you.