Research on the Fly

If you do a great deal of reading that leads to wondering that leads to query, then have I got an extension for you!

I’ve been using it for a while but the route I took this morning brought a smile so I figured the time was right to share it.

I was reading “Now I Know” this morning.  Today’s topic was about McMansions.  From the recesses of memory, I thought that I knew what it meant.  I thought I would check out the whole story and see if I did.  Dan’s delightful story actually tied McMansions to a new McDonald’s restaurant.  It’s a great read and you can do so here.  http://nowiknow.com/mcmansion/

Now, Dan’s articles are well written and interesting but sometimes the Bonus Facts are even better.  Today was even better – he added a “Double Bonus” that takes you to an article about the original McDonald’s restaurant.

Can you believe that hamburgers were $0.15 at one time?  Wow.

Anyway, the story is from the Huffington Post which is one of the resources that the Summer extension supports.  As the page appears, on the right side of my screen, this appears.

Generated by the Summer Extension, it’s a visual that there is more information about a name that appears in the webpage.  Now, often webpages will include links to resources but not always.  In the past, if I was interested, I might highlight a name, copy it, open a new tab, and then do a search for the name.  It provides more information and context about the name.  With the Summer extension, that’s no longer necessary.

Just click on the indicator and a sidebar opens giving more information (your personal research assistant, if you will) about the name.

In this case, it comes as no surprise that the name Ray Kroc was in the article.  I’m including the flyout that appears below.  I’m presented with a biography and a selection from YouTube.  Here’s the important part – it all appears on the same page as the original article.  As a reader, I can stay focused on the task at hand – reading the article and yet I have the research appearing on the same page.  For me, it’s the best of both world.

This extension has proved to be incredibly helpful for me.  I’m really glad that I installed it.

The Summer extension is available for Google Chrome and you can get more information about the extension, the sites that are supported, and your own copy at:  http://getsummer.com/.  A link on the page will take you to the Chrome Web Store for the actual download.

I can’t help but think that this is a look at the future of reading.  Imagine this in eReaders or eTextbooks to allow students to dig deeper as they read.

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