My Favourite Website Archive
My Favourite Website
Kurt Ubelhoer about the Online Writing Lab (OWL)
A good website, English-related or any other, is one that can be a resource at multiple phases in a student's or user's life. The Online Writing Lab of Purdue University (Indiana, USA) is precisely such a tool. Despite the fact that I'm a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (also Indiana, USA), whose Fighting Irish football team has a very passionate rivalry with the Purdue Boilermakers, and so I can't bring myself to praise Purdue any more than absolutely necessary, I still have to admit that this website is worth your time. Don't tell the alumni association, but I used it myself in college and continue to use it now when writing papers and coaching students.
So what's in this indispensable website?
For EBC 1 students, you will find informational handouts and examples useful in your life as a WU student, from grammar exercises to clear explanations covering all the topics with which non-native English students of all levels tend to have problems.
For EBC 2, EBC 3, and EBC 4 students, there are handy writing guides to augment your journey toward producing those ever-elusive perfect paragraphs. Is your EBC 2 instructor (e.g. me) going on and on about thesis statements and developing outlines for your paragraphs? This section will break down the whole writing process for you, step by step, from brainstorming to proofreading.
For your Bachelor/Master theses, there are very handy style guides. Although for your stint at the WU, you will of course be using the Institute's official style guide, the OWL also provides you with easy-to-use overviews and detailed examples of the three most commonly employed citation styles in the US - MLA, Chicago, and APA.
For those of you interested in a study abroad program at an American university, the US university student culture guide will definitely be of interest as you navigate through a VVZ-less, Learn@WU-less, UZA-less world.
And finally, as you return from the US, realize that it is the country of your dreams, and begin to look for a job in the States, the OWL is still there for you. Indeed, this website, which has hitherto been your academic savior, comes complete with an excellent overview of and a ton of suggestions for writing résumés and cover letters to get that perfect job and live the American Dream. And when you make your first billion, remember your favorite English teacher. I'll be here.
OWL website links:
"The Week" is a wonderful choice if you feel overwhelmed by the abundance of newspapers, magazines, news channels, etc. and nonetheless want to keep up with what is going on around the globe. The idea behind "The Week" is that the major events of every week are covered by selecting articles, comments and analyses from different - reliable! - sources. The intention is to provide the reader with an unbiased view of events, something which may often be hard to achieve when reading only one particular newspaper, listening to one particular news channel or simply having to depend on one particular country's focus on what it considers important and what not. The categories dealt with by "The Week" are roughly divided into the following: Current Topics, News and Opinions, Business, Arts & Life, Cartoons, Photos, Videos, etc. Within these categories, you will find commentaries and analyses, interviews, book and film reviews, the presentation of the latest technological and medical advances and other business ventures, as well as witty snippets on issues such as suggestions about what is no longer politically correct and how to act accordingly. One of "The Week's" major advantages is its concise, yet detailed coverage - a great time-saver. "The Week" started as a magazine, however, now has a US online edition which you can find at www.theweek.com, and which - contrary to its name - offers daily coverage of US and foreign affairs. Enjoy!
Barbara Unterberger shows why the URL shortener bit.ly is not only for Twitter geeks and Facebook addicts but could revolutionise the daily life of academics.
We've all been there: you read a journal article in print and the author refers to an online source. You are quite excited about that online document and can't wait to get your hands on it but a simple Google search won't do the job. Most of the time you have to undergo a rather painful procedure before you can finally hit the print button. You start by copying the long URL with its weird combination of random characters, i.e. letters, numbers, and symbols like "%_&+", into the address bar of your browser and in 7 out of 10 cases you'll get a "We're sorry, but the page you are looking for is not found". Frustrating, right? So this is why it was timely that bit.ly helps us shorten and customise URLs. In addition to references in publications, shorter and customised URLs could also revolutionise email communication.
Overlong URLs which create a blue hyperlink mess in your email messages and force the recipient to cut and paste the link back together could soon be a thing of the past. Moreover, wouldn't it be great if you could create and share links that include a keyword which immediately helps to identify the content of the website it refers to?
So how does the URL shortener work and is it reliable? bit.ly works with a redirect technique which makes a website available under many URLs. In other words, your shortened link redirects the person who's clicked on it to the destination URL. The people at bit.ly say that this technique is "the most efficient and search-engine friendly method" and as the original URL is never modified, the new link is permanent.
By now you should be convinced that this online tool is exactly what we've been waiting for, so let's move from theory to practice. It is incredibly easy to create short links: just paste the URL you want to shorten and bit.ly immediately provides you with a substantially shorter version of it. If you're signed in, you can customise your links by replacing the randomly created characters with keywords of your choice and you also have access to personalised stats for the links you've created. The latter is especially interesting when you've included a link in a publication and want to track how often it has been clicked.
I hope I could convince you that this online tool, originally created to solve the 140-characters-problem of the Twitter community, can help you to include reliable and proper links to websites in your emails and publications.
Producing written work in English can be quite difficult. Even if you have a sound knowledge of vocabulary, terminology and grammar, it may not be straightforward to create sentences, paragraphs and texts that make sense and "sound English".
The study of collocations may help you with this task. A collocation is a sequence of words which tend to appear together. By looking at collocations, you may find out how words behave and how they can be used together, e.g. which verbs are used in combination with a particular noun or which prepositions are used with a particular verb.
Adam Kilgarriff, one of the most distinguished scholars in the area of lexicography, has created a publicly available collocations dictionary, based on his Sketch Engine technology. It is called ForBetterEnglish.com. If you know a particular word, but you have no idea how to use it, search for it on ForBetterEnglish.com and you will be provided with a so-called word sketch, i.e. an automatically-produced summary of a word's behaviour.
For example, if you need to know how to use the word knowledge, just type it in and hit the 'Find' button. You will learn from the word sketch provided by ForBetterEnglish.com
that people usually acquire, apply, require or possess knowledge (verb + search word)
that there are specific types of knowledge which are created by adding an adjective, e.g. prior, in-depth, extensive and technical knowledge (adjective + search word), or by adding a noun, e.g. insider, background and expert knowledge (noun + search word), and
that the word knowledge is used to create multi-word units which have a new and completely different meaning, e.g. knowledge transfer, knowledge economy and knowledge management (search word + noun)
Have a go! I hope you find the website as useful as I do!
What has learning English to do with donating rice to the United Nations' World Food Programme? Have a look at www.freerice.com and you will find out. Free Rice is an ingenious non-profit website run by the UN World Food Programme. It offers web games with questions about subjects ranging from English vocabulary and grammar to foreign languages, Maths, Arts, Geography and others. For each question answered correctly, you donate 10 grains of rice, paid for by sponsors, to the World Food Programme and thus contribute effortlessly to ending world hunger. You can adjust the degree of difficulty of the questions and you may, indeed, be surprised to find out that Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan, or "The Card Players" is by Paul Cezanne. Free Rice was launched in 2007 and has so far donated over 73 billion grains of rice. In a nutshell, a clever web game with social added value.
Moving from grains of rice to a grain of truth why not check out the PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper) website, a painfully funny and yet so evil comic strip about the daily grind of academic life. Even though PhD focuses on the harsh life of graduate students, anybody involved in academia and keen on procrastinating productively will appreciate the dark humour of these nicely-drawn cartoons.
If Woody Allen were a magazine, he would be "The New Yorker".
The weekly magazine offers a sharp, witty, humorous and often satirical mix of in-depth articles on politics and business, highbrow reviews of books, film, art, music and fashion as well as fiction and poetry. The magazine's features section typically provides a critical voice, commenting on world affairs, social issues, current events and pop culture. The writing is usually top-notch - unsurprisingly, given that the magazine's list of contributors reads the like the Who's Who of American journalism: Woody Allen, Truman Capote, J.D. Salinger, Seymour Hersh, and John Updike, to name just a few.
No issue of the New Yorker is complete without its world-famous quirky cartoons. The magazine's most iconic covers include the "New Yorkistan" illustration by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz and - my personal favorite - Saul Seinberg's "View of the World from 9th Avenue", depicting the Manhattanites' narrow view of the world. Recently, its 2008 cover of then presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his wife Michelle showing them as fist-bumping terrorists in the Oval Office sparked an international outcry and earned the magazine sharp criticism from all political parties and civic groups.
So if you enjoy reading a news magazine with a unique style and a sharp wit, be sure to browse through the magazine's next issue at www.newyorker.com!
For everybody interested in news, politics, arts and culture from across the Atlantic, PBS, a non-profit public broadcasting service is a rich source of information. Unfortunately access to PBS is very limited in Europe, however, www.pbs.org is an acceptable alternative if you still want to gain some insights into American daily life and politics.
One of the most popular series on PBS that is also featured on the website is Frontline, a public affairs program covering in-depth documentaries on a variety of topics. Another program worth mentioning is The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer with its online version the Online NewsHour. Both Frontline and the Online NewsHour provide resources for teachers not only on "American" topics but also offer materials and starting points for discussion on more general issues like health, religion, society, etc. Apart from the flagship programs there are many more features on PBS that are just waiting to be explored!
onestopenglish is a site with resources for English as a Foreign Language run by The Guardian, which has already made several appearances on this list! Although this site is aimed at teachers rather than learners, the "Monthly topical news lessons" section is a useful tool for self-assessment. Every text, which is an original article from The Guardian, comes with questions at three different levels to test comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. Best of all, they also have answers, so it's easy to check your own work.
Incidentally, Charlie Brooker's blog in The Guardian is also always worth a read. Sometimes a little bitter, but always full of really fabulous adjectives, Charlie's comments on Britain's latest escapades (usually) lighten up a Monday morning …
http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/ ... (British National Corpus)
I guess all language learners have encountered problems like what the difference is between deal with and deal in? What verb goes with discount and what's the appropriate preposition that follows? What's another word for remuneration? Or what's a more formal adjective to describe the quality of goods rather than really good/bad? Whenever such questions arise, try corpus.byu.edu/bnc. This website allows you to freely access the British National Corpus, which is a 100 million word collection of modern British English, taken from both spoken and written texts. As such, the corpus is a valuable tool for everyone who works with and in the English language and is interested in not only what a specific word means (for this see dict.leo.org), but also how words are used in context. The corpus offers myriad browsing options for your specific needs - exact words, phrases, wildcard, synonyms, collocations, and much more. In order to achieve the most effective search results, I would highly recommend taking the guided tour offered on the first page. Though just a few minutes long, it will introduce you to the main features of the BNC corpus. When you have done that, I'm sure you will find the corpus to be of great help.
Sources for business terminology ...
... presented by Werner Gasser
In order to be effective, web sites should do one of two things: either provide more timely information than can be had in more traditional formats, or else act as repositories for large amounts of information.
The sites presented below all fall into the latter category, supplying thousands of definitions for those business (financial, legal, …) terms that the interested student should know, but might not. Check out your soft dollars here, distinguish between M1, M2, and M3 and separate your alphas from the betas - not to mention the deltas from the gammas. InvestorWords - Business dictionary - best go to bottom of page and browse by letter Investopedia - Includes an excellent business dictionary as well as loads of useful articles and tutorials TheFreeDictionary - Business dictionary; also provides a link to a legal dictionary.
Today, I would like to introduce to you my favourite website businessenglishpod. From the URL you may have already guessed that on this website users can open and/or download audio and video files (podcasts) targeted at learners of business English. Suitable for intermediate or advance learners of business English, the site lets you access countless audio and video files focusing on a variety of business-related topics such as travelling, telephoning, negotiating, presenting and business writing. Should you decide to subscribe to the podcast (using for example iTunes or RSS feed), your computer will automatically download new files and save them on your hard drive as soon as they are uploaded. However, if you want to gain access to study notes and/or online activities you will need to join Business English Pod as a Premium Member for a one-year membership fee of around 70 Euros.
So, let me invite you to visit businessenglishpod, browse through the listening files, watch a few videos or practice your business English skills online and see for yourselves whether this website might help you with your English studies at the WU.
Organising study trips to countries all over the world forms an important part of my work as the Institute's Chief Administrator. As the study trips of the Institute for English Business Communication, apart from applying and improving English language skills, are mainly intended to enable students to gain first-hand insight into the business life of foreign countries on the basis of selected company visits, it is essential to find good sources of information which can provide a clearly structured but, at the same time, comprehensive overview of appropriate companies.
For the last study trip to India in September 2008 I relied heavily on Fundoodata in the process of selecting suitable companies for visits. Apart from paid online subscriptions, Fundoodata also offers visitors free-of-charge access to the main contact details of companies all over India by means of a variety of useful search functions; not only can Indian companies be identified according to standard criteria like 'City', (Indian) 'State', 'Sector' (i.e. private, public or government) or 'Industry', but also in view of their respective 'Company Type'.
The latter is particularly useful as 'hits' can be narrowed down to categories like 'India's Top 500', 'MNCs' (multinational corporations) or 'SMEs' (small and medium-sized companies), which are indicative of their rank and position within the Indian economy. Moreover, search criteria like 'Industry Best' as well as approximate figures for 'No. of Employees' and 'Total Turnover' listed for each company convey valuable background information so as to enable the user to get preliminary information about Indian companies of various sizes and characteristics.
www.bized.co.uk and www.jobline.uni-muenchen.de ...
The websites I usually access are connected with my teaching at the WU. Among the most useful ones are Biz/ed and Jobline LMU.
Biz/ed provides a wealth of information on business studies, economics etc. and is geared towards a UK audience. It provides materials to revise for exams at different levels (GCSE, A-levels, BA, MA...). You will be able to access Power Point presentations on various topics, teacher's notes, multiple-choice tasks etc. It is definitely worth exploring and might prove a very useful site during your career at the WU here. Don't forget to access the podcasts on selected business topics.
Once you have registered at Jobline LMU, hosted by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Munich, all your questions regarding CVs, cover letters, job interviews, etc will hopefully be answered. So make sure to register asap and browse for samples of CVs, letters of application etc. Any time spent on this site will definitely pay off when you apply for your semester abroad.
At the risk of being labelled 'typically British', whatever this may be, I'd like to say a few words about my favourite website: NiceCupofTeaandaSitDown.com.
After a long hard day there's nothing better than a nice cup of tea and a sit-down and what better to accompany one of my favourite past times than the website NiceCupofTeaandaSitDown.com. The website dedicates itself to all things 'tea', 'cake' and 'biscuits'. Life-shaping issues such as the best way to make tea, a debate usually consisting of the question: water versus milk first, as well as the all important definition of biscuit(s), in relation to cake, crackers, chocolate covered or non-chocolate covered, are addressed.
As a biscuit lover, one of my favourite parts of the website is the section on 'how to spot a biscuit', highly amusing. The three prerequisites are: they come in packets, have two sides and you can dunk them in tea, the latter being, in my eyes, the most important. It even goes on to designate values to biscuits: 'entry level', 'mid-range' and 'luxury'. My favourites, chocolate-covered biscuits, belong naturally to the latter level. You can also find the answers to all of your questions you've ever had to do with biscuits. Ever wondered whether a Jaffa Cake is actually a cake? The FAQ section will solve all.
Continuing on the biscuit front, there is the 'biscuit of the week feature'. Whilst the claim of the feature being weekly may be exaggerated, the feature provides an interesting insight into the culinary delights and history of the biscuit. This section by the way provides good fire power for arguments, or should I say discussions, on what type of biscuit you'd be. Come on, who hasn't had this conversation?
Finally, and I promise that I'm coming to the end of what has turned into a biscuit rant, the website usefully provides the latest news on tea, biscuits and cake in the 'Nice News' section. For instance, one of the most recent articles deals with the importance of biscuits in business. To give you a taste of the main 'crumb' of the article, "a survey of over a 1,000 business professionals carried out by Holiday Inn last year found that over 80% (of professionals) claimed that the biscuit selection could influence the outcome of a meeting". Now there's food for thought.
For an up-to-date, exciting and modern classical music station, check out Classic FM. As a keen musician myself this is certainly my all time favourite website; it's perfect to have playing in the background as you work or simply to relax to as you read a book on a summer's afternoon.
I am particularly fond of Classic FM Requests with James Crick, not only are you guaranteed to hear some familiar tunes but the music is interspersed with fascinating facts about composers. Sometimes they devote an entire show to a composer should it happen to be his/her birthday. Listeners are often contacted to explain why a certain song is so significant to them, which I find particularly intriguing. It is so easy to say you like a song, but to explain why you like it is something entirely different. This certainly gets me analysing my musical preferences!
Additionally, Classic FM provides up-to-date British and International news, as well as weather and travel information in a summarised format. From 9pm each evening entire concerts and later Jazz pieces are aired in The Full Works. Festivals and forthcoming concerts are also advertised, some are even broadcasted on shows during the week. Various musicians are interviewed from time to time; there is certainly something for everyone on this site.
Should you miss a particular programme you can always listen again at your leisure, as a British expat I certainly take advantage of this! So if you simply want to lounge around and listen to the odd piece of relaxing classical music, or you want to tune your ears to some English news take a look at Classic FM, it is the perfect companion whilst revising for exams!
For an American perspective on the world's news with a bit of a liberal twist, check out NPR (National Public Radio). It is a wonderfully rich source of the typical: business, politics, science, arts, interviews and local news and the less typical: diversions, food diaries, comic relief, and 'Driveway Moments'.
In particular for serious news listeners, 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered' offer a star cast of journalists and range of topics. On the lighter of the news, there is a witty weekly comedy quiz show, 'Wait, wait... don't tell me'. With a gang of comedians running the show, it features a review of the week's past news and a different 'famous' guest such as White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, to play the game 'Not My Job' in which the guest tries to answer questions about odd news topics. For music lovers, there is a whole sub-site of NPR (NPR Music) that offers samples from new artists, studio sessions, and interviews covering every type of music your heart could desire. And when you are looking to kill a few minutes while the coffee is brewing, the 'NPR site search' allows you to find stories about most any topic under the sun to listen to.
If it wasn't all positive sounding enough, there is one last carrot; you can download all these shows and hundreds more as podcasts to-go. Needless to say, I love this site and it stands as my number one daily connection to the USA.
www.thenation.com ... unconventional wisdom since 1865 ...
Apart from being the oldest continuously published weekly US magazine, this periodical has two characteristics that make it particularly worth reading in my opinion: it offers non-mainstream USA views on politics, culture, education, arts, etc. and it is a real challenge to read - always good to pick up a few new words. The Nation has remained true to its original commitment to be the critical, independent voice in American journalism. Their slogan is: "Nobody Owns The Nation. That's Why So Many Somebodies Read It." Indeed, the magazine has lost money in all but three or four years of operation and is sustained in part by a group of more than 25,000 donors called The Nation Associates, who donate funds beyond their annual subscription fees.
I would also like to draw your attention to the following special sections of the online edition:
StudentNation - news and resources for student activists
Podcast - listen to this week's radio show
and in particular:
The National Classroom (features a free weekly teaching guide for college and high school educators)
My favorite website is the website of my hometown's local newspaper - Daily American - published in Somerset, Pennsylvania. It's a daily newspaper that has served Somerset (population about 6 ,700) as well as the surrounding county of the same name for more almost 70 years and has won awards for its reporting. I visit this site regularly to keep up on what's going on in the area. It also presents a pretty authentic picture of small town USA and the people living there. Here's a short guided tour:
Once you've entered the website (no login necessary), don't linger at the category entitled "national news". If you want national news, visit the websites of the Washington Post or the New York Times. Instead go straight on to the category "local news headlines". That's where you'll find headlines of events that hook Somerset up with the U.S. economy in general, for example "Texas Company is going to drill for gas in Somerset County". But on second thought, you probably won't be too interested in that, so instead, for local color, head straight for the police plotter news. For example one news item from January 11 describes how a Somerset man's wallet was stolen near a video store, while the man was walking home from a private party. There was no money in the wallet, but a credit card and driver's license are now missing. Here various incidents that the town police have been informed of, such as a theft of a bicycle from someone's back yard are described. Somerset people hardly ever lock their bikes or their houses for that matter, as it is assumed that almost everyone is honest. So it is newsworthy when anything gets stolen.
Another favorite of mine can be found under the category "video media" (subdivision of interactive/media). In one of the most recent videos a farmer describes how his goats were attacked by a bobcat. (If you're not familiar with bobcats, you can check out this site).
Lots of other really fascinating categories are available on the Somerset American website (for example, the Daily American Forum and the Personality of the Week), but I'm supposed to keep this commentary short. So just visit the Somerset American site and see for yourself what's going on.
There are a number of favourite websites of mine, including Barclays (where I have my English bank account and can watch my millions grow!), the Campaign for Real Ale (the UK's top beerdrinkers' organisation, of which I am most naturally a member) and Private Eye (a satirical magazine that shows every fortnight that British politics, too, has its share of sleaze).
However, I feel I have to choose something educational for you today, so my choice is ICONS, a website dedicated to something called the icons project, where Brits vote for all things iconic to Britain and the British way of life. The list of icons, which is extended infrequently, includes a rich variety of archetypically British concepts, from Big Ben to Fish & Chips, and from Sherlock Holmes to Stonehenge. Much more interesting though are all those icons foreigners generally haven't got the slightest idea about, but which practically every Briton recognises instantly. Test yourself: have you ever heard of The Archers, Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, Punch & Judy, The Angel of the North or Jerusalem (the song, not the city)? Whether you just want to know what it is that makes Britain British, whether you want to impress your mother with your knowledge, or whether you want to put together a little quiz to show your friends how ignorant they are: if you're even the least bit interested in the UK, here's a very useful site for you.
Undiscovered Scotland is a site I came across when I was planning a holiday in Scotland - no surprise there. Yet it is a page that provides far more than the usual information on accommodation, travel and "What's on" we have grown to expect from online guides: From extremely user-friendly features like the detailed clickable map (a click on a town or village takes you straight to individual microsites that present all the pertinent information in a nutshell, including, as a matter of course, pictures and accommodation index) to themed collection of links (interested in history? Want to know more about famous Scots? Or perhaps planning a Scottish wedding? Fancy going hiking? Fishing? Doing a bit of Scottish cooking?) you will find everything from the mundane to the more esoteric.
Most unusual, perhaps, is the ebook category that allows you to dip into Scotland-related History and Travel books - the majority of them dating from the 18th or 19th century - as well as to read two full-length novels by Scottish author R.L. Stevenson. Conclusion: Even if you have no concrete plans for a trip to Scotland yet, just browsing through the site is bound to whet your appetite ...
One of my favorite resources has ceased to exist in the physical world, and I would like to direct your attention to its online presence while it's still there.
I am, of course, talking about Weekly World News, a magazine so uniquely free of journalistic standards (such as actually waiting for news to happen before making up stories about it) that it has filled the lives of many with joy and awe for so many years. Where else would you have been able to read the real story about Elvis's whereabouts, JFK's secret life after his assassination, or the subtle ways in which aliens have infiltrated the very core of our society?
Indeed, some of you may remember the scene from "Men in Black", where Tommy Lee Jones explains to Will Smith that WWN was about the only publication that got even somewhat close to the truth.
Many readers have been enlightened over the years, and secret services around the world got their first-hand information from the magazine - like the Americans, when WWN revealed that the Chinese military was actually digging tunnels through the earth, ready to send millions of troops not by sea or air, but from the underground to capture the U.S. totally unaware.
Well, it is doubtless sad to see this unparalleled source of inspired information disappear - who will now have the courage to tell the world what is REALLY going on out there?
Tate Online, the Tate's official web site links to all four physical galleries - Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives - helping visitors prepare or follow up visits while at the same time being a destination in its own right.
Resources include detailed information on all works in Tate's Collection of British and Modern international art, a section showing most of Turner's works, an Artists A-Z search function, a glossary, structured and informal e-learning opportunities, links to webcast events and other documentation related to the museums. You want action? Choose from 'creative writing workshops' to 'music and performance' to 'families' events such as "Yummy for Your Tummy" where 'you can make and photograph your own colourful food creations (for under 5 years!)'.
Highly interesting and innovative features such as 'my selection' and 'my tour' go beyond the regular fare. The latter allows you, while moving the cursor across the floor plan to see the room content, then 'entering and looking' at the works there, to establish your own 'tour of the gallery' to be saved and later revisited. The 'selection' option will store all those works you love best in one, or many, selection files to savour whenever you choose. And after one of your tours, why not send an e-card with a painting you fancy?
Just one caveat: Be careful and mind your watch or you might get stuck!
Unfortunately my real favourite website has already been featured in this section (a testament to The Guardian). However the BBC website comes a close second. As you would expect from the BBC, it provides up-to-the-minute news including excellent coverage of local and regional UK news. But there is a lot more besides just news… The BBC really provides a collection of websites, all accessible through the "Browse" section on the homepage. There you can choose between a huge selection of topics ranging from financial advice to celebrity gossip to education and language learning. And of course while browsing you can listen to your favourite BBC radio station in the background! The BBC website is my one-stop shop for news, info and entertainment online.
Somehow I have never been able to nominate simply one best-loved thing, and being asked to write about my favourite website proves no exception. Still, in a superhuman attempt, here it is: Guardian Unlimited. This website offers, among other newspapers such as the weekend Observer, and two Guardian digests, The Guardian, one of the UK's (formerly) broadsheet newspapers, and many more on-line materials.
For The Guardian newspaper itself, an alternative to more conservative British broadsheets, you can choose among a subscribable digital facsimile edition, for the unbeatable broadsheet experience "just like in the UK" (meaning that you fiddle with your newspaper print-out on the tube not from Turnham Green to Hammersmith but from Schwedenplatz to Spittelau presumably).
You can also resort to the online main paper, with its daily sections (with G2 being the one most sought after/out by me personally) and weekly sections (ranging from Style on Monday, Education on Tuesday to Wheels on Thursday, to name just a few). A few headlines to whet your appetite maybe: "The unsporting life", or "Brave New Worlds", featuring Britain's planned post-war cities such as lovely Milton Keynes.
Obviously, the headlines are teeming with allusions to (British) culture, lifestyle and literature, but even without getting these subtleties, this online resource is highly recommendable. Oh, and do watch out for its quizzes on the most recent news, and despair (not) when doing them. You will find those quizzes and the articles a valuable and entertaining source on everyday culture and lifestyle in Britain. Granted, The Guardian's business articles may not have quite the depth of analysis of the FT, but this is already another story and another website you may hear more of another time by someone else from our department.
My favourite website is BBC Radio 4 and in particular its longer news programmes, such as Today and the World at One. This is first-rate journalism, combining the highest standards of professionalism with a light-hearted style that makes the station a joy to listen to. For snapshots of quintessential Britishness you may want to tune in to Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time or the Afternoon Play. Bucolic pleasures can be sampled in Britain's longest-running radio soap opera, The Archers. (No matter what you think of the programme, you WILL get addicted to the signature tune. Guaranteed.) And just in case you are wondering whether listening to the BBC will make you sound like one of the royals: no it won't. Contrary to time-worn clichés about BBC English, you can now hear a wide variety of British accents on Radio 4. If your phonetic loyalty lies across the Atlantic, however, you'll have to wait for one of my colleagues' recommendations for US and Canadian Web radio. Watch this space.