Thursday, December 21, 2006

50 Coolest Websites of 2006

Here's a real time killer--better wait till next week and all your holiday preparations are finished! 50 Coolest Websites of 2006 From Time magazine and CNN. I haven't looked at them yet but the homepage looks like a lot a penguins resembling Homer Simpson. js

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ask City is becoming a very interesting competitor to Google. Here's their answer to Google Maps. Try Ask City to find businesses, movies and events in almost any city and it links you with a map to the location, contact info, reviews, booking agencies, and more.

Thoughts for the Christmas season from a new study called The World Distribution of Household Wealth:
  • The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of global household wealth.
  • The richest 1% of adults alone owned 40% of global assets in the year 2000.
  • The richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total.
  • The bottom half of the world adult population owned barely 1% of global wealth.
  • The research finds that assets of $2,200 per adult placed a household in the top half of the world wealth distribution in the year 2000.
  • To be among the richest 10% of adults in the world required $61,000 in assets, and more than $500,000 was needed to belong to the richest 1%, a group with 37 million members worldwide.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cell Phones and Marketers

I got this today and sent it to about 20 people: "Marketers will soon be able to call you on your cellphone. If you don't want them to use up your time or money (your cellphone charges will still apply) call: 888-382-1222 or go online to and register your number."

Oops! I probably got snookered by an Urban Legend. If you don't know about, I suggest you try it whenever you get email that encouragesyou to pass it on to everyone you know (even if the email is from your children or maybe especially from your children -- and other relatives). I seems that this has been circulating on the web for several years.

On the other hand, I called the number and registered my cellphone--and no harm was done. js

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Photo of the Day

I'm off to San Jose for the weekend, so here's Friday's blog entry.

Taking Notes--Cornell Method

I have no idea what the Cornell method of note-taking is, but I ran across this page which is so cool I thought it worth passing on. You can generate a page designed for notetaking using the Cornell method with your name, class and date on it. Choose lined, blank or my favorite--graph paper. Then print it off on your printer, punch holes, and take perfect notes! And if your exams don't go so well you can make For Sale signs for your car and your house--they even have a template for selling books.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Few Good Numbers

Lots of students writing papers right now. Here are a few websites that provide good statistics to fill in that empirical evidence you might need for your research papers.
Uniform Crime Reports--
State of Working America--DataZone--
Other Federal Statistics-- Health, education, production, etc.
World Statistics from the U. N.--
Iraq Casualty Count--

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Scout Report

Friday is the day the Scout Report arrives and I look forward to it every week as one of the best compendiums of great websites. So instead of having me pick my favorite, why don't you go directly to the Scout Project yourself and check it out. The animated periodic table is certainly worth trying. If I had time, I'd love to watch the "Against All Odds" statistic videocasts. Moving Images: Pinewood Dialogues is another one I would love to spend a few hours with. Scout Project even offers a Macintosh program, Ebbinghaus, for making flash cards in the Network Tools section this week--excellent.

For fun try this Greeting Card Generator.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

URL Utility

How many times have you tried to send a webpage link--a URL--to a friend only to find that it won't fit on one line and therefore just clicking it won't open the desired page. Jim Blansett of the UA Education library sent links to these three utilities for shortening these unwieldy addresses. Just click on one of these and paste the long link into the box. It will generate a nice tidy little URL that anyone can click on and might even remember.




Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ESTC [English Short-Title Catalog] Free Online

History people--take note! Librarians, remember Pollard and Redgrave and Wing and the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue? It is all here, online, for free, from the British Library, sponsored by a number of grants and foundations.

For "regular" people it is: "bibliographic records for all surviving letter press material in the British Isles and North America before 1801, held by the British Library and over 2000 other institutions worldwide. . . . The project documents all types of printed material including letterpress books, pamphlets, newspapers, serials, advertisements, election handbills and a variety of other printed material. The coverage extends to items printed in all languages in the British Isles and beyond, to Colonial America, United States of America (1776-1800), Canada, or territories governed by Britain before 1801.

This is a catalog; not full-text. But as a catalog it does tell you the locations (library/ies) that hold each of these items. Some may well be full-text online in other places on the Internet, but this is incredibly valuable as a place to verify the exact title, author, edition with full description, and the actual existence of an item in a particular collection.

Search for Franklin Benjamin as an exact phrase to pull up every item that he printed, as well as his writings, of course.

I love Open Access on the Internet! js

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Library flooding and London this summer

These have nothing to do with each other:

Saturday night a hot water pipe burst on the 4th floor of the south side (old side) of the library drenching our storage room, my classroom on 3rd floor, Government Documents/Serials offices, and even down into the utility room on the first floor. Lost some computers, some documents and extra carpeting and all of our Christmas decorations. But as we all go around saying: "It could have been worse."

This is the "Summer Classes in London" table in the Student Center today. Look for it tomorrow between 11 and 2, and stop. We will give you info on how you can take one or two courses in London this summer or in the future. Actually there are several destinations and lots of possible courses that will count as USA courses. And if you plan ahead you may even be able to apply financial aid.

International exposure was always a requirement for a truly educated person. Want to know what the rest of the world is like--you won't get it from the Mobile Press Register or from any textbook. You have to experience it yourself. These programs are one of the easiest and cheapest ways for you to go abroad. Ask me about it if you can't make it to the SC tomorrow. js

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

American Routes

Combine New Orleans and music. Easy. Then add Internet radio and Katrina. js

Friday, November 03, 2006

Library Workout Tape

Vickey Baggott, Docs. Librarian, has sent a link to some very timely documents:
Your right, your Privilege, your DUTY -- GO VOTE!!!
In honor of that time of year, I've selected some government publications, new & old, that look at what our voting system has been like in the past and what it might be in the future. You can find these pubs in the Government Documents Department located on the 2nd floor-South of the University Library. Also, check out our new "Vote" display table near our maps area and our wall display case located on the 3rd floor-South by the west stairwell. And, remember to VOTE on November 7th. VB

And for your weekend edification:
This is YouTube video is particularly for library staff, but I'm sure many of our students and other faculty would enjoy this self-help video. A little dated as it was made in the 80s, but still relevant for us. js

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quality Info on the Web

Yes, it is possible to find really excellent scholarly information on the public Internet. The public Internet is what you find when you search using a regular search engine like Google. The private Internet is that part which has to be paid for--the databases and electronic journals that you get through the library homepage because the Library pays for it. I used to say that the public Internet info was unreliable, biased and generally a waste of time. But I don't say that anymore, because the Web is definitely changing. More scholars, new publishers and libraries are going Open Access. Since scholars seldom get paid for their published research, the only reason they might care to keep their articles in subscription sources would be if it affected their promotion and tenure decisions and their professional prestige. As universities and other scholars come to understand that quality is not a function of cost, this is gradually changing. Here's an article worth reading which also lists and links to some of the best sources for free information on the Internet. I will try to compile a shorter list of these sources for the Electronic Books link on our homepage, but for now, try this article. js

"The Changing Face of the Scholarly Web: Finding Free, Quality, Full-Text Articles, Books, and More! [Available Full-Text, Free]"
By Robert J. Lackie - in the online journal MultiMedia $ Internet@Schools
Posted Jul 1, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Government Documents for Halloween and More

Vickey Baggott over in Government Documents sent me this website on scary documents for Halloween.

And because I won't be in to work tomorrow I'll give you your "learning activity" website for your weekend pleasure. art.comArtPad. Try your hand at painting with no cost, no mess, no talent. You can even email it to some one you think might actually appreciate your effort. js

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Our Very Own Rembrandt!

Dr. Richard Wood, Dean of the Libraries, made this announcement today:
The university community is invited to see an etching of Rembrandt from 1634 entitled "The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds" at the University Library. This framed work is located in front of the circulation desk in the elevator area of the library's atrium. A gift of the 1968 graduating class, this original print by Rembrandt represents the finest etching of his earliest period. Only 28 years of age at the time, Rembrandt worked his copper plate over and over again to achieve a remarkable detail and powerful light/dark contrasts. Following closely the Gospel of St. Luke 2: 8-19, Rembrandt made the etching a night piece (for the shepherds were "keeping watch over their
flocks by nights"). Rembrandt shows the panic of the shepherds and their animals when confronted by the Angel of the annunciation who appeared in a blinding flash of light high in the clouds.

Monday, October 23, 2006

World Data Analyst

We finished all the EH 102 INTRO TO LIBRARY RESEARCH on Saturday of last week so I hope to get back to blogging "normally" this week. I just discovered this database/electronic reference book--World Data Analyst. It's the last link on the left under Electronic Reference Books on the library homepage and comes via the Alabama Virtual Library and Encyclopaedia Britannica. What's cool about it is that you can create tables and charts comparing data between two or more different countries. And there are several variables available. From simple population to calories consumed, cell phone subscription, miles of railway lines, military imports and exports, and many more. Choose your countries; add them to a list; choose the variables; and create a table or chart.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The Web is a wondrous thing! I have this software (Bookster) that I thought was great because I could create a catalog of books I own and it would automatically pull up cover pictures and basic info about each book from the Library of Congress or But the big drawback was that I never had it with me when I was looking for a book in the library. Did I have this book--or not? LibraryThing is another "social software," Web 2.0 utility that lets you create a catalog of your books on the web, making all the possibilities for collaboration available. I can look up my list anywhere there is web access. I haven't tried all the other parts of it yet--a blog, a recommendation list, import and export functions, books groups, etc. It does make use of the folksonomies I blogged about on Friday. Give your books "subject headings" and you can find others with the same headings. A librarian's dream!
If you have any need to put some organization into to your life, try it. JS

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday is for Fun!


New words. Web 2.0. Taxonomy. Subject Headings. Grass Roots. collaboration. Descriptors. common language

Folksonomies are words that describe an object or idea. In the "old library" paradigm they were prescribed as Subject Headings from a taxonomy created by the Library of Congress and cared for by catalogers the world over. In the new world of Web 2.0's social software, a folksonomy is the collection of words that any ordinary jane/joe would use to describe something. If enough "folks" describe something the same way then one assumes that this is an acceptable description. Hence "folksonomy.

And of course the incredibly creative types at Google have invented a game to put us folks to work doing just this. Imagelabeler is a game they invented in which two people--you and some anonymous partner (from anywhere in the world) who happens to be online and in the game at the same time you are--are shown an image from the Google database of images. You both try to label the image. If you both use the same word you get 100 points.

Get it! Google is using you to create descriptions for their images. At least two people have to agree on the word for them to use it as a label. Not as easy as it sounds. You don't even have to sign in to play the game, but if you do you can be recognised when you become The Great Folksonomist. What other award can you win for do drudge work for a billion dollar company and for trying to think exactly like everyone else.
Great fun.

Try it at Imagelabeler. js

Thursday, October 12, 2006

3:30 Lib. Auditorium if You Need Research Help

Writing Outreach session is at 3:30 in the Univ. Library Auditorium today. Everyone welcome.

How is it that myths develop and spread across a culture and across time. Here's a website that will confirm or refute our commonly held beliefs, e.g. chickens can actually live without their heads--like the one who made it 18 months!
Most Popular Myths in Science. (from this weeks Marylaine Block's Neat New.)js

Monday, October 09, 2006

Writing Outreach on Library Research--3:30 Thursday

I had a nice 3 day weekend and am totally exhausted today. Tomorrow a candidate interview.

But Thursday at 3:30 I'll be doing a Writing Outreach session in the Library Auditorium. If you have a paper assignment--it doesn't have to be an English paper--and need some help with the research, come, ask questions, and I'll try to get you jumpstarted. It is always a hard session to teach because everyone has a different problem--more like group therapy. You get to listen to everyone else's research problem and get a little time on your own. It works, because it seems that everyone's problems, while not exactly the same, are similar enough to provide insight on the process. I'm just there to be a catalyst, a facilitator, a tipster and a non-judgmental guide.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Center for Public Integrity

Subtitled: Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest. [Found via the weekly Resource Shelf email.] Track the media: lobbyists, who pays for Congressional junkets, how much is spent, by whom. Here's a list of their projects. Check out the Katrina project while you are there.

Click here for a list of Mobile media outlets and their owners. js

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

International Film Series in the Library Auditorium

Tomorrow night is the first of the International Film Series with:

"Sol de OtoƱo Autumn sun ( Argentina, 1996 ) Director: Eduardo Mignogna Thursday, October 5th Unrated. A love story set in Buenos Aires in which a Jewish woman because of the impending visit from her American brother is forced to create a contrived relationship with a man of her own faith. ( In Spanish with English subtitles, 108 minutes )"

And here's a link to the rest of the movies in the series.

This being the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi we need to reference some animals. Here's Cute Overload--it is so over-the-top with animal photos/captions that it even gives guidelines for winning a cutsey contest. The animals are wonderful; their owners may be little sick. js

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ten Reasons Librarians Should Use Instead of Google is now advertising on TV and is everywhere in the blogosphere too. It's probably time we ungooglized ourselves. And I guess if its good enough for librarians, then you guys should try it too. Try and see if the Librarian in Black is right.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekend Brain Activities

Serendip's Brain and Behavior Page

I haven't explored this site very much, but I did try some of the experiments on this page. This is a website worthy of more explorations. But at least try some of the Psychology experiments on this page.

"Born in the summer of 1994, Serendip was conceived as an interacting and developing system, not unlike a living organism.In the fall of 1996, Serendip had organized itself into ten main subject areas (Brain and Behavior, Complex Systems, Genes and Behavior, Science and Culture, Science Education, among others). Each of these contains interactive exhibits, articles, links to other resources, and a forum area for comments and discussion." js

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

Another website commemorating Banned Books Week--it indicts the news media for self-censorship, shortsightedness, and smoke and mirror reporting--the natural outcome of a culture of censorship. This is via Marylaine Block's September 29th, Neat New Stuff.
"Project Censored is 'a media research group out of Sonoma State
University which tracks the news published in independent journals and
newsletters' and 'compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social
significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored
by the country's major national news media.'..."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Election 2006

This link is from Vicki Tate, Head of Documents and Serials.

Every two years the University of Michigan docs librarian creates a thorough guide to the Elections. Elections 2006, the UMich biennial guide, is up and running at:

"It has links to the usual suspects: candidates, public opinion polls, Michigan ballot proposals, national issues, voter registration, prior election results. We sneaked in some campus-licensed web products. What's new is a little section on election forecasting (i.e. soothsayers) and free Presidential election results by Congressional District. Sorry it took so long this time." Grace York, Coordinator, Documents Center

You might not be able to get a direct link to the Michigan-licensed articles, but check with us to see if USA also has a license to the same databases.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Banned Books Week --Sept 23-30th

It has always been a great American tradition to try and control the thoughts, bodies and readings of other citizens--totally unconstitutional, but a tradition nevertheless.
This is Banned Book Week. Here are some websites that give the history and current attempts to restrict our freedom to explore far and wide by entering into the fictional, and sometimes real, lives of others.
ALA Banned Books Page
ALA's Page on Censorship and Challenges
Google's Banned Books Page
The Online Books Page's Banned Books
Come to the University Library this week to participate in a drawing celebrating our Freedom to Read whatever we want. js

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shakespeare Searched

I got this one from Peter Scott's Library Blog, a blog well worth watching. This is truly cool. Put in a word/topic. Select a play or character. And the search engine will return all quotes within that play or said by that character containing that word. It can be done using html versions of the plays and Control/Command F, but it isn't nearly as cool as this. Now I don't have to go to the Concordance to Shakespeare to find the perfect quote to put in a birthday or wedding card! What? Everyone doesn't do this? js

Shakespeare Searched "is a search engine designed to provide quick access to passages from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. We cluster search results by topic, work, and character to make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for. From something as simple as identifying the speaker of a particular quote to discovering underlying thematic elements across works, Shakespeare Searched has you covered. This website is not a replacement for a copy of the text. It provides no analysis or footnotes. It is meant to supplement a traditional reading of a work"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Foggy London for Christmas Break? Oct. 2nd Deadline

Earn 3 credits and have a great adventure in London, all while staying in a four-star hotel from Dec. 26th to Jan. 8th. The University is part of a consortium of schools that offer classes in English-speaking countries. It's called CCSA. Australia, Hong Kong, India, London, Belize, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica and Scotland are the countries listed for this year.

Both London and Australia have Winterims. [Actually summer in Australia in Dec.] The deadlines for applying for these two is October 2nd. The costs, details and all the other programs can be found at Adults, parents and families have actually been known to join this program just for fun--to have the joy of learning about a place while actually living there--in luxury, I might add. I got to spend 2 nights in the program's hotel a few years ago and thought it the nicest hotel and breakfast I've ever encountered. The summer program involves dorm living but is among the most reasonable programs around.

Even if you can't go this winter or this year, check out the CCSA website and think about next summer or in a few years. An international adventure should be part of every undergraduate's experience. See Ana Burgamy in Alpha Hall East 320 if you are interested now or even just thinking about it down the road. Financial aid may be available too. js

Monday, September 18, 2006

Speed Reader

So much to read; so little time. Are you starting to fall behind in your reading for classes? I remember in high school using a mechanical tool to learn how to read faster. Here's a little online program that might help you speed it up. You have to play around with the settings, like left justified, chunks of 7-10 words and set the speed a bit higher than you are now comfortable with. But first find yourself an reading assignment or article that you need to read for class that's online. Click in the text; Control-A to capture the article; Control-C to copy it; Control-V to paste it into Spreeder. [Command key for Macs] Change your settings and GO! js

Friday, September 15, 2006

Constitution Day--September 17th

By Vickey Baggott
In celebration of Citizenship Day and Constitution Week, we have received some new government publications which serve to remind us of the ideals set forth by our Founding Fathers. Click here to see this month's Hot Docs at USA ( You can find these pubs in the Government Documents Department located on the 2nd floor, South of the University Library. Also, check out our Constitution Week display table near our maps area and our wall display case located on the 3rd floor, South by the west stairwell.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Photos: Pictures that Lie

Marylaine Block in her Neat New Stuff I found this Week featured this as one of her websites. Another one from C/Net. It's always great fun to see how photos have been altered for and by the media. Who wouldn't want to look 20 lbs lighter? But this "Pictures that Lie" website is also a lesson in skepticism. If you can't trust your eyes--their eyes--who and what can you trust. There seem to be fewer and fewer honest and objective sources of information in the tech-heavy news universe.

On the other hand what does it mean to be honest and objective. Don't writers always use and manipulate words to gain the effect they desire. And how often is it that effect is not informed by unacknowledged bias. Oops, a little too twisty. I am an avid follower of the Poynter's Institute's "Writing Tools" series by Roy Peter Clark. Every week he discusses a technique journalists can use to, in effect, manipulate the reader's response. Of course I don't use any manipulation. I just like reading about it--a lot. js

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


In cooperation with the Art Dept., the Library now hosts a database of fine art images called ARTstor. Here's the scoop from its FAQ webpage,

"ARTstor is a non-profit organization created by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As part of its ongoing effort to become a community resource, ARTstor is developing a rich digital library that will offer coherent collections of art images and descriptive information as well as the software tools to enable active use of the collections. The ARTstor Library's initial content includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archeology. ARTstor's software tools support a wide range of pedagogical and research uses including: viewing and analyzing images through features such as zooming and panning, saving groups of images online for personal or shared uses, and creating and delivering presentations both online and offline. This community resource will be made available solely for educational and scholarly uses that noncommercial in nature."

I really haven't tried it yet--this week I hope! But another interesting development is that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is going to work through ARTstor to allow scholars to use print quality images in scholarly books without charging the prices now extorted because of copyright ownership.
Art monographs have always been the scholarly communication in that field and they were becoming scarce because of publishing costs, many of which, though not all, are related to the price of including excellent color images.

Try Artstor under "Articles, Indexes and Databases" on the Library Homepage. js

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wikipedia Warning

C/Net published an article by one of their interns a month ago about the convenience of the Wikipedia for procrastinating students. "Wikipedia is one of the Internet's latest additions to the information revolution. More importantly, it's the reason I was able to finish my massive second-semester AP English research final project in less than 45 minutes." She redeems herself by warning others about its unreliability. Hmmm, is that really enough to stop the slackers?

Advice from this librarian:
Students: OK, use Wikipedia to get initial background info on a topic. Then graduate to reliable published sources like specialized encyclopedias, both to verify and to expand on your understanding. Then move on to books and articles.
Instructors: Encourage your students to use both the Wikipedia (they will anyway) and specialized encyclopedias (expensive under-used gems) to develop a basic understanding of a topic. Maybe even let students cite the "W". But nothing beats a good class discussion about plagiarism, ethics, critical thinking, the real purpose of writing papers and education itself--as well as constant vigilance!

Friday, September 08, 2006

EPIC 2014 & 2015-The Future of News Media

This 8 minute flash animation about the future of the news media in the world of social networking is really worth watching. The original 2014 has been updated to reflect some Web 2.0 developments. I think the original is more effective, but if you haven't viewed either one of these, try one. From my side of the information-distribution game, it sure looks predictive, not just science fiction. js

"In the year 2014 the New York times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate's fortunes have waned. What happened to the news?and what is EPIC?"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The 2006 Election

The pols and the media are beginning to gear up for this year's big horse race. There will be lots more in the next few months, but these are the most fun so far.

The New York Times has an interactive Election Map for the upcoming Nov. elections. See which states are leaning and other stats by clicking on choices on the right hand side.

Get more info from the Washington Post on this page--drag down till you see Key Races.

Find current polling numbers from Thanks to Marylaine Block for these websites. js

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Free Collaboration Tools

I've written about these collaboration tools before, but thought I'd do it again because they can be incredibly valuable for students doing group projects. Set up accounts and share the writing with Writely and websites with An online word processor which can be used by multiple co-authors. Register and add group members emails. Share bookmarks with others in your network. Add "tags" as subject headings.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Old Film Clips on History Reference Center

Wow, four day weekend in New Orleans--tired, well-fed and superbly entertained! There is no segue from that to this, so I won't even try: Last Thursday I had a class with the Mobile County Public School System High School Library Media Specialists. In preparation I tried to find those things that might grab the interest of high school kids and their teachers. We, librarians, and most academics think that library research is really fun. We find all kinds of things that inspire even more curiosity. But how do you spark the curiosity of current high school students? Video is a great draw.

The History Reference Center under our Articles, Indexes, Databases page [drag down on the page to the Hs] has an image/video search on the green header bar. Search for clothing or automobiles or almost anything you want using this search and you'll get some great video clips, many from the turn of the century. These are primary documents--actual footage from the time and a great way to get students of all ages thinking about the many facets of history. Using the videos with the George Mason University website "Making Sense of Evidence" and students might actually have a good time "doing" history instead of just reading about it. Try the video search in the History Reference Center database.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Katrina Aniversary and Hot Docs for the Month

Yesterday's event, a sharing of Katrina experiences, went well. I even have 15 seconds of fame captured on the FOX 10 website today. Missed it last night. In bed by 9:30. Nice clip, but who is that old lady in the turquoise jacket? js

Vickey Baggott, Government Documents Librarian, has sent her monthly "Hot Docs."


Welcome to the Fall Semester at USA. These new government publications and video are available in the Government Documents Department located on the 2nd floor, South of the University Library. Come check us out and have a great year!

Funding Education Beyond High School : the Guide to Federal Student Aid. Dept. of Education, Federal Student Aid, 2006. ED1.45/7:2006/07. A comprehensive resource on student financial aid, through grants, loans, and work-study, available from the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid office.

Youth Helping America : Educating for Active Citizenship : Service-Learning, School-Based Service and Youth Civic Engagement / authors, Kimberly Spring, Nathan Dietz, Robert Grimm, Jr. Corporation for National & Community Service, 2006. Y3.N21/29:2Y8. Takes a look at the 38 percent of students nationwide who have participated in school-based service as part of school activity or requirement and constructs a Service Quality Index that rates school-based service based on the level of high-quality service-learning elements that are incorporated into it.

When your brain begins to frazzle from course work and other college pressures, check out this DVD and unwind. Lifelines : Your National Forest Roads / produced by the USDA Forest Service in partnership with the USDOT FHWA Federal Lands Highway Program. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, San Dimas Technology and Development Center, 2006.
A13.140:L62/DVD. Explores the relationship between people (the USDA Forest Service, Federal Lands Highway Administration, and state and local communities) and the land (our national forests) past, present and future. vb

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Where Were You on August 29th 2005

We're running a DVD created by the Meteorology Dept about the storm and its aftermath, a video about Katrina [I haven't looked at yet], and about 140 photos donated by students, faculty and staff --in the Library Auditorium today. About 80 photos are from Keith Helton who flew his ultralight plane over Dauphin Island and Bayou La Batre on August 30th, 2005.

From 2:00 till 5:00 there will be an open mike for anyone who would like to talk about their experience during Katrina and after. A good time to vent about whatever you want. Or come and listen to how Katrina changed the lives of a lot of those around you everyday. One year later--often no house, families scattered, no insurance check and a wholly different landscape to see everyday. Don't think that this is minor inconvenience--it's life-altering, and needs to be acknowledged by the members of this academic community, if we are to be called a community at all!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Where Were You on August 29, 2005?

Tuesday, Library Auditorium, 2:00 till 5:00. Come. Tell your stories. Listen to other's stories. These are our history and need to be recorded in our memories.

And just for weekend fun try: Time Magazine's 2006 Coolest Websites. The Time Wasters are aptly named. But just play with them between class readings and assignments!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Katrina Anniversary

Two of the three tech problems from yesterday have been solved and the third one is not our problem it's our vendor, TDNet's, problem. Yeah!

The most frequently asked question at the Ref Desk the past few days is, "Where can I find a computer to print out my paper, or print powerpoint slides, or do my psychology online homework." We have to tell these students that we don't have any of the software they need on our Library computers--only browsers and a couple of readers--Acrobat, Quicktime, Flash--but no speakers. Students, please check out the computer labs in your major departments. SOUTHpaw lab is on the 1st floor of the Student Center and if you have paid any kind of computer fee, check out the labs in the Computer Center which are open when there are no classes scheduled in them. We are so sorry we can't help you here.

The anniversary of Katrina is Tuesday. If you have any really good photos of the hurricane and its aftermath--send them to me. I'm going to try to put together a slide show to be shown in the Library Auditorium, or maybe the plasma screen across from the Circ desk, on Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beloit College Mindset List

Every year Beloit (Wisconsin) College puts out a list of of things that they say have shaped the lives of the new Freshman Class, the Class of 2010. It's always fun to read and in many ways an eye-opener for us oldies, but if you think that all Freshman have the same experiences growing up, I think you are more than a bit naive. How many of our Freshmen are 18-year-olds who come from upper-middle class homes with ubiquitous computing gear, watch Law and Order, and prefer text messaging to talking on the phone. But try it--it might make you feel happier that you are older than 18! Drag down on this webpage to find this year's list.

There's a new Chronicle of Higher Education article that disputes many of the items on the list, but you probably need to get it through Lexis [News Category>University News] or at the Library if you don't have a subscription.
23 Aug. 2006. "Annual Mindset List."

Education Department --Access Suspended

Now we are getting reports that no one in Education over in UCOM can get into any databases! Screen says "Account Suspended." Hey guys, we didn't suspend your account. Something fishy is happening and we will do our best to diagnose and fix the problem without causing irreparable harm. Dr. House-where are you?

EBSCO and TDNet--crash and burn

The world of database access is crashing in around us in this first week of classes. Two major sources of information are down.

Actually EBSCO is occasionally available -- if you wait long enough and it doesn't time out at 2 minutes. It has about 15 major databases which contain thousands of journal articles. And not all libraries or locations are affected, which makes it even more frustrating, because the company is less likely to worry about fixing it if it only our little "problem." GGGGRRRR.

TDNet is the company/server that holds the list of journals(Our Journal List) we subscribe to in full text, and where to find them. ALERT, ALERT, ALERT: It's now up and running

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Orleans and Libraries

If you watched the Spike Lee documentary on Katrina last night (actually half of it), the other half is tonight, you are probably feeling as depressed as I am this morning. I love New Orleans and to know what it used to be and where it is now is so disheartening. But I checked my email after watching this show and found that my kids, who live in N.O.. sent me this website with the perfect N.O. title. Two guys, academics, have put out a challenge to the world for donations needed to build a public library in mid-city (this is also where my kids live, so I am over-determined, as they say, to contribute.) $1,000,000 by January 1st, 2007. Can they do it? Can you help?

When the Levees Broke:

For a USA Library note: Kathy Wheeler and I have mounted the SciFinder Scholar, the chemistry database, application and preferences needed to run it on a Macintosh running OS X. (The PC version has been available under SciFinder Scholar on the Articles, Indexes, Databases page under S.) You must login with your usual library login to access the zipped files. They can then be installed on a computer with an IP address on campus. No personal iBooks unless they are attached via an ethernet to a static IP address. Instructor Macs and lab desktop Macs can be configured following the instructions included. Need help? Call the library.

Monday, August 21, 2006

University Library Tours

Happy First Day of the New Semester. Have you vowed to attend all your classes all the time? "80% of success is showing up." Woody Allen

I just set up the schedule for some library tours for students who want a real human tour guide to show them what we have and tell them about the services we offer. Students also have the option of a photo tour of the highlights, of course no elevator rides, no bad library jokes, no question answered, no charming librarian. De gustibus non disputandum est.

Opening EBSCO to get to its popular databases has been incredibly slow for the past several days. We are in touch with them and will try to find out what's going on. It's very annoying to all of us. js

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Great Wikipedia Debate

To tell you the truth, I haven't paid much attention to the Wikipedia until a few months ago. Sure I read the article in Nature magazine comparing Encyclopaedia Britannica with the Wikipedia --result being very close to a tie. And Britannica's cry of foul condemning the quality of the Nature research. One of those excellent academic debates that don't make the headline news.
And the Library instruction list has been buzzing lately with Stephen Colbert's reverse-spin take off on the social construction of knowledge demonstrated in Wikipedia. But an article in July 31 New Yorker by Stacy Schiff, "Know It All" distilled many of these arguments and added other dimensions worth considering. EB has 120,000 entries. Wikipedia has 1,000,000, many of them on places, people and topics, like "the forty-five-minute Anglo-Zanzibar War or Islam in Iceland." Sudoku might never be considered worthy of the EB, but a lot of curious people would like a clear, concise explanation without having to troll through lily-pads of adverts on hundreds of webpages. But obviously "peer review" takes on greater weight when an editor may be a bored 14 year old hacker enjoying a prank on the world.

Should we not use Wikipedia, because it is untrustworthy? No one is keeping the scholars out of editorship. As a matter of fact as a non-profit, donation-only supported noble effort, I think scholars, students, and even librarians have an super opportunity to add to the world's knowledge. This is about the easiest place to do it. Won't count as a publication. Won't count for a grade. But if you know more about something than anyone else, and we all do about something (our hometown, local folklore, an ancestor) then maybe we have a responsibility to share it or at least fill-in what others have started. (Called STUBS)

I just noticed that Felicity Huffman's page mentions nothing about her theatre experience. I added her OBIE, but need to make the time to go back and fill in with more. js

The Wikipedia
The Britannica is available as Britannica Online under Electronic Reference Books link on the U. Lib Homepage.
The New Yorker article is available to South Alabama community through Gale/Infotrac's Expanded Academic ASAP. Go to Articles, Indexes, Databases link and choose the first database on the left.
Stephen Colbert video:

LiBlog Archives

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My First Blogger Post

This is my first post using Blogger. Previously I was using a homemade version that was way off the radar. Sometimes its a good idea to be off the radar. Guess I figured it was time to join the Web 2.0 revolution or evolution or convolution--so I'll try this for a while. It shouldn't affect what I usually do in this blog--that's ramble briefly about webpages or news that is interesting to me. Occasionally there is a guest poster, but mostly not. When I get confident enough using blogger, I'll switch over totally. For now--this is it. Pre-Blogger archives are at: