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. http://youtube.com/watch?v=_k8BKX2eQ0Q 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 http://www.mmischools.com/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=11534

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.
js

Monday, October 16, 2006

LibraryThing

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 Amazon.com. 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!

Folksonomies.

New words. Web 2.0. Taxonomy. Subject Headings. Grass Roots. del.icio.us. 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.
js