Thursday, May 03, 2007

For Language Lovers and Others

One of the big problems information seekers have is trying to figure out what words to use to describe a concept, topic, subject. English is messy; unlike some other languages which are more precise, we have many words to express a single idea.

I have been a great fan of the visual search in the EBSCO databases. If you haven't tried it, do so. Click on visual search; search a topic; see the articles categorized graphically by subject heading. Marylaine Block offered this site today which will be useful for novice searchers--it gives definitions and establishes connections between words and their use in the real world. It could be a great first step for students (and the rest of us) to learn both the denotation and connotations of topics/words they want to explore. Here's how Visuwords describes itself:

"Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.<>

<>Enter words into the search box to look them up or double-click a node to expand the tree. Click and drag the background to pan around and use the mouse wheel to zoom. Hover over nodes to see the definition and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Price of Textbooks

Textbook publishers are two of the dirtiest words ever spoken by college students. Costs have tripled in 20 years.* Sometimes the bookstores get blamed. Sometimes instructors get blamed. Sometimes the authors get blamed. There is certainly enough blame to spread around. Sue Medina, the guru and leading light of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries (NAAL), sent out a link to this article today. Washington State is trying to make the costs more transparent with a new law. Check out this editorial* in the NYTs today.<>

The article mentions a program Rice University is using to provide students with custom written textbooks online for no cost. Called Connexions, it describes itself this way:
". . . an environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. Our Content Commons contains educational materials for everyone — from children to college students to professionals — organized in small modules that are easily connected into larger courses. All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons "attribution" license."

Hmmmm. Free texts. What an idea. js

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Changing Roles of Academic and Research Libraries

A new [Feb. 2007] report on Academic Libraries has been published by the ACRL [Association of College and Research Libraries). Since the librarians are having an all day workshop on Monday, I thought I would link to this report online. Wouldn't be a bad idea if students and teaching faculty read it too!

And to celebrate Spring, here's a link that a faculty member sent me with these instructions:

Click here:

Click on the link. You will get a black page.
Click your mouse anywhere on the page & see what happens!
Better yet, click & drag your mouse over the black page...

Have a great weekend. js

Friday, April 20, 2007

Learning Technology--Medieval Style

Actually the codex was invented in the late first century by the Romans according to the Wikipedia [I'm so ashamed--Middlebury College would flunk me, I'm sure]. Check out this YouTube video illustrating the training issues that accompanied this incredible "new" technology.
Hope you read and enjoyed at least one book during National Library Week. If not, now's the time to make your summer reading list.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

InfoTubey Library Awards

In honor of Natl. Library Week check out some of the best library videos on YouTube. Esp. check out the William's College history of 'short pencils.' There exists, albeit not easy to find, some great library humor. Hope there will be a second annual award and wish we could enter the contest. Anybody got an idea? I have the camera and iMovie, just need someone's fertile imagination--mine's suffering from year-end drought. js

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hot Docs for Natl Library Week

Vickey Baggott, goverment documents librarian, has a new Hot Docs at USA featuring a little light reading newly arrived from the Government Printing Office for National Library Week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Excellence in Librarianship Award to Vicki Tate

Yesterday, at the start of National Library Week, Vicki Tate received the Excellence in Librarianship from the Dean, Richard Wood.

Vicki is the Head of Government Documents and Serials and will, this year, be the Chair of the University's Faculty Senate. She is active in a number of organizations, moderates a document listserv, is serving on several search committees, adeptly handled recent flood damage in her department. Vicki is also known as the queen of the spreadsheet organizational method, an indoor gardener extraordinaire, and the person to see if you need a kitty cat in your life.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Urban Legend Fells Another Librarian!

On Wednesday of last week I posted a "fact" I got from a weird-facts webpage. It seems that I have been misled, hoodwinked and bamboozled. Always check your facts! A person, who-must-be-obeyed, but who shall remain nameless, found the truth on the VERY useful Urban Legend website. "The number of the horse's feet taken up from the ground has nothing to do with any attribute of the person depicted and everything to do with the skill of the sculptor and his ability to overcome nearly insurmountable problems in solid geometry, stress of materials, and other aspects of civil engineering..." From an unnamed webposting.

National Library Week-April 15-21

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hum That Tune

Got a song in your head? Can't figure out what it's called? Know some of the words, but need the rest for your next shower performance? Try this website--Midomi. Sing, hum or whistle a few bars into your computer microphone and, if you can carry just a bit of the tune, you should get back the info on the song, it's words, and the ability to download it for 99¢. Obviously this is not easy for technology and won't always work, but what the heck, maybe your roommate will even spring for the buck to get you past your made-up lyrics. I got this from MaryLaine Block's weekly email.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Weird Stuff

Can you read this page?

And Weird Trivia found on the web.

Did you know:
If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.

If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle.

If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
I got this from a webpage I can't find anymore or I would cite it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Writing Outreach--On Finding Literary Criticism: Articles

On Thursday,
Room 305,
in the Library,
I will be offering a workshop on how to find literary criticism for your literature termpapers. If you are in EH 101 or 102 you can come and ask questions about your papers too. Here's the webpage I am working on to be ready by Thursday at 3:30. js