Monday, August 31, 2009

AVL Databases

The Alabama Virtual Library has been a boon to our state as far as research is concerned. It has provided databases for all ranges and ages of researchers -- from kindergarten to graduate student to general public. Having access to the AVL has allowed the University of South Alabama Libraries to subscribe to very subject-specific databases such as ArtStor and IEEE Xplore, knowing that the general use databases had already been taken care of by the AVL.

Like the rest of the state, the AVL has been affected by the economic situation and finds its funding to be less this year than previous years. Keeping its mission in mind -- to provide information for all levels of researchers -- the AVL recently decided to cut the following databases from its list. Access will not be available after September 31:

OCLC FirstSearch databases
  1. CAMIO - Catalog of Art Museum Images Online
  2. ArchiveGrid
  3. ArticleFirst
  4. ClasePeriodica
  5. Electronic Collections Online
  6. GPO Monthly Catalog
  8. OAIster
  9. PapersFirst
  10. ProceedingsFirst
  11. World Almanac
  12. WorldCat
  13. WorldCat Dissertations
H.W. Wilson's Biography Reference Bank
SIRS Knowledge Source databases
  1. SIRS Issues Researcher
  2. SIRS Government Reporter
  3. SIRS Renaissance
Britannica's add-on databases
  1. World Data Analyst
  2. Annals of American History
  3. Enciclopedia Juvenil
  4. Enciclopedia Universal en EspaƱol
In addition to the above resources not being renewed, EBSCO's Academic Search Premier will be downgraded to Academic Search Elite.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fair Use

Determining whether your use of an item falls within Fair Use guidelines can be more problematic than you might think. Luckily, there's a tool that can help with that -- Fair Use Evaluator, from the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy. By providing information about an article and your intended use of that item, the Fair Use Evaluator can provide you with an idea of where on the spectrum from "Fair" to "Infringing" that your use may fall.

The makers of the Fair Use Evaluator are careful to note that this tool is not intended to provide you with legal advice and point out that only "a court of law can definitively rule whether a use is fair or unfair." However, the Fair Use Evaluator does provide you with information that can help, such as a time-stamped pdf document showing your use of the evaluator and the criteria you used to reach your decision about whether your use of a document falls within Fair Use guidelines. Check it out. Try it with the Exceptions for Instructor eTool if you are a faculty member.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Formatting Bibliographies

Sue Medina, the director of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, recently sent an email about an article discussing the top five online citation applications. I loved the one called BibMe -- it allows you to save citations for books, articles, web sites and other formats in the citation style you need whether MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian. You can download these and or save them to a free account.

Check out Bibme at