12.10.2010

Extended Hours for Exam Week

Here's our schedule for the rest of the semester:

Friday, Dec 10: 8am-midnight
Saturday, Dec 11: 8am-midnight
Sunday, Dec 12: 1pm - 1am
Monday, Dec 13 - Thursday, Dec 16: 8am - 1am
Friday, Dec 17: 8am - 5pm

Good luck with your exams!

New Human Rights Research Guide

 
In recognition of Human Rights Day, we have created a new research guide, which includes featured titles, documentaries, and films from our collection, as well as resources available on the open web.

Check out the Human Rights Research Guide

11.30.2010

Mark Twain's "Autobiography" (v.1) is available at the Teszler Library

MARK TWAIN -- A Long Lost Photo ?

By design of the author, the world waited 100 years for this book.

But Twain's "Autobiography" is available now at the Teszler Library - look for it on the "New Books" display shelf.


Related links:
Mark Twain Autobiography official website "This is Mark Twain" - Interactive, informative.

"Dead for a Century, Twain Says What He Meant," New York Times article, July 9, 2010.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain – review, The Guardian, November 21, 2010.

The Adventures of Samuel Clemens (review), Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2010.

11.16.2010

Yahoo Clues

Yahoo released a new tool today called Yahoo Clues, which displays demographic trends related to popular searches. It also includes a "search flow," a look at the previous and next search terms used.  At present, Yahoo Clues only tracks the most popular topics, but "Yahoo said they hope to expand the number of terms included over time," according to Search Engine Land.

Here's a brief description from Yahoo:

Yahoo! Clues lets you explore how people are using Yahoo! Search. When you enter a word or phrase in the [Find Trend] field and click Discover, you’ll see information about that search term’s popularity over time, across demographic groups, and in different locations.


You can also enter a second search term in the "Compare With" field. This will show you information on both search terms, side by side.

Or, read Search Engine Land's detailed discussion, Yahoo Clues: New Fun Search Keyword Tool.

11.02.2010

Heinitsh Drug Store Papers now available online


Earlier this year a conscientious Spartanburg citizen donated the Heinitsh Drug Store Papers to Special Collections. This collection consists of prescriptions and formulas created in the operation of the family-run drug store during the 19th century.

The Heinitsh Drug Store was opened in 1856 and the proprietor Henry Heinitsh witnessed and participated in the explosive growth of Spartanburg after the Civil War. The store, located on Morgan Square for many years, would eventually boast the first telephone in the young city.

The collection we have basically consists of two items: a re-used cotton shipment ledger book in which were pasted prescription slips for various customers, and a small notebook presumably used as a reference by the Heinitshs marked "Formula's Private" (sic). The image above is a typical prescription slip. Below is the front cover of the formula book.


And here's the inside cover and front page:


Every page from the ledger and notebook have been digitized and put online for your examination. Surely this is an interesting collection for those interested in the history of medicine and pharmacology. And we can learn a great deal about the people and times from the maladies described in the prescriptions - perhaps this collection will provide new insights about the people and events of the period.

(Thanks to the staff of the Kennedy Local History Room at the Spartanburg County Library Headquarters for assisting me in my research about the Heinitsh family and their business. The resources provided there were critical to my understanding of this collection.)

11.01.2010

Blekko, a slashtag search

Blekko, a new search engine that allows users to filter results using slashtags, is now available to the public.  Here are a few clips explaining how Blekko works:

"blekko is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't." from Blekko.  According to Blekko's site, there are three types of slashtags, user, built-in, and topic slashtags, that allow you to limit searches to a type of site or by topic.

"Blekko’s “slashtags” are a unique feature that may draw you in on occasions when you want to see how search results look when they’re skewed to a particular viewpoint... This is all done using slashtags, special keywords that you place after what your searching for, in order to indicate the viewpoint you want used to spin your results." from Search Engine Land.

"Rich Skrenta, Blekko’s co-founder and chief executive, says that since Google started, the Web has been overrun by unhelpful sites full of links and keywords that push them to the top of Google’s search results but offer little relevant information. Blekko aims to show search results from only useful, trustworthy sites... Blekko’s search engine scours three billion Web pages that it considers worthwhile, but it shows only the top results on any given topic. It calls its edited lists of Web sites slashtags."  from the NY Times.

Search Blekko

10.20.2010

Library Schedule for Fall Break

Here are our hours for fall break, in case you are planning to visit the library:

Thursday 10/21: 8am – 5pm
Friday 10/22: 8:30am – 5pm
Saturday 10/23 : CLOSED
Sunday 10/24: 1pm – Midnight (Normal Schedule)

10.19.2010

New "Sandbox" Space Now OPEN!

Our new Collaborative Technology Sandbox space is now open! This renovated space is available for student use and features two large LCD monitors, a touch screen, and abundant Ethernet and power outlets to facilitate the use of technology for study and collaboration. We have also added comfortable, mobile furniture, so that the room can be reconfigured to meet your needs.

This new space was developed with suggestions from students and, now that we have completed the space, we would like your feedback.  Feel free to make comments on the flip chart in the space or to email us (askalibrarian@wofford.edu) your comments and any suggestions that you have.




10.18.2010

More Facebook privacy problems: Farmville, other games


From the Washington Post article:


Facebook admitted to a privacy breach affecting tens of millions of Facebook users this Sunday.
After a Wall Street Journal investigation, the social media network admitted that certain apps--including some from its top 10 most popular apps, such as Farmville and Texas HoldEm--had been transmitting user IDs to advertising and Internet-tracking companies.
Consider your privacy settings on Facebook. The article contains a couple tips.

10.11.2010

Sandbox Nears Completion

The "Collaborative Technology Sandbox" space is almost finished!  Last week, the flooring and furniture arrived. And, this week, the lighting fixtures and technology components are being installed.  Watch for announcements here on our blog, on our web site, and in the daily announcements that the space is ready for use!






10.07.2010

The Cephalopoda

Thaumatolampas diadema (head, funnel, mantle, eye dissected views)

"Thaumatolampas diadema (head, funnel, mantle, eye dissected views)."

About.

Source.

9.29.2010

Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project

The British Library recently completed a pilot project to digitize 284 Greek Manuscripts and the high quality images are now freely available on the Library's web site.  Here is a clip from their announcement, which provides a bit more detail:

The Greek manuscripts contain unique and outstandingly rich information for researchers working on the literature, history, science, religion, philosophy and art of the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Classical and Byzantine periods.

The Greek manuscripts that have been digitised provide witnesses of the rich culture of the Greek-speaking peoples from the time of the Iliad and Odyssey throughout the Hellenistic, early Christian, Byzantine and Ottoman eras and beyond. They are fundamental to understanding of the Classical and Byzantine world.

Highlights include:

* The Theodore Psalter - Produced in Constantinople in 1066, this highly illustrated manuscript of the Psalms is arguably the most significant surviving manuscript illuminated in Constantinople...

* Illuminated Gospels -A late 12th century gospel book which is rare because of its integration of images of Christ's life into the Gospels. Whereas portraits of the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, became a traditional feature of copies of the Gospels in Greek, narrative images were much less frequently included...

* Dialogues of Lucian - This early 10th century manuscript is the oldest surviving manuscript of the works of second-century author Lucian...

* Babrius's fables - The discovery of this manuscript on Mount Athos in 1842 gave rise to the first edition of Babrius's fables in 1844 and this manuscript remains the principal source for this text. It contains 123 Aesopic fables and was corrected by the great Byzantine scholar, Demetrius Triclinius...

* Breviarium Historicum - A late 9th-century manuscript of the history of the Byzantine Empire from the death of the Emperor Maurice in 602 to 713, by Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople...


Read the full announcement
Visit The British Library Digitised Manuscripts site

And the Best File Format for Open Textbook Publishing Is . . .

Things to consider:
  • Accessibility to students
  • File format used by original composer
  • Collaboration needs of multiple authors (wikis work more efficiently for this)
  • Revising by composers/teachers
  • the Ethos of the book
Read more about the debate at Kairosnews

9.27.2010

It's banned books week....




....Which is a great time to celebrate your right to free speech by reading what you want to read - and letting other people read what they want, too.



Here are a few of my favorites (now classics, of course) that were banned for one reason or another:

Ulysses, by James Joyce
1984, by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

I know that I'd be a different person without having read these books. Do you have any favorite banned books? The answer is likely "yes" - imagine if you'd never been allowed to read your favorite books.

If you want to know more about banned books, the Teszler library has a page with links to banned books resources. Consider the list of "banned classics," which is where I found my favorites. Or look into how books are "challenged," or on what grounds books were withheld from readers.

This is such a fundamental First Amendment issue that there are many ways of considering the phenomenon; one could have a whole semester-long class on it, just as Wofford's Dr. Byrnes is doing this year.

But for us librarians, it comes down to this:

9.14.2010

Review: Barnes & Noble's nook e-reader

The Library recently acquired Barnes & Noble's nook e-reader. It is the main competitor against Amazon's Kindle in the e-ink e-reader market. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

[Figure 1] Homescreen.

The nook is an interesting gadget and it did some things very well -- and some things not very well at all. I put it to the academic test by trying to replace two volumes of Congressional committee testimony and about a half dozen PDFs that I'm using for a current research project. Would this be the device to free me from my man-bag?

[Figure 2] The nook's wi-fi trying to connect.

Web-browsing: thumbs down

The nook, to its credit, allows the user to get on the open web with a browser (of sorts). However, it always wants to do it. I would turn it on and soon see the screen above. “You’re not a computer, I just want to read,” I’d think, but the nook really wanted to connect and would anxiously bring my attention to its connectivity (or lack thereof).

The web browsing experience really isn’t anything to shout about either: the user simultaneously surfs on both the LCD touch screen and the not-epileptic-friendly e-ink display. (Actual navigation is by the touchscreen, the e-ink display is not touch-sensitive.) Simply put, browsing the web on the nook wasn’t quite right. In fact, like a number of nook’s “features,” it was frustrating and I barely completed a basic Google search before saying “forget it.”


[Figure 3] A nook screensaver featuring Homer.

E-ink display: thumbs up

This was my first exposure to an e-ink device, and prior to handling the nook I was a vociferous e-ink skeptic. “I just have my doubts about how much people are going to want to look at a black-and-white screen,” I would say. (Indeed, I still feel that way about all-in-one devices such as any trying to compete with Apple's iPad.) However, the e-ink display does live up to the hype when it comes to eye fatigue. As a special collections librarian I look at LCD computer screens, books and manuscripts all day, so when I get home reading is not at the top of my to-do list, often because of eye fatigue. (Full disclosure: I’m also nearsighted and prefer to read without glasses, which I rarely do at work.) But there are times when I either must or want to read after work, and a physical book or printout is the only way I’ll go. (Read a scholarly article in PDF format on my home computer after working all day? No thanks. It just doesn’t happen.) So when I got a chance to try after-work reading on the nook, I gave it a shot, and I was really impressed: I had a couple marathon (for me) sessions of about 3 or 4 hours after reading all day at work, and I never suffered aching eyes. The “refresh” --the flash of black to white when you turn the page -- of the e-ink screen is only really annoying when using the web browsing feature or impatiently navigating the “My Library” or “My Documents” menus. When engrossed in a text the refresh is not only not bothersome, but something I failed to notice entirely after a couple pages. Some people won’t believe that, but I’m not the first reviewer to say that.


PDFs: thumbs down

But what initially intrigued me about the nook – and eventually disappointed -- was B&N’s claim that the nook would handle PDFs. In my mind, this is an absolutely essential feature for the working professional, academic, and contemporary college student -- a make or break feature. So I put the nook through its paces, downloading (via PC) a number of articles from JSTOR, a commonly used academic database. The transfer from PC to nook was easy – no complaints there (aside from the fact that I had to connect the nook to my PC with a wire to execute the transfer) . But once I opened up the PDFs on the nook, things went downhill very quickly.

Basically, I wanted to see if the nook could save me some printing, and save my back from carrying around reams of paper (and volumes of books). Granted, not everything that went wrong with the nook’s reading of PDFs is B&N’s fault; surely much of the problem lies with the initial creation of the PDFs by the periodicals, their parent company, and the quality control implemented (or not) by JSTOR when the mega-database slurps up the files. Anyway, so much of the nook’s handling of PDFs seems to depend on the properties of the specific PDF, and these properties differ from journal to journal, perhaps even volume to volume or issue to issue and, it would figure, from database to database.

But still: promise me the moon and I’ll expect the stars, you know? If the thing is supposed to handle PDFs, then I’d better be able to read PDFs. Period. Some PDF files allowed the nook to re-size the text to legible size, and some simply did not, leaving them minute and best read with a magnifying glass (figures 4 and 5).

[Figure 4] That's my thumb.

[Figure 5] A PDF whose font size could not be adjusted.

Other PDFs were so flexibly manipulated by the nook that I could distort them beyond readability, i.e. when I super-sized the text (Figure 6).


[Figure 6] A more flexible PDF.
[Figure 7] This PDF was actually able to adjust text size reasonably well. Here, text size is small.
[Figure 8] Here the same PDF is shown with medium text size. Not perfect, but at least it did something.

This also happened with many free books acquired via Google Books, making them much less desirable products to use (which saddens my librarian heart). Many if not most of the free books displayed poorly on the nook. OCR mistakes and poor page-formatting were apparent. Sometimes the scan just wasn’t that good and you had to live with it. So, in the case of “free” books on the nook, you get what you pay for. The best-reading books on the nook are those formatted for e-reader devices, and of course those are the ones you pay for, silly consumer.

For instance, I bought an e-reader-formatted Complete Shakespeare for $4.79. Not a bad price for all of the Bard, and it was pretty readable mostly, except for when I increased the text-size and blew the page-formatting all out of whack, making the iambic pentameter run over the end of lines into some free-verse-looking mess. (That’s not a knock to free verse poetry, of course, it’s just an affection for iambic pentameter.)


Usability: thumbs down

The nook was the first device I had personally handled that featured any iteration of Google’s Android operating system, so I was pretty excited to take a test drive. But I was not excited for long. Aside from the fact that the LCD screen for navigating the device was way too small and really did not play well with my adult-male-sized hands, I found the OS sluggish and its navigation unintuitive. Several times I would detour from reading to utilize a feature such as bookmarking, highlighting, or note-taking (all good ideas, by the way), accidentally hit the wrong “button” on the LCD, find myself thrown back to a home or menu screen, and then spend a number of minutes just trying to get back to the page I’d last been reading. Not exactly convenient. Of course there’s much blame to be placed on user-error, but when a relatively tech-savvy person finds himself snarling “No! That’s not…oh wait…argh!” at an electronic device, surely some blame lies with the device.

I handed the nook to a friend and after giving her a quick tour, her immediate response was “I don’t see old people using this.” Quite right. The “reading” part of the nook is great, and if you get sucked in to a (well-formatted) book (that you paid for) you might just forget how unhelpful the computer inside is. But the nook, with the small LCD screen and weak Android OS, makes it very difficult to get to that point of reading (which is the point of owning this thing, right?) where you relax and sink into the story on that milky e-ink screen.

I don't think this is the last we'll see of B&N or the nook, but future versions will need a serious OS upgrade and some redesign of the touchscreen to make it a market winner.

Awful Library Books: "The Hippy's Handbook."


"The Hippy Handbook." 1967.
Priceless subtitle: "How to live on love." Sheesh.

This is from the Awful Library Books blog, a site kept by librarians, about which they say: "This site is a collection of public library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for public libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection. Contained in this site are actual library holdings."

Enjoy the awful.

9.08.2010

"There is nobody on the planet who knows how to make a computer mouse."



At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It's not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

What's the process that's having an effect in cultural evolution as sex is having in biological evolution? And I think the answer is exchange, the habit of exchanging one thing for another. It's a unique human feature. No other animal does it....As Adam Smith said: "No man ever saw a dog make a fair exchange of a bone with another dog."
In the best TED tradition, this talk is a brainy -and slightly cheeky - romp through human history, anthropology, biology, and economics.

[When Ideas Have Sex, a TED talk by Matt Ridley.]

9.07.2010

New Drink Policy in the Library

On an experimental basis, drinks in covered containers are permitted in the library!  Please help us make the experiment successful by disposing of trash properly and recycling when possible. Recycling bins are currently available in the main entrance way and will be available on each floor in the near future.

Handheld E-Book Readers and Scholarship: Report and Reader Survey

The American Council of Learned Societies has released Handheld E-Book Readers and Scholarship: Report and Reader Survey.

Among the topics discussed are difficulty with format conversion, online versus handheld, loss of print page numbers in some formats and cost analysis.

From the report:
Among the staff there was some preference for the MOBI edition on the Kindle in terms of display, searching and mark-up; and for ePub on the Sony Reader for its direct touch-screen functionality.

Summarized from Digital Koans. Follow the link above to read the report.

8.19.2010

Library Sandbox Progress

Here are a few photos of this week's work on the sandbox space:

8.16.2010

Sandbox Construction Update

Last week the walls around the sandbox space were installed:

8.05.2010

Construction Officially Underway

Construction of our new collaborative technology sandbox space officially began this week! The carpet, ceiling grid, and lights have been removed to make way for new task lighting, sound absorbing panels, and updated, comfortable furnishings. If you visit the library, be prepared for drilling and construction noises.  Here are a few photos:


7.27.2010

Government Backs 'Jailbreaking' Of iPhones

From the article at NPR, news for us:

In addition to jailbreaking, other exemptions announced Monday would:

— Allow college professors, film students and documentary filmmakers to break copy-protection measures on DVDs so they can embed clips for educational purposes, criticism, commentary and noncommercial videos.


iPhone

"Gov't Unlocks Apple's iPhone But Is The Jailbreak Era Over?"

From an editorial at NPR:

The iPhone ecosystem, which Apple protects with the ferocity of a Smoke Monster, is about to get wilder.

And we have the Library of Congress to thank for it....

What other entrenched, unimpeachable American institution will be the next to take Apple down a notch? Betty White?

7.15.2010

Gulf Oil Spill Information Center Research Guide

The University of South Florida Libraries have created a great research guide to information and data on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spoil and the clean-up efforts.


Gulf Oil Spill Information Center Research Guide

6.23.2010

E-books after the iPad

Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, considering the future of e-books, shares "some random ideas." It's not hard to imagine the implications that some of the features he fancies could have on education, higher education in particular. For instance, consider the prospect of an instructor leaving notes in certain passages of a text. Or a rich multimedia reference function (definitions, animation, video)in text - how might that change the textbooks for biology, chemistry, physics?

6.18.2010

What’s happening on the main floor of the Library?

You may have noticed that we are renovating a small portion of the library near the Reference Desk.



This spring, we held design workshops with students to talk about what they needed in the library that was not currently available. Roughly 45 students participated in the conversation and we received some really great suggestions.

We shared the student suggestions with the folks at Ayers/Saint/Gross, a design firm in Baltimore, and they helped us to design a space that would address as many of those ideas as possible. We are planning to have spaces where you can plug in your laptops to a shared screen to collaborate on projects, view videos on large screens together as a group, or work on your laptop in technology-equipped lounge chairs. We’re also planning to update the look and feel of the space with better lighting, brighter colors, and more comfortable furniture. And, most of the furniture will be on wheels, so you will be able to rearrange it to meet your needs.

Here are a few sketches that the Ayers/Saint/Gross folks shared with us.  We may be making some changes as construction gets underway, but these images will give you a general idea of what we’re thinking:



You may be wondering about the café tables pictured on the portico in the images. One of our librarians noticed how great it was to have the temporary tables on the portico during our design sessions and students agreed, so we’re also planning to add café tables in time for the Fall semester!

We’ll be posting photos here on the blog as the space transforms to keep you up-to-date, but feel free to stop in and check out the changes for yourself over the course of the summer!

Major Changes to OED Online

In a letter on the Oxford English Dictionary web site, the company announced that they would be making major changes to OED online based on readers' comments and their own vision for the future of the site.  The new version will be launched in December 2010.  While the letter offers little in the way of details, the editor mentions the plan to include the content from the Historical Thesaurus of the OED.

Read the letter from the editor 
Visit the OED

6.17.2010

Best Anti-Plagiarism YouTube Video

I stumbled across this anti-plagiarism video created by the University of Bergen in a recent American Library Association newsletter...

6.11.2010

Multilingual WorldWideScience.org Launch Broadens Access to Global Science

WorldWideScience.org now allows 'users to search non-English databases in China, Russia, France, and several Latin American countries and receive search results translated into one of nine languages.'  And, more languages will be added in the future.  Here's a clip from the DOE's announcement:

"Scientific language barriers were broken today in Helsinki with the launch of Multilingual WorldWideScience.org. While a large share of scientific literature is published in English, vast quantities of high-quality science are not, and the pace of non-English scientific publishing is increasing. WorldWideScience.org will now enable the first-ever real-time searching and translation across globally-dispersed, multilingual scientific literature using complex translations technology."

"WorldWideScience.org was formally launched in 2007 with federated searching of 12 databases in 10 countries. Through early 2010, it had grown to search national scientific databases in 65 countries, covering some 400 million pages of science."

Read the DOE Announcement
Visit WorldWideScience.org

6.09.2010

200-year-old ‘tweets’ found in diaries

Here's an interesting post from Futurity.org:

200-year-old ‘tweets’ found in diaries
CORNELL (US)— In reviewing volumes of diary entries—mostly written by women—from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a researcher at Cornell University has found many terse Twitter-style records about what was happening in daily life.

Entries ranged, for example, from what was for dinner to reports of deaths, births, marriages, and travel—such as “April 7. Mr. Fiske Buried. April 27. Made Mead. At the assembly,” from the 1770 diary of Mary Vial Holyoke of Salem, Mass.

“We tend to think of new media as entirely new and different,” says Lee Humphreys, Cornell University assistant professor of communication, who has studied social media for five years. “But often we see people using new media for old problems that people have always had to think about and engage with.”

Read the entire article on Futurity

5.19.2010

Google Wave for everyone!




You can now get Google Wave without an invitation, Google announced today. If you've got a Google sign-in (such as the one you use for GMail) you'll be able to roll right into (and through) Wave's login page.

So what is Wave? Well, I don't really know since I just signed up. But it turns out that people were asking similar questions last year when the product was first rolled out:

[Google's introduction of Wave] failed to answer perhaps the fundamental question, “what do we do with it right now?,” developer Lars Rasmussen tells us. ”That’s because we weren’t sure,” he admits. People would load it up and get overwhelmed or confused. “But we know that now — it’s about groups of people adopting Wave,” he says.

Over the past year of watching usage, Rasmussen’s team concluded that the “sweet spot” for Wave is group collaboration. While these days, most sexy new services are some variety of social network where people share things, Wave is about “people getting together to get work done,” he says. And that’s the market Wave now intends to go squarely after. (via TechCrunch)
OK, so there is a bunch of information out there from Google and others describing what Wave is and how it works. I liked this video as an introduction.

Update: You may also want to check out this article in Lifehacker, linked to in previous post about Google Wave by Sara Loree.

5.13.2010

Try This Browser Plug-In Checker Web Page

Mozilla has completed development on their browser plug-in checker webpage. Simply navigate to the page and it checks the currency of all your browser plug-ins and reports which ones are out of date and possibly vulnerable. Then it offers you an opportunity to update.


Here's the url: Plugin Check

Facebook Releases New Login Security Features

In answer to the unceasing firestorm of concerns over Facebook's less than stellar performance regarding privacy, the company has released new tools and systems to help you maintain your privacy and take action when it is breached. The timing of the release of these features is interesting, don't you think?

Read more here: Staying in Control of Your Facebook Logins


summarized from TechCrunch

Remember Haiti

Remember Haiti is a digital exhibit created by the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University to share the history of Haiti through a selection of rare books.

Visit Remember Haiti

5.10.2010

It's paper-writing (and citation-building) time! Whoop-de-doo.


With the end of term comes sunshine, picnics, lounging in the sun and, oh yeah, all those big papers to write. Fun times.

And, of course, with those papers come your in-text citations, footnotes, endnotes, and the bibliography or works-cited page. We know they're not fun to build, but they are very necessary. Why?, you ask. Good question: the reason citations are important is because the person reading your paper (your professor) needs to know where you are getting your information from and, should they want to, needs to be able find the resource you cite with minimal effort.

Did you know that the library provides resources at your very fingertips for assisting you in citing your sources? It's true: check out this page that links out to guides on the various citation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA, CSE).

You may also want to consider using citation tools that can automate (read: save you time) building citations.

Remember: if you need help building a citation for a complex (read: frustrating) resource - such as an article previously published then reprinted in an anthology - ASK A LIBRARIAN for help!

Also, remember this: if you need help composing your paper, have a visit with your skilled peers in the Writing Center!




5.07.2010

Wikipedia Now Lets You Order Printed Books

Wikipedia has launched a new feature: the ability to create custom books from Wikipedia content and either download as a pdf or order as a printed copy. Wikipedia content is licensed in such a way that images and copy are free to anyone to access, use and share in this way. This for a fee service is available now.

Pricing is dependent upon size of book (number of pages). Value of content is left to the user to evaluate.

Read more here: Wikipedia Books


from Mashable

5.06.2010

Facebook hacked, used as instrument of social engineering in North Africa

North Africa 2007 299 Tunis

As a result of Open Graph implementation, "Facebook's New Policies Make Harassment Easy":

"(A) group was created on Facebook (in Arabic) for the sole purpose of reporting, and thus having removed, Facebook profiles of atheist Arabs. The group, which appears to have also been removed, was entitled 'Facebook pesticide' and its sole purpose was to 'identity Atheists / Agnostic / anti-religion in the Arab world and specifically in Tunisia ...' Once identified, the group members would then attempt to report such users."


Read about it here.

5.05.2010

Google to Launch Digital Books by Early Summer

Books - U Chicago Library

The e-book market just got more interesting - Google is entering the fray this summer.

Read about it at the Wall Street Journal.

5.03.2010

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Maps and Information

+ UPDATE: New Database: Oil Spills Since 2000 (U.S.)

+ UPDATE: Gulf of Mexico – Transocean Drilling Incident
A one-stop show with the updates; maps, images, news releases, info for and from specific states, etc.
Content from: DHS; NOAA; USCG; bp; and Transocean.

A Twitter Stream and Facebook page from DeepwaterHorizon are are also available.

+ Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Map – Forecast through May 3 (NOAA)

+ Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill – Maps and Images (U.S. Coast Guard)

+ Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill [map updated each evening] (NOAA)
Note: Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for MANY MORE resources.

Source: NOAA, USCG (via THE WONDERFUL Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin)
Need a geographic related map? You can usually find it at Perry-Castañeda Web Site



via Resource Shelf.

4.28.2010

Facebook, Open Graph, and your privacy

If you've signed-on to Facebook recently you might've noticed one of those little pop-up messages from the site saying "we've changed this or that about how we share information about you, and we assume that's cool with you so just click-through, OK?". Specifically, Facebook is implementing something called the "Open Graph API", which is designed to utilize Facebook users' personal data to customize their wider web experience (i.e. the Internet beyond Facebook) and so that "pages [liked] show up richly across Facebook: in user profiles, within search results and in News Feed."

What this all really comes down to is the almost instant ubiquity of the "Like" button. (You may have noticed that your Facebook friends seem to be "liking" more lately.)

So, is this all cool with you? Maybe, right? Personally, I think the automatic opt-in is a little presumptuous (if not downright scary), so instead of clicking through, I actually check to see how Facebook is using me. (Full disclosure: I agree with Molly Wood when she says "I hold few illusions that Facebook's business strategy has ever been about anything other than building up a huge user base and then selling ads to those users." That said, I am also a pretty avid Facebook user. "Hypocrite auteur!")

Short of entirely deleting your Facebook account, you can actually protect yourself quite well. Here's a decent (and short) video on how to toggle your privacy settings:



For all you "reading types" out there, here are (one, two) text-based guides to protecting your privacy.

Oh, and apparently this whole thing has gone political, with some Senators making noises about the new initiative.

4.27.2010

Help us redesign part of the library!

Students, please join us at the library Tuesday, April 27 and share your ideas on redesigning a portion of the main floor. We’ll be running 20-minute design brainstorming sessions at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm and we would love to hear your suggestions. In exchange for your time, we’ll supply pizza and soda on the front portico.

**UPDATE: If you weren't able to make it to our design brainstorming sessions on Tuesday night, please feel free to stop by the reference desk or email askalibrarian@wofford.edu for more information or to share your ideas.

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint

Death by Powerpoint too.

From today's (27 April 2010) New York Times, an article on society's prevalent presentation software, Microsoft's PowerPoint, and its use, misuse, and abuse in the military.
“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat
Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given PowerPoint briefings during a trip to Afghanistan last summer at each of three stops — Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bagram Air Base. At a fourth stop, Herat, the Italian forces there not only provided Mr. Holbrooke with a PowerPoint briefing, but accompanied it with swelling orchestral music.

President Obama was shown PowerPoint slides, mostly maps and charts, in the White House Situation Room during the Afghan strategy review last fall.

Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs. (emphasis added)



Want to try something different? Consider Prezi for your next presentation.

4.26.2010

2010 State of America’s Libraries Report

The ALA has published the 2010 State of America’s Libraries Report. The study shows increased library usage, but not an increase in library funding. Here are some of this year’s key findings:
  • Internet use continues to expand at public libraries, which have seen double-digit growth since 2007 in the on-line services they make available to their patrons.
  • Ninety-six percent of Americans feel that school libraries are an essential part of the education experience because they provide resources to students and teachers and because they give every child the opportunity to read and learn.
  • America’s academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual.
    America’s libraries continue their efforts to support minorities and other underserved or disadvantaged populations.
  • The library community continues to defend a core value embodied in the First Amendment and the corollary right to receive and consider ideas, information, and images.
  • Library construction fared better in 2009 than many expected during the recession, especially given the unreliability of funding for programming, materials, and hours.
Use the link above to read the full report.
from iLibrarian

4.22.2010

10 Free iPhone Apps to Help You Go Green for Earth Day

It's Earth Day. I post this with some hesitation. Is Earth Day just a marketing opportunity? Or, could it be a day to renew our commitment to a sustainable lifestyle, in which we choose to recycle, conserve our finite resources, live a thoughtful and respectful life and choose to make our carbon footprint smaller and smaller? I believe that it is a day for commitment.

Here are the iPhone apps...

1. iRecycle
2. Find Green
3. Consumer Change
4. Greenpeace Tissue Guide
5. Carbon Calc
6. Mission Zero
7. Label Lookup
8. ClimateCounts
9. What’s On My Food?
10. GreenSpace Map

free iPhone apps post from mashable!

4.21.2010

Volcano Lightning?! What a world....

National Geographic has a couple pictures of a lightning storm that occurred in conjunction with the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. (Click here for a pronunciation - seriously - of Eyjafjallajökull.)

Volcanic lightning is still not entirely understood by scientists that study volcanoes (a.k.a. volcanologists).

Pandora Partners with Facebook for Social Music

Music discovery engine Pandora is receiving some deep social integration with Facebook, Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today at the F8 Developer Conference.

Made possible by Facebook’s new Open Graph protocol, Pandora will be able to stream music directly on Facebook.com from bands you’ve “liked” across the web. You’ll be able to see which of your friends likes similar music and check out what other music they like and have in their collections.

The combination of Open Graph and the new, wide-reaching “Facebook Like” button around the web means that “liking” a band on a third-party site will register with your Facebook profile, which can in turn inform your Pandora profile even while you’re discovering music at other points around the web. It also tightly hooks your Pandora profile with your “real” social graph of friends on Facebook.

from Mashable

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day - Tips for Going Green

29 SimpleTips For Going Green from Squidoo

Change to Fluorescent Bulbs - If every house in the United States changed all of the light bulbs in their house, that would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the streets.
Don't Rinse - Skip rinsing your plates before putting them into the dishwasher. In average you will save 15 gallons of water per load. Plus, you will save time.
Hang Outside to Dry - Get a clothes line or rack to dry your clothes. Your clothes will last longer and you will save money.
Turn off computers at night - don't just put them to sleep. You will save an average of 4 cents a day which ads up to $14.60 a year.
Use Both Sides of Paper - if you have a printer with a double sided print option use it. You will save half of the amount of paper you would have normally used.Then when your done bring it to the recycle bin.
Get rid of baths - Don't take baths, take showers. You will in average save about half the amount of water that you would if you were taking a bath.
Don't get bottled water - Instead of bottled water get a reusable container to carry water. Also you can get a filter to make your home tap taste more like bottled water. It is definitely more cost efficient.
Turn the water off when you brush - Your parents have said this before, now I say it. You will save 4 gallons of water doing this alone.
Shorten your shower - Every minute you cut from your shower is roughly 5 gallons of water. The less time your shower takes, the lower your impact on the environment.
Recycle Glass - If you do not recycle this, it will take a million years to decompose.
Don't Pre-Heat the Oven - unless needed, just turn the oven on after you put the dish in it. Also, to see if it's finished just look through the glass instead of opening it.
Use Warm or Cold Setting on Washer - instead of the hot cycle use the warm or cold setting. This will save a lot of energy a year.
Turn Down your Thermostat - Every degree lower in the winter or higher in the summer you put it is a 10% decrease on your energy bill.
Turn off your lights - An easy one. Turn off your lights when you are not using them. The benefits are obvious.
Get rid of junk mail - There are many services that can help you get rid of junk mail. That will lead to a lot less trees being cut down to take up room in your mailbox.
Use Matches instead of lighters - Lighters are usually considered disposable so they will most likely end up in land fills. You can use the cardboard matches which are much more eco-friendly because they are made of recycled material.
Don't get a paper phone book - Instead of getting a paper phone book. Use a online directory instead.
Give things away - Take things that you are not going to wear or use and give it to a charity or someone who will use it.
Go to a car wash - Going to a car wash is a lot more water efficient then washing your car at home.
Stop paper bank statements - Why waste paper getting your bank statement mailed to you when you can just check it out online.
Buy Rechargeable Batteries - Even though it will take a good investment to buy these you will find yourself gaining it back in no time.
Pay your Bills Online - If every house in the US did this then we would save 18 million trees every year.
Get a reusable bag - You can't recycle plastic bags, instead get yourself a reusable bag so that you won't have to worry about carrying your necessities.
Do Errands in Bulk - Make a list of the things you have to do, and see if you can fit a couple of those things together in one ride.
Inflate your Tires - If your tires are properly inflated at all times your car will run more miles on less gas.
Wrap Presents Creatively - Without going out to get wrapping paper you can use newspaper, an old map, or anything else. It would look a whole lot more creative.
Plant a Tree - It's good for the air, can keep you cool, and can increase your property value.
Buy Local Produce - Consider how much energy it takes for produce from china or any other country to come here. If you have the option to buy local, do it.
Walk or Ride Your Bike When you can - If you have to go somewhere close consider riding your bike or walking there instead of your car. It's better on the environment and healthier.

4.16.2010

Odd items in archival collections

Odd things sometimes turn up in personal paper collections. This one isn't quite so odd in its content - it's a letter, written in an allegorical style, from a minister to a bishop. The format is what is amusing. The letter that I'm sharing today was written on tissue paper. By that, I mean the kind of tissue that comes on rolls.

Check out the archives blog for more...

4.15.2010

Library of Congress to archive your tweets

From CNN:  Library of Congress to archive your tweets

"Every 140-character snippet of info you've ever shared publicly on Twitter will soon have a home next to the Declaration of Independence.

Twitter and the Library of Congress announced Wednesday that every public tweet posted since Twitter started in 2006 will be archived digitally by the federal library.

The purpose, according to a blog post by Library of Congress communications director Matt Raymond, is to document "important tweets" as well as gather information about the way we live through the sheer masses of tweets on the site."

Read the full story
Library of Congress Announcement
Twitter Announcement

4.14.2010

ALA: The State of America's Libraries, 2010

An excerpt from this report by the American Library Association:

"Academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that during a typical week in fiscal 2008, U.S. academic libraries had more than 20.3 million visits (1.5 million more than in fiscal 2006), answered more than 1.1 million reference questions, and made more than 498,000 presentations to groups. Seventy-two percent of academic libraries reported providing library reference service by e-mail or the Web.
Almost 95 percent of students use their academic library's website at least once a week, according to a study on students and technology by the Educause Center for Applied Research, and the proportion of students who reported using the library's website daily increased from 7.1 percent in 2006 to 16.9 percent in 2009. Project Information Literacy found that nine out of 10 college students surveyed turned to libraries "for online scholarly research databases . . . for conducting course-related research, valuing the resources for credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructors' expectations."

Read the whole report here: The State of America's Libraries, 2010.

New Newsletter from the Writing Center

Wofford's Writing Center has launched a new newsletter, the Terrier Telegraph.  In the April 13, 2010 issue, you will find interviews with Dr. Trakas of the English Department and Jessica Lee, a Writing Center tutor.  It also includes a list of upcoming Writing Center workshops.  The next workshop is on April 15 at 7pm in Main 322 and will cover the topic of Style.

Read the Terrier Telegraph

4.13.2010

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Collection

The Library of Congress recently launched a new version of their Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, which includes some great new features.  First, you might be wondering what the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog is.  The catalog includes 1.25 million images from the Library of Congress's collection of ~14 million photographs prints, drawings, posters, architectural and engineering drawings, etc.  "While international in scope, the collections are particularly rich in materials produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people."  (see About PPOC for more information)

The new features include better browsing and viewing options, as well as tools for sharing individual images, collections, or searches.  For details about the new features, see the LOC's official announcement.

Search the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
Read the official announcement from the Library of Congress

4.09.2010

Palaeoanthropologist discovers ancient ancestor, aided by Google Earth

Professor Lee Berger, a palaeoanthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, recently discovered a new species of hominid, Australopithecus sediba, almost two million years old, with the help of Google Earth.  According to the Official Google Blog, Berger used Google Earth to map known caves and fossil sites and then used the tool to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites.  One of these newly identified fossil sites led to the discovery of Australopithecus sediba.

Read the announcement from the University of Witwatersrand
Read the Google Blog Post

4.08.2010

OAIster's Union Catalog of Digital Resources

This agreement between the University of Michigan and OCLC ensures more robust support for and access to a union catalog of digital resources for scholars all over the world. OCLC will host, augment and maintain the records in OAIster, which include: digitized books and journal articles, digital text, audio files, video files, photographic images, data sets, theses and research papers.



Try this resource here: OCLC/OAIster

4.06.2010

5 Best E-Book Apps

Thanks to Mashable for this post on free iPhone apps for reading e-books.  In the post, they review the Barnes & Noble eReader, Kindle for iPhone, Stanza, Wattpad 1000+ Books, and eBooks by Kobo apps.

Read Mashable's 5 Best iPhone Apps for Reading E-Books post

Futurity.org

Futurity.org is a great site for staying up to date on the latest research news from major universities in the United States, Canada, and the UK.  They cover the topics of Earth & Environment, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, and Society & Culture.  You can subscribe to a daily email digest or a RSS Feed, or download an iPhone or Android app.

Visit Futurity

3.31.2010

Ornithology Resources for Spring (Talkin' Springtime Birdsong Blues)

Down here in Spartanburg we are lucky to be able to observe a large variety of winged beasties. But North America itself is a very rich bird habitat - as the blooms come out, you'll hear the spring soundtrack of birdsong (and bird-shrieks!). With the help of my colleague Tim Brown I've assembled a few good resources for learning more about birds, their songs, their habitats, and their behavior.

But first things first:

"Ornithology" briefly (and variously) defined by Google's "define:" function.

The etymology (linguistic origin) of the word "ornithology," from the Online Etymology Dictionary.


Some juicer stuff:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a great (free!) resource on the web from Cornell U., this site has some excellent features, most notably birdsong audio, pictures, videos(!) along with identification tips, maps indicating birds' ranges, and well, lots of good stuff. Prepare to get lost - in a good way - in this resource.


Scholarly resources (search our catalog for these titles):

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Ornithology (hard copy only).

Journal of Ornithology (electronic journal).

The Wilson Journal of Ornithology (electronic journal).

The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology (electronic journal).

Journal of Avian Biology (electronic journal).


And there are several more. Search in our catalog for "ornithology."



Or maybe a book about the history of ornithology? Try searching our catalog for "A passion for birds : American ornithology after Audubon." Just a hint.

You may also want to search our catalog using terms like "birds," "bird watching," and so on. Use the links (just about any blue text, really) in the catalog to refine your searches. Go ahead and fiddle with the "facets" on the right side of the results page to find different types of resources - not to brag, but we've got lots.


But you ask: How about an 1893 illustration of the Red-Tailed Hawk in the Public Domain that I can download? Funny you should mention....

"RED-TAILED HAWK Buteo Borealis (Gmel.)"


Or perhaps over 350,000 digital images of birds assembled by the masses? Done:



Chirp, chirp and gobble, gobble - thanks to Tim B. for helping with this post.