Sunday, May 29, 2011

Try our Online Encyclopedias

We librarians have always prided ourselves on being able to quickly find general information about almost anything. Our secret weapon has always been a good collection of general reference books, in particular encyclopedias. In another paper-saving measure we have begun to purchase encyclopedias online. These “secret weapons” are most useful for finding general information as background to topics.

Besides the benefit of saving paper, online encyclopedias are also available 24/7 to students by navigating to our Library webpage and by choosing Online Reference Sources. These resources are also currently listed alphabetically at Library Databases A-Z.

Following are several online encyclopedias we have recently acquired.

American Decades

This 10 vol. work provides the student with a chronological approach to studying the U.S. in the 20th century. Each volume covers one decade with sections covering topical areas such as medicine and health. The encyclopedia also includes detailed, year-by-year chronologies.

Black Women in America  

This important historical encyclopedia provides an excellent starting place for research on African American women. It features large topical essays covering broad topics (education, etc.), movements, organizations, time periods (Civil War, etc.), occupations, etc.

Countries and their Cultures  

Presents the cultural similarities within a country that set it apart from others by examining over 200 countries to document the myriad ways in which culture defines and separates the nations of the world as much as geographical borders do.

Encyclopedia of Bioethics

Covers a wealth of topics on the ethics of health professions, animal research, population control and the environment. The set helps researchers to consider the impact of new scientific knowledge and its potential to harm or benefit present and future generations.

Encyclopedia of Social Work 

Contains 200+ biographies of key figures in the history of social work. Also Includes entries on demographic changes from immigration, technology, the implications of managed-care, faith-based assistance, evidence-based practice, gerontology, trauma and disaster, etc.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Think Before You Print

Dr. Doug Cook

Think Before You Print

Since April 22, 2011 was National Earth Day, I wanted to highlight a positive trend which I see occurring in academic libraries - the movement toward digital content. Some of you may lament the days when you could come to the library and browse your professional journals in paper. Some of you probably miss that peculiar smell that paper books exude while sitting en masse on the shelves. Nostalgically I miss those days as well, however I am happy to have them all replaced by digital content. Here is why.

Digital scholarship saves trees. Forty years ago when I was in college there was no easy way to do research except by taking notes. In the honored tradition of scholars since the beginning of time, I would hie to the library eagerly searching for that perfect book by browsing the shelves or looking in the card catalog. I discovered useful articles with paper journal indexes. Then I would sit at a library table, reading and taking notes in a notebook (by hand with an actual pen.) When I was finished I would ride my dinosaur home to my cave.

By the time I finally got around to beginning my doctorate in 1985, the previous scenario was still mostly true. Except instead of taking notes in the library, I would xerox what I needed. Then I would take notes on the copied documents. Xeroxing documents revolutionized my research, because my time spent in scholarship was no longer dependent upon having the original document in hand. (In my basement, I still have a very large box of all the articles, etc. I xeroxed for my dissertation. They smell wonderful.)

If you think about this a bit you can easily see how many trees had to be killed for me to get through college and grad school. Think of all the paper items I needed - card catalog, paper journal indexes, books, journals, paper to take notes, copies of all the book chapters and journal articles, etc. etc. Scholars relying on paper kill trees.

Second, digital scholarship becomes easier as you make use of digital resources. The modern scholar in the digital library can choose to go paperless. I have slowly been trying to wean myself off paper. The card catalog, of course, is gone. Paper journal indexes are gone. I no longer take notes on paper - I use a laptop. I deliberately try not to xerox anything. I download articles to my laptop and read them on screen. (By the way, the latest free version of Adobe Reader allows you to highlight text and also take notes on the PDF article and save them digitally.)

So it is possible to be a paperless scholar if you push yourself a bit. Our students, as well, need to learn to navigate the paperless scholarly environment. Paper journals are almost a thing of the past. Printed books will rapidly follow - at least in undergraduate libraries. (Call me in ten years at the Old Folks home if I’m wrong.) Digital journals and books are cheaper to purchase and cheaper to maintain. Although libraries are going digital for pragmatic, rather than altruistic reasons, we are saving trees as well as money.

Digital scholarship is here. We need to embrace it. We need to help our students to become paperless scholars. Encourage them to take notes in class on a laptop. Show them how they can take notes or highlight with Adobe Reader X. Use e-textbooks instead of paper. Require them to hand in their assignments and “papers” digitally via D2L. Don’t produce paper handouts for your students. Encourage them to read the resources onscreen which you have placed on D2L. (You would be amazed at how many times in the library I see students printing out your PowerPoint presentations which you have graciously placed on D2L for them.)

By encouraging your students to become paperless scholars, you will save trees. But also you will help them to understand the very new and rapidly burgeoning world of digital publishing.

Think before you print and ask your students to do so as well.

Contact Doug Cook at dlcook at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Library Hours Term III - May 16 - June 3

Library Hours - Term III - May 16 - June 3

Term III – Monday through Friday, 7:30 am – 4:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday – Closed

Starbucks Summer Hours

Beginning Thursday, May 26th - Monday through Friday, 7:30 am - 3:00 pm

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Library Hours - May 8 - 14, 2011

Library Hours  - May 8 - 14, 2011
Sun - May 8 - closed
Mon - Fri - 10 am - 3:30 pm
Sat - May 15 - closed

Starbucks closed all week