Category Archives: Library resources

Barkeep, give me a juice box, neat!

I’ve done a little research and haven’t found the answer to my question, so please help. Where do all the bar/alcohol terms we use come from (like straight, neat, on the rocks…)? And more importantly, are you a rube if you still use them or a rube if you don’t?

Neat?!  Who are you, Sinatra?  While some descriptive is necessary to let the bartender know what you want, I’d only use terms like “neat” ironically.

A good place to learn about the etymology of such words is the Oxford English Dictionary.  Also, Duke Libraries has several excellent slang dictionaries, including Barron’s American slang dictionary and thesaurus and Chambers slang dictionary.

Duke Libraries' LGBT fiction collection

Can the library get a larger section of LGBT fiction?  You have very little… [3574C]

[written in answer space:  Erotic Fiction?]

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, Secret Scribbler, but LGBT fiction and Erotic fiction are not synonymous.

One of the Libraries’ missions is to build collections that support the University’s curriculum and research.  That said, with a finite collections budget and predatory vendors setting serials prices that far outpace inflation, it’s difficult to purchase everything for everybody in our community.  Fortunately, you can get pretty much anything you want through Interlibrary Loan.  With our expedited loan agreement with UNC-CH, NC State, and NC Central, you can get materials from their collections within 48 hours.  Our combined collections are more than 15 million volumes!  And you’re always welcome to suggest a purchase for the Perkins Library Collection.

Exciting graffito

While taking a break to use the bathroom in the library, I discovered written upon the stall door the exact text needed to pull my thesis together.  But, how do I cite it?  I looked through the MLA, APA and Chicago guides, but there is no listing for bathroom graffiti.  How should I cite this?

Well aren’t you a clever person?!  And thanks for informing us about this vandalism; I’ll relay the information to Housekeeping so they can remove it.  By the way, this is exactly the sort of question our reference librarians answer at Ask Us Now!

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve been straining with this one, because of my strong urge to express myself with an answer worthy of your question, an answer of sufficient girth and gravity to allow you to easily plop the citation into your paper.

You’re correct that APA and MLA don’t offer guidance on citing graffiti specifically. I recommend checking The Chicago Manual of Style on Informally Published Material.

Great books

Why is the Great Gatsby such a good book?  How about Catch 22?  I’m not even an English major and I think they’re great. [3557C]

One doesn’t need to major in English to appreciate great works of literature. One mark of great writing is its impact on future writers. Another is the work’s ability to transcend cultures and time. Shakespeare, for instance, is still read today for these reasons (and all the great car chase scenes!).

The Great Gatsby is about unrestrained materialism and immorality (sound familiar?) and is cited by many authors as a major influence. Catch-22 is outstanding because it illustrates the absurdity of war, a point that apparently needs to be made over and over again. Furthermore, it features an outstanding anti-hero. If you like Catch-22, I highly recommend an earlier example of an anti-hero in a novel about the absurdity or war, Jaroslav Hasek’s The Good Soldier Svejk [891.86 H346AE].

Policy Briefs

I am going to be working on Capital Hill this summer, and I need to refresh on some of the hot button political issues. Are there any sources you know of that provide thorough, but not book length, policy briefs. Something in the 40-80 page range would be ideal. Also, the less partisan the better. Thanks!

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: For international affairs, you might try the CIAO database. There’s a “policy briefs” choice in the menu at the left to browse, or you can use the Search interface and check “policy brief” as the collection to search.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) writes digested summaries of major issues at the request of the US Congress. You can search for the CRS Reports 2004-present in the Lexis/Nexis Congressional database (go to advanced search). Many older ones are in the library catalog and located on microfiche or film in the Public Documents dept (you can ask there for help).

Really, lots of think tanks have such reports, some more partisan than others, so you’ll have to look into the nature of the organization. The Rand Corporation reports in the Public Documents department (in the library catalog) may suit your needs.

This is the kind of question that is best asked at the Perkins Reference desk. There is a Public Policy subject librarian, and others for other subjects that you’re interested in.

IDS Bulletin online accessibility

I just wanted you to know that since 2002 the International Development Studies Bulletin (monthly journal received at Duke) is available to subscribers from Ingenta, but the link is not in the library catalog record.

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: You are absolutely correct! Answer Person has already contacted the guru in charge of adding those records, and the IDS BULLETIN is already in the online catalog. (It will appear in the e-journals list tomorrow–one of those overnight update things). Sorry about the omission, but when you have almost 14,000 e-journal subscriptions, some will slip past the net. We do depend on the kindness (vigilance) of our patrons!