Category Archives: Cool tools

How to Use Interlibrary Loan

Post by Michael Edwards, Resource Sharing Librarian; Alex Konecky, Access and Library Services Assistant; and Sarah Park, Librarian for Engineering and Computer Science

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is Duke University Libraries’ system for obtaining materials that are not available at Duke. This service is available to current Duke University faculty, staff, and students. Eligible users can submit an ILL request on the library homepage.

Go to the library homepage and click “Interlibrary Request” on the quick links menu. Then, click the “Request a Title” button to login, and fill out the form. If you haven’t used the service before, you may need to register for an account.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to fill out the form yourself, you can request an article through Google Scholar and avoid filling out the form. To do so, go to Scholar.Google.Com and search for the article you need.

Before you search, make sure that Google knows that you are affiliated with Duke. If you are on campus, Google already knows that you are affiliated with Duke. But if you are off campus, go to the settings under the three bars, clicking “Library Links,” and searching for Duke in the search box. Select Duke and press the “Save” button. A shortcut to the “Library Links” is

Once you have set up the library links, you will notice that search results show a “Get it at Duke” link next to the title whether you are on or off campus.

If you come across an article that doesn’t have the “Get it at Duke” link, like “Closed-loop insulin delivery: current status of diabetes technologies and future prospects,” don’t worry. You can still access it by clicking the double arrow at the bottom of the article. This will reveal the “Get it @ Duke” link. Click on it to proceed.

Next, click on “Request – University users” and make sure all the information is correctly filled out before submitting the request. You will receive a link via email, so you can access a PDF of the article.

If you have any questions about this or any other interlibrary loan services, please contact ILL department at

Mobile Apps: Research, Read, and Watch on the Go

Have you wondered if there are mobile apps that could assist you in conducting research from a smartphone or tablet? We did, and here are the ones we’ve tried and verified. These apps are accessible to you as a student, researcher, or faculty member affiliated with Duke. Each application was easy to download, authenticate, sign in, and begin using! Follow the hyperlinks for step-by-step instructions on uploading and using.

The Ebsco Mobile App is designed for library users to access library resources for scholarly research on the move. What can you do? Download and read EBSCO eBooks™., listen to your PDF articles via audio play, save articles for later reference, pull up your previously viewed or searched results, stay organized with access to the items you’ve saved across devices, and share articles or links with your peers easily. Imagine you’re on the C-1 bus thinking about that one research question you need to find peer-reviewed literature to answer. With the Ebsco app, you can type in your question and pull up relevant articles before you reach your stop!

The Ask a Librarian App is a hands-down winner. After you set up Duke University Libraries as your default library (instructions here), you can reach out via email or phone, but most importantly by chat, and a real-live librarian (no bots here!) will support you in answering all of your research questions. Chatting is as easy as texting! We love the convenience of this app and being able to help you find the resources you need in real-time. Hours of operation are here.

The DukeMobile App is an excellent shortcut for getting to the library catalog on the go. When you go to the menu bar, you’ll see an open book icon that says “Library” click on that, and then you’ll be taken straight to Duke University Libraries, where you can access all our digital resources. If you’re like us, sometimes our aha moments come when we’re away from the desk. If you’re walking between classes and think of a book or journal article you’d like to locate, you can instantly do so from your DukeMobile app without missing a step!

The Zotero App is a great research assistant that helps organize and manage your citations (and annotations), and now you can update references on the go. And if you prefer Endnote for your citation needs, there’s an app for you too! The Endnote Mobile App allows you to collect, collaborate, and create bibliographies anywhere. The benefit of both citation apps is that wherever you are, you can pull up your synced references and bibliographies, and if you are browsing an article on your phone that you want to save, you can quickly add it to your list.

What about library resources for research and pleasure? Forget Netflix; we recommend the Kanopy Mobile App for streaming educational documentaries, great films, and movies! Kanopy provides access to independent and documentary films ─  titles of unique social and cultural value from The Criterion Collection and Media Education Foundation. The beauty of the Kanopy app is that you can watch films on your phone or tablet regardless of where you are. Loung in the comfort of your dorm room while streaming that documentary you’ve been assigned for class!

Have you added the Libby by Overdrive Mobile App to your phone yet? Do it today, and start listening to popular fiction or nonfiction as an audiobook or curl up with a great eBook wherever you are. Libby offers offline access, which means when you download your selection, you can read or stream when you’re offline. The Libby app audiobooks are a great way to mix up your next gym workout and get to that booklist you’re dying to read!

We are always looking for mobile-friendly research resources that make your life easier. Please comment below the post if you have apps you use for research you’d like to share!


7 Back-to-School Library Pro Tips (You Won’t Believe Number 6!)


Okay, that headline was total clickbait. We admit it. We’ll stoop pretty low in order to seize a teachable moment. But now that we have your attention, we really do want to convey some important info about using the library this semester. Things are getting back to nearly normal, and the more you know ahead of time, the smarter you’ll look in front of all your friends. (Depending on your friends.) So here we go.

1. No more Library Takeout. Book stacks are open!

Despite the funkalicious earworm it inspired, Library Takeout is history. You no longer need to request books online and schedule a time to pick them up. That’s so 2020. Library stacks are open again, so help yourself and browse all you like. Duke faculty and grad students can still have books delivered to the library of their choice by clicking the green “Request” button in the catalog.

2. Our hours have changed.

In pre-COVID times, certain Duke libraries used to be open 24 hours during the week. This semester we’ve had to scale back, due to pandemic-related budget cuts. Our busiest libraries (Perkins, Bostock, and Lilly) will still be open until midnight most days. And if you really want to keep burning the midnight oil, we’ll have study spaces available in the von der Heyden Pavilion and Rubenstein Library. See our posted hours online for the most up-to-date info.

3. You can still reserve a seat (but you don’t have to).

Last year, if you wanted to study in the library, you had to book a seat in advance. Not any more. Study areas are available again on a first-come, first-served basis. However, one thing this past year taught us was that some students actually liked booking a seat, because they didn’t have to wander around to find a place to work. So we’ve kept a limited number of reservable study seats available. They’re in the Ahmadieh Family Commons on the second floor of Rubenstein Library, just outside of the Gothic Reading Room. 

4. We have textbooks! 

Every semester, we purchase the textbooks for the 100 largest classes at Duke, so that you can check them out for free. Left your textbook in your dorm room? Or want to try before you buy? Borrow our copy for up to three hours at a time, then return it for someone else to use. How great is that?

5. In a hurry? Dislike personal interactions? Check yourself out. 

Several libraries across Duke’s campus have self-checkout stations, where you can quickly and easily check out your own books without having to wait in line or deal with an actual human being. (We get it―ew.)

6. There is no number 6.


7. We’re actually very friendly people who just want you to be happy.

People who work in libraries are some of the most approachable and service-oriented individuals you’ll ever meet. We genuinely want to help you. We also have a bunch of different ways you can get the help you need, whether by chat, email, phone, in-person, or Zoom. So don’t be afraid to ask us any question. We’re smiling at you under these masks. 

Good News for Those with Their Nose in a Book

One of the things people always say they love about libraries is the smell of old books. There’s nothing quite so comforting as the slightly musty aroma of stacks upon stacks of so much accumulated knowledge. Of all the things our students and faculty tell us they miss most during this extended period of home isolation, that ineffable library smell is up there at the top.

Now, thanks to recent advances in digital publishing, we’re excited to pilot a new feature in selected library e-books that lets you recapture that odoriferous experience virtually.

Screenshot of Scratch n Sniff e-Book
Look for the green “Scratch-n-Sniff” button in selected library e-books.

The next time you check out an e-book through our library catalog, look for the green “Scratch-n-Sniff” button in the online interface. Clicking the button will activate a feature that artificially simulates the olfactory experience of reading text on vintage, yellowed paper. Just gently scratch your display as you read to be transported back to your favorite reading nook in the library.

The first time you use the “Scratch-n-Sniff” feature, you may need to lean in close to your monitor and breathe deeply to get the full effect. The application isn’t compatible with all browsers. But if your operating system is up-to-date, you should be able adjust the display settings in the control panel of your PC or mobile device to strengthen the smell.

Library users are also advised to scratch carefully, as sharp fingernails and aggressive scratching may damage your monitor and cause the “Scratch-n-Sniff” function not to work properly.

“Over the years, e-books have represented a larger and larger percentage of library collections, even as some researchers—particularly those in the humanities—continue to turn their nose up at them,” said Jeff Kosokoff, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Strategy. “We understand. Nothing quite compares to the age-old experience of immersing yourself in a physical book. But now that digital is the only option for a while, we’re doing everything we can to replicate the experience Duke’s world-class students and faculty are accustomed to.”

“We had to pay through the nose for this add-on feature,” Kosokoff added, “but it’s worth it to keep our Duke community feeling connected to their library.”

Fans of the classics will be particularly pleased to know that the earlier a book’s original publication date, the mustier it smells. For instance, clicking the “Scratch-n-Sniff” button while reading an electronic copy of David Copperfield (which happens to be our next selection for the Low Maintenance Book Club, by the way) is like holding a real first-edition Dickens up to your nose.

The “Scratch-n-Sniff” e-book feature is available for a limited time for selected e-books in our library catalog and works with most PCs, laptops, Apple and Android devices, and e-readers, including Amazon Kindle, Kobo Libra, and Barnes and Noble Nook. It does not work with Internet Explorer, however.

Library user sniffing ebook screen
Is this fragrant feature for real? Unfortunately it snot. Happy April Fools’ Day, Dukies. Smell ya later!

Find Article PDFs Faster with This Browser Plugin

Guest post by Amanda Rizki, Cary Gentry, and Sujeit Llanes, practicum students in our Assessment and User Experience Department.

Are you one of the many students who prefer to browse the web for scholarly articles? 

Do you use Wikipedia as your starting point for research? 

Do you do most of your research before you come to the library’s website?

Maybe you are frustrated by having to relocate each article you find cited on scholarly websites within the Duke Libraries’ databases? 

Nomad Plug-In for Chrome is the tool for you! Nomad is a browser plugin for Google Chrome that helps you find journal article PDFs quickly and easily. Nomad connects your Duke Libraries access to articles found while browsing in Wikipedia, PubMed, or directly on publishers’ websites. 

Once you install the plugin, it will scan the sites you read online for journal article identifiers. When it sees an article that is available through Duke, it provides easy PDF or link access with a consistent, easy-to-find button. Links bring you to a fully accessible article page – no further login required. PDFs can be downloaded directly to your computer. 

Nomad was created by Third Iron, the same company that makes LibKey and BrowZine. The plug-in does not collect any information about you, so the tool is safe to use with your personal information and Duke log-in. While Nomad reads web pages for articles that Duke Library provides access to, it is still your Duke credentials that allow the link or download to move forward. 

An example of Nomad at work in a Wikipedia article about cardiovascular disease.


Nomad provides one-click access to articles in PubMed search results.


Get Nomad for Chrome today!

Need more assistance setting up this plug-in?  Keep reading!

Plug-ins are extra bits of software that you can add to your internet browser – in this case, to Google Chrome. Google organizes all of the plug-ins available for their browser on a site called Chrome Web Store. This plug-in, Nomad, is free, but some plug-ins must be purchased. 

1. Open Google Chrome. If you have not already installed it, Chrome is available via Google. 

2. In Chrome, type “Chrome libkey nomad” in the address bar and choose the first result. Or open this link.

3. Click the “Add to Chrome” button in the upper right corner of the page:

4. A small popup window will appear. The browser will ask for you to verify that you want to add the plug-in (called the extension) to your computer. 

5. After the plug-in installs, it will prompt you to select your institution.  Choose “Duke University” from the dropdown menu. 

6. The plugin is now ready to use. You can close the window and proceed to browse normally. 

Take the Library Home with You


As you are preparing for your much needed break, I hope you remember that the library will still be here for you!  Maybe you already know that you can access many of our online resources from home or that you can check out books to take home with you.  We also have movies and music that you can stream and some e-books that you can download to your devices.  Here are some of the resources we have to do this!

Streaming Videos

Alexander Street Video Collection: Find and watch streaming video across multiple Alexander Street Press video collections on diverse topics that include newsreels, documentaries, field recordings, interviews and lectures.

Docuseek2 Collection: Find and watch streaming video of documentary and social issues films.

Films on Demand: Find and watch streaming video with academic, vocational, and life-skills content.

Kanopy: Watch thousands of award-winning documentaries and feature films including titles from the Criterion Collection.

SWANK Digital Campus: Feature films from major Hollywood studios.

Go to to access these video collections.

Streaming Music

Contemporary World Music: Listen to music from around the world, including reggae, Bollywood, fado, American folk music, and more.

Jazz Music Library:  Access a wide range of recordings from jazz classics to contemporary jazz. Browse an online collection of classical music, operas and ballets.

Metropolitan Opera on Demand:  For opera fans, a large selection of opera videos from the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

Naxos Music Library:  Huge selection of classical music recordings—over 1,925,000 tracks!

Smithsonian Global Sound: Find and listen to streaming folk and related music

All of these streaming music sources can be accessed at

Overdrive Books

Go to to access downloadable eBooks and audiobooks that can be enjoyed on all major computers and devices, including iPhones®, iPads®, Nooks®, Android™ phones and tablets, and Kindles®.

Expanded Access to Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)

We are pleased to announce that the Duke University Libraries have greatly expanded access to the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)!

This comes in response to numerous requests over the last few years. We have a new deal for all current JoVE titles (see title list and details below). While the official start date is January 2019, JoVE has already opened up full access to Duke IP addresses.

What is JoVE?

JoVE publishes peer-reviewed videos of people doing real-world scientific experiments. By letting you watch the intricate details of experiments rather than just read about them in articles, JoVE helps you understand how to recreate those experiments, thereby improving research productivity, reproducibility, and student learning outcomes.

How and why to use it

JoVE funded a study of the impact on student performance of watching their videos prior to lab classes. A description of the study and a link to download the resulting whitepaper can be found here.

The JoVE blog also has a number of posts giving examples of how faculty are using JoVE in their teaching and research. For example:

  • Dr. Dessy Raytcheva at Northeastern University uses JoVE videos as pre- and post-assignments in her undergraduate biology course, in order to save class time for higher impact teaching activities.
  • Marilene Pavan, manager of Boston University’s DAMP lab credits publishing video protocols in JoVE with significant increases in experimental success rate and reduction in errors.

You can see all of those case studies here.


Given the high subscription costs for this product, we will be looking at usage statistics and impact stories to determine whether to continue after an initial three years. So if you use JoVE in your research or teaching, please let us know!

Journal Title List

  • Behavior2
  • Biochemistry3
  • Bioengineering2
  • Biology1,2
  • Cancer Research2
  • Chemistry3
  • Developmental Biology2
  • Engineering2
  • Environment3
  • Genetics2
  • Immunology & Infection2
  • Medicine3
  • Neuroscience1,2

Science Education Collection List

  • Advanced Biology1
  • Basic Biology1,3
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Skills3
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Physics
  • Psychology

1 Previously subscribed
2 Perpetual access
3 Temporary access (2019 only)

Details of our access

Our new deal includes perpetual access to video articles published under most of the JoVE journal titles, even if we don’t continue subscribing to new content. For a few titles (those that are more clinical in focus or for which we have received the fewest requests), we will only have access through December 2019, unless we decide to expand even further. For the remaining titles, we will have access as long as we continue to subscribe.

Please contact DUL science librarians at if you have any questions or comments. We are also happy to provide links to support documentation, such as instructions for embedding JoVE videos in Sakai.

Take Our Survey. You Could Win a Library Tote Bag and Journal!

Here in the library, we’re taking the summer months to evaluate some of our communications efforts.

In particular, we’re asking for your feedback on our email newsletter, which goes out every other week during the academic year. (What’s that? You don’t subscribe to our email newsletter? We can fix that right now!)

You know you want these!

Will you please take 3-5 minutes to complete this short anonymous survey?

Your responses will help us make sure we’re sending you the most interesting and relevant library news from Duke.

At the end of the survey, you’ll have the option to enter a drawing for this handsome Duke University Libraries tote bag and journal. Guaranteed to make you look even smarter!

Thank you for your time and valuable feedback. The survey will close on July 20, 2018.

New Service: Check Out Books with Your Phone

Duke Self-Checkout is a fast, easy way to check out books from the Duke University Libraries.

Starting this week, you can now use your smartphone to check out library books in Perkins and Bostock Libraries, without having to bring them to the desk on the main floor.

Yes, there’s an app for that. It’s called Duke Self-Checkout.

How Does It Work?

Visit the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android) and search for ‘Duke Self-Checkout’ to download the free app.

Make sure to let Duke Self-Checkout access your camera, send you notifications, and use your location.

Open the app and log in with your Duke NetID and password. Click the ‘+’ sign in the top right corner to activate your camera.

When you find a book you want to check out, use the app on your phone to scan the library barcode. The app will blink green when it recognizes the barcode and check the item out to you right there. That’s it!

Remember to demagnetize your book before you leave the building!

If you want leave the building with your book, make sure you stop at one of the Duke Self-Checkout stations to demagnetize your book so it doesn’t set off an alarm.

Don’t have a phone or don’t want to download the app? Use the iPad at the Duke Self-Checkout stations, located in Perkins near the Perkins / Bostock Lobby, and in Bostock at the Edge Service Desk.

Duke Self-Checkout is also available at the Marine Lab Library.

Visit our website to find out more.


Prayer and Meditation Room Open to All

Members of all faiths are welcome to use the new Prayer and Meditation Room in Perkins Library.

With the fall semester now well under way, we thought this would be a good time to remind our hard-working students and faculty that the library is not just for studying. Earlier this year, in response to student requests, the Libraries opened a space on the second floor of Perkins specifically dedicated to prayer and meditation.

The Prayer and Meditation Room is available for students and faculty of all faiths. The room is a shared space open to all members of the Duke community to use either individually or in groups.

Room 220 in Perkins Library is located near the open study area with wooden carrels on the library’s second floor. (See map below.)

The Prayer and Meditation Room is located in Room 220 on the 2nd Floor of Perkins Library.
The Prayer and Meditation Room is located in Room 220 on the 2nd Floor of Perkins Library.

Anyone who wishes to use the space is asked to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Prayer or meditation does not necessarily need to be silent, but it should be quiet enough not to disturb anyone studying in adjacent areas or rooms.
  • The Prayer and Meditation Room cannot be reserved and is not to be used for studying or for meetings.
  • If you use the room, please show respect toward others who use it. Keep the room clean, take your personal belongings with you when you leave, and do not sleep or bring food into the space.

We welcome members of all faiths who study and work in the library to use and enjoy this space!

Duke 2020 and First-Year Library Services

… What are the libraries’ hours?  … How do I find a book? … Who can help me with research? … Where can I print?*

Duke University’s newest students will find the answers to these questions (and more!) on the Library’s First-Year Library Services portal page.

Lilly Library on East Campus
Lilly Library on East Campus

Each August, a new class of undergraduates arrives in Durham ready to immerse themselves in the Duke Community. Duke University Libraries serve as the core of intellectual life on campus. Because East Campus is home to the First-Year students, Lilly and Music Libraries have the unique opportunity to introduce our newest “Dukies” to the array of Library resources and research services available.

To help navigate the vast library resources, there is a portal especially for First-Year Students. Through this portal page, new students (and even some not-so-new) can discover all that the Duke University Libraries offer:

Perkins Library

  • Quick Facts: about collections and loan policies
  • Where: to study, print, and … eat!
  • How: to find and check out books, films  & other media, and get…
  • Help!: Meet the “who” – Librarians, Specialists, & First-Year Residence Hall Librarians
  • Research 101: how to navigate the Research Process
  • Citation 101: how to cite using recommended styles


*Learn the answers in our list of the Top 12 Questions, as determined by First-Year Library Advisory Board students.

Here’s to a great and successful Fall Semester!

History Hackathon – a collaborative happening

Students in Rubenstein Reading Room

What is a History Hackathon?

The term “Hackathon” traditionally refers to an event in which computer programmers collaborate intensively on software projects. But Duke University Libraries and the History Department are putting a historical twist on their approach to the Hackathon phenomenon. In this case, the History Hackathon is a contest for undergraduate student teams to research, collaborate, and create projects inspired by the resources available in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library collections. Projects may include performances, essays, websites, infographics, lectures, podcasts, and more. A panel of experts will serve as judges and rank the top three teams. Cash Prizes will be awarded to the winning teams.

The History Hackathon will take place over a 72-hour period from October 23-25, in the Rubenstein Library and The Edge.  All the  guidelines, rules, and details may be found at the History Hackathon: a Collaborative Happening  site.Students in the Edge

  • When:  Friday, October 23rd to
    Sunday, October 25th

Contact :

Sponsored by the Duke History Department,  the Duke University Libraries, the David M. Rubenstein Library, and the Duke University Undergraduate Research Support Office.

Contributor: Susannah Roberson



The First-Year Library Experience

Duke Libraries – Here to Help You


Lilly Library on East Campus
Lilly Library on East Campus

When is the library open? How do I find a book? Where do I print?*

Duke University’s newest students can find the answers to these questions (and more!) on the Library’s First-Year Library Services portal page.

Each August, a new class of undergraduates arrives in Durham ready to immerse themselves in the Duke Community.   Duke University Libraries serve as the core of intellectual life on campus. On East Campus particularly, the Lilly and Music Libraries have the unique opportunity to introduce our newest “Dukies” to the array of Library resources and research services available.

To help navigate the vast Library resources, we’ve created a portal especially for First-Year students. Through this portal page, new students (and even some not-so-new) can discover all that the Duke University Libraries offer:

Perkins-reading roomQuick Facts:  about collections and loan policies
Where:  to study, print, and … eat!
How:  to find and check out books & material, and get…
Help!:  Meet the  “who” – Librarians, Specialists, & Residence Hall Librarians
Research 101:  how to navigate the Research Process
Citation 101:  how to cite using recommended  styles
*And when is the Library open?
Find the answer in our list of the Top 12 Questions, developed with input from First-Year Library Advisory Board students.

Here’s to a great Fall Semester!




New App: Get Academic Journals on Your iPad

In order to make our library resources more mobile-friendly, we’ve picked up a new tool called BrowZine, an app for iPads and Android tablets that lets you browse, read, and monitor current academic journals in your subject areas. And best of all for our Duke users, it’s free!

Here’s a 2-minute video about how it works:

If you want to use BrowZine, you can download it to your iPad or Android device by following these easy steps:

  1. Go to the App Store or Google Play, search for BrowZine, and install it. (It’s free.)
  2. When you open BrowZine for the first time, you’ll see a list of schools – select Duke, then enter your Net ID and password.
  3. Select subject areas, and start browsing journals. That’s it! You can save your favorites to your personal bookshelf.

How many journals are included? BrowZine has relationships with these academic journal publishers, so any journals included in that group and published since 2005 should be viewable through the BrowZine app.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

BrowZine is compatible with Zotero, Dropbox, Evernote and other services (Mendeley and RefWorks are coming soon), allowing you to organize and manage your research seamlessly. You can also save articles to your BrowZine pin board to read later, even when you’re offline.

If you have questions or comments, please get in touch with Emily Daly, Head of the User Experience Department, or contact your subject librarian.


Screenshots showing the bookshelf and article view on BrowZine, a new tool the Libraries are currently trialing.
Screenshots showing the bookshelf and article view on BrowZine, a new mobile-friendly tool available for Duke University library users.


This post is brought to you by Alerts! – a special section of Library Hacks. As they are released, you can look forward to new database announcements, updates, and (rare) outage notices.  Stay tuned!

Ab Imperio Quarterly

Ab Imperio journal cover
Ab Imperio

“Ab Imperio Quarterly is an international humanities and social sciences peer-reviewed journal dedicated to studies in new imperial history and the interdisciplinary and comparative study of nationalism and nationalities in the post-Soviet space… The languages of publication are English and Russian with summaries, respectively, in Russian and English. Manuscripts, subject to double-blind peer reviews, are accepted in five languages (Russian, English, German, French, Ukrainian).” Among the points that form the journal’s stated mission is this: “Providing an opportunity for research and debate on the history and theory of nationalities (including Russian) in the region, an opportunity that should engage academics from all over the world.”(Quote Source)

“Region is a peer-reviewed international journal that explores the history and current political, economic, and social affairs of the entire former Soviet bloc. In particular, the journal focuses on various facets of transformation at the local and national levels in the aforementioned regions, as well as the changing character of their relationships with the rest of the world  in the context of globalization, a perspective that stresses both local adaptation to global phenomena and that adaptation’s transnational or even global significance.”
The following topics are most prominently featured:
+ Regional identities in globalized societies
+ Communication and transmission of information
+ Migration and boundaries
+ Transition: politics, economy, society, and culture
+ Theories and methodologies of regional studies in the context of “glocalization”
+ Imagined territories: cyber space, urban vs. rural, center vs. periphery, etc.+ Inter-regional cooperation
+ Identities in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, memories, and nostalgia   (Quote source)


Interdisciplinary Literary StudiesJournal Cover International Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory

“Interdisciplinary Literary Studies exemplifies the diversity, complexity, and rewards of integrating literary study with other methodologies… seeks to explore the interconnections between literary study and other disciplines, ideologies, and cultural methods of critique. All national literatures, periods, and genres are welcomed topics.” (Quote Source)  In addition, “The hallmark of research today is “interdisciplinary,” and Interdisciplinary Literary Studies exemplifies the diversity, complexity, and rewards of integrating literary study with other methodologies. Drawing upon a broad base of critical theories and applying these to a wide range of literary genres, contributors reward us with daring interpretations, such as a mathematical reading of triangles in Robert Frost’s poetry or an “engaged Buddhist response to trauma” reading of Le Ly Hayslip’s Child of War, Woman of Peace.” (Quote Source)


“Since a year after its founding, in 2005, Ecotone is one of only two literary magazines in the United States to have had its work reprinted in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, Best American Science and Nature Writing, PEN / O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Pushcart Prize. It is based at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and comes out twice a year. Each issue contains new fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.
The magazine bridges the gap between science and culture, bringing together the literary and the scientific, the urban and the rural, the personal and the biological. Ecotone has published original writing by winners of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award, as well as new work by emerging authors.” (Quote Source)


Electronic resources such as e-journals and databases are generally accessible only to Duke community members  such as faculty, staff and students.

Wrangle your resources

Distorted Clockface
Get wise: citation managers are time-savers!

“I read an article about that a while ago. No – wait. I cited it in a paper… What was the title again? The author’s name started with a J, I think.”

Perkins-Bostock Library offers a series of workshops for Zotero, RefWorks and EndNote.  If you’d like to sign up, please do so here. Some of the benefits of these citation managers include storage of .pdfs or links to .pdfs, organization of citations and exporting bibliographies according to a variety of styles. Each of these programs also allows you to cite your references while you compose your research papers.

If you are trying to decide which workshop to take, ask your favorite professor what she or he uses to manage their citations. (In general, Zotero is used by researchers in the humanities, and EndNote is preferred by scientists and social scientists.) Keeping your research organized is smart and will be beneficial to you when it comes time to write your senior thesis, study abroad or write your graduate school applications.


This post is brought to you by Alerts! – a special section of Library Hacks. Weekly, you can look forward to new database announcements, updates, and (rare) outage notices.  Stay tuned!

Audiobooks from Recorded Books Incorporated via NC Live

Duke Libraries will be offering a great selection of downloadable audiobooks later this month, according to NC Live:
“On Monday, September 19th, NC LIVE will disable the MyiLibrary Audio Books platform from use. Beginning September 19th, you will no longer be able to access or download audio books via the MyiLibrary service.”  Instead, a new audio book provider and platform – Recorded Books One Click service – will be available later this fall.  The new Recorded Books platform will be an improvement with regard to download and searching capabilities.

Information set free!

JSTOR announced today it is making journal content published prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.  This Early Journal Content includes discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences.  It includes nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals. To learn more and to watch a video tutorial on how to access Early Journal Content, click here.

NEW databases:

DRAM – Database of Recorded American Music
From the DRAM website : “DRAM is a not-for-profit resource providing educational communities with on-demand streaming access to CD-quality audio (192kbps Mp4), complete original liner notes and essays from independent record labels and sound archives. Continuing in the tradition of DRAM’s sister company New World Records, one of DRAM’s primary focuses is the preservation and dissemination of important recordings that have been neglected by the commercial marketplace, recordings that may otherwise become lost or forgotten.

DRAM online logo from website
Currently DRAM’s collection contains more than 3,000 albums worth of recordings from a distinctive set of 26 independent labels, and we are continually working to add more content. The basis for the current collection is the diverse catalogue of American music recordings by New World Records. From folk to opera, Native American to jazz, 19th century classical to early rock, musical theater, contemporary, electronic and beyond, New World has served composers, artists, students and the general public since its inception in 1975 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.” (Quote source and more information from DRAM.)
Contact librarian:  Laura Williams
Subject Categories:  Arts & Humanities – Music

Naxos Video Library
From the Naxos Video Library: “more than 250 full-length videos of concerts, operas, ballets, and documentaries from prestigious performing arts labels such as Arthaus Musik, Dacapo, Dynamic, EuroArts, H‰nssler Classic, Medici Arts, Naxos, Opus Arte and TDK. Featuring performances from legendary artists including Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Martha Argerich, Gerald Finley, and celebrated conductors such as Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Abbado, Valery Gergiev and many more, videos are available to stream at 700 Kbps (standard quality) and 2 Mbps(high quality) and the service is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.”

Functions and features:

Naxos Video Library image
Conductor Simon Rattle
  • Ability to stream videos at 700 Kbps (standard quality) and 2 Mbps (high quality) resolutions
  • Create custom clips, which can be edited and added to individual playlists
  • Access to pre-defined video chapters, as well as individual arias and scene breaks of operas
  • Subtitles in up to 5 languages
  • The ability to follow along with scrolling libretto text
  • View video as Full Screen, 2/3 Screen or 1/4 Screen
  • Advanced search functionality, including the ability to search by category, role, composer, artist, production, personnel, work venue or festival  (Quote source and more information)

Contact librarian:  Laura Williams

Subject Categories:  Arts and Humanities, Music, Film/Video; Area Studies and Cultures – Film/Video

Political Science Complete (PSC)
From EBSCO: “PSC contains full text for more than 530 journals, and indexing and abstracts for over 2,900 titles, (including top-ranked scholarly journals), many of which are unique to the product. PSC has a worldwide focus, reflecting the globalization of contemporary political discourse.” Topical coverage includes : Comparative politics,Humanitarian issues, International relations, Law and legislation, Non-governmental organizations, Political theory” ( Quote source, title list and more.) Small EBSCO logo

What do librarians think? This database received a “Highly Recommended” rating in a 2010 issue of Choice, the American Library Association’s review magazine.
Contact librarian:  Catherine Shreve
Subject Categories:   Social Sciences – Political Science

IPA Source (Transcriptions and Literal Translations of Songs and Arias)Graphic of opera singer
From the IPA site: “Online since 2003, IPA Source is the web’s largest library of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts. Now with over 5598 texts including 955 aria texts! Using the dropdown menus, search for titles by composer, poet, title, opera aria, or Latin text.”  Tip: This resource requires the Aodbe Acrobat reader. (Quote source)

Subject Categories:  Arts and Humanities – Music

Electronic resources such as e-journals and databases are generally accessible only to Duke community members  such as faculty, staff and students.

Learning to love the “QuickSearch” tab

Here is a great way to use the QuickSearch tab found on the front page of Duke Libraries webpage. Because searches in that tab search a lot – journal databases, the catalog (books), and more, it is a great place to start. In particular, it is a great way to follow up on an article or post of general interest because QuickSearch tab allows you to find most everything on a particular topic. You can get a comprehensive view in one spot.

In this example, we can follow up on an NPR story that was posted and re-posted on Facebook.  In the NPR story, psychologists performed a series of experiments on inattentional blindness arising from a police brutality case from the mid-1990’s. This is a great example for Quick Search because it covers academic research, a formal psychological theory, a book about the police trial and a current event found in newspapers.

Dick Lehr's book The fence
Image source:

In our first search – a search for officer “Kenneth Conley” – Quick Search returns over 200 hits, mostly newspaper articles.  A search for “inattentional blindness” returns almost one thousand hits, most of which come from scholarly journals, such as the Journal of Vision or Consciousness and Cognition.  (The psychologist’s study, published in the journal iPerception is also available through the QuickSearch tab.)  You can also use the Quick Search tab to search for Boston Globe reporter Dick Lehr’s book on the Conley case.  A search for “Dick Lehr” also returns over a thousand hits, but the very first one is Lehr’s book The Fence, which is about the Conley case.  You can also immediately see that The Fence is in the collection at Perkins/Bostock!

The QuickSearch tab makes it easy to find more about various aspects of the original story with a few searches, zeroing in on what aspects interest you.

Zotero + WordPress = Zotpress

This in just yesterday from Zotero’s blog:Small Zotero image “A new third-party plugin called Zotpress is now available. It runs on WordPress, the open source platform widely used for personal, professional and course websites and blogs. Zotpress was created by community member Katie Seaborn, and it allows you to pull and organize items from your or another Zotero library into your WordPress site. The plugin harnesses the power of Zotero’s server API by grabbing library data dynamically and presenting it outside Zotero.

So why would you use it? Zotpress is great for scholars or job hunters who want to easily organize their CVs or resumes on their personal websites. Teachers can use it as well to present bibliographies to students. Or, if you just want to share some stuff you’ve been reading or studying, you can use Zotpress for that, too. In short, Zotpress is useful because it expands on Zotero’s mission by offering a new and easy interface to share your data freely with the world.”

This is great timing for Duke, because Duke WordPress was just updated to version 3.1.2  earlier this week.  For members of the Duke community using WordPress for classes, group projects or multimedia presentations, you can now easily show your scholarly side, using Zotpress. For more information about Duke WordPress, contact the OIT Help Desk, and for more information about Zotpress, ask Ciara Healy, support librarian for Zotero.


This post is brought to you by Alerts! – a special section of Library Hacks. Weekly, you can look forward to new database announcements, updates, and (rare) outage notices.  Stay tuned!

Database Upgrade

On Wednesday, 1 June 2011, IEEE will implement an upgrade to the IEEE Xplore digital library. There is no scheduled downtime during this upgrade.

Specific improvements with this upgrade include

  • One of the largest technical and scientific associations in Europe – VDE VERLAG (VDE) –  integrates VDE’s conference proceedings into IEEE Xplore. This includes 3,100 VDE conference papers from 20+ annual conference titles, with 1,000 new articles being added every year.
  • Sort search results by “Most Cited”: This upgrade includes a new feature to IEEE Xplore that will allow you to sort your search results by “Most Cited”. Also, you will also see the article’s citation count in the article metadata. Find articles of high impact quickly with this new feature.
  • Quickly and easily perform your search in IEEE Xplore and also see further relevant results from based on your search terms. provides a federated search of content from 15 leading scholarly society publishers in science and technology.
  • eBooks – a dedicated web page has been created for eBooks OPAC that includes both the HTML persistent link list as well as the Excel versions and Customers with OpenURL activated on their account will now find OpenURL links next to eBook chapters. (IEEE information for this post provided by IEEE.)

Change Over Time

Journal cover for Change Over Time

From the University of Pennsylvania press, “Change Over Time is a new, semiannual journal focused on publishing original, peer-reviewed research papers and review articles on the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment. Each issue is dedicated to a particular theme as a method to promote critical discourse on contemporary conservation issues from multiple perspectives both within the field and across disciplines. Themes will be examined at all scales, from the global and regional to the microscopic and material.”
This journal can be readily accessed through Duke’s ProjectMUSE database subscription. (Journal description provided from ProjectMUSE.)   Here is a link to the journal’s web page, with information on the Spring & Fall 2012 calls for papers.

Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama and Fiction

Journal cover of Latino Literature “The majority of Latino Literature is in English, with selected works of particular importance (approximately 25% of the collection) presented in Spanish. The three major components deliver approximately 200 novels and many hundreds of short stories; 20,000 pages of poetry; and more than 450 plays…  Social historians will find much of value in Latino Literature…Authors are indexed for national heritage, gender, birth and death dates, literary movement, occupation, and more.”   (Description excerpted from longer description provided by Alexander Street Press.)  Free, browse-only access provided here, by Alexander Street Press.

Electronic resources such as e-journals and databases are generally accessible only to Duke community members  such as faculty, staff and students.

Articles Search Gets Upgrade

New Articles Tab Tip

When you return from Spring Break, the articles search from the library homepage will look a little different. There will be no changes to the look of the homepage or the Articles tab, but your search results will reveal an improved system for finding articles.

The big improvements will be speed and a more comprehensive search. The new system creates a single index (like Google), which allows for much faster searching–results will display in around 2 seconds. The new system also includes much more content, searching over 90 percent of our journal subscriptions, giving users access to a much larger (if not complete) slice of Duke Libraries’ resources.

When searching from the Duke University Libraries’ homepage, you’ll be searching only for journal articles (the “Content Type” box on the left will be checked Journal Article.) Any subsequent search from the results page will search across all content types, adding books, newspaper articles, etc. You may search across all Duke Libraries collections simultaneously, but there may be times when you want to see only books, only journal articles, etc. You have complete control over this–-simply check the appropriate box under “Content Type.”

We are excited about this new search tool and welcome your feedback as you begin to use it.

Contact / For more information

Michael Peper

Practice GRE, MCAT, LSAT, and GMAT tests from the library!

Are you thinking about going on in school? Do you want to get some practice in before taking your GRE, MCAT, GMAT, or LSAT? Well the library can help! We have a database called Learning Express Library that can help. Once you get into the database, create a free account so that you can keep track of your results. Then click on College Students in the menu on the left. Then choose Graduate School Entrance Exams Preparation. Choose the test you want and get started!

Get started here!

Peace Corps turns 50 – March 1, 2011

To honor the 50th anniversary, we would like to showcase four Returned Peace Corps Volunteers currently working in the Perkins Library:

Michael Peper
Michael Peper

Michael Peper, Librarian for Math and Physics
Education (TEFL)

Kimberly Burhop-Service
Kimberly Burhop-Service

Kimberley Burhop-Service, Manager, Library Human Resources

Jean Ferguson, Head, Research and Reference Services

Karen Jean Hunt (left) and Polly Morse (right)
Karen Jean Hunt (left)

Karen Jean Hunt, Librarian for African Studies and African American Studies

Zotero has some new features

Are you an EndNote or RefWorks user? Many people on Duke’s campus are. There is an open source alternative, however that you might want to check out.  Starting out as a Firefox browser plug-in, Zotero let users capture any bibliographic information they came across while on the internet. With a click, you could capture and store bibliographic references from Amazon, Google Book or anywhere else. You could also organize your references in folders, search your folders and generate works cited pages.

Now Zotero has a stand alone option (in beta) that works with Google Chrome AND Safari. Granted, this makes Zotero have pretty much the same features as EndNote and RefWorks in that all three now have web based and desktop solutions for citation management.

What makes Zotero competitive? Try it and find out.  Duke Libraries now offers some support for Zotero users, similar to the help you can get with RefWorks and EndNote, as well as upcoming instruction opportunities.

For more information on Zotero’s latest standalone option, click here. To find out more about Zotero support within the Duke community, contact librarian Ciara Healy at Perkins Library.

Get Zotero

Written by Ciara M. Healy

African American Research Database Trials

Resources Currently Open for Testing by Duke University Affiliates

Go to: Database Trials

20th Century African American Poetry:
A database of modern and contemporary African American poetry, featuring almost 9,000 poems by 62 of the most important African American poets of the last century, including Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde and Rita Dove 2011-02-28

African American Biographical Database:
The African American Biographical Database (AABD) brings together in one resource the biographies of thousands of African Americans, many not to be found in any other reference source. These biographical sketches have been carefully assembled from biographical dictionaries and other sources. This extraordinary collection contains extended narratives of African American … 2011-02-27

Black Abolitionist Papers:
This collection documents the efforts of African American activists in their international effort to abolish slavery in the United States. Covering the period 1830-1865, the 15,000-item collection records the full impact of African American efforts to oppose slavery by displaying the writings and publications of the activists themselves. 2011-02-28

Textbook trials, tribulations and triumphs

There exist several complimentary routes to getting your textbooks. Obviously, purchasing them at the bookstore is the easiest way – if you have more money than time. For those who have more time than money, there are other places to check first, so get started early. (For a little background on why textbooks are so expensive, check out the Government Accounting Office’s report on textbook price inflation.)

Tip: Have the textbook’s ISBN handy. Having this number will help you to know that you have found the exact book (and edition) you need for class. Textbook information – including the ISBNs, exact title, edition number etc.- can be found at the Duke book store and on their website.

This image courtesy of McGraw-Hill
This image courtesy of McGraw-Hill

Google Book:   Google Book is a specialized Google search for, well, books. Only books. Is your textbook available? Search by title. Almost no book in Google Book is available in full text, however, so pages are always missing to conform to US copyright laws. BUT there are often whole chapters to be found.  Google Book also offers links to finding the book in a nearby library (WorldCat) and online sale outlets (Books-A-Million, and others).

Perkins Library : Might your professor have put a copy of the book on reserve? Though your access to the reserve copy is limited – it may be currently checked out by a classmate or restricted to in-library use only – a book on reserve is f-r-e-e! The book may also be sitting right on the shelf. Check the catalogue as well.

Blackboard: Perhaps your professor put the first chapter or two in your Blackboard course site. Professors are not obliged to do this, but some do and it will buy you more time, so double check.

Electrify: The electronic version of the textbook may be available at Perkins/Bostock to read on the computer or though an online store, especially if you have a Nook, iPad or Kindle. There is a special ebook  search in our library catalogue, just under the main search field on the front page.

Pretty soon
Editions: Consider earlier or other editions of the textbook you need. Sometimes a new edition is created to include significant new material and findings. Sometimes a new edition is the same information rearranged and has added features like a CD-ROM or access to online materials. So, an older edition might suffice. So might a soft cover edition, instead of the hard back.

InterLibrary Loan :  Using this service, you can request to borrow from another library.  ILL is a popular option, however. Also, the lending period for these books is determined by the library that holds the title, not Duke. You may have quite a short loan period and if there is high demand, it is likely that the book has already been requested or will not be lent so that patrons at that library may have a chance to use it first.

International: Often the UK or Canadian publication or a printing meant to be sold in another country is the same as the US edition you need. These may be significantly cheaper to purchase, but consider shipping costs and timing when pursuing this option. Think, or and remember to calculate the cost in US dollars to make sure it is a bargain.

Rental options:  Compare prices at some of the popular rental sites found with a Google search for “textbook rental”. This is a great time to have your ISBN handy to make sure you have the exact book that you need. Keep in mind that there may be delays with this method and there are few guarantees if there is a problem, such as the wrong edition or pages missing.

Power to the people!
DIY: Consider organizing a book swap or a student-to-student sales site. Often you can sell for more and buy more cheaply when you make a deal person-to-person, compared to a bookstore. This is another good time to check that ISBN to make certain that the edition you purchase is the same one used next semester. With this option, as well, there may be little recourse if you receive a damaged book or find out too late that there is a newer edition in use. Caveat emptor.

Written by Ciara Healy

New African Studies Centre Dossier on Southern Sudan

The Library of the African Studies Centre Leiden has compiled a web dossier on Southern Sudan to coincide with the 9 January 2011 referendum.

In the referendum, southern Sudanese throughout the country will vote on whether to remain part of Sudan or secede and become a separate country. The referendum marks the end of the six-year interim period under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also known as the Naivasha Agreement, which was signed by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Nairobi in January 2005 to end the decades-long second Sudanese civil war.

The dossier contains titles of books, articles and online publications on civil war in Southern Sudan, the peace process, and the events leading up to the referendum.

The web dossier can be found at:

Social Justice Advocate Randall Robinson is the 2011 MLK Day Keynote Speaker

 No caption available for this photo

The annual Commemorative Service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will take place Sunday, January 16th at 3:00 pm in the Duke University Chapel.  This year’s theme, Connect to the Dream, reflects a desire for today’s youth to stay connected with, or reconnect to, Dr. King’s values and vision for a world together.

Randall Robinson is the author of An Unbroken Agony and the national bestsellers The Debt, The Reckoning, and Defending the Spirit. He is founder and past president of TransAfrica and is known for his impassioned opposition to apartheid and for his advocacy on behalf of Haitian immigrants and Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  Frequently featured in major print media, Robinson has also appeared on Charlie Rose, Today, Good Morning America, and the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour.

Duke’s MLK Program
Time: 3:00 p.m. Duke Chapel
Free and open to the public
Free Parking — Bryan Center Parking Garage

Looking for resource materials on Dr. King?  Begin your research here.

Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980

Sourced from The National Archives, Kew – the UK government’s official archive, Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980 provides primary source materials in English language for researchers at all levels.

Published in three sections covering the periods 1949-1956; 1957-1966; and 1967-1980; this database addresses a crucial period in Chinese history, from the foundation of the People’s Republic, in 1949, to the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao, the arrest of the Gang of Four and the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. This complete British Foreign Office Files deals with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in this period. These files are particularly important because Britain was one of the first countries to recognize Communist China and to maintain diplomatic relations with China and from 1950 onward. From their vantage point in Beijing British diplomats reported on the turbulent and confusing political, social, and economic developments.

The Foreign Office’s reporting on politics, industry, trade and cultural affairs include:

  • Eye-witness accounts and detailed reports on life in China, 1949-1976.
  • In depth analysis of the Communist Revolution and all the major figures.
  • Material on the Korean War, the Cold War, US relations and the Cultural Revolution.

Please note that files for 1980 have not been released under the 30 year rule in time to be included at this stage but will be added by the publisher as soon as possible.

Written by Luo Zhou

New features for JSTOR


Beginning January 1, 2011, JSTOR will provide access to the current issues of 174 journals from 19 different publishers.

Here are a few things that you need to know about the new Current Scholarship Program (CSP):

• Current issues will be seamlessly integrated with back issue content for institutional and individual subscribers to the titles.

• New formats are available for current issues, including full-text HTML for some titles and PDF for all.

• Multimedia is available, including zoomable images, videos, audio, and GIS for some titles.

A complete list of these journals is available at:

Zotero Help

Library Hacks has blogged about Zotero before, and it continues to develop into an interesting and useful citation management tool.  Unlike EndNote or RefWorks (both of which are freely available to Duke users under a campus site license), Zotero is an open source application, freely available to all.  Currently it works only as a Firefox plugin, but plans are in the works for Zotero Everywhere which will be browser-independent.

The Libraries are beginning to offer workshops (such as this one for English and Literature graduate students) and will continue to explore ways to support Zotero users.  How can we best help you to explore research tools like this one?  Give it a try and leave a comment to let you know your thoughts!

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search engine that allows users to search for scholarly materials on a topic.  Instead of searching the entire web (like Google), Google Scholar searches the scholarly literature provided by numerous academic publishers, professional societies, universities and scholarly organizations.

Search results include citations from peer-reviewed journals, theses, papers, books and technical reports.

For the most part, Google Scholar provides citation-only results.  The full-text of an article or book can be accessed by using the Get it @ Duke link.

If you are using Google Scholar off campus,  you will need to set your ‘Scholar Preferences’ to Duke University Libraries.

Want to learn more about Google Scholar?

Go to:

PAC Presents: Brownbag Discussion in the Haiti Lab

The Professional Affairs Committee of Librarians Assembly invites you to join Haiti Lab Co-directors Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson, Franklin Humanities Institute Director Ian Baucom and Librarians Holly Ackerman and Heidi Madden for a brownbag discussion of the Haiti Lab and the potential for involvement of Duke Libraries staff in future humanities labs.

When:  Friday, December 3 from 11:30 am-1 pm (moderated discussion will begin at noon)

Where:  The Haiti Lab; Smith Warehouse, Bay 4

Bring your lunch – we’ll provide dessert!

Register online at:

Learn more about the Haiti Lab at:

For more info about the Humanities Labs, see:

Electronic Book Plates

To highlight the generosity of donors, the Collection Development Gifts Unit is now adding electronic gift plates to records for new gifts in kind.

Searchable in the catalog, the text can be found on the details tab.

The default text on the book plates is” Gift of [Professor Kindheart]” but other text options are available.

Since nearly 100% of donors during a pilot offering have already agreed to have this note added, we expect this option to be well received. It will soon become the default, though donors will still have the choice of  anonymity.

If you have further questions about donating books to Perkins Library, please contact staff in the Collection Development Gifts Unit, Cheryl Thomas or Ian Holljes.

Written by Cheryl Thomas

The Entry Point to Global Africa News Online is a comprehensive resource featuring stories from newspapers, magazines, and news agencies.  The news service posts more than 1000 stories daily in English and French and also provides access to the Africa News Service Archives, a resource of more than 900,000 articles on Africa dating back to 1997.

For pre-1997 materials, look no further than the Duke University Libraries.  The Africa News Service was founded in 1973 by a trio of Duke graduates, Bertie Howard (’69), Tamela Hultman (’68), and Reed Kramer (’69).  The Africa News Service resource files for 1960-1996 were donated to the library in 1997.

The finding aid for the archives is available at:

For the latest updated news from Africa, Duke patrons can access the database at: News Online

What is your Lesegeschwindigkeit??

Jakob Nielsen , a renowned Danish researcher in the field of web design for user satisfaction, compared the speed of reading (Lesegeschwindigkeit) in print, on the Kindle and on the iPad in his latest research
His conclusion is:” The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print.”  The article links to more information on what we can expect from e-readers and tablet computers in the future; the future is bright indeed (no pun intended).
On a related note…don’t miss this interesting classroom experiment comparing textbooks on Kindle versus iPad: “The E-Textbook Experiment Turns A Page,”  broadcast on NPR this evening. User satisfaction with the Kindle seems to be significantly lower than user satisfaction with the iPad: “The problem is that the Kindle is less interactive than a piece of paper…”
Use the comment section to share your experience with various devices.

Exploring Durham this Weekend?

As a Durham native, I know there are lots of interesting places where you can eat or relax after a busy week at work. Here are just a few blogs worth checking out, if you are looking for ideas:

Carpe Durham: Ramblings about food by people whose only qualification is eating a lot

Endangered Durham: Land use, architecture, history, and sustainable development

Bull City Rising: Musings, reflections, and general gossip

Durham Socialite: Durham’s source for social events

Please feel free to suggest other favorites.

Power tool for working with data

If you deal with large amounts of data and especially if you use spreadsheets to work with it, there is a new tool for you. Freebase Gridworks allows you to upload data and then examine, filter and do data cleanup for ‘grid-shaped data.’  Visit the Gridworks project site for more information and videos that more fully explain and demonstrate some of the functionality of this tool.

Short List of Gridworks Functions

  • Bring similar data together for normalization (CIT and C.I.T. or just plain old data entry errors)
  • Create facets based on any column of data
  • Make graphs of any two columns to quickly visualize relationships
  • Pull data from the Freebase database to add to your own data
  • Make external data sets more useful by creating linking

This is just a brief list, but visit the site for more detail and see how Gridworks could save you time in data cleanup or help to create visualizations you couldn’t before.

Backing Up Your Cloud

Computer users often have ways to backup their computer files but, if you use a number of cloud-based services, you should also think about developing a strategy for backing up your cloud data.

Hopefully, you won’t need the backup but we all know that problems with data storage can cause headaches: servers and internet access can go down and internet companies can have policies that change your access to your files.

Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, recently wrote, “I woke up this morning in Montreal to find that my access to my Google accounts has been temporarily disabled due to a ‘perceived violation of either the Google Terms of Service or product-specific Terms of Service.'” So, if you rely on such services as Gmail, Google Docs, and Flickr, you should think about a backup plan.

PC Magazine has a good article, “Back Up or Else” that discusses different methods and strategies you can use to back up your cloud. They also give “best practices” to get you started. Here are a few suggestions taken from Natalie Houston, “How to Back Up Your Cloud“:

Backup Your Photos
If you use Flickr to archive or display your photos, you may already have your photos backed up on your hard drive. But, if you upload photos directly from your computer or camera to Flickr, you may want to check out FlickrEdit, an open source program that allows you to download, backup, or upload your photos to and from Flickr.

Backup Your Gmail
The mail program Thunderbird is a simple and free way to backup your Gmail. Thunderbird is a mail program that collects and stores copies of your Gmail messages. Messages are stored in a simple text file so they are easy to access.

Backup Your Google Docs
GDocBackup, a free and open source utility, can be used to backup all your Google Documents to a local disk. It backs up those documents not found on your hard drive or with a different date.

Other Ways to Backup Your Cloud?
If you know other tools to use to backup cloud data, please post them as comments. I’m sure others would like to hear your suggestions. Thanks!

What is new with with E-Books, Open Content, Mobile Learning, and Augmented Reality?

From the website: “The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC). Each year, the report identifies and describes six areas of emerging technology likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, or creative expression in higher education within three adoption horizons: a year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. “
The areas of emerging technology cited for 2010 are: Mobile Computing ; Open Content; Electronic Books; Simple Augmented Reality; Gesture-based Computing; Visual Data Analysis. The full report is available at:
The July 12 Webinar presentations are also online at
This news item came to my attention via Resource Shelf

Twitter as History

The Library of Congress announced that it has acquired and will archive every public tweet since Twitter’s service started in 2006. That’s more than 50 million tweets per day. Twitter declared, “[it is] very exciting that tweets are becoming part of history.”

Notable tweets include:
Obama’s tweet when he won the 2008 election: and the first tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey:

The Twitter archive joins the Library’s Web capture project that already has stored 167 terabytes of digital material.

There are some limitations. Personal tweets will not be collected and the Twitter archive will be available only for scholarly and research purposes.

Google doesn’t think you should have to wait for the Library of Congress to make archival tweets available—it’s turning on a feature that lets you choose a date and “replay” the tweets from that point on. Google’s search combines Twitter updates with those from MySpace, Facebook and Buzz.

New Database on China 1833-1949

National index to Chinese newspapers and periodicals, 1833-1949 全国报刊索引 is an  index database is from Shanghai library and covers about 18,000 Chinese newspapers and periodicals published  1833-1949. There are approximately 400,000 entries in NICNP (1833-1910) and more than 4,000,000 entries in NICNP (1911-1949). From 1833 to 1949, China experienced great changes from the dynastic reign to the establishment of Republic of China(1912) then to the founding of the People’s Republic of China(1949).  These journals and newspapers record the major and minor events at that time, including two Opium wars in mid-19th century and the Japanese invasion of China(1937-1945).  They are important primary source materials to the study of China’s politics, economics, ideas and culture in this period.

Written by Luo Zhou

Duke Campus GIS Data

Members of the Duke community who are engaged in research relating to the campus infrastructure can now download GIS Layers of the Duke campus and surrounding areas.  These are in formats compatible with ArcGIS software, and some (the shapefiles) are importable into Google Earth Pro.

The layers were created by Duke’s Facility Management and are being provided for download by Perkins Library’s Data & GIS Services Department.  Categories of data include general campus features (e.g., building footprints, parking lots, crosswalks, Duke Garden trails), campus vegetation (e.g., coniferous trees, hedges), topography (contour lines), and color aerial photography in geo-referenced MrSID compressed format.  The area of coverage includes not only West, Central, and East campuses, but many of the surrounding Durham neighborhoods.  But no, undergrads, we have nothing showing the tunnels!

We hope to improve the documentation over time with improved metadata, as well as periodically update the layers.  Users should contact Mark Thomas or other staff in the Data & GIS Services Department for help in using this data.

Zotero 2.0

A while ago, Library Hacks blogged about Zotero, an open source research organizer/citation management system developed at George Mason University.  One of their tag lines is “Good bye 3×5 cards, hello Zotero.” (Yes, we know that many of you don’t even remember taking notes and saving references on 3×5 cards…).

A lot has happened since those blog posts, including the release of Zotero 2.0.  The new version has features that enhance collaboration and information sharing, one of Zotero’s four key functions (collecting, organizing, citing and collaborating).  Your Zotero collection can now be synced between multiple computers, and you can backup your files on Zotero’s web server.  If you want to collaborate with others to compile material in Zotero, you can now create a group, access material in real time, and move materials among group members.  Groups can be public (here’s a list of public Zotero groups that you can join or view) or private (for a course assignment, research or work-related project).

What are some advantages of using Zotero?  It’s fairly easy to learn to use it, it works with a wide variety of materials, the collaborative features are great, and it’s free.

NYU Libraries created a great site that compares Zotero, RefWorks and EndNote.  Interested in migrating from EndNote to Zotero?  Check out the useful migration instructions prepared by George Mason University.

More information about Zotero 2.0 can be found here.  The Libraries are looking at how we can support Zotero at Duke.  Stay tuned.

Books To-Go


Earlier, we told you about the many ways to get audiobooks through Duke and on the web.

There is now a new way to download audiobooks straight from the web.  NC Live is now providing 750 downloadable audiobooks that are available in .mp3 format so you can burn them to a CD or transfer them to a portable device like an iPod.   Just browse, select, and download the title of your choice to your computer, then transfer your selection to a portable listening device for on-the-go audio enjoyment.

Subjects focus subjects focusing primarily on language learning, classic literature, history, and biography.  Available titles include The Shawshank Redemption, Slaughterhouse Five, Atlas Shrugged or learn to speak French, German, Greek or Thai.

Use this link to download books while you’re on campus

And if you’re off campus, connect to NC Live and then browse to Audio Books.

Photo Credit:

What screencasting can do for you

Screencasting technology allows you to record what is happening on your computer screen with accompanying audio commentary and then share it with others. It enables remote collaboration and learning and provides an effective medium for educating users in the best use of databases and online resources.

It is a handy and useful tool for students, teachers and developers of software and web resources. Screencasting is especially useful in learning environments where it can be used to make live recordings of presentations or training sessions, to comment verbally on projects and assignments, to remotely show students how to use software or search a database, or for collaboration on projects. Developers can use screencasting to highlight features in new products or to give a tour of a website or resource.

These tools can also be used socially for things like sharing narrated slide shows with friends. More advanced tools with additional features, such as Camtasia and Adobe Captivate, are available for purchase. These tools allow you to edit your content and import still images, video, and PowerPoint slides and also let you create accessible tutorials and lessons through the use of closed captioning. Several basic tools such as Jing, Screenr and Screen Jelly are available for free. These online tools are designed for easy use so you can begin making screencasts immediately.

Have you tried any screencasting tools? What did you think?

Written by Julie Adamo

Growing Your Knowledge Base

Need new research material? No matter what it is — book, DVD, CD, database, etc. — our library offers services to obtain it.

You May:

  • Suggest a purchase:

  • Request it through ILL:

Be sure to Search TRLN first in case the book is closer than you think.

Loans from libraries in the Triangle Research Library Network generally are quicker:

Otherwise use Interlibrary Loan:

Also, keep in mind that not everything is available through ILL, though many things are.

For other requests see the forms at:

Written by Cheryl Thomas

Ever wonder what you can ask a reference librarian?

During the month of January, Reference librarians at Perkins Library answered a total of 1,795 questions, excluding questions sent in by chat.

Here is a sampling of the questions asked last month –

* Need help tracking down the volume in which a 1883 botanical illustration appeared?

* game theoretic applications to executive compensation?

* US and global railcar manufacturing?

* Seeking 1968 Soviet physics journal?

* I spilled some coffee–do you have any paper towels?

* I am trying to locate a book of collected drawings of the Great Kanto Earthquake by children. I have found an oblique reference to it in a caption to an illustration without any bibliographic info?

* Stem cell biology in traumatic brain injury: effects of injury and strategies for repair?

* what citation management tool do you recommend?

* GIS : how to get started; availability of data for India?

* trouble accessing journal article?

* help finding articles for class?

* speech by Booker T. Washington in Atlanta, 1895?

* can you eat in the library?

* How to find Russian books?

* 2001 Indian Census volumes for Gujarat

* I can’t find this shelf at all, where are these books?

You can ask reference questions in person (Perkins Reference Desk), im/chat (click on the askusNOW icon), email ( or by phone (660-5880). Save some time and get the information you need quickly!

Written by Anne Langley

Quiet study spots in Perkins/Bostock

Quiet study spots
Looking for a quiet place to study in Perkins/Bostock? No need to limit yourself to the designated quiet rooms in Bostock – the International and Area Studies Reading Room on the 2nd floor and the Carpenter Reading Room on the 3rd floor. Check out some of the lesser known places.

Group spaces
For those who want large spaces in which to study, the Gothic Reading Room on the 2nd floor of the oldest wing of Perkins (closest to the bus stop) could be perfect.

Individual spaces
On the 3rd and 4th floors of Perkins individual open carrels are available on the side facing CIEMAS. On lower level 2 of Perkins, you might find an individual table/chair tucked away at the ends of aisles. Individual carrels are available around the edges of the 5 upper stack levels in the oldest part of the building, accessed by making a u-turn around the circulation desk, entering level A, and taking the interior stairs to levels B-F. Additional open carrels are available at the back of the 3rd and 4th floors of Bostock.

Written by Joline Ezzell

Sociology Resources Online

Duke users now have access to the sociology research database SocINDEX with Full Text. This new subscription provides comprehensive coverage of sociology resources, encompassing all sub-disciplines and closely related areas of study.

SocINDEX with Full Text features more than 2,066,400 records; extensive indexing for books/monographs, conference papers, and other non-periodical sources; abstracts for more than 1,200 “core” coverage journals dating as far back as 1895; and provides cited references that can also be searched.

SocINDEX with Full Text offers coverage for topics including: abortion, anthropology, criminology, criminal justice, cultural sociology, demography, economic development, ethnic & racial studies, gender studies, marriage and family, politics, religion, rural sociology, social psychology, social structure, social work, sociological theory, sociology of education, substance abuse, urban studies, violence, welfare, and many others.

In addition, SocINDEX with Full Text features over 25,000 author profiles. Each profile includes contact information, journals of publication, and author’s areas of expertise and professional focus.

SocINDEX with Full Text is a great resource for your sociology research.

Video Killed the Journal Star?

We previously discussed the growing number of sources for getting lecture videos in the post Free Video Lectures.  These are great ways to provide an alternative for the classroom experience.  But what about using video as an alternative to traditional scholarly communication or publishing through journals, books, etc?  Here are a few sites promoting open scholarship by allowing researchers to display their research methods and results through video.


This site is focused in terms of content, focusing on the sciences, but could be helpful for a wide range of audiences.  There are videos here for children through postgraduates.  They build in nice browsing features as well, so users can select the proper language, audience, subject and sort by recency or popularity.  Contributors also include figures, supplemental materials and links to the original article or presentation.  The theme here is openess as anyone can view or contribute anything.

Research Channel

While not as slick and easy-to-use as YouTube, Research Channel focuses on high quality submissions from research universities, like Duke, and large organizations such as the National Institutes of Health.  You can browse by institution, program title or subject and the quality is good and from respected sources.


An interesting and well-designed site.  It focuses on videos about politics and economics, but also includes categories such as the environment, science, technology and culture.  This is a great place to come to see mental celebrities (General Richard Meyers, Dr. David Kessler for example) talk about the subjects for which they are famous.  FORA.TV can’t compete for YouTube in terms of volume, but it more than makes up for that with its quality and interesting discussions.

Big Think

Another example of lower volume, but higher quality.  These videos have big thinkers (if not always big names) discussing the big ideas.  Instead of talks about individual research projects, these videos focus more on big-picture synthesis of research on important topics of the day.  While it’s not the open model of SciVee or YouTube, Big Think provides a platform for discussion of important issues by those who speak knowledgeably and engagingly about them.

What are other good sites for publishing or viewing research-oriented videos?

*Thanks to Lisa R. Johnston for her SciTech News column which inspired this post.

New Netbooks at Perkins Next Fall

nvidia-ion-lenovo-s12_4_600 Before finals Information Technology Services (ITS) polled patrons at the Perkins Reference desk to see which netbook they preferred the Lenovo s12 or the slightly smaller Lenovo s10e.   9 of 10 surveyed said they preferred the slightly larger s12 over the s10e because the larger keyboard was easier to use and the 10 inch screen display was clearer.  Some also felt the wireless on the s12 was faster.  Overall the larger model was easier to use while not compromising portability. Based on these findings, we will likely purchase the s12 to replace the current pool of loaner laptops next fall.

Patrons were also asked what software they would like on these laptops.  Most said they would need Office and a Web browser but there were also requests for Adobe products and EndNote. What software would you would like us to include on the build?

Complete Survey Results

Perkins Loaner Laptops

Written by Debra Kurtz

A Piece of Sound Advice: “Use Your Ears!”


Previous posts have focused mainly on text- and image-based resources. This installment will highlight audio, specifically free resources available on the Internet.  Here are a few:

The British Library’s public collections include field recordings of natural and urban soundscapes, music from around the world, a survey of English dialects, early spoken word recordings, as well as historical information on sound reproduction technology.

Xeno-Canto hosts an archive of bird sounds from across the globe and makes good use of Google Maps in its search and information display interfaces.

London Sound Survey is a nice example of how audio can contribute to an overall picture of a geographical place and its culture and history over time.

The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds (focusing only on sounds, not songs).

Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal music downloads directed by New Jersey’s freeform radio station WFMU.

This is just a small sample of what’s out there.  Now it’s up to you to decide how audio could enhance your research, project or presentation.  Here’s some inspiration:

Written by Zeke Graves

Term papers by the numbers…


Ready to start that term paper?  Not sure how to start?  The University of Minnesota Libraries have created an assignment calculator to help students organize their time to meet their research needs.  Start with today’s date, enter the date assignment is due, a timeline is provided, with research milestones.  Use Duke Library links for local, on-site research assistance.  For example, How do I begin my research? or  Find a Librarian in my subject area? or ask for help are just a few of the services available to you through the Duke Libraries.

Parents’ Weekend Program October 23rd- Global Access and Local Action

Global Access and Local Action- Health Information and Open Access
Friday October 23rd , 1-3pm
217 Perkins Library.

In an era of globalization, issues of connectivity and access to information concerning health care and health related systems remain uneven across the world. Duke students and faculty from Trinity College and the Duke Global Health Institute will discuss their experiences with information access in health projects around the world, as well as their interactions with health consumers and professionals in other countries.

Sponsored as part of Open Access Week by Duke University Libraries and the Duke Medical Center Library

Images of colonial Taiwan are available free online

For people who are interested in colonial Taiwan(1895-1945), there’s some good news. Libraries inside and outside Taiwan are digitizing their special collections including photographs and art images and make them free available to interested researchers and general public. The following are four selected collections:

Three photpgraph collections from Lafayette college’s digital collection. All the photos have very detailed descriptive data (bilingual in many fields) and the images are of good quality themselves.

Taiwan Art Exhibition (1927-1943) Database 台灣美術展覽會資料庫 from Academia Sinica of Taiwan has Images of 2144 artworks from 16 art exhibits during Japanese colonial period. Information is in Chinese with Japanese titles.

Written by Luo Zhou

Social Networking for Scientists


We’ve been getting more and more questions in the library about how researchers can find information from other disciplines.  For example, how can someone working on membranes in Psychiatry connect up with someone working on membranes in Materials Science?  In a world where waiting for the published article is increasingly too late,  we’ve been trying to find new avenues.

To answer the question above, I thought, ‘I wonder if there is a social networking site for scientists?’, did a Google search, and voila – Labmeeting!

The interesting part about Labmeeting is that it is only freely available to scientific researchers.  You have to either get invited by a scientific researcher you know, or show online proof that you are doing scientific research.  Or pay $99.  Thus, not being a scientific researcher, nor willing to part with $99 for a look-see, I was unable to join.

A search on Duke presented 120 results and included the following:

  • Associate Professor at Duke University  interested in the following topics: Monomeric lambda repressor, Ribonuclease P protein, Protein A, NMR, CD, fluorescence, stopped flow, amide exchange, dynamic NMR
  • PhD Student at Duke University interested in the following topics: In vivo model systems, genetic screens, immunoblotting
  • PhD Student at Duke University interested in the following topics: Photonics

Give it a shot and let us know what you think:

Addendum:  As William Gunn points out in the comments below, there are other similar tools which you may want to try.  They include:

Upload research articles

Keep your research orderly.

  • Automatically match them to bibliographic records for reference management
  • Search the full text of all your PDFs
  • Mark them for fast retrieval and viewing
  • Recommend them to your colleagues

Tools for Back to School

Now that classes are definitely back in full swing, we wanted to share some help with some of those consistently vexing issues for students.  Refer to previous posts for some information on data backup, free video lectures, and electronic sticky notes.

Finding textbooks – Most know Amazon, but there are some other options out there for online textbook shopping.  Bookfinder searches across many online book retailers, making it easy to compare prices.  Chegg is a big textbook rental site, allowing for use of books for only a short time.

Lifehacker tips – This site helped inspire the name of this blog and is a great source for little ways to make life better, often with technology, but often without.

  • Sleep better: Includes alarm clock suggestions and napping strategies
  • Take better notes: Taking notes seems simple enough, but there are three methods here for getting more out of those scribbles
  • Memory Hacks: Ten tips for remembering all you’re learning

For a large list of all types of web apps that could be helpful for students, check out this list from readwriteweb.  This list is a couple years old, any new apps on the scene since then?

**Photo Credit:
Student raising his hand in a classroom, 1970
William Gedney Photographs and Writings
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Want the Library Everywhere? There’s an App for That

There are iPhone apps for just about anything.  They’ve got you covered if you need to get Danish handball scores, calculate alimony, keep track of your pet’s vet records, or create and test palindromes.  There is more than just fun in the world of apps, though.  Here are some great research tools for mobile devices.

At Duke, there are a number of great ways to work in the library wherever you are.  You can use the library’s mobile website to find library hours, available computers, directions, contact info and more.  If you’re doing medical research, take a look at Duke’s Medical Center Library mobile site.  It’s full of features enabling you to do PICO analysis, browse e-journals, and link to many helpful mobile resources.

On the Digital Collections blog, it was recently announced that you can search, browse and view our Digital Collections on your mobile device.  Be sure to watch the short video demonstrating the ease of this feature in their post announcing this new tool.  Just announced this week, you can now watch vintage ads from Duke Libraries Hartman Center from Duke iTunes U.

There are other nice mobile tools outside of Duke as well.  This is just a partial list and some of these are third-party apps, but this will give you an idea of the possibilities out there.  Some useful apps include those for, the arXiv pre-print server for physics, math, computer science, etc, or the Papers PDF organizer software in mobile form.

I’m sure I’ve missed some helpful mobile resources.  What others are out there?

Can’t get enough Library Hacks?

Do you find yourself waiting longingly for the next post of Library Hacks?  Is there just nothing that will satisfy your thirst for research, technology and library related news??  If so, LibWorm is the tool for you!  LibWorm, a search engine that searches over 1500 library related or librarian maintained blogs, can help you find research tips, tools and strategies from librarians of all types from all over the world.  Just type in a topic of interest and – PRESTO! –  Hundreds of librarians are at your fingertips.

Tree-saving Sticky Notes / CC BY 2.0Sticky notes are great for jotting down quick thoughts to act on later.  On the negative side, they have serious shortcomings when it comes to organizing all these ideas and sharing them with others.  Here are a few web tools which expand the utility of sticky notes and bring them to your electronic environment.


Here is beefed-up, electronic version of your paper sticky note.  Here you can create sticky boards and  cover them notes, photos, to-do lists and documents and mark them up as you want.  Then you can share them with group members and they can make and see edits and updates too.


This tool is a great way to organize your thoughts and is very easy to use.  The interface is very appealing and is really fun to use.   Plus, you can share your maps and collaborate with others with Twitter, Skype, iGoogle gadgets, Firefox add-ons and various export options. You can get a basic account (read: free) with up to six maps and premium accounts for a little more than free.  Check out a completed map.

This is a similar tool to MindMeister.  It’s not as feature-rich, but for what it does, it’s simple and easy.  It has great keyboard shortcuts that allow for quick brainstorming and notetaking.  Again, it keeps things organized and related in a way that you can make sense of all the notes you’re taking.


What you get here is basically a clean slate.  It approximates a clean white board and you are free to doodle, add text, change colors, etc.  It also has browser buttons that, when clicked, bring that web page into Twiddla where you can mark on them and share with others.  This could be a helpful way to comment on the design or content of a web page and let others see your ideas.

What web tools do you like for keeping track of your thoughts and collaborating?

*Thanks to Lisa R. Johnston for her SciTech News column which inspired this post.

Facebook for Faculty (Part Two)

Name ambiguity is a recurring issue that impacts research accuracy and quality, career advancement and tenure, global collaboration among researchers, and identification and attribution of funding for institutions and individual authors alike. by Thomson Reuters (the creators of ISI’s Journal Citation Reports) allows researchers to:

  • Generate a unique identifier to ensure that your work is correctly attributed to you
  • Provide a way for your institution to properly measure your performance
  • Manage your publication list and professional profile online, in one place
  • List previous institutions in your profile to helps others find you as you move through your career

Learn More…

Written by Nathaniel King

Facebook for Faculty (Part One)

2collab is a collaboration platform designed specifically for researchers in the science, technical and medical communities.

Produced by Elsevier and intended for use by professional researchers in academic, government and corporate institutions, 2collab provides a great solution for the following challenges:

1. I need a place to store and manage my online bookmarks
2. I’m collaborating with colleagues and I need a place where I can share information easily with my network
3. I need new ways to get recognition for my work

As a published author you can import and display your publication history (with citation counts!) using Elsevier’s extensive coverage of over 2.5 million validated author profiles and a database of 15,800 peer-reviewed journals.

Learn more…

Written by Nathaniel King

Are you up-to-date?

For many faculty and graduate students who remain on-campus, the summer is the time to catch up with all those things that got left behind in the end-of-semester rush.

With the deluge of articles and books in your field, it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up-to-date.

Not any more.

If you use Duke’s databases for your research, you can use RSS feeds to send you automatic updates on relevant articles, authors, journals, search results and citations.

These feeds allow you to automatically and effortlessly:

-Find out who’s citing your work

-Find new research in your field…

Read More

Written by Nathaniel King

Publish or Perish

There are a number of ways to analyze the impact of publications of a particular researcher (including yourself).  A longtime favorite has been ISI’s (Social) Science Citation Index, which has come to the web as Web of Science.  The web has introduced a number of other tools for assessing the impact of a specific researcher or publication.  Some of these are GoogleScholar (don’t forget to set your preferences!), Scopus, SciFinder Scholar, and MathSciNet among many others.

Joining this group is Publish or Perish, with a slightly different take on this process.  Publish or Perish uses data from Google Scholar, but it automatically does analysis on the citation patterns for specific authors.  After searching for an author (works best with first initial and quotes, such as “DG Schaeffer”) you can select the papers you want to analyze and you get metrics such as total citations, cites per year, h-index, g-index, etc.  Any analysis done can be exported to EndNote, BibTeX or a CSV file.

The software is available for Windows and Linux and is a quick, light, free download from the Publish or Perish website.  It’s more of a do-one-thing-well software and isn’t full of features, but this makes it easy to use.  It was created by an Australian professor and she includes some thoughts on her site about GoogleScholar as a citation tool as well as an explanation of the metrics used in the software.

iTunes for Your Papers

Wouldn’t it be nice to have all your research (your papers, articles, etc.) in one place? Papers (for Mac, iPhone & iTouch) allows you to download, browse and organize all of your research from within its attractive and intuitive interface (2007 winner of Apple’s Design Award).

Papers allows you to perform searches in major databases, like Web of Science, JSTOR, Google Scholar and PubMed (to name a few). Articles retrieved from databases include rich metadata goodies, like full bibliographic info. The marketing of this tool seems to be geared towards science-related research, though it has potential for any form of research.

The $42 fee may be a deterrent to some, but students can purchase Papers at a 40% discount ($16.80). The application does wonders for organizing your papers, but does not support bibliographic managment (EndNote, RefWorks and Zotero).

For all the PC owners out there, sorry…the creators of Papers (Mekentosj) show no love for the PC. But check out an earlier post on the PC-friendly pdf organizer, Mendeley.

Written by Hannah Rozear

Free video lectures

Even the best professors, books and classmates can be improved with some additional information.  In this post we’re going to list a few places where you can find some great lectures to supplement what you’re getting in your own course.

The first is a series of lectures from Academic Earth.  This site includes one-off lectures on a given topic or entire courses from schools like Harvard, Princeton and UC-Berkeley.  They can be browsed by university or subject area.  Viewers also have an opportunity to rate each lecture or course so others can see which are “top-rated.”  There are resources for many different subjects including political science, astronomy, religion and entrepreneurship.  Get started with an Introduction to Ancient Greek History.

Lecturefox provides a search engine and browsable lists for lecture materials.  The site indicates the title of the lecture, the university and whether video, audio, and/or notes are included.  You can browse by chemistry, computer science, math and physics categories, but again, there are other subjects included.

Some lectures can also be found at individual university sites such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, UC-Berkeley’s YouTube page and of course all the resources available at iTunesU at Duke.


It’s the one little line in your assignment that can lead to hours of work:

Format your paper in APA (or MLA, or Chicago, or Turabian…)

Inserting correct citations and a properly formatted bibliography used to involve complicated manuals, memorization of arcane facts about space placement after a period, and a lot of hair pulling. Kudos to those who want to keep citing by hand…but for those who don’t, it’s….


We’re kicking off a whole week of RefWorks training, which will run between March 30th to April 3rd, to introduce you to your new best citation friend.

What is RefWorks? It’s a web-based program that collects all your research and references in one handy spot, search and select them, and automatically generates citations and bibliography in whatever style your Professor is asking for.

In other words, RefWorks is a Lifesaver!

Drop by and learn more all week:

Mon. March 30: Bryan Center 12-2 pm

Tue. March 31: Lilly Library 1-3 pm

Wed. April 1st: Perkins Library 1-3 pm

Thu. April 2nd: East Campus Marketplace 12-2

Fri. April 3rd: Bryan Center Plaza 12-2 pm

Written by Kyla Sweet-Chavez

Doodle: Easy Scheduling

Imagine: You have to organize a group meeting with several people who have busy schedules.

Person A: I can’t meet on Wednesday, can you meet Thursday?

Person B: I can’t meet on Thursday, can you meet Friday?

Person C: Ughhhh…there has got to be a better way to organize meetings!

Try Doodle. Doodle is an online tool that makes it easy to schedule group meetings and other appointments. Doodle is simple, quick, free and requires no registration.

You can also use Doodle

from your Mobile (beta)

in Facebook

in iGoogle

Mendeley: Manage, Share & Discover Research

Got a pile of PDFs on your computer? Turn your research documents into your own personal digital library with Mendeley–a new tool for organizing and sharing research.

Mendeley has a downloadable (free!) desktop software component, as well as a web-based component (Mendeley Web). Mendeley Web allows you to sync your library of PDFs, so that you can access them while you are away from your computer. Mendeley Web also serves as a social networking tool for connecting with researchers in your field.

When adding PDFs to Mendeley’s desktop client, Mendeley extracts the metadata (author, title, publication info, etc.) and creates a record for each PDF that you add to your Mendeley library. In addition to storing your PDFs, you can use the tool to add annotations and tags.

How does Mendeley differ from a tool like Zotero? In a nutshell, Mendeley grabs citation info from a PDF, whereas Zotero grabs citation info from webpages. Many reviewers note that the Mendeley’s sharing and collaboration features are superior to other tools, including tools like Zotero. Reviewers also pointed out another notable difference in the development philosophies of these tools…Zotero is ‘open source’ (developers are sharing the code, so that many people can contribute). Whereas, Mendeley is currently a closed, commercial product.

Note: Mendeley is still in ‘Beta’, which means its developers are still tweaking the tool!

You can have a look at the features here:

Written by Hannah Rozear

Tweet Tweet! AskRef’s Twitter Feed!

Are you all-a-twitter about Twitter? So are we!

You will occasionally get funny pictures like this

If you have questions, you can go to the reference desk or IM, email and text librarians. But what if you just want some general updates on library happenings? What if you’re curious about some of the fascinating questions we are asked each day? How do you get that kind of information?

Why, from Twitter of course! If you’re already glued to Twitter, then you can follow us now! While you can post anything you want to your account, we try to keep it interesting.

Our updates range from tips on ways to use our services (like texting a librarian if you’re in the movable stacks and they are stuck) to highlighting important days (two weeks ago we celebrated W.E.B. Du Bois’s birthday on Twitter by including a link to some of his works in our collection). Sometimes librarians are pretty hip, so we Tweeted about our Full Frame Film Archive for those of you who couldn’t get enough of the Oscars last week.

And sometimes…sometimes we get questions that are just awesome. So we will Tweet them to give you something to think about. You want an example? “Where can I find information about spontaneous cataracts in dogs and monkeys?” So, yeah. You’re interested.

Find us by searching for ‘askref’ or just click here.If you have yet to enter the Twitterverse, you can check out these frequently asked questions to see what it’s all about!

Written by Tiffany Lopez

r u prplxt? snd a txt!

The library has provided quite a few ways to contact us with your questions including phone, email, IM, research consultations and the reference desk on the first floor of Perkins.  Take a look at the Ask a Librarian page for more details.

Now you can ask questions just by texting us.  Send us a question via text message and you’ll get an answer on your mobile device within minutes.  Send a message to 265010 (that’s right, just six digits), enter ‘dukeref:’ followed by your question and send.

This can be handy if:

  • You’re on the bus and you want to confirm that the library is open
  • You want to see if that book on reserve is available right now
  • You’re in the library and you can’t seem to locate your book or get the shelves to move
  • You have a research question and you just love to talk with your thumbs

Messages are limited to 160 characters and texting rates apply.  But if you like to text, you knew that already.

Read books one email at a time

DailyLit LogoEven if you like to read books, can be hard to find the time or get into the habit of reading for pleasure.  This is especially difficult for those of us that do a lot of reading for work and school.  When we find ourselves with free time, we often neglect reading for other activities.

Using DailyLit, you can read short sections of books each day, received by email or RSS feed.  Each installment is very short (intended to be read in 5 minutes) and can be sent daily, on weekdays, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, etc.  Some books are available for a fairly small fee, but many others are available for free.

You can search or browse by author, title or cateogry.  Try out Darwin’s On the Origin of Species or Austen’s Price and Prejudice for free.


Want a good book for a long car ride? Like to listen to fiction while doing your laundry?
Check out these tips for finding free audiobooks on the web and in local libraries.

Audiobooks available in the library:
Audiobooks (on cd and cassette) in Lilly
These books are in Locked Media–bring the call number to the Lilly desk.
Audiobooks in Ford library
These have a 1-week loan period.

Audiobooks outside of Duke’s libraries
For more extensive collections, check out your local public libraries:

Chapel Hill residents (requires a Chapel Hill Public Library card):
Download audiobooks from the NC Digital Library here.

Durham residents (requires a Durham County Library card):
Download audiobooks from Overdrive here.
You may need to contact the library for your ‘PIN’, but it should be the last 4 digits of the telephone # you used to get your library card.
**Unfortunately, these downloadable books are not compatible with iPods.**

Both Chapel Hill & Durham also have collections of Books on CD & cassette on-site.

Free audiobooks are available from the following sites. These include mostly books that are in the public domain (published before 1923, roughly):,, and Project Gutenberg.

There’s always the option of podcasts, too! Like this ‘podiocast’ site for serialized fiction: Free podcasts (and not-so-free audiobooks) are also available from commercial sites like, iTunes, and Amazon.

Written by Hannah Rozear

Sync Files on Multiple Computers

If you do work on two or more computers, or work on teams, Dropbox might be a helpful tool for you.  Working on multiple computers allows us to be productive more often, but it adds a layer of coordination.  Do you keep emailing myself files or carry a USB drive back and forth?  And ensuring that you are working with the most current version can also cause confusion.

Dropbox, in beta phase, could provide a better way.  Download the software onto the computers that you use and want to be connected and link them with your single Dropbox account.  It fits right into the file directory systems for Windows or Mac machines.  You just have to drag and drop the files and they are immediately synced between computers.  Revisions or changes made to the file are immediately available in multiple computers.  Your Dropbox folder also has a public folder which you can share with friends and co-workers.  This could help facilitate group projects where many people on many computers are working with the same files.

There is no online storage of files with Dropbox, but it does revision history, so if you accidentally save a file and want to revert to an old version or deleted a file, Dropbox can recover any previous version.  Check out the video below for a complete demonstration of its features.

LibX now available for IE

LibX is a web browser extension (also known as a plug-in or add-on) that places a toolbar in your browser, visual “cues” in certain web pages that link to Duke Library resources related to the item you’re viewing, and new menu items in the right-click menu in your browser, getting you quick access to Duke Library resources from whatever web page you’re on.  A version for Firefox has been available for some time but the creators of LibX have now released a version that works in Internet Explorer (IE) 6 and 7.

Duke Libraries LibX Search Options

More information about what you can do with LibX, where to get it, and how to install it in both Firefox and IE can be found on the Library’s LibX Tool page.

How to find a human

Woman yelling into a cellphoneWe’ve probably all experienced the frustration of automated telephone systems.  Your needs are never included on the menu.  You feel like you have a quick question that could be solved in 30 seconds if you could just talk to a real person.  Or that sinking feeling when you realize you’ve heard this menu before. And let’s not forget the feeling of foolishness associated with giving canned voice commands to a computer.  Shouted expletives generally aren’t understood by these calm-voiced operators.

There is, however, a resource for getting to human operators.  In 2005, Paul English created the gethuman database, which has a listing of companies and services from insurance to hardware.  For each phone service, there is a list of instructions for what to do to get out of the automated menus.

In addition to this original database, there is, which is “more actively maintained” than the original site, but which has some obvious design differences.

Writing this post made me think about how interacting with companies like those listed in the gethuman site differs from the interactions that users have with libraries at Duke and elsewhere.  Duke Libraries has expanded its service points from face-to-face contact to include phone, email, IM chat and now text messaging (click here to see all the ways to contact reference staff).  But regardless of the method of communication, you’ll always reach an actual person who is trained and eager to help answer your questions.  We hope this service enhances your work and keeps your blood pressure low.

Zoetrope: Browse the pages of Internet past

**This tool is not yet ready for public use, but it seems to offer a lot of promise, so we’re sharing it with you now.**

Adobe Systems, working with researchers at the University of Washington, has just debuted Zoetrope, a new tool which we hope can illuminate the past of the Web. Web sites and pages within those sites change so quickly that the past is easily forgotten. It can be very interesting to look back at changes in layout and content and to track trends.

We wrote about the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine as a way to look at selected snapshots of Web pages in the past. The Wayback Machine has saved a huge quantity of data and is a unique tool for preserving the Web of the past. Zoetrope adds the ability to track changes by creating tools for easily browsing past Web pages. Users could use a slider to move back and forward in time. As displayed in the video, you could also create a “lens” to track a specific piece of information like the price of gasoline and compare it to the price of oil over time.

During the current testing phase, Zoetrope creators chose 1,000 websites that update frequently and stored information captured every hour over four months. While this is much more limited than what the Internet Archive is saving, the Internet Archive has expressed an interest in sharing its data. Maybe soon we’ll be able to use the Zoetrope tools to browse and analyze the vast data of the Internet Archive.

The video best displays the cool features of Zoetrope. Take a look and comment on some of its possible applications for personal or research use.

Finding a Library computer during crunch-time…

To see a list showing how many computers are available at various Library locations around campus, point your cell phone’s browser to a new page on the Library’s mobile website:

This is part of a beta site providing Library web content formatted specifically for cell phones and other handheld devices (iPod Touch, Blackberry, etc.). Feel free to give us your feedback letting us know what Library information you’d like to access via your cell phone’s browser.

Kudos to Jim Coble, Matt Gates, and Jason Simons for making data on available computers accessible to our patrons.

We also have a set of pages on the Library’s main website,, that displays the same information graphically.

Search beyond Google

SearchMany of us use Google to search the web for personal research and library resources for scholarly publications.  Sometimes, however, it’s not clear whether what we need will be on the web or in scholarly literature.  I’d like to point out some nice search engines for specific types of information that combine the ease of Google with the specialization of a library database.  These tools could help you make sense of the web.

To find more like these, go here for a list of 100 Useful Niche Search Engines.

Scirus – Specializing in scientific information, it allows researchers to search for journal content and also scientists’ homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information.  Also, its new ‘topics pages‘ are Wikipedia-style entries with identified (usually scholarly) authors.

Meta-Index to U.S. Legal Research – This site gathers search engines for U.S. legal information from across the web and puts them all in the same place.  It points you towards good tools for searching legislation, judicial opinions and regulations on the web.

CiteSeer – This search engine for computer science and information science is full of features including citation analysis tools.

InternshipPrograms – A nice way to search for internships and for organizations to find interns.  Register by including your résumé and interests.

Clusty – Provides search results in a list, but also includes a sidebar with categories, so you can review results by subject area.

Google – Don’t forget about Google’s own features such as Advanced search, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google News, etc.

Academic Skills Videos

  • New to college and looking for advice about how to get started researching and writing all these papers?
  • Want to give your students some extra help in learning how to navigate the research process in an academic environment?
  • Are you just a sucker for charming Canadian accents?

The University of Prince Edward Island has created a really nice set of videos to help students with skills like active and critical reading, choosing a topic, using library databases and essay building.  The videos are about 5-10 minutes long and are fast-moving and clear in the style of the “… in Plain English” series.

These videos could be really helpful and even enjoyable for people who have a long list of papers, but just can’t seem to get started.  Good luck!

Subject Librarians to the rescue!

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s…it’s…a subject librarian!

I know that some of you think your professors have sent you out into the world of research and writing with no allies and no weapons. I’m here to tell you that you are mistaken. A group of superhero-like librarians have been summoned from the ends of the earth and brought to Duke to equip you with subject specific knowledge and tools.

Trying to figure out if you need a subject librarian? Do you have a really specific topic? Are you looking for data, obscure documents or resources? Do you feel the need for an in-depth research consult? If you answered yes to any of these questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Astronomy? Got it. Korean Studies? Yep. Music Media? You know it! And that’s only a taste of the subject coverage we’ve got! What’s that? You want to contact them right away? You want to learn more about the subjects they cover? I thought you might feel that way. All the information you need is here.

If you still have questions, don’t forget that the reference desk is always a great place to start. You can always save time and ask a librarian!

Written by Tiffany Lopez

Library Website on Your Phone

What is it?

A website optimized for use on handheld devices such as cellphones, iPods, and PDAs:

  • These are new web pages created specifically with the needs of mobile users in mind.
  • This pilot project does not duplicate the main library web site — mobile device users can still access the content on the main library web site when in need of more detailed information.

Key points about our pilot:

  • Compact display: information optimized for the very small screen space available on handheld devices — every pixel counts.
  • Compact file size: patrons often pay a fee for each byte transmitted to their device, and handheld devices often have very slow connection speeds — every byte counts.
  • Tightly focused content: the content we provide is closely tied to the tasks people are most likely to undertake on a handheld device — context counts.
  • Optimized Navigation: navigation is optimized for handheld devices (e.g., using access-keys for keypad navigation).

Feedback, Suggestions, or Questions?

We are keenly interested in your ideas. Please post your comments letting us know what Library information would be helpful to you if it were part of the website.

The Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine Logo

Do you ever come across the following error message while doing research on the Internet?


Not Found

The requested URL /was not found on this server.


There may be a solution! The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine allows you to browse through 85 billion (!) web pages that have been archived since 1996. Simply enter the URL of the site and the Wayback Machine will show you all the available versions of the site since 1996.

For example, ever wondered what the Google page looked like before Google became a household name. Click this link to see the Google page from 1999.

Written by Nathaniel King


Wish you had a photographic memory? Me too, but since that’s not an option, I use Evernote. Never heard of it? Let me fill you in.

In a nutshell: Evernote is an application that allows you to collect information as you encounter it. What do I mean?

Viewing a website or an email and want to remember a certain passage or image? Just highlight it and copy it to Evernote. Looking through a friend’s class notes and see something you missed? Take a picture of it and upload it to Evernote. The same goes for whiteboards, business cards, fliers, and more! Text within images that you copy to Evernote are completely searchable. Even photos of handwritten notes! Glued to your QWERTY board? Use the phone application to send ideas, to-do lists or other reminders as they come up.

The best part (besides the fact that it’s free!) is that there is a web-based version, so you’re not tied to your desktop. Search your information from your laptop in the Perk or on your web-ready cell phone.

What else? Keep your information private or share it with your friends. Add tags or notes to make your images and entries more searchable or sortable. Want to browse by dates? You can do that too. For some additional bells and whistles, use the Windows or Mac application too (don’t worry, it syncs with the web version).

Written by Tiffany Lopez

Keep tabs on your laptop with tracking software

It’s so tempting to leave your books and laptop in your favorite study spot while you head to the bathroom or to The Perk for a refill. Unfortunately, it only takes seconds for that precious laptop — along with the months’ worth of work saved to its hard drive — to vanish.

In response to what has become a problem on campuses nation-wide, a group of professors and grad students from the University of Washington, the University of California-San Diego and the University of California-Davis has developed Adeona, a free open-source program that can help users locate lost or stolen laptops.

One particular advantage of Adeona (named for the Roman goddess of safe returns) is that only owners have the ability to track their laptops — users aren’t required to report their information to a third party. In fact, Adeona’s website boasts that it is “the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service.”

Take a few minutes to download and install Adeona, and post your thoughts on the new software here.

RSS & the Library Catalog: Why & How

Last week, Duke Libraries launched a brand new interface to its catalog. There’s a lot that you can do with the new catalog that you couldn’t do before, so get ready for many new tips and tricks here on Library Hacks.

This post will focus on using RSS (really simple syndication). RSS “feeds” free you from having to constantly check web sites to see if anything new and interesting has been added. Instead, the information is delivered to you as soon as it is available. If you’re not familiar with RSS or would like a refresher, take a few minutes to watch this “RSS in Plain English” video by CommonCraft:

Of course, the library catalog is neither news nor a blog. So, you might ask, what can you do with RSS in the library catalog? You can…

Get alerted when items of interest to you are added to the catalog

Let’s look at some examples of items. I’ll use the first to demonstrate.
(Bookmarked with the “Save Search” feature):

Whether you are just browsing by clicking around or you have narrowed a set of results with a combination of search terms and selections from the left-hand “Refine Your Search” menu, you’ll see an RSS icon ( ) next to the number of results found.

Right-Click (or Option-Click) on the RSS icon to copy the feed URL. Click Copy Shortcut (or its equivalent–see below).

We have to add that feed URL to an RSS reader (also called an aggregator). I use Google Reader, so I’ll demonstrate with that. Feel free to substitute your aggregator of choice, or use your browser’s built-in feed subscription feature.

In Google Reader, click “Add subscription,” paste in the feed URL you copied from the catalog, and click “Add”.

Now that you have subscribed, any time an item is added to the catalog that matches what you were looking for (in this case, feature film DVDs at Lilly Library) the item will appear in your reader, just like new blog posts and news articles, with a link that will take you to the item in the catalog interface.

This is a great way to find out quickly and effortlessly about new additions to the catalog that match your interests.

Other uses of RSS feeds from the Catalog

Beyond delivering notices to your personal reader, you can use a feed from the catalog to generate a linked list of new additions that match a particular interest, and embed that in another web site. You could add a list to a blog, your Facebook profile, a course or departmental web site, or someplace else. The steps to do this will differ depending on which site, widget, or application you’re using, but use the same technique as above to get the feed URL.

RSS at Duke University Libraries

There are many other RSS feeds from Duke Libraries beyond the catalog. Subscribe to get library news, see job postings, or to read posts from Library Hacks or one of our several other blogs:

Related resources

Make citations in Facebook

In further Facebook takes over the universe (at least the parts not already claimed by Google) news, there’s a new application in Facebook called CiteMe. You enter the title of the book you want to cite, click go, and the app spits out a formatted citation in one of five styles (APA, Chicago, Harvard. MLA, or Turabian).

It uses the WorldCat library catalog to find books, so it won’t be helpful for citing journal articles. If you’re working with journal articles, you can check our Citing Sources pages for examples and do them by hand, or get started with RefWorks or EndNote, the two citation managers Duke has site licenses for, or Zotero, a free online citation manager. Lots of choices, but CiteMe is a nice little addition to the mix!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

RefWorks is here!

Some of you avid fans of RefWorks will be happy to hear that you may now access this online research management system FREE through Duke’s OIT.

For those of you who haven’t yet been wowed by RefWorks’ user-friendly interface and robust functionality (think Works Cited pages in seconds; in-text citations in a couple of clicks; unlimited storage space for citations and notes), take a few minutes to create a free account:

  1. Go to from any computer on campus
  2. Click on Sign Up for an Individual Account
  3. Enter your information and click Register

You’ll find that RefWorks is fairly intuitive, but it’s worth taking a look at the Quick Start Guide or the step-by-step RefWorks tutorials when learning how to format bibliographies and import citations from databases to your account.

And if you’re off-campus, never fear: Just enter Duke’s group code RWDukeUniv.

Questions about RefWorks? Contact Emily Daly. And let us know your thoughts about Duke’s latest time-saving tool for researchers!

Academic uses for Twitter?

A lot of the technoscenti have become coverts to Twitter in the last six months. Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows you to post 140-character snippets (via text message, web or other media) and have them read at the site, fed into your Facebook status page, or delivered in a variety of other ways. I know an office that uses Twitter instead of an old-fashioned in/out board, and Twitter got a lot of press as a result of the “revolt” at the SXSW Keynote Address.

But is Twitter relevant to academic work? I didn’t think so until I read Lenore’s blog post about using Twitter at a blogger’s meetup, and her musings:

Despite the high quality of both the planned and unplanned sessions, the best part, by far, was meeting other Twitter users. It was a tremendous amount of fun observing and participating in conversations during the actual sessions while also tweeting about what the presenter was trying to convey. …

I was effectively live blogging or taking notes on what I considered to be the main points of each session and others who were attending the conference or following along from a remote location, could see them using or

And then I found a series of posts at AcademHack discussing using Twitter in the classroom. This is from the faculty perspective – but certainly a study group of students could work together to take collaborative notes in a lecture using hashtags. What do you think, faculty, and students?

Written by Phoebe Acheson

LibX updated – bug fixes and new search options

If you’re a user of the Duke LibX browser plugin for Firefox, you should soon be getting prompted by Firefox to update the plugin. If you want it right away, go to the Tools / Add-ons menu and click “Find Updates” in the Extensions tab.

The new version is 1.2.8, and includes a couple of changes.

One is that the embedded “cues” stopped working in Amazon pages a while back, and this new version applies a fix that makes them work again. When you’re viewing a book page in Amazon, you should see the Duke Library icon next to the book’s title (looks like this: Reading Blue Devil icon – it’s a silhouette of the Reading Blue Devil weathervane on top of the von der Heyden Pavilion). If you click on the icon, it will start a search in the Duke Library Catalog to see if Duke has the book for you to check out.

The other change is the addition of the option to search the new Search TRLN system via the LibX browser bar and right-click menu. The menu item (labeled “Search Triangle Research Libraries”) will search the catalogs of Duke, NCCU, NCSU, and UNC-CH and show you results from all for universities. There’s more information on Search TRLN in this earlier post.

Places you can search using the Duke LibX browser add-on

And you can read more about all of the other things LibX can do in this earlier post about Duke LibX or on the Duke LibX download page.

If you’re a Duke LibX user, please tell us in the comments section what you like or don’t like about it, and if there are things you’d like to see changed added to it. If you’re not already using it, try it out!

Connotea — another look

In Ted’s recent comments on connotea, he said he enjoyed it, but found that connotea was not such a great citation manager; it doesn’t always gather the metadata needed. On the connotea site, it explains that it is “specially designed for scientists and clinicians,” so it gathers bibliographic data better for some sites than others.

I agree, connotea is no substitute for a bibliographic reference manager like Endnote (to which Duke subscribes) or Refworks. I also agree that it’s “downright fun!” As a librarian, I use it as an academic networking tool, to find, track and tag resources as I come across them. It’s very handy for retrieving items on a particular topic, and for creating feeds for specific classes–I tag resources with the course name.

Ted was also concerned about messy tags. The “related tags” on the right belong to other users, who may create them however they’d like.

That’s both the beauty and the chaos of a Web 2.0 tool–everyone gets to play, and you can follow their leads, or not.

So, the short answer is: the value of connotea depends on your purpose. For a free web-based citation manager, you might like to try zotero (from an earlier LibraryHacks post):

The open-source Zotero (part 1 / part 2) is [a] Firefox extension that allows you to store, retrieve and organize your reference sources for a more streamlined citation process.

Has anyone out there done more than a first foray into zotero? Please send us your comments.