Category Archives: Duke researchers

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:
http://library.duke.edu/rss/index.html

Related resources

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 www.refworks.com/refworks 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!

Can a book be delivered to another library?

You are referring to a system called BARD (Book/Article Delivery) which is available to Duke faculty and Duke graduate students. It allows you to request books and articles for delivery and pick-up from one Duke library to another Duke library location.

A great page with screen shots and instructions is linked above, or you can just follow these easy directions:

  1. Find the item in the library catalog
  2. Click on the item’s call number
  3. Click on the “Request” link on the far right side of the screen
  4. Fill in the requested information

Written by Kathi Matsura

Save time! Learn EndNote!

Start your summer research with a bang by learning to use EndNote, a reference management tool that is sure to save you time and frustration. Duke faculty, students and staff may download EndNote to personal or work computers, free of charge.

Perkins Library is offering a free introductory EndNote session on Tuesday, May 27 from 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM in Bostock Library, Room 023. We’ll provide an orientation to the software, show you how to set up your personal EndNote library and then teach you to format a bibliography in a couple of keystrokes.

Interested? Register today! And stay tuned for more Intro and Advanced EndNote sessions this summer!

Save time! Learn EndNote!

Jump start your research and writing by using EndNote, a reference management tool that is sure to save you time and frustration. Duke faculty, students and staff may download EndNote to personal or work computers, free of charge.

Perkins Library is offering four free EndNote sessions:

Interested? Register today — space is limited!

Want $1000?

Want $1000?

Then enter your research paper or project into competition for the Libraries’ Durden Prize or Middlesworth Award.

Undergraduates who make exceptional use of library collections (databases count and e-journals count!) are eligible for the Durden Prize.

Undergraduates OR graduate students who incorporate materials from the Rare Books, Manuscript and Special Collections Library are invited to submit papers for consideration for the Middlesworth Award.

All winners will be recognized at a reception at Parents and Family Weekend 2008 and will receive $1000.

Submissions for both awards are due to the library by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 15.

Note: Both awards require a faculty member’s signature, and the Durden Prize requires a short essay on your research process, so you may not want to wait till May 15 to decide to apply!

How do I access databases from off-campus?

To get to databases or e-journals from off-campus, be sure to go through the library website in order to be recognized as a Duke user. Going directly to a bookmarked e-resource will not work.

Try logging in using any one of these methods:

  • Start at the database or e-journal interface, or follow a “GetIt@Duke” link. When you click on a link, a new window will pop up, and you just need to fill in your NetID and password to connect to EZProxy. You should be good to go until you end your browser session or log out!
  • When entering the library website from off-campus, you might also notice that there is a Yellow box located to the right of the titled database link(s) saying “Your web browser is reporting an IP address that is not within range of authorized AP addresses”. Just click on the link for signing in with your Net ID/password. Once you’re signed in, you can access any number of databases.
  • If you’re still not being recognized as a Duke user, download and install the Duke Virtual Private Network (VPN). Some resources exclusive to Law, Business, or Medical Center affiliates cannot be accessed via EZProxy. Make sure that the the VPN is open when you access the database or e-journal.

If you’re having any trouble Ask a Librarian, or check through some of the connection issues that might cause difficulties with the VPN.

Written by Kathi Matsura

Live @ the RefDesk

Today in Perkins we are testing some software for keeping Reference statistics. Why? It’s helpful to plan for staffing–how many questions, from which kinds of patrons, what types of questions (from staplerology to ‘jumpstart my thesis’).

But what I really want to get at is the human element. There is talk of the future irrelevance of a Reference Desk, if not the actual Reference librarians, whose minds presumably will be accessible in other modes and places. Here’s an excerpt from the TAIGA Forum Provocative Statements:

Within the next five years…There will no longer be reference desks or reference offices in the library. Instead, public services staff offices will be located outside the physical library.

Or, to expand on this line of reasoning:

If the truth be known, as a place to get help in finding information, the reference desk was never a good idea. A reference librarian standing behind a desk waiting for someone to say, “I can’t find what I’m looking for; can you help?” might be justifiable if, as is the case with other service professionals, that librarian was the reason the person came to the building to begin with. But reference librarians have not served so central a function. They have stood ready to help “just in case”-just in case navigating the building isn’t clear, just in case the catalog doesn’t produce wanted results, just in case the collections seem not to contain the desired material or information. In short, reference service-in particular point-of-need reference service-has been an afterthought, something to be considered after the building’s signage or the finding aids or the collections fail the user.
(Anne G. Lipow, “Point of Need Reference Service: no longer an afterthought,” in ALA-RUSA The Future of Reference Services Papers)

Do you come to the Reference Desk for f2f consultation with a librarian? Why or why not?

Perks for honors thesis writers

Facing the exciting (albeit daunting) task of completing your honors thesis or project? To help make the process a bit easier, the library offers these perks to undergraduates planning to graduate with distinction:

What else can we do to make your months of writing and research easier? Post your suggestions, and we’ll try to make them happen.

IRB approval for research using interviews

Sarah Wallace has some interesting comments on the process of getting IRB approval for using (interviewing) human subjects for her Ukraine project. Here’s an excerpt:

All week, I’ve been working hard on my application for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of my project in Ukraine. …Procedures for protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects are the same, no matter who conducts the research; thus, student researchers like myself are held to the same standards as faculty researchers. If an undergraduate at Duke wants to conduct research that involves human subjects in any capacity, he or she must fill out a long, complicated application and send it to the Duke IRB before beginning the study.
..there is a chance that I won’t gain approval until after I arrive in Ukraine. …
Although the form took a lot of time and effort to complete, I’m very glad I did it. It really made me think through my research approach at a level of detail that I hadn’t before.

 

See her full post here, or check out her Notes from YkpaïHa feed on the right.

And here’s her update:

The Duke IRB liked my protocol a lot. Flattery aside, however, they had “a number” (read – “a million”) suggestions for ways to improve my consent forms and other documents.

..[I must] also prepare a separate consent protocol for the interviewees that are Ark workers/ICARR participants. As the IRB pointed out to me, these people shoulder the most risk by talking to me, so I must take extra precaution to ensure that their interviews are kept confidential.

Staying Alert in Ukraine

 From our Duke researcher in Ukraine, Sarah Wallace: Sarah Wallace

 

“I recently discovered a great feature of Google called Google Alerts. The program allows you to closely monitor specific topics in the news without having to do a manual search. I have it set up so that any news or blog posts containing the words Ukraine, Chernobyl, or Duke will be consolidated and sent to my email account at the end of the day, every day.”

“Although I’ve only been receiving alerts for a few days, I’ve already learned so much about Ukrainian politics, economics, and culture. For example, …my favorite news alert of the week:

‘PepsiAmericas, Inc., the world’s second largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of PepsiCo beverages, and PepsiCo itself, announced a landmark agreement on June 7 to jointly acquire 80 percent of Sandora LLC, Ukraine’s number one juice maker… Home to some 46 million consumers, Ukraine is considered to be one of the fastest growing beverage markets in Europe.’

“I definitely recommend Google’s alert system to anyone who wants to track a topic in the news. But be warned – Google alerts are a big distraction. I really should be studying Ukrainian at the moment, but my mind can only handle so much in one day.”

How about you? Do you have any cool tools to share?

31 Duke Sophomores Blogging on Summer Research

This recent Duke News item sparked my interest: 31 Duke students, all sophomores doing laboratory research as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellows program, are writing blogs as part of their summer experiences.

All the blogs are listed, by student name, in the right column on the Student Research at Duke page; the main part of the page has highlights of recent entries.

These students describe their hands-on research – here’s a teaser on tomato frog DNA from Samantha Perlman:

FINALLY, the moment I have been waiting for…the tomato frog samples came in today!!

Alas, they are packaged in a giant cardboard box with hundreds of other reptile and amphibian samples. Maybe “packaged” isn’t quite the best word…apparently throwing all the little tubes in a box and taping it up is adequate for shipping rare frog samples halfway across the world. Shockingly, the box opened mid-trip, and an undetermined number of little tubes may/may not have spilled out.

Here’s hoping some of them keep up the blogging process as they turn to library research on their topics, or when they are in classes next fall. We’ll be browsing their posts and looking for library hacks to highlight!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Notes from Україна: a Blue Devil’s Ukrainian experience

Sarah WallaceFollow Duke’s Sarah Wallace, a senior, as she blogs on her Public Policy/Global Health research project in Ukraine. We will be posting excerpts throughout the summer; the feed to the full blog is on the side.Here’s a brief intro to her learning experience:

This will be my first summer away from Duke since beginning college, and the trip to Ukraine will be my first experience traveling overseas. Also, this summer will be my first time doing a real independent, self-structured research project. I have done research before, but always under the strict guidance of a mentor, and always on a suggested topic. This summer I will be largely on my own, although I do have mentors in Durham and Kyiv. My topic is self-designed, this trip is self-designed, and my methods are self-designed.

Best of luck, Sarah, we know this is going to be a fantastic experience!

Do you know of a Blue Devil blogging about their research? Tell us!