Category Archives: Library Hacks

Duke Library Website Under Creative Commons License

Most of the Duke Libraries’ web pages are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike License. What that means in non-lawyer speak is that everyone is welcome to use, share or remix the pages so licensed, under certain conditions.

Look for the logo below the footer on every relevant page. A few pages are not licensed, because of various copyright or other legal issues; they will explicitly say so.

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The conditions for use are: you give credit to the Duke Libraries for the used material, you don’t use our material to make money, and whatever you make from our material must also be available for sharing and remixing.

Do you have a web site that you host or contribute to? Consider Creative Commons licensing for your site.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

New Soda Machine in Bostock for 3 AM Caffeine

In response to student interest, the library has installed a Pepsi machine in Bostock, on the Lower Level across from the elevators. Now you can get a caffeinated beverage without leaving the building after The Perk at the Pavilion by Saladelia closes!

The new machine sells Pepsi products in 20 ounce bottles for $1.25. Right now it only takes cash; there is a change machine on Bostock 1 across from the elevators. The Card Office will install a card reader so the machine will take flex, but this probably won’t happen until exams are over.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

End-of-Semester Crunch Time Tips

It’s that time of year when we find people asleep at the computers (some with head back and snoring loudly). Here are some tips for taking care of yourself and fellow Dukies in the library as the semester comes to a close:

1. Take care of your computer & files. Back up often. Don’t walk away from a library computer without saving your files to a thumb drive, your AFS space, or emailing them to yourself (or all three); when you log out of a library computer the files saved to the desktop disappear (and they auto-log out after 15 minutes of inactivity, so be careful if you tend to fall asleep!) If you’re on your laptop, take it with you to the bathroom – laptops are stolen every exam period, even those with half-done not-saved papers on them.

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2. Ask a librarian for help. We can save you time and frustration at the best of times, and we’ve probably had more sleep this week than you have. Walk up, IM, email, or call. At Perkins and Lilly you can get Reference help from 8am to 2am.

3. Take care of yourself and your fellow students. Get sleep, take walk-in-the-garden breaks, hit the Perk for a salad instead of McDonald’s. If you move into the library, try to put your trash in the trash cans to make life easier for the housekeeping staff. Consider ceding the group study rooms to actual groups who want to study. Keep the headphones low enough so they don’t drive the next person crazy.

By Phoebe Acheson

LibX browser add-on – take the library with you

Last summer we posted the first version of the Duke Libraries LibX browser add-on. A new version is out now, with some fixes, updates, and new functionality. If you already have LibX, Firefox should have notified you that there was an update available (if not, in Firefox go to Tools -> Add-ons and click “Find Updates”). If you haven’t heard about it yet, please read on.

What is LibX? It’s an add-on (or extension) to your web browser that puts library services wherever you go on the web. It has a toolbar (which you can choose to show or hide as needed) that lets you do several different kinds of library searches (catalog, journals, databases, Google Scholar, etc.) directly from your browser. There are also quick links to frequently used library services (My Account, Ask a Librarian, and more) and a Scholar “magic button” – drag and drop text on it, and it will search for that text in Google Scholar.

LibX toolbar

But some of the coolest functionality is what’s hidden behind the scenes, and only shows up when appropriate. Go to Amazon or Google or other places where a book’s unique ISBN number is encoded (including many book reviews) and a Duke Libraries icon (the “reading Blue Devil”: Reading Blue Devil icon) will appear as a cue that there’s a library connection there. Click on the icon, and it will link you to a search of the item in Duke’s library catalog. The same thing works for many journal articles – look for the embedded Get It @ Duke cue Get it @ Duke logo in Google Scholar, CiteULike, and elsewhere. Clicking the link will take you to it via Duke Library’s subscription.

LibX cue

More hidden functionality is revealed when you right click on a web page. If you’re off-campus and a site that requires a Duke subscription doesn’t recognize you as being from Duke, right click and look for the item that reads “Reload [name of web site] via Duke University EZProxy”. Clicking on this will send you through the library’s EZProxy system, which will authenticate you as a member of the Duke community and then direct you back to the page you were on. Not all sites work with this, but many do, and it might save you a trip to the library catalog or VPN.

LibX right-click

The right-click menu also gives you lots of search options if you highlight some text before right-clicking. Highlight a word or phrase, and the right-click menu will give you lots of places where you can search on that word or phrase. For the “Author” field, it will even flip the terms, so if you highlighted Joe Smith it will turn your Author search into Smith Joe, which the library catalog likes better.

Give it a try – it’s available for Firefox (Windows, Mac, and Linux – yes Linux users, we love you too) and for Internet Explorer on Windows. Note that while the Firefox version is stable and well-tested, the IE version is still in beta, and requires recent versions of the browser and .Net framework.

See Duke Library’s LibX page for download links and instructions, and please let us know what you think.

Take EndNote on the road with EndNote Web

Interested in accessing your EndNote library even when you’re not in front of your personal computer? Take your research on the road by setting up an EndNote Web account, and enjoy the freedom to consult or add citations to your EndNote library from any computer with an internet connection.

EndNote Web is designed to complement the more robust desktop version of the citation management tool, but it’s possible to use it even if you’ve never used EndNote (by the way, EndNote may be downloaded for free by Duke students, staff and faculty).

Simply set up an Endnote Web account, and then add up to 10,000 citations to your Web library. Format bibliographies and in-text citations in over 2300 publishing styles (MLA, APA, etc.), or use the Cite While You Write plug-in and Microsoft Word to format papers and insert references instantly. You may also share citations with others who use the web application and search PubMed, Web of Science and hundreds of libraries for relevant resources, all within the EndNote Web interface.

RefWorks

And if you choose to use the two programs together (as they were intended), it’s easy to transfer citations between EndNote and EndNote Web.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think about EndNote’s latest innovation for researchers who don’t want to be tied to their offices or dorm rooms.

Library Help over Thanksgiving Break

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Thanksgiving falls at a busy time in the semester, and many students take papers or research projects home with them to work on over the break.

You can take the library’s resources home, too. Almost all of our databases are accessible remotely with your NetID and password. For more details see our off-campus access page.

If you have a question for a librarian, Perkins/Bostock Reference will be available by IM, email, or phone on Tuesday until midnight, Wednesday from 9-5, Saturday from 1-5, and Sunday starting at 1pm. If you’re in town, see the full library hours here.

(Photo from http://www.nyctourist.com/macys_history1.htm)

By Phoebe Acheson

The Sad Saga of Library Staplers

Most of the campus libraries provide staplers, hole punches, and other basic office tools for students to use. We also regularly have to replace these items because of theft – accidental due to absentmindedness, or intentional – and breakage.

So, think of the poor librarian (that would be me) who spends all her time buying new staplers and hunting for that magical, heavy-duty stapler that staples up to 60 pages and doesn’t break (our current standby is the Swingline 77701, but it breaks a lot). Please don’t try to force the staplers or hole punches to do jobs they are not made to do. Banging on the stapler never helps, and as for the person who did this:

hole punch

You are very strong – this is an all-metal handle that has been broken in two. Wow. I am impressed, and also a little afraid.

If any of our readers are stapler afficionadoes (or have just watched Office Space too many times), please leave us a comment suggesting the miraculous stapler that will solve all our problems and never break!

By Phoebe Acheson

Literary Style by the Numbers

Have you ever noticed the link on Amazon.com’s book record pages called “Text Stats“? (it’s in the “Inside this Book” section – you have to scroll down a bit). Since Amazon has the full text of many books in electronic format, they can tally up some fun (and revealing) statistics about each book. Stuff like the number of characters, words, and sentences in the book, the complexity and readability of the text (using various metrics, like average words per sentence and syllables per word), and even words per dollar and words per ounce!

Author Steven Berlin Johnson (The Ghost Map, Everything Bad is Good For You, etc.) blogged recently about exploring this feature, comparing the statistics on his books with those of other authors, including Duke professor Fredric Jameson, and plotting them on a graph.

Read Johnson’s blog post for his observations on what these statistics reveal about different authors’ literary styles, and the comments below his blog post for other interpretations of this data, as well as how you can get these statistics on your own writing using word processing software.

Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Stories

The Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive is a remarkable database that contains full-length digital videos of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. This resource that Duke Libraries just recently purchased contains over 50,000 video testimonies.

To get to this database, just click on the database tab on the Duke Library homepage and type “Shoah” in the search box. Once at the site, you will be asked to create a free username and password in order to log-in.

Shoah screen shot

Once you are logged in, you can search for interviews by keyword, a specific person, or by an experience group.

What will you find inside, you may ask?

  • Extraordinary primary source material to use in your research.
  • Full-length video interviews taken in 56 countries, in 32 languages!
  • At the end of many interviews, personal photographs, documents, and artifacts from the interviewee’s family are displayed.

Have questions? Save time, Ask a Librarian!

Written by Jennifer Castaldo

Podcasts: Audio Primary Sources

As we at iPod – I mean, Duke – University know, podcasts have proliferated in the past 5 years. They aren’t just for fun, however – major radio news sources and government agencies are making podcasts available that can be used in research or academic presentations. Radio podcasts can provide in-depth interviews with politicians, medical researchers, legal scholars, and much more. Here’s an NPR podcast in Spanish on youth culture:

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Have a look at our podcasts page to see links to sources for academic and primary source content via podcast.

Got another favorite podcast? Leave us a link in comments!

By Phoebe Acheson

Subscribe to the Census by RSS

The United States Census Bureau now allows you to receive updates via RSS, with subscriptions available for web site changes, tip sheets, population estimates (PopClocks!) and even daily podcasts, among others.

Most useful for researchers may be the set of RSS feeds for news releases on a wide variety of topics, including Aging Population, Housing, and Retail Industries. Sign up and whenever the Census has news on your topic, you’ll know.

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More ideas about using RSS feed subscriptions in your research are here.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

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.

Web Browser Search Plug-Ins

One of the comments on the LibX toolbar post asked about ways we could customize that toolbar to allow searches of specific databases, like JStor.

There is a way to search a database right from your web browser toolbar, using a customized search plugin. Most browsers come with options for searching Google, Yahoo or Amazon, but you can add options like WorldCat, the Oxford English Dictionary, and ProQuest.

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We’ve set up a page collecting the plug-ins we’ve found or created here. If you don’t see a search plug-in for the database you want, contact Phoebe Acheson and ask for it. Not every database works with the plug-in generator we’re using, but many do.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Lost files? Don’t lose hope!

We’ve all been there. After working for hours, we hit the wrong key or forget to save a file opened from email, and before we know it, lose it all.

To save yourself the headache of these maddening situations, consider ways that you can prevent them from happening in the first place…

Before you make edits to a doc that you email to yourself to work on from another machine, click Save As, and Save it to the desktop or a flash drive (remember, though, that the desktop gets cleared as soon as you log off).

Better yet, bypass emailing yourself altogether by using Duke’s WebFiles, which provide all Duke students, faculty and staff with 5GB of personal file space and web space. Questions? See How to Use WebFiles.

And, believe it or not, there are ways to retrieve those files that appear to be lost in the Ether:

Strategy One: Check the Recycle Bin on your computer.

Strategy Two: Click Start, Search, and use Windows’ “When was it modified?” option under All Files and Folders (in Vista, click Start, Search and then click the down arrow to the right of Advanced Search, and select Date Modified in the Date dropdown menu at left). See your file? Be sure to save it in another location before continuing to work!

Strategy Three: Try a free undelete utility.

Strategy Four: Buy a file-recovery program (File Scavenger goes for $49, while Easy Recovery Professional will cost you $500).

Still no luck? For tips on how to recover anything from Excel files to a lost password, check out PC World’s How to Recover (Almost) Anything.

Have horror stories to tell about work you’ve lost? Have brilliant tips for recovering precious files? Do share!

Introducing Zotero (part one)

zotero logo smallZotero describes itself as a Firefox extension that helps you “collect, manage, and cite your research sources.” Since I’m as technologically trail-weary as the next person, I’ll try to make clear what it is about Zotero that should rouse you out of bed and why I’ve been an enthusiastic user for the last six months.

At its most basic, Zotero streamlines the process of creating citations. Instead of making an extra trip back to the library catalog or a book’s front matter when you need to fill in the required fields (publication year, editor, etc.) in your bibliographic software (EndNote, BibTex), you let Zotero do it for you the first time, when you’re looking at the book’s record in your browser (in Duke’s catalog, Worldcat, Amazon, Google Books, etc.). It’ll grab the relevant details and more from the catalog record at the click of an icon (see image below). Zotero gets much sweeter if you’re viewing the item-to-be-cited itself in your browser, rather than its catalog entry–for example, an article on Le Monde or the New York Times. Not only will Zotero pull out all the information you’ll need to cite the article later, it will make a local copy of the page you’re looking at, so if you or the article is ever off-line, you’ll still have a copy. Once the item is saved, creating a citation or a bibliography in whatever style you’d like (MLA, APA, Chicago) is easy.

using zotero with nytimes

If you’re already using Firefox, treat yourself to Zotero. It’ll save you typing and time. The extension is open-source as well, over a year in development by a crack team at George Mason University. Still have doubts? Zotero recently won an award for best instructional technology software from the American Political Science Association.

All this said, I’ve hardly touched on the features of Zotero that make it well-nigh revolutionary as a piece of software. I’ll save that for part two.

[update 2007-10-12: If you’re eager to read more about Zotero, I recommend Scott Mclemee’s review from a few weeks ago on Inside Higher Ed.]

New Articles and Databases Search Interface: First Tips

The new look of the search interface for articles and databases went live this morning.

The functionality of the interface is almost exactly the same as the old site:

    1. a quick keyword search for articles (searching top article databases including ProQuest and Academic OneFile)
    2. an advanced article search that allows author and title keywords and allows you to choose a list of top databases for your subject (Arts and Humanities, Government, Life Sciences, etc.)
    3. search for an article database by name, or browse an A-Z list of all our databases
    4. browse for a database by your subject or discipline

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The E-journals interface is unchanged; the new look debuted this summer.

Our first tip:
Why log in? I asked the developers and they explained that there’s no real need to log in if you are using the interface from a campus computer, but if you are off-campus, logging in gives you the full access to the databases through EZ-Proxy.

How do you like the new look and feel? Have you discovered any tips or time-savers to make this interface work for you? We’re just getting comfortable with it ourselves, so we’d love a chance to learn from you!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Free Streaming Music!

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is a large collection of international music with full-length audio streams. This database is brand new and was recently acquired by Duke Libraries. It covers voices from people all around the world. Listen to old time country music, blues, recordings from African tribes, Broadway hits and much more!

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

Reasons to check it out, besides that it is now free to Duke students and staff:

  • includes complete audio and video selections, media, educational resources and detailed liner notes.
  • Search by country, culture group, genre, language or even instrument.
  • Develop your own playlists.
  • Create a user name and log-in to store favorites in a “My Playlists” folder.
  • One stop shopping! You can buy albums you like directly from this site.

Enjoy! Browse all different types of music and put off writing that paper for a little while…

Click here for a sample track! Duke Only

Can’t find exactly what you want? Save time, Ask A Librarian!

Written by Jennifer Castaldo

Real-time info on workstation availability in the libraries

Want to know whether there are computer workstations available in the library before you head over? Check out our new Computer Workstations web page, which links to live data about how many workstations are in use or available in various libraries around campus (like in the chart shown here). Some of them even include floor plans that show you which particular computers are available right now, so you can find them easily when you get there.

See the Computers, Copies, & More web page for more information on technology available in the libraries and how to set up your own laptop to connect to library resources when you’re in a library building, or how to access library resources online when you’re off campus.

Browser toolbar for medical library resources

If you use the Medical Center Library a lot, you’ll like this. The library has recently released a browser toolbar that lets you search the library catalog, PubMed, the Medical Center Library website and more right from your browser. It also includes links to frequently used resources and a quick way to get help with your research. Read more and download the toolbar (for both Firefox and Internet Explorer) on the Medical Center Library’s web site.

If medical research is not your thing, check out the Duke LibX add-on for Firefox (announced in LibraryHacks over the summer) that provides quick access to Duke University Libraries resources and services wherever you are on the web, through a browser toolbar and embedded “cues” on sites like Amazon. It’s currently only available for Firefox, but a version for Internet Explorer will be available soon (we’ll announce it on LibraryHacks when it’s ready).

RSS Feeds for Research: Speedy Delivery

I hope many of you are reading my words right now thanks to an RSS feed – you’ve subscribed to this blog through Bloglines or Google Reader or your choice of aggregator. We make the RSS feed of the blog available in DukePass and it may soon be appearing on the Duke Libraries home page. You can add it to your Facebook page using the application FlogBlog.

RSS feeds can do a lot more than just allow you to spend hours procrastinating from your research by reading blogs that other people write as a form of procrastination. Many providers of article databases now allow you to set up repeated searches (often called “alerts”) that will deliver articles relevant to your work via an RSS feed. You can set up a search that sends all new articles from the most relevant journals in your field (a do-it-yourself table of contents service), or all new articles written on a topic, using a keyword search or subject heading.

The University of Wisconsin Library has set up a guide to databases that offer alert services – some of them only have traditional email alerts, which generally require you to register, but RSS feeds are noted when available, and they seem to be an increasingly popular offering. If you’re not sure what vendor provides your favorite database, look up the database in our finder, and click the “i” link for information. The vendor will be noted.

For an example, The Shifted Librarian raves about EBSCO databases’ newly revised RSS feed services – one click of a bright orange link gets you a url for the search that you can drop into your RSS feed tool. EBSCO databases at Duke include Academic Search Premiere, ATLA, ERIC, MLA, PsycINFO, and many others.
mlarss

Some Gale databases have recently added the same feature: see the RSS4lib blog post for a screenshot. Academic Onefile (until recently called InfoTrac Onefile) is the biggest Gale database at Duke that has this enabled.

Automating searches for new articles in your field is a great way to keep up with what’s new – and RSS delivers it directly to you. Do you have another RSS feed research tip to share? Leave a comment!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

What’s new in Lexis?

If you’re a fan of LexisNexis, you’ve probably noticed some changes in the last few weeks. The interface is more appealing and easier to navigate; its search box is larger and allows for “natural language” searches (the types of searches you do in Google); and you no longer get those annoying error messages when Lexis decides your search is too broad.

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If you were put off by the old interface or haven’t used Lexis before, now’s the time to give it a shot. Why bother familiarizing yourself with such a GIANT research tool, you ask? Well, to start with…

  • Search over 300 newspapers from around the world by date, headline, photo caption, keyword and more. Many are updated continuously, so you’ll never be behind!
  • It’s not just about news–click “Legal” at the top of the page to access law review articles, legislation, and Supreme Court decisions from 1790
  • Pull up SEC filings and company profiles, including Standard & Poor’s reports–just click on the “Business” button at the top of the screen.
  • Find out how the public responds to Gallup Polls (and other public opinion polls)–go to “News” and click on “Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.” You can search polls back to 1935.
  • Search blogs and web publications–just check those boxes on the “Easy Search” screen.
  • Track down broadcast transcripts from NPR, CNN, and other major networks by checking the box by “TV and Radio Broadcast Transcripts” on the “Easy Search” screen.

So, next time you need the full-text of a Supreme Court decision for poli sci, a futures report for finance or are just curious how Americans weigh in on their favorite soft drinks, run a search through LexisNexis Academic.

Find a source or discover a trick worth sharing? Post a comment!
Find yourself discouraged and frustrated? Save time, Ask a Librarian!

Learning, lattes cohabit at Duke library

Laptops and lattes in the library - photo by Mark Zupan

The News & Observer has discovered Bostock.

This morning’s edition of the Raleigh-based newspaper describes Bostock Library as a place where research meshes successfully with technology, socializing and group learning. And yes, lots of coffee. The article begins like this:

Feel free to raise your voice a little in Duke’s Bostock Library. You won’t get shushed.

And that steaming cup o’ java isn’t a problem, either. Just don’t spill it on the Ralph Waldo Emerson anthology.

Bostock, a bright, airy two-year-old addition to Duke’s Perkins Library complex, is now where the cool kids hang out. It is, in a way, what you would get by crossing a traditional university library with a modern student union. Macbeth, it appears, is more easily digested when chased with a latte.

Read the rest of the article here.

[ The following was added a few days after originally posting this entry. ]

The Durham News, the N&O‘s weekly Durham-specific paper, published a longer version of this article over the weekend. This one expands on the theme, and describes the increasing emphasis on collaborative and social learning at Duke and elsewhere. The new title is “Students check out trendy library, give it an A“.

Taking notes that work

The awesome LifeHack blog has an article today with advice for students on how to take good notes. They write

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Teachers and professors assume either that taking good notes comes naturally or that someone else must have already taught students how to take notes.

and continue

Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

The short article provides advice on how to take good notes and describes several different note-taking techniques you might want to try.

Check it out here: Advice for Students: Taking Notes that Work.

The Sober Librarian: Google Book Search

Google Book Search – a project that has Google working with major US and international libraries to digitize out-of-copyright (and many still-under-copyright) books and make them freely accessible on the internet (and keyword-searchable!) has been an exciting, and controversial, development for libraries. (More about Google Book Search).

One the one hand, if you believe the hype it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here’s a promotional video from Google (full disclosure: Erin McKean, the dress blogger/lexicographer, is a friend of mine).

On the other hand, there are basic concerns about the quality of Google Books’ scans, a topic addressed recently by Duke’s own Scholarly Communications Officer, as well as ongoing debates about corporate vs. academic control of content and access to it, and all sorts of other library & scholarship philosophy issues (a starting place, if you’re interested in reading about these issues, is the Wikipedia article on Google Book Search.)

Where do I come down? Let me leave the philosophical discussions aside for the moment, since this is a blog about library tools and tips. Google Book Search is a currently available tool that scholars and readers should be aware of. Like any other tool, it works well for some things and not for others. It can be very valuable if you are an archaeologist in Crete and want to check a description or illustration of some pottery in the 1912 volume “Explorations in the Island of Mochlos,” which no self-respecting library would allow you to check out and stow in your luggage for a transatlantic flight (it’s out of print, and a reprint edition is selling, used, for $295!). It’s not useful if you want to read a novel – it’s much easier to purchase a five-dollar copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion to read on the plane. Give it a try and see if it works for your needs. I wish you happy serendipitous discoveries!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Library Hacks Photo Scavenger Hunt

It’s back to school, you have a digital or cellphone camera – come take pictures in the Duke Libraries and join our Flickr-based photo scavenger hunt.

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Here’s how:
1. If you don’t have one already, get a free account at www.flickr.com (all you need to sign up is an email address.)
2. Take pictures.
3. Upload your pictures to Flickr and add them to the group DukeLibraryScavengerHunt.
4. Receive fame, acclaim, and maybe a prize!

Here are your prompts: be creative!
1. blue book
2. librarian
3. light
4. stairs
5. new
6. play

There will be two prizes: one given at random to someone who completed the scavenger hunt, and one given to the taker of the photo judged most artistic and/or representative of the libraries by a team of experts (i.e., us.). We may ask you if we can showcase your photos on this blog, or even on the library website.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

The Sober Librarian: What’s in a DOI?

Library staff often learn as much from our patrons – i.e. you – as they teach. My husband, who is a PhD student in engineering at another local institution of higher learning, said to me, “Why don’t you do a post on your blog about DOIs?” I had never heard of a DOI. So I had to look it up, of course.

What? A DOI – Digital Object Identifier – is a number attached to a piece of online content (Wikipedia has a much more technical definition). In practical terms, it is a unique number attached to a full-text online article, much in the same way every book has a unique ISBN.

krill

Why? Well, suppose your article was published in the journal ‘Nitpicky Things About Oceanography’ by Small Academic Press and appeared on their web site. Six years later, Small Academic Press was purchased by Big International Conglomerate. Obviously they are going to change the (previously stable) url of your journal article. But you can find the new online location of the article easily by putting the DOI into a DOI resolver or the global handle resolver. DOIs can also be easily hotlinked, and some article databases are starting to do this. DOIs are starting to be included as an integral part of bibliographic citations in some fields – instead of searching for the journal title to find an article, just enter the DOI into a resolver and there you are.

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Who? DOIs are the result of cooperation between commercial publishers and non-commercial organizations (like libraries, universities, and academic presses). The main site explaining all this is at doi.org, but you may find the information available at CrossRef.org, which is focused on scholarly research applications of DOIs, to be more useful.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Very Important Library Tip for Undergrads

Kristin Butler, in her Duke Chronicle column “Duke: A freshman’s guide” has a very good piece of advice for library users:

Oh, and one aside on having sex in the stacks: As a former library employee, I promise that Perkins Level D is not a “sneaky” place to go for it, even at 4 a.m. The security guards know the lights are not supposed to be turned off, and if they catch you they may post your name and photo for all to see. How embarrassing.

I can tell you, she is so not kidding about this.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Linking to Full-text Articles: Stable URLs

It’s back to school time, and that means faculty and instructors all over campus (and sometimes all over the world) are putting books on reserve, setting up e-reserves through the library, and linking from their Blackboard sites to online articles that we have access to through our subscription databases. Perkins Reference and CIT staff have been getting a lot of questions about how to find stable URLs for these articles, so we made up a web page to help: http://library.duke.edu/research/help/databases/stableurl.html

Please Ask a Librarian if your question isn’t answered there!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

The Sober Librarian: WorldCat and bad citations

I was reading the Thingology Blog (by Tim Spaulding, creator of Librarything) and ran across this aside

***I particularly recall how one of my professors tended never to know the *titles* of books she’d recommended to me. She’d say “that new book on Athenian demes by so-and-so.” The authors were all colleagues and friends of hers. … It didn’t help that the titles in academics are often bland affairs, “aiming higher” than their obscure topic in the hope of appealing to a broader audience—”Art, Difference and Culture” subtitled, “16th-century non-guild stonemasons in Malta,” etc.

I recall so vividly the same sensation from my days as an undergraduate and beginning graduate student. You end up with half-remembered titles, badly-spelled (or no) names, and a vague idea that this is all VERY IMPORTANT. Many of us are too shy to simply email the professor and ask for clarification. So where do you go from there?

For books, the place to start is WorldCat. WorldCat is a database – look for it under Popular Databases or search our database finder. It’s the world’s online catalog – it has everything in Duke’s catalog, and everything in UNC’s, and everything in the Charlotte Public Library’s, and everything in Harvard’s – you get the idea. It’s by no means perfect as a universal catalog, but it’s pretty good. Among its many uses:

1. Checking to see that you have a good citation. If searching in Duke’s catalog doesn’t find you a book, maybe it’s not that we don’t have it; maybe you’ve got it a little bit wrong. Check on it by checking WorldCat. If nobody has it, well, maybe that author’s name isn’t really Gnarl after all.

2. Starting to look for books on a topic when you don’t want to limit yourself to just what Duke owns. If your research project is a big one, and you have time to request materials through Interlibrary Loan, why not cast the net wide as you begin? Do a keyword or subject search in WorldCat, not just Duke’s catalog. We can’t own everything! If we do own it, WorldCat will tell you so, and provide the Get It @ Duke link.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

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.

Duke LibX: Add Duke Libraries to your web browser

We are happy to announce the publication of the Duke version of the LibX plug-in for Firefox web browsers. Duke LibX allows you to install a toolbar in your browser with a search box that connects directly to Duke’s library catalog, e-journals, databases, or library web pages, as well as Google Scholar. You can highlight citations and drag-and-drop them to the toolbar, or right-click to have the same search options. LibX also puts a Duke Gothic window (called a ‘cue’) in web sites like Amazon – click it and automatically search the catalog to see if we own the book.

libx

Find out more and get the install link at our LibX page (http://library.duke.edu/research/tools/libx.html) If there is one hack you take from this blog, this should be the one. (And if you’re not using Firefox yet, this is your reason to switch.)

The Duke LibX tool was originally developed by Sean Chen (Law Library) and recently updated by Paolo Mangiafico (Perkins Digital Projects). Thanks, guys!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Web apps for students, researchers, and any library user

If you live your life on the net and in the library, check out these two blog posts, with descriptions and links of lots of tools that might make your life easier:

They cover note-taking tools, “mind-mappers,” collaboration tools, bibliographic software, bookmarking tools, online office software, online calendars, and more. Check them out, and let us know what you think. We’ll write up more details on your and our favorites here in the future.

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

Gather, collect, share, and network

A few weeks ago we wrote about Connotea, a “social bookmarking” tool for academics, and in the comments Duke Professor Gary Feng reminded us of CiteULike, a similar tool that is currently more widely used in the sciences. Around the same time, the spring issue of the UK journal Ariadne came out with an article on CiteULike, titled “Citeulike: A Researcher’s Social Bookmarking Service“. The introduction reads

This article describes Citeulike, a fusion of Web-based social bookmarking services and traditional bibliographic management tools. It discusses how Citeulike turns the linear ‘gather, collect, share’ process inherent in academic research into a circular ‘gather, collect, share and network’ process, enabling the sharing and discovery of academic literature and research papers.

The article provides a brief overview of the principles behind tools like CiteULike and Connotea, and gives examples of how these tools can be useful for academics. It explains how to use CiteULike to build networks of citations shared among colleagues, in addition to using it for managing one’s own citations. As the authors write,

The fact that two users read similar literature probably indicates that they will potentially have a professional interest in each other. The bibliographic data forms a fabric binding people together.

This fabric is a major reason why we come together in universities, so it makes sense that the digital tools we use should help to strengthen these ties, and do so even across institutions and geographical boundaries. Might tools like this eventually become the platform for a different kind of peer review? Dario Taraborelli muses on this in his blog posting “Soft peer review? Social software and distributed scientific evaluation” in the Academic Productivity blog.

The Sober Librarian: Buffy la cazavampiros

We had a flurry of questions at the Reference Desk this spring when members of a Spanish class were asked to write a paper on a pop culture topic of their choosing, using sources in Spanish. How do you find books, scholarly articles, newspaper and magazine articles, or web pages in languages other than English?

As a sample topic, let’s take the (late, lamented) TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (Note: as far as we know, nobody in the class was actually researching this topic.)

Google has an Advanced Search feature that allows you to search for pages in any one of a vast number of languages.

Google Advanced Search

This is how we learned that in Spanish, Buffy is ‘la cazavampiros.’ The (351,000!!) search hits include a lot of fan sites, so would be a great place to look if we were interested in, for example, Spanish-language fans’ reactions to this show, or how the vampire mythology played in Spanish-speaking cultures.

What about the opinions of television reviewers in Mexican newspapers? How about the database Latin American Newsstand – 326 articles mentioning ‘Buffy la cazavampiros’, from papers from Rio to Monterrey to San Juan!

Latin American Newsstand

How about scholarly articles? A database called HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index) is a great resource for current events, politics and social issues. It covers over 400 journals from the entire Spanish-speaking Americas. Many broader databases of scholarly articles allow you to limit by language as well, for example, MLA, which covers a broad variety of topics in the humanities. (Both have lots on women and television, but nothing on Buffy!)

A search of Duke’s library catalog can be limited to just one language, using a drop-down menu in the Advanced Search.

Duke Catalog Advanced

While we discovered that the Buffy DVDs in Lilly Library have optional tracks dubbed in Spanish, sadly there are no books in Spanish that address Buffy (there are a bunch of English language books!). A broader look at books in Spanish on television or popular culture might have better results: we own 173 books in Spanish that cover aspects of popular culture. Surely one of them must mention Buffy!

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!

Connotea, an Online Research Tool

Connotea logoWe’re currently encouraging faculty and students to test Connotea (www.connotea.org, pronounced con-no-TAY-uh), an online tool that combines the ‘tagging’ features of services such as del.icio.us with an academic research focus.

Anyone can register at the site, create a username, and then begin building a library of resources—online articles, book reviews, web pages, anything with a URL—simply by clicking the “Add to Connotea” button that you add to your Internet browser. Connotea allows you to export your library of resources into other programs (like EndNote, the bibliographic software Duke currently supports) or subscribe to an RSS feed of your own or another user’s library. You can also configure your account so that the Get It @ Duke button will appear next to many Connotea citations, linking you to online full-text resources available through Duke.

Since most users’ libraries of resources are public (though you can choose to make a private library), you can search for tags of interest to you among resources found by other users—fellow Duke students, Duke librarians who are putting useful resources into Connotea, as well as researchers and scholars around the world who are using the site for their own work. Look for the DukeUniversityLibraries group to find resources in Connotea that have been tagged by Duke Librarians.

For directions on getting started and more tips, see the library’s Connotea web page at: http://library.duke.edu/services/instruction/connotea.html.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Give RefWorks a try

RefWorks is web-based bibliographic management software. Does that make sense? I didn’t think so. So here’s what it really is: an online program that allows you to upload, save, and format article and book citations. Like EndNote (which you can get for free through Duke), RefWorks also formats your bibliography for you.

Right now, Duke has a trial subscription to RefWorks. Through June 30, 2007, any Duke user can use RefWorks for free.

To create an account, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.refworks.com/refworks from any computer at Duke.
  2. Click on Sign Up for an Individual Account.
  3. Enter the appropriate information and click on Register.

Like instructions? Check out the RefWorks Quick Start Guide or the RefWorks tutorials.

You can use RefWorks off-campus: just enter Duke’s group code RWDukeUniv.

If you have any questions regarding the trial, or feedback on RefWorks, please contact me, Joan Petit.

Written by Joan Petit

Summertime–ask us!

Suddenly Perkins and Bostock are so…quiet…and relatively empty. It’s an abrupt change from last week’s intense activity. Now, don’t get me wrong, we Reference librarians have plenty of projects, conferences, and catchup work to do over the summer. But I kinda miss the frantic end-of-semester questions, the exhilaration of nailing that last citation for the research paper, the sleep-deprived (or sleeping) students in every corner of the library.

So, if you’re out there, help ease our transition from the adrenaline highs of the semester to the easy-livin’ flow of summer. Send us a question, keep us busy! See Ask a Librarian for multiple ways to talk with us.

Thing I like (warning: addictive)

Well, I fell this morning. People at work have been succumbing piecemeal for some time, and then my online community discovered it, and I was finally a goner.

What the heck am I talking about? Librarything (librarything.com). It’s sort of like Facebook, for your books. Basically, you create an online library catalog of your own books, and you tag them, and yes, it sounds really boring and like something only a librarian could love, but honestly, it’s crazy addictive. It’s also super-easy to set up.

Once you’re in, you can see exactly how many books of Doonesbury cartoons or by Maurice Sendak or about archaeological field methods you own (me: many many many of each, tag clouds are frighteningly revealing). Then you can see who else owns them, and what books they own that you don’t (but might like to), and it is sounding boring again, I know.

Just try it; you’ll know right away if it’s for you. But make sure to try when you have some free time (Spring break is a great time). I have at least one friend who was up all night the first time she logged in.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Book Burro brings your local library into Amazon

Wouldn’t it be cool if while you were looking at books in Amazon’s online store you could see whether Duke Libraries have the book? Well, you can. A tool called Book Burro (bookburro.org) does just this.

It only works with the Firefox browser, so if you’re using Internet Explorer or other browsers you’re out of luck (there are many reasons why you should try out Firefox, but that’s another blog post). You install the browser plugin (or “add-on”, as they’re now called in Firefox 2) and configure it with your zip code and online book stores you like to use.

Then, whenever you’re looking at a book record in Amazon, you’ll see an overlay in the top left corner of your browser that looks like this:

Book Burro in Amazon

When you click on the little triangle on the left, the overlay will expand and look something like this:

Screen capture of Book Burro with Durham localization

What displays here depends on how you’ve configured BookBurro (using the tools icon near the right side of the BookBurro overlay). If you’ve put in your zip code, it will show you which libraries in the vicinity have the book – the search includes all libraries at Duke, UNC, NCCU, and many other universities in the region, as well as local public libraries.

Depending on how you’ve configured it, BookBurro will even show you how much the same item costs at other online stores. So you can quickly decide whether to head to your local library, make a request via Inter Library Loan, or order the book from an online vendor and have the book delivered directly to you.

Duke Libraries does not produce or support BookBurro, so we can’t vouch for how well it will work all the time, but so far it’s been pretty handy for me. Try it out – if you don’t like it, it’s easy to uninstall.

Overheard at The Perk

“I spent seven hours in the library yesterday, researching, and I only found four articles!”

Painful words for any librarian to hear. But wait! Was the subject of research truly something obscure and unknown? Some potentially unexplored but fruitful area of discovery? Sadly, no, the topic of research (further eavesdropping revealed) was a common medical issue well covered by a range of library databases.

A stop at the reference desk could have saved this undergraduate hours of suffering. It can be intimidating to approach a librarian to ask for help, but most librarians are quite friendly, and all of us want to help you do your research better. If you’re not sure what to ask, just tell us about your research, and we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction.

Written by Joan Petit

Catalog tip – search for journals only

Sometimes you’re looking for a journal that has a really common title – the classic is “Time,” the weekly news magazine. If you look it up in the catalog using “title begins with” you get 43 results to wade through. But choose the second tab, labeled “Journals/Serials” and you can cut down the number of extraneous results – a search for “Time” this way gets only 10 hits, most of which are different versions of Time magazine.

The “Journals/Serials” tab also be very helpful when you want to find some titles of journals that cover your topic. For example, a subject keyword search for “neonatology” brings up a list of 16 journals that publish on the topic – very useful for browsing when you’re starting to research a topic.

This tab is also great for when you can’t quite remember the title of a journal – use keywords or subject keywords to try to narrow it down.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Librarians on Facebook?

In a Writing 20 library session the other day, a student was shocked when I mentioned my Facebook account. “Is that even allowed?!” he asked.

Indeed, like an alien invasion, librarians have descended upon Facebook. Why are we there? Partly for the same reasons you are: to connect with students, you, but also to connect with faculty and other librarians, at Duke and beyond.

Why befriend a librarian in Facebook? Well, why not? You use Facebook to keep track of your friends, so consider using Facebook to keep track of your favorite librarian. Make a librarian a friend, and you’ll never lose track of her (or his!) name and email.

Some librarians currently in Facebook, along with their subject areas, include

  • Margaret Brill, British and Canadian Studies
  • Carson Holloway, Military History
  • Anne Langley, Chemistry
  • Catherine Shreve, Public Policy and Political Science
  • Jean Ferguson, Reference

And, yours truly, Joan Petit: I’m there too.

Written by Joan Petit

Thing I like: Chicago Manual of Style Online

The Chicago Manual of Style – that little red book that’s the bible of citing sources – is testing an online version. Right now they’re offering free 30-day trials, and it’s worth a look. There’s also some stuff that doesn’t require any sign-in – my favorite is the Chicago Style Q&A, where someone with a sense of humor answers nit-picky questions only a grammar nerd (or a professional editor) could love. For example:

Q. Is it prework or pre-work (for work that is to be done before a meeting)?

A. Prework is a pretty silly concept, if you think about it. I mean, is it work or not? It would be like preeating. How about calling it “preparation”?

Written by Phoebe Acheson

The Sober Librarian: An Introduction

Okay, first, go here and read this comic strip: http://catandgirl.com/view.php?loc=282

While we admit to a certain fondness for tipsy librarians, we can certainly see how it might be frustrating to be faced with 43,000 hits, only 0.007% of which might actually contain the piece of data you want, when you do an internet search. When this happens to you, where can you turn?

Welcome to The Sober Librarian. In this occasional column we’ll explore – and, I hope, unravel – some research tangles that Google can’t help you with. You can learn some of the tricks, shortcuts, and special resources that librarians use. Maybe they’ll help you with your research. Maybe you just like a good mystery, or the thrill of the chase. Follow along as we track down the obscure, find the needle in the haystack, and uncover serendipitous gems.

Written by Phoebe Acheson