Category Archives: Tips for students

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.

SciVee

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.

FORA.TV

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.

Term papers by the numbers…

dali-clock-500x500

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.

Just say “Ni!”

Do midterms and research papers have you crying out “Run away! Run away!?” Take a study break and just say “ni!” to them for awhile with Duke Libraries Monty Python resources. You’ll find videos, books, audio, and music in our catalog.

Knights who say ni
Knights who say ni

Why? Because, those zany blokes are celebrating their 40th anniversary in NY City this week. Besides, it’s a proven fact that laughing yourself silly is an effective antidote to stress.  According to a literature review in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services 1

There are several beneficial efforts attributed to humor and laughter, including improved immune function, increased pain tolerance, and decreased stress response.

If you must rationalize it as schoolwork, you might hone your persuasive argument skills with The Argument Clinic

I don’t think there’s a punch-line scheduled, is there?

1 MacDonald, C. (2004). A chuckle a day keeps the doctor away: therapeutic humor & laughter. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 42(3), 18. http://search.ebscohost.com

eprint reprint – paper jam got you down? read on –

Duke’s ePrint distributed printing system now allows you to print a job again without running back to your computer.

With ePrint, you send a job to the system and then swipe your card at any print station and select the job from your print queue. With ePrint rePrint, the job goes back into the print queue for 15 minutes. If you need to reprint the job within that timeframe, just swipe your DukeCard at any ePrint station and choose the job out of the list of available jobs in your print queue. (sincere thanks to the Duke Divinity school blog)

Written by Anne Langley

Soccer in a Global Context

The World Cup will be played in South Africa in the summer of 2010 and important soccer matches are being played around the globe this fall to determine the thirty-two countries that will qualify for the tournament. To prepare you for these games, several books are available in the Duke Libraries on the subject of soccer and its global importance.

Foer's book
In Franklin Foer’s book, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, soccer is described as part of the economic, political, and cultural fabric of society. In a series of essays, Foer explores the cultural roots of fierce soccer rivalries around the world, rivalries that make battles between Duke and Carolina or the Red Sox and the Yankees look tepid. Matches between the Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow reflect the divide between the Protestant Rangers supporters and the Catholic Celtics and has roots in conflicts that date back to the Reformation. Matches between Barcelona and Madrid in Spain are recreations of the Spanish Civil War. Foer examines soccer as a liberalizing force in Iran and as a destructive force in Serbia, where soccer hooligans were used as death squads in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Although Foer does not, as his title suggests, provide a unifying theory of soccer and globalization, this book is a fascinating study of soccer in its cultural context and provides vivid examples of how national conflicts are reflected in the game of soccer.

Thinking Man's GuideThe Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey, provides essays about each of the thirty two countries that qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Each essay presents a short summary of the soccer history of the country and how each team qualified for the tournament, and places soccer in the context of that country’s culture and politics. Examples include the importance of qualification to war-ravaged Angola, the impact of globalization on the English economy, and the relationship between jihad and soccer in Saudi Arabia. Although the 2006 World Cup is in the past, the profiles of each country are fascinating and informative, and deepen one’s understanding of the world and its relationship to the world’s most popular sport.

Long Distance Love

Grant Farred, a Duke University faculty member, traces his passion for Liverpool football from his early years in apartheid South Africa in his book, Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football. He explores the cultural context of soccer around the world. Farred provides a shocking history of how Argentina’s military junta used the success of the Argentinean team to cover its ruthless oppression of dissent. Farred brings an obvious passion for world football and the Liverpool team as a lens to examine the global struggle for freedom. Although American readers will not be familiar with many of the events and players that are important in the history of Liverpool football, the reader is swept along by the force of Farred’s narrative and the deeply personal nature of his writing.


There are interesting films and discussions being held on campus this fall in conjunction with Professor Laurent Dubois’ course, “World Cup and World Politics.” A series of films about soccer are free and open to the general public. Lilian Thuram, Caribbean-born French soccer player, activist and writer, will share his thoughts on sport, racism, and immigration as well as discussing the work of his new foundation. The talk will take place at the Nasher Art Museum on Nov. 10 at 7:00 pm. More information at http://soccerpolitics.com/.

Photo Credit: Anthony Bidard/FEP

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
http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

Enhanced Homepage goes Live Monday

The Digital Projects Department is pleased to announce that the enhanced homepage will go live before classes begin on Monday.  Thanks to all the Libraries’ staff who helped collect and interpret user input.  The focus of the Libraries’ homepage is first to facilitate research, teaching and learning and second to promote our services and resources.

Here is a brief summary of enhancements based on that focus statement:

  1. Digital Collections are now searchable from the homepage via a new tab in the ‘Search Our Resources’ section.
  2. Links were reviewed and edited down to only those most used as was identified by statistics and a circle maps exercise.
    • Links to services and resources are given priority and located in the top portion of the site.
    • Help links (How Do I?…) are located under links to resources and services.
  3. News headlines are now each aligned with a corresponding image.  Clicking an image will bring you to the related story.  Two news items display at a time; more can be accessed without leaving the homepage by clicking the left & right arrows.
  4. Recent posts from the Libraries’ various blogs (including the professional school libraries) are displayed; use the left & right arrows to browse through posts without leaving the homepage.
  5. In an effort to give greater prominence to the Libraries’ exhibits, an image and link for a current Library Exhibit is visible in the lower right portion of the screen.

You can preview these changes at the following URL while the DPD works to put them in production:

Duke Libraries' Homepage Enhancement

We will review these changes this fall and make adjustments as necessary.  Please watch for invitations to participate in assessment activities for the Libraries’ web resources.

Have a great semester!

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 WorldCat.org, 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?

Tree-saving Sticky Notes

http://www.flickr.com/photos/outofluck/ / 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.

Stixy

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.

MindMeister

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.

Bubbl.us

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.

Twiddla

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.

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

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.

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.

Google Scholar Tips

Google Scholar is an excellent tool for searching across a set of scholarly journals and books, but how do you get your hands on the articles or books that you find? When you’re using Google Scholar off campus, you’ll need to set your Scholar Preferences to recognize Duke University Libraries.

Select the link for Scholar Preferences:

Under the section Library Links, enter Duke University Libraries and then select Find Library:

Make sure you select the Save Preferences button before beginning your search!
Once your preferences are set, you’ll see the Get it @ Duke link next to your search results. The Get it @ Duke link will connect you to the online or print version of the article/book in the library:

Do you use a citation tool, like EndNote or RefWorks? You can also set your Scholar Preferences to provide links to import your citations to EndNote or RefWorks:

If you have any more questions about Google Scholar, Ask a Librarian!

Written by Hannah Rozear

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.

Audiobooks

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): librivox.org, audiobooks.org, and Project Gutenberg.

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

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: http://library.duke.edu/mobile/workstations.do

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, http://library.duke.edu/services/workstations/, that displays the same information graphically.

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

Want to vote in North Carolina?

Enjoying the presidential and vice-presidential debates?  Been following the campaigns in North Carolina for Governor and U.S. Senate?  Ever wondered if you could register and vote in North Carolina?

As the general election approaches, here are some important things to remember:

  • The general election is on Tuesday, November 4.
  • The last day to register in North Carolina for the November 2008 election is Friday October 10.
  • In North Carolina, you only need to live in the county where you register for 30 days before the election.
  • This means Duke students are eligible to vote in North Carolina.
  • Check out this voting guide for Duke students that has much more information and links to other resources like the Federal Election Commission, the North Carolina Board of Elections, etc.

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

Where are all the books?

The “Find Books” link on the library homepage gives the call numbers and locations for print items in Perkins/Bostock.

Here are the most common call numbers with their corresponding location:

Call number Location
A – JK Perkins Lower Floor 2 ( map )
JL – PZ Perkins 4 ( map )
Q – QR Bostock 4 ( map )
R – Z Bostock 3 ( map )
Oversize A-Z Use “Request” link in catalog
000-999 Use “Request” link in catalog
Oversize 300s, 800s, 900s Use “Request” link in catalog

For other book locations in Perkins/Bostock click here.

If something is not on the shelf, please stop by the Perkins Reference Desk (or IM us); we’ll do our best to track it down for you.

Written by Nathaniel King

What is The Link?

If you have been wandering around the Lower Level Perkins and see shocks of bright orange and magenta walls, you have found the Link! The new teaching and learning facility “links” flexible teaching spaces, technology services, and learning tools for the entire Duke campus as a collaborative effort between OIT, Duke University Libraries and Arts & Sciences.

The Link contains 6 classrooms, 4 seminar rooms and 11 group study rooms, as well as informal spaces for collaboration or individual work. It is open and available when Perkins is open. Spaces for classroom use are made through the Registrar’s office. Rooms not reserved for a class are open for both faculty and students on a first come, first served basis. The Link also has a Service Desk that has walk up technical assistance and serves as the distribution point for equipment available from the Duke Digital Initiative.

Besides new classrooms and equipment, the Link has new seating, study spaces, and even *gasp* windows in the lower level. Unlike the furniture in the Library, Link furniture is very flexible and intended to be moved around for your needs. Check out the new funky chairs or drag your study group (and even a rolling whiteboard) into one of the new nooks of the Link.

Link web site

Written by Cynthia Varkey

Evernote

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.

Items ‘Being Repaired’ in New Catalog

In our new catalog, there are books and other items which show as Being Repaired, like this one:

Items that are Being Repaired can be requested. Whether they are at the shop getting a new binding or up in one of the levels waiting to be processed, you can click on the title of the item to see more information.

When you get to the next screen, also called the Full Record, you will see a button in the top right part of the screen that says ‘Get this title’.

Click on this button to get to the Classic Catalog. There will be more information about the location of this item and often a Request link. Click on the Request link and fill in your NetID and password to let us know that we need to try to find this for you.

Some items may not have a Request link. In this case, stop by our Reference or Circulation Desk (or email us at askref@duke.edu) and we will investigate the best method to find it for you.

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

Can I request a book that is already checked-out?

Yes. You can use the catalog “Request” link in order to have a checked out book returned and held for you.

Here’s how it works:

  • If the item has been checked out for at least two weeks, it will automatically be recalled for you (each borrower is guaranteed two weeks)
  • Once an item has been returned to the pickup library, you will be sent an email notification and it will be held for 10 days

All patrons are eligible to request a hold on materials currently checked out. Only Duke students, faculty and staff and TRLN patrons are eligible for recall privileges.

More details and screen-shots on Recalls and Holds can also be found on our website.

Written by Kathi Matsura

What is the LSC?

The Library Service Center (LSC) is an off-site storage facility where materials are kept at optimal environment levels to help ensure their longevity. An item located at the LSC can be retrieved when requested, but there are slightly different procedures for Duke patrons and guests:

Duke community:

  • Click on the “Request” link in the library catalog
  • After entering your Net ID/password, indicate a library location for delivery
  • An email will be sent to you when the requested materials arrive at the library

Guests:

Helpful screen shots and detailed instructions can also be found here.

Written by Kathi Matsura

What happens when an item is overdue?

Before heading home for the summer, you may want to check whether you have any books out on loan… and when they’re due. Here’s how to find out:

  • Click on “My Account” on the library homepage searchbox
  • Enter your Net ID/password
  • The number next to “Loans” will indicate the number of items you have out. Click on the link for the full details.

Once an item is overdue, you should receive an email. Charges can vary depending on the type of material (book, laptop, video) and the lending library. Here are some quick links:

Written by Kathi Matsura

What if the article I need isn’t full-text online?

Unfortunately, not all databases or online searches will lead to full-text articles, but there is always a chance that we have a print copy of the journal. In order to check whether the library has copies of the journal, check the online catalog:

  • You can either search by “Journal title keywords” or “Title begins with…” from the library homepage search box
  • Be sure to type the name of the journal in the search box (not the article title)

We also maintain a handy guide of helpful tips and instructions for finding journals. If you’ve ever been confused about journal abbreviations or how to find journals on your topic – it’s a great place to look!

Written by Kathi Matsura

What should I do if the book isn’t on the shelf?

Yes… I guess it’s happened to all of us. You make a trip all the way to the library, and then realize that the book you want is nowhere to be found.

Before leaving in frustration, try one of these steps:

  • Look around the surrounding shelves a bit. It’s possible that the book was inadvertently misplaced. Nearby copy machines and tables are also possible spots to quickly look.
  • Check the catalog record again, and make sure that both the call number and location are correct. Bound journals, for example, are not shelved with the other books, and you might be looking in the wrong area (maybe even the wrong library). Here’s a quick glance at our book location chart.
  • When double-checking the catalog record, make sure that the book hasn’t already been checked out. Take a look at the “Library (Owned/Out)” column in the catalog record. The first number indicates how many copies the library owns, and the second number will let you know how many are checked out. If all the books are available, the second number should read “0”.
  • Is the book still missing? Try checking the re-shelving area in Perkins. Before going back to the shelves, the books are organized in a room behind the circulation area – Level A. Follow the pathway with the library lockers, e-print stations and copy machines. The re-shelving area is the first door on the left.
  • Finally, you can request a search for the book. Submit this missing book form electronically, and library staff will try to locate the book for you. This request form includes both Perkins and Lilly (plus a few other branch libraries). You would be contacted by email regarding the status of the book. If the book is found, it will be held for you. Otherwise, an inter-library loan might be suggested.

Additional information about the shelf maintenance at Perkins Library can be found here.

Written by Kathi Matsura

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!

Watch Your Laptop

Yesterday there were two laptop thefts reported in Perkins-Bostock in the course of the morning. The police officer who responded walked around the building and noted that he could have taken three more laptops that he saw unattended. Please do not leave your laptop alone, even if you just plan to run to the Perk or to the stacks for 2 minutes!

Laptop thefts are a financial blow to students, but they often cause academic harm as well. Many students do not regularly back up their files, so the loss of a laptop can mean the loss of projects and papers you haven’t turned in yet.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve seen it all at the Reference Desk (there was the squirrel living in a trash can on Perkins 4 one spring), but we never get used to the heartbreak of seeing students who have lost significant work. I’d estimate that laptop theft is the number 2 cause of loss of student work; the number one cause we see is saving to the desktop of a public computer, then getting logged out (which wipes the desktop of all files). Take the time to back up your files, and keep your belongings with you. It’s worth it.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

How do I cite sources?

There is a citation help guide available through the library website.

The section on the left explains how to cite sources within your paper. The section on the right explains how to compile a list of references at the end of your paper. Styles covered in this guide include: MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago, and CSE. If this source does not include what you are looking for – try a Google search. Many libraries create similar citation guides, and one of them just might have what you need. Complete style manuals can also be borrowed from the library. Check the online catalog for availability.

For keeping track of citations and managing your references, be sure to consider some of the bibliographic software options available to Duke students:

  • EndNote, for example, will import references into a document as you write, and papers can be automatically formatted according to many different bibliographic styles.
  • The open-source Zotero (part 1 / part 2) is also an exciting new Firefox extension that allows you to store, retrieve and organize your reference sources for a more streamlined citation process.

Any of these can be fabulous time-saving options, and worth taking the effort to learn and explore!

Written by Kathi Matsura

Search Duke Library Resources from Facebook

Hang out in Facebook a lot? Do you think you might want to search the Duke library catalog and other library databases directly from there some times? You can now using the Duke Libraries Facebook application.

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To install it, go to http://apps.facebook.com/dukelibraries/ and follow the usual method for installing Facebook applications, checking or unchecking the settings you want for this application. Then look for it on your profile page. The box should be able to be moved around on your page and fit in either column. With this app, you should be able to do any of the searches that you can do on the library home page.

Try it out, and let us know what you think!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Working over Spring Break? We are.

For those of you who are working hard instead of (or in addition to) playing hard this spring break, here are some tips for using the library remotely:

You have automatic access to all the library’s article databases and other resources while you are home (or in Myrtle Beach.) Use the “database search” box on the library home page to find the resource you need, and when you click through to it you will be prompted for your NetID and password. More information on remote access is here.

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We’re here for questions via email, IM, and phone. We’ll be keeping short hours during the week, but if you email overnight we’ll get back to you first thing in the morning.

For those staying in town, come on by! We’re only open days, but we’d love to see you.

(Photo of Myrtle Beach taken by Curtis and Eric, found at Flickr, and used under a Creative Commons license.)

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Documentary Films for Research

Documentary films can be a great resource for academic work, and Duke is a great place to find documentaries. The Center for Documentary Studies offers undergraduate classes, workshops, and public programs and events; Lilly Library has an excellent film collection including many documentaries; and Durham is home to the world-famous Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

DocumentaryFilms.net has a useful directory of documentaries by broad categories like Biography and Nature and Wildlife, and includes a search box. You can also search for documentaries, and often find free streaming video of the trailer or even the entire film, at YouTube or Google Video.

This is a trailer for Born Into Brothels, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film. Duke has this film at Lilly Library; it’s DVD 5317.

You can search the library’s online catalog for films relevant to your research using the search tips provided by Lilly. While most films are in the Lilly collection, we have government videos, medical training videos, and other valuable items in libraries across campus. Lilly has stations where you can watch video cassettes, and most DVDs can be checked out.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Where are the books?

I guess you have the Call Number and Title, but now you’re wondering where to go? Given the ongoing construction at Perkins, this is a very common question – and fortunately easy to answer!

* For Perkins/Bostock Libraries:

  • Most books are located either on Perkins Lower Level 2 or Bostock 4
  • Some exceptions include: current periodicals or newspapers, microfiche, East Asian collection, Reference sources and government documents. Locations are indicated in the “Find Books” link near the center of the homepage (under the How Do I… heading)

* For materials at the Library Service Center:

  • Use the GetIt@Duke “Request” link for retrieval and delivery to a library location convenient to you. Email notification will be sent when it arrives.

* For “In-Process LC” books:

  • These sources can still be retrieved with the GetIt@Duke “Request” link, and an email will be sent to you when it is available for pick-up.
  • These materials have Dewey call numbers (notice they begin with numbers- not letters), and haven’t completed reclassification into the Library of Congress (LC) system.

* For materials at other libraries:

  • Includes information for locating books at both Lilly and the Divinity Library

You can also check with the Circulation or Reference desks if you are unable to locate a book on the shelf, or request a search for the missing book.

Written by Kathi Matsura

How do I look for specific books, journals or movies in the catalog?

It may sound like a lot of questions rolled into one, but the process for locating resources in various formats is fairly consistent.

* Basic Search:

  1. From the library homepage, type the title into the search box under the catalog tab.
  2. Choose “Title begins with” from the drop down menu, and click “Go”. This will search the entire library catalog and retrieve the results.
  3. Because the search included all formats of the title, you may need to scroll a bit to find what you need.

* Advanced Search: (Limiting to specific types of materials)

  1. Click on “Advanced Search” from the library homepage search box.
  2. Under “Format” in the blue box on the right of the screen, select “Film/Video”, “Audio Books” or another type of resource from the drop down menu
  3. Select “Title Keywords” from the drop down menu
  4. Enter Title keywords and click “Go”

*“How Do I…?” Feature Box:

The feature box linked above offers numerous helpful hints and guides when searching for specific types of materials.

Some of the helpful links include searches for books, journals, movies and lots more. Explore it a bit. You might learn a useful thing or two!

Written by Kathi Matsura

Introducing Zotero (part 2)

(Since my first post introducing the research tool Zotero, its development continues apace. Several new features have been added, and over 60 institutions, according to the Zotero blog, now recommend Zotero, including MIT and Rice University–both having published their own tutorials on using it.)

Zotero Tour ThumbnailIn my initial post I promised to explain why I thought Zotero was something worth writing home about, not just yet-another-piece-of-software. In case you’re still wondering if Zotero is worth the hype, I’ll make good on the promise. First, since Zotero is an open-source extension to the Firefox browser, anyone can modify it to support their needs—for example, by adding new citation styles or integration with word processors like OpenOffice.org. Of course, being open-source software, Zotero doesn’t cost a dime, making it an even more attractive alternative to expensive proprietary options like EndNote. Second, Zotero makes use of the evolving Firefox extension platform (also open-source) which will, I think, become ever more useful and functional development platform, as software proliferates that lives in the space between the internet and your computer. Lastly, Zotero is a modest coup for open access. As Zotero not only creates a citation to the material you’re reading in your browser—a journal article from PLOS Biology, for example—but also a copy (Zotero calls it a “snapshot”), when you need to refer or share the material later, you’ll be able to provide not only the citation but also the content itself. No trip back to the database or journal’s website is required (“Research, not re-search” is among Zotero’s mottos). Imagine thousands of researchers making use of this feature and you can imagine how this might constitute a modest push toward faster, easier access to research material for those who need it.

If any of this interests you and you’re not already a user, the Zotero folks have a short video introducing the extention.

Where is the best place to find information on a specific subject?

There are a number of ways to approach a subject search, and I’d recommend exploring all of these options:

  • Subject guides: These guides can be found through the library website, and introduce multiple resources which are particularly useful for specific subject areas. They have been created by our own subject librarians, and can provide an excellent starting point for your research.
  • Databases: For step-by-step instructions, watch this brief tutorial (1 min, 5 sec) on choosing a database for your topic. In addition to a database search, both the article tab and advanced search e-journal tabs offer pull down subject headings which can help narrow the field.
  • Print Resources: When searching the library catalog for books, it might be useful to try a subject search using the Library of Congress subject headings. Find a book that is relevant to your topic using a keyword search, and then explore the topic by either displaying other records that match your topic or browse other subject headings that may be related to it.
  • Research Consultation: Still having difficulty or unable to find what you need? Individual research consultations can be arranged by appointment with one of our reference or subject librarians. Consultations can be arranged within a week, but feel free to email, IM, call or stop by the reference desk if you need some pointers to get you headed in the right direction.

Written by Kathi Matsura

Online Encylopedias for Specific Subjects

We recently wrote about some all-encompassing online encyclopedias. But there are also some very useful encyclopedias on specific scholarly topics. Increasingly the standard print reference works in any given field are becoming available in keyword-searchable full text online. Here are some great ones:

Oxford Reference Online
has excellent encyclopedias and dictionaries for fields from Art and Architecture to Science, and also includes foreign language and quotation dictionaries. Titles include The Oxford Classical Dictionary, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. They even have a browser toolbar you can download and install allowing you to search their products.

oxford.jpg

AccessScience @ McGraw-Hill gives you keyword searchability of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology as well as science biographies, yearbooks, and some news articles.

Blackwell Reference Online has especially strong collections in Business, History, Linguistics, Literature, and Philosophy.

Next in our tour of online reference works we’ll look at some specific titles. If you want an overview of the things we subscribe to, look in the Resource Finder under the subject heading Reference, and look for Encyclopedias and Dictionaries.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

I need a specific article. How do I get it?

Not a problem… we get asked this question a lot!

If you already have the citation (author, title, journal name, etc.) , you can look up the journal title in the E-Journal Finder.

  • If we have no online full text, click the link to search the catalog for print or microfilm.
  • Need help figuring out what words are the journal title? See Understanding Citations.
  • Have a mystery abbreviation for the journal title? See the book Periodical Title Abbreviations at the Perkins Reference Desk or Ask a Librarian.

On occasion, the library may not have the particular journal either in print or online for the year needed. As long as your paper isn’t due in the next few days, you can always request the article through our interlibrary loan service.

Still having trouble? Maybe you’ve already found the article in a database, but can’t figure out how to access it? The answer is in the “get it at Duke” button. Take a look at our “get it at Duke” tutorial (2 min 12 sec). It could save you a lot of time and confusion in the end.

Happy hunting!

Written by Kathi Matsura

Plagiarism Prevention Tips

Plagiarism is in the news again, most recently when a romance novel writer was found to have copied from an article on (no kidding) endangered black-footed ferrets. Here’s Paul Tolme, the freelance wildlife journalist, on being plagiarized:

In the Internet age, every freelance writer fears that his or her words will be appropriated without compensation. First I was angry. Then I had to laugh. To see my textbook descriptions of ferrets in a bodice-ripper, as dialogue between a hunky American Indian and a lustful pioneer woman who several pages later have sex on a mossy riverbank, is the height of absurdity.

The romance novelist is claiming ignorance as a cause of her plagiarism. Unfortunately, ignorance is no excuse. Most students who plagiarize didn’t mean to: they either are careless in cutting and pasting from multiple sources and forget to attribute their sources, are genuinely confused about whether or how to cite something, or are working at the last minute and get desperate and sloppy.

How can you avoid plagiarism? The library has a tutorial that helps explain the dangers, sets out the rules of appropriate citation, and sends you to writing tutors or counselors if you need more help. A sample:

Chances are that you understand the difference between creating incomplete citations and passing off someone else’s work as your own. Still, you … may occasionally find yourself in confusing situations. Do Internet sources need to be cited the same way as books? How do you cite something from the Web if there’s no indication who wrote it? What if you rewrite someone else’s ideas, putting them all into your own words — do you still need to cite? If you are in doubt, you run the risk of unintentionally plagiarizing.

In the end, it all worked out for the ferrets. The romance novel reader’s community that broke the story has donated $5,000 to protect the black-footed ferret.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Using the library just got easier

Let’s face it: Navigating Duke library’s online resources can be a challenge — even frustrating — at times. We librarians are trying to cut out some of the guesswork by developing short (2 minutes, tops!) animated tutorials with step-by-step directions designed to illuminate some of the murkier aspects of library research.

Here’s what you’ll find…

  • Choosing the right database — Ever tried to get into a database to find an article for your econ paper but just couldn’t figure out which database to use (there are nearly 500 to choose from, after all!)? This tutorial will help you make sense of those categories and never-ending lists.
  • Requesting books that are checked out — Yes, there is a way to get your hands on that book that’s checked out till May 15. Take a look at this tutorial to find out.
  • Using “get it @ duke” — That little blue button can do oh-so-much good but not without a little confusion when you’re first figuring it out. This tutorial will help shorten the learning curve.

There are more tutorials in the works, and we’d love your input on possible topics or ways we can these guides even more user-friendly. Here’s the place for your thoughts and suggestions!

Do serif fonts get you better grades?

Last week I saw a documentary called Helvetica, which explored the history and culture of typefaces, and the sans-serif Helvetica font in particular. It got me thinking more about the almost sub-conscious power of the fonts used in the writing all around us, and the ones I use myself. (It’s a fun and elegant documentary by the way, and not at all as boring or geeky as it might sound.)

Coincidentally, a couple of days later I came across a blog posting called The Secret Lives of Fonts, in which the author reviewed 52 papers he wrote for university courses and found that on average he got better grades on the ones where he used serif fonts than on the ones where he used sans-serif fonts. He writes:

Well, would you believe it? My essays written in Georgia did the best overall. This got me thinking as to why that might be: maybe fonts speak a lot louder than we think they do. Especially to a professor who has to wade through a collection of them; Times seems to be the norm, so it really doesn’t set off any subconcious triggers. Georgia is enough like Times to retain its academic feel, and is different enough to be something of a relief for the grader. Trebuchet seems to set off a negative trigger, maybe just based on the fact that it’s not as easy to read in print, maybe on the fact that it looks like something off a blog rather than an academic journal. Who knows.

What fonts do you use, and have you noticed patterns like these? Professors and TAs, do you have typeface preferences for the papers you need to grade? Is there something to this?

Myself, I like Verdana, but I’m mostly reading my own words on screens now. Maybe I should think again and change the font just before I print it out…

Bookish Applications for Facebook

If you spend all your time in Facebook, branch out from Scrabulous and movie trivia quizzes to take a look at some applications related to the library and books.

So far we’ve found:

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WorldCat, the closest thing there is to a universal library catalog (for US users, anyway), now lets you search their public site directly from Facebook.

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MiniLibrary, which does sort of the same thing except searching European National Libraries.

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Books iRead, which allows you to add your books and rate them, and compare them to what your friends have. It’s sort of a simplified LibraryThing for Facebook, basically.

We hear that an application that will allow you to search the Duke Library catalog from Facebook is in the works; we’ll announce it here when it’s ready.

Have you found any useful and/or fun library, research, or book-related applications on Facebook? Give us a link!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Webcast on Zotero: Online Citation Manager

Innovate, Journal of Online Education, is hosting a webcast that looks like a good introduction to Zotero, the free online citation management system that Allen raved about here. It’s Thursday Jan. 10 at 2:00 pm EST. [edited to correct date: Thanks, Brandi!]

It looks like you have to register for the webcast, but it’s free. A good way to get your feet wet if you’ve been thinking about Zotero. And how often do you get to hear from an official Technology Evangelist?

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Online Encyclopedias: Wikipedia Alternatives

Why an encyclopedia?

    Fast overview of a topic
    Historical timeline & basic facts
    Find out the right keywords for article searches
    Find out the main issues in the field
    Check for a list of suggested readings to start your real research

Which Encyclopedia?

Wikipedia has quickly become a go-to internet source when you need an encyclopedia. But there have been some concerns about its authority and objectivity, so it should be used cautiously. Use your critical thinking skills – if the article has footnotes, a list of further readings, and feels balanced, it is more likely to be comparable to what you would find in a more traditional encyclopedia. And Wikipedia can be a wonderful source of arcane information: when you really need a list of original air dates for episodes of The Brady Bunch, Wikipedia is the right source!

When your needs are less Florence Henderson-centric, there are other excellent encyclopedias available online. This post will cover the big general ones:

Encyclopedia Britannica online (available by Duke subscription) replicates the authoritative print version but adds web-only tools, including historical timelines and country comparisons.

Enciclopedia Universal en Espanol is also produced by Britannica, but in Spanish and with a focus on Spain and Latin America.

The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th Edition) is available via InfoPlease.com and Bartelby.com; this is a shorter, one-volume encyclopedia in its print version. Both sites also have various other dictionaries, thesauruses, and almanacs – as well as ads (InfoPlease’s interface is far more busy and annoying, IMO).

Browse the list of Reference resources here for more useful starting places for research – and watch this space for highlights of some excellent subject-specific encyclopedias online.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Cell Phones for Citation

A colleague in the library recently observed a student using a cell phone camera to make a quick “note” of the title page of a book, and the call number label. What a great idea! Very useful for people who are in a big hurry, but want to make sure they capture the full bibliographic citation of something they checked, and also want a reminder of the call number so they can come back for it. Much better than a scribbled post-it note that can be lost or undecipherable.

Plays, and More Plays.

Photo by absent.canadian from the Photo Scavenger Hunt – any interest in doing a new hunt in the new semester?

By Phoebe Acheson

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.

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

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.]

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.