Friday, December 3, 2010

Scholarly articles to critique a research article

There is a nursing assignment that requires students (I think) to find scholarly articles on how to critique a research study. Here are a few that we found in Science Direct:

Marshall, Gil. (2005). Critiquing a research article. Radiography 11(1).

Conkin, D. J. (2005). Critiquing research for use in practice. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 19(3).

Beck, C.T. (2009). Critiquing qualitative research. AORN 90(4).

A search in ScienceDirect for "critique research" or something along those lines seems to bring up results. Still not sure exactly if this is what's expected of the assignment, but if you get the question....

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

EZ Proxy Guest password

If the EZ Proxy guest password does not generate, use this link to reset it:

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Adobe flash in library computer lab

Until MIS updates Adobe on the classroom computers, the following steps can be taken if a student needs to complete Adobe flash based homework assignments and no other computers are available:

1. Log off and shut down the PC
2. Restart the computer and have student log in
3. They will be prompted to update to the latest version of Adobe flash. Accept the update and follow prompts to install.

This must be done each time because the update will be wiped when the computer is restarted.

(Per Alex's email 9/13/2010)

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Update on "Police work with juveniles" article

It is available electronically as a course reserve.Bookmark and Share

"Police work with juveniles" article

I have had two inquiries about this article in recent days. As it turns out, it is a chapter within a book entitled "Juvenile Justice Sourcebook: past, present and future" edited by Alan Roberts. The call number is HV9104.J868 2004. FYI -- The chapter is also available through GoogleBooks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Donating used textbooks

I've heard several patrons ask recently if we accept their old textbooks. The Corporation for National and Community Service website lists a number of organizations that accept textbook donations.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ceiling Fans

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The new ceiling fans have been installed with wall switches. Now we just have to remember to turn them off when we close.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Research assignment handouts

A few interesting facts about research assignment handouts from a study done by Project Information Literacy. The full report is available at

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Students with off-campus database problems

If a students contacts you that he/she cannot log in to the databases from off-campus, please provide the following response:

I can give you a temporary password to use today. It will allow you to access the databases until 2am. However, you should make sure that your G# and password are working to log in to Lion's Den. If you can log in to Lion's Den but not the library databases, you should contact the MIS helpdesk, or 908-526-1200 ext. 4357 and let them know about the problem. Unfortunately the library has no control over password issues.

If you are unable to log in to Lion's Den, you will probably need to go to the MIS helpdesk in person with your college ID card to have your password reset.

For today, you can use the temporary log in below:
Username: ezproxyguest
password from the daily email in reference inbox

Make sure you are giving students the password from the EZPROXYGUEST email, not the libguest or libclass email.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Enhancements to Ebsco Interface

Ebsco will be releasing interface enhancements in the next few weeks. The most significant changes, in my opinion, are to the results page display, and they look like good changes.

The limiters on the results page will be consolidated to the left side of the screen, instead of having "Academic Journals" on one side and "Scholarly Journals" on the other, the way it is now (gee, that makes sense!). They've also pulled the Subject terms back out. Recently they've been hidden away in a drop down menu, but there will be a list of subjects visible and the option to check off multiple subjects, instead of just clicking one.

You can get a glimpse of the new results screen here.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Computer Skills Placement Assessment Resources

A student was looking for a study guide for the Computer Skills Placement Assessment. While I haven't found a simple study guide or cheat sheet yet, there is some information on the test's vendor website that might be helpful to students looking to know what topics are covered by the test. In particular: - Objectives for Word Processing - Excel Spreadsheet Objectives - Objectives for Databases - Presentations objectives

Our testing center is still using Microsoft Office 2003 for this test, as far as know.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Resource for Nursing Students?

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A response to a LIBREF-L question about the best full-text nursing databases caught my eye today. They provided the URL for the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC), “a public resource for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines” --

While playing around in there, I discovered that there is quite a bit of quality nursing information about the diagnosis, prevention and clinical management of both mental and physical diseases/ conditions. So I am now armed and ready for the next round of nursing students looking for the brain oxygen monitoring thresholds for severe traumatic brain injury, (say that 3x fast!) You could be, too -- check it out. Nan

Friday, May 14, 2010


Screenjelly is screencasting software that does not require any download. You simply go to the website (, click the Record button, and you will have 3 minutes to record the action on your screen with voice. This could be good for very short, informal demonstrations because the recording will include you having to switch windows away from and back to the Screenjelly website. But a library is giving a poster session at ALA on how they use it to quickly and visually answer chat and email reference questions, which sounds like a great idea. Instead of describing to students the steps for ILL, for example, you could quickly record the steps on your screen and send the video. Check out the site and watch the Demo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Google results get a makeover

Notice anything different about the results of your Google search lately? Last week Google underwent a major revision to its search results page. I first noticed the change when I did a search yesterday and the first result was a Twitter feed - not very helpful. More information about the changes are described here. The primary change is that:

"Google is emphasizing the menu of search options that had previously been hidden on the left-side rail of the search results pages. First unveiled in May 2009, search options required a searcher to click on a "show options" link at the top of the page. Now they will be permanently affixed to the left rail, and Google will surface different search options based on whether they are relevant to the query."

This change also changes the location of the Wonder Wheel, FYI.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Columbia Guide to Online Style

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Many thanks to the librarian who pulled this title out of Ready Reference! I was besieged by "citation anomalies" yesterday and this was just what the doctor ordered ~ albeit a little dated (you know, still includes URLs). Long story short, grab it for a concise explanation of those weird little problems, like how to cite an article abstract or a passage from SparkNotes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thoughts on teaching website evaluation

I was linking through some of the blog posts on In the Library with the Lead Pipe and came across a post I recall reading a while back that has a lot of relevance to what we're always doing. "In Praise of the Internet: Shifting Focus and Engaging Critical Thinking Skills" is to me a little blogosphere gem about teaching students to think about websites critically, and teaching them in a manner that reflects their actual research practices.

Ellie Collier emphasizes a focus on critical thinking skills when teaching website evaluation, instead of fear-mongering tactics that focus on the unreliability of websites. She suggests approaching discussions of websites by encouraging students to ask questions about their information need, "who might have the information they are looking for, what type of person or group would have collected it and why, and where would it have been made available." She provides two good examples that can be easily understood by students:

"One of the examples I always give is that if you want to know the NRA’s stated position on gun control there’s no better place to go than the NRA website. If you want to know the statistics of children killed by their parents’ guns, I wouldn’t get it there. Another example: if you’re writing on Star Trek culture or the phenomena of fan fiction you would absolutely want to use fan sites. Rather than focus on these fan sites as examples of non-authority we should be focusing on clarifying your purpose and identifying what types of sources would fit."

As we consider the changing research requirements for students not just in English 111 & 112, but also in other intro classes (where as we've seen the requirement for academic research is declining), it's important to think about how we are approaching internet searching and website evaluation with our students. Let's face it, no matter what we teach them, many students are starting and sometimes finishing their research on free internet sites, so I think it's our job to help them understand how to know what they are looking at.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

ASA Citation

Here are links to ASA Citation Style sources. Thanks to Diana for the first one!

Preparation Checklist for ASA Manuscripts
- 2 page quick reference guide (This guide does not include how to cite articles from an electronic database.)

Purdue OWL - ASA
(Purdue also does not include how to cite articles from databases!)

Cal State LA's guide - detailed and with in-text and references list examples, including how to cite an article from an electronic database

There does seem to be some discrepency about how to cite an article from an electronic database. The university library guides that are dated and identify which manual they referred to all seem to concur with the format on Cal State's guide. The basic format is:

Author Last, First. Year of Pub. "Title." Journal Name volume # (issue #):
inclusive page numbers if available. (Retrieved from Database Name
on Month Day, Year of Access.)

However, other guides had slight differences in the punctuation and language used to identify the database. We do not have a copy of the American Sociological Association Style Guide, so I can't check it against the manual.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

PREZI - Fun new presentation tool

At NJLA, Bob saw a presentation that used Prezi instead of Powerpoint, so I decided to play around and see what it was all about. Fun stuff!!

Prezi is an online presentation tool that enables you to create radically different presentations from what we're used to with Powerpoint. Instead of individual slides, you create your presentation on one large canvas and use set up your presentation to navigate around that canvas. Below is a Prezi presentation I just threw together in about 20 minutes. (At this point, you have to keep clicking the forward arrow to go through the presentation - I haven't yet figured out how to make it play video-style.)

It's very simple to use; I created this one after watching about 5 minutes worth of tutorials on their website. However, because it's simple to use, it seems like the functionality is a bit limited. I haven't explored all of the options yet, so the above presentation is very basic, but you can see immediately the different style Prezi uses and how this could make for more interesting - and better organized - presentations.

If you want to try it out, go to and click the link for Student/Teacher Licenses. The free educator version has more features than the free public one. All that is required is to sign up with your college email address and provide the college's website address when asked.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Google's Wonder Wheel for keyword instruction

Have you seen Google's Wonder Wheel? I just learned about it on the ILI-L listserv, and it's a pretty fun feature. Similar to the concept map available in Credo Reference, the Wonder Wheel takes the keywords you enter in a Google search and displays them in a concept map with other relevant search terms/phrases. The Wonder Wheel is in the middle of the screen with results for the main search term to the right. If you click a search term that is linked on the wheel, the search terms on the right change to websites relevant to that search term.

When looking at results for a Google search, click Show Options from the top left. Then along the left side of the screen, scroll down and select Wonder Wheel to see your results in this view. Detailed instructions are available here.

This might be an interesting and engaging way to get students thinking about keywords in an info lit session. They will be more interested in anything coming from Google than what we come up with, but it gets across the idea that there are other ways to phrase a particular search idea. Although many of the initial "spokes" on the wheel are very similar to the first search, there are slight variations that ultimately bring up different results. This is a concept that I think our students struggle with, as they constantly put the same phrase over and over again into every search and wonder why they can't find anything useful!

Do you see any potential uses for this tool?

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

CHOICE Websites

CHOICE frequently reviews websites, many of which are freely accessible. I thought I'd share a batch of recent ones.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

"provides hourly updates on business ethics and human rights news and reports" for over 4000 companies worldwide.

Leight Hunt Online: The Letters
"electronic access to...surviving correspondence of the British Romantic poet" in facsimile images. Uses OCLC's CONTENTdm as its platform.

International Children's Digital Library: A Library for the World's Children
"an international collection that...appeal[s] to children ages 3-13 (all over the world) and...provide[s] quality literature...Contains more than 10,000 digitized children's books in 54 languages."

The Torture Archive
"provides access to over 83,000 pages (with more materials to be added) of primary documents concerning the detention and interrogation of individuals by the US government."

English Short Title Catalogue

"designed to include a bibliographic record, with holdings, of every surviving copy of letterpress produced in Great Britain or any of its dependencies, in any language, worldwide, from 1473 to 1800." (Sounds like Worldcat with a Brit-centric spin)

The Federal Reserve Board: Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions
The Beige Book from the Federal Reserve, online. Great for "undergraduate students seeking up-to-date, easily digestible commentary on the economy."

William Faulkner on the Web
"biography, Yoknapatawpha locale, synopses, annotated character listings, critical resources, and links to other important Web sources...student friendly site even offers MLA citation models for each of its pages."

Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence

"Their goal is to craft an academically viable, peer-reviewed online encyclopedia while also creating an important base of knowledge for the world community on this...topic."

Tutorialized: Photoshop Tutorials and Flash Tutorials
"over 3,000 Flash tutorials and over 12,000 Photoshop tutorials, along with hundreds of lessons covering other graphics software as well."

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Viewing Ebsco PDF's on a Mac

Interesting FYI - Ebsco made more changes to its interface recently, you may have noticed. (They finally labeled that yellow icon with the word "Cite" for one thing, which is very helpful!) This blog post explains the new PDF reader in Ebsco databases, which has been giving Mac users a hard time.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Using Wikipedia to teach source evaluation

This blog post from Inside Higher Ed was written by a history professor who has his students complete an assignment to evaluate the usefulness of Wikipedia as a source. While I think that many assignments based too heavily on Wikipedia fail to get across key concepts that are transferable to research in general, he makes it sound like this assignment does so effectively. Ah, if only all professors would so actively embrace information literacy and seemlessly incorporate source evaluation into existing assignments. I'm bookmarking this for the info-lit-across-the-curriculum pitch I hope to make one day!
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Sociology assignment - 2 online articles, 1 print

There is a Sociology assignment from Gayle Livecchia that requires students to find 3 sociology journal articles written by authors from a specific list. There are about 30 names on the list and no other requirements as far as topic, except that they must be research articles, not book reviews or commentary.

Finding the two "online" articles is fine - the students just need to be shown which databases to use and how to search for an Author.

The print article - which is referred to in the assignment as from an "on-site" journal - is more difficult.

We have two sociology journals in the bound collection on the 2nd floor:
Social Problems
Social Science Quarterly

Both of these are indexed in Proquest Research Library. I sat with these two students and searched Proquest for either journal and then the Author's name. And let me tell you - there's not much! I only searched Proquest Research Library for citations, so there may be others, but I'll provide you with the citations for the ones I found. It's probably easier to give the students these citations and have them find the articles in the bound journals than try to teach them to do all this searching. It's very frustrating and not very productive, in my opinion.

Daniel T Lichter, Deborah Roempke Graefe, and J Brian Brown. "Is marriage a panacea? Union formation among economically disadvantaged unwed mothers. " Social Problems 50.1 (2003): 60.

Daniel T Lichter, J Brian Brown, Zhenchao Qian, and Julie H Carmalt. "Marital Assimilation Among Hispanics: Evidence of Declining Cultural and Economic Incorporation?*. " Social Science Quarterly 88.3 (2007): 745-765.

Daniel T Lichter, Zhenchao Qian, and Martha L Crowley. "Child Poverty Among Racial Minorities and Immigrants: Explaining Trends and Differentials*. " Social Science Quarterly : A Special Issue: Income, Poverty, and Opportunity 86.(2005): 1037-1059

Edward M Crenshaw, and Kristopher K Robison. "Globalization and the Digital Divide: The Roles of Structural Conduciveness and Global Connection in Internet Diffusion*. " Social Science Quarterly 87.1 (2006): 190-207.

Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, Edward M Crenshaw, and J Craig Jenkins. "Deforestation and the environmental Kuznets curve: A cross-national investigation of intervening mechanisms. " Social Science Quarterly 83.1 (2002): 226-243.

I'm also going to contact Gayle and see if she will let the author requirement go for the print articles. It would probably be more efficient for the students to simply browse the journals and select an article by any author.

Comment if you have other suggestions!

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Paralegal Student Passwords

From Diana:

Recently I had two students ask questions about their paralegal student passwords for Lexis Nexis. The passwords were distributed on thin strips of paper with 3 columns and without any headings. The first entry (on left) is the student name; the second entry (middle) is the username; the third entry (on right) is the password. These students were using the name as the username and the username as the password. I hope this helps if you get the question.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Journals for National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)

Students have been asking for the Journal of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. NCTM is an organization that publishes several journals, but it doesn't seem that the professor is making this clear to the students. Most of the journals are available full-text in databases, but are not current. Only one is current and in print. Listed below are the journal titles, databases, and full-text dates as found in the Periodical Locator. I'm not sure what the assignment is but these are the only places the students will find the journals from the NCTM.

Teaching Children Mathematics
Proquest Research Library
through 2003

Journal for Research in Mathematics Educations
JSTOR, through 2004

Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School
Print 2007-Present

Proquest Research Library through 2003

Mathematics Teacher
Proquest Research Library
through 2003

On Math
Students Explorations in Mathematics
we do not own these journals

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reading Case Citations Reminder

There is a paralegal assignment floating about which requires the students to find a case and then brief it. The student I helped did not know how to read the case citation he was given, so in case you have this problem with other students, here's a reminder:

308 N.J. Super. 59 (App. Div.)

The first number (308) is the volume number.

The N.J. Super tells you which set of reporters to look in.
  • N.J. Super. = New Jersey Superior Court Reporters (green books)
  • N.J. = New Jersey Reports (Supreme court reporters, beige)
  • U.S. = U.S. Supreme Court reporters (black)

The second number is the page number on which the case can be found. (The stuff in parenthesis is unimportant when looking up the case.)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Concept Map in Credo Reference

Has anyone else tried the Concept Map feature in Credo Reference? I just discovered it! I'm going to use it with the Academy (high school) students, but it could be a useful tool for getting students thinking about keywords and how ideas are connected.

From the Credo main search screen, you can select the tab Concept Search. Enter a general keyword, and the database generates a map of related keywords derived from entries in the database. Way cool!
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Occasionally a public patron will request bibliographic information for older books, including out-of-print ones . Recently, I found these 3 sites useful:
Books In Print
Google Books
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Monday, February 15, 2010


I decided to consolidate the many Google accounts I had to one gmail account and in doing so deleted the old accounts. It appears that I have deleted the account which was the Admin for this blog. Did I give anyone else Admin rights? If you have them, you should be able to go to Settings, then Permissions, and see a list of everyone who has Author rights on the blog. If you have this, can you please add me back as an Admin?? :o) If not, we can all still write to the blog but won't be able to add new people. For the amount we use it, that should be ok. Sorry!
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Friday, February 12, 2010

JSTOR for Nursing Articles

Thanks to Nan for this:

While fielding some nursing assignments today, I found the most relevant articles were in what I consider an unlikely place -- JSTOR! You may want to add this to your battery of "viable alternatives" if you have exhausted all the traditional sources...Nan

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mastering Math Series in Safari

I just discovered a series of books in Safari Online Books for "Mastering Math". There is a book for each topic:

Basic Math & Pre-Algebra

It appears they are not yet in the catalog, but we do have access through Safari. Just something to keep in mind in case we get those random questions about Math texts!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding "What is Ideology" by Jacques Derrida

A student came to the reference desk with a link from her professor to find an article titled, "What is Ideology" by Jacques Derrida. The professor provided an incorrect link. If anyone else is asking, the article can be found at:
From the list on the left side of the screen, select Derrida, Spectres of Marx. That link has the correct article.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Find your legislator assignment

I get this assignment at the reference desk every semester, and have already had one ambitious student asking how to find the information. Perhaps a throwback assignment to when it was necessary to use reference books for this, but the assignment is simply for the student to find the state senators and assemblymen and federal senators and representatives for their hometown. Although this information is easily found online (easily, maybe only for librarians??), students seem to have a lot of questions about how to find it!!

I've put together this webpage with links to get them started on their search. Although the right Google search will take them directly to the information they need, I've included links to the homepages so that they have to do a teeny bit of searching and website evaluation to get the answers. Feel free to give the tiny URL out to students if they will find it useful.

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