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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