Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Local History Online @ Your Library

Want to see some nice photos of western Mass. "back in the day"? Check out Digital Commonwealth, a free search engine & repository of manuscripts, images, historical documents, and sound recordings from over 100 Mass. instutitions, including CWMars, UMass, and Simmons College.

How about this photo of the A&P in Holyoke, c1931?

Governor Calvin Coolidge and his son Calvin Coolidge, Jr. building a Kart at their home at 21 Massasoit Street, Northampton, MA. July 1920.

And this Biology Lab at the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee, c1920s.

All of these and more, for free @ your library.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

International Adoption Resources

VeryMusicalFriend just adopted a baby from China.  I sent her the following email and thought others might find the resources helpful as well:

I just read this review of web sites and resources for international adoption and and to send it to you:
The resources are for people trying to adopt kids but also for dealing with what happens afterwards. Here's one site I thought you'd really like ... in case you don't have time to read the whole thing. :-)

Rainbow Kids.com. This is a volunteer-based advocacy and information center for international adoption founded in 1996. Since 2006, Rainbowkids.com expanded its advocacy to include special needs adoption issues. One of the most valuable resources on this site is the RainbowKids.com online monthly magazine, with searchable archives back to 2001. Articles feature international issues, such as caring for African hair, learning about Mongolian spots, and handling family tree assignments at school. There is a searchable events calendar that covers all states. The site is sustained by contributions by adoption agencies and sponsorship ads, which are clearly marked as such. Access: http://www.rainbowkids.com/.

Clark, Janet Hyunju. "INTERNET RESOURCES: International adoption: Education, advocacy, and discovery resourcesCollege & Research Libraries News, November 2007.  Vol. 68, No. 10.

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Finding Information About Prospective Employers

A friend and I were discussing the process of looking for work, and stressing to each other the value of doing research on prospective employers. She talked about looking at the employer's web site, for instance, to find statistics to incorporate into your cover letter ("I see that your school has very low graduation rates compared to the state average; I could help you with that by doing XYZ").

Did you know ... you can also look in the local newspaper's archive to find out information about prospective employers (if you're lucky enough to live in an area where your local paper's archives are online).

If you have a library card in western Mass., you can search the archives of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican:

1. Go to the Springfield Republican via Newsbank. Type in your library card number. Click on the logo for the "Union-News" (the paper's former name) or click on the button that says [The Republican (Springfield)]

2. Type whatever you want in the search box & click [SEARCH]. The archives go back to 1988 and just about everything from the paper is in there, including newspaper stories, book reviews, composition of the local school committee, sports stories...

The only limit to what you can find is your imagination! Look for yourself or your spouse; find out what your neighbor's house sold for; find out when that restaurant is opening in Williamsburg; check the safety of local bridges ... and so much more!

Here are some search suggestions and tips:

1. Put phrases in quotes, such as "Hampshire College" or "department of public works." Names can be tricker, because the paper's policy is to include middle initials whenever possible. To make sure you get all stories about Holyoke's "Mayor Mike", search for ("Michael J. Sullivan" or "Michael Sullivan") and mayor and holyoke. That'll get thousands of stories, most of which will mention Holyoke's mayor.

2. The default sort order of results is by date, with the most recent appearing first. This is ok if you're looking for recent news or if there isn't a lot about your topic.

You can change the sort order by clicking on the pull-down menu under the search box & selecting "Best matches first" to get the most relevant stories first (the way Google results appear).

You can also limit stories to those published in the last 12 months, in 2007, 2006, 2005, etc., or your can type in custom dates like Jan 1, 2000 - Feb 3, 2000.

3. Your results will first show the paper name (Republican or Sunday Republican), the date, and the article length, which gives you a sense of how detailed the article will be. Then you'll see the article's title -- click on that to get the full-text -- followed by the "lead" or first paragraph of the article.

To find out about your prospective employer, type in the company name in the search box. You may need to try some variations, such as MassMutual or "Massachusetts Mutual." In the case of a large employer, you might want to add a department to narrow your results, or even search for the hiring manager or person with whom you have an interview.

Successful job hunting @ your library!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Job Hunting Assistance ... Online! ... Free!

Did you know that you can get resume and cover letter assistance online, for free? Western Mass. library-card holders can access "electronic books" via netLibrary.

I found 35 books about "resumes - employment" in netLibrary. They include

And once you get an interview, take a look at The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Interview, by by Marc Dorio (Alpha Books, c2000)!

all free, @ your library

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fodor's Guides -- online! free! (@ your library)

If you live in Massachusetts or Connecticut (and many other states), you have access to hundreds of free online Fodor's Travel Guides. Yay!

Here's how to get there:
1. In Massachusetts, go to http://mblc.state.ma.us/books/magazine/gale.php & type in your library card number
2. At the next screen, click on the OneFile logo
3. At the next screen, you'll see a search box
4. Type in the name of a place you're going or would like to go ... say, Amsterdam
5. You'll see thousands of results!
6. Click on the tab at the top of the list
7. For Amsterdam, "Fodor's Amsterdam" is the 2d result
8. Click on the title, and there you are -- a 140 page guide to Amsterdam. Free!

@ your library.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Vacationing with Grandchildren

This is a rare treat: a (non-librarian) friend sent me her list of web sites & asked me to share with other librarians & anyone else interested in ...

Where to vacation with your grandchildren.

This list provides links to web sites & book suggestions of where you might travel with your grandchildren.

She notes, for instance, the Amtrak web site, which offers a discount for those over 62 and "kids." Friend also notes the Taking the Kids web site, created & maintained by Eileen Ogintz, who writes the Taking the Kids newspaper column.

She notes a few books, as well, including the Best Hikes with Kids series (link to books available in western Mass. libraries)

My friend said it took her a while to compile and she hopes it helps others. Thanks, Friend!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Personal Finance Advice

The Personal Finance Advice blog recently wrote a column about The Many Ways Your Library Can Save You Money, which is absolutely true!

The list several items beyond books which you can borrow, such as books on tape, videos, and CDs. They remind readers that the library also offers magazines (they say most libraries don't lend magazines, but my local public liraries *do* lend them), free Internet access, and entertainment for children (such as story hours).

The "similar posts" list on the right of the post offers more ideas to save money at the library.

Nice to see libraries promoted in this way!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Finding "Good" Web Sites

Do you know about the Librarians' Internet Index? It's a terrific database of hand-picked, hand-categorized Web sites on a variety of topics. Librarians and others select web sites for inclusion in the "LII", and librarian-editors confirm & verify that the sites are appropriate. A "weeder librarian" goes through older sites and verifies that they are still active.

This is a good place to start your search, particularly if you don't quite know what you expect to find. I recently helped a friend find reviews of films about the Holocaust, and we used the LII because it didn't include commercial or otherwise doubtful sites on this topic.

You can search the Librarians' Internet Index, but it's also fun to browse by category, such as ...
* Health (subtopics include: Diseases & Conditions; Senior Health;, w Women's Health, and more)
* Consumer Research & Advocacy (subtopics include Consumer Protection, Product Ratings, Shopping, and more).
* Hobbies (subtopics include Bird-watching, Crafts, and Historial Reenactments).

And you can see their New This Week sites. The June 7 list includes links to the New York Public Library's Science, Industry and Business Library Research Guides, a summer reading guide from Reading Is Fundamental, and Chow, a site full of recipes and more celebrating "food, drink, and fun."

The Librarians' Internet Index subtitle says it all: "web sites you can trust."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Free Science Articles

I can't resist adding these extra free resources:
From India comes Open J-Gate, a great open access journal database, in which all articles are freely accessible. It appears to cover many disciplines, and they say that content goes back to 2001 and indexes almost 4,000 journals. check it out here.

Stanford University's Highwire Press offers several scholarly journals for free, often -- but not always -- after an embargo of 6-12 months. See check it out here.

The American Museum of Natural History offers free access to all of its journals. This is 4 journals back to the beginning of the journal run, which is at least 1921. check it out here.

SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online -- was "conceived to meet the scientific communication needs of developing countries, particularly Latin America and the Caribbean countries." To that end, it offers free access to almost 300 journals, most of them without an embargo (i.e., up to the present issue) in many sciences & social sciences. See check it out here.

Finally (for the moment), if you like psychology as I do, check out the Psychonomic Society, which offers free access to its 7 journals, from 1991-2000. check it out here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Finding Full-text Science Articles -- for free

A scientific colleague recently blogged tips on finding full-text scholarly articles online (see the full series from Sandra Porter's blog Discovering Biology in a Digital World: Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3). Several other colleagues posted comments, and there are some great suggestions (including limiting a PubMed search to articles with full-text). But no one mentioned the library. I posted a reply explaining how librarians could help. Here's what I said, in case it can help others:

A great resource to start with is ... a great librarian. Hopefully you have one at whatever institution you're affiliated with and they can tell you how to access their resources from off-campus. It can involve a quick trip to the library's web site, a search through their journal locator, and then a login with your institutional id & password. It's somewhat cumbersome, but it can definitely save money!

Also, if you're affiliated with an institution, you can request that they get you articles you want by Interlibrary Loan -- that means that your library will ask another library to send the article by pdf to them & they'll get it to you. This will work at a college or corporate library -- and your local public library will probably do it to. For free!! (that is, no cost to you).

Beyond that, here are some additional tips:
The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a great place to find free scientific articles online. Much of this is in PubMed I think, but probably not all. Here's what the DOAJ says: "This service covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. We aim to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 2,701 journals in the directory. Currently 806 journals are searchable at article level. As of today 134,219 articles are included in the DOAJ service." You can search for articles or find journals by topic, title, or search.

The science search engine Scirus can be very handy. At their advanced search page, you can limit your search to discipline, scientific article, publication date, or web site. Unfortunately, you can't limit to full-text articles, as you can in PubMed.

Finally, you can tweak your Google searches to increase the chances of getting the full-text: Use quotes around the title of the article to exclude results that have the words in the title of your article but aren't that article: speech perception in infants vs. "speech perception in infants", e.g. Another great trick in Google is to limit by filetype; since most of the articles you want will be in pdf format, you can limit your results to those that are in pdf, with the command filetype:pdf. This will eliminate results which reference your article in a bibliography but don't actually have the full-text.

This search "speech perception in infants" filetype:pdf yields 1220 results, rather than the over 10,000 results from a search on the title alone.

Happy searching!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Video & Audio for Learning

A friend highly recommends the Teaching Company video & audio files for learning new things.

She has listened to tapes on Science & Religion which were interesting & informative & accurate.

I searched the wmrls catalog for material produced by the Teaching Company and was thrilled to see almost 300 entries!

These include a six-video collection entitled Algebra 1 & 2 ; you can borrow both the video and a two-part course guide.

There's also a CD (or video) called The American Mind, by Gettysburg College professor Allen C. Guelzo, which offers "A broad survey of American intellectual history ; a history of the ideas, the thinkers and the institutions that have mattered most to Americans" in 18 CDs + 3 course guidebooks.

Or you could listen to 8 lectures delivered by Professor Robert Greenberg, San Francisco Conservatory of Music. This one is about Mozart, but there are several in the series entitled Great Masters / [musician], His Life & Music. Most are on CD, but some are available on video as well.

I'm sure you could find even more @ your library!

Friday, February 02, 2007

More Reading Ideas

A friend just wrote to ask if there were any lists of authors, "you know, like allmusic does for music?"

Why, yes, Friend, there is! Only it's not on the free web, it's ... in your library. Friend has many library cards in the DC metro area, but I focused on resources available to him at the *awesome* Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). Here's what I wrote him:

Take a look at MCPL "Books and Literature" page to see all the library databases you can search with your library card.

I especially recommend the Literary Resource Center. Type in the name of any of your authors & you'll get TONS of information in separate tabs -- biographies, literary criticism, bibliographies, "additional resources", and timeline.

Start with the biographical info, and look for links to an encyclopedia called Contemporary Authors or Contemporary Literary Criticism. For Eudora Welty, you'll see
- Introduction
- Biographical Information
- Major Works
- Critical Reception
- Principal Writings by the Author
- Further Readings about the Author
- Critical Essays about the Author's Works

The first few sections will give you a nice overview and ideas of what to start with.

You might also want to check out Books in Print -- which is Amazon on steroids, but without the personal entries. You'll find all sorts of books there as well as reviews from Library Journal, Choice (an academic library review service) and Publisher's Weekly.

A very cool tool is called Fiction Connection, provided to the library by Books in Print -- or you can click directly on the link to Fiction Connection in the Montgomery County list o' "books & literature" databases.

You can browse "tag clouds" of genres (there's even one for southern fiction, tho' I think it's more current than Faulkner et al), topic, setting, location, and time period. It looks really really cool.

happy reading!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is there a publisher geared to the XYZ market?

I got an email from a non-library friend wanting to know if there is a prominent publisher for the young adult market -- she knows someone who might want to publish someone, and she's trying to help.

As usual, I didn't answer the question directly but I did refer her to two other sources which would be useful.

One is the Literary Market Place (aka LMP) -- it comes out every year and is a directory of publishers in the US. You can find detailed info about various publishers, and in the middle somewhere is a huge directory of US Publishers by Type of Publication. Look for Children's Books & find GOBS & GOBS of them. Then refer to the detailed info. for publishers to see if they'd publish what's called "Young Adult" literature (for teens & tweens). The entry for Blooming Tree Press, for instance, gives you the page number for the main entry -- which then gives you contact info, email addresses & web sites, # of titles published per year, and a short blurb about what they publish.

There's also something called the Writer's Market, which has essays & suggestions on how to get published, as well as a directory of publishers. In the back is a subject index, which refers you to publishers that address "Children's / Juvenile" books. You get more info. in the directory -- like editor's names, how much royalty they pay, and a few recent titles.

Most public libraries have both of these books. Happy writing!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Looking for Reading Ideas?

There's a great little web site / tool called LibraryThing in which people "catalog" their books. Sounds pretty simple and only moderately interesting.

The cool thing is that you can search anyone's library (see my set of books (all fiction) ) -- and if you find a book you like, you can use LibraryThing to find more books like that using "tag clouds" and amazon-like "customers who bought this book also bought THAT book". Only LibraryThing isn't commercial and since it's all done by people, the suggestions are usually much better.

Here are some examples of entries for popular books in my library:

If any of those books interests you, click on the link to see more about that book (including a book cover!), tags, reader ratings, and various recommendations.

It's a great way to find more books to read!!

This is called Readers' Advisory in library-land, and if you like this idea, talk to your librarian for more suggestions to find more books YOU want to read.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Searching PubMed

I've just offered a bit of library assistance to my eye doctor, who might write a case study for a journal. I wrote these instructions for her to search PubMed, easily accessible at http://www.pubmed.gov (it'll redirect to another URL, but pubmed.gov will work!).

Because she's writing a case study, I thought that reading a sample case study in her field might give her some good ideas about how to frame her case study. So here are my notes for her -- and you, too!

When you search PubMed, you can enter simple terms like you would in google. I typed in optometry and case study and this was one of the first results.

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2006 Mar;26(2):199-210. "Improvements in performance following optometric vision therapy in a child with dyspraxia." (authors): Hurst CM, Van de Weyer S, Smith C, Adler PM.

The abstract & more information are at the end of this post.

If you want to search PubMed, here's what to look for & how to make the process very precise for you. Some librarian tricks, you might say.

In the results list, you see citations -- titles & authors. If you click on the authors' names, you get an abstract. You'll also see on the right a few "Related Links" , which is PubMed's way of helping you find more articles on the topic of the article. Sometimes those are useful but sometimes they're not. Either way, they're worth looking at. (The Related Links for the article above are listed at the bottom of this email)

Another useful thing to look at -- and this is a real librarian trick -- is the "MeSH" terms (MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings). Those are words / phrases that librarians gave to the article to say more precisely what it's about rather than terms the author used in the abstract. It's a "controlled vocabulary" so the terms are a very reliable way of finding articles on, for example, Vision Disorders/therapy or Optometry/methods. They're not terms you'd come up with on your own, but when you look at them, you know instantly that articles with either of those phrases attached would be useful.

Some of this can be tricky in PubMed, so ask me or a librarian if you get stuck!

Abstract: SS, an 8-year-old boy with dyspraxia, presented for behavioural optometry assessment. He had been diagnosed with a subtle form of dyspraxia by his paediatric occupational therapist, based on poor proprioception, delayed
bilateral integration and poor visual perception. A full visual assessment was carried out. SS was given a programme of reflex inhibition exercises for 3 months. Then, a programme of optometric vision therapy (OVT) exercises was prescribed at home and in practice for a period of 8 months. SS was assessed using a battery of occupational therapy Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) before optometric intervention, and after OVT. There were significant improvements in fusional reserves, accommodative facility and oculomotor control of pursuit and saccadic eye movements. His reading level had changed by 4 years in 11 months. The SIPT results showed improvements in the visual and motor/visual perception subtests, confirming the significant changes in visual perceptual performance. Consideration is given to treatment modalities for dyspraxia, and the studies confirming their effectivity of approach. This case study provides evidence supporting the use of OVT eye exercises in dyspraxia, ocular motility, accommodative dysfunction, learning difficulties and sports performance. The need for further research and inter-professional working is discussed.

Related Links

MeSH Terms:
  • Apraxias/physiopathology
  • Apraxias/psychology*
  • Biofeedback (Psychology)/methods
  • Child
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Occupational Therapy/methods
  • Optometry/methods
  • Vision Disorders/etiology*
  • Vision Disorders/therapy*
  • Visual Perception*