Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

a library newsletter, a compendium of interesting tidbits, a communication tool....from Bailey Library @ Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. (Site Feed)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl: ???

As a college student, you are already expected to be a master of certain aspects of the web. Namely the fun stuff that the fogies just don't "get" like facebook, myspace, youtube, etc.

Yet sometimes it's truly challenging to use the Web for the purpose of good, especially when you are trying to find some informational websites to cite in your paper.Now, the Internet has great power but not so much responsibility with what it chooses to make available for public view and use.

This is why it is imperative that you evaluate websites on your own and not trust that it's reliable information automatically. There are some important things that you should keep in mind before you go and google something.

Now I'm just about as blind as any other student in trying to judge the worth of a webpage, so Melba Tomeo of Bailey provided me with some insight here. She uses the mnemonic device C.R. A. A.P. to evaluate websites and discover if they really are crap.

C is for currency. How old is the article? Articles that are more recent are also more up-to-date.

R is for reliability. Is the page well maintained or do links and images not work? Pages that are in good shape are better to use generally.

A is for authority. Does the author have credentials to back up their opinions? Anyone can make a webpage but not everyone can post information that is worthwhile and true.

A is also for accuracy. Does the page make outlandish claims? When you look elsewhere, can you find similar information? (Another hint is to not use a page that has obvious flaws in spelling or explanations.)

P is for perspective. Does the article seem biased? Is the author trying to "sell you" anything? If it seems like a product placement, it is.

With these things in mind, it's usually pretty smooth sailing to find websites. My final tip for this is to look at website suffixes. .Org, .gov, and .edu are usually good bets but not all .com's are evil!

Happy trails amigos and keep reading the Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl!

Check out my myspace!

Coming soon- "Those are my words, someone else just wrote them first!" and the Mystery of Turnitin

Check It Out...

On Monday, April 2, we hope to be rolling out a new and improved web page for the library. You can get a preview here.... the new site is what I like to call "smarter and tighter," due to the outstanding efforts of student web designer and programmer Jason Neel. This web makeover provides better accessibility and employs better design practices in general. Basic operations like searching the online catalog and finding articles will remain consistent. You will also see some beneficial content changes, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the librarians -- we think our new resource pages provide a cohesive collection of subject-specific information resources. Once the new pages are published, we will be looking for feedback and volunteers for usability testing, so please let us know what you think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Slippery Rock Librarians Present at ACRL...

On Saturday, March 31, Librarians Martina Nicholas and Cathy Rudowsky will be presenting a session at the Association of College and Research Libraries in Baltimore, MD. This is a very big deal in the library world and we are very proud of their work. They will be presenting with Dr. Jesus Valencia from the College of Business. Their research study, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Library?, examined the effects of various types of instruction and interventions on the library anxiety of freshmen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Put Some Aluminum Foil on the Rabbit Ears...

The Australian Broadcasting Company has a new six-part series debuting... The Librarians!

I'm intrigued by this description: "The six-part series centres on the trials and tribulations of Frances O'Brien, a devout Catholic and head librarian. Her life unravels when she is forced to employ her ex-best friend, Christine Grimwood - now a drug dealer - as the children's librarian. Frances must do all she can to contain her menacing past and concentrate on the biggest event of the library calendar - Book Week."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost, Found, but Never Claimed...

Have you lost anything in the library? A notebook? An earring? Your ID? A flash drive? Some photos? A mitten? A full coffee mug? A CD? Your pants? (seriously, pants! How did you forget them?) Your giant container of seasoned salt? There are two lost and found areas in the library... one at the main circulation desk and one at the reference desk. Tonight I saw a floppy disk in the drawer that said "Vice President Documents" on it. I've got you now, Dick Cheney!

Come to the library and describe your lost possession to retrieve it (unless of course, you are actually Dick Cheney. We don't permit firearms in the library.)

UPDATE from Danielle Busi, student worker at the Reference Desk: "I just cleaned out the lost and found drawer at the reference desk and found some things I thought you might get a laugh out of....
  • Tube of ora-jel
  • Blockbuster, health insurance and ID cards
  • Personal check for February's heating bill
  • Live worm in a plastic vial"

Free Times Select...

from the ACRLog:

Lots of New York Times readers were disappointed when the Times took away free access to editorials and commentaries and turned it into the subscription-only TimesSelect. Well those of us working in higher education are getting a break from the Times. They recently announced that as of March 13 students and faculty with an “edu” email address would be eligible to get free access to TimesSelect. From the press release:

Beginning on March 13, subscriptions to TimesSelect will be available for free to all registered college students and faculty with a .edu in their e-mail addresses. TimesSelect is’s paid offering that provides exclusive access to 22 columnists of The Times and the International Herald Tribune as well as an array of other services, including access to The Times’s archives, advance previews of various sections and tools for tracking and storing news and information. Current student subscribers will receive pro-rated refunds for their previously paid subscriptions. College students interested in registering for free TimesSelect subscriptions should go to for more information.

UPDATE: I have now completed this process and it definitely works! I also wanted to mention to student readers that I have it from well-placed sources that you can now purchase a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 down at the bookstore for $10.00, as a part of our campus license agreement. (I posted this in comments, but didn't know if you read those.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Recently Read...

Strange bedfellows...

A Lonely Rage by Bobby Seale. And speaking of bedfellows... Bobby Seale provides graphic detail of both his sexual awakenings and his political awakenings in this autobiography. For those too young to remember, Seale was a co-founder of the Black Panther movement back in the 1960's and a part of the infamous Chicago Seven trial following the Democratic convention riots there. He was defendant #8... and if you were around at the time, I don't think you will have forgotten the sickening sensation of seeing a black man chained and gagged in the courtroom because he asked for his lawyer. I read this when Seale visited our campus and was very moved to meet him and hear him speak. The story of his life is told frankly, plainly and provides a fascinating eyewitness account of perilous times.

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron. On a lighter, more humorous note, Nora Ephron and I are growing old. Women "of a certain age" will find plenty to make them laugh out loud as Nora runs down the difficulties of reading the pill bottle, finding anything in your nasty purse, beauty regimes that grow more laborious and expensive, and the true fear of the "empty nesters"... your moved-out children are the only ones who know how to use the remote. This is a light, relaxing read, a little Erma Bombeck-ish but on a more elegant, Manhattan scale. I am still wondering why Ephron's mother told her to "never buy a red coat," but perhaps the answer will come to me when I reach 60.

See What I Learned at School Yesterday...

I am taking a Palinet workshop on integrating library 2.0 applications into the library web page and learned how to build a customized search engine. It's really very simple with Google Co-op... and here is my first experiment, a lesson plan search engine for education majors. Check it out!

Google Custom Search

The Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl: Know Your Articles

Now when I say, "know your articles," I don't mean that you need to go back and review your foreign language grammar. I'm referring to articles that you will be able to use as sources for your research paper.

Finding articles is pretty simple so long as you know what you are doing... Though our library's webpage makes it fairly simple to stumble your way through the process if you don't feel so confident in your abilities. (You'll be directed to the database index if you just click on "find articles" under the heading "research" on the library's main page.)

There are a lot of different databases that you could use to find sources, so my advice is to do some looking around. It's possible that you'll find a specialty database that will make your job that much easier. To see what you can use, you may want to use the option of the Discovery Search first- it will look in a variety of databases at once. When searching in the databases there are two very important things to keep in mind.

First, you'll need to pick out topical key words to search. The databases utilize Boolean search techniques, so typing in "the relationship between levels of education and pay scales over the past decade" won't yield the same caliber of results that "education and salaries" would yield. It's a wise idea to start with some broad terms to see how you can narrow your search from there because it is far more challenging to go from specific to general results. If you are having a hard time picking out terms to search, you may just want to try phrasing your topic in different ways.

Finally, scholarly articles are the ones that you will probably want to use as opposed to popular articles. Your professor has probably discussed some ways to tell the difference. For me, the easiest way to tell between a popular and scholarly article is to examine a few key areas. It's a popular article if it comes from a magazine that you can buy at a newsstand, with lots of glossy color pages and advertisements. Otherwise, reading the article should reveal whether or not it's a scholarly article by it's language use, style, etc.

Happy searching! Remember to keep reading the Continuing Adventures of ResearchGrrl!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Working Hard for a Living...

Stop up and see the new display in the IMC... this showcase highlights some of the IMC workers' favorite picks from the collection. Books, kits, games, and videos were chosen by student workers and staff. You will find some oldies (hello, Oregon Trail?) and some new items that reflect the varied interests of our workers.

Speaking of displays, make sure you read some of the Darfur information in the "Be Part of the Solution" showcase on the first floor and take a look at the ceramic water filter. Other showcases in the building contain historical items from Slippery Rock and the university, unique items from the Special Collections room, and some of Emma Guffey Miller's papers and photos. There's a lot you can learn by looking around! Recent displays have been assembled by Kathy Frampton, Kevin McLatchy, Jane Smith, Dorothy Thompson, and me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

All About the Cookies...

Ah, I've been neglecting you while on spring break... lolling about on the sunny sands of... uh, Slippery Rock? Here are some things to think about during the hiatus...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Conversation Starters...

Faced with an awkward silence? Feel uncomfortable in social settings? Check out the following and soon you will be the life of the party... or a pompous bore... your call.

A little search something called Pagebull, which returns visual snapshots of results....
Everything you need to know about Daylight Savings Time...
A new historic photo archive called Philly History, 25,000 images and a historic streets index...
Want to keep talking about Wikipedia? ResourceShelf provides a Wikipedia Roundup. I also just read that Wikipedia is going to be asking for proof of credentials... seems someone pretended to be something or someone they weren't.
Keeping Up When You Don't Have the Time... a list of library blogs and other recommended reading from the Shifted Librarian.
Put your cell phone down for a minute... and give props to Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone on March 7, 1876... and he wasn't blabbing away in the middle of the library either. I wonder who invented the ringtone?

Be a smartypants... Check out the History Channel's This Day in History, the Library of Congress Today in History, and AnyDay in History, which lists notable births and deaths.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Database Spotlight...

In honor of Women's History month in March, allow me to introduce you to GenderWatch, a database of journal articles and citations that focus on the impact of gender across a wide spectrum of subjects. This database provides an important historical perspective on the evolution of the women's movement and the changes in gender roles. Here you will find in-depth coverage of the subjects that are uniquely central to women's lives, including family, childbirth, birth control, daycare, domestic abuse, work and the workplace, sexual harassment, etc., often drawn from journals outside of the mainstream media. GenderWatch and a companion database, Ethnic NewsWatch are both available on the Databases A-Z page.


International Women's Day, March 8....
Media Portrayals of Girls and Women....
Web Resources for Women's History Month...
All About Japanese Hina Dolls and Girls Day, March 3...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Web of Science....

Bailey Library is pleased to introduce WEB of SCIENCE with a Training Session.
Web of Science is the online version of three print citation indexes: Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI); Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI); and Science Citation Index (SCI). Bailey Library has purchased the Science Citation Index module for the years 2002 to present. This module also included Medline, 1950 to present.

With SCI you have seamless access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 6,610 of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world. Web of Science also provides a unique search method, cited reference searching.

Database Training Session
with Tracy Matthews, Customer Education Specialist, Thomson Scientific
Date: Thursday, March 8
Time: 12:30 - 1:30
Place: Vincent Science Room 204
What can I get out of this session?
  • Efficient searching for topics, authors, journals, addresses
  • Locate forward and backward citations and related references
  • Analyze results to discover connections between papers
  • Use Citation Report to track historical citation data
  • Retrieve the full text of articles you find
  • Export results for later use
  • Monitor topics of interest to you using alerts
If you cannot make the 12:30 session please feel free to attend another session at 2:00 in Bailey Library room 213 (sorry, no door prizes available at later session).

For questions, contact your Bailey Library liaison (a list of librarians with department affiliation can be found here).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Look no further and wonder no longer...

My most favorite Bailey Library IM conversation to date...

Student: sup
Librarian: nothing. sup with you.
Student: r u real?
Librarian: yes.
Student: k

I would like to assure all of you out there that we REALLY do offer reference assistance and general library information via IM. In fact, most of us are enjoying the heck out of it. So, whether you just want to know if we are out there or whether you have a research question or whether you need help with off-campus access to resources, IM us. WE LOVE IT!

P.S. - I am still learning IM lingo, so I don't actually know what sup means. I just assumed that it was a slurred version of what's up, so I went with it. Anyone out there who knows otherwise, please enlighten me.