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, January 31, 2008

Marjorie Stephenson Scholarships Available....

Applications for the Marjorie Stephenson Scholarship are now available in the Instructional Materials Office, 228 Bailey Library. Marjorie Stephenson, a professor and librarian at Slippery Rock University from 1971 to 1978, made provision in her will for undergraduate scholarships at Slippery Rock University. Applications from Black female students will receive priority. Other students majoring in the arts, humanities, social sciences and education will also be considered. Contact Melba Tomeo,, 724-738-2665, with questions or visit to learn more or download forms.

Completed applications are due by March 15.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Wisdom of the Crowd*...

Today, class, we will be discussing the viral aspect of information on the internet. Several weeks ago, I was looking up something or other that I no longer recall, some small thing I was curious about. I found a link to an article written by some "expert"... I didn't check their credentials, but the site seemed legit. Then I looked at the wikipedia article for this obscure topic, which incorporated the article completely. Then I looked at other search results, most of them blogs that all included the information from the original article (made viral by wikipedia's use, I guess) word for word. And I thought to myself... this is so circular and there is no dissenting opinion, no fresh perspective, no new facts, these people are just lazy (not to mention plagiarists.) Perhaps I was the lazy one not to search out some more traditional resources instead of the internet echo chamber. My point, however, is that truth is being created by repetition and accepted through common agreement or sloppy scholarship, regardless of the facts. You have only to look at the Urban Legends site to see how much foolishness is commonly believed to be true by the masses. Is this okay? No.

Here are some serendipitous articles that wax more eloquently on the subject, shared by Library Director Phil Tramdack, Librarian Lynn Hoffmann and others. While you are reading them, I will be off finding those weapons of mass destruction. Hope the trip doesn't cost me too many of those dollars without the "In God We Trust" motto.
P.S. I AM encouraged by the recent trend toward fact-checking political debates, sports claims, etc. It's almost like we have a group of people whose job it is to be objective and investigate the facts...

P.P.S. *We have that book, actually... as an e-book, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good-bye Del!

After 18 years at Bailey Library, Del Hamilton is moving on. Del has accepted a position as On-site Project Manager for Library Associates Companies overseeing Tulane University’s library recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Del has been a tremendous asset to the library, to SRU and to the Keystone Library Network. She will be sorely missed on campus and across the state. Her heart is in the south though, s0 please join us in wishing her well in her new position.

Good-bye and good luck Del!

Pictures from Del's farewell party, courtesy of Kathy Frampton.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kick Off the Weekend....

with some fun library games....

A shelving game from Carnegie Mellon and a board game you have to buy, both mentioned by the Librarian in Black.

What? Isn't that what you had in mind for the weekend?


Some searchtastic news:

Searching for an ATM?
Did you know there were job search engines? Here's JobFox... like for your career.
Search for free in the archives of the Atlantic Monthly.
Some crazy circular search engines... See Grokker, Live Plasma, Kool Torch, and Search Crystal (results page image above.)
Search for science videos with Science Hack... (they actually have a video on the liger, no joke, but my search for mentos and coke videos was unsuccessful.)
You can search it... and comment on it at the Library of Congress photo collection on flickr.
Delightful new feed: Alt Search Engines... with a daily search engine feature.

Library Director Wins Martin Luther King Civil Leadership Award...

Congratulations to Library Director Phil Tramdack, who was honored on Martin Luther King Day with the Slippery Rock University 2008 Martin Luther King Award for Civil Leadership. This award came in recognition of his "support of civil rights, advocacy for social justice and demonstrated leadership in motivating others toward an understanding of and quest for civil rights and social justice for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or ableism." Way to go, Phil!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Support Professor Skeele...

From the University Public Relations office:
"SRU ’s David Skeele, professor of theatre, has been named a semi-finalist in's Breakthrough Novel Contest for his supernatural thriller “Raised In Darkness.” Nearly 5,000 entries were submitted. An excerpt of his book is on the Web site. The winner will be based on reader reviews. To support Skeele, the University community is asked to visit the site, download and read the excerpt, then add their review. To participate visit: Initial reviews will be accepted through March 2, with finalists announced March 3. The overall winner will be announced April 7. For general information about the contest visit: "

It's easy and free to download the excerpt from Raised in Darkness. From the little bit I've read so far, I am intrigued... definitely some foreshadowing, I think. I think you can also tell the author has theatre or film experience; it's very easy to visualize the scenes he describes. Hmmm, if I post that little bit of a review, I can be in the running to win a Kindle!
UPDATE: I finished reading the excerpt and I have to say I'm in... I would love to read the rest of this story.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In Their Own Words...

Dig a little deeper. Bailey Library offers the following memoirs by the leading presidential candidates, presented below in alphabetical order.

Hillary Clinton:
It Takes a Village and Other Lessons Children Teach Us, HQ 792 .U5 C57 1996
Living History, E 887 .C55 A3 2003

Rudy Giuliani:
Leadership, HM 1261 .G58 2002

John McCain:
Faith of My Fathers, E 840.8 .M467 A3 1999
Worth the Fighting For, E 840.8 .M467 A3 2002

Barack Obama:
The Audacity of Hope, OBA
Dreams From My Father, OBA

(And yes, I did look for Romney, Huckabee, Kucinich, Edwards, Thompson, etc. Ron Paul does have a couple of works here on the gold standard, Fred Thompson and Hillary Clinton have various government documents in the collection, and Elizabeth Edward's inspirational memoir, Saving Graces, is available in the Reading Room and the regular collection... E 840.8 .E29 E24 2006.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Authors, Books, and the Librarians Who Love Them....

Red Room, social networking for authors and readers....
Jon Sciesczka, famous for funny children's literature like The Stinky Cheese Man, is named the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. He will be "evangelizing for reading"...
Edgar Allan Poe and I share a birthday on Saturday. Party at your house this year, Ed.

Late Library Books Take a Toll on Your Credit Score
2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens..
Building Your Vacation Home Library...
A Bookworm's Holiday...
Put Your Books Up Into the Rafters...
Twenty Reasons to Read in the Bathroom...
Here's one of them: Reading Makes You More Smarter...
That book bound in human skin sold for 5,400 pounds at auction...

Miss the recent American Library Association meetings? Catch up with ALA Wikis...
The Librarian's Trivia ScreenSaver from Elsevier...
Dorothy Porter Wesley, prominent African-American librarian
The Lipstick Librarian points to some funny library background wedding photos... dig a little deeper and enjoy the whole Olan Mills collection
Also from the Lipstick Librarian, Captain Kirk wishes he were a librarian...
The Online Librarian Paper Doll... a little risque but fun

Don't blame me if you don't get any work done today!

A Chicken in Every Pot...

Pew Research Center Topics: Election 2008
Fast Facts: Presidential Election 2008
Iowa Caucus 2008
How Do Caucuses Work?
Election '08: How Green is Your Candidate?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Trying to Find Class Materials?

Are you checking at the library for a textbook? We usually don't have textbooks in our collection but you can check by clicking on Search Our Catalog and doing a Title Search or an Author Search.

Are you checking at the library for course material your professor put on reserve? Click on Find E-Reserves and search by your class or professor's name. Print reserves are kept at the Circulation Desk in the first floor lobby. Audiovisual reserves are kept at the Instructional Materials Center on the second floor. Journal articles and book chapters will be found online from the e-reserve page.

Still need help? Ask a friendly librarian.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can I Have that Hamburger Without the Bun?

According to recent studies conducted at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, 1 in 133 Americans suffer from Celiac Disease, a genetic disorder that leads to dramatic intestinal damage following the ingestion of gluten, which is found in wheat and some other grains. There is no cure; those with Celiac Disease can, however, lead normal, healthy lives by following a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately those who have been diagnosed only scratch the surface of those who probably suffer from this disease--which can be life threatening if not discovered. I'm very familiar with Celiac Disease because I was diagnosed in the mid-1980s after several frustrating years of coping with various maladies. Since then all of my siblings, my father, one of my children, and several nieces and nephews have been diagnosed. Recently, in large part because of the work of the aforementioned Center for Celiac Research, more physicians are aware of this disorder, and manufacturers are responding to the demand for gluten-free foods. It's much easier to follow this diet now than it was 25 years ago! My purpose in this blog is two-fold. First, I'm always trying to raise awareness of this sometimes difficult-to-diagnose disorder and second, I'd like to recommend a recent book, Gluten-Free Girl, which was published at the end of 2007--and which I received as a Christmas gift. It's a foodie's guide to living gluten-free, written by Shauna James Ahern, who was diagnosed with CD fairly recently. Her take on the gluten-free diet is positive and enlightening--and lots of fun to read. She took to the blogosphere shortly after being diagnosed (her award-winning blog is also called Gluten-Free Girl) and this book is a natural offspring of her online musings. If you have questions about CD, check out the FAQ section from the Center for Celiac Research or stop in my office for a gluten-free pretzel (I usually have some).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Newbery and Caldecott Winners Announced...

Today at the American Library Association, the awards were announced for the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Michael Printz, the Coretta Scott King and many other prizes. These are the top awards in children's literature and you can find a complete listing on the ALA website. Read about it here... Paper Cuts, the New York Times blog about books.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Like a continuing cascade of holiday gifts, the following databases provide new and improved features:

Gale Virtual Reference Library now includes accurate MLA and APA formatting (with proper indentation!) a handy "search within results" application, and the number of relevant documents displayed by type on tabs. GVRL (as it's known to its friends) contains a variety of encyclopedias and other reference works on topics like business, the environment, and health, all in e-format.

We are all familiar with the EBSCOhost interface, but have you ever experimented with the Visual Search tab? Check it out.... maybe it's the right interface for you. You might also be interested in trying the Image Quick View, a new feature that lets you preview thumbnail images of your results. In the upper right corner of the EBSCO screen, click on New Features to enable Image Quick View and then turn on image display under Preferences. (Note: I can't seem to make this work and the feature doesn't hold when selected... I'll get back to you.)

And although we have mentioned it before, the NewsBank (Access World News) database continues to provide handy special reports and more hot topics than The View. Featured this month: Early Caucuses and Primaries, Sri Lankan Civil War, and Oil Hits $100 Per Barrel.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Ways of Seeking....

Looking around at new search engines and new search advice to get the most out of the web...

Six Techniques to Get More from the Web Than Google Will Tell You... of note: Quack Track, a blog search engine; BizSeer, a free database of academic business information; and Digital Librarian, one librarian's look at the best of the web.

Add the WorldCat application to your facebook profile and find books in a library near you instantly. I'm not so sold on the librarians in facebook movement but I am heartened by new applications that stress reading and sharing. Some clever librarians have tweaked this application to search their specific library. Stay tuned to see if I can figure this out.

Google Challengers 2008, of note: Hakia, a nice natural language search engine; Wikia Search , which seems to contain a brief definition followed by links, and Cuill, determined to be the "one to watch" (although there's nobody home right now.)

This illustration is a joke, btw, about determining the truth in any statement, via Boing Boing... just in case my finely honed sense of humor somehow missed the mark. :)

UPDATE: Have you Googled yourself today? The latest Pew Internet and American Life report indicates that many of us have, but we don't do it that often.

Friday, January 04, 2008

More on Mrs. Thomas...

As mentioned previously, Ruth Thomas, who was retired from Bailey Library's Acquisitions Department, passed away on December 7. Her obituary is now available online.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Recently Read and Heard....

It's been a while since I did a Recently Read, so I am sure I am forgetting something... but here are some stories that have entertained me over break and during some travels here and there. One I haven't included is our family tradition of listening to Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory each year on the way to the in-laws. It's exactly the right length and never fails to touch us.

Pale as the Dead and Bloodline by Fiona Mountain. I thought I had hit pay dirt with this mystery series... a genealogist detective, historical research, in a cozy English setting, all good for me. Pale as the Dead was good, centered on Elizabeth Siddal and the pre-Raphaelites with an earnest contemporary backstory about romantic commitment. Bloodline was sort of wan and dealt with rotten people who wanted to breed a super race. There are tons of specialist mysteries, everything from Amish detectives to scrapbooking detectives... if you are interested in
genealogy mysteries, here's a list... and another... and another.

N is for Noose by Sue Grafton (audiobook.) I used to read this alphabetic series faithfully but fell out somewhere around L or M. I keep buying them but haven't had time to read them. In this entry, detective Kinsey Milhone is hired by a deceased policeman's widow to find out what had been bothering him before he died. As usual, Kinsey gets beat up but prevails in the end and I got to play my favorite game of guessing whodunit. Good job on sustaining the series, though... it doesn't seem to have been diminished over the course of the alphabet.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. This book, recommended by Kathy Frampton, was quite amazing. It was very well written, moving, full of dark and disturbing characters that seemed like the stuff of nightmare. A young boy's mother dies, his father remarries quickly and has another child. In the course of reading some mysterious books and his mother's favorite fairy tales, the boy is drawn into an alternate world that has a tremendous psychological impact on him and presents, in fact, a life threatening adventure during the course of which he matures and makes peace with his circumstances. The beginning of the novel is quite sad and we all know how frightening fairy tales can be. I think graduate students in children's literature (and maybe psychology?) will be examining this novel and its trip through the rabbit hole for many years to come. Really good read.

The Lighthouse by P. D. James (audiobook.) P. D. James creates a sealed room mystery on a slightly larger scale... an island retreat that caters to the wealthy, powerful, and celebrated seeking privacy and calm. Characters are finely drawn and very interesting. Adam Dalgliesh, James' detective, takes a bit of a back seat in the solution of the murders on the island as he is mysteriously taken ill soon after arriving. His young assistants take over the case as Dalgliesh hovers near death and frets about his lady love. Not my favorite work by James, but an entertaining listen.

The Innocent by Harlan Coben (audiobook.) Another mystery, another entertaining listen, although I must confess my husband finished listening to it without me and I only have secondhand knowledge of the conclusion. Perhaps he was annoyed by my habit of predicting and second guessing the author... (I believe in interactive media and will often argue with the television set and shout at certain conservative radio hosts.) A man who has served time for manslaughter (a college fight that went wrong) finds himself accused of killing a nun (a nun with a boob job!) and discovers his own reality unraveling in a wild tale of strippers, gangsters, incriminating video, and a wife who isn't who she said she was. Very engaging and fast paced... especially when he started getting cell phone pictures of his wife in a motel room with another man. I think this was the book, though, where I was thinking it is a mistake to put too many technological details into your story as it so easily dates it. Good fun.

The Diamond by Julie Baumgold (audiobook.) We are in the process of listening to this historical tale of the Regent Diamond, very interesting as the trail leads from India to the court of Louis XIV, sort of a genealogy of a giant gem (I'm going to get a side job writing alliterative headlines for Variety.) The tale is being spun by Comte de las Casas, who accompanied Napoleon into exile on St. Helena. A side comment: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Also, having recently been to Versailles, it is easy to picture the corruption in its lovely setting. This is a very good story so far... makes me want to jump into the car and go somewhere to hear the rest.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Jane Smith recommended this inspiring book and I would like to recommend it for the freshman read next summer. A portion of the sale of each book goes to support the building of schools and other worthy projects... imagine the impact that buying 1,000 of them could have! Reading this just prior to Benazir Bhutto's assassination and also prior to seeing the movie, Charlie Wilson's War, made the book even more meaningful. This is the true and remarkable story of one man's efforts to build a school in Pakistan to honor his late sister's memory. That one effort spins into a foundation that builds schools, bridges, water treatment facilities, and so on. This should be required reading for all foreign service personnel, all political and military leaders, etc. Mortenson is a humble sort of character, full of flaws, who sees the truth and importance of providing education for children, especially girls, and the social change that can and will result. Our failure to address these social needs provides a vacuum for the rise of extremist education and the radical indoctrination of future generations. I'm really glad I read this... I hope you will do so also. It's a beautiful illustration of what a small amount of money and a large amount of thoughtful care can do.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

To Know in the New Year...

And one little holiday hangover... Thrift Store Santas.
If you were truly overserved last night, here is a web site full of hangover cures and an NPR discussion of the same. Hey, we're here to help, not judge.