Rules of Thumb

I have a few simple rules of thumb and arcane tricks that can make use of the library and its resources both more pleasant and more effective. I’ll cover three of them today.

The first truly is a rule of thumb. When you look at the small white label on a book that shows the call number (the spine label), it will often have a prefix to indicate a physical location in the library. For instance, if it says REF, then the physical home for the book will be in the Reference Collection near the Reference Desk, while ALASKA means the book will be in the Alaskana Collection on the second floor. If you only see the call number itself without a prefix, then that book belongs in the General Collection. That’s all fine, but what if you find a book you really like in the Reference Collection, for example, and you’d like to find similar books that you could check out?  Place your thumb over the part of the spine label that says REF and make note of the call number underneath it. Go find that call number in the General Collection, and while you probably won’t find the exact same book (it’s too expensive for us to purchase multiple copies), you will find other books on the same and similar subjects. It’s an easy way to find an interesting area to browse without having to stop at a computer and use the catalog.

Another rule to keep in mind is 15 minutes tops. If you come to the library and are having trouble finding what you need or where it’s located, or a database just isn’t working for you, then come see us at the Reference Desk after spending 15 minutes tops. As simple as we try to make the library, it’s still a very complex place. We understand the organization of the library and of information, we know how the databases work, and we have a lot of experience in answering research questions and addressing other concerns. In fact, the real reason for having a reference librarian at the Reference Desk is not to clear printer jams, but to interpret the library to you and to help you find the information you need. I once had a student come to the Reference Desk who was vibrating half a foot off the floor from sheer stress. She had been searching for something for three hours without success, and she finally came to me. She never deserved to have that much frustration, but at the same time, her accumulated frustration made it all the more difficult for me to help her. So honestly, 15 minutes tops — after that, please come and talk to us, and we’ll do our best to connect you with what you need and get things straightened out.

Last is what I call the passive-aggressive nature of publishers, because they did something really wonderful and then never told anyone how to use it. Many books have gilt lettering on the spines, which quite often makes the titles and authors of the books as illegible as if they had been printed with invisible ink. This happens most frequently on the bottom shelves, which can be especially frustrating since it’s so much harder to get near the floor to get a good look at them; add bifocals for Those Of A Certain Age and it’s a recipe for disaster. Well. I happened to discover one day that if you take a scrap of white paper and hold it against the book spine just below the gilt lettering, the light reflected from the white paper will make the gilt lettering glow; it’s literally revelatory! Not only can you actually see what the darned book is, you no longer need a three-year-old to help you with the bottom shelves. You can use the palm of your hand for this, too, but it won’t reflect light quite as well as paper does. A great set to try it out on is the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography at REF E176 .N27, a set of green books that occupies two bottom shelves near the Reference reshelving cart. Give it a try; this one trick alone, simple as it is, can make your library life so much easier!

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Handbook of the Mammals of the World

A great series of books we have in the Reference Collection is the magnificent Handbook of the Mammals of the World from Lynx Edicions. ‘Handbook’ is a bit of a misnomer, as you’d need Hagrid’s hands to hold one comfortably; they’re closer to coffee table books in size, but the content is scientific in scope and presentation rather than general interest. The books are beautifully and profusely illustrated with wonderful color photographs, drawings, and range maps, and filled with scientific descriptions of each mammal. The articles are good starting points for further research on a given animal; there is also an extensive bibliography at the end of each volume. Six out of a projected nine volumes have been published since 2009:

Volume 1: Carnivores
Volume 2: Hoofed Mammals
Volume 3: Primates
Volume 4: Sea Mammals
Volume 5: Monotremes and Marsupials
Volume 6: Lagomorphs and Rodents I

We will soon have Volume 6, while the remaining volumes to be published are:

Volume 7: Rodents II
Volume 8: Insectivores
Volume 9: Bats

And did I mention the amazing photographs? Hunting, eating, resting, mating, raising young, and even spy hopping, where whales in a vertical posture raise their heads above the surface of the water so that they can see what’s going on – the photographs are stunningly good and a great complement to the articles. You can find the first five volumes in the Reference Collection at this call number:

REF QL701.2 .H36 2009

They’re well worth taking a few minutes to get acquainted with. Enjoy!

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Recent Additions to the Consortium Library

Midsummer is a good time to look back at a few of the past academic year’s acquisitions. These titles reflect a wide variety of subjects, but this past year’s funding also enabled us to add many more titles than I’ve listed here; we are not likely to be as fortunate this coming year.

You can find links to the ebooks by looking the titles up in the Library Catalog or in QuickSearch. For reference books, our policy is to purchase ebooks before print when possible, so if a title on the shelf looks a bit old, check to see if there might be a more recent edition or treatment in an electronic format.  I hope you find something useful for your research, your studies, your personal life, or all three — and if not, then please ask at the Reference Desk and we’ll do our best to help you find what you need.

eBook – Oil: A Cultural and Geographic Encyclopedia of Black Gold

ALASKA E99.T6 S53 2015 – Sharing Our Knowledge: The Tlingit and Their Coastal Neighbors

ALASKA G155.U6 B86 2015 – So, How Long Have You Been Native? Life as an Alaska Native Tour Guide

eBook – Issues in U.S. immigration, 2nd ed.: v.1: Accent discrimination—indentured servitude; v.2: Indigenous superordination—Zadvydas v. Davis

HM821.C676 2014 – Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times

eBook – Whose child am I? Unaccompanied, undocumented children in U. S. immigration custody

eBook – Guns Across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights

LB1778.K45 2015 – The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job

eBook – Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers

eBook – Latino stats: American Hispanics by the Numbers

REF BS511.3.O88 2013 – The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation

eBook – Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture

REF BP173.4.O94 2013 – The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women

eBook – American Civil War: a State-by-State Encyclopedia

eBook – Slave culture: a Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project

eBook – World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection, 2nd ed.

eBook – Beyond Rosie: a Documentary History of Women and World War II

HV6433.I722 M35 2015 – The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State

eBook – Women of Power: Half a Century of Female Presidents and Prime Ministers Worldwide

eBook – Sex and the Office: a History of Gender, Power, and Desire

eBook – The Other Classical Musics: Fifteen Great Traditions

REF ML410.S3 J65 2014 – Franz Schubert: the Complete Songs (3 vols.)

eBook – The History of Cartography: Cartography in the Twentieth Century, vol. 6

RC553.A88 S54 2015 – NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

eBook – Twitter and Society

eBook – APA Handbook of Nonverbal Communication

eBook – APA Handbook of Psychology and Juvenile Justice

eBook – Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource of the Transgender Community

RC521.A38 2016 – The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders

BF575.G7 P37 2010 – Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life, 4th ed.

eBook – Archaeology of Food

eBook – Encyclopedia of the Solar System, 3rd ed.

eBook – Ring of Fire: an Encyclopedia of the Pacific Rim’s Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Volcanoes

REF QL701.2.H36 2009 – Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Vol. 5 – Monotremes and Marsupials


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Verification and the Wild World Web

How can I be sure
In a world that’s constantly changing?
— The Young Rascals

That’s a good question, especially in our modern digital world – how exactly can you be sure?  You can increase your chances by learning how to think critically about online sources, and one title that can help is a new publication from the European Journalism Centre called the Verification Handbook: An Ultimate Guideline on Digital Age Sourcing for Emergency Coverage.  Remember the adage:  trust, but verify?  The attitude here is much more in the vein of verify, then trust.  Here’s the link for a free PDF download:

This title is intended for journalists and aid responders who need to quickly find out whether something is real or not.  But while the rest of us might not want to go so far as to directly contact the person who first uploaded the questioned content to social media, there’s a lot that non-journalists can learn from it, too.  It’s divided into ten short chapters on things like ‘3: Verifying User-Generated Content’ (UGC is an acronym to remember when reading this book – it’s everywhere!), ‘4: Verifying Images,’ and ‘5: Verifying Video.’  There are a number of interesting case studies that are like short detective stories; for instance, there’s one on a giant beach ball on a city street and another on sharks swimming in a suburb after Hurricane Sandy.  The book concentrates on news events, so other case studies include things like the Boston Marathon bombing and the 2011 Japanese earthquake.

The last chapter, ‘Verification Tools,’ lists several pages of useful internet tools and is worth browsing all by itself.  If you’d like more, you can also download two related free books from that same link, one of additional materials and more case studies, and another focusing on investigative reporting.

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Holocaust Resources

January 27th was Holocaust Remembrance Day, so I thought I would offer a few relevant websites, reference titles, and films.

Museum Websites
These links are for the primary museums in the United States, Israel, and Germany; there is a wealth of online material offered:              United States Holocaust Memorial Museum       Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum          Jewish Museum, Berlin

Reference Collection Resources
Here are a few Reference Collection titles that are either focused on the Holocaust or else have significant sections concerning the Holocaust:

REF D804.3.E53 1990
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (4 vols.)

REF D804.3.O94 2010
Oxford Handbook of Holocaust Studies

REF D805.A2 U55 2009…
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and
Ghettos, 1933-1945
(4 books in 2 volumes out of a projected 7 volumes)

REF D804.19.H55 2006
The Holocaust (Primary Sourcebook Series)

REF DS102.8.E496 2007
Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed., vol. 9 (Her-Int)

REF DS134.255.J8313 2010
The Jews in the secret Nazi reports on popular opinion in Germany, 1933-1945

REF HV6322.7.E532 2005
Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

REF JC578.H386 2006
Handbook of Reparations

Other Works
We also have many titles on the Holocaust beyond the Reference Collection. You can search in the Library Catalog or in QuickSearch on relevant terms such as Holocaust or Jewish Resistance to find them. WorldCat offers many more titles, although you will need to make interlibrary loan requests for many of them.

Films about the Holocaust: A Short and Very, Very Incomplete List
We don’t have many Holocaust-related films at the Consortium Library, but here are a few that are available from Anchorage Public Libraries, NetFlix, and other sources:

Shoah (1985; 6 DVDs) – APL Loussac – DVD FOR FREN 940.53 SHOAH
Night and Fog (1955; 31 minutes) – APL Loussac – DVD FOR FREN 940.5317 NIGHT-A

Feature Films
Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987) – APL Loussac – DVD FOR FREN AU-REVO
Schindler’s List (1993) – APL Eagle River – DVD FE SCHINDL
The Shop on Main Street (1965) – APL Loussac – DVD FN SHOP-ON
Kapo (1959) – APL Loussac – DVD FOR ITAL KAPO

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Beyond This Island Earth: Space Resources To Explore While Waiting For The Force To Awaken

[First, a brief update on the October 21st post on Tutankhamun’s tomb: radar scanning in late November gave researchers 90 percent confidence that there is more to the burial chamber beyond its interior walls; they’ll investigate further over the next few months.]

What with one incredible photograph after another coming back from Pluto over these past several months, it’s a good time to check out space exploration resources! Books yet to be published will have plenty of information about Pluto and its moons, but for right now, the best source of new information on Pluto is NASA’s New Horizons website:

We also have some excellent titles on other aspects of the solar system and the universe. This next title is a good general reference for the solar system (although the New Horizons Pluto flyby, along with other recent missions, will certainly require a new edition soon):

REF QB501.E53 2007     Encyclopedia of the Solar System, 2nd ed. (2007)

In addition, we have atlases concerning Mars exploration, the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, our own moon, and other planets and moons. You can find links to these following three ebooks by searching on their titles in the Library Catalog:

eBook     The international Atlas of Mars Exploration: Vol. 1, 1953 to 2003 (2012)

eBook     Atlas of the Galilean Satellites (2010)

eBook     Photographic Atlas of the Moon (2002)

The non-photographic Times Atlas of the Moon can be found in the Oversize Collection, as well as in one of the Reference Collection atlas cases.

OVR QB595.U49 1969     Times Atlas of the Moon

One of our most recent titles covers the just-ending Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, including information on the giant geysers on the ice moon Enceladus, Titan, Saturn’s rings, and much more:

QB671.M45 2015     The Cassini-Huygens Visit to Saturn (2015)

QB means Astronomy in the Library of Congress call number system, so you can find interesting books on everything from asteroids to galaxies just by browsing the QBs in the Reference, General, and Oversize collections; the NAS section for NASA in the Government Documents section also has some very interesting works, such as this periodical that is available both in print and online:

GOV DOCS NAS 1.83/4     Hubble … Science Year in Review

More extrasolar ‘exoplanets’ are being discovered every day; this ebook is an excellent title that discusses both exoplanets and the possibilities of discovering life:

eBook     The Life of Super-Earths (2012)

There are some astronomy-related DVDs in the Media Collection:

MEDIA QB88.F68 2009                400 Years of the Telescope (2009)

MEDIA QB500.268.T443 2010    Telescope: Hunting the Edge of Space (2010)

Two classics worth seeing are ‘Cosmos’ and ‘Powers of Ten.’ Carl Sagan’s 13-part ‘Cosmos,’ which was first broadcast in 1980, has inspired so many people:

MEDIA QB44.2.C834 2000         Cosmos (re-mastered, restored, and enhanced edition)

The captivating 9-minute Charles and Ray Eames 1968 film, ‘Powers of Ten,’ is an impressive demonstration of just how big — and small — the universe really is. What, the title doesn’t sound very interesting? Give it one minute and you’ll want to watch the whole thing. Scroll to the bottom of this web page for the video:

Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe

The narrator of ‘Powers of Ten,’ by the way, is not just any voice, but that of Philip Morrison, a noted physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, helped assemble the Nagasaki bomb, and later became a strong advocate for the non-militaristic use of nuclear energy.

The last title I’ll mention is one that local libraries don’t have right now, but is worth knowing about. It’s a beautifully illustrated book of space as imagined by artists:

The Art of Space: The History of Space Art, from the Earliest Visions to the Graphics of the Modern Era (2014)

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Rooms Without a View: New Possibilities in Tutankhamun’s Tomb

What an amazing several months it’s been for scientific discovery! We’ve ranged from New Horizons’ incredible encounter with Pluto, named after the Roman god of the underworld, to exciting new possibilities concerning the ancient dead of Egypt, who have long been residents of that underworld. Resources on planetary exploration will be a good subject for another time, but is there more to Tutankhamun’s tomb than anyone ever thought? Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves believes he has identified two sealed-up doorways in the decorated walls where Tutankhamun was laid to rest in his golden mask.

But wouldn’t Howard Carter have discovered any such hidden doors when he found and excavated the tomb in the 1920s? Wouldn’t any number of Egyptologists and visitors since have noticed them? Modern technology made the difference. In creating a full-size replica for visitors in order to save the original tomb from environmental deterioration, very high resolution scans were made of the burial chamber walls; these scans were also posted online:

(Please note that all of the links in this article will take you away from the Consortium Library’s website.) Click on the central square and then on the subsequent text to see the painting on the entire north wall. Notice the controls at the bottom, particularly the tiny white triangle; click on that triangle to bring up the scans for all four walls. But there are eight scans! Modern scanning enables you to see what the surface of the walls look like with and without their paintings. Being able to view the walls stripped of the distraction of their paintings is what ultimately led Reeves to believe that there are previously undiscovered rooms in the tomb. If they are actually there, perhaps they are simply storage rooms, or perhaps they conceal the burial place of Nefertiti or another royal woman. And whether you can see the outlines of Reeves’ doorways or not, looking closely at the black and white scans will reveal lines where the drawings were etched in the walls before they were painted.

In late September, a physical examination of the tomb by Reeves and the Egyptian antiquities authorities found indications that these theoretical doorways might actually exist. In November, a special radar unit from Japan will be used to determine whether there are spaces beyond the walls or not. Here’s National Geographic’s report, written just after the examination:

We do have the National Geographic Virtual Library under ‘Databases’ on the library’s home page; while this story is too new to be in it yet, the NGVL does have plenty of other articles on ancient Egypt (and many other things as well). You can even find a lengthy May 1923 article on the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb, which would have been the first in-depth account that most Americans would have read. Just search on Tutankhamun in NGVL to find it.

But what else do we have in the library that might help bring ancient Egypt to life as we wait for the radar results? Quite a lot! To give a few examples, you could start with Howard Carter’s own three-volume report on the discovery and excavation:

DT 87.5 .C37                    The tomb of Tutankhamen

Or start with a summation of much more modern research, as well as with relevant biographical works and genealogical works:

DT58.9.H28 2005          Tutankhamun and the golden age of the pharaohs

DT87.45.T95 1999          Nefertiti: Egypt’s sun queen

DT87.4.S55 2006            Akhenaten and Tutankhamun

DT83.D63 2004              The complete royal families of Ancient Egypt

And what Egyptian tomb-related list is complete without at least one title on the pyramids?

DT63.R66 2007              The Great Pyramid: ancient Egypt revisited

There are also some Reference titles that make for enjoyable browsing:

eBook                                Companion to Ancient Egypt

eBook                                Experience of Ancient Egypt

REF DT58.O94 2001     Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (3 vols.)

REF DT58.W55 2005    Thames & Hudson dictionary of ancient Egypt

REF DT 61 .S63 2014    The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt

The last title is well-illustrated; it not only covers individual cities, but it also describes what it would have been like to be a resident in an Egyptian city.

We have titles on the entire Valley of the Kings as well; for instance, this resource from the Theban Mapping Project, which can also be found online on the Project’s website:

G2492.V3 A8 2005   Atlas of the Valley of the Kings

You can examine tomb locations in the valley and view plans of the various tombs (which were named after their sequence of discovery in the Kings’ Valley; for instance, Tutankhamun’s is KV62). In the online version, you can measure interior distances in feet, meters, and even cubits; they used lasers to measure as accurately as possible. In addition, we have two works by the lead archaeologist of the Theban Mapping Project, Kent Weeks:

DT73.B44 W43 1998    The Lost Tomb

DT73.B44 K95 2000    KV 5: a preliminary report on the excavation of the tomb of the sons of Rameses II in the Valley of the Kings

The lost tomb refers to KV5, a tomb of few rooms and little interest first discovered in 1825 and later lost again; the mapping work of the 1990s revealed it to be the largest tomb complex ever found in the Valley of the Kings, with well over 120 rooms and corridors.

We also have books on mummies, hieroglyphics, mythology, and many other related subjects worth investigating. And speaking of mummies, with Halloween only a week and a half away, there’s even time to catch Boris Karloff in one of his iconic roles while we’re waiting for the radar results. While we don’t have a dvd of ‘The Mummy’ ourselves, the Loussac public library branch has two copies, complete with sequels!


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SLED Resources

It’s a great feeling at Commencement to walk across that stage and receive your diploma after years of toil and effort, as many associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral students will do this May. And I’m sure that many students have grown accustomed to using at least a few of the many databases that are available through the Consortium Library. But after graduation?

Well, you’ll still be able to come into the Library and sign in as Guest to use those databases, but you’ll no longer be able to get to them from home and off-campus because our licensing agreements only include on-campus use and current students, staff, and faculty. This is where – as new alumni and Alaskans – you really need to know about one of the best-kept secrets in Alaska, SLED: the Statewide Library Electronic Doorway. You can find a link to SLED at the lower right of the Library’s home page, or go here:

SLED’s home page is a sort of resource control panel; clicking on one of the 12 labeled images will take you to a variety of databases that are paid for by the State for ALL Alaskans, not just university people. What if a database asks you for a logon and password? Look beneath the images for database assistance. And if you don’t want to figure out which of the images would be best for what you need, you’ll find a search box above them.

Are these useful databases? Many of them are ones we use all the time in the Consortium Library, such as Academic Search Premier. Others, like MasterFile Premier, are more public library-oriented. Which is good, because – need a new fridge or a lawn mower? – you’ll find things like Consumer Reports in full text in MasterFile Premier. You’ll also find databases for language learning, auto and small engine repair, genealogy, and many other subjects in SLED. Thinking about going on to graduate school, or perhaps you need to take the PRAXIS test? In the Testing and Education Reference Center database, you can find preparation materials for things like the GRE, the MCAT and LSAT, CLEP, PRAXIS, TOEFL, U.S. Citizenship, and other tests. There are also databases for our younger population, such as Searchasaurus, the ever-popular Live Homework Help, and Teen Health & Wellness – which is not just about teenagers, but is actually for teenagers.

SLED has more than databases. One of the 12 images (and a delightful place to browse) is for Alaska’s Digital Archives, created from the collections of libraries across the state for the 50th anniversary of statehood. It includes not only photographs, but also short films and oral histories.

So why is it called SLED? Steve Smith, who led much of the early work on SLED, said that he and his kids had gone sledding not long before the service needed to be named, and that they’d had such a wonderful time that they just wanted to go sledding again and again. He named the service SLED in that same spirit, in the hope that Alaskans would find SLED to be such a wonderful and vital resource that they, too, would want to go SLEDDING again and again. And in the case of this particular SLED (and thinking back on our last two winters), no snow is required!

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Desert Island Databases

I began wondering recently which databases and web resources I’d want to have available if I suddenly found myself marooned on a remote island resort in the Indian Ocean like San Serriffe. While we have many wonderful resources available to us through the Consortium Library (and after graduation, through SLED – ), my needs might be very different as a castaway. But since I’d be a modern castaway with modern requirements, I’ll plan on finding a wifi coconut tree with battery-charging connections in the trunk, a top quality laptop near a comfortable beach chaise overlooking the sea, and – with any luck – a nice cold kiwi fruit drink right next to an iPad-Mini Retina! But what shall I use them for? Here are a few things that come to mind; the websites are easy to find, and clicking on the ‘Databases’ link on the Library’s home page will lead you to the rest.

1a. Project Gutenberg. ( )
1b. Literature Criticism Online
     Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson would be good castaway role models that I could find in Project Gutenberg, but what if I needed to find out what other people had thought of those books? I’d probably start by searching in Literature Criticism Online.

2. National Geographic Database.
Now, how much, when puka comes to shell, do I really know about islands in the Indian Ocean? Searching the full online text of the National Geographic database can only help!

3a. Mango Languages
3b. LLBA (Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts)
What if Friday shows up and I can’t talk with him? After all, he may want a kiwi fruit drink, too, or to borrow my laptop, or – more importantly – he might know where the kiwi supply is! If I’m signed into Mango Languages, then I can practice any of 30-odd languages and see if he understands me at all. And if they’re all Greek to Friday, then searching in LLBA might come up with articles to help me understand common linguistic patterns of Indian Ocean populations.

4a. PubMed ( )
4b. Toxline
4c. Zoological Record
Well, it IS the tropics, after all, and it might not be all pineapples and coconut cream pies out there. It only makes sense to have some excellent health information resources like PubMed on hand just in case. And does anyone know if there are any poisonous snakes or insects on San Serriffe? Better check Zoological Record and Toxline — and taking another careful look in that National Geographic database won’t hurt, either!

5a. Sage Research Methods
5b. Student Resources in Context
If I were a student and had to work on a capstone project while marooned at San Serriffe, this database could help me learn how to do effective social science research. For term papers for other classes, I could find a lot of articles on many different subjects in Student Resources in Context. When I finished writing my paper, I’d cork it in a digital bottle with my professor’s address on it, and throw it as far as I could into the wine-dark electronic sea. I’m sure it’ll get to my professor eventually — after all, how many degrees of separation can there be?

6a. The Complete Manual of Typography, 2nd ed. (REF Z250.F44 2012).
6b. How To Write (eBook)
I won’t go on to a full ten listings this time, but it might be useful to know where to find a good typographic manual, such as James Felici’s The Complete Manual of Typography, 2nd ed. (REF Z250.F44 2012), and a nice ebook on general writing like Alastair Fowler’s How to Write (you can find links to ebooks in QuickSearch and the Library Catalog). After all, you never know when a copy of Microsoft Office might wash up on the beach at San Serriffe, and both of those books could be a lifesaver as I speed-write my castaway memoirs to have them ready for instant publication once I’m rescued! Ah, I can almost feel a warm tropical breeze riffling through my first draft right now… New York Times Best Seller List and Hollywood, here I come!

By the way, if you’re interested in finding out more about that wonderful island hideaway of San Serriffe, here’s all the travel information you’ll ever need to start planning that idyllic February getaway:

You can find a little more on San Serriffe in The Times [of London] Digital Archives 1785-2007, along with plenty of other articles. Have fun, slather on plenty of that no. 40 sunscreen, and don’t forget to write!

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ebrary’s New Interface

One of our most common ebook sources is ebrary (which is now owned by ProQuest).  ebrary has just come out with an updated interface after several years of ‘the same old thing,’ and two immediate advantages are, first, (to quote Etta James) At Last! we can read the content by scrolling smoothly through many pages rather than having to use the arrow icons in the menu bar to go back and forth one page at a time!  And second, the only search box in sight searches in the ebook you’re reading; there were two search boxes in the old version and the most prominent search box could get you lost very fast because it searched everything in ebrary rather than just your ebook.

For more search functions, there’s now a search menu at the top of the interface.  The content now appears on the right with the table of contents on the left, and you can still have a user account where you can select your own ‘bookshelf’ of titles and keep notes on the content.  The various functions, such as magnifying the text, seem to work more smoothly than in the older version.  All in all, using the new ebrary interface is a much more pleasant experience than the older version.  By the way, while our titles are available for online reading, they won’t download unless we’ve got a multiple-user license for them; that’s why you’ll often see a ‘Not Available for Download’ message.

I’ve been looking at the Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War while writing this; going somewhat beyond Mexico, here’s another ebrary example that’s worth searching for in the catalog or QuickSearch:

Atlas of the Galilean Satellites

After the introductory chapters, there’s a fine moon-by-moon display of maps and photographs for Calisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io.  Enjoy!

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