Got Textbooks?

Well, no actually.  The Consortium Library does not purchase textbooks for classes.  Luckily, you have some alternatives:

1) Stop by the Library’s circulation desk to see if the book for your class has been put on reserve by your professor. Make sure you know the instructor’s last name and the title of the item. Or you can check for yourself by going to Course Reserves and looking for the course by instructor last name, course name, or course ID.

2) Check if you are able to rent the textbook through the UAA Campus Bookstore or purchase a used copy.

3) Try one of the websites listed in our Textbook guide to rent, download, purchase used, or access an open textbook.

Good luck with the spring semester!

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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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Tools to help you cite your sources


Writing a paper and need to cite your sources using a specific citation style?  Try accessing Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab.  The OWL at Purdue provides style guides for MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

refworksWant a place to store all of your sources and help create your reference list?   Try using RefWorks. RefWorks is a cloud-based citation management software that is free for any UAA or APU student to use. Researchers can seamlessly export citations from most databases and create folders to store them in.

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College athlete labor decision: a government document

Do you remember reading about college athletes in the news earlier this semester?

In August, news sources across the country reported on a decision about Northwestern University football players who petitioned to form a union and, essentially, to be recognized as employees. That decision came from the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB.

You’ll find a record for electronically-published NLRB decisions in the Consortium Library catalog; that record provides links to the NLRB Cases & Decisions website. As a participant of the Federal Depository Library Program, the Consortium Library provides access to government publications such as NLRB decisions.

Why might you want to follow that link to view this kind of government document for yourself? This particular NLRB decision is 19 pages long, and it is a detailed document that can’t be fully represented by a 30-second news clip or a 300-word news article. There’s no substitute for reading the full text for yourself. Also, locating the full text from its original source can lead you to related sources — in this case, the many other documents NLRB has pertaining to this issue. Following these kinds of breadcrumbs is key to doing thorough research.

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Don’t forget the databases

Finding scholarly content can be a challenge nowadays. How can you determine that a source that you find on the internet is credible, accurate and effectively supports your research topic? Start your search with the library’s databases! The library subscribes to over 200 databases covering topics from construction management to theatre and dance.

Speaking of dance, the librarians at the University of Washington put together a video based on Lady Gaga’s song, Poker Face to showcase their amazing library resources:

Librarians Do Gaga

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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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The 2015 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature: Svetlana Alexievich

The Nobel committee has awarded Svetlana Alexievich “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. Svetlana is known for her expansive oral history writings that document the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

Sara Danius, the permanent secretary to the academy explained that “For the past 30 or 40 years she’s been busy mapping the Soviet and post soviet individual,” and additionally, “it’s not really about a history of events. It’s a history of emotions – what she’s offering us is really an emotional world, so these historical events she’s covering in her various books, for example the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet war in Afghanistan, these are in a way just pretexts for exploring the Soviet individual and the post-Soviet individual.” and “She’s devised a new kind of literary genre. It’s a true achievement not only in material but also in form.”

In the book, “Voices from Chernobyl“, Alexievich talks to hundreds of people affected in different ways by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Another highly acclaimed book by Alexievich is “War’s Unwomanly Face” (1988), based on interviews with hundreds of women who took part in World War II. Here at the Consortium Library, we have among other titles, her book “Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War“.

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