Thursday, April 30, 2015

Going Live on Monday: The New Article Databases & Online Resources

It's been around since January and as mentioned last month we're replacing the old Article Databases & Online Resources with the new Article Databases & Online Resources on Monday, May 4, 2015.

As you may recall, you'll need to update any bookmarks for


You may also recall that at the top of your screen you'll be able to filter databases by subject, type, as well as alphabetically.

When you filter by subject, rather than changing the resources listed in the lower part of your screen you'll instead be dropped into the "Find Articles" tab of the appropriate subject research guide. We intentionally designed it this way so that lists of resources are presented within the context of learning more about a subject. 

The ability to filter by source type is new and will limit the databases and online resources listed in the bottom half of your screen. We hope that it offers added functionality for our researchers, but it also raises questions for us as educators. How do we as library faculty curate such lists in a manner that enables independent inquiry without being prescriptive? Students who are used to research assignments that require them to report facts rather than explore their own unique curiosities alongside communities of knowledge may approach lists such as these and misunderstand how to use them. They may mistake information sources to be static objects ready for consumption rather than dynamic knowledge ready to be wrestled and interacted with; and view sources as fitting arbitrary categories determined by others rather than interpreted by the researchers themselves. 

We're also aware that researchers are sometimes confronted with the surprisingly confusing complexity of searching, filtering, evaluating, selecting, and locating sources. We are thus interested to see how researchers respond when their experiences don't quite match their expectations. For example, many databases listed under the type "scholarly" will also include non-scholarly content. Using the library website as a tool for learning, we'll modify this page over time to meet the educational needs of our users.

Returning to the new Article Databases & Online Resources, you'll find that you're still able to locate the full text of a specific item whether it at the journal, magazine, newspaper, or article level. There's a new area devoted to new and trial databases and I encourage you to see what's there periodically. When you click on the "View new & trial databases" button you'll also see a form where you can let us know how these resources might impact your teaching and learning. 

Speaking of feedback, in response to an observation that this page was "like walking into a huge big box store with no idea how to narrow" down one's choice of resources, we agreed and collapsed the legend that explained what the database icons represented, removed additional content on the page, and tried to reduce the visual clutter as a whole. We hope this is better, but please let us know your thoughts.

Overall, since January 2015 we've received a total of seven feedback forms (1 School of Education student, 1 administrator, 2 faculty, and 3 School of Business students). Some of the feedback was positive, others offered constructive suggestions. Where possible we've tried to incorporate your suggestions, but even when we can't implement your ideas immediately we still take your suggestions into consideration as it informs our work in general on the website. Thank you to the seven for their thoughtful comments. We invite you and everyone to continue to share your thoughts and experiences with by clicking on "What do you think of this page?" or by writing in the comments below.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Preservation Week

Memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations.  Preservation Week aims to inspire all of us to preserve personal, family and community collections of all kinds, as well as library, museum and archive collections. It raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in ongoing preservation.

You may not know the preservation story behind the Oscar winning movie “The King’s Speech” (2010)This movie about King George VI and his speech therapist depicts a stuttering King George (Colin Firth) who is supported by his unorthodox therapist Lionel Louge (Geoffrey Rush) in making a never-forgotten and faultless speech announcing the declaration of war on Nazi Germany in 1939.

A little-know fact about this great movie is that it was enriched by the discovery of Logue’s notebooks recording each therapy session. Hundreds of diary entries, letters, and other documents form the basis for the movie and a book The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, co-authored by Logue’s grandson, Mark, and published to coincide with the release of the film. These documents, long abandoned in an attic and perhaps close to being tossed as “just old papers,” were invaluable primary source material for the movie, the book and for future researchers.

Like these diaries there are countless treasures in attics, basements, and even libraries that, with preservation, will provide innumerable sources for future movies and books, and enrich our lives in infinite and unknown ways.

Libraries, archives, museum and others are dedicated to making sure that diaries, letters, recordings and all kinds of other materials continue to be preserved and shared widely. Here are some examples:

Voices of the Holocaust

In 1946 Dr. David P. Boder, a psychology professor from Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, traveled to Europe to record the stories of Holocaust survivors in their own words. These recordings, over 90 hours of interviews, represent the earliest known oral histories of the holocaust and are available through this online archive.

Closer to home the A.K.Smiley Public Library is a beautiful example of building preservation. Built in 1898 the library is a California Historical Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It houses the Heritage Room collecting and preserving documents, maps, oral histories and more, that chronicle the life of Redlands, the Inland Empire and all Southern California. 

The Center for American War Letters is a unique and extensive manuscript collection of previously unpublished letters from every American conflict, beginning with handwritten notes from the Revolutionary War and on up to emails sent from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the University of Redlands both the Armacost Library Special Collections and the University Archives are working diligently to preserve the history of this institution and beyond. The Library has begun digitizing some of these collections (see Barney Childs) and both undergraduate ( Honors and Proudian Honors theses) and MSGIS graduate student work in our institutional repository called InSPIRe@Redlands.

Some interesting numbers around preservation efforts:
  •       80% of U.S. libraries, museums, and archives have no paid staff for collections care; 22% have no staff at all for this important function. 71% of institutions say they need additional training and expertise to care for their collections—11% report urgent need.
  •      40% of surveyed institutions have no funds allocated for preservation; only 13% have access to permanent (e.g. endowment) funds for preservation. 68% allocated less than $3,000 for preservation in the previous budget year. From the American Library Association found at:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day and the Environmental Movement

"Earth image and star field background" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

In 1962, Rachel Carson published her landmark book, Silent Spring, which sparked an awareness of pesticide use on human health. Along with the publication of Silent Spring, the emerging environmental movement in the U.S. was fueled by environmental decay, catastrophes, and mismanagement of natural resources. Environmental events of particular note during the late 1960s included the Santa Barbara oil spill,  the proposed Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the FDA seizure of DDT laden coho salmon caught in Lake Michigan, ecosystem damage in the Great Lakes due to pollutants, and fire on the oil-slicked Cuyahoga River in Cleveland (Scheffer, 1991). The civil rights, anti-war, and women's-rights movements also contributed to the nationwide call for action and change.

In 1970, U. S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced a national teach-in to take place on April 22nd. 20 million people participated across the country in protests and educational events that brought environmental devastation to the forefront of public attention. Following this first Earth Day came the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Endangered SpeciesClean Air, and Clean Water Acts, and the ban on agricultural use of DDT.

Earth Day is a time to revisit, reflect, and act, on current environmental issues that endanger our health, public lands, and future as a species. So some of us may want to turn our attention to  the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or the places in the Pacific Ocean which collect microplastics, fishing nets and other debris from North America and Asia. Marine life, including turtles, fish, and birds, are at risk due to ingestion of, or entanglement with, plastics

In addition, although the hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" boom, comes with some economic benefits, fracking wastewater continues to pollute ground water, including California aquifers with the carcinogen benzene. Listen to University of Redlands' Dr. Timothy Krantz explain benzene and its effects on public health. 

On top of the state wide drought, bottled water companies like Nestle, continue to bottle and sell water from springs and aquifers. Nestle has been operating in the San Bernardino National Forest on a permit that expired in 1988. Read more about this local issue in The Desert Sun article, "Bottling water without scrutiny."

Armacost Library provides many resources to brush up on the history of the environmental movement and beyond.

Further Reading
Desert solitaire: A season in the wilderness / by Edward Abbey

Silent spring / by Rachel Carson 

An inconvenient truth: The planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it / Al Gore.

Field notes from a catastrophe: Man, nature, and climate change / Elizabeth Kolbert.

The end of nature / Bill McKibben.

Environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing / Frank R. Spellman.

History of Earth Day and the U.S. environmental movement
The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson / Bill Christofferson.

Forcing the spring: The transformation of the American environmental movement / Robert Gottlieb.

First along the river: A brief history of the U.S. environmental movement / Benjamin Kline.

The shaping of environmentalism in America / Victor B. Scheffer.

Crude / a Red Envelope Entertainment presentation of an Entendre Films production 

The 11th hour / produced by Leonardo DiCaprio

Gasland / a film by Josh Fox

The monkey wrench gang
/ Edward Abbey.

A friend of the earth / T. C. Boyle.

Stand on Zanzibar / John Brunner.

Ecotopia: The notebooks and reports of William Weston
/ Ernest Callenbach.

The Lorax / by Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz Appreciation Month, or JAM, is a time to celebrate the history and cultural impact of jazz music. Why April? This month of spring is the birth month for several leading jazz figures, such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith, Johnny Dodds, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Tito Puente, and Herbie Hancock.

In addition, this year's JAM poster features Billy Strayhorn since it's his centennial year. You can see the full poster, created by the Smithsonian Museum, at the end of this post.

The JAM exhibit in the Library highlights various items from our collections. The record covers from the LP collection are particularly intriguing, attempting to illustrate the sounds of big band or avant-garde jazz, as well as the tunes of artists like Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton.

Thanks go to Trisha Aurelio, Technical Services Supervisor, for putting together this exhibit and reminding us to appreciate and celebrate the cultural heritage of jazz.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Using mobile devices for library research, part 4

We all know mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are useful for communicating and surfing the web, but in this series of blog posts, I've been sharing ideas for how you can also use a mobile device to conduct research in the library.

In my first post, I showed how you can use a mobile device to browse the Armacost Library catalog, search a database, or take notes in an app. In my second post, I delved into a couple databases (Ebsco and Naxos) that offer mobile-friendly apps and websites. My third post focused on Evernote, an app I use every day to get work done. This final post is about citation management on a mobile device.

What are Citation Management Programs?

Citation management programs exist to help you keep track of the sources you consult for a research project, and insert references into documents as you write. These programs have two parts:

1) A citation library listing the sources you used (essentially a database with fields for author, title, publisher, date, etc.)

2) A piece of software allowing the citation library to communicate with your word processor, whether it be Word, LibreOffice, LaTeX, etc.

Armacost Library recommends Zotero as a free alternative to expensive commercial programs like  Refworks and Endnote. Most citation management programs are owned and developed by library publishers, but Zotero is developed as an open source project, supported by the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, George Mason University, and an army of volunteers who contribute code, write documentation and test new features.

Citation Management on a Mobile Device

Citation management programs like Zotero weren't originally designed to be used on mobile devices, but you can use some simple workarounds to get common tasks done.

Add new items to your library

Use the Zotero bookmarklet to add a book or article you are viewing to your Zotero library.

View and manage your citations

Since there are no native Zotero apps on Apple or Android devices, use the website to log in and view your citations. Alternatively, you could use third party software like Papership to view your library on an Apple device, or Zandy for Android. Many researchers use the Zotfile plug-in to help organize citations they have already added.

Papership lets you add a PDF to your Zotero library from your web browser

Print or email a cited source

When you save an item to your Zotero library it typically includes a link back to the full text PDF, which you can use to load the source in your browser for easy printing or sharing. Alternatively, third party apps like Papership make it easy to search or browse for a source; you can then use the print and email functionality built into your mobile device.

Inserting citations into your paper

This is one area where mobile device support still falls short of what you experience on a desktop or laptop computer. Apple's Pages app, Microsoft Office 365 and other common mobile word processing programs do not offer connections to your Zotero library, so you'd have to manually create citations for documents you type up on a mobile device.

Share your experiences

In this series of blog posts, I've shared some of my experiences using mobile devices as part of my research process. What about you, do you find tablets or smartphones to be helpful with your research? Share your comments below!