Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Database: Science Reference Center

We have recently added a new database available on the familiar EbscoHost platform. The database is called Science Reference Center and it is good, basic, largely full-text database for science topics.

Because Science Reference Center is a broad audience science database, meant to serve high schoolers as well as college users, it is sometimes too basic. That is, it does not have the same depth of coverage as a good University-oriented database like Academic Search Complete. Nor does it provide the kind of specialized science journals that you might find in a subject-specific academic database like BioOne. Science majors doing advanced topics will find these higher level databases to be a better option for their research.

However, sometimes a student in anything from an English to a Communications to a Sociology class might need to get quick access to an assortment of good articles on a science or medical subject without sorting through the multi-subject false drops in a general academic database, or pulling up the more esoteric and overly-scholarly articles in a higher-level science database. These students will be well served by Science Reference Center.

For example, if I do a search for breast cancer, I get a variety of results:

These include good basic news journals like "Science News," but also recognizable academic journals like the "American Journal of Public Health"--both available full-text. And because this is an Ebsco database, there are familiar functions like narrowing by subject heading (in the left frame), or limiting to peer-reviewed journals from the opening search screen check-box.

I you need just a few quick articles on a topic related to medicine or the sciences, Science Reference Center can be a useful tool.

[FIND Science Reference Center on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Sciences" category.]

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Notable E-Book: Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology

I have extolled the virtues of electronic reference books before. They are easy to search and easy to access from anywhere you have an internet connection and a valid, current Suffolk ID number. But there is sometimes another key advantage to electronic reference sets, and that is that publishers often don't just close out the content with the publication of the print version. They actually continue to revise, update, and add fresh content. This kind of continuing effort does not occur with all eReference, but it is the case in our latest Notable E-Book, the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology.

This current (2007) encyclopedia is based on a companion print resource of some 11 volumes. Our electronic version has all of the over 1800 entries in the paper set, but also includes regular updates--there have been two so far --of new and revised entries and other features. I've just received notice that 20 new entries have been added. These include Adoption, Biosociology, Global Warming, Practice Theory, Sweatshops, as well as several biographical entries on famous figures like Kant and Darwin.

Blackwell, a respected publisher, says of the encylopedia: "This ground-breaking project brings together specially commissioned entries written and edited by an international team of the world's best scholars and teachers. Published simultaneously in print and online, it contains...clear, concise, expert definitions and explanations of the key concepts, entries ranging from short definitions of key terms to extended explorations of major topics, both classical sociology and contemporary developments in the field, and introductions to sociological theories and research that have developed outside of the United States and Western Europe. "

The online version is not particularly elegant in design, but it is serviceable. Search for key words in the search box in the upper right of the screen, or browse the Table of Contents by alphabetical entries using the links in the left frame.

When you are looking for quick overviews or definitions of sociological theories and topics, this extensive electronic encyclopedia might well be worth consulting.

[FIND the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology the same way you would any other book, checking the title in our Online Catalog.]

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Notable E-Book: Barrier: the Seam of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Barrier [electronic resource] : the seam of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict / Isabel Kershner
New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2005

This is an outstanding online title available to Suffolk University students, faculty, and staff. Isabel Kershner describes the effects of the controversial barrier erected by Israel between itself and Occupied Palestine. She does so by interviewing both Israelis and Palestinians who are continually impacted by this tragic necessity. The book is not so much about the physical structure of concrete and wire but about the humanity caught in "the seam" and about those who created the barrier. The views of academics, military planners, and 'martyrs' are presented and in the process, the reader gains an understanding of the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This title is an ebrary online book, available only to those affiliated with Suffolk University. To access the content from off-campus, a Suffolk University ID number is required. If the user is off-campus, go to "ebrary" in "List of Databases" and download the ebrary reader and/or view brief training videos.

[Find Barrier : the seam of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by searching the title in the Suffolk University catalog. This title may be found also by choosing "Databases by Subject"-"E-books"-"ebrary."]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Link of the Week: Open Vault

In this YouTube age, short videos have become increasingly important as both a cultural expression and a source of information. Most internet purveyors of short video clips provide entertainment and little more. However, for those who want to get past the Mentos fountains and the piano playing kitties, here is a website to peruse.

Open Vault is web resource created and maintained by Boston's Public Television station, WGBH, and (in the site's own words) "Open Vault provides online access to unique and historically important content produced by public television station WGBH for individual and classroom learning. The ever-expanding site contains video excerpts, searchable transcripts, a select number of complete interviews for purchase, and resource management tools."

Want to see, from 1993, poet Lucille Clifton read one of her poems? Want to see bits of a 1978 William Wegman video profiling his dog (or is it the avant-garde photographer....), Man Ray? Want to see Flo Kennedy sound off (in 1976) about racism in the women's movement? Want to see a clip from Vietnam: A Television History (1981), in which special counsel to U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, Harry McPherson, discusses President Johnson's "internal stalemate" about the war? How about a cool, très artsy clip from Ros Barron's 1976 "dramatic movement work," Magriitte sur la Plage?

As the dates above indicate, this is not a good source for up-to-the-minute news segments. These are slightly more historical clips that come from the documentaries, public affairs programming, and news shows of WGBH. There are many excellent clips related to the Boston and Massachusetts region--especially useful are the ones detailing the issues and lives of the minority communities. In some cases, transcripts are provided for the clips, and you can register with the site to be able to keep notes on videos and the like. And, just like Amazon will suggest additional books or videos based on other user's purchases, Open Vault will even suggest other clips, based on the viewing of previous visitors.

Although you can buy some full-length videos related to a few of the featured programs at Open Vault (see Shop PBS or WGBH Stock Sales to explore these options) most of the clips in this media library and archive resource are not available elsewhere, and are meant to simply be used and viewed here.

This website is still developing and evolving, but if you'd like to explore short videos that have some educational value and informational substance to them, this website is worth a browse. [Note: If you don't already have it, you will need to download Apple's Quicktime Player to view the video clips.]

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Link of the Week: EarthTrends

In honor of former Vice President Al Gore's recent win of the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work related to climate change, I thought I'd list a web resource called EarthTrends. EarthTrends self-describes as "a comprehensive online database, maintained by the World Resources Institute [WRI], that focuses on the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape our world."

These are the same folks who put out a well-known biennial World Resources report, which is available online at their website. Sawyer Library also owns printed versions of these reports, published by Oxford University Press, so if you'd like to browse through paper versions, come in and take a look at our reference holdings.

EarthTrends includes current news links right on its opening page. But it organizes much of the rest of its content according to Research Topics which include Coastal & Marine Ecosystems, Water Resources & Freshwater Ecosystems, Climate & Atmosphere, Population, Health, & Human Well-being, Economics,Business, & the Environment, Energy & Resources, Biodiversity & Protected Areas, Agriculture & Food, Forests, Grasslands, & Drylands, Environmental Governance & Institutions, and Special Collections. In each category, there is a Searchable Database, Maps, Country Profiles, Features and Data Tables.

Articles and tables are available fulltext and often links are provided to other WRI materials, or to useful resources elsewhere on the web.

Because of its currency and "statistical, graphic, and analytical data in easily accessible formats," EarthTrends can be a valuable resource. However, keep in mind that the WRI " is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research" into an environmental advocacy role. Their stated "mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations."

Although Al Gore would no doubt applaud their efforts, the materials here certainly do not pass academic muster in situations where a teacher is requiring the use of peer-reviewed scholarly journal literature. In other situations, this website can be a valuable one.

By the way, it is worth noting that Vice President Gore won the Nobel in conjunction with another group, the IPCC. I featured them in our blog several months back. To take a look at that entry, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Link of the Week: CSEP's Codes of Ethics Online

Business Ethics, Corporate Responsibility, Fair Trade, Whistle-Blowing, Fiduciary Obligation, Product Safety--Terms like these are bandied about a great deal....especially since scandals like Enron and WorldCom and Mattel's lead toys have come to light in recent years. But how do you codify what a professional or a corporation owes to their clients, customers, workers, or shareholders?

Codes of Ethics are designed to help, before it reaches the point of legislation and litigation.

In June 1996, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (located at the Illinois Institute of Technology) received a grant from the National Science Foundation to put their extensive collection of codes of ethics on the web. This web collection includes over 850 codes of ethics of professional societies, corporations, government, and academic institutions. Earlier versions of some codes of ethics of some organizations represented are also available so researchers can study the development of codes. A literature review, an introduction to the codes, and a User Guide are also available at the site. And the Center maintains links to other web resources, too.

You can either browse the "Index of Codes," which is organized by professional category, or you can use a customized Google to search across all the content at the website.

Whether you are a philosophy student, a management or business law major, or merely an interested consumer, this website might be worth a look.

CSEP's Codes of Ethics Online is but one of many websites that we have included in our Business Ethics Resource Guide, which lists database, web, and print resources that would helpful for anyone interested in business ethics. Consult this guide, or browse through our other guides for research guidance on other disciplines and topics. And remember, you can always come and talk to us about your latest research project at the Reference Desk!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Database: Massachusetts Newsstand

When searching for newspaper articles on a topic, most of us look to LexisNexis Academic as our primary resource. And in most cases, this would still be your best research tool for wide-ranging access to daily newspaper content from around the world....Despite its new and harder-to-use interface!

However, if you are researching a local story or issue in Massachusetts, then a new database-- just added this summer--called Massachusetts Newsstand, might be an easier and more efficient research tool. A product of ProQuest, the same company that provides us with our Wall Street Journal database, Massachusetts Newsstand provides full-text coverage of most of the major newspapers of the Bay State. Here is what is available:

The Berkshire Eagle; Pittsfield, Mass. Full Text: 2005 - current
Boston Globe; Boston, Mass. Full Text: 1987 - current
Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext); Boston, Mass. Full Text: 1980 - 1996
Boston Herald; Boston, Mass. Full Text: 1991 - current
BusinessWest; Chicopee Full Text: 1992 - current
Gazette; Haverhill, Mass. Full Text: 1992 - 1997, with some exceptions
New England Business; Dublin Full Text: 1975 - 1992
North Adams Transcript; North Adams, Mass. Full Text: 2005 - current
The Patriot Ledger; Quincy, Mass. Full Text: 1991 - current
Plymouth County Business Review; Pembroke Full Text: 1991 - current
Sentinel & Enterprise; Fitchburg, Mass. Full Text: 2005 - current
Standard Times; New Bedford, Mass. Full Text: 1992 - 1997
The Sun; Lowell, Mass. Full Text: 2004 - current
Telegram & Gazette; Worcester, Mass. Full Text: 1989 - current

To search across all content, simply put your search terms in the Basic Search box on the opening screen. Click the grey tab below the box for "More Search Options" whether its to pinpoint a specific field like Author or to look for specific Document Types like Editiorials. And look at the tabs near the top for other approaches. For example, click the "Publications" tab to easily select a single newspaper to search.

[FIND Massachusetts Newsstand on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "General Resources" category.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Database: CQ Almanac Online

If you have ever researched national legislative matters, there's a good chance that you have encountered and consulted a set of massive green books called, at various times, Congressional Quarterly Almanac, CQ Almanac, and CQ ... Almanac Plus. These annuals provide "Year-by-year analysis on politics and policy in the U.S. Congress" and are a treasure trove of "Legislative Analysis, Policy Tracking, Data, and Primary Sources." CQ Press says of this resource: "Building on the reporting and analysis done throughout the year by CQ's award-winning news staff, the Almanac offers original narrative accounts of every major piece of legislation that lawmakers considered during a Congressional session. Arranged thematically, CQ Almanac organizes, distills, and cross-indexes for permanent reference the full year in Congress and in national politics. Its clear and concise language makes the Almanac an essential resource."

Unfortunately, the books are unwieldy and not a lot of fun to deal with if you need to use several volumes to track a particular issue or legislative path.

To add flexibility and ease to this valuable resource, we have added CQ Almanac Online as a new Library database. You can access the database through the direct link above, through a link in the online catalog, or as part of the CQ Political Reference Suite, which includes other valuable governmental research tools including Historic Documents, the Political Handbook of the World, Vital Statistics on American Politics, and Congress and the Nation.

CQ Press is still loading some years, but upon completion, coverage will include the contents of all volumes from 1945 to date. And an additional tool called the "Policy Tracker" is also still in planning stages.

For now, you can do keyword searches from the search bar, or you can browse by topic or by the number of the Congress. Series appendices include CQ Key Votes Tables, Conservative Coalition Tables, Floor Votes Tables, a Glossary of Congressional Terms, Interest Group Ratings, Party Unity Tables, Presidential Messages, Presidential Support Tables, Public Laws, and Voting Participation Tables.

We hope that you find this resource useful!

[FIND CQ Almanac Online as part of our CQ Political Reference Suite on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Social Sciences" category.]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Did You Know....Sawyer Library Does Library Instruction?

The business of the Reference team at Sawyer Library is to empower all of our users, from undergraduate students to faculty, to achieve the best possible research results to meet their academic research needs. To this end, we not only answer individual "reference questions" (in person, and by phone and email), but we also do Library Instruction.

Library Instruction is usually initiated by a faculty member for a class that will require students to do academic-level research. We usually chat with the faculty member in person or by phone (call us at [617-573] x8532), find out something about the course and assignment--if we can get the syllabus and/or the assignment sheet ahead of time, it's a help--and design a presentation of a half-hour to 45 minutes that will give students basic research techniques training and also show examples of the best search strategies in the most appropriate electronic resources for that class.

Fall is our busy season, since we do many frosh courses like SU-101 and the freshman seminars, but we are happy to set something up for other research-oriented classes within the constraints of our staffing and existing schedule. (In other words, we book up fast!) It is best to stop by or call us, but if it is more convenient we also have a Library Instruction Request Form. We will follow-up with an email confirmation, and probably ask a few follow-up questions.

There is also information about Library Instruction at this faculty services page.

In addition, because there are so many new students and faculty at the start of the academic year, we also offer several "drop-in" sessions. There is no need to make an appointment for these sessions, during which a Reference Librarian will provide a brief orientation towards the Sawyer Library webpage, resources, and services. Simply come to the Reference Desk at one of the below times. These sessions take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 5th 5:00pm
Thursday, September 6th 1:00pm
and 7:15pm
Saturday, September 8th Noon
Monday, September 10th 5:00pm
Tuesday, September 11th 1:30pm
Wednesday, September 12th Noon
Saturday, September 15th 5:10pm

And remember, whether you can make one of these sessions or not, we are here to help. Come in and talk to us if you are ever having problems finding or accessing the information you need!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Database: BioOne.2

Here is another "New" database, that is not so much new as "New and Improved!" (as advertisers love to say). We have actually had the scholarly scientific database, BioOne, for a couple of years. But we have just added a new module of journals to that database that has been given the dubious name of BioOne.2.

First, a word on BioOne from the publisher: "BioOne is the product of innovative collaboration between scientific societies, libraries, academe and the private sector. BioOne brings to the Web a uniquely valuable aggregation of the full-texts of high-impact bioscience research journals. Most of BioOne’s titles are published by small societies and other not-for-profit organizational publishers, and, until now, have been available only in printed form."

BioOne launched their original aggregation, now retroactively dubbed "BioOne.1", with forty titles in 2001. Now at maturity, the collection includes over eighty high-impact publications. BioOne.1 provides the scholarly community with a must-have collection of critical, high quality titles across the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. Most of BioOne.1's titles are ISI ranked and available back to Volume 1, Issue 1 through JSTOR.

BioOne.2 is BioOne's new collection, and currently includes forty high-impact titles, with additional journals to be added through 2008. The majority of BioOne.2 titles, many of which are internationally based, have not been available online until now. A subscription to the BioOne.2 collection includes access to six titles from Japan's UniBio Press.

To see a list of all 41 of the added journals, please take a look at this PDF.

By the way, BioOne automatically loads both journal sets, so you can just search for your topic on the opening screen or browse issues. You will simply see a globe-like symbol with a 2 or a 1 next to it--this will indicate which set that particular citation or journal issue belongs to.

We hope that researchers in the biosciences will find this addition useful!

[FIND BioOne on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Sciences" category.]

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Library News: Magnificent Map Presented to the Library

If you've visited the Poetry Center or Paul's Copy Center office on the Library's 3rd floor recently, perhaps you have seen the large, magnificent map that now resides on the wall opposite the group study tables on 3. If not, please do come by and take a look. It is a fascinating piece of cartographic history!

It is a centuries-old map of Africa. And here are a few details:

Nova Africae Geographica Et Hydrographica Descriptio
Blaeu-Jaillot Wall Map of Africa [Paris, 1669]

46 ¼ x 66 inches; 16 sheets (including text & title) joined & mounted on new linen, encased in a fine Dutch-style archival frame.

This Blaeu-Jaillot map is very rare and exceptionally well-preserved. It stands as the visually richest map of Africa produced during the Golden Age of Mapmaking. It is the first edition of the Paris plates. Alexis-Hubert Jaillot faithfully re-engraved Willem Blaeu’s map of 1608 capturing all the verve and visual drama of its Dutch model, but rendering it more accessible and readable by providing the text panels in both French and Latin and by translating place names into French. Particularly striking are the illustrations of ships engaged in battle or confronting sea monsters or monstrous seas. Notable is the variation in the conventional Neptune depiction of the sea-god, as well as the cartouche with a European woman flanked by two African women, and a border displaying contemporary depictions of costumes and centers of trade. The interior of the image of Africa teems with images of wildlife of all kinds.

This is an amazing historical document, and it is the very generous gift of Dr. Gerald Rizzo, the founder of the AFRITERRA Foundation, which is a a non-profit cartographic library and archive assembling and preserving the original rare maps of Africa.

For more on the Afriterra Foundation and and the Afriterra Collection, visit their website, where you will find many other digitized maps of Africa for armchair exploration!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Did You Know....Ways to Find and Browse New Books?

At the end of last week, I updated our display of Sawyer Library New Books in the case outside our front door. Stop by and take a look!

And here's a little known fact: The books in that display case should also be on our shelves available for check-out. How can a book be in two places at once, you ask? Well, I hate tying up new books in a display case, so what you actually see in the display are the dust wrappers of new books covering old "dummy" volumes. Therefore, any book you see in the case should actually be on our shelves waiting for you to check it out--unless another user beat you to it, of course.

That brings me to saying a few words about where and how to find new books at Sawyer Library. Those that are not being used as Reserve readings for the current session, should be in one of two places. If the book was received quite recently, it is probably on our "Sawyer Library New Books" case, which is next to the stairs on our entrance level, right across from the shorter end of our Reference Desk. Books are shelved in call number order there, so you can find a specific book you want and quite easily browse by subject.

If a book is currently on the "New Books" Shelf, it will have that designation in the online catalog. For example:

We generally remove new books from that shelf when they have been displayed for three months or when we run out of room, whichever happens first. So, if a book has been in our collection for four months, there's a good chance that the location would simply read "Sawyer," meaning that the book--if not checked out--would be in our general book stacks on the 4th Floor (two levels up from our entrance).

There's another way to electronically browse our recent books, and that is by looking at a file that our esteemed Technical Services Librarian, Becky, produces from time to time. This can be found from the main homepage of the online catalog. This list is called Sawyer Library / New Acquisitions and can be scrolled through, or browsed by Library of Congress Classification Subject, when you click on the appropriate jump button.

Of course, another way to see what's new is to simply do a keyword search in the online catalog for a word, words or phrase of your choice. The keyword search sorts by both relevance and date, so the most recent and most relevant items should appear at the top of any results list you get. And remember, if you get too many results from Law or some other Suffolk library, you can simply use the limiting "scope" option at the top of the screen to specify that the book must be in Sawyer Library.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Policy Inquiries - Exchange Student Library Access

We have received a comment asking whether exchange students have access to the Mildred F. Sawyer Library and its resources. Library reserve books and subscription electronic resources are available to current Suffolk University students and staff only. A current ID is required to borrow books or to access databases. An exchange student who presently attends Suffolk University will thus be able to access all Library resources.

Future questions requiring a reply should not be sent as a Blog comment, since we have no direct way of responding. The Blog software blocks the commenter's email address. It is best to call the reference desk at 617-573-8532 or email the reference staff at In most cases we respond the same day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Database Alert: ProQuest Newspaper Database Downtime

We just received the following notice from ProQuest, the company that provides our Wall Street Journal, New York Times Historical, and our new Massachusetts Newsstand databases:

"ProQuest will be taking a maintenance window to upgrade our network hardware. A nine (9) hour maintenance window will take place to install these upgrades. The window will begin Saturday, June 9, 2007, at 22:00 EDT to Sunday, June 10, 2007 at 7:00 EDT."

Since these maintenance chores can sometimes take longer than expected, please be advised of this known downtime issue.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Database Alert: Gale Virtual Reference Library

We just received the following notice from Thomson Gale, who provide our InfoTrac databases as well as our online reference book collection, Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) :

"We will be performing emergency network maintenance and upgrades on Friday June 1st, 2007 between 12:00am–12:15am. (Eastern) During this window you may experience intermittent connectivity issues to your online subscriptions of Gale Virtual Reference Library. This maintenance will not affect any other subscriptions to Thomson Gale products."

Be advised that sometimes other resources--like InfoTrac databases--can be affected even when the company claims that they will not. Also, these maintenance tasks can sometimes take longer than expected. The wee hours of Friday morning are not a high research demand time for us....Still, if you are a night-owl researcher, please plan your research accordingly.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Link of the Week: Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search

Sometimes, when working on a company or (more likely an) industry research assignment, a professor will tell students to get their "SIC Code" as one of their tasks. Or, in attempting to use a library database or a ratio book, you will find that the industrial organization of a particular resource is done by SIC.

First established back in the 1930s, the Standard Industrial Classification was devised to create a uniform system of classification for business establishments, and thereby to facilitate the comparability of statistics and data "describing various facets of the U.S. economy."

This Link of the Week is the quick Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search, a U.S. Department of Labor tool that allows you to either look up a known four digit SIC code and learn more about that industry category, or look up a keyword to find SIC categories that match your industry.

When SICs matching your search are presented, you can then click on a likely match and see a more detailed definition of that industry, and a list of business types that are assigned that SIC code. Although this search mechanism works quite well, it is a little on the quirky side, and is sensitive to singular and plural words. For example, when I searched restaurant I got seven possible results for industries like "furniture" and "sheet metal work." No close matches. But when I searched restaurants (plural), I received four results [see image above], one of which was 5812 Eating Places, which is, in fact, the category for restaurants.

Once known, the SIC can be a handy number to use in online directories to find other companies who would be competitors, or may be used in library database "advanced search" options to find articles or data about, or company entries within, a particular industry. And, as mentioned before, they can also be used in ratio books/databases like D&B Key Business Ratios for industry averages and benchmarks. [Note: For more on getting ratios from databases and books please take a look at Sonia's earlier database use tip on that exact topic.]

Two additional caveats should be mentioned.

First, because the SIC system is so old, it does a poor job of detailing technology industries. Therefore, a newer system was devised called NAICS (North American Industry Classification System). In some cases, published or online sources will use NAICS codes instead. For a similar search engine for NAICS (the 2002 Revision), see the North American Industry Classification System -- Revisions for 2002 page from the Census Department. And for more detailed descriptions and links to a wide variety of web pages related to the SIC/NAICS system, please take a look at our Sawyer Library Industry Information Resource Guide, which lists all kinds of databases, websites, and print resources that would help with industry research.

The other caveat is that if you are trying to compare a REAL company to an industry, doing keyword searching of the industry at the SIC System Search and then using what you perceive to be the closest match is NOT always the wisest approach. Many companies, especially large ones, are very diversified. And what you might consider to be their industry is not necessarily their real "primary SIC" code. So, when searching a company within an industry you might want to start with any of our directory databases, like Hoover's and search for your corporate name. Then look for the industry area of their profile--

like the one, from Hoover's, for Procter & Gamble, shown above. Look for the clear statement of what is officially considered the "Primary SIC Code" for the company, and then use this numerical code as you look for industry information, articles, and data, using the SIC.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Database: Sage eReference

Not everyone loves electronic versions of "regular" (monograph) books, since many people find reading an entire 200 page book online a less than pleasurable experience. But ebooks have a wonderful flexibility to them. They can be accessed anywhere, 24/7, and they allow for quick searching across hundreds or thousands of books in a matter of seconds.

Electronic reference books have all of the advantages of ebook flexibility and none of the frustrations associated with reading an entire monograph online. In electronic reference works, you are usually searching for short entries that will provide a quick overview or introduction to a topic--a country, a person, a social issue. Such entries are usually only a few pages long, which makes them a good candidate for a quick online read, and also makes them a practical length for printing out for further use.

For these reasons, the Reference Staff at Sawyer Library eagerly seeks out useful online reference collections we can make available to our users. We've just purchased a very valuable one called Sage eReference.

Sage is a major scholarly publisher of journals, reference, and monograph titles. We recently added their journal aggregate called Sage Journals Online. And now we have added a unified collection of 46 of their recent reference titles, too.

Sage eReference has a clean search interface that allows you to search across all 46 encyclopedias quickly and easily. Titles include everything from the Encyclopedia of Public Relations to the Encyclopedia of World Poverty to the Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology to the Encyclopedia of Health Care Management. As you can tell, Sage reference works are especially strong in areas of the social sciences.

Do a quick search on the opening screen and your results will be sorted by relevance. If you get too many "hits," you can always add another term in the search box to the left of your results page that allows you to narrow and focus your results. You can also browse through book titles and descriptions within 20 subject categories. And Advanced Searching (look for the tab) allows you to look for words in specific fields and/or in specific reference titles.

We hope you'll find this new electronic reference shelf as useful as we do!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Link of the Week: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Sometimes, you can get a bit of handy overview information from a general web resource. Everyone is familiar with Wikipedia, for example, which is sometimes a useful tool. However, even though Wikipedia's entries are often dated at the bottom, indicating the last time a particular page was updated, you generally have no idea who wrote a particular entry and know nothing of that person's qualifications or expertise. Therefore, Wikipedia is NOT a valid resource for college-level research on even the most basic level.

Luckily, there are certain other more scholarly web resource projects, edited and written by academics in a particular field. These are, in some cases, a little more reliable....but only for basic overview and NOT for detailed term paper research.

One such academic web source in the field of philosophy is the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The IEP says of itself: "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy was founded in 1995 for the purpose of providing detailed, scholarly information on key topics and philosophers in all areas of philosophy. The IEP is free of charge and available to all internet users world wide. The present staff of 25 editors and approximately 200 authors hold doctorate degrees and are professors at colleges and universities around the world, most notably from the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. The submission and review process of articles is the same as that with printed philosophy journals, books and reference works. The authors are specialists in the areas in which they write, and are frequently leading authorities. Submissions are peer reviewed by specialists according to strict criteria."

Except in the case of preliminary "proto articles" that have the initialism IEP at the end, entries in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy are signed by the academic researcher who wrote them, and are usually dated with a year copyright date.

So, yes, the IEP is a more reliable resource than most of the materials that you will find on the general web. That is why we have included it in the annotated listings in the Sawyer Library's Philosophy Resource Guide. But along with selected general internet sources, our Guide will also inform you about Sawyer Library databases that provide links to materials like very valuable peer-reviewed journal literature (which is what your professor really wants you to use in writing a paper). And we even have online versions of scholarly subject encyclopedias. These include the second edition (2006) of the respected 10 volume Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

So, if you are interested in philosophy, take a look at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is certainly worth a browse. Spend some time perusing the listings in our Philosophy Resource Guide, as well.

And, as always, if you have any questions about resources available to you at Sawyer Library, please stop in and see us at the Reference Desk!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

InfoTrac and ProQuest (WSJ, NYT) Maintenance

No one likes to see vendors fiddling around with online databases during term paper season, but, alas, it happens.

Therefore, be advised:

InfoTrac (Academic OneFile, etc.) "will be performing network maintenance and upgrades on Saturday April 21st, 2007 between 7:00am - 3:00pm. (Eastern)" This is supposed to effect only their administration systems and not their "online subscriptions." But there are sometimes unexpected impacts from such upgrade work!

And, effecting both the Wall Street Journal database, as well as our historical New York Times database, the next ProQuest® platform enhancement release will be on April 28, 2007. A twelve (12) hour maintenance window will take place to install "new enhancements." The window will begin Saturday, April 28, 2007, at 22:00 EDT to Sunday, April 29, 2007 at 10:00 EDT.

Please plan your research accordingly!

Notable E-Book: American Decades and American Decades Primary Sources

Looking for social, cultural, or political background on a time period in American history? Two sets of e-books from Gale Virtual Reference Library will help you get started on your research.

American Decades is a 10 volume set which covers the time period 1900 through 1999. Each volume is devoted to a decade and provides a chronology of world events for that decade, background essays, and chapters that view the decade through the lens of arts, medicine and health, media, education, world events, religion, government and politics, lifestyles and social trends, law and justice, religion, business and the economy, and sports.

American Decades Primary Sources, a companion 10 volume set also covering each decade from 1900 through 1999, contains full-text or excerpted historical documents such as: oral histories, songs, speeches, advertisements, TV and movie scripts, letters, laws and legal decisions, newspaper articles, cartoons, and recipes .

LEFT: "Willie and Joe" cartoon and caption by Bill Mauldin from his book Up Front. Published in "World War II Cartoons," American Decades Primary Sources, Vol. 5: 1940-1949.

[FIND Gale Virtual Reference in our “Databases by Subject” list in the E-Books category; or search the titles, American Decades or American Decades Primary Sources, in the Suffolk University Online Catalog and click on Gale Virtual Reference Library.]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Database Use Tip: Finding Industry Ratios

Business students are often required to compare the standing of an individual company with other companies in that industry as a whole. Comparing the financial ratios of an individual company to the aggregate ratios of many companies in that industry is one way to measure that company's standing. The standard resources for this information are the three industry ratio books:

  • Dun & Bradstreet's Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios (REF Desk HF 5681 .R25 I525)

  • Troy's Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios (REF Desk HF5681 .R25 T861)

  • (The Robert Morris) RMA Annual Statement Studies (REF Desk HF 5681 .B2 R6)

  • The latest edition of each of these titles is kept at the Sawyer Library Reference Desk; older editions, going back approximately 20 years, are in the reference stacks.

    In addition to the above print resources, there are specialized database resources that will also provide industry ratios:

    D&B Key Business Ratios

    The Dun & Bradstreet online version provides 14 key business ratios, covering solvency, efficiency and profitability. Users may calculate industry ratios (choosing an industry, year, and asset range), and then use the 'comparative analysis' function to enter in the figures from an individual company’s financial statement to generate a comparison of the company’s own business ratios with the industry.This is the only Sawyer Library database specifically devoted to industry ratios.

    [FIND D&B Key Business Ratios on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

    Other Sawyer Library databases may include some financial ratios in their overall discussion of companies and industries:

    Standard and Poor's NetAdvantage: Industry Surveys

    Although Standard and Poor's does not provide industry averages, the Comparative Company Analysis section of each survey does provide profit-, balance sheet-, and equity ratios for specific companies.

    [FIND S&P NetAdvantage on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

    Value Line Research Center

    In addition to specific company and stock information, Value Line Survey Issues provide a one page Industry Commentary of each industry covered by Value Line. These commentaries frequently include a chart of retrospective and estimated composite statistics, such as the Net Profit Margin. The print version of Value Line is available at the Sawyer Library Reference Desk.

    [FIND Value Line Research Center on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Business and Management" category.]

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    New Database: Sage Journals Online

    Sawyer Library has just added a database that will prove very useful to students and faculty in the social sciences, and to a lesser extent will be quite helpful to those interested in management/business, humanities, and the pure and medical sciences.

    The database is called Sage Journals Online, and the version we have is also called "Sage Premier" (in places like our Full-Text Search Engine listings). This database is an example of what is called a publisher aggregate. That is, it consists of PDF online content to ALL the academic journals published by the scholarly publisher, Sage, back to 1999. This is approximately 450 peer-reviewed journals in far-ranging fields. And for some key titles we have actually purchased backfile that goes back to the 1940s.

    The search interface is fairly straight-forward. You can simply put in your keyword search terms and hit enter or click the red search button. The default search is in "all fields" within "SAGE Content Available to Me." That usually works quite well. If you get too many "hits" you might want to restrict the search to looking in specific fields like Title. You can also adjust the radio button from "SAGE Content Available to Me" to "All SAGE Content" since you will get slightly different results in this search, yet all recent materials will still be accessible.
    When you get a results list, look for the journal cover icon plus the note below. If the note says that the article is "FREE" or "AVAILABLE," you should be able to access the article either on-campus, or off-campus through our proxy server. Simply click "Full Text (PDF)" link below the citation to access the full-text.

    Only in the case of a few much older articles would you ever get a message indicating that the article is not available. See the Library's reference staff for assistance if this occurs.

    Sage Journals Online has a great deal of high quality content in many research areas. The only obvious problem with the database is its hosting platform, which is through HighWire at Stanford University in California. Alas, the HighWire platforms can be painfully slow to operate, especially during peak times like the afternoon. If a page load stalls on you, try refreshing the browser, or backing up and trying again. You might also want to access the database during non-peak hours. (We are also putting pressure on Sage to improve this situation, but patience may be required for now!)

    We hope you will find this new addition a valuable new research tool.

    [FIND Sage Journals Online on our "Databases by Subject" Lists in the "Business and Management," "Social Sciences,""Literature, Arts and Humanities" and "Sciences" categories.]

    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    Notable E-Book: Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States

    Part of the Oxford Reference Online Premium, this searchable, 4-volume set provides comprehensive, quality scholarship on historical and contemporary experiences in the United States of Latinos and Latinas from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Central America, South America, Europe, and elsewhere. It includes over 900 signed articles, arranged alphabetically and offers both topical entries and biographies.

    Read about Indo-Latinos, racial profiling, Bilingual Education Act, murals, tex-mex music, NAFTA, and much more.

    [Find Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "E-Book" category and within Oxford Reference Online Premium; or search by title in the Suffolk University Online Catalog and click the Oxford Digital Reference link.]

    Friday, March 30, 2007

    Cathy Boyle, 1949-2007

    It is with a profound sense of sorrow and loss that I record the passing of our co-worker and dear friend, Cathy Boyle.

    Cathy was circulation supervisor (and the heart of this library) for decades. She dedicated her entire professional career, some 38 years, to Suffolk. Circulation managers are the "enforcers" of the library--they implement policies and levy fines--which is not a easy job! Cathy could be tough, but was always fair. She kept the library running smoothly and efficiently for the benefit of students and faculty, no matter what. Her organizational skills were phenomenal. And neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night would keep her from making sure our library was open and ready to greet our users by 8am--7am during exam periods.

    She also supervised our wonderful student staff and in that role was equal parts drill sergeant and den mother. She mentored countless student and paraprofessional staffers who worked for her in her many years of service.

    She was a great co-worker and a wonderful friend. We will miss her so very much!

    All of us who were her Sawyer Library family send out our wishes for comfort and healing to her devoted husband, Tommy, and to all of her "home" family.

    We welcome you to attach your "comments" to this posting. Share your sorrow (and fond or funny reminiscences) right here.

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    Database Use Tip: Finding Surveys and Polls

    Sawyer Library subscribes to three electronic sources of information on surveys and polls:

    1. Polling the Nations (1 simultaneous user only)
    2. LexisNexis Academic's 'Polls & Surveys from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research'
    3. CQ Press Political Reference Suite's "Vital Statistics on American Politics."

    Polling the Nations (1 simultaneous user only):

    Polling the Nations contains over 14,000 surveys conducted by more than 1000 organizations located in the United States and internationally, from 1986 to the present. Organizations conducting the polls include:
    Harris International, the Pew Center, universities, newspapers (e.g., New York Times, Los Angeles Times), television news organizations, and special interest groups. Each record in the database reports a question asked, the responses given, the organization that conducted the work, the date of the interviews, the release date of the information, the sample size and the universe of participants.

    [FIND Polling the Nations on the "Databases by Subject" list, under the General Resources section.]

    LexisNexis Academic's Polls & Surveys from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research:

    The 'Reference' section of LexisNexis Academic contains a survey file from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, a non-profit and leading institution in the field of public opinion. This file includes sources from organizations such as: Gallup, Harris, Roper; ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC; the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.

    [FIND LexisNexis Academic on the "Databases by Subject" list, under Business and Management, Social Sciences, and General Resources. Lexis is the first option on the General Resources list.]

    CQ Press Political Reference Suite's "Vital Statistics on American Politics:"

    Vital Statistics on American Politics provides data on American politics dating back to 1788. The section "Public Opinion and Voting" presents survey data regarding partisan self-identification, ideological self-identification, presidential and congressional approval, public confidence in the government and the economy (consumer confidence), and specific topics such as Roe v. Wade, capital punishment, and U.S. military interventions in foreign affairs.

    [FIND CQ Press Political Reference Suite on our "Databases by Subject" List in the Social Sciences category]

    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Link of the Week: Charity Navigator

    We all would like to contribute what we can to charities and social action organizations that we feel are making a positive difference in our world. But identifying the best and most financially efficient organizations can be a challenge.

    One website that can be useful in deciding where to put your charitable dollars is Charity Navigator which claims that it "works to guide intelligent giving. We help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on over five thousand charities and by evaluating the financial health of each of these charities. We ensure our evaluations are widely used by making them easy to understand and available to the public free of charge. By guiding intelligent giving, we aim to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation's most persistent challenges."

    Although Charity Navigator is itself a non-profit, it accepts no donations from the organizations it provides ratings for.

    You can search your favorite charity right from the search box on the opening screen, or you can browse through an A-Z list, or look only at their 4-Star Charities, which you can further filter by type of charity, state, or other criteria. Other site features include various Top Ten Lists including negative ones like 10 Charities Drowning in Administrative Costs.

    The articles here are also interesting. One recent one was entitled "March Madness." It reminds us that "college coaches are paid by either your tax dollars (in the case of state schools) or your tax-deductible private charitable contributions (in the case of private schools). " The article then details exactly how much some of these coaches are being paid....Would you believe salaries as high as $1,655,819 a year?!

    Charity Navigator is but one of several websites that helps us hold charities accountable and helps givers identify worthy groups. For more links, take a look at our Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organization Resource Guide, which is one of a large number of research guides the librarians at Sawyer Library have created.

    Thursday, March 15, 2007

    Notable E-Book: Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith

    The online Cambridge Companions are informative "introductions to
    major writers, artists, philosophers, topics and periods." They are
    critical collections of essays, geared toward student readers. Each
    title offers features such as a chronology and guide to further

    Many believe that Adam Smith (1723-1790) was the founder of modern economics. In his book, The Wealth of Nations (1776), Smith established the theory of laissez faire—the principle that society's interests are best served by the pursuit of individual self-interest. If each person pursues his own interest, the general welfare of all will be promoted.
    Smith, however, was also a philosopher, and the Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith offers critical analysis of Smith's moral, political, and economic thoughts.
    Some chapter titles include:
    1. Imagination: Morals, Science, and Art
    2. Adam Smith’s Theory of Language
    3. Adam Smith on Justice, Rights, and Law
    4. Adam Smith and History
    5. Adam Smith’s Economics
    6. The Legacy of Adam Smith

    The Companion titles offer keyword searching and chapter browsing. The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith will interest students studying political science, sociology, ethics, and economics.

    [Find the Cambridge Companions in our "Databases by Subject" List in the E-Books category; or, search the title, Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith in the Suffolk University Online Catalog and click on Cambridge Companion Complete Collections.]

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    New Database: InfoTrac's Academic OneFile

    Sawyer Library has a long history with InfoTrac databases. As is the case with many libraries, InfoTrac was, in fact, the first machine-based index we ever had. For many years our primary InfoTrac database was one called Expanded Academic Index ASAP (EAI). However, EAI fell behind the competition in terms of indexing and full-text content, and EbscoHost's Academic Search Premier (ASP) became our best general academic database for both indexing and access to full-text over a wide spectrum of scholarly research. ASP is still our best starting point for most research assignments outside of business--where its sister database Business Source Premier (BSP) is the hands-down winner--because it "contains indexing for more than 8,100 journals, with full text for nearly 4,500 of those titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for 1,000 titles. "

    Thomson Gale, the publisher of the InfoTrac has gotten back in the game, however. They are trying to give EbscoHost a run for the money with their new revamped and enlarged database entitled Academic OneFile. Thomson Gale claims that "Academic OneFile is a comprehensive, subscription-based database of more than 8,000 journals covering everything from STM to the humanities. It was created in response to the academic community’s need for a sophisticated, up-to-date, easy-to-use database for serious research. "

    Academic OneFile is attempting to load "peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources. With extensive coverage of the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects....With millions of articles available in both PDF and HTML full-text with no restrictions, researchers are able to find accurate information quickly."

    Yes, Academic OneFile is a good and growing database. And one really nice touch is that it includes full-text coverage of the New York Times back to 1995. (See Sonia's blog posting on the various ways of accessing the New York Times through our databases below.)

    Because Academic OneFile is the best InfoTrac option for our researchers, we have replaced Expanded Academic Index on our various database lists with this new and improved InfoTrac alternative. We hope you will find it useful. EbscoHost's Academic Search Premier is still my favorite general scholarly database, to be sure. But when in doubt, check both databases, as well as several other subject- or publisher-specific aggregates. (Need help deciding on the best databases to try--Just ask!) And remember, databases often lease the rights to the SAME peer-reviewed journals. So don't assume that all the articles you find in one database are unique to that database. That assumption may cause you to print out the same article multiple times, leading to the early demise of countless trees.

    [FIND Academic OneFile on our "Databases by Subject" lists in the Social Sciences, Literature, and Sciences categories.]

    Thursday, March 8, 2007

    Database Use Tip: Coverage of the New York Times

    Three periodical databases provided by the Sawyer Library cover the New York Times. However, there are significant differences in the dates of coverage, search flexibility, and document format amongst the three databases.

    The New York Times (1851 - 2003):

    The New York Times (1851 - 2003), obtained through ProQuest, provides the article image (PDF) and the image of the full page on which the article appeared, going back to the first issue in 1851. The text is searchable, and the advanced search allows limiting to certain types of articles (document type), such as the front page, editorials (including cartoons), letters to the editor, obituaries and marriage notices (useful for those of us interested in genealogy). There is a three year time lag of availability for current issues, therefore the most recent three years of the NYT will not be available through this database, however for material prior to 1980, this is the only electronic option. Results may be displayed either oldest (historic) first, most recent first, or most relevant first.

    [FIND the New York Times (1851 - 2003) on the "Databases by Subject" list under the Social Science, Business and Management, and Literature, Arts and Humanities categories.]

    LexisNexis Academic:

    LexisNexis Academic offers the full text of the New York Times from June 1, 1980 through the current (today's) issue. Photographs, classifieds, and stock market financial listings are not included. Also, some freelance articles that had previously been available have been removed, due to the 2001 Supreme Court decision (New York Times v. Tasini) concerning the infringement of copyright on freelance articles included in electronic databases. Users can limit their search in Lexis to just the New York Times by choosing 'Sources,' typing New York Times, and clicking 'search this title.' Lexis offers the greatest precision with regard to the placement of search terms. Terms may be placed in any combination of headline, headline and lead paragraph, anywhere in the full text, or author name. Furthermore, the user may specify how close words appear relative to each other: within sentence (w/s), within paragraph (w/p),
    or within a certain number of words (w/number). Browsing by date is not an option in LexisNexis Academic. Results are listed in reverse chronological order, but may be changed to sort by relevance. Users may skip to older articles by using the 'Jump to Document' feature, which divides the results into groups of 25.

    [FIND LexisNexis Academic on the "Databases by Subject" list, under Business and Management, Social Sciences, and General Resources. Lexis is the first option on the General Resources list.]

    Academic OneFile:

    Academic OneFile from Thomson Gale (a.k.a. Infotrac) covers the full text of the New York Times from January 1, 1995 to the present (yesterday's issue). The primary advantage to OneFile is the ability to search/browse the Sunday Book Review and Sunday Magazine sections separately, and to choose an individual issue by date for a listing of the entire contents. A 'Publication Search' in OneFile for the New York Times will lead the user to the various browse options. An Advanced search allows the user to specify the New York Times and choose the placement of the search terms (document title, full text) and types of terms (company name, personal name).

    [FIND Academic OneFile within the Thomson Common Menu (InfoTrac), listed in the General Resources section of the Databases by Subject" list.]

    Print and Microfilm Resources:

    The Sawyer Library has the actual print newspaper (most recent several weeks), and microfilm of the paper from 1925 forward. In addition, the Sawyer Library has indexes to the New York times (albeit in print format) covering the entire paper from 1925 to 2000. Each year is covered by its own index volume. Articles are listed alphabetically by subject, and the later volumes include brief summaries of the articles. There is also a separate two volume Obituaries Index (v.1 1858-1968, v.2 1969-1978).

    Link of the Week: Women' History Month--"Facts for Features" from the Census Bureau

    In honor of Women's History Month, I thought I'd point out the Women History Month page from the ultimate collector of statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau. The Women's History Month page is actually part of a "Newsroom" feature of the Census called Facts for Features.

    Have you ever wondered where those strange factoids and unusual bits of demographic data come from in newspaper articles and radio and television broadcasts? Well, they often come from the releases of the Census Bureau.

    The one about Women's History Month includes the following facts:

    $32,168: The median annual earnings of women 16 or older who worked year-round, full time, in 2005. Women earned 77 cents for every $1 earned by men. (Source: American Community Survey at <>)

    32%: Percent of women 25 to 29 who had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2005, which exceeded that of men in this age range (25 percent). Eighty-seven percent of women and 85 percent of men in this same age range had completed high school. <>

    Nearly 6.5 million: The number of women-owned businesses in 2002, up 20 percent from 1997. (The increase was twice the national average for all businesses.) Women owned 28 percent of all non-farm businesses.

    2.9 million: Number of girls who participated in high school athletic programs in the 2004-05 school year. In the 1973-74 school year, only 1.3 million girls were members of a high school athletic team. (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, Table 1232.)

    There are, of course, plenty of other Women's History Month websites out there. There's even a National Women's History Project, which is dedicated to "recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life," in March, and throughout the year. Their Resource Center includes brief biographies and links to a variety of other pages, including some to Great Speeches and one to a history of the Women's Rights Movement.

    One of our database vendors, Thomson Gale (aka InfoTrac) also has a few interesting free web resources. These include a page called Women's Rights on Trial, which reproduces overviews of 12 "key trials of historical importance to American women since the settlement of the colonies" as well as a brief Timeline of Women's History from ancient times to the present.

    And don't forget to check out the Women's History Exhibit in the Library Display Case right outside our entrance during the month, too!

    Monday, March 5, 2007

    New Database: Historical Statistics of the United States. Millennial Edition Online

    The standard source for the quantitative facts and/or numerical history of the united States.

    The previous edition of the Historical Statistics of the United States was published by the Census Bureau in 1975. A team of distinguished social scientists joined Cambridge University Press to create a this new edition which contains more than 37,000 annual time series of historical information, arranged in broad data areas- population, work and welfare, economic structure and performance, economic sectors, and governance and international relations. Each series is described in its historical context by an expert. It is keyword searchable and includes an index.

    Users may graph individual tables or combine data from different tables. In addition, tables can be downloaded into Excel or comma-separated value format for spreadsheet use.
    Sample Graph from Search:
    Unemployed Persons in the U.S. from 1967 through 2000

    [Find Historical Statistics of the United States. Millennial Edition Online on our "Databases by Subject" List in two categories: "General Resources" and "Social Sciences."]

    Thursday, March 1, 2007

    Database Alert: ScienceDirect Online Journals Downtime

    We have received the following warning from ScienceDirect, the publisher of some of our online journal collections:

    "Please be advised that maintenance has been scheduled on the ScienceDirect platforms for Saturday March 3rd, 2007 resulting in some system downtime. It is anticipated that ScienceDirect will be unavailable for approximately 9 hours, starting at 11:30 AM GMT (06:30 AM EST). We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

    Please plan your research accordingly.

    Link of the Week: HUD Homeless Assessment Report

    Here's another "in the news" link of the week. Perhaps you heard on the TV news or read in the newspaper that the government just acknowledged that "754,000 persons are living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and on the streets on any given night." Well, if you are interested in reading the report that goes with that admission, the publication is called the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, and it was just released to the web.

    HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) says of their report: “This first-of-its kind study is a huge leap forward in our understanding of not only how many people are homeless, but also what their needs are,” said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. “We’ve got to remember that behind these numbers are people – individuals and families who are struggling to survive. This first report and those that follow will help us gauge how well our efforts, as well as those of our partners at the state and local level and the nonprofit sector, are working to help the homeless. We all must work in concert together to help our nation’s most vulnerable.”

    HUD also produces Continuum of Care (CoC) Reports that provide information on homeless assistance grants. These include 2005 data on Massachusetts.

    Besides these government resources there are, of course, many advocacy groups that produce reports and data. These include the National Alliance to End Homelessness which produced a Homelessness Counts report in January. The group also details various aspects of the problem in their "Focus Areas" that discuss specific topics like rural homelessness, domestic violence, and veterans.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Database Alert: Sociological Abstracts and Other CSA Databases

    We received the following notice from CSA, the database vendor who provides us with Sociological Abstracts, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, several Sage Full-Text Collections, and the Ulrichsweb online periodical directory: "Due to infrastructure upgrades to our primary data center, service for [some of our] products will be temporarily interrupted, starting at 6:00PM EST, Friday, February 23."

    During Friday evening and early Saturday morning, databases like Soc. Abs. and Comm. Abs. "will still be available; however, response times may be slower than normal during this upgrade....Full service should be restored by 2:00PM EST, Saturday, February 24."

    Since these upgrades sometimes take longer than expected, the time-frame may not be firm. Please plan your research in CSA databases accordingly.

    Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Link of the Week: Population Reference Bureau

    There are many useful sources of demographic information and data that you will find on our Demography and Population Resource Guide. One that I have always found interesting, is the Population Reference Bureau.

    The PRB publishes a wide variety of articles and reports. Some, like The Feminization of Migration: Obstacles to Good Health Care, are quite specific. Others, like their wide-ranging Population Handbook try to provide the big picture.

    Here's how they describe their mission: "The Population Reference Bureau informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations. Read more

    PRB's Core Themes and Strategic Approaches

    We focus our work around four "core themes": Reproductive Health and Fertility; Children and Families; Population and the Environment; and Population Futures—Aging, Inequality and Poverty, Migration and Urbanization, and Gender. We also emphasize two Strategic Approaches: Building Coalitions and Mobilizing Civil Society.

    Reproductive Health and Fertility
    Children & Families
    Population and the Environment
    Population Futures
    Strategic Approaches

    PRB's work is funded by private foundations, government agencies, and individual donors, and we frequently collaborate with other nonprofit organizations and universities."

    Especially useful is their DataFinder option, which allows you to search for specific types of data on specific countries and regions. "DataFinder contains data on 136 population, health, and environment variables for more than 220 countries, 28 world regions and sub-regions, and the world as a whole." By selecting a country and then selecting "all variables" in the different categories, you can build a tabular report of the PRB's available demography data on that nation.

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

    Database Use Tip: Non-English Language Newspapers in LexisNexis Academic

    In addition to full-text coverage of major U.S. domestic and international (English language) newspapers, LexisNexis Academic also includes non-english language news sources for Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Titles include: Le Figaro (1997 - present); Le Monde (2006 - present); Der Spiegel (1999 - present); Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (1993 - present); Die Welt (2003 - present); El Pais (Spain, 1996 - present); El Universal (Mexico, 2002 - present); and La Nacion (Argentina, 2002 - present).

    Go to the Guided News Search, choose 'Non-English Language News,' and then select from the list of languages. Click on 'Source List' to see a list of included titles for each language. When searching, ignore all accents marks and diacritics, with the exception of German, which requires the addition of an "e" to vowels with umlauts.

    [FIND LexisNexis Academic on the "Databases by Subject" List, under Business and Management, Social Sciences, and General Resources. Lexis is the first option on the General Resources list.]