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.