Monday, August 31, 2009

New Database: LitFinder

By way of a new Boston Region (BRLS) contract, Sawyer Library is happy to add several new databases. One that will come in handy for literature researchers is LitFinder, a Gale InfoTrac database that indexes and reproduces literary "primary sources." That is, LitFinder is a database that provides "access to more than 135,000 full-text poems, stories, plays and more."

Although we have many databases that provide descriptive and critical materials about works of literature--see, for example, the many listed on our Literature, Arts and Humanities database list--this is the first one that actually gives you the literary works themselves.

Let's say I'd like to find a few of the poems that Emily Dickinson wrote about death and dying. I might go to LitFinder and do a simple search for Emily Dickinson and Death in the search box.

The initial results page will list eight "Topic & Work Overviews." These are short descriptive and critical entries. They give some background on a particular poem and may quote a few lines from a major literary scholar about what the poem is about or why it works or doesn't. At the bottom of one of these Work Overview pages, you will often link to a reproduction of the poem itself.

But if it's the poetry you want. Look at the tabs above the initial results and click, instead, on the one for "Primary Sources & Literary Works." Here you will find citations (and, in most cases full-text) to many of Dickinson's works that mention death. (And there are lots!)

The text will be presented in most cases. And it you look at the top of the entry, there is even a an icon and link for a ReadSpeaker function

that will read aloud (albeit in a slightly robotic voice) the text of the work.

Regarding the availability of full-text sources: Keep in mind that works in the "public domain" (that is, where copyright has expired) are more likely to be reproduced in LitFinder than contemporary works. For more modern writers, you may find, at best, only a citation to a story or poem in an anthology. You would then have to check our online catalog to see if we actually own the book being referred to. If I search, for example, for Jhumpa Lahiri, I get only a short biographical note and absolutely no citations or reproductions to her works. However, if I want Susan Glaspell's 1917 short story, "A Jury of Her Peers," I will find it reproduced here.

So, although this database can be very useful in finding works from authors from the World War I period or earlier, it will not be particularly useful for late 20th or early 21st century authors.

If you'd like more information on this database, Gale has created a Search Tips Word Document, as well as a Guided Tour in PowerPoint Slides.

[FIND LitFinder on our "Databases by Subject" List on the second column of our "Literature, Arts and Humanities" list.]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Database Alert: GMID Requires Individual Login

8/28/09 UPDATE: I am VERY happy to say that Euromonitor has reconsidered their actions for academic clients. You will no longer HAVE to set up a personal login to use GMID on campus or through our proxy server off-campus. If you wish to set up the account, you may.

The company claims that "personalizing" will provide added functionality, which includes the option to

Create your own customised email alert: By selecting the categories and geographies you are interested in, you will receive an e-alert keeping you up to date with the latest developments.

Sign up to our RSS News feed: Receive timely updates on new content viewable via iGoogle, Outlook etc. from your customised content.

Create a My Home Page: View all your customised content in one place, along with your latest saved searches.

Create Saved Research: Save your research and queries if you are in a hurry and need to access them later or to share with your colleagues.

If you wish to create an account, look for the below graphic
On the GMID (after the license agreement) frontpage.

Meanwhile, I congratulate the company for their decision. And this librarian considers it one small victory for "intellectual freedom."


A few users have been concerned and confused when they've tried to access Euromonitor's Global Market Information Database (GMID) through the Sawyer Library links recently. Unfortunately, in an obstructionist Big Brother move, the company now requires (even on an educational account) that each individual user must have their own account to use the database. Therefore, if you try to access the database you will likely first see a screen like this:

Look for the orange link in the bottom left that instructs that "New Users Register Here." You will then be directed to a page that looks like this:

Most of the registration is straight-forward. The form wants a salutation (Ms. Mr., etc), Name, Course, Department as well as location information like City, Country, and Region. Although it's more than a little odd to set your region AFTER you've entered your country, as there is no USA in Australasia, or any other region than North America, as far as I know. (But maybe that field in the form is a geography quiz.)

Unfortunately, Telephone is a required field, but it is outrageous that an information vendor that Sawyer Library contracts with should have your personal phone, so be creative, or use the general Suffolk switchboard number, which is 617-573-8000.

Other aspects of the instructions to the left are either unclear or incorrect, as well. It says, for example, to use your "business email address only" when registering. However, if you work for a company--as many of our students do--you should, in fact, NOT use your work email. You must use your SUFFOLK email to register, as Euromonitor wants to link the individual user to the subscription provider. The text also says that "if you click remember my details the next time you log in, you will not need to enter your email address and password again." Although this will work on your personal computer, it will not work if you do your research in the library as our machines wipe out cookies and other clutter every time they reboot. This means that although you will not have to do the full registration a second time, you will have to login (in the blue circle, with your Suffolk email and password) every time you enter the database again. So, remember your password and/or keep the email that Euromonitor will send you acknowledging your registration.

We apologize for the extra bureaucracy related to this useful marketing and demographic database, but this regrettable policy was set by the publisher and not by Sawyer Library.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Database: Tax Analysts Web Services

The Mildred F. Sawyer Library has added a high-quality database for tax researchers. Tax Analysts Web Services offers access to the following materials:

Tax Notes Today (TNT)- The well-known TNT contains daily federal news and tax-related documents dating back to 1987. The news include events in Congress, the IRS, and the courts. Supporting documents include legislation, court opinions, IRS rulings, press releases, regulations, and more. TNT also provides a federal Commentary & Analysis section that offers analysis by economic experts on the Tax Analysts staff.

Federal Research Library -A comprehensive federal tax resource that includes essential primary source materials from the IRS and Treasury, including:

  • Internal Revenue Code and explanations
  • Regulations & Treasury Decisions
  • IRS Documents- rulings, procedures, announcements, notices, etc.

  • Internal Revenue Manual

  • Within this library are the following additional groupings:

    -The Chief Counsel Advice Library (CCA) offers letter rulings, technical advice, field service advice, legal memorandums, Chief Counsel Notices, Information Letters and other forms of IRS guidance.

    -The Court Opinions Library holds more than 100,000 full-text opinions and summaries of tax cases from the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court, bankruptcy courts, federal appellate courts, and federal district courts.

    -Tax Legislation Library - provides full-text of federal tax legislation, including bills and public laws, as well as legislative histories which offer full-texts of House and Senate Reports. Also, includes the outstanding Congressional Research Service Reports.

    State Tax Today (STT)- provides daily news and tax-related documents that affect the states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. It includes information from state governments, state revenue departments, state courts, and state legislatures, plus activities of multistate organizations and federal or international changes that influence state tax policy. STT also provides a Commentary & Analysis section that offers analysis by experts on the Tax Analysts staff. STT news coverage and supporting documents date back to 1992.

    Worldwide Tax Daily Worldwide Tax Daily (WTD)- provides daily news and tax-related documents from over 180 countries and multinational organizations, including U.S. federal information concerning international tax issues. WTD also provides a Commentary & Analysis section that offers analysis by experts on the Tax Analysts staff.

    Worldwide Tax Treaties -includes over 3,500 tax treaties and similar documents from over 180 jurisdictions. Treaties concern taxes on income and capital as well as estate and gift taxes, model tax treaties, and more. Includes in-force, pending, and terminated treaties. Documents date back to 1828. Allows comparison of different income tax treaties.

    Tax researchers may also utilize the Sawyer Library's access to Lexis/Nexis Academic for tax information. Choose the "Legal tab," then select "Tax Law" from the left column to search tax journals, state and federal tax cases, treasury regulations, the Internal Revenue Code, Cumulative Bulletin, and more.

    Make selections from the drop-down menu before searching:

  • Department of Labor ERISA Opinion Letters
  • Federal Courts Tax Cases
  • Internal Revenue Code
  • IRS Cumulative Bulletin and Internal Revenue Bulletin
  • IRS General Counsel Memos, Actions on Decisions, & Technical Memos
  • IRS Private Letter Rulings and Technical Advice Memoranda
  • State Courts Tax Cases
  • Tax Law Review Articles, Combined
  • Treasury Regulations - Final, Temporary, and Proposed

  • [FIND Tax Analysts Web Services on our "Databases by Subject" List on the first column of our "Business and Management" list.]