Friday, April 23, 2010

Recurring Reference Questions: How Do I Get Harvard Business Review Articles?

The details of the question vary slightly. It might be "My teacher wants me to read this particular do I find it?" or "My professor says my paper must include at least one article on the topic from Harvard Business Review (HBR), how do I do that?" but we definitely get a lot of reference questions about how to locate articles in this very well known scholarly business journal.

Occasionally, misguided students (or faculty) who are used to Googling for everything--always a dangerous proposition!--end up at the website for the HBR and think they need to buy access to articles. If you are a current student or faculty member at Suffolk, there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO DO THIS! We at Sawyer Library subscribe to the definitive Business Source Complete (BSC) database, which includes HBR back to 1922, and pay an extra hefty fee besides, to ensure that our community has full research and classroom use of this essential journal.

So, let's review how to access the HBR and find things in it. As with most things, more than one approach will work. First, checking for the title (of the journal, not the article) in the online catalog, is always a valid starting point. The catalog record will tell you ALL your access options, including paper and microform.

Still, most people want online! So here are a couple of easy ways to go for electronic access. Since I have already told you that HBR is in BSC, you could go directly to Business Source Complete, and when you get to the opening search screen, you can enter author, article title or topic keywords (using your boolean operator and in between) and put the term harvard business review in the publication box below and slightly to the right. Here is an illustration:

But often the easiest approach to identifying, searching, and retrieving materials in an electronic journal, starts with our library homepage. Look for the eJournals search tab in the "Search Library Resources" box. Put in your title. (And, remember, hbr is an abbreviation, so you must spell out harvard business review, although there is no need to capitalize letters.)

When you hit enter or click the arrow, our Serials Solutions service will check for the journal and tell you that although HBR is available in several databases, only BSC has both the older issues and the current ones. Click the link for Business Source Complete and you will go to a database page detailing that journal. If you have a citation (year, volume, issue, pagination), you can, if you like, simply click the year, then issue, then article that you want. (This will get you there, but often takes a bit of clicking and browsing.) I prefer--whether I am looking for a topic or a specific article--to click the link for Search within this publication above the "All Issues" list of years. This sets up a base search for Harvard Business Review as a journal. You would then add keywords to search for a specific article or topic.

For example, let's say your professor says that you must read the article "Transforming Giants" by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. After we click the "Search within this publication" link we can add and transforming giants and kanter to the search box to perform a boolean operation to add these additional concepts. The database then identifies the one article in HBR that also contains the phrase transforming giants and the word kanter. See:

This is a relatively quick and easy way to find an article. And a similar technique could be used to search for keywords of your choosing that appear in the journal. And, of course, you can use this method with just about any journal that you verify through the eJournal Locator. Although the screen will vary from database to database, almost all links in the eJournal Locator will take you to a screen that provides an option for searching within that particular journal for additional keyword concepts.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Link of the Week: The Economic Census

Most people are familiar with the U.S. Census, which is supposed to count every U.S. resident and is conducted every 10 years. (2010 is a census year - so if you have not returned your census form yet, here is what your community stands to gain by having a high participation rate.)

However, the Census Bureau also conducts an Economic Census. This is done every 5 years, the most recent one being from 2007. The data collected provides a detailed snapshot of the U.S. economy, by counting the number of establishments nationwide, their sales, their annual payroll, and the number of their employees. The Census Bureau then assigns each establishment to a specific industry, according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The 2007 NAICS is comprised of 1,175 industries grouped into 20 sectors, and by means of the Economic Census, these industries can in turn be viewed from the national to the local level.

Why would someone who is not a government official be interested in such things? The statistics can provide a tool to identifying business markets and competition. Comparing changes from one census to the next can illustrate trends in industries by location (or for that matter, trends in different locations by industry).

It takes some time before the Economic Census data is compiled and released. This is done in stages, and the bulk of the data sets are available 2-3 years after the census is conducted.

Not surprisingly, finding and using the data effectively can be a challenge, but there are tools available to help.

One is a reference book held by the Sawyer Library: Industry Research Using the Economic Census : How to Find It, How to Use It, by Jennifer C. Boettcher and Leonard M. Gaines.

Other tools come from the Census Bureau itself, which has posted a User Guide and instruction materials (Power Point slides and handouts) from conference lectures held around the country. The instruction materials and included exercises are especially helpful, since they provide an insight into the types of queries the Economic Census can answer.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Database: LGBT Life with Full Text

Interested in Queer Studies/Queer Theory as a scholarly field? Or are you simply interested in reading about the lives and concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and intersex people, as represented by the writings of these communities? Then you will want to make use of a new database Sawyer Library has added called LGBT Life with Full Text.

Ebsco, the publisher, calls LGBT Life with Full Text "the definitive index to the world's literature regarding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues." With its mix of activist and scholarly literature, it is certainly the most extensive resource that I have seen in this multifaceted subject area.

The database contains indexing and abstracts--in the familiar EbscoHost interface--for more than 140 LGBT-specific core periodicals and over 290 LGBT-specific core books and reference works. Ebsco has also gone after "data mined from nearly 40 priority periodicals and over 2,400 select titles." With the assistance of the One National Gay & Lesbian Archives, the publisher was able to index (and in some cases reproduce) many materials that show the progression of gay rights in this country, and beyond. The Lesbian Herstory Archives of the Lesbian Herstory Education Foundation is also assisting Ebsco in further developing content for the database, which is clearly a work in progress.

Scholarly materials and research studies can be found here. So, too, you will find an abundance of popular, cultural and political publications like The Advocate and Lesbian News. In addition, other source-types such as monographs and reference book entries as well as grey literature, newsletters, case studies, and speeches are identified or reproduced. LGBT Life has also loaded some 50,000 bibliographic records from NISC’s Sexual Diversity Studies (SDS) .

The database now includes more than 120 Full-Text Journals and more than 140 Full-Text monographs and books. And more additions are planned. I was happy to see that Bay Windows, New England's "largest GLBT newspaper," is indexed and available full-text here. But although a Gay Community News is also available in the database, it is not the well-remembered "GCN" published here in Boston from the early '70s to the early '90s, but rather a publication of the same name still being published in Dublin, Ireland! All the better to expand our global understanding of gay topics and issues, perhaps.

For more information on what is indexed or available full-text in the database, take a look at this title list from Ebsco.

The file also includes a LGBT Thesaurus providing a specialized set of LGBT terms, used to enhance the indexing beyond what is found in standard (Library of Congress based) subject headings. The LGBT Thesaurus will be an evolving project, with new terms added as needed. Currently, the thesaurus includes over 6,400 terms. It's great that Ebsco is trying to expand the vocabulary for the database. But I must admit that I am currently disappointed in the number of subject terms and the amount of abstract information available in many of the records here.

Still, it is impressive that much of the indexing and some of the full-text goes back as far as the 1950's; well before the Stonewall Riots and the designated birth of the gay liberation movement in 1969. And speaking of Stonewall, the types of community remembrances and debates that you can find on a modern "historical" subject like this one make it clear how valuable this database can be in supplementing and expanding the materials you might be able to find in more familiar databases.

Obviously, it could be worthwhile exploring current events topics like the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy here. But, heck, it's even fun to take a general pop culture subject like Dolly Parton for a spin through a fascinating resource like LGBT Life with Full Text!

[FIND LGBT Life with Full Text on the "Databases by Subject" List for Social Sciences, on the second column. ]