Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Staff Notes: Comings and Goings

Newbie Lindsey (Left) gets the Eve/Weekend scoop from retiring veteran, Barbara Mann.

Sorry, Shakespeare. There is nothing sweet about the sorrow of parting. It stinks. Period. The only glimmer of comfort in saying goodbye to a beloved colleague is that it might mean that you get to incorporate a new, fabulous colleague into your work team.

That's the situation the Reference Staff is facing at the moment. We are VERY sorry to announce the retirement of our friend, Barbara Mann (right, above) from her post as Evening/Weekend Senior Reference Librarian. But we are excited to announce that Lindsey Nichols has just joined the Reference Team in the same position.

What will the dedicated and unflappable Barbara NOT miss about working here on nights and weekends? She'll be happy to no longer have to "set an alarm clock." And having to eat at "odd" times was not a plus of the job, either. She will definitely not miss fixing staplers and printers. (You might ask why an information professional has to fix staplers and printers--but if you ask that question, you have never worked at a university library!) Having to trudge home at night in cold, snowy, icy conditions was also not on Barbara's list of favorite things to do.

Still, she will, she says, really miss her co-workers and the students and faculty she has worked with here since 2003.

On the bright side, I'd like to introduce you to our our new Evening and Weekend Librarian, Lindsey Nichols. Lindsey is experienced with the challenges (or should I say vagaries) of working nights and weekends alone at Reference, as she comes to us after juggling similar part-time jobs at both Emerson and Fisher here in Boston.

I asked her to identify five surprising things that we should know about her. Here is her list:

1. She is training to run a 31 mile (50k) race by mid-November; her longest training run to date covered 28 miles.

2. She once adopted a stray Jackahuahua from an animal shelter in El Paso. Thirteen years later, the dog is still chasing squirrels around the park.

3. She is an avid birder and can tell you interesting things about woodpecker's skulls, drunken cedar waxwings, and the extinct giant flightless moas of New Zealand.

4. She lived abroad - in the Middle East and Southeast Asia - until she was 17.

5. She once made a lovely batch of butter by pouring whipping cream into a cocktail shaker.

A fascinating young woman, indeed. We welcome her and wish her well with the printers and staplers. Stop in and say hello, when you get the chance!

To Barbara we say ¡vaya con dios! and enjoy throwing out your alarm and eating those regularly scheduled meals. May they all be delicious ones.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather

Photograph from the Entry on Tornadoes.
Near Hodges, Texas, in the early evening hours of 13 May 1989.

Tornadoes recently ripping through Alabama, Missouri...and last week, even central and western Massachusetts--That's just one example of the type of meteorological event (droughts, floods, etc.) that we see and read about in the news constantly.

Severe weather seems to be on the increase, and trying to get an understanding of basic concepts and their whys and wherefores can sometimes be difficult. It's useful to be able to consult a resource that provides a solid, clearly written overview of a topic, but which comes from a respected and reliable publisher. For matters related to climatic and weather subjects, we have just added a new eEncyclopedia that might prove useful. It is the second (2011) edition of Oxford University Press's Encyclopedia of Climate & Weather.

The encyclopedia claims to provide "a comprehensive history" of the topic with over 330 entries, many added, revised or updated since the original edition was published in 1996. Over 300 photographs, maps and charts help to illustrate concepts discussed. This online version is the equivalent of a three volume set. And the encyclopedia provides everything from discussions of scientific concepts to biographies of major contributors to the field. Even the politics and economics of climate are covered in entries like those on the Kyoto Protocol and tradable permits.

Skip the unreliable and poorly documented information in sources like Wikipedia. If you want some quick background on a topic, use one of our excellent and authoritative electronic encyclopedias. The Encyclopedia of Climate and Weather is just one example of what is in our Oxford Reference Online Premium (OROP) database. And OROP is just one of several platforms we provide for electronic reference. See others on our list of "E-Book Databases."