Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Notable E-Book: Popular Controversies in World History

Sometimes, it is tempting to think of history as a static and set and agreed upon.  But nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.  Our perceptions of the past are constantly changing and on many (many) topics, historians and the general public continue to debate "what happened" decades, even centuries, after events played out.

We've just added a new eReference set that makes for a fun browse because it gathers together scores of those historical debates in one place.

Popular Controversies in World History : Investigating History's Intriguing Questions, edited by Steven L. Danver, was published by ABC-CLIO, but we deliver it on our familiar Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) platform.  Here, you can easily search, browse, read and print 58 entry/chapters contained in all four volumes.

Here's how the publisher describes it: "Covering prehistoric times to the modern era, this fascinating resource presents pro-and-con arguments regarding unresolved, historic controversies throughout the development of the world. Did ancient Egyptians really use slaves to construct the pyramids? Could Charles Darwin have "borrowed" his idea of evolution from sociologist and philosopher Herbert Spencer? Was John F. Kennedy elected president only as a result of voter fraud committed by the Mafia? Researchers exploring the earliest eras of history have offered vigorous, plausible answers—both yes and no—for these and a number of other unresolved questions.

Popular Controversies in World History: Investigating History's Intriguing Questions offers uniquely compelling and educational examinations of pivotal events and puzzling phenomena, from the earliest evidence of human activity to controversial events of the 20th century.

From the geographic location of human origins, to the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, to the innocence—or guilt—of Sacco and Vanzetti, Popular Controversies in World History: Investigating History's Intriguing Questions provides four volumes on the ongoing debates that have captivated both the historical community and the public at large. In each chapter, established experts offer credible opposing arguments pertaining to specific debates, providing readers with resources for independent critical thinking on the issue. This format allows students, scholars, and other interested readers to actively engage in some of the most intriguing conundrums facing historians today."

A Choice review acknowledges that the set is "fun to use," and cites its "admirable number of non-Western topics. The essays are chapter-length, and all have an extensive bibliography."  And it should be noted that the provided "References and Further Reading" lists are important, since this set walks the line between general readership and academia.  So, if you were doing a paper on one of these topics, you would not want to rely on an entry as a sole or even major source.  The kind of reading you'd do here would just be a starting point for your research.

Popular Controversies in World History joins another paper series, History in Dispute, as good basic reference for historical controversies.  And if you are interested in more current matters of pro-con debate, please explore the many options offered in our LibGuide called Current Issues: Pro and Con.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Databases: PsycTHERAPY & PsycTESTS

With advanced degrees in Psychology here at Suffolk, it's no surprise that we try to add useful, professional-grade online resources to our offerings.  We've recently added two databases produced by the American Psychological Association (APA).

A press-release describes the first this way: "PsycTHERAPY is a database of therapy demonstration videos specifically developed to enable viewers to observe how therapists spontaneously employ different approaches and techniques in practice. At launch, PsycTHERAPY’s more than 300 videos provide illustrative examples from nearly 100 of the most renowned therapists in North America at work with participants (including individuals, couples, and families) via different approaches with persons facing an array of psychological challenges. Specific clinical topics and challenges (more than 200 in total) featured in videos include many of the main issues dealt with in psychotherapy and counseling, including addiction, anxiety, depression, divorce, and health and relationship problems. The database reflects the full breadth of clinical practice in the variety of approaches and topics represented in its content. Additional content is scheduled to be added to PsycTHERAPY on a biannual basis.

PsycTHERAPY is searchable in multiple ways. To ensure the most precise searching, each video is coded with index terms and metadata about the participants, the session content, and therapeutic approaches demonstrated. In addition, each video in PsycTHERAPY has a synchronized transcript, highlighting the content being spoken; users can skip to a desired section of the video by clicking on the corresponding text in the transcript."

For a Monitor on Psychology article about PsycTHERAPY , see this link.  And for a tutorial on browsing the database effectively, click here.

By the way, I should warn users that because we run our databases through our proxy server (causing a mismatch in the APA's URLs) you may well get an unsettling warning when you try to access PsycTHERAPY that looks something like this:

Just click past it and don't be alarmed.  We are trying to get this issue addressed, but it is not a real security threat.  (For more on this odd occurrence, see this earlier blog entry.)  You will also have to accept a "Disclaimer" agreement before accessing the database.  This is also a benign step.

We've also added another APA file, but put it on the more familiar EBSCOhost platform.  PsycTESTS  joins our long-standing psychological test database, Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print  as a key tool for identifying valid testing instruments.  APA describes PsycTESTS as "a simple yet comprehensive solution for libraries and their patrons looking for access to test content. PsycTESTS will be updated monthly and includes more than 2,200 indexed test records, with more than 1,500 ready-to-use instruments."  And that last phrase is the key.  Unlike files that only identify useful measures, PsycTESTS actually provides access to selected tests.

To read a Library Journal review of PsycTESTS (which looked at the clunkier PsycNET version), click here.  Although not uncritical, the review concludes that PsycTESTS is "a small but focused database that fills a specific information need."

And for an interesting tutorial on tracking the reliability and validity of the available instruments using the EBSCOhost version, see this YouTube video.

[Find PsycTHERAPY and PsycTESTS on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for the Social Sciences.]

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Database: Mergent Intellect

This particular new database, useful for many B-School folks, is less a "new" database, than a rebranding--and a work in progress, at that!

At the start of 2012, Mergent (from whom we already got a financials-rich database called MergentOnline) became "the exclusive provider of D&B Library Solutions" like the benchmark product Key Business Ratios, Hoover's Academic and the industry information database, First Research.  Unfortunately, the transition has not been a completely smooth one.  First Research requires clicking far too many buttons before doing a search, and the old Hoover's platform never worked through our proxy server after the Mergent takeover.

That's why we have switched over to a new Mergent-branded database called Mergent Intellect--which is, essentially, a beefed-up version of Hoover's.

A company press release before the launch of Mergent Intellect claimed it was "a new web-based product. Mergent Intellect is highly flexible and features a deep collection of worldwide business information that enables companies to generate new insightful business intelligence. Powered by Mergent’s expertise in developing products for the reference marketplace with D&B/Hoover’s 85 million+ private company database, Mergent Intellect offers new and existing clients a unique opportunity to access private and public U.S. and international business data, industry news (First Research), facts and figures, company and executive contact information and much more."

That may be.  But, as I've indicated, this is basically a re-vamped Hoover's.  (Still, the important thing for Sawyer Library is that the new file actually works...even though operations tend to be slow!)  Many users will want to use this resource the same way they did Hoover's, to get a good overview of a company.  And although the database does include basic information for many private and international firms, it is strongest in providing info on U.S. public companies.

If you look up a public company, it is worth moving the radio button on the opening screen from "Both" to "Public" as you are more likely to pull up just your company and not a long list of poor matches.  Once on the initial company screen, note the options in the dark blue border above the "Key Information."  And whatever page you are on, you'll want to pay attention to the additional options in the lighter blue left frame.  When I look up Target, as an example, the useful links for Company History and a Competitors List are links to the left of the opening landing page.

The Company History is fairly straightforward (and valuable!), but although the competitors list is worthwhile (since each listed name is an active link that allows you to explore the other company), the initial display--at least on the searches I did--lists all the financial values on the competitors table at $0--which isn't exactly useful as a quick financial snapshot for comparing the companies!

Likewise, if you explore the top frame options, you'll probably have to explore a left-frame secondary choice on the next page for more and better information.  The initial "Industry Details" screen looks quite insignificant, as it only lists major segment categories as words. But if you actually go to the SIC codes from the left frame, and click an appropriate link, the database will transfer you over to its industry report partner, First Research and perform an industry search for that code.

You can export your reports, mailing lists, etc. to Microsoft Excel, Word or Adobe Acrobat, as well as print.  Look for icon links to the upper right.

And as an added option for those who want it,  there's a link in the top frame to a white pages ("Residential Search") database that will identify someone by name, provide an address and phone number, and even map their location.  (Privacy alert!)  Of this, Mergent says: "Through WhitePages Pro, Mergent Intellect will now include immediate access to contact information for 90 percent of U.S. households, including name, address, age, household members, and previous address, as well as offer reverse phone lookup capabilities."

Mergent Intellect is, frankly, not as smart or as user-friendly as it ought to be.  And we have been trying to get "user guide" information from the company for some time, but to no avail.  Hopefully, it will improve as it ages.  For now, those looking for what used to be Hoover's (who don't want to hunt down those profiles in LexisNexis Academic or ABI/INFORM Complete--where they can also be found) will likely find this database worth exploring.

[Find Mergent Intellect on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for Business & Management.]

Saturday, October 6, 2012

New Database: Computers & Applied Sciences Complete

Computers and related technologies are a part of all aspects of life and culture, from corporate systems to digital art to educational aids to medical diagnosis to social media to rock music production.  Suffolk classes from both the B-School and the College of Arts & Sciences all touch on countless topics related to new technologies.

Therefore, we have added a full spectrum database called Computers & Applied Sciences Complete (CASC) from EBSCOhost.  It "covers the research and development spectrum of the computing and applied sciences disciplines. It contains collected knowledge on traditional engineering challenges & research, and is a resource for research concerning the business and social implications of new technology." CASC provides indexing and abstracts for more than 2,200 academic journals, professional publications, and other diverse reference sources. Although a newish database, indexing covers the 1960s to present, with a few titles indexed as far back as 1956. The Charleston Advisor (a library journal) concluded that "EBSCO has thoroughly covered the field."

Full-text is available for more than 1,020 periodicals. And because we have useful publisher and society full-text aggregates like Wiley Online Library, ScienceDirect, SpringerLink , IEEE Digital Library and ACM Digital Library, CASC can link out to thousands and thousands of articles and documents that are not inherently full-text in this particular file.

Searching is easy, as it is with all EBSCOhost databases.  Start with a keyword search and then refine from the left frame.  Or explore subject terms assigned to the best articles.

Subject areas include the many engineering disciplines, computer theory & systems, new technologies, and social & professional contexts of technology. Research is aided by the inclusion of searchable cited references for key journals, too.

We expect this database to be a valuable addition for all manner of Suffolk students and faculty.

 [Find Computers & Applied Sciences Complete on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database Lists for Business & Management as well as Sciences.]

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Database: MLA International Bibliography

In an attempt to provide the best possible professional-level resources for literature and related subjects, we made a database switch this summer.  We removed Literary Reference Center Plus from our roster of online files, and substituted the well-known MLA International Bibliography.  Although this database has no full-text content on its own, it is considered a premier index.  And since we are getting the MLA International Bibliography via EBSCOhost, we will be able to link many of the citations researchers will find to the complete articles they'll want.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) claims their product is "the most comprehensive listing of scholarly material in language, literature, culture, and folklore."

It is certainly a detailed bibliography of journal articles, books and dissertations and because it was converted from a paper bibliography going back almost a hundred years, citations date back to the 1920s and total 2.3 million references.  The MLA International Bibliography indexes than 4,400 journals & series, and 1,000 book publishers.

Coverage is international in scope and includes almost 60 selected titles from JSTOR's language and literature (deep backfile) collections, all of which link as full-text.

MLA International Bibliography also contains nearly 11,000 subject names and terms. Subjects consist of literature, language and linguistics, folklore, literary theory & criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing. Listings on rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature are also included.

In addition to the bibliography, the database includes the MLA Directory of Periodicals; the association's proprietary thesaurus used to assign descriptors to each record in the bibliography; and a proprietary, searchable directory of noted authors' names, with links to brief descriptive notes.

The MLA International Bibliography works perfectly well just doing a simple keyword or field search from the landing page.  Howeve, if you wish to explore the the indexes, just click the "More" link in the top blue border.  If I browse the index of "Literary Technique," for example, for the word iambic, I am offered several options, including "iambic meter," "iambic pentameter," "iambic tetrameter" and "iambic trimeter" with an indication of the records count for each index term.

The other complimentary add-on is The MLA Directory of Periodicals (which is also a link in the top border). Although most researchers won't need it,  it does provide useful facts about journals indexed, including information for potential contributing authors--like submission requirements and details (like time between submission and publication decision).

Remember, MLA International Bibliography is not inherently a full-text database, but you will find lots of full-text provided.

We hope that students and faculty in the English and Humanities & Modern Languages departments--and anyone studying international culture--will find this a vaulable database to consult.

  [Find MLA International Bibliography on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for Literature, Arts & Humanities.]

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Database: Nursing Resource Center

We have several options for finding useful medical information. These include MEDLINE with Full Text, Health Reference Center Academic, the more consumer-oriented Health and Wellness Resource Center and several other databases and reference resources listed on our Sciences Database list and our Medicine and Radiation Therapy Resource Guide.

Now, thanks to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Mass Library System, we have access to one more--a database specific to the support of nursing students and professionals--called Nursing Resource Center.

Either click on or search specific drugs or diseases in the right search boxes (indicated the screenshot above) or do a simple keyword search in the Basic Search box in the yellow area to the left.

The default results will usually link you to "Diseases and Conditions" entries from a Gale medical encyclopedia or two. These would be useful to get a grounding in the topic and to learn some of the vocabulary used in discussions of that subject. But if you are supposed to use journal literature, click the separate tab for Journals. (See arrow in above screenshot.)

Reference book materials include a 2008 PDR Nurses Drug Handbook, Delmar texts like Foundations of Basic Nursing, and the Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health. There are drug monographs, medical illustrations, and even more than 200 nursing-related animations in the database, as well. For more on what's in the database and how to search effectively, take a look at this publisher webpage.

To be frank, this is NOT the best database we have for medical research. If you need scholarly journal literature related to medicine or psychiatry, I would recommend MEDLINE with Full Text as your best option. This exhaustive database indexes just about all medical journal literature and links you to all the publisher content that we have (just look for the 360 link green dot below results entries). And if you want more readable content for personal information, the user-friendly Health and Wellness Resource Center might be your best bet.

But if you do have an interest in nursing information specifically, then this database provided by the Commonwealth is worth exploring.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sally Ride

Did You Know...that the late astronaut Sally Ride was the first American woman in space? She was also the only astronaut chosen for President Reagan's Rogers Commission to investigate the Space Shuttle Challenger accident.

Sally Ride (foreground) and life partner Tam O'Shaugnessy. Photo: American Library Association and AP News, 2008.

Later in life, Sally Ride helmed various projects and organizations designed to increase the public's awareness of and interest in science and space exploration. After a stint as professor of physics at University of California, San Diego, Ride became President of CalSpace; joined the board of directors for Space.com; founded the NASA-affiliated EarthKAM earth-from-space photography project; and eventually started Sally Ride Science. The latter is an organization devoted to supporting young womens' interests in science, math, engineering, and technology.

To read more about the life and times of Sally Ride (born May 26, 1951 and died July 24th, 2012), please see her online full-text biography in our Sawyer database, Biography in Context.

Notable E-Books:

- Leaving earth [electronic resource] : space stations, rival superpowers, and the quest for interplanetary travel, by Robert Zimmerman.

- A dictionary of space exploration [electronic resource], edited by E. Julius Dasch.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Database: Business Insights: Essentials

We are fortunate enough to get access to several additional databases through the MBLC & MLS with Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Federal funding. The majority of these come from Gale/Cengage. And these include electronic resources like the useful Academic OneFile. This summer, there are some database changes. One is a switch from a database called Business & Company Resource Center (which is no longer available) to one called Business Insights: Essentials (BIE).

BIE is a brand new database. So much so that one of the few web sheets about the file still says "coming soon!" It is designed to be a multi-purpose database that provides a variety of company- and industry-specific resources. According to the publisher, the file allows users to:

• Easily research companies, industries and business topics in the context of timely news and reports
• Instantly analyze and compare financial and statistical data with interactive charting tools
• Utilize data from Gale staple publications, including International Directory of Company Histories, Market Share Reporter, Business Rankings Annual, Encyclopedia of American Industries and many others
• Access company profiles and industry rankings, as well as brand and product information
• Access SWOT reports, financial analysis tools, business associations, investment reports and market research reports.

Although you can select certain options from the dark gray bar near the top of the landing page, that isn't necessarily the best approach. For example, if you click "Industries" you don't get an industry search page, but rather over 1100 listed industries in an alphabetical list. So, it is easier to either type in a basic search in the opening screen or click the Advanced Search option just beneath the orange search button. A basic search isn't a bad starting point.

Like Ebsco's excellent Business Source Complete, it easy to sort and limit your results (as in the above, too large--over 137,000 results!--search for footwear) using the refining options in the left frame.

The many materials featured in the database include:

• More than 2 million investment research/brokerage reports
• Thousands of detailed financial reports (including fundamentals data and comparison tools)
• More than 2,500 market research reports
• More than 3,900 full-text periodicals
• More than 1,000 SWOT reports (updated quarterly)
• Nearly 25,000 industry reports
• Nearly 11,000 company histories
• Approximately 43,400 Market Share articles
• More than 65,000 articles from Gale’s Business Rankings Annual
• Nearly 2,300 corporate chronologies
• More than 2,000 additional reference articles published by Gale

One of the nifty tools you can access is one that allows you to compare companies or industries. (Click "Comparison Charts" on the right of the dark gray menu bar.) If you are doing company comparisons, the trick may be picking the right parent firm from the suggestions offered. For better results, use the ticker symbol instead of word name in the search box. Here's an example of a comparison between Nike and Skechers. I can change the point of comparison, add or remove companies, change the display option, and print or save in a variety of file formats. (Each dot on the chart is a data point.)

For training videos from the publisher, please see:

So here is another business research tool to explore! We hope you find it useful.

[Find Business Insights: Essentials on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for Business & Management.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Note to Faculty: Harvard Business Review for Course Work

As you may already know, one of the crown jewels of Ebsco's top-of-the-line business database, Business Source Complete (BSC), is their complete run (back to 1922!) of the Harvard Business Review (HBR), one of the most important business journals ever published. A mix of the popular and practical with the highly academic, HBR is, indeed a valuable journal. That's why B-school professors are often interested in using articles from it for class readings.

Although HBR is in our database with full-text PDFs, you may have noticed the scary warning at the end of the articles that reads:

"Harvard Business Review Notice of Use Restrictions, May 2009Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact permissions@harvardbusiness.org."

Generally, when a library leases a database, the use of persistent links (or PURLs) in BlackBoard syllabi would be considered "fair use" at that institution. But Harvard likes to write its own rules, and Ebsco is going along with it.

Therefore, even linking to the database record for an HBR article is, according to Harvard, not an "intended" use of database content, and according to them, verboten unless specifically licensed. So, as a faculty member at Suffolk, you might think that you (or the Bookstore, if they were helping to prepare your CoursePack) might have to email Harvard or go through a process at the Copyright Clearance Center to be able to use HBR for class.

Au contraire! As it so happens, our previous library director contracted via Ebsco to also license something called "Harvard Business Review for Course Work." We pay a large (and I would term it exorbitant) additional annual fee to cover course-related use of HBR. Exactly what does this extra fee cover? Harvard (and Ebsco) have always refused to spell that out. Early in our acquisition process I spoke to a Harvard rep. on the phone and tried to pin down the details. He was evasive. So I finally said that as far as I was concerned "anything short of handing out hundreds of copies of articles to strangers at Park Street Station was covered." And he concurred.

So, if you would like to use HBR in class, PLEASE DO SO. Although, as I say, we have no specifics for this so-called license. However, our interpretation of what we get for the fee is everything warned against in the above statement. That is, you may use HBR articles for:
  • Electronic Reserves
  • Course Packs (prepared by you or by the SU Bookstore for Suffolk student use)
  • Persistent Linking to BSC/HBR Articles in Online Syllabi, Emails or BlackBoard Postings
  • Even making Multiple Photocopies from a PDF and handing them out in class!
    Keep in mind that this is ONLY for HBR. For most articles that you find in one of our online resources (either from the publisher or an aggregator like Ebsco) putting a stable proxyized link--one requiring a Suffolk IP or authentication of the user--on a reading list in your class BlackBoard account would be considered appropriate, but making multiple copies and handing them out or reprinting the article in a course pack would NOT.

    (We are not copyright attorneys here at the Library, but if you are interested in delving into the nature of "fair use," you might want to look through our LibGuide on the Ethical Use of Information.)

    We pay this very large fee to keep all Suffolk use of HBR covered, so please utilize this resource! Simply access the journal via links in our eJournal Locator or our Online Catalog, and identify the articles you want to use. Print them, download PDFs, or copy and paste the "Permalink" you can capture from a BSC record into your syllabus.

    Ignore the warnings at the end of articles and please do NOT pay additional fees at Harvard Publishing or at CCC for Suffolk use of HBR. (Alas, the fair thing would be for those warnings to not appear on our copies of HBR articles. And BSC Permalinks should only work for institutions that pay the extra fee, like us. Harvard Publishing and the CCC should also refuse to accept additional HBR fees from anyone affiliated with Suffolk. But the world is not a fair one, so it is important for you to remember that you are completely covered for all HBR use while you teach at Suffolk....and while we can continue to pay this fee.)

    If you want more information on PURL use in class readings, you might want to consult this general PURL guide and this one specific to BlackBoard.

    And happy reading in the Harvard Business Review!

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Summer Session is for the Birds!

    This fascinating 2010 book delves into the evolution of radically different nesting and parenting strategies in bird species ranging from Hummingbirds, to Hornbills, to Great Horned Owls. Many of the birds mentioned are at least seasonally present in New England; keep your eyes peeled for a "hanging cup" Oriole's nest.

    Heavily illustrated with photographs and schematics of different birds' nests, this slim 2011 volume emphasizes the artistry and problem-solving abilities of nesting birds.

    Recent science news publications suggest that some types of Tyrannosaurs were fully feathered and brightly colored, similarly to modern birds. Consult this 2011 eBrary book to learn more about the relationship between dinosaurs and modern birds.

    Bluejay or Bluebird? This 2012 Reference book helps you identify that beautiful feather you just found in the woods, or out in the parking lot. Enjoy your summer!

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Recent Readings On....Eating, the Brain, Obesity, and the Sugar Fix

    As the new controversy about Mayor Bloomberg's intent to ban super-sized soft drinks in NYC clearly indicates, American obesity--and what to do about it--is a sensitive issue. It is social. It is behavioral. And (as we now know), it is even a matter of neuroscience. Now, it is also entering the realm of a national policy dispute.

    Sawyer Library often collects books that can speak to matters of public debate as well as scholarly interest. Here are a few recently acquired titles that discuss various aspects of this complex subject:

    The American Way of Eating : Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table / Tracie McMillan
    is "an ambitious and accessible work of undercover journalism that fully investigates our food system to explain what keeps Americans from eating well--and what we can do about it."

    For a New York Times feature on the book, see this link.

    Diet, Brain, Behavior : Practical Implications / edited by Robin B. Kanarek and Harris R. Lieberman

    From a summary: "This title edited by Kanarek (psychology, Tufts U.) and Lieberman (a research psychologist in the Military Nutrition Division of the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) presents 14 chapters discussing practical and applied issues of nutritional neuroscience."

    This is not a pop book, with chapters like "Diet as an analgesic modality" and "The reward deficiency hypothesis : implications for obesity and other eating disorders"

    For a publisher page on the book, see this link.

    Debating Obesity : Critical Perspectives / edited by Emma Rich, Lee F. Monaghan, Lucy Aphramor

    This recent book "brings together critical perspectives on some of the recent claims associated with the obesity crisis. It develops both theoretical and conceptual arguments around the obesity debate, as well as taking a more practical focus in terms of implications for the health professions to outline an agenda for a 'critical weight studies.'

    Here's a publisher page on the book.

    Empty Pleasures : The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda / Carolyn de la Peña

    From a review in Choice: "De la Pena (American studies, Univ. of California, Davis) offers a well-cited, thought-provoking, and fascinating analysis of the sociological, psychological, political, and financial underpinnings of the promotion and use of artificial sweeteners in the US. From the perspectives of the pharmaceutical and advertising industries, food technologists/ manufacturers, government agencies, the American homemaker, nutritionists, and weight-loss experts, the book examines the history of the use of saccharin, cyclamates, aspartame, and sucralose..."

    For an author interview, see this link.

    And on a related topic, here's a volume in the "Smithsonian Contribution to Knowledge" series:

    Sweet Stuff : An American History of Sweeteners from Sugar to Sucralose / Deborah Jean Warner

    Library Journal said of this title: "Sugar and other sweeteners are so intrinsic to American life that their history is worth exploring. Warner tracks some of the major threads (science and technology, business and labor, politics) in her exhaustively researched book. The abundance of references offers an excellent starting point for further exploration, and archival images enhance the text."

    For a Smithsonian Fact Sheet on the book, click here.

    As Mayor Bloomberg argues, all the sugars in our American diet (and history) have consequences. That brings us to:

    XXL : Obesity and the Limits of Shame / Neil Seeman and Patrick Luciani
    A summary of the book states: "Obese individuals are twice as likely to experience heart failure as non-obese people. More than eighty-five per cent of type 2 diabetes sufferers are overweight. And in the United States, obese and overweight individuals make up more than two-thirds of the adult population. Public health organizations and governments have traditionally tried to combat obesity through shame-inducing policies, which assure people that they can easily lose weight by eating right and exercising. This generic approach has failed, as it does little to address the personal, genetic, and cultural challenges faced by obese individuals."

    Here's a publisher page on the book.

    Back to the realm of our brain and what it means to our eating behaviors, we also recently added:
    Neurogastronomy : How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why it Matters / Gordon M. Shepherd

    From the book's self description: "Leading neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd embarks on a paradigm-shifting trip through the "human brain flavor system," laying the foundations for a new scientific field: neurogastronomy. Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far more powerful and essential than previously believed. Shepherd begins Neurogastronomy with the mechanics of smell, particularly the way it stimulates the nose from the back of the mouth. As we eat, the brain conceptualizes smells as spatial patterns, and from these and the other senses it constructs the perception of flavor. Shepherd then considers the impact of the flavor system on contemporary social, behavioral, and medical issues."

    For a discussion of the book at Science Fare blog, click this link.

    Remember that you can always search for these and many more books in our online catalog (OPAC). And to browse a feed of other newly acquired books, see our LibGuide.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology: From Genome to Environment

    In honor of our R.S. Friedman Field Station, which studies marine life in the Pine Tree State, we do try to collect materials that might be useful to our researchers. And it seems especially important to purchase online resources that might be accessed as easily in Downeast Maine as Downtown Boston.

    We just added one such reference set. It is a high-quality and quite scholarly Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. Although the three volume set was published by Academic Press (Elsevier), we are hosting it on our familiar Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) platform.

    The publisher indicates that it is "the first ever Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology. It contains over 250 entries written by the world's foremost authorities on fish physiology with topic coverage from fish genomics through to behavior. Extensive entries in systems physiology are integrated with anatomy, the environment, and phylogentics to provide a comprehensive coverage of the field."

    It is designed to provide "entry level information for students and summary overviews for researchers alike. Broadly organised into four themes, articles cover Functional, Thematic, and Phylogenetic Physiology, and Fish Genomics. Functional articles address the traditional aspects of fish physiology that are common to all areas of vertebrate physiology including: Reproduction, Respiration, Neural (Sensory, Central, Effector), Endocrinology, Renal, Cardiovascular, Acid-base Balance, Osmoregulation, Ionoregulation, Digestion, Metabolism, Locomotion, and so on." Then the set continues with overview articles on many related topics, even including subjects like the effects of climate change on fish.

    Just click our link reach the encyclopedia. On the landing page, you can explore the Table of Contents or Index from gray tabs in the middle of the screen, or simply search key words in the search box to the left.

    When I do a search for hearing, I get a wide variety of articles, from "Sound Source Localization and Directional Hearing in Fishes" to "The Ear and Hearing in Sharks, Skates and Rays" to "Fish Bioacoustics" to "Psychoacoustics: What Fish Hear."

    The text is first presented in HTML, which you can translate, listen to, and work with in other ways. You can also download or print an entry in PDF form. (If you click a PDF option and don't like the way it displays, look for the Download button in the gray frame and open it in Adobe.)

    Like all good encyclopedias, "Further Reading" is suggested at the end of each authored entry. And every article is richly illustrated with photos, diagrams, charts and tables, as in this example:

    The review journal Choice was impressed. They called it "a major editorial accomplishment. Publication of this set involved the cooperation of more than 200 experts from 20 countries--a truly international collaboration."

    Choice went on to say that "the individual articles in each volume are concise, authoritative, and beautifully illustrated with color photographs and drawings. A practical advantage of this encyclopedia is that it brings everything together into three volumes, providing a comprehensive reference work."

    Those interested in Marine Biology and Animal Physiology will hopefully find this a reliable starting point for many research topics.