Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Interface for LexisNexis Academic to be released on Monday, December 23rd.

LexisNexis Academic, a provider of newspapers, company information, and legal information is planning on releasing a major overhaul to its interface on Monday, December 23, 2013.

To that end, LexisNexis has prepared a video tutorial, “Introduction to LexisNexis Academic,” to introduce the new interface.

This video is available on the LexisNexis Academic YouTube channel (

Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking for something to read, or for an idea to follow up on for a research topic? Have a look at some of the titles listed below, by Oliver W. Sacks.

Oliver Sacks, is a neurologist and research scientist, who tells wonderful (true) stories. The Sawyer Library owns several titles authored by Oliver Sacks. Several of his works are based on case studies of his patients. All of his works make for fascinating reading.

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales.

Seeing Voices : A Journey into the World of the Deaf

Musicophilia : Tales of Music and the Brain

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sawyer Library Hidden Treasure: Europe Since Versailles

This latest unburied 4th floor Sawyer Library gem, Europe Since Versailles, features political cartoons drawn by Sir David Low from the decades between World War I and World War II. During this time of shaky peace, Sir Low's caricatures lambasted world nations and their leaders as their political interactions frequently presaged being sucked into a second world war. So pointed were the critiques against Nazi "governance" in particular, that Adolf Hitler himself placed Sir David Low on a list of people to be rounded up after Germany's conquest over England (Streicher, 6). Fortunately for Low, England never fell to Germany, and he continued designing scathing editorial cartoons, thumbing his nose at Hitler's apoplectic rage. 

In this reprinted edition of Sir David Low's works, Lawrence Streicher has added an introduction, epilogue, and partial bibliography of Low's collected works. Frequent characters in Low's satirical cartoons include: Maxim Litvinov, Neville Chamberlain, Pierre Laval, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Aristide Briand, and Joseph Stalin. Check out this item to chuckle at sharp images depicting the ineffectiveness of politics (my, how things change!), or bemoan the inevitability of civilian pain and suffering at the end of this era.

Image credit: "DAVID LOW (English Cartoonist)" belongs to Flickr user NCMallory. License to use: CC BY 2.0 (

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Virtual Reference Service

Did you know?

In addition to face-to-face reference service at the desk, we offer research help via phone, email, text, and Libchat IM.

Watch a three minute Youtube video demonstrating our Libchat window!

The video is sharpest at full-screen size and 720p HD resolution.

Libchat is roughly available 8am to 9pm, Monday through Thursday. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, hours are reduced. Libchat may become unavailable during any high-traffic period at the Reference Desk.

If you cannot reach Reference on Libchat, please try emailing, calling us at 617-573-8532, or just stop by the Reference Desk in Sawyer Library.

Don't forget to bookmark Sawyer Library Virtual Reference yourself:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kindle E-Readers are Available at Sawyer Library

Sawyer Library has purchased Kindles for student and faculty use! Here's some quick Kindle facts:

* Sawyer Library has 12 circulating Kindles available.

* Each Kindle may circulate for 28 days, plus two renewals of the same amount of time (assuming there is no waiting list for Kindles).

* A Kindle user may download one ebook for free, as long as Sawyer Library does not already own a physical copy of the book.

* To check out a Kindle, visit the Circulation Desk in Sawyer Library.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Some New (& Relatively New) Books

The necessity of using a computer for school work is universal, however familiarity with the details of using that computer is not universal. Listed below are some recent additions to the Sawyer Library that might be of interest:

Computing for Ordinary Mortals by Robert St. Amant, Oxford University Press, 2013.

Master your Mac: Simple Ways to Tweak, Customize, and Secure OS X by Matt Cone, No Starch Press, c2013. (Access online from the online catalog, via eBrary.)

Exploring Windows 8 for Dummies by Galen Gruman John Wiley and Sons, 2012. (Access online from the online catalog, via eBrary.)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Operation Paper Cut

In case you haven't heard about the (University wide) changes in printing - the University has instituted "Operation Paper Cut."

This change impacts all print stations in the library.

It also requires both new and returning students to install the Paper Cut software, and (re-)install the wireless printers on to their own laptops.

Below is a link to instructions regarding the laptops. (Don't panic - Monday - Friday, during regular business hours, staff will be on hand to assist with this procedure.)

Connecting Wirelessly to the Library's Printers, Under the New Paper Cut System

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sawyer Library Hidden Treasure: Portrait of an Age

Re-discovered in the Sawyer Library 4th floor collection, Portrait of an Age contains a rich assemblage of un-posed and frequently un-authorized photographs taken by Erich Salomon from the late 1920s to the beginning of WWII. Pictorial historiographer, pioneer in the art of photojournalism, and master of the well-placed hidden camera, Salomon was known among politicians of Europe as “the king of the indiscrete” (66). This collection of Salomon’s candid photos, selected by Han de Vries and Peter Hunter-Salomon, shows political life in action at the League of Nations and throughout Europe, and highlights living scenes among royalty, well-known historical personages of Europe and America, and the every-day person of the era. Notable figures photographed by Salomon include: Albert Einstein, Igor Stravinsky, Arturo Toscanini, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Marlene Dietrich, Upton Sinclair, Duchess of York (Queen Mother Elizabeth) Winston S. Churchill, Benito Mussolini and Klara Zetkin. Check out this item to view through Erich Salomon’s lens the period style, the interactions among rulers and politicos, the action at exclusive royal banquets, and some of daily life during the years between World Wars I and II.

Table of Contents:

  • Who was Erich Salomon?
  • The epoch of the League of Nations
  • Germany in 1930
  • Europe and its conferences
  • The year in Geneva
  • Judges and courts
  • Artists, intellectuals, and society
  • America in 1930
  • A look at France in 1935
  • On the eve of World War II
Image credit: Ermanox_img_0794.jpg By Rama (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr (], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sharon Britton is the New Sawyer Library Director

On July 1st, Sharon Britton became the Director of the Mildred F. Sawyer Library.  Previously, Sharon was Library Director at Bowling Green State University’s Firelands College Library in Huron, Ohio.   Prior to her directorship at Firelands, Sharon was Director of Public Services and Head of Reference at the Burke Library of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. 

Sharon was selected after a lengthy search, and we are pleased that she has chosen to come to the Sawyer Library.  Throughout her career, she has shown an interest in reaching out to various campus groups/departments and aims to enhance the collegial atmosphere within the Library. In Sharon’s free time, she likes to hike, bike, read (of course), and travel to warm places. Please come to the Sawyer Library and introduce yourself to our new director, Sharon Britton.

Monday, July 29, 2013

We Wish Kathi Maio the Very Best on Her Retirement

“Let’s consult over books and a piece of paper,”  she earnestly said to a student. (1985)

It is not possible to adequately acknowledge a legacy of 29 years of dedicated service in single blog entry, however, that is what this posting aims to do. At the end of July, 2013, Kathi Maio will be retiring from Suffolk University's Sawyer Library.

Kathi has been instrumental to this Library, and by extension to Suffolk University, in more ways than it is possible to count. Her 29 years here have spanned the transition from dependence on print to dependence on electronic sources, and not surprisingly to those who know her, her knowledge of information sources - regardless of format, is not to be surpassed.

 Kathi's goal has always been to provide Suffolk students and faculty with the highest quality resources (while being ever mindful of the costs that a small university can afford to take on.) By virtue of her (nearly) 3 decades of service, a good portion of the print collection has been selected by Kathi. But it has been during her tenure as Assistant Director, beginning in 2000, that the Sawyer Library has seen a tremendous expansion of the electronic resources that are available to students and faculty.

A search of the Internet Archive ( for a list of the databases at Sawyer Library in 2001, yields a total of 37, as listed by publisher (Internet Archive: June 17, 2001, List of Databases: ( Currently, the library subscribes to over 150 periodical and reference databases. The success of this expansion, and the arduous negotiations which made it possible, are due to Kathi's efforts.

However, it is not enough to just have access to resources. Many of these sources are complicated, and Kathi has always taken (and created) opportunities to instruct library patrons on the best choice for their task, be it in a formal library instruction, at the Reference Desk, via email, via our LibAnswers page (, or through this blog for the Sawyer Library.

We wish Kathi all best of everything, and wish to thank her for her hard work, dedication, concern, and loyalty to her staff. We hope that she very much enjoys her new found free time to pursue and enjoy her wide ranging interests.

 The Staff of the Sawyer Library, July 2013.

Monday, July 22, 2013

UPDATE: Library Systems Down July 24th

UPDATE:  The Suffolk Universities Libraries (Sawyer, Law NESAD, Madrid) are migrating to a new automated platform on July 24th.

Much of Sawyer Library’s online functionality (and the functionality of the Law, NESAD and Madrid Libraries) will be unavailable for most of the day on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
The Library is migrating our Innovative Millennium System to the new Sierra platform, in order to establish improved functionality in library operations.

What does that mean to users?  The Library systems will be down from 4-6 hours.  This means the catalog will not be accessible.  You cannot look up books in the online catalog, look at your circulation record, or renew books online.   Checking-out a book at the Sawyer Library will be handled manually on the 24th.  Since our off-campus authentication system, our proxy server, is also part of our Innovative Millennium System, you will not be able to access databases from off-campus on much of that day.  If you are ON campus, the database should pick up a Suffolk IP address and let you in, so if you can visit the Boston (or Madrid) Campus--and it doesn't have to be the Library itself--you should still be able to access the databases through non-proxyized links that you can find here. (Just click the tabs on the guide for the alphabetical lists of links to all our databases.)

And here is another work-around.  The free web version of WorldCat allows you to look up a print book and then set your zip code to pinpoint a library that owns it.  Set your zip code as 02108 and Sawyer or the Law Library should come up if we own it.  If you click the link for our book or library, you might get an error but if that happens, just click on a different library on the list and get the call number from their catalog.  Since most academic libraries use the same call number, you can take their call number to our stacks and probably find the book.  If you are ON campus, you can also use this version of WorldCat. Look for the green tag for "Sawyer Library" when you search.  The base call number will be listed in the "Class Descriptors" field following LC:

We are sorry for any inconvenience this service interruption will cause.  But we are doing this to provide a better, more flexible, and more secure library system that will make it easier for us to provide the best library service possible.

Updates will be provided via social media.  So, on the 24th, keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for when things are back to normal.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Database: African American Archives

Primary sources are the life's blood of historical research.  What are they?  Well, as an American Library Association / RUSA guide states: "Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research."

As that same guide, and many of our own LibGuides (like this one) show, there are some wonderful digital archives of primary materials available free on the web--if you know where to find them.  Others are privately produced.  And many digital archive products combine public access documents with materials from privately-held collections.

When possible, we like to purchase these types of databases to give our students and faculty easy online access to vital documents created by those who lived the "first-person" of history.  This year, we were able to add a digital repository called African American Archives.

The publisher indicates, "African American Archives provides over one million pages of original historical documents pertaining to the African American experience over several centuries, and is richly-detailed with narratives and quantitative data alike. The earliest materials in this collection come from Essential Records Concerning Slavery and Emancipation from the Danish West Indies." (The earliest of these documents is from 1672!)

Materials include everything from Account Books to Annual Reports & Government Records to Casualty Sheets & Death Reports to Enlistment Papers & Lists of Deserters.  Also included are Letters, News Clippings and various types of Notational Cards, Original Muster and Hospital Rolls and Prisoner of War Papers.

Sub-collections include materials from the  American Colonization Society, which was formed in Washington, DC, in 1817 to establish a colony in Africa for free people of color residing in the United States. Most of the documents included are letters between Liberia and representatives of the Society. Many cover fundraising issues relating to support and education in the newly-formed country. You will also find account books, annual reports, news clippings, and related manuscripts. The Society's most active period was prior to, and just after, the Civil War.

Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior Relating to the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and Negro Colonization (from 1854 through 1872) can also be found here.  Agents within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior were authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to receive any "Negroes, mulattos, or persons of color" found aboard vessels seized off the coast of Africa and relocate them to Liberia.

Another module contains records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia relating to slaves that date from 1851 to 1863.  Slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia in April 1862. In order to receive compensation, loyal owners of freed slaves were required to file slave schedules. These records include emancipation papers with dates when certificates of freedom were issued to freed slaves, manumission papers that record the voluntary freeing of slaves by their  owners, and case papers relating to fugitive slaves.

In 1871, the US government established the Southern Claims Commission to address southerners' petitions for compensation of supplies, livestock, and other items taken by the Union troops during the Civil War. More than 20,000 claims were filed. These testimonial files include first-person accounts of how civilians survived the war, detailed circumstances regarding loss of property, and accounts of each family's history and loyalty to the Union cause.  Documents from the Southern Claims Commission are also in this archive.

Early 20th Century Correspondence of the Military Intelligence Division Relating to "Negro Subversion" consists of War Department memorandums, investigative reports, and correspondence with other agencies, particularly the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Investigation.

Other materials include Federal and Supreme Court records related to the Amistad case (made even more famous by Stephen Spielberg's film), as well as records related to "Colored Troops" of the U.S. Civil War.

Because of our Clark Collection of African American Literature, as well as courses offered at Suffolk related to black history and genealogy, we thought this archive was a good addition to Sawyer Library online resources.  We hope you'll enjoy exploring it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Notable E-Book:The American Senate: An Insider's History

Many of us have concluded that the political process in Washington is pretty much "broken."  But how did it get that way?  And does history help us to see not only the problem, but possible solutions?  This new book, delivered as an e-book on our eBrary platform, might have a few insights to offer.  Kirkus Reviews says that "Two longtime observers of our government in action offer a multidimensional study of the history, traditions and culture of the United States Senate." And, Oxford University Press, the publisher, claims it is a "groundbreaking, comprehensive history of the United States Senate" that comes from "twenty years of research by two of the authorities on Senate history, the longtime Time magazine congressional correspondent and the former Historian of the U.S. Senate."  They further suggest that the book "offers surprising insights into the origins of partisan gridlock."  If you'd like to see more from the publisher page, including a link to to a Google Books preview, click here.

The book is quite new, but (so far) the reviewers are impressed.  A review in Library Journal said "Journalist MacNeil (chief congressional correspondent, TIME; Forge of Democracy: The House of Representatives) and Baker (former official historian, U.S. Senate; Traditions of the United States Senate) survey here "the world's greatest deliberative body," in which 1,950 senators have served over the past 200-plus years. There's potential for a vast, bewildering story, but the authors don't lose the forest amid the trees. Particularly strong are their accounts of presidential interaction with the Senate, starting with President Washington, who personally visited the Senate in accord with his constitutional mandate to get their "Advice and Consent" but never visited again. The authors explain the rise in power of the majority leader-a development from the tenure of Republican Robert A. Taft in the 1940s and later Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1950s, and how incremental changes have created what they call the mess that is the modern filibuster....An excellent choice for history buffs and political scientists."

Kirkus Reviews was also enthusiastic: "Whether discussing money and elections, campaign reform, the origins of the filibuster, the Senate’s investigatory power or its role in ratifying treaties or debating the great issues of the day, the authors pack the narrative with wide-ranging information and anecdotes."  They concluded: "A useful, engaging primer for anyone wishing to understand the politics, precedent and procedures that have shaped the Senate."

And the journal Campaigns & Elections wrapped up their review by saying: "From the way money has changed the election of Senators to Senate investigations, no work will give you a better look into what's really happening inside the upper chamber."

E-books offer great flexibility, as you can read them--after authenticating yourself through our proxy server--without ever coming to the library.  (Although, we're always happy to see you!)  However, as with a physical book, only one reader can access this title at a time.  If you create an account with eBrary, you can download chapters onto your own device, though  For more on this option, see this Library Guide.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Alert: Library System Downtime June 6th

UPDATE TO THE BELOW 6/6/13 (3:45pm) Server upgrade is complete and our testing indicates we are back to normal.  As always, please contact us if you experience any issues with the online catalog or our databases.  And thanks for your patience while we did this important maintenance.

We want to give everyone plenty of fair-warning to avoid unnecessary frustration, so here's the warning:  Much of Sawyer Library online functionality (and, in fact, functionality at the Law, NESAD and Madrid Libraries,too) will be unavailable for most of the day on Thursday, June 6th, 2013.

The Library needs to upgrade both our Integrated Library System (ILS) and our server.  Step one is to move from a physical on-site server to a "Cloud" (SaaS) server.  That is what will happen on the 6th.  Because we are shifting all our data and workload from one server to another, there will be unavoidable downtime.

What does that mean to our users?  Well, if you check out something in the Library that day, we will likely be using a manual system.  You won't be able to look up books in the online catalog, look at your circulation record or renew books online.  But here's the real downer:  Since our off-campus authentication system, our proxy server, is also part of our ILS, you will not be able to access databases from off-campus on much of that day.  If you are ON campus, the database should pick up a Suffolk IP address and let you in, so if you can visit the Boston (or Madrid) Campus--and it doesn't have to be the Library itself--you should still be able to access the databases through non-proxyized links that you can find here. (Just click the tabs on the guide for the alphabetical lists of links to all our databases.)

And here is another work-around.  The free web version of WorldCat allows you to look up a print book and then set your zip code to pinpoint a library that owns it.  Set your zip code as 02108 and Sawyer or the Law Library should come up if we own it.  If you click the link for our book or library, you might get an error but if that happens, just click on a different library on the list and get the call number from their catalog.  Since most academic libraries use the same call number, you can take their call number to our stacks and probably find the book.  If you are ON campus, you can also use this version of WorldCat. Look for the green tag for "Sawyer Library" when you search.  The base call number will be listed in the "Class Descriptors" field following LC:

We are sorry for any inconvenience this service interruption will cause.  But we are doing this to provide a better, more flexible, and more secure library system that will make it easier for us to provide the best library service possible.

Updates will be provided via social media.  So, on the 6th, keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for when things are back to normal.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New Journal: Nature Climate Change

It's not often that we blog about a new journal title.  Then again, libraries don't often add individual journal titles anymore.  We get most of our electronic journals either in publisher groupings like Sage Journals Online and Wiley Online Library, or through general aggregators like EBSCOhost (who produces databases like Academic Search Complete and MEDLINE with Full Text).

But we just added a new single serial title, from the publisher of Nature, called Nature Climate Change.  Not only does this journal focus on one of the hottest (if you'll excuse the pun) science topics in society today, but it does so from a holistic approach.

The original Nature said of the new journal's launch in 2011: "This journal focuses as much on the impacts of climate change as on its origins and mechanisms. And for the first time within the Nature-branded stable, the journal is explicitly set up to include the social sciences within its remit, with a trained social scientist on its staff, and a panel of social-science advisers to help us to penetrate territory that lies beyond our traditional zones of engagement."  (And social scientists like APA psychologists took note!)

The journal describes itself this way: "Nature Climate Change publishes original research across the physical and social sciences and strives to synthesize interdisciplinary research. The journal follows the standards for high-quality science set by all Nature-branded journals and is committed to publishing top-tier original research in all areas relating to climate change through a fair and rigorous review process, access to a broad readership, high standards of copy editing and production, rapid publication and independence from academic societies and others with vested interests.

In addition to publishing original research, Nature Climate Change provides a forum for discussion among leading experts through the publication of opinion, analysis and review articles. It also highlights the most important developments in the field through Research Highlights and publishes original reporting from renowned science journalists in the form of feature articles."

If you'd like to read a promotional brochure about the journal, click here.

Our subscription starts with 2013, and we hope to build from there.  If you are interested in this important subject, we hope you'll make use of this journal.  Here is the latest issue.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Notable E-Book: Handbook of Psychology (2nd Edition)

Cross-searchability and 24/7 anywhere and everywhere access options have always made eReference books attractive.  But sometimes there are other considerations, too.  In the case of the new Handbook of Psychology, one of those considerations is the amount of shelf space we'll save!  For the Handbook of Psychology is, in print, twelve large volumes.   So, we opted for the electronic version, which allows users to do keyword searching across all volumes as well as browse and open material from a table of contents.

Wiley, the publisher, claims that "The Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition, provides psychologists, practitioners, researchers, and students with complete and up-to-date information related to the field of psychology and behavioral science.  New topics include discoveries based in neuroscience, clinical psychology's new interest in evidence-based practice and mindfulness, and new findings in social, developmental and forensic psychology."

And reviewers are also impressed. Alan Kazdin, in PsycCRITIQUES, recently said "The work is extraordinary in scope by virtually any metric. The consistencies of the individual contributions across the many volumes are remarkable in level of depth and style of writing. The Handbook of Psychology is a major work without peer in scope and coverage of the conceptual, empirical, and applied advances of psychology. The volumes provide a status report on psychological science, even though clearly selective in their contents. There are broad issues to raise that span many volumes and areas of our field. Overall the volumes reflect an enormous accomplishment, statement, and status report. There is no other set of volumes I have seen that is as comprehensive, integrative, or enlightening as this Handbook."

The Wiley Online Library interface does have some quirks, however.  On the landing page, when you enter the Handbook, browsing is relatively simple, just expand the volume links in the lower middle of the page.  Searching is a little trickier, because if you just put your search terms in the box in the upper right, you'll actually search across the entire Wiley Online Library, so you'll likely pull up everything BUT content from this Handbook--including many articles and book chapters we don't have access to.  So, instead, click the link (highlighted in yellow in the above screenshot) to "Search in this Book."  You can search specific titles, authors or sections if you select from the the check boxes below the main search box, or just put in keywords.  If there are multiple hits, Wiley will sort them by relevance.

When you click on an entry in your search results

note that you first see an abstract.  Tabs provide links to the article, figures (illustrations, tables, graphs and photographs--a handy feature!) and to the references.  Look to the right (as circled in yellow in the above screenshot) if you want to go straight to a PDF of the entry/article.  You see that there are also article tools.  These include the ability to export a reference to RefWorks.

Here is a list of the twelve volumes of the Handbook of Psychology:

Volume 1--History of Psychology
Volume 2--Research Methods in Psychology
Volume 3--Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume 4--Experimental Psychology
Volume 5--Personality and Social Psychology
Volume 6--Developmental Psychology,
Volume 7--Educational Psychology
Volume 8--Clinical Psychology,
Volume 9--Health Psychology
Volume 10--Assessment Psychology
Volume 11--Forensic Psychology
Volume 12--Industrial and Organizational Psychology

As you can tell, this is a detailed and valuable resource.  As the publisher says: "While the field of psychology has been rich in both comprehensive encyclopedias that offer brief listings on a wide range of topics as well as in handbooks devoted to specific topics in the field, there has not previously been any single handbook designed to cover the broad scope of psychological science and practice. Handbook of Psychology fills the gap and provides the only singular source of information on the field of psychology."

Psychology researchers, and those interested in behavioral science aspects of other fields of research, take note of this new addition!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Video Games

Now, here's a reference set that might be fun to browse through!  (Of course, we also purchased it because it relates to curriculum here at Suffolk.)  It's the eBook version of a two-volume reference book called Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming.  Published by Greenwood, we got it on the popular and easy-to-use Gale Virtual Reference Library platform.

Booklist says of this resource: "Quite a range of topics is presented in this timely set, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the first real video game (Spacewar!, 1962). The 300-plus signed entries are arranged alphabetically in two volumes, from Abstraction-Ludology and machinima (digital art) to Zeebo (a 3G-enabled game console).The style is very readable throughout. Unfamiliar terms are defined (Advergame, Deludic play, Speedruns) as well as popular ones (Joysticks, Resolution, Scrolling), making this accessible even to someone who knows little about the topic. Entries include biographies, types of games (including those classified as racing, shooting, strategy, survival horror); companies (Atari, SEGA, Sony); groups (Entertainment Software Association, World Cyber Games); platforms (Nintendo Wii); terms; and selected games. Most entries run about two pages, with four pages for MMORPGs and six for Simulation games."

The journal Reference Reviews indicates that "The encyclopedia defines “video games” in its broadest sense to include arcade games, console games, computer games, handheld games, and mobile games. In addition to the history of video games, it details such diverse applications of video games as entertainment, education and training, psychological experiments, and therapy. It also discusses the study of video games from many perspectives including computer science, philosophy, art history, and political science; and describes the use of video games worldwide. Controversial topics, such as gaming addiction, violence and censorship, copyright and piracy, and the use of video games in military training are also addressed."

School Library Journal adds: "Along with examinations of (selected) products from Pong to Sony PS3 and densely technical disquisitions on the "JAMMA Standard," "Z-Axis Depth," and other expert-level knowledge, articles covering such topics as "Girls' Games," "Education (Religious)," "Ludology," and "Cheating" explore social and psychological aspects of the pastime. Furthermore, articles on gaming in a number of countries and regions of the world provide international scope."

Choice concluded that "This two-volume encyclopedia features a great deal of practical, theoretical, and historical information about the development of video games."  But the reviewer also thought that the organization showed a "lack of clarity" and therefore "the work is possibly most useful as an e-book."  Good thing that e-book is exactly the format we chose for this encyclopedia!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Database: Mintel Oxygen

Are you interested in market trends and consumer research for the U.S. and Europe?  Then a database we recently added will be useful to you.  It is Mintel Oxygen.  And the company claims "Mintel Oxygen is a one-stop online platform, designed to give you easy and fast access to our smart consumer and market insight."  Constantly adding new reports, they claim that "more than 600 report titles covering UK, European, US and International consumer markets are added to Mintel Oxygen every year" and that each one constitutes "an insightful mix of sound data, opinion and comment."

Unlike many of the databases that run through our proxy server, this one has a few extra hoops to jump through.  First, when you click the link, you'll have to accept the rather lengthy "Conditions of Use" agreement.  Then, after you enter the database, it wants you to set up (or log into) your own individual account before accessing anything.

This is easy enough to do.

Just click one of the links to create a personal profile on the landing page.  (Since the database uses cookies, you'll probably go straight to a login page the next time you access the file.)

You are most likely to be interested in the Reports area, which you can click into from the categories (divided between U.S. and International) on the landing page after login--or through the pull down menu in purple top frame at any time. See screenshot above.

Report categories include Beauty and Personal Care, Drink, Finance, Food, Foodservice, Health and Wellbeing, Household, Leisure and Entertainment, Lifestyles, Multicultural America, Retailing and Apparel, Technology, Transportation and Travel.  The reports tend to be both varied and specific, as this partial list of recent drink reports
indicates. There are even some subject Webinars (look for link in the top purple frame).  The latest of these, at the moment, is "The Snacking Consumer."  You might also want to browse through the Analyst Insights area, also linked in the top frame.

Yes, you can search across the database.  Either plug a keyword or two into the simple search box in the upper right, or link into the the Advanced Search through the Search options in the top frame.

The database is awkward in many ways.  You have to look at report sections in bits and pieces.  The landing page for a report might have an area marked "Download" that offers a PDF of a "Report Brochure," which might make you think you are getting the full report.  Au contraire!  This is just an ad offering to sell the report you have right in front of you for $4000 or so. (You don't need to buy anything, of course.  We subscribe already!)  To access the report, either click the Report Content sections below or open the Table of Contents (a green button) to View Tables or pick specific report areas.

For more on the database, you might want to take a look at their quick help guide.

With more than 600 reports each year,  this database can certainly help you research market sizes, shares and forecasts, brand profiles and product innovation.  But don't forget that we have other databases with market reports and consumer data.  These include GMID from Euromonitor as well as the many reports tucked away in databases like Business Source Complete and ABI/INFORM Complete.  And for more on all our marketing and advertising resources, see our LibGuide.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Database: Sharpe Online Library

We know that most researchers, especially undergraduate students, have little patience for using print reference books these days.  So, one of our jobs, as librarians, is to identify and purchase reliable online reference that students can readily access and use to get basic information about a topic as they start their research process.  (That is, we need to give you a practical alternative to Wikipedia!)

To this end, we have several robust collections of online reference books.  These are the online equivalent of authoritative reference encyclopedias and handbooks where entries are authored by scholars and carefully edited by professionals in the topic's field.  (That is, something likely to be better and more reliable than Wikipedia!)  These collections include Gale Virtual Reference Library and Sage Knowledge, as well as Oxford Handbooks Online and CQ Political Reference Suite.

Now we have added another publisher platform of reference books.  It is Sharpe Online Reference (SOLR).

The publisher says that "Sharpe Online Reference offers interdisciplinary subject coverage" and "the convenience and flexibility of online research 24/7." They also claim that their electronic collections provide "revised and updated editions of Sharpe's most popular encyclopedias" and "free annual updates."  Also included: "SOLR Primary Source Archive: more than 500 key annotated documents, audio/visual clips, images, and other primary sources covering all periods of U.S. History," and "Global Voices: more than 125 primary resources and annotations, reflecting foreign perspectives on the United States."

At this point, we have purchased seven of the more recent titles on the platform.  On the U.S. side:

And on the Global side:

As always, we will add only those titles that seem to match the curricular interests of our students and faculty.  But we will certainly be adding additional titles of interest as they are published.  Sharpe encyclopedias are basic, useful reference tools that will likely provide a good starting point for research on related topics.  (But remember, your professors will likely want you to use peer-reviewed journal literature for most of your research!)

One example from our Sharpe titles is  Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues .  It was described by Library Journal in this way: "coverage of 400 different groups and selected countries and issues is by an impressive roster of historians and anthropologists from a wide range of institutions. It is particularly gratifying to see ethnic and native groups included from Western industrialized nations as well as from the more expected developing areas. ... The articles are written in clear prose and deal with the geography, history, religion, customs and rituals, and colonial experiences of each group while being respectful of each culture's heritage and customs. ... There are few reference sources available in this area with worldwide coverage. Because of its quality and its scope, this excellent work is recommended."

To use SOLR, from the landing page click a title to search within or browse just that one encyclopedia.  Or use the search box at the upper right to search across all the Sharpe content we own.  You should also know that although it is simple to print entries you like, other functions like bookmarking, emailing, and adding notes can only be done after setting up a sub-account.  And if you want a citation, MLA, APA and Chicago style are all included on any print request.

We hope you'll find this new and growing reference collection useful!

[Individual titles we own will all be in our Online Catalog.  Otherwise, find SOLR on our A-Z or eBooks database lists.]