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Points of Reference

A Booklist Blog
This is the archive of the blog Points of Reference. From 2009-2012 a team of library reference experts talked about resources (books, databases, Web sites, e-books, and more) and publishing trends.

Archive for September, 2009

Wed, September 30th, 2009
Banned Reference Books
Posted by: Sue Polanka

All the Banned Books Week talk makes me wonder if any reference titles have been challenged or banned.  Rolf Janke from Sage Reference said the 2002 Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Edited by Kushner was on the list when it was first published.  I noticed a variety of Joy of Sex titles on lists as well.  I've […]


Tue, September 29th, 2009
We speak your language
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Many of us work in libraries serving diverse populations. Our patrons come in seeking information about matters that are important: health, education, social services, visas and citizenship. Their English-language skills may be limited. Knowing how to find good information in other languages, especially when dealing with a language that you do not speak, is useful. […]


Sun, September 27th, 2009
Web Site of the Week: Encyclopedia of Life
Posted by: Christine Bulson

Encyclopedia of Life was first funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant in 2007.  The goal of the site is to have a webpage for all 1.8 million organisms on earth.  After two years there are now more than 150,000 pages of  "expert-verified"  text and images.  A search for the domestic cat returned Felis catus Linnaeus,1758, accompanied by […]


Tue, September 22nd, 2009
Reviews and Reviewing
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

We all rely on reviews when choosing new resources for our collections. As a longtime reviewer with a pile of new titles on my desk, it struck me that the act of reviewing really helps me as a librarian. Examining a work and thinking about how it would fit into my collection, whether it is […]


Mon, September 21st, 2009
LIS Instruction Needs Survey
Posted by: Admin

Steven Hofman from ALA Publishing has sent me a link to a short survey being conducted by the staff of Guide to Reference.  They are surveying LIS professors who teach reference courses to better understand instruction needs and how the Guide can be used most effectively in LIS programs. To participate in the survey, go here.  […]


Sun, September 20th, 2009
The Pritzker Architecture Prize
Posted by: Admin

In a field where no Nobel Prize is awarded, the Pritzker Architecture Prize has often been likened to that honor.  The prize, according to the official website, is intended "[t]o honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions […]


Wed, September 16th, 2009
Web site of the Week: Fast Flip
Posted by: Christine Bulson

This week Goggle introduced Fast Flip which attempts to recreate print reading online.   Google has partnered with three dozen diverse publications including the Atlantic, New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, Slate, Seventeen and Good Housekeeping .  The publications will get revenue from ads on the site which will hopefully help the struggling industry. Searching by key word, publication, […]


Mon, September 14th, 2009
Get Your Free Content Here
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Everyone wants free full text, but , as Mick Jagger said, you can't always get what you want. There are some places to find it. The Public Library of Science http://plos.org  publishes seven peer-reviewed science and medical journals. It has just added a new feature PLOS Currents, where researchers can share and discuss their latest […]


Sun, September 13th, 2009
Arts Journal: Daily Arts News
Posted by: Admin

For several years, one of my favorite websites has been Arts Journal: Daily Arts News.  I would spend an hour a day on it if I had the time (and frequently I have).  In the left column are Arts Journal's titles--usually different from the actual title--and a few lines of  new and interesting articles selected by the […]


Fri, September 11th, 2009
Web Site of the Week: re-constructions -reflections on humanity and media after tragedy
Posted by: Christine Bulson

On the anniversary of 9/11 we all reflect on that day.  re-constructions is a unique site created by the MIT Comparative Media Studies community in the days following 9/11. It  was designed as a study guide to stimulate discussions and reflections about how the media covered the event and its aftermath.  Through broad headings such as communications, […]


Fri, September 11th, 2009
Oldest Living Reference Book
Posted by: Admin

If there's an older surviving reference work than The Annual Register,  I  haven't come across it.  Founded by Edmund Burke in 1758 (and written and edited by him through 1765), The Annual Register is celebrating "250 years of uninterrupted publication" with the 2009 edition. For the anniversary volume,  there is a speculative preface to the 300th, […]


Wed, September 9th, 2009
The Forbidden Question
Posted by: Admin

When someone reads the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica or Oxford English Dictionary, it is so exceptional that it often seems to be the occasion for a book about the experience.  Nobody should be surprised, then, that when I reviewed Britannica for Reference Books Bulletin about ten years ago, I did not read every word.  I did not read […]


Tue, September 8th, 2009
The Straight Dope on Health Care Reform
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

With health care reform all over the news, people have questions. It is difficult to find objective information, but it is available if one knows where to look. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a Web site with a wide range of information:history of  health reform efforts, state variation and health reform, financial consequences of medical bills, […]


Fri, September 4th, 2009
The Books are Gone
Posted by: Christine Bulson

An article in the Boston Globe  today reported that a private school, Cushing Academy,  has eliminated the books in the library.  The collection of 20,000 books will be given away and will be replaced by a digital library. The "learning center" will have lap-top friendly carrels  and where the reference desk was there will be a coffee shop […]


Thu, September 3rd, 2009
Web Site of the Week: HelloFlight.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

There are now a number of web sites that give information on flights so you (or your friends and relatives) can see where you or they have been.  These sites also provide departure and arrival times, weather conditions, and of course, delays.  Tracking flights has become an avocation for me and I have found that each site […]


Wed, September 2nd, 2009
Pink Dolphins
Posted by: Admin

A few days ago, during a library orientation of 6th graders, the subject of pink dolphins came up.  A teacher had asked her students to produce evidence that they did or did not exist.  (The teacher had turned a student's question into an assignment for the class.) On the big screen, we searched the phrase "pink dolphin" […]


Tue, September 1st, 2009
Is it true?
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

We often have patrons come in to learn more about the latest medical or scientific breakthrough to hit the news. They hope that it means a cure for cancer, even though it only worked in two rats, or that there really is intelligent life somewhere out in space. How else would those UFOs get here? […]


Tue, September 1st, 2009
World Almanac Brand Acquired by Infobase Publishing
Posted by: Sue Polanka

Another Reference merger!  And, good news that the World Almanac will move online eventually. Infobase Publishing Acquires Iconic World Almanac Brand New York, NY (September 1, 2009)--Infobase Publishing announced today that it has acquired the World Almanac imprint from Weekly Reader Publishing Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.





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