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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 April, 2010

Thu, April 29th, 2010
Web Site of the Week: Oceanservice.noaa.gov
Posted by: Christine Bulson

The National Ocean Service web site illustrates through a variety of methods how the government monitors,  studies and tries to protect the ecosystem of coastal regions of the US.  It is useful for educators and students, especially in elementary through high schools.  There is no doubt that the site will be popular now for information on the explosion, fire […]


Thu, April 29th, 2010
Documenting the Languages of the World
Posted by: Admin

An article in yesterday's New York Times about a project of the Engangered Language Alliance to identify all the New Yorkers who speak dying languages prompted me to revisit Ethnologue, which has been collecting data on the living languages of the world for more than 50 years.  Ethnologue: Languages of the World, published by SIL […]


Tue, April 27th, 2010
Food for Thought
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Mary Ellen's post about groceries in the library and a viewing of the documentary Food, Inc. on PBS last week along with the current news stories about rampant obesity in our society had me thinking about what can be done to improve the situation. The Rudd Center for Food Policy at Yale University exists "to […]


Tue, April 27th, 2010
Reference, Butter, and Eggs
Posted by: Admin

Reference depends on library traffic, and libraries are always looking for ways to bring more people in the doors. Here's a new one--at Baltimore Public Library, patrons can now order groceries online. This isn't a library equivalent of Peapod. The Baltimore City Health Department has partnered with the library to offer the Virtual Supermarket Project at two […]


Tue, April 27th, 2010
Ebooks: In the OPAC or in the Database?
Posted by: Sara Rofofsky Marcus

With the growth of ebooks becoming available, where do you classify these? Whether in keeping statistics, or in providing links to the items, where do you classify ebooks? Some are easier to search in their own interface, and if the patron specifically needs a book that can be accessed from home, it is better to […]


Tue, April 27th, 2010
Alexander Street Press Ethnographic Video Online - Free Access
Posted by: Sue Polanka

Alexander Street Press is offering free access to it's Ethnographic Video Online collection.  The collection contains more than 1,000 of the most frequently used films in anthropology courses.  Classic works from the pioneers of ethnographic film, including Robert Flaherty, Timothy Asch, John Marshall, Robert Gardner, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, Jean Rouch, and many more—together […]


Mon, April 26th, 2010
Last Chance to Respond to Essential Reference Survey
Posted by: Admin

You still have a few days to respond to our Essential Reference survey. In this era of shrinking print reference collections, we want to know which titles you would keep in your reference collection if you were downsizing--or rightsizing, as the preferred term seems to be. More than half the people who have responded so far are […]


Sun, April 25th, 2010
Web Site of the Week: TED.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

The TED in TED.com stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design with a mission of  "spreading ideas."  The site was launched in April 2007 and now contains more than 500 talks.  The videos are arranged by broad subjects - business, science, global issues and of course technology, entertainment and design.  Speakers include novelist Isabelle Allende and Chris Anderson of  […]


Thu, April 22nd, 2010
More on Twitter Archive
Posted by: Admin

Last week I wrote about the Library of Congress plan to archive Twitter. Gary Price of  ResourceShelf dug deeper into the story. Since Google already has a searchable Twitter archive, he made a special point of sorting out the differences between the two plans, the chief one being that while the LC archive will only […]


Thu, April 22nd, 2010
Britannica launches 21st Century Explorer - resource for H.S. students
Posted by: Sue Polanka

21st Century Explorer, a new product from Britannica, offers research materials designed for high school students with low reading levels or specific learning problems.  The database is also helpful for reluctant readers, English Language Learners (ELL), English as a Second Language (ESL) students and adult-literacy students. Designed to provide resources (dictionaries, atlases, time lines, encyclopedias), […]


Tue, April 20th, 2010
Get a job!
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Those of us who work in public libraries meet many patrons looking for jobs. Some are recently unemployed, others are looking for a change. We also have students exploring occupations for an assignment or for future educational plans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor is a good jumping off point. […]


Mon, April 19th, 2010
Databases - Specific to the Subject, or Encourage Broadening Out?
Posted by: Sara Rofofsky Marcus

As I sit at the Reference Desk, I start to wonder, is a database geared to a specific subject only good for that subject, or can it broaden out? For example, an engineering student finding information on ArtStor - is this possible? In theory, yes; in reality, would the title of the database, or it's […]


Fri, April 16th, 2010
Web Site of the Week: ProPublica.org
Posted by: Christine Bulson

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced this week and an article in the New York Times noted that for the first time a prize was awarded to an online news organization. ProPublica.org, with the subtitle  "journalism in the public interest",  is a non-profit news service that publishes only investigative journalism.  A staff of over 30 journalists produce stories with "moral […]


Thu, April 15th, 2010
Making a Decision on New Acquisitions
Posted by: Sara Rofofsky Marcus

In this tightening of the belt time, how do you determine when a new title is worth consideration? Is it fair to ask for trials when you know your budget can't cover it; is this considered checking to see if it's worth canceling other items? I don't have the answer for this, but I do […]


Thu, April 15th, 2010
Historical Record of Tweets
Posted by: Admin

If you think of tweets as part of our throw-away culture, like styrofoam coffee cups, think again. The New York Times reports today that the Library of Congress will archive  Twitter. Not just selected parts of it. All of it. The Twitter archive will become part of the library's "Web capture" project that already holds […]


Wed, April 14th, 2010
Oral History of American Music Anniversary
Posted by: Admin

 Earlier this week I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR and the words "reference librarian" caught my attention. It turns out that 2010 is the 40th anniversary of the Oral History of American Music. Founded by Vivian Perlis, a reference librarian at the Yale School of Music, the archive now consists of 2,000 audio and […]


Tue, April 13th, 2010
How do you say that?
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Genetics and the Human Genome Project are all over the news. The science has a very specialized vocabulary and some of the words are long and hard to pronounce. Now help is available. The National Human Genome Research Institute has a Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms on its site. This is far more than a glossary. […]


Tue, April 13th, 2010
Videos on Wikipedia
Posted by: Admin

A campaign sponsored by The Open Video Alliance is underway to get more videos on Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is the largest collaborative experiment in human history. It's also one of the ten most-visited websites in the world. The English Wikipedia alone has more than 3.2 million articles. These articles were all created by the active community of Wikipedians. Anyone […]


Mon, April 12th, 2010
SAGE Reference offers Free Access
Posted by: Sue Polanka

SAGE Reference Online will have free access until May 15th of this year.  Users must complete a quick registration page, but after that will have access to over 50 subject specific encyclopedias and over 180 handbooks, all in the social sciences.  Access includes The Encyclopedia of Journalism, which received Honorable Mention for the Dartmouth Award […]


Mon, April 12th, 2010
Real-Time Encyclopedia
Posted by: Admin

Last month, a new free discovery engine called Mashpedia was launched. Mashpedia provides real-time results for specific queries, aggregating content from multiple Web feeds (Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and more) to create article pages. Content is ranked with the most recent appearing first. Additional information and links can be added using Facebook's Connect. On its site, Mashpedia explains that […]





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Quoted material should be attributed to:
Mary Ellen Quinn, Points of Reference (Booklist Online).




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