Points Of Reference – Reference Discussion for Librarians, from Booklist Online
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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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:01 pm
Web Site of the Week: baseballhall.org
Posted by: Christine Bulson

The National Baseball Hall of Fame is worth a trip to Cooperstown for anyone who loves our national pastime.  If you can't get there and are a teacher,  you will find some interesting lesson plans on the site.  The plans are for grades 2-12  in areas including math, science, social studies, the arts and character education.  All contain national and state learning standards.  Examples of the plans are Economics:  The Business of Baseball, Innovation:  Tools of the Trade, Labor History:  Hardballs and Handshakes and Leadership: Leading Off.  There is also the possibility of participating in  a video conference with a virtual tour of the Hall and an interactive discussion on one of the topics related to baseball.  The Hall of Fame has also teamed with ALA for the Step Up to the Plate @ Your Library.  From June 4  to Sept. 8 there are weekly baseball trivia questions.  Correct answers are entered in a drawing to win a trip to the Hall of Fame in the fall.  In 2010 a 14 year old public library user and Red Sox fan won the grand prize.

Friday, August 17, 2012 2:04 pm
Dry As Dust
Posted by: Carolyn Mulac

The effects of this summer's drought include wildfires, devastated corn and soybean crops, and, eventually, higher food prices. There are a number of places to find information about one of the worst droughts in more than fifty years: The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)'s U.S. Drought Portal provides an array of resources for forecasting, planning, education, research, recovery and more.  The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln partners with the NIDIS and offers the latest news via the Drought Impact Reporter RSS feed.  The North American Drought Monitor is a cooperative effort between experts in Canada, Mexico and the United States intended to "provide an ongoing comprehensive and integrated assessment of drought throughout all three countries."  The New York Times has a science page that includes interactive features and photographs as well as articles about drought.  To see what it was like during the drought that took place in the 1930's watch an episode of the the PBS documentary series "American Experience."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:09 pm
Mars Rover Resources
Posted by: Lindsay Harmon

PCWorld magazine has compiled this list of resources for keeping up with the Mars Rover Curiosity, from Mission Central to YouTube to Twitter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:36 am
Web Site of the Week: Decide.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

Decide.com appeared in 2011 to help consumers decide when to buy electronics and appliances.  They recently launched a new version  with a recommendation score based on "expert" and user reviews. New categories have been added for sports and outdoors equipment, tools and lawn and garden products.  The buy or wait price recommendations are based on "230 tetrabytes of proprietary data and predictive algorithms based on more than 25 billion price movements."  If you are thinking about purchasing a new pair of alpine skis or an Apple iPad 3 gen or a Google Nexus 7 tablet this is the time to buy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 7:35 am
Continuing Education Your Way
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Have you always wanted to learn about artificial intelligence? Do you regret never taking calculus? How about trying to finally understand why so many people like science fiction?

The folks at Coursera understand. They offer free online classes from top universities like University of California, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Michigan. Just go to https://www.coursera.org/courses to peruse the catalog and sign up.

Anyone who is over 18 or an emancipated minor may register. Even if you missed the course start date, you can still view the videos of the lectures. Those who do all of the assignments and complete the course will get certificates signed by the instructor. There are discussion forums for students to ask questions and receive answers, but they are not real time. Still, a chance to learn about vaccines from Paul Offit or quantum mechanics from a physics professor at Cal at no cost is a pretty good deal. Check it out and expand your mind.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 7:55 am
App of the Month: Hurricane - American Red Cross
Posted by: Christine Bulson

There are a number of hurricane apps and here is the Red Cross entry.  Preparation steps, what to do during a hurricane and how to recover are suggested.  An alert system is provided for the individual's location plus adding alerts for locations of family and friends. An "I'm safe" feature lets a person report that they are safe via e-mail, text, Facebook or Twitter.  A tool box contains a flashlight, strobe light and an alarm.  There is also a map showing where open shelters are located.  Now all that is necessary during a hurricane is a fully-charged smart phone or iPad.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 11:22 am
Web Site of the Week: burgershereandthere.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

For parents and teachers who would like to engage children in learning about the countries that are participating in the Olympics, look at burgershereandthere.com.   With the motto, "making exotic flavors un-scary, one burger recipe at a time, one country at a time," the blogger, Linda Monach began with Afghanistan in January 2011 and the most recent post was Guiena.  The goal of the blogger is to create burger recipes for the 192 countries of the world.  She defines a burger as  "a starchy base with ground or shredded meat patty on top."  The recipes use popular foods of the country and the ingredients are available in most grocery stores.  Each post begins with a color photo of the burger, interesting information about the country, a map with the location of the country and then the recipe.  The Djibouti entry begins with the pronunciation, (ji boo tee) and the location on the Horn of Africa.  It is known as a hub for shipping but is not prosperous because of a terrible drought and an unemployment rate at 60%.  The Djibouti burger uses ground lamb, leeks and a seasoning made of 12 spices.  Enjoy this site, learn about the food culture of countries and anticipate Zimbabwe!


Monday, July 30, 2012 9:28 am
AIDS Around the World
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

The International AIDS Conference is currently taking place in Washington, D.C.  With perfect timing, the Bureau of the Census just launched a new interactive database which tracks the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS related deaths around the world. It brings together information from more than 12,000 articles and surveillance reports from international medical journals, studies, and conference reports.

The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Database is at http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/hiv/interactive/. Users may view static maps, search data sources, and create custom reports limited by geographic area, age, sex, and quality of data. They may also track the prevalence, incidence, and number of AIDS cases reported. This is a valuable tool for medical and public health professionals and anyone studying HIV/AIDS.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:44 am
Web Site of the Week: edX.org
Posted by: Christine Bulson

edX.org which is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) began as MITx.  It became edX when Harvard joined with MIT and today it was announced that the University of California, Berkley is the third university in this free online venture.  The first course offered in the spring was "Circuits and Electronics"  and over 154,000 signed up and 7,157 ultimately passed.  Students that complete a course may receive a certificate of completion but it will not be under the names of the universities.  This fall seven courses will be offered including Artificial Intelligence (Berkley), Health in Numbers (Harvard) and Solid State Chemistry (MIT).  A primary reason the universities are offering open online courses is that they want to discover how students can learn utilizing technology.  As Anant Agarwal, the president of edX and the director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory said, "Our goal is to change the world through education."

Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:20 pm
TV Time
Posted by: Carolyn Mulac

Nominations for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards were announced today, and the award ceremony will be broadcast on ABC on September 23.  At the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences website  you can watch a replay of the nomination announcement and look at lists of nominations by network or program.  

The Archive of American Television's online home  offers  "in-depth video interviews with TV's greatest legends and pioneers" searchable  by  people, shows, professions or topics. 

Another source for television (and radio) history is the Museum of Broadcast Communications website  where you'll find the text of the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Television.  There are also searchable archives and a gift shop (selling the 2nd edition of the Encyclopedia of Television, DVDs and more).  The MBC's new building recently opened at 360 North State Street in Chicago.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 2:42 pm
Watch Your Mouth
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

Dental health is the neglected child in consumer health publishing. The American Dental Society's new Mouth Healthy website helps to fill the gap.

On this blog,  one will find information on keeping the mouth and teeth healthy. It offers pages for children, teens, pregnant women, young adults, middle-aged adults, and seniors. There are also pages about dental symptoms, dental care concerns, nutrition,and common dental problems. Quizzes, videos, and slide shows make the information interesting.

A directory of dentists, searchable by address and zip code,  is handy for those seeking a dentist, while a listing of ADA-approved dental care products will help consumers choose appropriate items for mouth care. Check it out and don't forget to floss.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:12 pm
Web Site of the Week: American Time Use Survey
Posted by: Christine Bulson

Since 2003 the Bureau of Labor Statistics has collected information through over 124,000 interviews for the American Time Use Survey.  These statistics measure how much time is spent by individuals working, volunteering, socializing, etc.  The annual report for 2011, released in June 2012,  provided new information on eldercare.  With non-paid providers 56% were women and 42% cared for a parent.  In addition 23% of the providers were parents of one or more children under 18.  Other interesting facts are that on an average day 83% of women and 65% of men spend time doing housework, cooking, lawn care and financial and or household management.  Men exercise or participate daily in sports or recreation slightly more than women, 20% for men compared to 17% for women.  A surprising statistic is that individals over the age of 15 spend only 15 minutes a day on telephone calls, mail or e-mail.

Monday, July 16, 2012 9:10 am
"Citius, Altius, Fortius!"
Posted by: Carolyn Mulac

The games of the XXX Olympiad will take place this year from July 27 to August 12 in London.  Here are some Internet venues offering  just about everying you need to know about the 2012 Summer Olympics:


The official website of the Olympic movement covers past, present and future Olympic games, a place to search all medalists back to 1896 and much more.


Offering news, full schedules, videos, photos and information on related events, the official site of the London games brings it all to your computer screen.


Meet Team U.S.A., follow its Twitter feed, watch the Team U.S.A. Channel and support the athletes on this USOC site.


Once gain NBC will broadcast the Olympics and this site provides television and online listings, news, blogs and plenty of corporate sponsorship.


Feature articles, videos and schedules topped off with selections from @LONDONLIVE fill this rich site.

And in case you were wondering what the 2012 Summer Olympics mascot is, well, there are two of them: Wenlock and Mandeville.

Here is a picture:


Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:00 am
Web Site of the Week: howstuffworks.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

Since its origin in 1998, HowStuffWorks.com, in addition to being a website, was a public company, has published books, is now part of the Discovery Channel and has a television series.  The site may be overwhelming with too much information - videos, quizzes, games, podcasts, lots of advertising and broad topics including culture, science, auto and money.  With a "how to" search you may find How Apple Airport Express Works to How Airport Security Works. Other topics are as diverse as How the Metropolitan Opera Works, How to remove flower and grass stains, Who puts together a television network schedule and How the Navy SEALs work.  Howstuffworks is one of the reasons librarians are not using ready reference books to answer questions.

Friday, July 6, 2012 7:32 am
Go Viral!
Posted by: Barbara Bibel

With all the strange things going viral on the web, it's time to talk about real viruses. These primitive bits of DNA or RNA need a host to survive. They can cause something as simple and annoying as a common cold or as serious as AIDS.

Soundprint, an organization producing educational radio programs has a series called World of Viruses available at http://www.soundprint.org/virus/

The broadcasts cover a wide range of topics including foot and mouth disease, HIV, mosquito-borne viruses, HPV, and the viruses that live in sea water. You can also learn how the epidemiologists of the world track influenza so that they can figure out which strains will cause the next outbreak and prepare appropriate vaccines. So tune in and learn about your microscopic visitors. You know that they are always nearby.

Thursday, July 5, 2012 11:00 am
"Baby Got Nook" Lyrics
Posted by: Admin

More lyrics from the musical interludes featured during the Booklist Reference program, "Why Can’t an E-book Be More Like the Print".


"Baby Got Nook"

(Lyrics by David Tyckoson, adapted from Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back")

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her Nook.
It is so small.
She looks like,
one of those library users.
But, you know, who understands those lib’aries?
They only help her, because,
she looks like a total genius, 'kay?
I mean, her nook, is just so cute.
I can't believe it's just so thin, it's like,
right there, I mean - tiny. Look!
She's just so ... smart!

[Sir Reads-a-Lot]
I like e-books and I can not lie
You other brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with an e-book reader
Then you know you really need her.
You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
'Cause you notice that nook is stuffed
Full of books she’s reading
I'm hooked and I can't stop pleading
Oh baby, I wanna get with you
And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
But e-books make me so hot
Ooh, Kindle owner
You say you wanna get in my Benz?
Well, use me, use me
'Cause you ain't that average groupie
I've seen them readin'
To hell with romances'
She's smart, smart,
Got it goin' like a turbo 'Vette
I'm tired of magazines
Sayin' print books are the thing
Take a library man and ask him that
She gotta pack e-books
So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got e-books? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to read it! (Read it!) Read it! (Read it!)
Read that Kindle Fire!
Baby got book!

(Nook interface with Kindle app)
Baby got book!




Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:50 am
"E-book Reading Man" Lyrics
Posted by: Admin

More lyrics from the musical interludes featured during the Booklist Reference program, "Why Can’t an E-book Be More Like the Print".


E-book Reading Man
Lyrics by David Tyckoson
(to the tune of "Truck Driving Man")

Went in to a library in Texas
A nice old classic Carnegie
Saw lots of books on the shelving
But was looking for some that were E

Download me another e-book, madame
For they are the best in the land
I need another hit
Mystery or wit
To be a satisfied e-book readin’ man.
The librarian brought me a print book
I thanked her but set it right aside
She went back to her desk
While I did the rest
And logged right on into Overdrive


Download me another e-book, madame
For they are the best in the land
Fiction or not
Let’s see what you’ve got
Cause all kinds of e-books are grand.


I thanked the pretty lady as I was leavin'
With a Kindle full of new reads
But she needs to discern
And really ought to learn
How to satisfy an e-book readin’ man.


Download me another e-book, madame
For they are the best in the land
Take this here nook
And add some e-books
To satisfy this e-book readin’ man.







Monday, July 2, 2012 1:13 pm
App of the Month: Orbitz
Posted by: Christine Bulson

Orbitz just unveiled a revamped app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad which provides searching for and booking flights, hotels and rental cars.  A study showed the app was twice as fast as similar apps and a test group was able to find and book a complete trip in less than seven minutes.  Kayak is a competitor in the app field but the new Orbitz app does appear to be faster and has a clean, simple look.  No doubt this will be a popular app since in the last year the number of consumers using a mobile device to shop for travel has doubled.

Monday, July 2, 2012 7:49 am
"Why Can't an E-book Be More Like the Print" Lyrics
Posted by: Admin

If you were in Anaheim for conference and made it to the Booklist Reference program, "Why Can't an E-book Be More Like the Print", you were lucky enough to be treated to the musical stylings of Dave Tyckoson and crew.  He's given us the lyrics to the three musical interludes ("Why Can't an E-book be More Like the Print," "E-book Readin' Man," and "Baby Got Nook".  We'll be posting those lyrics this week here on Points of Reference. Enjoy!

"Why Can't an E-book Be More Like the Print?"
Adapted by David Tyckoson from music by Frederick Loewe; lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Why can't an e-book be more like the print?
Print books are so tactile, so thoroughly square;
Eternally ready, when the pages are there.
Who, when you read them, will always lie flat.
Why can't an e-book be like that?
Why does every publisher do what the others do?
Can't vendors learn to use their heads?
Why do they do everything their predecessors do?
Why don't they sell them, well, like booksellers instead?
Why can't an e-book take after a book?
Books are so pleasant, so easy to please.
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.
Would an e-book still work if I tried to read it for hours?

Of course not.

Would it function if I spilled a drink or two?


Would the smell of an e-book ever be compared to flowers?


Well, why can't an e-book do that for you?
One print book in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then, there's one with slight defects.
One perhaps whose truthfulness you doubt a bit,
But by and large they are almost perfect!
Why can't an e-book take after a book?
'Cause books are so friendly, good-natured and kind.
A better companion you never will find.
If I brought another book to dinner would you bellow?

Of course not.

If I forgot to plug you in, would you fuss?


Would you complain if I checked out another volume?


Why can't an e-book be like us?

Why can't an e-book be more like the print?
Books are so decent, with pretty endflaps;
Ready to guide you through any mishaps;
Ready to pick you up whenever you're glum.
Why can't an e-book be a chum?
Why is blinking something e-books always do?
And why is printing rarely ever allowed?
Using up my battery is all they ever do.
And why don't they organize the contents that's inside?
Why can't an e-book behave like the print?
If I was an e-book who'd been uploaded and ready to call,
Been hailed as a savior by one and by all;
Would I scroll on like a webpage overflowing,
Or try to imitate paper printed from a tree?
Would I run on and never tell me where I'm searching?
Why can't an e-book be like me?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:30 pm
Web Site of the Week: Baseball-Reference.com
Posted by: Christine Bulson

With the All-Star game in July, the baseball season will be at its mid-point and fans will be interested in playoff possibilities for their teams.  Baseball-Reference.com is the site for current statistics and historic information.  The site appeared in 2000 evolving from the Big Bad Baseball Annual which ceased publication in 2000. BR is used by managers, owners, broadcasters, writers, fans and even players.  It has pages for each team year-by-year and box scores for all games in Major League Baseball from 1919 to the present.  A section, "BR Bullpen" is a baseball encyclopedia covering topics including the derivation of the term walk-off home run and famous walk-offs.  Searching by player illustrates different careers- Johnnie Damon has played for eight teams in seventeen years while Mariano Rivera has played for only the New York Yankees for 17 years.  Good luck to all and may the best team win the World Series!

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

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