Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AUR Library in Facebook

The AUR Library in Evans Hall has created a Facebook page where you can keep up with the latest news, share information and so on. For example, this blog automatically feeds into the Facebook page.

We want to keep this current and you can help us. Please tell us any ideas you may have or would like to share.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

New Extend Search Option

The Extend Search function in the AUR Library Catalog has added an option: Scirus. The Scirus database has hundreds of millions of pages of "scientific" information on the web, but "scientific" should not be read too literally here. There are lots of resources on literature, art, archaeology, classics, and so on.

One part of Scirus is the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), which provides access to many dissertations and theses from around the world. Searching is still a little strange, but there are some excellent and important sources in this database, the vast majority for free.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Google Books and Publishers

Beginning in 2004, Google began scanning the books in several libraries including Stanford and the University of Michigan. Later, many other libraries joined the project. Currently, Google says that they have 7 million books searchable through the project. Many of these books can be viewed for free, and many others can be downloaded as well.

For more information on Google Books and how the AUR Library
and its catalog make these materials available to users,
see the AUR Library Information Wiki.

The problem with all this has been that the publishers believe Google has been violating their copyright and has taken Google to court. In a nutshell, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain and can be copied; orphan works are materials that were copyrighted and the copyright holder cannot be contacted, or perhaps it is unclear if a copyright was renewed; and today, copyright is based on the death date of the author and not on the date of publication. In other words, copyright is highly complicated.

Recently, the Google Books case was settled with an agreement that could have wide consequences. Essentially, the publishers have agreed to let Google display 20% of every book that is in copyright, and Google will begin to let people buy access rights to individual books they want, and libraries will be able to pay money to get full access to the books. (Printing and downloading are different issues)

So, it could all be a new world for making vast amounts of information available to the public , while making Google a lot of money and it will become the largest online book retailer in the world. (See Paul Courant's article (librarian at the University of Michigan): The Google Settlement - From the Universal Library to the Universal Bookstore for a good discussion). Lots of librarians are against the settlement; others are for it. For the other side, you can read Harvard's librarian Robert Darnton's reply in Harvard's newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.

Anyway, the settlement still has to be approved by a court and then work can begin. Finally, what does this have to do with the AUR Library?

Unfortunately, very little because this settlement will work only from U.S. computers since the agreement deals with U.S. law, but as in so many things, there will be consequences for the rest of the world. The discussion is far from over, so let's wait and see.

See also: the summary of the agreement.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Copyright & Fair Use Guidelines

A new and important online publication has just been released: The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education. This document contains guidelines about fair use, and it is written not from the normal viewpoint of a publisher or lawyer, but from the viewpoint of an educator. The legal advisory board is very impressive, and was coordinated by the Media Education Lab, at Temple University, and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the Center for Social Media, both at American University. It is also not aimed only at media literacy, but is a general discussion of the concept of fair use, which has always been one of the more nebulous areas of intellectual property law.

It is written in a highly readable, and more importantly: a practical style, plus, there are three versions of the guidelines: as a pdf download, as a webpage, and even as a streaming video. The AUR Library has cataloged this important publication, and it can be accessed through the AUR Library Catalog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AUR Library Virtual Exhibition - Illustration

The AUR Library has created a second virtual exhibition of scholarly resources on the web. This exhibition has the topic of Illustration on the Web, and its purpose is to attempt to show just a few of the works on illustration, and examples of illustration, that are available on the web.

The areas are divided into: Books, Bindings, Children's Books, Humor, Landscape & Architecture, Advertising, Medicine, Natural History, Politics, and Activism. Some highlights of the materials available are the haunting graphic novel God's Man by Lind Ward (1929), Thomas Nast's political cartoons, Description de l'Egypte from Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, to posters of the Spanish Civil War, plus many more.

Don't forget our previous exhibition dedicated to Rome and Italy.

Both exhibitions are available through the AUR Library Catalog by clicking in the Quick Links area.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Trial Databases

Please try our new Trial Databases that we have temporary access to through our arrangement with our consortiium AMICAL. Currently these work only on campus, but they are available for all students, staff, and faculty. These can be accessed from any page of the library catalog.

"ARTstor is a digital library of nearly one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes."
ARTstor is available to AUR users until the end of 2009.

eHRAF (Human Relations Area Files) is housed at Yale is provided in two parts: World Cultures and Archaeology. These are available until Dec. 31, 2008.

"eHRAF World Cultures is a cross-cultural database that contains information on all aspects of cultural and social life. The annually-growing eHRAF database is unique in that the information is organized into cultures and ethnic groups and the full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph level."
"eHRAF Archaeology is a cross-cultural database containing information on the world's prehistory. This annually-growing eHRAF database is organized by archaeological traditions. The full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph level. eHRAF Archaeology is a unique resource designed to facilitate comparative archaeological studies.?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Search Encyclopedias by Keyword

The AUR Catalog has just instituted a new capability in the Extend Search function. When you select Gale Virtual Reference Library or Oxford Reference Online, you can search multiple reference works by keyword.

This ability should make it much easier to find the information within these reference books. Please note that records for all of these digital book are in the AUR Catalog.
  • Please note that you must be logged-in to the CSI materials for this to work, and the computer will ask for your CSI barcode.
You can access this by clicking on Search Other Collections from any page, or more specifically, by using the Extend this Search when looking at a specific record. You can always click on any of the links for additional information.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

ITunes U

One of the most interesting developments in academia is the creation of ITunes U. (Connect to it most easily through the AUR Library Catalog, which takes you to a page with various options) ITunes U has a fabulous number of public lectures, entire courses, and other information created by colleges, universities, and other educational institutions from around the world. Several U.S. universities have been on ITunes U for some time, such as UC Berkeley, but Yale has also gotten involved recently, and now, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England are adding many of their own courses. See the article in the Guardian for more information. Apple also has a nice video discussing ITunes U.

All of these can be downloaded to your portable device and listened or watched when you want. Finally, they are all free. They are on all topics, from the highly technical to basic overviews of subjects.

Also included are many videos from institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and even some television stations, such as WGBH.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September 2008 issue of the AUR Library Newsletter

Please read our AUR Library Newsletter, which discusses some of the developments in the library. There is also a featured database section, along with helpful hints about pages in the Library Information Wiki and the catalog.

See the latest issue (no. 3, Sept. 2008), and links to earlier issues, at the AUR Library Newsletter webpage.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Fall Semester 2008

We want to welcome everyone to the AUR Library for the Fall 2008 semester! There is a lot new going on:
  • the room downstairs has been refurnished and turned into a student lounge. It's a lot more comfortable and attractive than it was
  • there are lots more computers in the library now and they are located all over
  • the wireless network has been improved and works inside and outside the library
  • we have a nice widescreen television where you can watch videocassettes and DVDs
  • lots of changes to the catalog, which has improved functions. Remember, you can login to the catalog using your ID number and your student ID card, plus the default password: fall2008. Please change your password when you access your account.
Soon we will be issuing the new AUR Newsletter. In the meantime, you can read the earlier ones.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Electronic Reference Books Added

Through our relationship with the College of Staten Island, AUR has access to many electronic resources. Two of the most important of these resources are the Gale Virtual Reference Library and Oxford Reference Online. There are hundreds of reference books in these databases comprising thousands of volumes. The problem is, the only way to know about these wonderful reference sources is to get into the CSI database list and go to either "G" for Gale Virtual Reference Library or "O" for Oxford Reference Online. Of course, no one does this.

The AUR Library added records for these resources to the online catalog some time back, but major additions have taken place, especially in the Gale reference library. To see a list of the new materials cataloged, go to the main page of the AUR Library catalog, look for "Latest Additions to the Catalog" and click on Electronic Resources. You will see that we added almost 700 reference sources that comprise a total of over 1500 volumes. (There are other resources as well) You can also see complete lists of all of the Gale reference library or Oxford reference online by searching them in the Advanced search and searching Gale virtual reference library or Oxford reference online premium.

For the study-abroad students, these materials can be used only in the library, but if you find an interesting title, you can see if you have access to it through your home school. For example, students from Broome Community College can use the AUR study-abroad page to discover that they have access to the Gale Virtual Reference Library through their home school.

All topics are represented. As only one example, here is the record for the 17 volume reference work Women in world history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Additions to Selected Journals List

AUR has added some new additions to its online journals. The first is The Globalist, which discusses various aspects of globalization.

The topics it covers are: Children, Companies, Culture, Development, Diplomacy, Economy, Environment, Finance, Health, History, Markets, Media, Music, People, Politics, Religion, Security, Sports, Technology, and Women in various parts of the world.

The second magazine we have added is Eurozine. This is from their webpage: Eurozine is a network of European cultural journals, linking up 70 partner journals and just as many associated magazines and institutions from nearly all European countries. Eurozine is also a netmagazine which publishes outstanding articles from its partner journals with additional translations into one of the major European languages.

This is a very handy magazine that can keep you up with the latest intellectual trends in Europe, with articles by some of its most famous scholars. Many of the articles are in their original languages, but there is always a summary in English available.

How to Find These Magazines

To find these--and other--selected magazines, you can either search the AUR Library catalog or browse our Selected Journals list. As always happens, the links from the Selected Journals list go into the Library catalog, where you can find additional information and links, including a link into the journal if it is available from the College of Staten Island.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The AUR Library Catalog Works with Answer Tips

The AUR Library Catalog now works with Answer Tips from This should make it easier for users to understand some of the terms found in the catalog records.

It is still not perfect, and more information can be found in the AUR Library Information Wiki page. Mainly, it currently does not work with any text that is linked. But it also does fairly well on some items. In this record, you can click on the names of some of the people work.

For example, did you know what prosopography means? Find the word in this record and double click on it. It will even pronounce it for you!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Second Issue of AUR Library Newsletter

The second issue of the AUR Library Newsletter has just been issued. In it is announced some of the new initiatives: the Google Book Search, the Virtual Exhibition, the online documentaries and other information.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Link to Scans in Google Book Search from the AUR Library Catalog

AUR Library has added links from the catalog to scans in Google Book Search. This will allow you to view the scans made by Google of their 10,000,000 book library project. When you find a record for a book in our catalog, the catalog sends out a request to Google, where it will determine if the scan exists or not. If it does, then a link will appear in the AUR catalog, with the image to the right.
(The Google Book Search program is highly controversial. For an overview, see: Devichand, By Mukul Devichand Is Google really flouting copyright law? BBC News, 9 March 2007)

There are several caveats with this service, and they are discussed in the related page in the AUR Library Information Wiki. For example, most of the time you cannot see the entire book, but only selections. Still, this should be of help to people to get an idea of the book, to be able to read parts when the physical copy is checked out or otherwise unavailable. The text can be searched, too.

Here is an example from the catalog.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Plugin Allows You to Search the AUR Catalog

The AUR Library has created a search bar plugin that allows you to search the AUR catalog from the search bars that are in your browser. Installation is very simple. All you have to do is go to the AUR Catalog Plugin Page and click on the link. It will automatically add the AUR catalog to your search bar.

What is this all about?

There normally are search bars in your browser where you can search, e.g. Google without having to type in the URL and to enter the search in the text box there. For example, the search bar in the following image will search Google for the word "open". Or, you can select "Yahoo" or "Ebay." (These are the default search engines) After you install the AUR plugin, you will see it added to the list.

There is a separate plugin to add the AUR catalog to the "Google Search bar." You have to look farther down in the list, though.

In both cases, enter your search terms, click "AUR Catalog" and you will be searching our catalog.

Friday, March 07, 2008

AUR Library Holds its First Virtual Exhibition!

A book from The Italian Futurist Book exhibition held at Colophon Page
Exhibitions of materials is an important task of a library. It lets the library's users know about all kinds of materials and resources they would never have known about.

AUR has a very small physical collection, but the number of materials on the World Wide Web is enormous and growing daily. These materials are very important and interesting for our users, but how are they to know about them? The AUR Library places many of these items into its catalog, but it has just finished an exhibition of many of these valuable materials on the web. Therefore, it can be thought of more like an "exhibition of exhibitions."

The purpose of our exhibition is to let our library users know of the existence of some of these wonderful sites dealing with various aspects of the topics of Rome and/or Italy. Many of them are "virtual exhibitions" of other libraries, but there are other ingenious projects undertaken by librarians, scholars, and scholarly organizations.

We plan to add other exhibitions in the future on other topics.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

AUR and the Open Access Movement

AUR has created a genuine Open Archive, which means that we have joined the Open Access movement. Open Archives and Open Access are the most exciting developments in the field of scholarly publishing today. This makes it easier for both faculty and students to share their researches and other creative work in an efficient and controlled way. For much more information, see the announcement.

Go to: the main page for the AUR Open Archive.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free e-books through Gutenberg-e!

As the World Wide Web continues to expand, there is more and more ferment in the world of scholarly publishing. A person who has been especially busy is one of the great historians of the book, Robert Darnton, who has recently become the head of the library at Harvard University. Recently, it was announced that a number of books selected by the American Historical Association are now being made available through Open Access publishing.
For more information on the history of scholarly publishing and how it is changing, see The Scholarly Publication Process from the AUR Library Information Wiki.
The official announcement is on the homepage of the American Historical Society. Many people feel that open access publishing is unsustainable, but others feel that it is the unstoppable wave of the future. The announcement makes these problems clear.

There is a list available from the AHA, but I have discovered that they are also findable through WorldCat, by searching "" as a keyword. Currently, there are only 52 titles, but they are on all different topics, from art to culture to radium. Click on the link that says
Web Resources:

There will probably be easier ways to find these materials in the future. They are supposed to be included in the Humanities E-Book project (AUR has a subscription), but they don't seem to be there yet.

AUR is making its own attempts at open access publishing and we hope to make an announcement soon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First Issue of the AUR Library Newsletter

The first issue of the AUR Library's newsletter has been issued. There is a lot of news about some of initiatives we are taking. It also points out some pages of interest in the Library Information Wiki.

Download a version at the AUR Library Newsletter homepage.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Search All Catalogs in Rome with One Search!

We have added the last of the major catalogs in Rome to our Extend Search section of the catalog: the combined catalog of the Senate Library and the Chamber of Deputies. As with all of the other Extend Search options, select the search that you want to do, enter the text (or select it when possible), click Find, and a new window will open up with the search results.
Now, by selecting the options under Roman libraries, you can search all the books in all the major libraries in Rome that are available to you.
  • Don't forget to click on the name of the catalog to get more information about searching, access information, and links to the websites of the individual libraries.
To get more information on how the Extend Search option works, you can always click on the link that says "How does this work?"

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Resources from Intute

We have added a search box to search Intute, a free online service that "provides access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in our database and write high quality descriptions of the resources." The database currently has over 120,000 records. To search Intute (and lots of other databases) use the Extend Search function in the catalog.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Semester, New Resources

Welcome to all our new students and faculty. Please feel free to participate in this blog and to see some of the postings that discuss the new projects going on.

There are a couple of new resources we have built that may be of interest. One is an extension of our News Feeds, which is a selection of Online popular magazines. The selection is primarily from the list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education's Art & Letters Daily. They have been organized very roughly by subject.

Another new development is to the Extend Search in the Library catalog, where an excellent resource was added: Intute. According to their site, it is "a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners. Subject specialists select and evaluate the websites in our database and write high quality descriptions of the resources." It has shown to be an excellent resource.

For more information about the Extend Search capability in the AUR library catalog, see the AUR Information Wiki.