Monday, October 26, 2009

Think Tank Publications

What is a

Think Tank?
Earlier in the year, Foreign Policy published an article entitled "The Think Tank Index" by James McGann in (Jan-Feb 2009).

This was a project of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. In this project, hundreds of experts from around the world ranked the best think tanks in various ways.

Many of these think tanks put their research materials on the web for free, so AUR Library has created a page that will search these materials as simply as possible. Follow the directions on the page. You can get to this page from the Wiki page on Think Tanks, or by using the Extended Search option, and selecting Government & Policy Documents --> Selected Think Tanks.

We will continue "tweaking" the query in Google to get better results. Give it a try and let us know how it works.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

European Union Documents

Just a few days ago, the European Union announced that they had created a website that contains all of its documents dating back 60 years in 23 languages. For more information, see the article in CNN. Obviously, it is a very important resource that at one time, could only be used physically in (apparently) in Brussels, but now everyone can view these materials from anywhere in the world.

The AUR Library has added the EU Bookshop to its Extend Search function. To search it, all you need to do is select text, or click on Search Other Collections in the library catalog, select Government & Policy Documents, and you will see your search result under EU Bookshop. Here's an example for searching Italy. The Two-Minute Tutorial has been updated to reflect this as well.

For more information on the Extend Search of the AUR Library Catalog, you can take another Two-Minute Tutorial.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

University of Michigan Press Publications

There are huge changes taking place in the area of scholarly publishing, and perhaps there is no place where this is more evident than at the University of Michigan Press, one of the most important university presses in the country. It was recently placed under the management of the Univeristy of Michigan library and plans to go almost completely digital very soon. (See the story in Inside Higher Ed)

As a part of this change, they have made many of their books available for free over the web, and the AUR Library has cataloged them, which means that you can find them when you search the AUR catalog. So far, there are over 300, but they have said that there will be over 1,000 available over the next few months.

They are on all topics and include many recent publications. Almost all are highly relevant for AUR students. To see the list of the ones the library chose, you can look under HathiTrust Digital Library. But don't forget the other free university press books we have cataloged as well, and you can refer to the earlier blog post, where we discussed it in more detail.

REMEMBER that when you do the Extend Search and choose Electronic Book Projects, one of the choices is HathiTrust. For more information, see the Two-Minute Tutorial.

See also: the complete list of the Unveristy of Michigan Press 
books that are available for free online. 

Latest Updates to the AUR Library's Website

The latest changes to the library websites are in the Academic blogs, which have been modified to function in two ways: to find the latest entries, and to be able to search them by keyword. As an example, go to, click on Political Science and you will see Part 1 and Part 2. When you click on either part, you will be getting the latest entries for the selected blogs. If you enter text in the box at the top and click on Keyword, you will be searching these same blogs for the keywords you want.

If you have any specific sites you would like included, please let us know.

We also changed the page for the Latest Education Videos/Public Lectures to work in the same way. These refinements should make these tools more useful to everyone.

Research Guides have become more embedded into the Extend Search through the section Synonyms/Other Tools. I have made this tool to allow people to find research guides based on their own keywords. When you use this tool, in the background is a highly-refined search of Google that I continue to “tweak.” To see this in action, here is an example of how it finds research guides for Charles Darwin.

Click on this link, which goes to the required page in the Extend Search function and then select Research Guides. and you can see the research guide on Darwin from Michigan State University, another one on evolution/creationism at the University of Wisconsin, several history of science guides, and so on. Naturally, you can use any words you want and you can normally find something somewhere. I am currently trying to include research guides from UK institutions since they have some excellent ones, but I have run into some technical problems. The associated Two-Minute Tutorial has also been updated. For a Two-Minute Tutorial on the Extend Search, which is unique to AUR, go to

The current Featured Resource is the sketchbooks of Charles Martens, artist for the H.M.S. Beagle during the voyage with Charles Darwin. The sketchbooks were digitized by Cambridge University, and it gave me a chance to point out some of the other works available to students online: more through Cambridge, and in the Internet Archive. The previous Featured Resource was the Edgar Allen Poe archive at the University of Texas at Austin. Featured Resources are available on the main page of the library catalog, and you can always see the archive.

Blog entries dealt with PDF Xchange Viewer, which is much superior to Adobe Acrobat Reader, since you can highlight and make notes on the pdf file itself, which is one of the basic reasons why students say they need printed sheets, but no longer if they use this viewer. Another entry discussed the free citation software programs Zotero and Connotea; other posts dealt with concerns over Wikipedia and updates to Google searching. The Library’s Blog is at

Of course, we welcome all comments and suggestions. If you have link or sites you would like to see added somewhere, please let us know!

James Weinheimer
Director of Library and Information Services
The American University of Rome
Rome, Italy

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Life Magazine Online

Life Magazine was one of the most well-known U.S. publications. It was regarded especially highly for its photography, which managed to capture some famous moments.

Life magazine still has a site online but it has put its archive from 1936-1972 into Google Books where everyone can use it for free. The AUR Library has made a record for it in the catalog, adding links, and even adding a search box for you to search the contents by keyword.

There are all kinds of articles. Here are some of the pages from the Cuban Missle Crisis, which gripped the world at the time. You see students practicing their "duck and cover" while their teachers watch.

You can also see some of the earliest pictures of the Elvis Presley phenomenon, summed up in this title: Elvis: a different kind of idol, Presley's impact piles up fans, fads--and fears.

Or, an advertisement for Rayve hair cream shampoo featuring Marilyn Monroe.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Google Search Results Options

Google has added several new options to rearrange the results of a search. Many people, including me, have felt very limited by being unable to re-sort the results of a Google search, and remaining constrained only to Google's secret algorithm that determines the page rank/relevancy ranking. (For a deeper discussion of how Google works, see Full-Text and Search Engines in the AUR Library Information Wiki)

There is now a Show Options selection.
When you click on it, a menu appears where you can arrange your search in different ways, by Videos, Images, only those in the past hour, and so on.
The newest one they just instituted is a potentially useful one: the Timeline. You can refine by the date merely by clicking on the graphs. It is important to keep in mind that when you click on the date, it is still unclear exactly what Google is searching and displaying.
There is also the strange Wonder Wheel, which may also prove itself to be useful:
In any case, Google seems to be admitting that the single arrangement of search results may not be thoroughly adequate, so they are adapting to what people want.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Latest Education Videos/Public Lectures

The Library has updated the page that allows you to see the latest educational videos and public lectures in different websites. It functions in two ways: 1) to see the latest educational videos and public lectures using RSS feeds, and 2) to search the same sites using the keywords of your choice.

The idea of making these videos available is so that you can see the latest developments in the scholarly world. For example, anyone can now watch a public lecture given at Princeton University just a few days ago (September 21, 2009) How Small Emergencies Undermine Big Constitutional Principles by Kim Lane Scheppele, professor at Princeton and Yale, debating important issues of constitutional law with two other professors (University Channel). Or a discussion among cultural historians, critics, and composers about the music and influence of the folk singer Bob Dylan held at CUNY Graduate Center on September 17, 2009. See Bob Dylan: American Poet (

When you do keyword searches, a whole world opens up. As only one example, here is a lecture about Pompeii and the Roman Villa given by Carol Mattusch of George Mason University at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) on October 29, 2008. (

Give it a try. Academia is not all in books, it's also in the relationships and debates among human beings.