Thursday, October 15, 2009

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

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