Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two-Minute Tutorials

Keep in mind that the AUR Library has put up a lot of 2-Minute Tutorials for you to use if you get into trouble. This is a guarantee that each tutorial will be 2 minutes or less. If one is longer, please complain.

The idea is to give you some basic information at the point you need it. Each page in the catalog has special tutorials that can be turned off or on. A good place to begin is A Quick Overview of the AUR Library Catalog and Extending the Search: Overview. You may also want to take a quick virtual tour of the AUR Library, too!

You can take these tutorials from anywhere, at anytime. And nobody needs to know!

If you want something special or have a comment, send us an email or drop by!

Friday, March 26, 2010

New (old) Video on Google Videos

One of the best war movies ever made is the 1930 film, "All Quiet on the Western Front," starring Lew Ayres and directed by Lewis Milestone, based on the famous book by Erich Maria Remarque. The book and movie tell the story of a young German soldier who is excited to sign up to fight in World War I but is slowly ground down in the realities of the war. The movie won awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Apparently, it was the first "talking picture" to win an Ocsar.

The Library of Congress restored the print, and put the video into Google Video where anyone can watch it for free. And the AUR Library cataloged it in the catalog, where you can find it in all kinds of different ways, to enjoy it wherever you have a computer and an Internet hookup.

But that's not all you can do. If you use the Extend Search function in the catalog, you can find articles about the movie and reviews and all kinds of related resources.

Oh yes! You can also read the book, located in the AUR Library. There are lots of other movies that you can watch free online. Stop by and ask us.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latest Updates to the AUR Library

This is another update from the AUR Library. There are some improvements and new tools in the library since the last message.
At the bottom of this message is a list of other relevant links.

Digital Books
We have just added over 550 new books through our subscription with the Humanities Ebook Project hosted by the American Council of Learned Societies. These are books selected by the Council as being especially important to the academic community. The total number of these books is now 2790 from 250 publishers. According to the Project's information:
"Fields currently covered include Area Studies in the following: Australasian/Oceanian, Byzantine, Canadian, Caribbean, Jewish Studies, Native Peoples of the Americas, Women’s Studies. Historical Studies include African, American, Asian, Comparative/World, Eastern European/Russian, Economic, European, Latin American, Law, Medicine, Methods/Theory, Middle East, and Science/Technology. HEB also encompasses the fields of Archaeology, Art and Architectural History, Dance and Performance History, Film and Media Studies, Folklore, Literature, Musicology, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. Forthcoming fields include Bibliographic Studies."

We added over 300 additional books published by the University of Michigan Press and now being made available for free through the HathiTrust Digital Library, following the philosophy of the Open Access movement. Many of these books have been published only recently, and they comprise all topics. This brings to a total of over 650 books made available by the University of Michigan, and many more are expected.

We also added 69 new books from the University of Pittsburgh Digital Press, also made available through the Open Access movement, again, on various subjects. This brings the total number of U Pitt books made available in this way to over 590. These add onto the books made available through the University of California Press, Ohio University Press and others.

The Extend Search has some updates.
-In the Art Images section, we have added an automatic search of RIBA (the database of the Royal Institute of British Architects) which has may images on a wide aray of subjects

-In the Articles & Open Archives section, we have added OpenDOAR. This is a database that allows people to search the contents of over 1500 open access repositories.

-In the Videos section, we have added an automatic search for Movie Review Query Engine, which is a major database with links into movie reviews.

(We are still updating the related Two-Minute Tutorials)

We have also had several questions about statistical information. Since many statistics are government information, much of it is available openly online, but "statistics" is a huge field since there can be statistics for literally everything. As a result, statistics are anything but easy to find. In answer to this, we are experimenting with a page, based on our Do-It-Yourself Research Guide Finder, we have created the Do-It-Yourself Research Guide Finder for Statistics, which is focused on finding research guides for statistical information. Just as with the other Research Guide Finders, this tool does not lead directly to the actual statistics, but to specially designed research guides created by experts in the U.S. and U.K. to help lead you to the statistics you want. It functions similarly to the main Do-It-Yourself Research Guide Finder, i.e. enter the topic you are interested in and the finder will search Google in a highly specific way. For instance, if you search "Immigration" the first result is the excellent guide on International Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania, while if you go down a few, you will find a pdf file that provides a nice overview of statistics from Teesside University.

Let us know how you like it and how it works for you. Naturally, we are anxious to hear any suggestions for improvements or new ideas.

The latest Featured Resource is the C-SPAN site, which has just made all of their videos available for free on the web. This has also been added to the Videos Extend Search section when you choose Educational Videos. C-SPAN has videos and transcripts on all topics, especially since it includes "Book TV" and "BookNotes." We provide specific examples: a video of Victor Davis Hanson discussing his book A war like no other : how the Athenians and Spartans fought the Peloponnesian War (which we have in the library), and the public intellectuals Christopher Hitchens and George Packer discussing the life and thought of George Orwell.

Some highlights of recently added materials:

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Do-It Yourself Research Guide Finder for Statistics

Every student and every researcher will probably need statistics eventually on their subject. There are statistics for all kinds of subjects: business, politics, society, education, religion, and on and on. It is easier to work with statistics today, thanks to tools such as Excel and Access.

Getting the statistics is also easier today then ever before, but there is still a problem about finding them. This is an example of some of the limitations of Google searches since it often fails in the face of the needs people have for specific types of statistics.

To solve this, the AUR Library has made an attempt to create a tool that will help you find research guides for subjects of your choice. We have created the Do-It Yourself Research Guide Finder for Statistics. We still use Google, but we search it in a highly-specific manner that you may not have figured out on your own. What you will be retrieving will be research guides created by other organizations in the U.S. and U.K. which have links to statistics resources and all kinds of helpful advice.

Read the instructions there to see what is going on. Let us know how you like it and how it can be improved. While you're at it, you can see the other research guides we have made.