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Spice up your news routine!

We all have our different channels for keeping up with the world’s most important events, developments and opinions – websites, publications, and programs that we tune in to every day to stay updated.  Cnn.com, for instance, is one of the most popular websites around (it’s in the top 20 of most popular sites in the U.S.), and a lot of people depend on it for their news fix.

Every once in awhile, though, it’s a great exercise  to take a step back and try out new tools for staying abreast of current events: it can expand our worldview, spice up our routine, and even entertain us for awhile.  Try some of these news aggregators for a change of pace:

If you’re looking for numerous stories on a single topic, try the flashy news aggregator Day Life.  If you’re interested in up-to-the-minute news blog-style, try Blogrunner.   Want more relevant results as you search for a particular news item?  Try Silobreaker.   If you’re more into graphics and looking for a quick overview of the news, take a look at Newser.  Browse away, and let us know what you think!

Information Fair!

Join us at the Drexel Library on Thursday of this week, during free period for an Information Fair extravaganza, complete with refreshments, give-aways, demos, and of course, information on new resources and tools that are bound to wow even the savviest of Library users. We’ll be showing you how to search across numerous databases at once with our new One Search system, how to create instant bibliographies with Refworks, and how to get the most out of the Research Toolkits and the Library building itself. Come with general questions you might have about the resources as well, we’ll be happy to answer them! We hope to see you there!

Welcome to Saint Joseph's!

The Library would like to welcome everyone back on campus – welcome back old students, and welcome to the new ones! We hope your stay at Saint Joseph’s is memorable, fun, and, of course, educational. Early in the summer, we worked with students to make a fun promotional video for the Library that should give you a bit of background on the Library building, the resources, as well as a general introduction to research at the college level. Check it out here, and we hope to see you in the Library soon!

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The Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985

Disciplines that depend on historical analysis are varied: an English scholar might want to trace the public reception of Great Expectations at the time of publication, an Economics instructor might need to pinpoint the inflation rate of the British pound in the early 1800’s, or a Linguistics student might be investigating the use of the masculine pronoun over time.  Searching through primary sources is the cornerstone of this type of research,  and it often involves combing through yellowing pamphlets, thumbing carefully through crumbling personal letters, or leafing through old newspaper clippings.  Fortunately, as more and more of these documents are digitized and embedded into searchable databases, scholars and students alike have to bury themselves in the archives less and less often to access these primary sources.  The Drexel Library recently acquired an important online collection that will help with just such primary research: a digital archive of The Times, an important British newspaper, stretching all the way back to its first publication in 1785.   Not only does this database make the content of The Times available in full until the year 1985, it also allows you to view the content in its original format, with the original newspaper page layout.  Take a look at this amazing collection, and keep it in mind for future research projects!

Producing and Reusing Responsibly

More and more often, college professors around the country are assigning new projects instead of a traditional research paper.  We recently had a Social Problems class in the library that were developing 2-3 minute viral advertisements to promote awareness on a specific social issue or problem.  Doing multimedia projects can be fun, but it comes with all kinds of new rules and responsibilities for using, adapting, and distributing information.  Did you know, for instance, that the production of any work of any kind, whether it be a snapshot, a term paper, or even a doodle, is copyrighted the moment it’s produced?  That means it’s FULLY protected against others taking, adapting, and republishing it — including you, even for a school project.  Fortunately, there are also sites out there that are willing and eager to make their content free for the taking and/or the adapting – mostly under a Creative Commons license.  Check out our Research Toolkit about finding multimedia resources for adaptation, and watch this video from the Creative Commons site that explains the restrictions of copyright and the benefits of using Creative Commons.  It’s incredibly important in this day and age to become a responsible user of information, but we also need to become responsible producers.  As you develop multimedia projects, think about sharing your own content under a creative commons license, too!

Expanded Services during Finals!

The library will once again be open 24/7 during finals week so that you have a place to study for that scary exam when your adrenaline is pumping at 2 a.m. the night (eer…morning) before.  Back by popular demand, this service launched last spring and continued through the fall.

We’re also offering a new service that will allow groups of two or more to reserve group study rooms between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. during finals week.  Be sure and coordinate with your group members – we need at least two names to call it a legitimate reservation.  So if you’re meeting for a brainstorming session with classmates and want a nook all your own, sign up now by visiting the Information Desk, or calling 610.660.1904.

Good luck with finals, and we’ll see you at the library!

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Events and Exhibits

The new library Events and Exhibits page was recently launched to keep you updated on the things we’re planning, and the exhibits we’re showcasing in the library.  Linked directly from the library’s homepage, we’ll be advertising book talks, discussion groups, faculty presentations, and community displays that we’re organizing in the library.  Take a look, and join us for our first advertised event on April 23 at 3:30 in the library cafe as history professor Katherine Sibley discusses her new book, First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy.  She’ll stay to answer questions and sign copies!

Thanks to Marian Courtney and Sarah Bolce for their hard work in maintaining the Events and Exhibits site!

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April Fools!

Today is the only day in the year when major companies and news organizations like Google, Youtube and UK’s The Guardian could get away with some seriously wacky hoaxes.  Take a look at some of the featured ‘fools’ jokes from this year at http://aprilfoolsdayontheweb.com/, or browse through the all-time best in the age of large-scale media at http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/.   While it’s pretty obvious that these are jokes, they do show us that even things published by a major company should be given a second look.  No foolin’.

Thanks to Kris Mudrick for sending over these sites!

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One Search is Here!

Have you ever gone from one library database to the next in search for the perfect resource, and wished that the library could offer you a single interface to search all those resources, all at once?  Well, now we do offer such an interface!  The library recently unveiled a new tool that allows you to search across numerous library resources all at once: One Search.   While not all databases are searchable in the One Search system, there are enough to get you started doing research on just about any topic.  We will be publishing search interfaces in One Search for each individual subject on the Research by Subject page in the next few months, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, try out our Multisubject search, linked from the library’s homepage, or search across a particular subject’s One search interface by going to the One Search homepage.  Check out what databases are included in the system, and read up on the One Search FAQ’s for more information.

Best of luck with your research projects, and be sure and let us know what you think of the new system!

New Exhibit at the Library

Throughout the month of March, Francis A. Drexel Library will host an exhibit of sample pieces from the 2008 Mordechai Anielewicz Creative Arts Competition. Named for the heroic teenager who organized Jewish resistance and gave his life fighting in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, this annual competition provides students in grades 7-12 in all public, private and parochial schools in Philadelphia and its suburbs, with both a forum and opportunity to respond to the Holocaust by means of creative expression. Panels of judges with expertise in various creative disciplines evaluate the 400 or so submissions. The artistic submissions are mounted and exhibited professionally by the Moore College of Art and Design. All of the winning written submissions are published in a booklet and distributed at the awards ceremony which is held each spring at Moore, in conjunction with the exhibition. For more information, contact Anne Krakow, Associate Director for Public Services and Programming, akrakow@sju.edu or x1906.