An Alternative to Wikipedia

I am sometimes shocked and dismayed by how much I see Wikipedia open on computers within the library.  Okay, we know why you go to Wikipedia: it comes up within the top 10 results list of just about any Google search; it provides you with quick background information; it’s just so easy.  But, we also know that Wikipedia is written and edited by anybody and everybody who feels a hankering to share information of any kind about things they don’t necessarily know a whole lot about.  And, we know that citing Wikipedia on a paper or using it for studying just might be academic suicide.  If you need proof, check out this article from The New York Times discussing an error students consistently made on a history exam, due to the notorious Wikipedia.

If you need an alternative to Wikipedia, try Credo Reference from the library (in our Resources A-Z list, accessible from the library’s homepage).  It searches across 350 general and subject-specific encyclopedias for any topic you might want to know more about (information on just about all disciplines are included), and they’re reputable, so you don’t have to worry about citing them in a paper.  Just think – a few clicks away from Google and Wikipedia, there’s an information source that you can really trust!

SF.

A Little Holiday Reading

Every year, to help ring in the holiday season and to encourage reading for fun, the staff of the Drexel Library provides personal recommendations for books they read, enjoyed, and would like to recommend to others in a little newsletter cleverly called Season’s Readings.  If you’re looking for a little holiday reading, perhaps something light to wind down from a busy semester, or something to stimulate other areas of your interest that just didn’t get enough attention this year, check out the list and see what might be the perfect thing to help you welcome the holidays and the New Year.

Have an eye for the night’s sky?

Living in the city, many of us don’t get to experience the night’s sky in all its true splendor because of light (and other kinds of) pollution unless we head out of town.  If you ever lived under a starry, clear night’s sky and miss it, or if you just are curious about astronomy in all its complex and beautiful forms, you might check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day, brought to you by NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Astrophysics Science Division.

With images like this, who could resist?

(Taken from the Lick Observatory outside of San Jose, California)

Thanks to Sarah Bolce for suggesting this site for the blog!

SF.

Two-sided printing

We’ve had a lot of students inquire over the past several years about printing on both sides of a page.  Well, we’re happy to report that the library now offers double-sided printing!  When you go to print, select ‘Properties,’ and ‘Flip on Long Edge’ if the pages of your document should be viewed with a vertical long edge, ‘Flip on Short Edge’ if it should be viewed with a horizontal long edge.  Hopefully, in the end, we’ll save more than a few trees!

SF.

Instant Bibliographies!

As you polish those final papers, the thought of producing that pesky bibliography might be lingering in the back of your mind as a major chore still awaiting you.  But it doesn’t have to be so tedious!  Try out Refworks, the library’s new citation management system.  Set up a free account (under the FYI heading on the library’s homepage), input references manually or automatically import citations from our databases, and produce a bibliography in just about any major citation style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).

A warning to all of you eager users, though: just because it creates instant bibliographies doesn’t mean they are always perfect.  Proofread the bibliography a couple of times – make sure that all the information needed is included (and in the right place!) in each citation.  It’ll still save you lots of time in the long run!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

We’re committed to providing you with the best service that we can here at the Drexel Library, and this semester we tried a new approach to requesting feedback with a suggestion box.  We’ve passed along your comments to the right people to answer your concerns, and we’d like to share these responses with you.  Here are the suggestions from November 6-19, along with responses:

Longer Café hours were requested by 3 patrons
Library Director, Evelyn Minick, replies:  We agree!  The Library Café is operated by the Aramark Food Service.  We have been sending them our entrance numbers and requesting earlier hours during the week and hours on Friday.  We will be sure to pass on your concern.

Other beverage options in the Café were requested by 3 patrons
Assistant Food Service Director, Lauren Booth, replies:  …[regarding] the beverage selection, since we have limited … space, we chose the top selling brands and flavors to sell. I can look into incorporating some of the suggestions….

Naked Juice cost was commented on by 1 patron
Assistant Food Service Director, Lauren Booth, replies: Each year we do a price comparison for all of our items. We price other universities as well as restaurants and convenience stores. All of our prices are then approved by the University. Naked Juice is priced competitively at $3.39. We are selling it at the same price as the University of Pennsylvania. Also, Wawa sells the same size Naked Juice for $3.79.

Request that the Café accept credit cards was requested by 1 patron
Assistant Food Service Director, Lauren Booth, replies:  “We are in the process of obtaining a credit card machine for the C3.”

One patron commented that: “The staff here in the library are approachable, kind-hearted and efficient.”
Thanks, from the library staff!  We try our hardest!

We love your input, so thanks to everyone who contributed.  You’re also welcome to reply to any of the posts on this blog with questions or comments about any aspect of library service.  Keep the suggestions coming!

Thanks to Sarah Bolce and Dan Holden for managing the suggestion box, and to Sarah for compiling the responses.

SF.

Adherents

Adherents may not have the spiffy look of a 2.0 website or the search capabilities of a large database, but it offers rich and reputable information on the world’s religions that makes it a valuable resource and just plain fun to browse through.  What are the world’s largest churches?  Which U.S. President grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness?  Who were some of the most influential Huguenots in history?  Find out on this site, and explore the answers to other questions you didn’t even know to ask!

SF.