Thursday, November 29, 2007

comments received re copy cards refund and copy machines

I have received comments from students tonight about the copy card refund information that is posted on the second floor. The student, with $10 on an old card, read it and assumed she could get a refund. I read the information and although I know we now have a new vendor, that is not apparent from the posted information. Yes, I know that information was posted about not putting too much money on the old card because there would be no refunds because we have a new vendor. The yellow instructions do not indicate it is a new vendor that is not responsible for the previous vendor. I don't think the student is a regular library user and English is not her first language. She was not happy.

Also, another student suggested that while the directions about how the new copy machine works are good, having them on top of the lid of the copier makes it difficult to remember what needs to be done. (Once the lid is up, you can't read the instructions.)


Logging on to the reference desk this weekend--what should the process be?

I've been asked what is the process for logging onto the reference desk computers this weekend? On Friday, are the computers to be left on? Please let everyone know. Also, a good supply of staples would be good for the upcoming weekend. I'll check with Alfredo. Thanks, Rita

Following up on an earlier post about being called prior to students' visits

Following up on Linda Rath's recent post, I too would appreciate being called prior to having students sent in to see me in my office. Thanks, Rita

Access to combined CRSP-Compustat isn't available

Access to the combined CRSP-Compustat database through WRDS isn't available. (It is payment related.) I was alerted to this access problem by an accounting professor. Mike Waldman is working to resolve the problem. Thanks Mike!

No access to National Newspaper Index

The link on our Databases page to National Newspaper Index doesn't work. It takes you to an Infotrac page asking for login info.

Trial of DemographicsNow

We have an on-campus trial to DemographicsNow until 12/31/07. Please share your comments on the database.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Historical Commodity Prices

This afternoon Prof. Jiao helped me tackle a question similar to the eucayptus and mineral examples.

The student was looking for historical spot commodity prices for oil, silver and gold going back many years.

Before I had a chance to get the student onto the designated terminal to use Thompson DataStream (which has historical commodity prices), Prof. Jiao stepped up and showed us a user-friendly print copy of the CRB (Commodity Research Bureau) Commodity Yearbook which allows you to look up commodities by name (like gold) and find historical data trends going back many years without having to construct a query. The student was pleased.

Later I came across a pathfinder via the Portland State College Library which links to a nice web-based Guide to Understanding the Commodities Market. The guide also has a Glossary.

I hope this information is of some help. It was for me. Thank you to Prof. Jiao!

Some suggested resources for PAF 9100 assignment

Today I helped a SPA graduate student during the research consultations who is working on a research paper for PAF 9100. They are to apply concepts from Kingdon (on policymaking) and Wilson (on bureacracy) to one of four options on policy formations. (These are authors that they have read.)

The choices are:

U.S. Housing Act of 1937. I have learned that this act established permanent public housing in the U.S. Also sometimes called the Wagner Housing Act of 1937, or the Wagner-Steagall Act.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This act reauthorized some educational programs, established standards to be met, and gave more emphasis to improving reading, among other things. (I don't think there will be any problem with this one.)

The Hart-Celler Act of 1965. (It is misspelled as Hart-Cellar on the assignment, and in a number of references found on Google. Emanuel Celler was a New York representative from Brooklyn who served many terms.) This act is also known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It ended the national origins quota system.

Social Security Act Amendments of 1965. These amendments established the Medicare/Medicaid program.

The students are to use books, scholarly journals, reports by research institutes or (to a small extent) articles from major news outlets.

My student was working on the Medicare/Medicaid program question. Although not exhaustive, the following are suggested possible resources. (Barbara Carrel reminded me of several of the sources listed below.)

CUNY+ for books--using keywords. Books about the presidential terms of Franklin Roosevelt (1937), Lyndon Johnson (1965) and George W. Bush may also provide some insights as these reforms were major ones.

U.S. Code and Congressional News would have some legislative history. Our subscription starts in 1967 but earlier years are available at NYPL-SIBL.

JSTOR, PAIS International, America History & Life, Medline Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw for articles. (The students should probably check to see if the professor considers law review articles scholarly resources.)

Policy File for studies and reports.

The encyclopedias available on Gale Virtual Reference database could provide background information.

The historic versions of the WSJ and the New York Times would be resources for interest groups, etc.

The student and I tried some searches in Facts on File, also good for background,and CQ Researcher (didn't go back far enough for the 1965 passage of legislation.) We also expanded the searches beyond the immediate years of passage of the legislation so that some perspective could be found.

I hope that these suggestions are helpful.

Some of the questions that they are expected to answer are:

Why and how did the issue that the policy addresses get onto the agenda?
Waht was the intended goal of the policy? Was that goal guided by a search for a public good?

Which publics were heard on the issue, in the sense of having their views addressed and supported in the policymaking process. Which publics were ignored or excluded?

What tools of policymaking were used in the policy formation process?

What constraints did policymakers face as they constructed the specifics of the policy?

What was the outcome of the policy process? That is, what did the policy actuall mandate?
Did the policy attain the intended goals, and/or address the issue that originally motivated the policy process?

What were the unintended consequences of the policy as enacted? Etc.

Lit. Res. Center and MLA not working on Firefox

Literature Resource Center and MLA are not working on Firefox right now, perhaps because of the Firefox enhancement. They do work with IE.

Red Hook Employment $

Anyone have useful suggestions in trying to find statistics about money (Federal, state, city, and/or private) going into (any and all) employment programs in Red Hook Brooklyn.

I have tried unsuccessfully: Websites: Indpend. Budget office (NYC), Brooklyn Community Board 6, fedstats, uscensus, nystate gov

Also tried multiple database searches in hopes of finding pr's from agencies/foundations, etc.


Information about a pilot PACER project at Fordham Law School Library

It was announced recently that Fordham Law School Library is participating in a pilot program to offer public access to PACER, which is the federal judiciary's centralized registration, billing, and technical support center for electronic access to U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Appellate court records. (You can see what new cases are filed each day, and obtain court records, such as filings related to cases. Our Westlaw Campus and Lexis-Nexis databases do not include these documents.)
It is a fee based service, with charges for searching (if you don't do it yourself) and page fees. (These charges help support the system.) The Pacer Service Center web site is The system is used by attorneys and others working in, or writing about, the cases.

Because of some inquiries, I contacted the librarian at Fordham Law School Library.
She sent me the following information:

"We only received the information about this program last week. We are in the process of writing policies for the public use of the PACER terminal. I will send you the finished policies as soon as they are finished. Please note that each user must come in person to Fordham Law Library to use the PACER terminal. We are not allowed to give the password and login to anyone outside Fordham."

I'll let you know the policies when they are received.


More on Financial Statements

Financial statements starting with the year 1909 are available in the Moody's Manuals. We have the online version of these print directories in the database Mergent WebReports. Our print collection is incomplete.

Problems with logging on to the reference desks

Has the procedure for logging on to the reference desk changed? I ask because yesterday and this morning people had trouble logging on. I tried to help Stewart and we have been unable to log on. Also, the icon for the help desk request no longer appears on the desk tops. I called Saad and Theresa for help.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

US Conference of Mayors disputes "most dangerous cities"

For someone looking for an example of evaluating information, or the possible misuse of statistics, you might want to point them to this press release from the U.S. Conference of Mayors which takes issue with the CQ rankings of "most dangerous" cities based on crime statistics. The press releases mentions an FBI caution about making comparisons of the variables and rankings.

Sources of pre-1992 financial information for public companies

A number of auditing students are doing assignments dealing with audit failures.
Some are looking for financial filings by the companies prior to the beginning of the SEC's Edgar system. (For some companies, this was 1992, for all companies, it was 1994.) Some of the companies which had audit failures were not publicly traded. The questions the students are being asked to answer for these companies do not focus on the financials.

Among the sources available are:

If the companies were in the Fortune 500, microfiche on the 3rd floor.

Lexis-Nexis Academic. Click sources. Enter AICPA in the search box on the right.
This brings up a listing of the AICPA's financial information for companies. Individual years may be selected, or all years. Then, one can search for the company. The results are the financial statements and footnotes from the companies' filngs.

Older Moody's manuals and ValueLine, the call numbers of which may be found through CUNY+.

A number of our database, such as Thomson Research, removes filings if the company is no longer publicly traded.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Possible sources of help for Prof. Shon's accounting students

Prof. John Shon's accounting students have an assignment to apply IAS 16 to a fact situation. They have a short handout that the professors prepared about online access to IAS 16, but in case they come to the desk without it:

Online access is only available through CCH Accounting Research Manager. There is a limit of two users at a time.

If they want explanatory information, I would suggest either searching CUNY+ for books on international accounting standards, such as Miller Accounting Standards Guide, or going to Books 24x7, which has made books on international accounting standards. Once they do a keyword search for those, they could limit their searches to IAS 16.

They are also asked to prepare their answer in a memo format. I am suggesting that they check out the information about memos in The Little, Brown Handbook, or again Books 24x7, which has many books on business corrrespondence. Limiting those results to memos worked better than "memorandum."

They are also to include journal entries. I don't know what the journal entries should be. The Miller International Accounting Standards Guide and the other sources might have some examples.

Although I have received a number of requests for individual meetings, this is all I know to tell the students.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


ICPSR launches topic specific resource centers

In an effort to make getting to their data more user-friendly, ICPSR has created a few centers where they pre-selected the data referring to certain topics, so users don't have to go hunting for it (and they add anything new that comes in too). Currently, they have 3 centers:

Minority Data: presenting data for the comparative analysis of analysis of issues affecting racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. This is a great place to get data on the study of immigration, place of origin, ancestry, ethnicity, and race in the United States.

International Data Resource Center:
Access to international data housed at ICPSR, including such topics as war and peace, economic issues, electoral systems and political behavior, environmental data, health data and more.

Terrorism and Preparedness Data Resource Center
: has data collected by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and researchers about the nature of domestic and international terrorism incidents, organizations, perpetrators, and victims; governmental and nongovernmental responses to terror; and citizens' attitudes towards terrorism.

Data for Metals and Minerals - USGS

Even though I'm a geographer, yesterday I wish I had been a geologist, as I had a number of questions at the reference desk about metals - what they are and how much they cost. A good domestic source for this info is the USGS - the United States Geological Survey, a branch of the Dept of the Interior. Check out their Mineral Commodities Summary page.

You can get a pdf of their annual summary report, or better yet, you can click on an individual mineral which will bring you to a page for that mineral. You'll get a definition of what the metal/mineral is (in case you want to know the difference btw Titanium Sponge Metal and Titanium Dioxide), and links to the pdfs in the annual report which include data on amount produced, average market price, imports, exports, consumption, employment, etc. There are links on this page to another report called the Minerals Yearbook, which provides a nice narrative overview of the industry in pdf AND there are excel files with data for all the number crunchers out there.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New website for NYPL

Don't know when it went live (couldn't have been more than a week), but the new home page for the NYPL offers some notable features:
  • search for materials in LEO, CATNYP, NYPL Digital Gallery, NYPL web site, and more all at the same time (here's a sample search for "many are the crimes," which is a book by Ellen Schrecker on McCarthyism)
  • a drop-down list of libraries (old site required a few clicks to get a specific branch)

Demographic and Statistical Profiles for NYC Neighborhoods

A basic question that comes up fairly often - a student is interested in doing market research and they want demographic data for a specific neighborhood in NYC. Where should they look?

There are a few good places to go. A number of agencies and institutions produce profiles of neighborhoods or community districts, where they compile data from several sources into one document. These are good sources if a patron wants a lot of different information about one area - a profile. These are NOT good sources if a patron needs one piece of data for many areas (a list of all neighborhoods ranked by total population, for example) in a format that's friendly for data processing (spreadsheet).

Good sources for NYC neighborhood profiles:

  • NYC Dept of Planning Community District Profiles - demographic data from the Census and from surveys, vital statistics, income, land area and landuse, facilities and schools. Includes maps and charts, and a breakdown of census data for each census tract within the community district.

  • NYC Dept of Health Community Health Profiles - some demographic and education data, vital statistics, and the results of the department's latest health survey, which looks at smoking rates, prevalence of HIV AIDS, alcohol and drug use, immunizations, and access to healthcare facilities. Each individual report compares the indicator from the neighborhood to the rest of the borough and the city as a whole.

  • NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy State of NYC Housing and Neighborhoods Report - one page factsheets that include income, poverty, housing stock, homeownership, home loans, and demographic data. Shows the rank for each neighborhood and has helpful graphs for comparing the neighborhood to the city as a whole.

  • NYPD Crime Statistics - detailed crime statistics for each precinct. Includes some historical data.

  • US Census Bureau - try their population finder or quickfacts (on right-hand side of the page) to get a profile for a state, city, county, or zip code. No neighborhoods though - the census bureau does not compile data for these areas - the sources listed above use small census divisions, usually census tracts or blocks, and they add them together to create neighborhood stats.

  • Common question - a lot of the census data is from the year 2000 - is there anything more recent? You can get estimates for states, counties (boroughs), and cities from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. You cannot get more recent data for more detailed levels (census tracts, blocks, zip codes, or neighborhoods). Period. The Census Bureau does not compile data for these areas in non-census years (yet).

    Oh OK - there is one source that is more current - The NYC Housing and Vacancy Survey, conducted by the Census Bureau and the city every three years or so. The link will take you to their main page where they have city-wide stats from the survey, but nothing for neighborhoods. There is another site that provides some neighborhood data from this survey, but it's scary and not for the faint of heart. I'll tackle this one in a future posting.

    Research consultations for Wednesday, Nov. 28

    Due to a cancellation over the weekend, there is now one free space in the schedule of research consultations for Wednesday, November 28. Feel free to encourage students to sign up for the 1 pm slot.

    Fiscal Policy Institute releases profile of immigrants in the New York State Economy

    The Fiscal Policy Institute has today published a 100+ page study "Working for a Better Life: A Profile of Immigrants in the New York State Economy." According to the report, immigrants added $229 billion to the state's economy in 2006.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007



    Possible problem with remote access to Westlaw Campus

    A student logged in to chat last night and called the reference desk this morning to report that she was unable to get into Westlaw Campus from off campus. Westlaw seems to be working here on campus now.

    Here's what the student reported in chat and on the phone when asked about where the problem was cropping up:
    • she connected via the Databases page and successfully passed through our remote access authentication screen asking for a Baruch username and password
    • when Westlaw Campus loads, she is prompted in the database itself to type in a Westlaw client ID and password (which she, of course, is not able to successfully get past)
    • other databases do work for her at the moment; it's only Westlaw giving her trouble

    When this issue is resolved, please add a new post to the blog or add a comment to this blog post.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Trial to Cambridge Collections Online

    We have an on-campus trial to the Cambridge Collections Online, which comprises of Cambridge Companions in Literature and Classics, the Cambridge Companions in Philosophy, Religion and Culture, and the Shakespeare Survey Online.

    Today's research consultations

    There's been a flurry of cancellations and new sign-ups for today's slate of appointments. At the moment (10:15 am), there is now one open slot at 2:30 pm. Feel free to urge any students to sign up for that slot (the web site will instantly show whether the slot is open or closed).

    Project MUSE: more options in Advanced Search

    Project Muse has announced that users can now limit their search by document type: all types, reviews, poetry, fiction, or drama.

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    New Federal Reserve Bank of NY report on the "Foreign-Born Population in Upstate New York"

    “The Foreign-Born Population in Upstate New York,” by James Orr, Susan Wieler, and Joseph Pereira is a new research report released from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to their monthly newsletter.

    Here is a summary:
    An analysis of upstate New York’s foreign-born residents suggests that they contribute to the region’s human capital in important ways. This population boasts a greater concentration of college graduates than either the region’s native-born population or immigrants downstate. While some immigrants upstate may compete with U.S.-born workers for jobs, the more highly educated appear to be entering skilled occupations--in medicine, science, and research particularly--that complement those of native-born residents. Read the full article:

    Suggested source for information about writing an accounting memorandum

    Tonight, in doing a workshop for accounting students who have to write a memorandum, after searching the FASB literature, I showed how to search CUNY+ for writing and accountants, which results in several books. I also demonstrated Books24x7 for business correspondence, and searching within the 800+ results for memo (which worked better than "memorandum." ) By looking at some table of contents, we were able to locate some sources that the students thought would be very helpful.

    The students' assignment gives details on to whom the memo is to be directed.


    Kind suggestion ... please call first

    Just a kind suggestion ... if a student/faculty member asks to speak with a specific librarian at the reference desk, please call the librarian to make sure they are in their office and available to speak with the student/faculty member. Please do not send them directly to the librarian's office. The librarian may not be in their office, may be busy, or may be in another meeting.

    Also, ask a few questions. Ask if they have a research question that you can answer. The student may have a reference question that could be answered by the librarians scheduled at the reference desk. (Sometimes students ask for a specific librarian only because that librarian presented to their class or has worked with them in the past.) Of course, if the student insists on speaking with a specific librarian, then advise them to contact the librarian via email or phone to make an appointment.

    Thanks, Linda

    Open slot for research consultation on Tuesday, Nov. 20

    Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, a 1:00 - 1:30 pm research consultation slot just opened up for Tuesday, November 20. If you are helping anyone at the desk, feel free to steer them to this appointment opening (they should sign up online).

    Color Copy Machine - Jammed

    The color copy machine on the 3rd floor has a paper jam. The key for the color copy door is not the same key as for the B/W machines. A call for service has been placed.

    My favorite reference books

    The two reference books that I love using and that I find I am constantly refering users to are:

    American National Biography

    If a student needs a bio of a (dead) American, I often send them to this sprawling set. Not only are the entries well-written (they are often composed by the leading biographer for that person), they are of a sufficient length to lend depth (a longish essay) but not so much so that the reader is overwhelmed and they usually feature excellent bibliographies.

    Encyclopedia of New York City

    I once foolishly believed I could read this thing from A-Z (I have my own copy at home). I've found this is a great source for journalism students who are doing neighborhood stories and need background info, as well as for the obvious history assignments.

    Encyclopedia of Religion

    Barbara wrote that the Encyclopedia of Religion, now in its second edition, is one of her favorite reference works. Mircea Eliade, the editor of the first edition, emphasized a cross-cultural approach in the entries but Barbara says it is really useful for connecting religion to everyday life. A review in Library Journal names it the definitive work in the field.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    WorldCat Identities

    There's a cool new feature on records that has been in beta for a while: WorldCat Identities. Basically, you now have access to all sorts of metadata about authors in WorldCat records. Read more about it here from this OCLC announcement or from this series of blog posts by Thom Hickey, whose title at OCLC is Chief Scientist:


    Some favored reference sources

    Some of the reference sources that I find very helpful in helping students are:

    The Community District Needs-- a series for NYC's five boroughs, published by the Department of City Planning. It provides census information for the community districts as well as identifying quality of life issues for the district, including among other things, police, parks, and economic development. Program needs for youth and senior citizens are addressed, as well as housing and other needs. The identified needs could be used by either public affairs students with an assignment to design a new service agency, or for entrepreneurs looking to start new businesses. Or, they could be used by funders to confirm claims made in applications for grants.
    For example, if someone were seeking to expand after school programs, the community district needs might support this need.

    U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News--has new laws passed by Congress, and executive orders issued by the President, which can be found elsewhere (in print and online).

    What is really helpful is the legislative history that is provided, which is sometimes difficult to find elsewhere and a popular names act table.
    So, if you know an act by the name "Child Nutrition Act of 1966," you can learn the statutory number and name, and find the text of the act.

    West's Encyclopedia of American Law. This encyclopedia gives basic background information.
    For example, it explains what an affidavit is, and provides an example. Need a quick legal history of animal rights laws and need to know the leading cases? Read the summary of animal rights.

    The International Motion Picture Almanac. I will confess to not using this annual publication as much as I did when I was a public librarian. In addition to being a source of information about films, and biographies of those involved in films, it offers production services for those in the industry, professional organizations, the world market for films, and lists of award winners.


    Replacing the sidebar on our blog

    For a while now, the LACUNY Blog has been out of commission due to problems with the server where the blog files have been stored. As you have probably noticed, there's been a blue sidebar on the right side of our reference blog that has offered links to the latest posts from the LACUNY Blog.

    Until the LACUNY Blog problems are resolved, I am going to switch the sidebar content so that it displays links to the latest posts from ARCLog, which is the main blog from ACRL and regularly features posts by Steven Bell (he gave the keynote at the 2007 LACUNY Institute) and others whose commentary and insights are invaluable.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Printer 1 and Printer 2 problems

    A student has just reported that Printer 1 keeps jamming and also it keeps printing out the same page of an explanation of cash flow statements. (Not his print job.) So far, it has caused him to waste 35 sheets of paper. I tried to clear the jams, but it keeps jamming--left side, then right side, then left side. I tried straightening the paper trays, and still more jams.

    Printer 2 needs ink.

    International Gas Prices

    A student needed to know current gasoline prices in various countries and articles about reasons for increases in gas prices. The latter was simple to find. To my surprise, the former wasn't easy to find at all. Euromonitor wasn't helpful. Nationmaster at, a central data source for international data has a table of current gasoline prices, but not in currency (the table uses an index from the German Agency for Technical Cooperation). Using the Statistical Abstract of the U.S., I found the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Their web site has a lot of data, but not international gasoline prices. Using the database, SourceOECD Statistics, I found a publication called "Energy Prices and Taxes - Energy End-Use Prices." The abstract reads: "This table contains end-use prices and taxes for the OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries for industry, households and electricity generation in US dollars/unit, US dollars/toe and US dollars/unit using PPPs." Gas prices are included.

    This is a serial publication, only available by subscription. Since we don't subscribe to it, I searched the NYPL catalog and found it to be available online at SIBL The student headed over there to use it...I needed a nap!

    Big decision from the SEC re accounting standards is effective immediately

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today voted unimously to allow foreign companies to use international accounting standards instead of U.S. rules when filing data with the agency.

    Foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges will be able to choose between International Financial Accounting Standards (IFRS) or U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), for fiscal years ending on or after Nov. 15.

    I am sure that there will be many news stories about this decision. News about it is on Factiva and other databases.

    Prior to this decision, foreign companies trading on U.S. exchanges had to use U.S. accounting standards, which added to the expense of being listed in the U.S. So, to be able to choose will be helpful to the companies. Will it be confusing to students and others? Probably. It will be interesting to see what the vendors do.. I imagine that some will convert the non U.S. GAAP filings to U.S. GAAP.


    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    How to handle corporate interlibrary loan requests that come to the reference desk

    Sometimes, corporate borrowers call the reference desk to arrange for an interlibrary loan.
    I asked Ester Ramos, and these are suggested procedures:

    You can check the availability of the item on CUNY+.
    Or, you can refer the caller to the circulation department, 646-312-1660.
    In any event, the caller should submit the request on an approved ALA interlibrary loan form. If they don't already have a form, links to the forms are at:
    The form should be faxed to 646-312-1661. (A fax number at circulation)

    Cost is discussed at circulation.


    Your Favorite Reference Book

    The assignment for next Monday's practicum is to bring a favorite reference book and share it with the class. Maybe because I suggested that we downsize the reference collection at our last IS meeting, I have had several occasions to use print sources in the last few days. I showed a student the OED; I suggested someone use the print version of the GAAS Guide; I worked with a student on the chemistry of vitamin C using Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia; and I explained how to use RMA's Annual Statement Studies. If you have a reference title that you use and love and you'd like to share it with us, please post to the blog or join us at 10 a.m. in room 135.

    Quiet in the Library

    Stephen Bell recently answered a student newpaper article about noise in the Temple U libraries with a comment on the ACRLog . What is the librarian's role in keeping the library a quiet study place? Not wanting to be labeled a "little old Mr. Librarian," he advocates more student self-policing. Many other librarians have weighed in on the question. It is interesting to see how many libraries have zoned spaces or designated floors for quiet study. Northern Michigan University posted a Library Code of Conduct that addresses students about their behavior in regard to noise, cell phones and food and drink.

    We've been noticed!

    The latest issue of American Libraries (Nov. 2007) has an article by Meredith Farkas that features our reference blog an an example of why librarians might want to use social tools for knowledge management.

    If you're not familiar with Meredith Farkas, you might want to consider:

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Sort of new database: AP Images

    AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive is slowly phasing out their current platform to go to the new AP Images platform, but since there no date for the switch, we've left both of them available. AP Images seems to load much faster and has a much cleaner look. Both are available on the database page.

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Materials received from Teaching the Holocaust and Tolerance

    I have received the materials distributed at the ACRL/NY and Queensborough Community College Friends of the Library's recent conference on Teaching the Holocaust & Tolerance.
    Please let me know if you would like to look at the them.

    Included are large format brochures from exhibits at the The Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives of Queensborough. They are entitled:
    Sosua, the Dominician Republic: A Refuge from the Holocaust in the Tropics
    Diplomats of Mercy
    A State of Terror: Germany 1933-1939
    Where Have All the Children Gone? Jewish Refugee Children During the Holocaust
    To Save One Life: The Story of Righteous Gentiles, also in Spanish
    Ships to Nowhere
    The Nangjing Massacre: Genocide and Denial

    Janusz Korczak's Warsaw
    (Korczak was the author of very influential books, How to Love a Child, and "The Child's Right to Respect.") He ran a progressive orphanage in Warsaw. He could have saved himself, but he and the children were all killed at Treblinka. If you saw the movie "The Pianist," for which Adrian Brody won an Academy Award for best actor in 2002, the scene in the rail station includes Janusz Korczak and the orphans. There is also a documentary "Korczak" that was made a few years ago.


    Vendor Card Printer Problems

    We're having some problems with the vendor card printer. Students (caps, other cuny) are printing documents, but nothing shows up in the print queue. We've verified that they are sending it to the vendor printer with their guest info. But when they log in there's nothing there. We're recommending that they email articles to themselves, so they can print it out later (caps students have their own lab where they can print - 17 Lexington Avenue 23rd Street building in room 1107A).

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Reference USA: New database

    We have added Reference USA as a new database -- it contains detailed information on more than 14 million U.S. businesses, 210 million U.S. residents, 855,000 U.S. health care providers, 1.5 million Canadian businesses, and 12 million Canadian households, and let's you map them out, which is pretty cool.

    Black Study Center - TRIAL

    Another ERAC trial, Black Study Center is is a leading tool that supports research, teaching, and learning in Black Studies and other disciplines that benefit from a more detailed coverage of the black experience such as history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion.

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    Until the Vendor Printer Takes the New Cards

    Until we make the transition to the new server, students using the vendor printer will have to use their Copico cards to print. They can add money to the cards by using the one Copico copier on the 3rd floor. (The Copico card dispensing machine has been removed). There are a few Copico cards at the reference desk for those students who do not have a Copico card. Do not dispense these freely, rather, give them to students for a particular job and have them return the card to the reference desk.

    Student surveys for research consultations

    As you work with students in research consultations in the coming weeks, please make sure you ask the student to fill out the survey and have them place it in the box on the reference desk.

    Locations of New Copiers

    You may have noticed that the new copiers were installed yesterday afternoon. Here is where you can find them in the Library:

    Second Floor, Print Room - 2 copiers, card operated
    Third Floor - 2 copiers including one color copier, card operated. Plus 1 card/coin operated
    Fourth Floor - 1 copier, card operated
    Sixth Floor - 1 copier, card operated

    There is also a card operated copier on the 2nd floor of the Newman Vertical Campus.

    Old copy cards cannot be used with these copiers. Buy new copy cards in the copy room on the third floor.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Suggestion re Harvard Business School cases

    Last week, on the Business Librarian's listserve, Stacey Marien, a librarian at the American University in D.C. posted the following information about Harvard Business School cases, which must normally be purchased.

    "In every issue of the Harvard Business Review, case studies are printed. If you have a database that indexes the Harvard Business Review (like ABI Inform) or if you have a database that has the Harvard Business Review full text (like Business Source Premier) you can search for a particular case study title within the journal - just like searching for an article title. If the case study happens to have been published in the journal, then you can get it.
    I tell my students to search the online site for the Harvard Case Studies, get the title of the case study, then search within the journal HBR to see if the case study was published in the journal."

    I tried the reverse...I tried a search on Business Source Premier, limited to the Harvard Business Review, and searched the keywords case study. More than 500 results came up of case studies published in the Harvard Business Review, and Executive Summaries, which summary the articles in the issue, including the case studies. I selected one, "Take the Money and Run," from 2004, and read through it on Business Source Premier. At the end, it gave a reprint number, R0411A, which was listed for sale on the HRB case studies site. (There were several other versions of the case available on this site.)

    So, using Business Source Premier for some Harvard Business School case studies is possible.


    Collection benchmarks

    There is an interesting article in College and Research Libraries, July 2007, on providing financial benchmarks to target. It looks at the statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics and applies this data to the "bset" liberal arts schools reported by US News and World Report. It may provide some further ideas and strategies for us.

    The article can be read at:

    Jones, D. Y. How Much Do the "Best" Colleges Spend on Libraries? Using College Rankings to Provide Library Financial Benchmarks. College & Research Libraries v. 68 no. 4 (July 2007) p. 343-51


    While reading the latest updates to The Virtual Chase, I noticed this post:

    Wikipedia launched a beta site called Veropedia, where it plans to move the most stable, expert articles on Wikipedia. According to the FAQ, "articles must meet very strict criteria of our own. There can be no cleanup tags, no "citation needed" tags, no disambiguation links, no dead external links, and no fair use images. In addition, each article will be given to recognized academics and experts to review. These experts can either provide their stamp of approval or make suggestions as to how the article can be improved further. In that way, users will know that the article is reliable."

    The Veropedia beta only has about 4000 articles. I am guessing from info on the beta site that a group of Wikipedia contributors pulled their articles for the Veropedia and these articles will eventually be reviewed by experts. At this point some are "blue" and some are "green." They say: "If an article has already been "verofied" and is in our database, it will appear as a green link. If an article has not yet been "verofied," it will appear as a blue link, and direct you to the current Wikipedia version." For more see their FAQ.

    Business Monitor Online

    The problem has been fixed and the database is working again.

    Expert Witnesses

    A professor was looking for someone who could testify as an expert witness. Genie Tyburski includes a guide to "Expert Witness Research" in her The Virtual Chase website. The Virtual Chase covers websites and research strategies for finding the law.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Tues lost fancy umbrella

    Tuesday 4:30 PM
    a woman arrived to retrieve a lost umbrella after having phoned the reference desk (1PM ish)and being told it had been given to security

    That's her
    I couldn't find the umbrella and she said security did not have it
    it is a long umbrella---gold, in a black case

    IRS offers Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese Tax Glossaries

    The Internal Revenue Service recently announced some new tax glossaries available in Chinese, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. (Spanish has been available.) They aren't legal documents but will help readers of these languages, and English, know what the terms are in the different languages. (The glossaries are lists of terms, without definitions. For example, I can determine the Vietnamese for "boilerplate", but there is no explanation of what "boilerplate" means in either English or Vietnamese.)


    Default for Factiva--has it been changed?

    It appears that the default setting for Factiva has been changed to open to the Group Page investing/securities. It was like this yesterday when I used Factiva in a class and again today when I went to search it.

    Should it be changed back to the previous default, which I believe was the Search screen?


    Business Monitor International

    Is giving us a message that our account has expired. I am looking into it. Thanks for your patience.

    PEST Assignment

    Last night I helped a student who had to do a one page PEST analysis. PEST is an industry analysis that looks at the macro environment that businesses operate in and identifies key Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors that impact the industry. Read more about PEST at QuickMBA.

    Exporting from the United States

    Last week I gave a class for students in MKT 3400. They have been assigned a term project that involves identifying a product or service extension for a U.S. company and investigating its export potential in a particular country. Students will be working on various questions relating to this assignment for the rest of the semester. I suggested two sources that would help identify good export opportunities. The first, the Country Trade Sourcebook (REF HF1416.5 .C68), takes a country-focused approach and identifies the best industry sectors for U.S. exports to that country. Each country profile is several pages long and describes key industries in several paragraphs. A table lists the top 10 U.S. exports to that country. All in all, this book offers a quick way to identify industries/products with growth potential in various countries. Several students liked this approach because they knew they wanted to use their home country as the export destination.

    If students start their research with a particular industry/product they want to export and they are trying to identify the best trading partner for that product, a good place to start is with the Industry Sector Analysis Reports that are available in the National Trade Data Bank. The NTDB is part of Stat-USA (Access it from our database page). Industry Sector Analysis Reports are about 10 pages long and in addition to the industry overview the best reports will include:
    Table of market trend data over the last several years with projections
    Graph of the key importing countries and their market share
    Profile of U.S. share of the import market
    Ranking of the leading importers - companies and their brands
    List of trade magazines, trade associations and the Commercial Advisor at the U.S. embassy

    If you want to see a good example of one of these reports, read about the earth moving equipment market in Argentina. Note that not every industry in a country will be covered. Reports are written about markets that have the best potential for U.S. exports. The U.S. Commercial Service updates these reports through International Market Insight (IMI) Reports. The IMI Reports are posted daily. They are briefer than the Industry Sector Analysis Reports and can announce trade fairs or cover general trade issues. Not all IMI Reports are industry surveys.

    To find these reports, connect to Stat-USA and from the home page choose "Globus and NTDB." Many "Market and Country Research" reports are listed (in the right hand column); click on the Industry Sector Analysis Reports or the IMI Reports. You can browse through the reports by country or by industry. Choose either list from the dropdown menu that’s marked "Browse Location."

    Research consultations today

    Today is the first day of this fall's research consultations. Due to some-last minute cancellations yesterday, there are a few openings left for this week's appointments (as of 9:23 am, that is). If you are at the desk, please encourage students to consider taking one of the remaining appointments for today or Thursday (check the online sign-up schedule first before making this recommendation, though).

    By 12 noon, Alfredo or I will bring out the day's schedule of appointments to the reference desk in case students have forgotten who they are meeting with or what room they need to go to. For those of you who have research consultation appointments today, I'll give you a copy of this schedule too by noon. I'll also be giving you this packet of materials:
    • the blue "Reference Desk Referral Form" (fill out for the student you meet with as needed)
    • the student survey form
    • the librarian summary report

    For those of you who have appointments on Thursday or in the coming weeks, I'll get you your packet of materials in the next day or so. Please contact me if you have any questions.

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    requests for books on Excel

    While on the desk, I had several requests for books on Excel. In addition to CUNY+, I recommended Books 24x7, which was well received by the students.


    Added to Database List

    Several Library databases that are not networked have been added to our alphabetical list of databases. They are Best's Insurance Reports, Datastream, SDC Platinum and Sleep Multimedia. Their descriptions clearly state that they are "Only available at the Reference Desk."

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    The economist - TRIAL

    This is another trial sponsored by ERAC. It is a newly released database containing the full facsile (ads and all) of The Economist from 1843 to 2000. If ERAC does not pick it up, this will be examined as a Baruch purchase, so please test it out and share your comments.

    Making of the modern world -- TRIAL

    We have a trial sponsored by ERAC to the Making of the Modern World. Please share your thoughts on this. This would be a purchase.

    Finding Data for Religious Affiliation

    I had a question the other day from someone who wanted to know where they could find data for religious affiliation (i.e. the number of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, etc in different parts of New York) on the Census Bureau's website. The answer is - no where! While it is common for census bureau's in other countries (the UK and Australia for instance) to collect this data, the US Census Bureau is prohibited by law from doing so. So where do you look?

    There is an organization called the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB), where stats people from each denomination meet to pool their numbers on religious adherents in order to create a Census of Religion for the US called the Religious Congregations Membership Study, published every ten years. City College and the Grad School of Journalism have copies of it in their reference sections.

    The latest data can be accessed online from the Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA) at You can generate stats on adherents at the state, county, and metro levels, and they also have summaries for nations and some basic mapping capabilities. The number of adherents in some cases is based on actual counts, and in other cases they are estimates. The quality of the estimates varies based on how thoroughly the clergy of each faith count their adherents. There is also a collection of survey data for various religious topics, everything from attitudes towards moral issues to belief in angels and life after death (there's even a question for belief in monsters!)

    Here's a sample county report for New York County aka Manhattan.

    - Frank

    No remote access to Women and Social Movements

    I just checked here from home after reading a chat reference transcript where the problem was reported. When I tried getting in from our databases page, I didn't get the EZ Proxy page at all, just a login page from the database vendor.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Library tutorial quiz on Blackboard?

    A student asked for assistance on the library quiz on Blackboard. He signed onto Blackboard and followed the instructions on the handout he had received. But we couldn't find it. Has it been moved?

    Supply of Public Affairs 1250 possible sources is exhausted

    The folder at the reference desk for the Public Affairs handout is empty. Are more copies possible? Students are asking for help in locating sources.

    Thanks, Rita

    Call number for FARS

    I could not find the call number for FARS on course reserve or CUNY+. I checked with Circulation and the call number is, Computer file no. 237. for Corporate Culture

    A student came to the reference desk with a challenging question about United Airlines. She needed information about the corporate culture at the company, and the sources had to be from the past year. We checked several databases (and even blogs, using Nexis). There were a few interviews and a speech by an executive that were somewhat helpful.

    We finally turned to, a "career information" site, that is useful for examining the corporate culture of a company. The site includes employee surveys that can help prospective employees assess work environments. Students have free access to extended versions of answers to employee surveys using this link When the student enters their email address on the link here, they are sent a password that gives them access to the site. Thanks to Aisha for pointing this out.

    Gale Virtual Reference Library

    Just a little plug for Gale Virtual Reference Library. I have found this to be an excellent source which provides a broad overiew on a wide range of subject areas. For example, I just today found a useful encyclopedia article on New York City and the Draft Riots in the Encyclopedia of War and American Society.

    Check out the title list (on the top tool bar) for a list of reference titles included--it's quite extensive and impressive. Some of my favorites are: Encyclopedia of Religion (15 vol.), Business Plans Handbook (10 vol.), Countries and Their Cultures (4 vol.), Dictionary of American History (10 vol.), Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (3 vol.), Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America (3 vol.).

    The search engine is not as fab as the list of titles. Try an advanced search and select the Document Title field (advanced search) and/or narrowing within a selected Subject area.

    Thanks to Theresa, the 2007 FARS CDs are working

    Thanks to the extensive efforts of Theresa Tang, the 2007 FARS CDs now work at the reference desk side computers. Thanks Theresa!


    A neat example of how far mapping technology has come. In 1854 John Snow pioneered mapping in epidemiology, and in general promoted the idea that you can map or layer two different features together in order to gain a new understanding of how phenomena interact. In his case, it was to demonstrate that cases of cholera were clustered around the City of London's water pumps, indicating that the contamination was spreading from the water sources (which is something no one else had thought of at the time).

    Now, in 2007, everyone can map their own illness on the web! is a self-reporting sickness site. You can report your own maladies (anonymously) and see where other people around NYC, and the country, are ill. At this point this is more of a novelty than a reliable source of info. But it serves as a good example of what is possible with web mapping technology.

    It also gives hypochondriacs out there more to worry about.