Friday, December 28, 2007

Upton Sinclair Exhibit is now available to view

"Upton Sinclair, Class of 1897: A 110 Year Anniversary Celebration," an exhibit that I curated is now available to view. There is a link from the flashing banner on the library homepage. I hope everybody enjoys it. There is one error that I noticed which will be fixed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Toy Maker's Conscience

If you passed over this article in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, you might want to go back and read it. It is about toy industry standards and how they work. It is also a profile of Baruch's International Center for Corporate Accountability and the work of Prof. Prakash Sethi. Prof. Sethi has been working with the toy manufacturer Mattel for ten years and was instrumental in putting transparency into their Global Manufacturing Principles. The story of how the Center conducts audits of plants in China is fascinating.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ending of student print accounts and the need for the VITA tax guide

I saw the notice that student printing accounts will end at midnight Friday. A number of students are printing out the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) guide that runs 307 pages. (I noticed this tonight and a few other librarians commented on it as the need to refill the printers was constant.) Would there be a problem with continuing the student accounts until Saturday? Or could the VITA program be alerted to this cutoff before it occurs? It might prevent some likely problems on Saturday. Rita

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Truth or Dare: "Lies" and the ISI?

For an interesting and short article about the reliability--or unreliability-- and use of the ISI citation index(or citation indices generally) now a Thompson product see the message and link to the Journal of Cell Biology courtesy of PAMNET a physics listserv.

Poor Eugene Garfield!

----- Message from Carol Hutchins on Tue, 18 Dec 2007 09:06:19 -0500 -----
GENERAL: accuracy of Thomson data
The Suber blog has a pointer to an interesting editorial in the J. Cell
Biology related to how articles are counted by Thomson ISI.
Rather than repost here, I'll give the reference to JCB. (Worthwhile
for the cartoon alone!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vendor Printer

The keyboard is no longer needed for the vendor printer because it is mouse-driven. Users can select their print job with a click of the mouse.

Copy Card Machine Replenished

As of Tuesday, 3pm, the copy card machine in room 309 has been replenished. Students/users can now purchase cards.

Yale announces free, open access to 7 introductory classes

Yale University announced today that they are allowing free and open access to 7 introductory undergraduate classes. Rita

Roving Librarian

Readers Services at ucd Library, the blog at the Library at University College Dublin, posted this picture of their "Roving Librarian." (Click to enlarge and note the ID.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Graphing Calculators

Students are beginning to return their calculators this week. Please direct them to the Circulation Desk for returns, not the Laptops Counter on the 3rd floor.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online: trial

We have a trial to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Online until 01/10/08.

Ulrich's Web

Because of maintenance and upgrade, Ulrich's Web will not be available from 9pm EST December 14 to 9pm EST December 15.

FRO – Quizzes

Students will be taking the quiz(zes), before grades are submitted in the next couple of weeks. A problem has been brought to my attention regarding students in some of the FRO sections not being able to see their grades once they have taken the quiz. You should know it is not a Baruch problem, because Queens College is having the same problem with the Blackboard quiz. I have been in contact with BCTC’s help desk and Michelle Chan and hopefully we can resolve this problem soon. Please let students know we are aware of the problem and we're trying to determine and resolve it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tax 9862 presentations and using information

I sat in on the final presentations given in three of four sessions of Prof. Tom Egan's TAX 9862 course. I did a session on tax research sources for each of the two sections. Most of the students had never done any tax research, and most were unfamiliar with the U.S. court system.

You likely helped some students with their research...the sudents, in groups, were assigned to represent either the IRS or the taxpayer, a drama professor who had started writing plays. Despite her diligence, and having one play read at Lincoln center, and two plays staged by local groups, she had not shown a profit in three years, and her expenses were much greater than her income from the plays. In year 3, she is audited by the IRS. With no profits, she bears the burden of showing to the IRS that she is engaged in playwriting as a business, and not as a hobby. (If it is a business, she can deduct all expenses; if a hobby, deductions are limited to the amount of income, which was not much.) There is a nine-point test laid out in the IRS regulations of factors to be considered, none of which by themselves are determinative. So,in addition to finding the laws, regulations and cases, the students had to apply them to the facts presented, and build the strongest case for their position.

The presentations were quite good, and the professor remarked on the excellent analysis and analogies made from other tax cases (writers, "Hobby farms" operators, etc.) One group pointed out that $75,000 income may not be "substantial" (apparently not defined by the IRS), once taxes, living expenses, etc. are considered. One presenter, for the IRS, quoted from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, "... What’s in a name? that which we call a rose ..." made an analogy to "business," and quickly cut the bud off a long-stem rose, which was certainly an attention grabber.

Although IC wasn't used at all, this course had all the elements of it. I enjoyed seeing how the students used the information that they found. Most groups had Powerpoint presentations and they were all extremely well done.

I got thanked for helping the students. One student thanked me and said with this class, her accounting class, and international marketing, she is using the databases more and not scared of them now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Relationships Matter

The December/January issue of ASIS&T Bulletin is devoted to virtual reference service. An article, “On the Trail of the Elusive Non-User,” by Marie Radford and her partners in the Seeking Synchronicity study reports on their research on why some students do not use chat services.

What I found most interesting about the article is what it says about why students use reference services, especially face-to-face (FtF) service. When so many college libraries are closing their reference desks, the key finding is that relationships matter. The authors state: “Relationships with knowledgeable librarians are highly valued by non-users, who believe that the traditional FtF format enhances their information search.”

The online surveys of non-users of VRS found that “Seventy-four percent preferred FtF reference help to either telephone or electronic formats, citing the knowledge, trustworthiness, friendliness and perseverance of their librarian among the most essential factors.” Participants rated FtF reference highly in terms of reliability and effectiveness and praised librarians who “gave good directions, walked them directly to resources or explained the classification system.” Graduate students in focus group interviews also reported that they preferred cultivating rapport with a single, knowledgeable specialist (librarian).

Unsatisfactory reference encounters were not related to format but were often blamed on individual librarians. Students referred to “the librarian’s actions (42%), taking too long, only pointing to the stacks, poor attitude (34%) or lack of knowledge (26%).”

We already know that students rely on their friends, family and faculty as information advisors. For librarians to be seen as trusted and knowledgeable providers of information, we need to do everything we can to cultivate personal relationships at the reference desk, in the classroom, or in our offices.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mintel trial

The Mintel trial has been added to the list of databases. It is valid only until December 11, so please try it out soon. Users must create a personalized account to use the database, and must use their Baruch email addresses.

Some helpful information re searching Mergent's WebReports

When I tried to search Mergent's WebReports for some information on the Eli Lilly company dating from the 1920s (for a request by a member of the Baruch College Fund), I kept coming up with nothing. (There was no information or message after the search was done.) Doing a company search I received a listing that the earliest manual listed was from 1956. I had checked and I knew the company was publicly traded in the 1920s. (The manuals started in 1908.) I also had problems with Ford Motors (searching the transportation manual didn't retrieve all years.) So, I turned to their technical help via email and received this reply, which provides some helpful information on the database coverage, searching and as a reply that shows they really wanted me to get the information I needed:

This is the reply

"In the earlier years fewer companies were listed so for many years at the beginning of the century some manuals may not exist. In addition, for those years in the
1920’s where an Industrial Manual was published, the electronic table of contents may not yet be accessible through WebReports. A manual search of the document’s table of contents is necessary to locate particular organizations. I performed the search and found Lilly in the following:

1920 – No Manual for This Year
1921 – No Manual for This Year
1922 – No Manual for This Year
1923 – page 550-551 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on XCII or page 95 of 2458.)
1924 – page 652-653 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on CCXXX or page 233 of 2977.)
1925 – page 331-332 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on CXXX or page 138 of 4980.)
1926 – page 320-320 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on CLIV or page 156 of 2809.)
1927 – page 396-396 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on CLXII or page 171 of 6510.)
1928 – page 901-901 (Since there is no table of contents listed on the website for this manual, I searched the document’s index manually and found Lilly Company listed on CLIX or page 166 of 6954.)
1929 – No Manual for This Year

The numbers in parentheses are the pages where you can locate Lilly Company in the alphabetical index. The numbers listed after the year dates are the pages in the actual document where information about Lilly Company appears. Please keep in mind that the page numbers I have listed are those published in the printed document. These page numbers differ from the page numbers in the quick search function of the viewer. So, for example, Lilly Company is found on page 901 of the 1928 Industrial Manual. However, typing 901 into the page number textbox will actually take you to page 633 of the printed document. You must type 1219 into the viewer’s page number textbox to view the printed document’s page 901.

1923 – Type 710 to view Lilly Company on page 550
1924 – Type 963 to view Lilly Company on page 652
1925 – Type 535 to view Lilly Company on page 331
1926 – Type 592 to view Lilly Company on page 320
1927 – Type 671 to view Lilly Company on page 396
1928 – Type 1219 to view Lilly Company on page 901

If you have any further questions or requests regarding Mergent WebReports, please contact our Technical Support desk at 1-800-955-8080 or 212-413-7744. Please note that the hours of our support desk are from 8:00am to 8:00pm (EST), Monday through Friday. You can also send an Email to

Thank you.
Technical Support"

Regarding their comment, "In addition, for those years in the 1920’s where an Industrial Manual was published, the electronic table of contents may not yet be accessible through WebReports. A manual search of the document’s table of contents is necessary to locate particular organizations...." our collection of Moody's Manuals (now Mergent)has various dates, depending upon the manual. The Industrial Manual dates back to 1963. NYPL has the Moody's manuals on microfiche and also in off-site storage, which may be the easier way to search for information.

Eli Lilly was only one of the companies for which reference information was requested.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Any one having trouble with Mergent's Web Reports?

I have tried searching Mergent's WebReports for archival information and I am getting no results. I have tried companies that were publicly traded in the years that I have selected. But I am getting no results. I'll call the tech support people tomorrow.


Question re GASB and component units and display in financial statements

Yesterday there was a chat/email reference questions from a student looking how to display component units in financial statements under the Government Accounting Standards Board.

The GASB standards are available on RIA Checkpoint, and the AICPA publications also available there offer guidance. They can be searched for component units. I glanced through the AAG State and Local Government Guide published by the AICPA. (Another term for component units is affiliated organizations, I learned through a search on ABI Inform Global of GASB and component units.

As with FASB, there are secondary guides available on Lexis-Nexis for Government Accounting. The easiest way to find them is to click Sources, and do a word search in the search box for GAAP. This brings up all the online GAAP guides, including the Government Accounting GAAP Guide.

If you search component units and GASB on Google, the firt article with the link from the was from 1990. I would hope retrieving such an old article might raise some immediate concerns. Government accounting has had some major changes in recent years so this article was probably way too old.

I went to ABI Inform Global and did a keyword search GASB and component units. Some articles were retrieved that explained the recent changes and gave some examples. From reading the AICPA guide, and the others sources, I realized New York's many public authorities might be considered component units. So I found an examples by googling component unit new york state, and then looked on the Comptroller's web site for the annual state reports.

NY City Transit Authority--component of the state

New York State Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports

I would caution any student that this was done by a librarian who has not studied government accounting.


Sending text messages about catalog records

Law librarian Jason Eiseman posted a note on his blog today about a neat feature in the catalog from the University of Oregon Libraries. Item records in the catalog offer a "send via text message" button that will transmit a text message to your cell phone text message with the title and call number of that item.

What a cool feature!

Trial: 20th century drama

We have an on-campus trial of 20th century drama until 1/2/08. The database will contain 2,600 plays from throughout the English-speaking world, covering the history of modern drama from the 1890s to the present, including in-copyright plays. Please try it out and share any comments.