Friday, December 19, 2008

New Subject Guide

Dear Colleagues:

Thanks to the assistance of Aisha, Louise and the web master, Rasun, the new suject guide, "Biology and Envioronmental Studies," is now published on our web site for future student use.

Please refer our readers to the guide as you feel appropriate.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

TI-89 Calculators

Students are beginning to return their TI-89 calculators they borrowed for the semester. Please have them return these calculators to the Circulation Desk, not the Laptop counter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Besso Lab as Study Room during the Finals

The Besso Lab (Room 320) is open as a temporary study room to students during the finals until 6:00pm. - From Arthur

Robert Shiller on Financial Markets

Yale Open Courses just released several new courses from the spring 2008 semester. One of the courses that might interest our students is Robert Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance and The New Financial Order: Risk in the Twenty-First Century, teaching Financial Markets (ECO 252). Carl Icahn and Stephen Schwartzman are guest lecturers and Lawrence Summers lectures in two class sessions on “Learning from and Responding to the Financial Crisis.”

All courses are free and include video and audio clips of each lecture as well as the syllabus and class transcripts.

If you don't know Shiller, you can read a profile of him and his work in the December issue of the IMF's magazine, Finance and Development.


Group Study Rooms During Finals

During the final exam period when the library is open 24 hours, students can use group study rooms until midnight. Keys that normally would be due at the closing time of the circulation desk will be due at midnight. Keys should be returned to the secure drop box located at the security desk on the 2nd floor of the library. Keys that are not returned by midnight will accrue late fees.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seventh Generation's Corporate Consciousness Report

I was alerted to Seventh Generation's Corporate Consciousness Report and thought I would mention it as a special "corporate/social responsibility report." They are trying to be as transparent as possible and discuss what they could have done better with openness. It is an interesting read. The graphics and images used may also be subject for some discussion. (In an attempt to be transparent, I have been purchasing Seventh Generation products for the last year, mainly to wash my clothes and do my dishes.)

iPhones used as clickers

The Chronicle reports on its Wired Campus blog that Abilene Christian University has developed an application to turn iPhones and iPod Touch into clickers (they also hand one to each new student!). In addition to the advantages of using clickers during classroom for such things as true or false questions, the application lets students answer open-ended questions which appear in a cloud formation on the screen. But the main advantage seems to be that students don't forget to bring the phones to class since they depend on them for so many other things.

Sources for Global Economics Time Series Data

Recent student queries at the desk have included requests for inflation index data for Japan, cash reserve ratios (CRR) for various countries, and the effective exchange rates for Euro zone countries. While the electronic databases (Reuters, Datastream, Bloomberg) are generally the most complete sources for economic data at monthly or quarterly periodicities, using them requires commitment and instruction. In addition to the databases the library subscribes to, web-based sources include:

Central Banks

Collins Dictionary of Business defines a Central Bank as “a country's leading bank generally responsible for overseeing the banking system, acting as a ‘clearing’ banker for the commercial banks and for implementing monetary policy”. In addition, many central banks are responsible for handling the government's budgetary accounts and for managing the country's external monetary affairs, in particular the exchange rate.

Examples of central banks include the US's Federal Reserve, Germany's Deutsche Bundesbank, France's Banque de France and the European Union's European Central Banks. (Source: Credo, accessed 12/16)

Their websites often provide access to data related to their country’s currency, rate of exchange, price data, discount rates, and balances of payment. A comprehensive list of central bank websites can be found at the Bank for International Settlements Central Banks Listing

It should be noted that there is no standardization of what is reported directly by central banks.


Government Offices

Many countries also release economics statistics through a central agency. For example, the Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications provides a comprehensive selection of time series, including CPI.

Russia does the same through Russian's Federal State Statistics Service

Obviously, names of agencies and their URL’s are not intuitive. I have found the best way to search for them is to type the name of the statistic you are looking for, as well as the country suffix in the source parameter in Google. For example, entering CONSUMER PRICE INDEX: .AU returns the Australian Bureau of Statistics in search results.

Global Organizations

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) acts as a central bank for central banks. It was established in 1930 to manage the reparation payments imposed on Germany and has evolved to act as an agent/trustee for cross-national transactions, as a counterparty for central banks, and a publisher of global monetary research. (Timothy Geithner, Obama’s nominee for Treasury Secretary and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has chaired the BIS since 2005.)

The BIS produces a comprehensive time series of exchange rates, as well as banking, debt, payment, and balance of payments statistics through their statistics page The BIS is also a sponsor of the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX) initiative, the goal of which is to develop a standard set of metadata for the transmission of global statistical data. Central banks, Eurostat, IMF, OECD, World Bank and the UN are also actively involved in the SDMX.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was founded in 1944 to oversee the international monetary system post-WWII and has continuously worked to ensure global economic stability through oil crises, and now the current global recession. It is now an organization of 185 member countries and engages in economic surveillance, technical assistance, and lending to countries which cannot find affordable financing. “The IMF publishes a range of time series data on lending, exchange rates and other economic and financial indicators. Manuals, guides, and other material on statistical practices at the IMF, in member countries, and of the statistical community at large are also available.”

The United Nations is a good source for national accounts and trade time series statistics. The UN database portal contains listings of economic data.

The World Bank was established in 1944 to manage the financing of post-war reconstruction. It has evolved to having the primary mission of working with developing countries to reduce poverty. Noteworthy statistics available on the WB website include world development indicators, such as debt of the 135 low and middle income countries, and GDP.

Other statistics such as poverty levels, education, etc. must be ordered.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ellis Henican's column re the perils of bathroom reporting

Award winning journalist Ellis Henican has an interesting column today Bloggers vs. Newsrooms: the perils of bathrobe reporting that speaks to the work of "fact hunting" and "fact stealing" by others.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Database for Municipal Bonds

The SEC announced this week that EMMA (electronic municipal market access system) will be the central depository for all muni bond-related disclosure documents. Access to EMMA will be free to all investors at the website of the Municipal Securities Rulmaking Board. The board has been running a trial version since March. Issuers will be required to file with EMMA starting July 1, 2009. EMMA will replace a voluntary system of nationally recognized municipal security information repositories called NRMSIR and data providers Standard & Poor's,Bloomberg and others that provided some muni documentation for a fee.

You can read more about the SEC rules at the SEC Website. A good article that provides backgound on the EMMA depository appeared in The Bond Buyer on December 7th under the title "SEC OKs EMMA as NRMSIR." The Bond Buyer is available through Factiva and LexisNexis.

heat conditions in the library and reply from Buildings & Grounds

I emailed Buildings and Grounds about the heat conditions in the library, after first emailing Jerry and Arthur. I just received a call from B & G that said no air is circulating because of the broken fans, a problem that B & G is aware of and is working to resolve.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Census Data - American Community Survey

The Census Bureau has released a new dataset today: the 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. The estimates were created from the ACS sample survey for all geographies that have a population of 20,000 or more. Throughout this decade, the Census has released annual ACS estimates for areas with 65,000 or more people. They can't create annual numbers for areas smaller than 65k because the estimates are not statistically robust enough. But now that they have three years of data, they can create averages for that three year period that are statistically sound for areas with at least 20k.

From this point forward, they will continue to produce annual 65k+ numbers every year, and they will also release 20k+ numbers each year by adding the latest year and dropping the oldest one (so next year, they will release annual 65k+ numbers for 2008 and 3 year 20k+ estimates for 2006-2008).

All of the American Community Survey datasets are available through the American Factfinder.

The Census Bureau is also in the midst of preparations for the next decennial census, which is the 100% count of the population for all geographic areas. The questionnaires will be sent out on April 1, 2010.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Policy on Peer-to-Peer File Sharing

The latest issue of The Ticker runs a headline story, "Staff PC Seized by BCTC," that cautions faculty and staff about the consequences of peer-to-peer or p2p file sharing. Anyone engaging in peer-to-peer file sharing poses a security risk to the college network and faces confiscation of their computer. They could also encounter legal trouble by downloading music or video that violates copyright. To find out more about peer-to-peer file sharing and CUNY's p2p policy see the File Sharing and Copyright Infringement Advisory at the BCTC web site.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Morningstar interruptions this weekend

Morningstar is moving this weekend and it may cause some interruptions in service. They will have a technical team on hand to deal with this, but since the servers are moving too, it may be unavoidable. They do not expect the interruptions to be extensive however.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

They Represent You

A number of PUB1250 students have been looking for information related to their assembly districts. We have been alerting them to a very nice handout Prof. Peña has prepared for that class, which is available in the IS shared folder.

Having read it, you probably already know that Project Vote Smart is a great source for district information. It allows you to search by zipcode to see who your Senator and Assemblyperson is (and of course their district numbers).

However, if your zipcode happens to fall within two districts and you need to see a map showing the actual district boundaries, like I did, there is a handy little print publication behind the desk called They Represent You put out by the League of Women Voters you should know about.

It fits in the palm of your hand and contains legible and easy-to-understand district maps, as opposed to many of those available out on the web which I found to be either too small or too clunky to be of much use. The citation for it is included on the handout.

Thanks to Prof. Ellis and Prof. Yaremchuk for pointing it out on the shelf.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Trials: Points of View Reference Center and Academic Search Complete

We have a new CUNY-wide trial to 2 EBSCO products: Points of View Reference Center and Academic Search Complete. They have been included in the list of databases. Ebsco has made an offer to ERAC for us to get Points of View Reference Center and they’ll upgrade us to Academic Search Complete as well.

Points of View Reference Center is a direct competitor to the Gale product Opposing Viewpoints.

The trial runs until the end of December, so please take some time and try them out and let me know what you think of them.

I am especially interested in seeing what the feeling is between Opposing Viewpoints vs Points of View Reference Center since this would be a change from a product that is used quite a bit by our students.

Title comparison and product descriptions are available were sent via email or please email me to request them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Audit Failure guide now in Shared Numan Resources

I have placed the Audit Failure guide in the shared Numan file under IS Instructional Materials Works in Progress. This was the guide developed for the workshop given last week to the ACC 5400 class of Prof. Cherny. The guide is rather long as it incorporates a lot of screen shots. Examples relate to the 9 audit failures the students are researching and writing on the "lessons learned." Harry, Ryan and I will report on the workshop at the next IS Division meeting.

Finding Mid-sized Companies

A student came to the desk looking for small to mid-sized consulting firms in New York. Joe and I used Hoover’s to look up a larger firm that the student knew of (Deloitte), and from there we found the NAICS code for the industry. We went into Reference USA and using the code we were able to find a large number of consulting companies. The student was able to sort through these to find the smaller ones she needed. There may be more students coming to reference looking for information about smaller or mid-sized companies (rather than the largest ones) and the NAICS codes and Reference USA are good ways to find them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Citing a court indictment using APA

Does anyone know how to cite a court indictment (not a case) using APA? I'm helping a student via chat. The indictment was found online. I will recommend The Bluebook (Ref KF 245
B58) and the Cornell site (Basic Legal Citation). I was not able to find how to cite an indictment in either of these sources. Perhaps indictments are included under court documents or another term? Thanks.

Delivery of blog posts

I'm trying to clean up the systems I set up to transmit copies of blog posts via email. If you are no longer receiving a copy of the each blog post as an email message, please let me know by phone or email. If you'd like to learn how to set up a feed reader, such as Bloglines or Google Reader, that can aggregate the feed from our reference blog as well as any others you'd like to subscribe to, let me know and I can set it up for you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teaching About the Wikipedia

I found a fast paced, funny, and fact packed tutorial about using the Wikipedia for research on YouTube. It was produced by John Gibson and Vibiana Bowman, librarians at the Paul Robeson Library at Rutgers, Camden where I worked a long time ago. Although written for a student audience, I think it might be better pitched to faculty or librarians who want to show their students how the Wikipedia addresses the issues of accuracy, authority, objectivity and currency. The unique thing about the text is that it is entirely based on quotes from Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, and official Wikipedia policy statements.

The version on YouTube is a little fuzzy but you can find the original at the Robeson Library website where it comes with a quiz and a transcript of the text.

International Business Directory

The International Business Directory developed by the Mayor’s Office, the Weissman Center for International Business at Baruch, and the Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, Division for International Business has just been released. The directory, also called the Guide to Global Businesses in New York City, is updated every two years and this is the first edition that is web-based.

You can search by search by company name or description or you can choose to browse by country, industry sector, or category. Because the directory includes trade missions, consulates, cultural organizations and chambers of commerce, if you want your results list to focus on companies, use the category “Foreign Companies in NYC”.

Oxford and Gale Reference Sources

Although the access impediments differ many Gale Virtual Reference and Oxford Reference resources are not available or not working when searching via CUNY+. Until the problems are resolved the method or path to gain consistent access to these sources is via the "Databases"--again not CUNY+.

I brought this to Michael Waldman's attention and he is working on the resolution of the problems.

LexisNexis vs. Westlaw

Stanford Law School just published a report that may be of interest to us as users of both LexisNexis and Westlaw. The authors surveyed law librarians as to the benefits of each and what alternatives could be found in case one was cancelled. In general the preference seemed to be for Westlaw over LexisNexis. The full report is here "Law Librarians and LexisNexis vs. Westlaw: Survey Results".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Moving Titles from the Index Tables

Mike and I have been slowly moving the titles on the index tables to the reference stacks or, in the case of titles that are no longer being published, to the stacks. If you are looking for one of your favorite titles and you don't see it on the tables, please check CUNY+. We expect to have this project finished sometime in December.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The New Tablebase Interface

If you haven't yet had a chance to look at the new Tablebase interface, you should know that from the results list you will click directly into the entry with the table and bibliographic information. Although it is not stated anywhere,if you download or e-mail the table to yourself it will come with the full text of the article.

Overview of the new chat interface

QuestionPoint has posted on its blog a post detailing what the new chat interface will look like.

Company and Industry Ratios

Students taking BPL5100 are asking about ratios for both individual companies and industries. There is a subject guide on Ratio Analysis and Rasun has just updated all the links so you can point students there.

If students need industry ratios the two best sources are the RMA Annual Statement Studies and Dun and Bradstreet's Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios (both in the reference collection). Students will need to know the industry NAICS codes to use RMA and the SIC code for D&B.

Factiva and Mergent Online are good sources for company ratios. EDGAR Online I-Metrix probably has the most complete list as they provide ratios computed on an annual, quarterly, and trailing 12 month basis. Their data goes back ten years and can be exported to excel. To find the data, choose a company first, then click on "Ratios" under "Financials" in the left column.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Student reports problem with accessing Compass homework site for math class

I have reported to systems that a student reported problems with accessing the Compass homework site on the library's computers today. She said she had done it before.

Compass is a pre-algebra math class in which all homework is done on line. The message received on the computer was that a newer version of Adobe Flash needed to be installed and that required administrative rights. When I called systems help, it was suggested that perhaps she would be successful in the 6th floor lab. So I directed her there. I learned from the help desk that one computer could not be upgraded; that all would need to be done. I don't know if the student was successful on the 6th floor as my desk shift ended.

Tablebase has a new interface

A vast improvement it seems at first glance.

Demos and tutorials can be found here.

iSkills Canceled Today (11/19/08)

The iSkills test scheduled for today from 3-5pm in Rm 130 is CANCELED.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Global Corporate Tax Rates

I have had a couple of reference requests (including one from a professor) for corporate tax rates by country. OECD data is good, but limited to member countries. KPMG produces an annual survey of corporate tax rates for 106 countries: Corporate and Indirect Tax Rate Survey The data is collected through local KPMG branches, is well-regarded, and the latest annual report presents 10 years of data. The report is in pdf format, so data would need to be re-keyed for analysis, but it is perhaps the most complete available. Older reports can be found at the KPMG Archives Site for those needing data further back in time; these generally only include two years of data. Deloitte has produced a similar survey for over 200 countries, but the latest compilation is from 2006 and provides rates only as of that year: 2006 Corporate Tax Rates for 212 Countries

CIAO features global economic crisis

The Columbia International Affairs Online database features the global economic crisis this month.

Also of possible interest to students might be the book, "Small Boats, Weak States, Dirty Money: The Challenge of Piracy," also added to the database. The NYT had an article this morning about the recent occurrence of largest ship ever hijacked--a full oil tanker.

"The Reckoning"

The New York Times has pulled together articles on the financial crisis in an ongoing series they call "The Reckoning." It includes audio, video and an interactive graphic of the events of September 17th and 18th.

the Enron Loophole

One of the reference questions we discussed in yesterday's reference practicum was the Enron loophole. Students were looking for congressional testimony about it. Searching in news databases is easy enough using the common terminology of "Enron loophole," but in legislative databases especially Thomas, it's better to start with the bill number or the name of the act, in this case, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. This act allowed unregulated trading of financial derivatives including credit default swaps. It included special language that exempted Enron's electronic energy trading operation, Enron Online, from regulation, hence, "the Enron loophole."

For a good background report on this issue, read the Congressional Research Service report of July 2008.

This article from the New York Times on "Gramm and the 'Enron Loophole'" discusses the role of former Senator Phil Gramm in the passage of the bill and points to additional sources including the Enron Explorer, a website that puts Enron e-mail in a searchable format.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ebrary and printing

Some good news: Ebrary now lets us print 20 pages at a time, up from the 5 previously allowed. This was one of the most voiced complaints so I am glad they've increased the limit.

Question about availability of divorce records

A email reference question today from a student working on an Anthro paper requested assistance in finding actual divorce proceedings cases from the 1960s to "modern times." The student had tried Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw Campus without success. In case this comes up again, I thought I would share what I learned.

I learned that these databases do not provide these proceedings for a number of general they are decided in Family Court or Domestic Relations Courts, and the decisions are not available in the databases. Although I didn't check all 50 states and the District of Columbia, I learned that New York State Consolidated Laws on Domestic Relations states that divorce/dissolution of marriage rulings/decisions are to be kept private and only the court and the parties have access to the information. And, such records are to be private for 100 years. I am sure that there are many policy reasons for these decisions..the financial information and relationship/behavior of the parties, and minor children whose lives could be impacted.

However, sometimes one of the parties appeals the decision to a higher court, and these rulings are available. I tried in Westlaw Campus, "dissolution of marriage," and "child support", and limited my cases to state court in New York. There were 15 cases in the last 3 year.

There are many law review journal articles that are written on this topic but the student didn't specify what s/he was trying to locate.

Update on CUNY+ Problems

A notice was just posted to the CULIBS listserv announcing that the library systems office will begin the job of restoring the missing item information at 2:00 P.M. today. The job will run for three to four hours and during this time the Web OPAC will be unavailable.

Re: question re how a company accounts for its inventory and the method used

In doing email reference today, an accounting student has inquired on how to learn how a company accounts for its inventory and the method used. The company was Barnes & Noble, but as this appears to be an assignment, perhaps there will be many more similar questions.

I think the easiest way to find this information is to suggest that the student search the more recent 10K filing, or 20F (foreign company trading in the U.S) and search for the word inventory. Of our databases, Thomson Research and Edgar Online I-Metrix might be the easiest for a keyword search. There are two methods for accounting for the cost of inventory, first in , first out, or last in, first out. (Other words to search for, or for their abbreviations, FIFO and LIFO.)

here is an excerpt of the information from Barnes & Noble's 2007 10k:

(under Merchandise Inventories)

"Merchandise Inventories
Merchandise inventories are stated at the lower of cost
or market. Cost is determined primarily by the retail
inventory method on the first-in, first-out (FIFO)
basis for 99% and 96% of the Company’s merchandise
inventories as of February 2, 2008 and February 3, 2007,
respectively. The remaining merchandise inventories
are recorded based on the average cost method.
Market is determined based on the estimated net realizable
value, which is generally the selling price. Reserves
for non-returnable inventory are based on the Company’s
history of liquidating non-returnable inventory.
The Company also estimates and accrues shortage for
the period between the last physical count of inventory
and the balance sheet date. Shortage rates are estimated
and accrued based on historical rates and can be affected
by changes in merchandise mix and changes in actual
shortage trends."

I hope that this is helpful.


LIB 1015 Cancelled Tonight

I have an emergency today and have to cancel class. I've emailed my class and will put a sign on the door, but I wanted to let everyone know in case any of my students come looking for me this afternoon. Thank you, Chris

Friday, November 14, 2008

CUNY+ problems

CUNY+ is down now and maybe intermittently in the next few days until they fix the the problem that our holdings are not displaying.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lost Cities of the Amazon assignment

For the past few years, we've seen a recurring assignment involving this story from MSNBC, "Lost Cities of the Amazon Revealed," that has confused a number of students. It just came up again in chat reference, so I thought I'd mention here that students often ask for scholarly articles that cite this article. After some probing, it turns out that what they are really after are journal articles that talk about the discoveries that are mentioned in the MSNBC piece. If you plug in the name of the archaelogist, Heckenberger, and Brazil into any number of databases, you should be able to turn up good sources (Academic Search Premier worked well for this).

The 2003 article by Heckenberger et al about the discoveries can be found in Science.

On scams, frauds, and front groups

You may have read recently about two notable hoaxes that targeted the media. The Yes Men, a group of activists who engage in a form of culture jamming they call "identity correction," printed up thousands of copies of a fake version of the Times and distributed them around town yesterday (you can read the reaction of one New York Times staffer on the prank on his official NYT blog). In another example of an elaborate hoax, it was reported today that the recent story about anonymous McCain campaign aides leaking news that Palin's grasp of geography was woefully weak was in fact a prank. The source of the leak, one Mike Eisenstadt, turned out to be a complete fiction, as did his think tank, the Harding Institute. Two filmmakers had for months used Mike Eisenstadt as a source of a number of seemingly plausible sources of information from inside the McCain camp. As the Times reported, the pranksters were annoyed at how quickly the media gobbled up any scrap of news in its effort to keep the 24-hours a day news cycle rolling along.

With this in mind, you may be interested in checking out, a web site that tries to keep track, as they put it, of "the names behind the news." One interesting section of their site is the page on "Front Groups," which include the Greening Earth Society, the "grassroots" group committed to understanding climate change that also happened to be underwritten by the Western Fuels Association (many of us have brought up that group's web site when teaching in classrooms about evaluation of web sources).

Welcome New Librarians

Three new librarians have recently joined the Information Services division of Newman Library.

Ryan Phillips comes to us from Booz & Company, a business consulting firm where he worked as Senior Consultant and Research Analyst. Ryan has an MLS from the University of Buffalo and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. He has an undergraduate degree in Marketing. You can contact Ryan at ext. 1621.

Jean Yaremchuk is a recent graduate of the Palmer School of Library Science, Long Island University. She has an MBA from NYU and an undergraduate degree in sociology. Most recently she worked as a Senior Business Advisor at ThomsonReuters. Her area of expertise is financial data management. You can reach Jean at ext. 1614.

Linda Eichler comes to us from the Lippincott Library of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a business reference librarian. She is one of the creators of their business knowledge base, the Business FAQ. Linda will be working with us as an adjunct Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons this semester.

Research Consultations

This semester’s program of research consultations will start next Monday November 17th and run on selected days through December 4th. Sixty-four sessions are available for students who need individual one-on-one research help from a librarian. This service is only available to Baruch College undergraduate and graduate students. Students should click on the “Research Consultations” from our “Featured in the Library” pages to register for a 30 minute session.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New chat monitor interface for librarians

On November 23, QuestionPoint will roll out a new chat monitor interface for librarians. From the screenshots I saw today, the redesign keeps the layout and functionality the same but offers a cleaner, more modern look. If you want to learn more about it, you can sign up for one of the three webinars OCLC is offering:


If you can't attend one of the webinars, they will be archived on the training portion of the QuestionPoint site so you can watch them later.

Monday, November 10, 2008


CUNY+ Down

CUNY+ is down and the central office is working on it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Missing pages from Knapp's book on audit cases

I've learned that the pages relating to the Enron audit failure have gone missing from the Knapp book on auditing and cases, which is on reserve at HF5686 .C7 K62 2006.
I am trying to get a copy of the missing pages. The students will be working on their assignment regarding audit failures in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Follow up on "gift card" assignment for accounting students

Some accounting students with the "gift card" assignment may be coming to the reference desk for help. If "gift cards" is searched on CCH Accounting Research Manager there is some discussion of the issues surrounding the accounting for gift cards. If the students do a search on ABI Inform Global and/or Business Source Premier for gift cards and accounting, they will locate articles in accounting journals that discuss the problems with accounting for gift cards ("breakage," uncertainty of redemption, when to recognize revenue, etc.) I hope this is helpful. Some students are asking for appointments to see me, but if they do the above searches they should find information to which they can apply to their assignment.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Re: Metro request

I had a request from a Baruch faculty member for a METRO pass to NYU for Early Responses to Hume's moral...., but I found that NYPL's Humanities Library has the volumes so I didn't issue the pass. The faculty member was disappointed as he said he disliked NYPL. (He gave me a slightly different title at first, which I didn't locate at NYPL, but I doublechecked the NYU title against NYPL.s. He might inquire again.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

RefWorks troubles

There's a problem with the link to RefWorks on the database page. I think it links to the RW website, which doesn't allow one to start a new account, only to log into an existing one. A student alerted me to the problem. She was very frustrated since she came to the library, having assumed that the problem was one of remote access. I've left her name and e-mail address (in a folded piece of paper labelled REFWORKS PROBLEM) in the drawer under the phone so that someone may respond to her. Thanks

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Science Style Manual Relocation

For the reader, who seeks a recent format and style manual in the sciences, refer them to Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. This is a 2006 edition. It is now at to the reference desk collocated with the other style manuals.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Identifying Corporate Officers

There have been several question lately at the desk and through e-mail from students wanting a list of all CFO's or all Investor Relations Officers or all the names of officers in another type of corporate management position. Peggy and Linda and I tested a few databases looking for the best one to answer this type of question. Mergent Online in their Executive Search tab allows searching by job function but you must type in all variations of the job title.

A better source is the Corporate Affiliations database. Use their advanced search page. When you search by job title they actually pull all jobs together with a "value" or number regardless of the the title used. This means that when you put in the value for Investor relations you will be searching for all the investor relations personnel regardless of whether they are VP's, managers, directors, etc. You can limit your results to public or private companies and parent or subsidiaries. Results can be downloaded into Excel. You can save either the company list or the "people" list. The people list includes name, title, company name, address, phone & fax, company URL and corporate e-mail address as well as a sales figure and the number of employees in the company.

Corporate Strategy During an Economic Downturn

Students in BPL5100 who are analyzing corporate strategy will need to take into account the unusual economic conditions of the current financial crisis. Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor and author of the "Five Forces" theory, recently spoke at the INSEAD World Knowledge Forum about how companies should think about strategy in a crisis. His advice: think long term. INSEAD has posted a short article and a longer webcast of Porter at the Forum.

LJ features a new "green library" in my hometown

Monday's Library Journal has an article I wrote about the new "green library" in Marshalltown, IA, my hometown. The new "green library" will replace a Carnegie Library built in 1902 and expanded in 1974. It is the first Iowa public library to seek LEED silver certification.

Like a century ago, financing the library involves public and private funds.

While researching about the Carnegie Library program, I learned that it was a public-private partnership. The Carnegie Foundation contributed $30,000 (a formula of $2 each for the population of 15,000, and the town had to agree to contribute, also based on its population. There were 101 Carnegie libraries built in Iowa. (This information isn't in the article. I found it in books in our collection.)

If you want to attend Friday's free LACUNY-NYPL Greening Libraries Greener Communities at the Bronx Library Center, you can still register. It is the first green public building in New York City.

About reporting computer problems in Classrooms 130 and 135

Dear Colleagues,

We realize that our exchange of comments on the blog on Monday and Tuesday might have left you puzzled. So, after further discussion, and better thinking because of a cooler office (thanks to the new fan), we would like to offer the following:

If there is a computer related problem in a classroom, please call the systems office (1640) for immediate help, or submit a library Helpdesk request to systems if it is something that can wait until the class is complete. (Note from Rita: I forgot to do this. I have apologized to Saad and the systems staff for my oversight, especially after posting to the blog about problems. It's lame but I don't think well a lot of times, but especially not when I'm hot.)

Please also blog about the problem so that others, who will be using the classroom, will know of the problem. (Include that you have alerted systems to the problem.)

The number on the computers to report to systems is the four digits number found on the side of the CPU on embossed label next to CUNY barcode. First digit indicates floor.

The two digit numbers on the computer monitors in Rm 135 are not systems’ numbers, they were probably added by the summer camp instructor. They will be removed.

The port for the computer that was not logging in is being reset by BCTC.

Saad and Rita

Computer Problems in the Classrooms

A few months back I was advised by Theresa that sometimes the problem with the computers in the classroom is that the old connection adapters are loose. I can often -- not always -- clear the problem by crawling under the workstation and making sure the connection is good. In order to login successfully after fixing this connection, one usually has to exit out of the logon menu screen, going back to the screen that asks you to hit alt/control/delete and then logging in.

I know it's a bit awkward as the instructor to get down on your hands and knees to do this, but it does work.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sources re Iranian Jews resettled in the U.S.

Harry and I had an interesting question Tuesday afternoon as a student, who has read The Namesake, wanted assistance in finding information about Iranian Jews who have resettled in the U.S. Although he didn't go into great detail, he said his idea was to show some similarities in the experiences in his paper. These are some sources that I found helpful:

Ethnic Newswatch for feature stories about Iranian Jews who have resettled in the U.S.
Many came after the Shah of Iran was overthrown; there are large communities in New York, including Great Neck, and Los Angeles (80,000 live in L.A.)

Factiva and the New York Times for features and news articles.

There are several memoirs that have been written that have been reviewed in the NYT and in Factiva. These include Wedding Song by Goldin and Journey from the Land of No, by Roya Hakakian. Other CUNY schools have the two titles.

I didn't locate much in the sociological or anthro databases that we have, or in SSRN. I tried WorldCat and found several books that included information about the resettlement of Iranian Jews. The student received the information. If anyone has other suggestions, please share them.

UN launches audiovisual library of international law

The following was just posted on the SLA-NY listserv and I thought it might be very helpful for students and faculty.

"Today, the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs launched the Audiovisual Library of International Law. This website has three main parts:
The Historic Archives present documents, photos, and digital film
footage relating to the UN role in the development of international

The Lecture Series contains lectures by leading scholars on topics in
international law, and includes a bibliography of related materials;

The Research Library provides links to other web-based research
resources in international law, including other UN sources, national
treaty series, and selected scholarly articles provided by HeinOnline
(?still in pilot/beta).

The Audiovisual Library aims to provide free, scholarly resources to students and practictioners around the world, particularly in regions where there are few resources for the study of international law."

(Regarding HeinOnline, I had a request earlier this year by a faculty member for articles he had found on HeinOnLine, a fee based service. We had access already to many of the articles through our databases; two others were obtained via ILL. I realize that may not be the case for many users of the UN audiovisual library.)

Updated guides re FASB and International Accounting resources and tax research

Two updated guides, one showing Newman Library resources available for accounting research, including resources for FASB and the IFRS standards, and another one relating to resources for doing tax research have been added to the Numan drive, under IS, instructional materials, work in progress.

Both guides have a lot of screen shots to helps students become familiar with the databases.

I did class related lectures for Prof. Lale Guler's Acc 3000 classes last week. They are doing the "gift card" assignment similar to last year's assignment. (This topic has been covered much more in the accounting literature in trade publications such those available on ABI Inform Global and Business Source Premier, which may be an easier way to start than the official FASB literature. The students know that the terms "gift cards" do not appear in the FASB literature.)

It is a team project, due Dec. 8, for Prof. Guler's class.

Some things to note:

I didn't order new FARS CDs this year as the information is available online through subscription databases. So, students should not be referred to the FARS disks as they are not current.

The format of CCH Accounting Manager and RIA Checkpoint remain basically the same.
Some revisions are:

RIA Checkpoint has added "Advance" to the FASB information new this year. So Advance FASB Original Pronouncements means pronouncements issued in 2008.

RIA Checkpoint has added a "text" feature for the options given with print, download, email. The Text feature allows you to highlight and then copy, print, or email, the selected text.

The handy U.S. Master GAAP Guide, is no longer available on Lexis-Nexis Academic. To research it, go to CCH Business & Finance, click Securities tab, scroll down to Accountant's Module, and it is listed in the resources. (We also have print copies. The print copies refer to levels of the GAAP hierarchy.)

The tax resources guide was updated from last year's guide. I did workshops for Prof. Korman's graduate class. They will have an assignment relating to capital gains. Next week I will do a lecture for Prof. Egan's graduate class. I think their assignment is going to be relating to whether a drama history professor is operating a trade/business or only a hobby when she is audited for her expenses relating to her play writing. (The factual situation is she has more expenses than income, and has had for several years.)

I think these assignments are good examples of requiring analyzing information resources.

Please let me know if you have any questions. The students have been told that if they need help from me that they are to call or email me ahead of time for appointments. They have also been told that help is available at the reference desk.

The Political Campaign: Verifying the Facts

Jerry put together this list of political fact checking web sites for an ENG2100 class. I though it might be helpful at the reference desk. For a brief discussion of these websites see the article by Peggy Garvin in LLRX.
This is a nonpartisan, nonprofit site maintained by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. They have been around since 1994 and covered their first campaign in 2004. They monitor ads, speeches, debates and news stories.
This web site is sponsored by Congressional Quarterly and the St. Petersburg Times (Florida). Features a "Truth-o-Meter."

Fact Checker
New this year is a blog by Michael Dobbs from the Washington Post that reports on news from other fact checking sites and tips from readers.

Several of the major network news web sites also have fact checking sites:

CNN News

CBS News

Monday, October 27, 2008

Computer problems in Room 130 Monday night 10/27 and an interesting observation

During a workshop for graduate tax students tonight, students were unable to logon to
computers 1148A and 1216B. The student using 1158 said it was running very slow.

The graduate students were in a first semester tax class. Although this situation did not occur for workshops given Sunday to class members, of 20 attendees Monday night, only four knew their Baruch user name and password prior to the workshop. Some knew it had been sent to them, but they didn't have it and didn't know where to get the information. They had used Blackboard. I believe that many students attending the workshop tonight are working during the day but the lack of knowing their use name and password indicated their lack of use of library resources.

Computer problem in Room 135 during workshop and question about access to RefWorks on the classroom computers

Yesterday during a workshop in Room 135 students using computer 13 were unable to connect to the Internet. I wanted to report this problem. Computer 10 also initially had a problem but we were able to connect once the computer was rebooted.

The graduate tax students, who will have a paper to research and write for their course, were interested in RefWorks, which I was able to demonstrate very briefly and with some trouble. Most, but not all the students, were unable to view the RefWorks screen where they can log on for the first time and create their own accounts. The screen did not indicate it was RefWorks for CUNY-Baruch College. This did appear on some of the classroom computers. When I first used the instructor's computer,via Firefox I was able to log on, but RefWorks went directly to my list of references, so I was unable to demonstrate how to create a folder, the tutorials, etc.

If there is a solution, I told the students I would email them. They were very happy to see that this database is available for their use. They thought it would save a lot of time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yankees (W)one and New York City Nothing

For another book on sports and public benefit see Mark S. Rosentraub, Major League Losers . . .

Science Direct Maintenance

To support scheduled maintenance, ScienceDirect will be unavailable from 9 p.m. EDT on Saturday 1 November until 8 a.m. EST on Sunday 2 November .

In addition, on 15 November, this application will be unavailable due to scheduled system enhancements including the addition of new functionality. Exact timing will be communicated soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Package left at Ref Desk for pickup Friday by alum

I left a large envelope at the reference desk for pick up by Arthur Ainsberg, a Baruch alum and member of the Baruch College Fund board, on Friday. His assistant Corinne, a Baruch grad, might be the one picking it up. I will be teaching a workshop from 8:30 to 10:30 Friday morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Yankees Again

Students are still working on the assignment about the financial situation of the Yankee's baseball team. In addition to the sources listed in previous posts to this blog, I'd like to suggest that many books have been written on the topic of the economics of sports and they are available in CUNY libraries.

LC subject headings include:
Major League Baseball (Organization)
Baseball--Economic Aspects--United States

You might be surprised to see that Brookings has published several titles on this topic. We have their books: May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy, and Sports, Jobs, and Taxes : the Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums.

In addition there is a business database devoted to the sports industry available at SIBL. It is the Sports Business Research Network. It includes statistical market research data for 63 sports, 85 product categories, plus full-text articles and reports in more than 10 leading trade publications covering U.S. and international sports marketing and sporting goods business.

Thanks from a patron

With the whirlwind of the fall semester upon us, I thought it might be nice to share these nice comments a student added to the survey that pops up at the close of chat sessions:
Great service. I use it all the time. It is convienent and available. thank you for providing it. Baruch students are blessed.
Since we started using QuestionPoint for our chat and email service, we've received nearly 600 surveys from our patrons. If you are viewing this blog post on the web and not in your email, you can see here a summary of how our patrons have responded to the survey questions:

(NOTE: Click to enlarge)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Red States Blue States Contest !

The library will be hosting a contest for the 2008 election, where students can compete to win a $270 gift certificate to the bookstore (a candidate needs to have at least 270 electoral votes to win). The contest will run from Weds 10/22 to Fri 10/31. Students will use the library's Red State Blue State exhibit to learn about the election process, and can participate in the contest by doing two things:

  • Taking a 10 question quiz on the electoral college that is available on Blackboard. Students will login in to a special Red States Blue States group where they can access the full contest rules (available now) and the quiz (available starting Oct 22nd).


  • Using the interactive map on page 7 of the exhibit to make their prediction of how they think the election will turn out. Students will then print out their map (it need not be in color), write their name, email, and phone number on it, and will submit it in a ballot box that we'll keep at the reference desk.

The ballot box will only be available when the reference desk is open, from the 22nd to the 31st. At the end of the night, whoever is working will need to take the box and place it in the reference office so that it is locked up for the night. The map-ballots will be removed and date stamped the next morning, and the empty box will be returned to the desk by 9am. The person working the first morning shift need not do anything - the ballots and box will be taken care of. We'll have to make special provisions for the weekend - stay posted for details.

An announcement and flier about the contest with the basic rules is available on the news portion of the library's website. The contest is open to Baruch undergraduate and graduate students (with the exception of library employees) who are currently enrolled and working towards a degree, but anyone can login to Blackboard and join the Red States Blue States group (if you were interested in seeing the complete rules). If students have any questions, you can refer them to the flier and blackboard.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them here.

Field Choices in Business Source

Peggy and I discovered a problem in Business Source Premier yesterday. The drop down "field" menu no longer showed company, ticker, NAICS and the other business specific fields. A phone call to Ebscohost solved the problem. Our default choice of databases included a product called "Research Starter" which limited the field choices to only the standard author, title, and abstract. Please report these types of problems to me or Mike.

Gale Virtual Reference and the Catalog

As you know, our Gale Virtual Reference titles have records in the catalog, where the URL should link you to the database. That is working on some computers, but not on many others, in particular the ones at the reference desk.

So if you find a Gale Virtual Reference title on CUNY+ and the link does not take you there, please go to the database via the database page and find the book that way.

We are not sure why this is happening but it is being investigated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recent amendments to Americans with Disabilities Act expand protections to many more and redefines the laws relating to disabilities

Recent amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act expands protections to many more workers, and rejects U.S. Supreme Court decisions on what constitutes a "disability" according to an article I received today from a law firm at which I was once a legal assistant.

These amendments had the support of groups advocating for the disabled, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others, according to some news articles I located in Factiva. The amendments help reach the original intent of the Act.

Sometimes students come to the reference desk looking for human resources issues. This might be one to suggest as an Oct. 6 issue of Business Insurance quotes an employment law expert as saying, "I thought this was a big deal," said Gerald L. Maatman Jr., a partner in the Chicago-based law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P. "The amendments necessitate that employers will have to go back to the drawing board on job descriptions and protocols to provide reasonable accommodation decisions. The burdens will be significant but well worth the effort in terms of proactive steps to avoid future litigation," he said.

There will probably be much more information about these amendments in publications in the coming months.

Mark-to-Market Accounting

The current issue of The Ticker (October 14, 2008) has a special section on the “Market Meltdown” and one of the stories is an interview with Prof. Terrence Martell where he is asked about the suspension of FASB 157 which requires mark-to-market accounting. He tells a compelling story about how mark-to-market works today.

FASB157, called the Fair Value accounting rule, requires companies to value their assets based on market prices. But what happens when there is no market because the credit markets are frozen? Here is how the SEC, FASB, and others are addressing the problem.

On September 30th the SEC offered clarification of the rules that addressed how to determine fair value when there is no active market for a security.

FASB issued a Staff Position Paper that addressed “Determining the Fair Value of a Financial Asset When the Market for That Asset Is Not Active.”

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act included a provision that the SEC, along with the Fed and the Treasury, study the impact of mark-to-market accounting on banks. Details are in the SEC press release.

A panel of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) produced a report on “Measuring and disclosing the fair value of financial instruments in markets that are no longer active.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

E-Commerce Data

Students in an entrepreneurship class have been asking for data on web or online sales for particular industry sectors. This data is often hard to find but there are some reports that collect e-commerce data that could be good starting points.

U.S. Census E-Stats Reports
Their E-Commerce Multi-Sector Report breaks out the value of e-commerce sales for industry sectors based on 3 or 4 digit NAICS codes. The data tables cover sectors in wholesale trade, retail trade, selected service industries and various types of electronic shopping and mail order houses (NAICS 4541). This is an annual report that has been published since 1999.

This publisher is an aggregator of market research reports on all aspects of e-business and online marketing. You can browse all the reports on their website but you will find that although some articles are free, all the market surveys must be purchased. SIBL subscribes to the e-Marketer database.

ClickZ Stats
This website offers data and many articles of the “Top 50” type on various aspects of e-commerce including advertising, demographics, B2B, and retailing. The scope is global so you can find country focused reports here.

IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)
These reports of about 15 pages come out twice a year and focus on measuring advertising revenue from various internet advertising outlets. The reports do contain data on internet ad revenues for nine major industry categories. These are broadly defined industries including retail, financial services, entertainment and consumer packaged goods.

Students should also search business news databases. Tablebase uses the concept terms "e-commerce" and "electronic commerce" which can be combined with either industry or product categories. Factiva has industry codes for e-commerce, e-business (B2B), and etailing (B2C).

Resolution codes in chat reference

When you are adding a resolution code at the end of a chat session, please make sure that you are selecting the correct resolution code. One of the more confusing codes is the "Lost Call" code, which should only be used when a patron sends a question, never replies to your messages, AND did not login with an email address.

Julie Strange, the administrator of the statewide chat service in Maryland, AskUsNow!, has a nice chart detailing when to use each of the codes (PDF). (Please note that I'd recommend you never use the "Followup by Me" resolution code.)

Make sure that when you select a resolution code and click the "Add" button, you pause for about 5 seconds to ensure that the code is actually appended to the chat transcript. If you click "Add" and then rush to close the chat session, your code will not get assigned to the transcript, leaving it adrift somewhat in the system.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Global Industry Surveys on S&P NetAdvantage

We now have access to Standard & Poor's Global Industry Surveys in NetAdvantage. These reports cover three regions: Europe, Asia and Latin America. They follow the same format as the U.S. Industry Surveys and include the list of competitors in each sector, in this case sub-divided by country.

Industry coverage varies by region. Only three industry sectors: banking, wireless telecom and oil and gas, are provided for Latin America. Two industries, computer hardware and consumer electronics are unique to Asia and the aerospace and defense industry is unique to Europe. Reports are available for 23 industries in both Europe and Asia. These industries are advertising, airlines, autos and auto parts, banking, biotechnology, boradcasting and cable, chemicals, construction and engineering, electric utilities, foods and nonalcoholic beverages, healthcare-pharmaceuticals and products and supplies, industrial machinery, insurance- life & health and property/casualty, publishing, real estate, retailing-specialty, supermarkets and drugstores, telecommunications-wireless and transportation.

You will find the Global Industry Surveys under the "Industry" tab.

The Credit Crunch on Bloomberg

Bloomberg has added many new data pages to its coverage of the credit crisis. For a list of their pages on the worldwide credit crunch, type WWCC-GO. You will see data on "Bank Losses" including details on individual bank write-downs and amount of capital raised. Bloomberg is also tallying the number of jobs lost at these banks.

For an overview of the credit crunch, type CCRU-GO. This page includes the short selling restricted list at SSR-GO. Credit defaults are at CXE-GO.

Use EXPO-GO for a list of companies exposed to short term rollover and interest rate risk. The top corporate bond issuers and the top government entities are ranked based on the value of their debt maturing in the next 30 days.

Students needing definitions of the many new structured products will find them at SND-GO.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

CreditWeek Now Available in S&P NetAdvantage

Standard & Poor’s has added CreditWeek to the list of publications available through its NetAdvantage portal. This weekly news magazine covering the global credit markets is available for all issues since 2006. All issues are in PDF format. The best way to access CreditWeek is to open the “Company” tab (at the top of the home page) and scroll down to the CreditWeek banner and its pull-down menu of issues.

Why would you want to use CreditWeek? CreditWeek covers credit market trends in-depth. These articles focus on specific credit instruments, the credit situation in specific countries or, a favorite of corporate librarians, an analysis of credit quality in an industry sector. Look at their analysis of the oil and gas industry in the August 27th issue. Often there are special issues like the recent ones devoted to the Housing Markets (September 24th) and Resurgent Russia (September 17th). Each issue includes the “Credit Spotlight,” short articles on recent rating actions, and the last piece in most issues is the “Featured Analysis,” an in-depth examination of the credit quality of a corporate issuer like Chrysler (September 17th) or a sovereign issuer like Brazil (October 8th).

Although each issue opens with a detailed table of contents, there is no index to the issues and the NetAdvantage “search” does not return results from CreditWeek. One work around is to use the Standard and Poor’s website which includes a browsable list of every issue from January 2006.

Corporate bond info

A research assistant stopped by the desk asking for information that may not be available. She is helping a professor see if there is a data source that tells you what percentage of a given company's corporate bonds are held by institutional investors. After consulting with Harry Gee, it seems as though that data is not likely to be disclosed by anyone, which means there is no likely data source on it.

Here's what we looked at or considered as possibilities before ruling them out:
  • Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage: Offers descriptions of the corporate bonds but no details on who owns them.
  • Bloomberg: Doesn't have the specific info needed although it does offer some details on the bonds themselves.
  • WRDS: There is a data set in WRDS called FISD (Fixed Income Securities Database) that we don't subscribe to and that isn't likely to have the specific info needed.
  • Mergent Online: Also offers specific details on different bonds issued by corporations but not who owns them or in what percentages.
I recommended that the student contact Louise Klusek to see if there might still be other sources out there we hadn't considered. If anyone has additional suggestions, please let me know by posting a comment to this blog post.

FYI: I found the Business FAQ from the Lippincott Library at U Penn to be a nice starting point in thinking about possible sources of info.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Japanese Company Profiles

A student in one section of BPL5100 alerted me that their class assignment included a comparison of their U.S. company with a competitor in a foreign market. So we should be seeing students asking for annual reports and company profiles of foreign public companies. Thomson Research is the best source for annual reports since they cover many international markets.

The standard source for profiles of Japanese companies is the Japan Company Handbook. This title is now available through LexisNexis Academic. The easiest way to search is to access the handbook through our journal finder tool. If you go to LexisNexis directly, choose the handbook from the list of sources in the General Search.

If the foreign company is a large multinational, profiles could be available in Euromonitor GMID or Business Monitor.

Library Open 24 Hours During Mid-terms

The mid-term schedule when the library will be open 24 hours for Baruch students will start at 7:00 AM on October 23rd and run through 11:59 PM on October 30th.

Global Public Finance

We have added a new module to our SDC database coverage. Global Public Financing covers U.S. municipal issues as well as public financing in Canada and internationally.

Fax Service Available for Students

The BCTC computing lab on the 6th floor now offers a fax service. Students can send faxes at no cost to local exchanges. More information on this service will be announced in a press release.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Printing in NetLibrary

Eric Neubacher just alerted me to something that seems to be a change in NetLibrary. In the past, I recall that you could print 5 pages at a time from NetLibrary titles. Now, it looks like only 1 page at a time is allowed, as is clearly spelled out in the Help pages in NetLibrary:
Print and copy selections from a full-text eContent item. You are allowed to print one page at a time using your Web browser's print function or the print function on the Adobe Acrobat toolbar. Printing the entire eContent item violates copyright laws and precautions are taken to protect those copyright laws. If a suspicious usage pattern indicates excessive printing or copying, the activity is logged and you are sent a copyright warning message.
Am I mistaken about NetLibrary's past printing policy being 5 pages? Is 5 pages the rule for one of the other ebook services (Books 24x7 or ebrary?)

Lost Flash Drive

Dear Colleagues:

This morning I found a flash drive plugged into the cpu in room 135 of the library. To "claim" it you can find it in my mail box in the second floor office suite. Thank you. David Brodherson

Friday, October 03, 2008

Can't renew books in CUNY+

In the next day or two, the ability to renew books in the My Account feature in CUNY+ should be restored. At present, renewals must be done in person or by emailing the circulation department.

Gale Directory of Publications

After meeting with most of the librarians, we are not renewing this resource as of 10/31/08, mostly because of the unsatisfactory interface. We are investigating a new product that Gale has just launched that covers directories, where we can choose which directories we want to include. Meanwhile we have the Encyclopedia of Associations in paper for 2007.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008

The Thomas website has details about the history of what the Senate is calling the "financial industry bailout package" in their legislative calendar. The legislation is offically called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The bill numbers of the House version that was voted down is H.R. 3997 and the Senate bill that passed is H. R. 1424. The full text of the bills, House and Senate, is also available from GPO Access in PDF format.

Creating a List of Non-Profits

I had a tough e-reference question, and wanted to ask for advice. A graduate student wants to compile a list of International NGOs (non profits) in NYC. In this list, she would like to have data for: budget, staff, members of the board, mission statement, web site address, and locations of other offices in the world.

She was using Guide Star, but to get all the info she needed she needs access to the premium edition (which I presume isn't cheap). She is also using a site called Charity Navigator, and said it has a lot of the info she needs, but not budget info.

I suggested that finding a single source that has the list of everything she needs is probably unlikely, and that she would have to compile data from several sources. Which ones?

I searched through this blog and found references to previous posts about this topic which suggest looking at the IRS 990 forms, and I gave her the link to those posts. I'm guessing that even if the NGO is international, they still have to file this form if they have an office in the US.

I looked in our business directories but there was no way to filter for non-profits. I had a hard time searching the encyclopedia of associations, and even if I was searching it correctly I don't think it has the info she needs. I tried some public websites, like, but they don't go far beyond the basics of name, address, etc.

Then I searched CUNY+ and found this at BMCC:

Encyclopedia of associations. International organizations : a guide to more than 22,000 international nonprofit membership organizations including multinational and binational groups, and national organizations based outside the United States, concerned with all subjects or areas of activity.

It's a paper copy and is from 2002, which is rather dated for something like this. But NYPL Research has an electronic version which is updated. I am going to contact the student to let her know about this, but does anyone have any additional suggestions?

Financial Comment

I doubt that the paid-subscription web site, packed with financial commentary is worth a library acquisition. It might be more notable for incorporation into Ripley's Believe It Not. Either way it might make you laugh, scream or think about the huge spectrum of ideas and analysis in corporate performance.

LLMC unaccessible

Currently LLMC is not accessible and asks for a password. This is a problem to all CUNY schools that subscribe and the vendor has been notified.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Free access to all Sage journals until 10/31/08

Sage is offering free online access to their journals until October 31, 2008. You have to register individually.

SpringerLink book trial

We have a trial until the end of October of a number of e-books from SpringerLink. They have digitized a large number of their books and are doing a big push to put them out there. They are mostly in the sciences, but there are some business and social science titles. Because it is on the same platform as the e-journals I have not created a separate link for this trial.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Infoshare is down

From a chat reference question today, I discovered that we can't get into Infoshare. I just tried in my office now and get a message indicating that the Infoshare server was not responding. I've emailed Mike Waldman to let him know about this problem.

New book of interest--Creating Your Library's Business Plan

I'm sending to Mike Waldman for cataloging today the book Creating Your Library's Business Plan by Joy HP Harriman, copyright 2008, which I received to write a review for Library Management. (The members of SLA Australia-New Zealand chapter, of which I am a long distance member wrote reviews for an upcoming issue.)

The book has examples of business plans from a wide variety of libraries. The CD that accompanies the book has templates, worksheets, and samples, so that one can easily adapt the basics of existing plans to one's own library.

Monday, September 29, 2008


There is some sort of problem with RefWorks that Saad is currently investigating. It primarily affects off-campus access. If the user is on campus, you can use RefWorks URL to access it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Reference Titles

Evolution and Creationism: A Documentary and Reference Guide (REF QH366.2 .Y68 2007)
This handbook provides excerpts from key texts on evolution. It covers the period before Darwin, from Darwin and his contemporaries, the period of the Scopes trial and opposition to evolution, and includes the current debate on intelligent design.

International Accounting and Reporting Issues (REF HF5686 .I56 I5497 2008)
This annual review, reporting on the proceedings of the ISAR, focuses on two issues: the practical implementation of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and guidance on corporate responsibility disclosures in annual reports. IFRS issues are covered in case studies of Pakistan, South Africa, and Turkey and the governance chapters include a case study of China.

International Encyclopedia of Adolescence (REF HQ796 .A7258 2007, 2 vols.)
This is the first encyclopedia to cover adolescence, broadly defined as ages 10 through 25, throughout the world. Essays, arranged by country, outline the period of adolescence and then cover beliefs, gender, the self, family relationships, friends and peers, love and sexuality, health risk behavior, education, work, media, and politics and military. All essays include a lengthy scholarly bibliography.

Manufacturing & Distribution USA (REF HD9724 .M332 2009)
This is a convenient compilation of data for U.S. manufacturing sectors (defined by NAICS). For each industry there is a list of leading companies (private and public) and data from the Economic Census such as materials consumed, value of product shipments, and industry concentration by state. The number of establishments and total employment in each industry are given in a table that covers twenty years.

Vital Statistics on Congress (REF JK1041 .V58 2008)
The Brookings Institution compiles this handbook of historical data on members of congress, elections, campaign finance, committees, congressional staff, workload, budgeting and voting alignments. They also document election-based trends. Most tables start with the post WWII Congress in 1946.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reference question regarding whether interns' travel expenses are deductible

Yesterday an accounting professor asked for some assistance in finding court cases relating to whether the travel expenses of a summer intern were deductible. (He later said it was for paid internships at a profit making entity and that the student attended school in a different location than the internship, requiring travel.) I searched CCH Tax Research and RIA Checkpoint, Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw Campus.

I learned that there are a lot of facts and issued involved with these cases, including whether the internships are required as part of a course of study, whether the programs are administered by the college/university or are through a private company offering paid employment, what "away from home" means, what being engaged in a "trade or business" means, and that "internships" and "temporary employment" situations differ in their treatment.

I didn't find any case that matched his fact situation, but I found two cases in which students were not successful in deducting expenses for travel to summer jobs:

These can be found at CCH Annotations 2008 Fed 8570.1252

What Is "Away from Home"?: Summertime employment of student

A law student who resided with her husband in Boston and attended law school there was not entitled to deduct the cost of staying in New York while employed at a ten-week summer job. The student's tax home was the city at which she was employed during the summer. (She had been unable to find a summer job in Boston and came to New York for the 10 week summer job.)

S. Hantzis, CA-1, 81-1 USTC ¶9144, 638 F2d 248.

Expenses incurred by an Iowa college student during his summer vacation in traveling to a job in Alaska and living at the job location were not deductible even though the job was temporary. The taxpayer did not travel to the out of state job because of the employer's business needs or interest. (The college student had traveled to Alaska for the construction job and had been told that the company wouldn't pay for his expenses before he went to Alaska.)

P.F. Janss, CA-8, 58-2 USTC ¶9873, 260 F2d 99.

New book on future of reference services

I've just donated to the library a copy of the book, The Desk and Beyond: Next Generation Reference Services, which contains a chapter I wrote called, "The IM Cometh: The Future of Chat Reference." There are chapters on things like:
  • learning commons
  • research consultations
  • outreach reference services (i.e., setting up shop elsewhere on campus)
  • reference in courseware
  • using social network software for reference
  • roving reference
  • wikis and collaborative reference
  • gaming and reference services
  • training

Video about web search basics

A company called CommonCraft has for the past few years been on a streak putting out interesting videos explaining in a really accessible way all sorts of web technologies. The company's latest video explains the basics of web search. While I'm not suggesting that this video is one that we show to students, it is suggestive of ways we might discuss web search.

(Note: the post on the our blog has the video embedded; if you are reading this now in your email, click this link to view the video on the CommonCraft web site).

Web Trend Subway Map

A clever graphic / web designer has created a map of the internet based on Tokyo's subway map. Each train line represents a category (eCommerce, file sharing, games, politics, etc) and each subway station represents a website. The "stations" were placed on "lines" based on common "neighborhoods" that they share. In some cases the meaning of neighborhood names is clear - news, academia, open web, and in other cases they appear to be inside jokes. The more important a site is, the closer it is to the downtown core. I'm not sure what the criteria was for picking which sites made the map as stations - their blog just says "the most popular and influential sites". In any case, this is a fascinating way to visualize the web.

It's available as a click-able web map, a poster sized pdf file (takes awhile to download, but has the most detail), and as image files that are suitable as wallpaper for computer screens. The "Buy Now" button is only for ordering a printed poster copy. The electronic versions are free.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Retailers and Their Stores

Ranking retailers and their competition based on number of stores. This question showed up on chat recently and it turns out to be both surprisingly easy and difficult to answer. Two well know trade journals, Stores and Chain Store Age, publish this data in their annual “Top 100” lists but finding the lists online is not straight forward. Here’s what to do:

Chain Store Age’s “Top 100 Retailers” appears in their August issue and is available through Business Source Premier and ABI. The best search strategy is to search for the word “top” in the title. Subject headings for “Rankings” and “Ratings and Rankings” bring up inconsistent results. Students might also want to read their ranking of “High Performance Retailers” which is published in November.

Stores magazine is not available full text in any of our databases although it is indexed in Business Source. The Stores website offers all their “Top 100 Lists” in PDF for free. Their report on the “Top 100 Retailers” from the July issue also breaks out the top stores in these categories: apparel, department stores, entertainment retailers, large-format retailers, small-format retailers, supermarkets, office supply stores, non-store retailers, home improvement retailers and restaurants. Stores also publishes rankings for the “Hot 100 Retailers” which measures store growth not size, the “Favorite 50” which is a list of top consumer rated e-commerce sites, and the “Top 250 Global Retailers."

The Cost of Financial Intervention

The Congressional Research Service has just released a six page report on The Cost of Government Financial Interventions, Past and Present, that nicely lays out the financial commitments and estimated final costs of our intervention in AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Bear Stearns. The report also summarizes the costs of some past interventions including the cases of the S & L's, U.S. Airlines, Chrysler, New York City, Penn Central and Lockheed.

Reuters at the Reference Desk

Our connection to the Reuters terminal has been restored. Over the last few days the SFSC was upgrading the switches.

Friday, September 19, 2008

About the Financial Crisis

The Jackson blog at the library at Stanford is pointing students to a post about today's financial crisis on the New York Times Freakonomics blog by two of their GBS professors. It is in the form of a "Q and A" that is both comprehensive and clear.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vendor card printer problem

Someone used an old copycard in the vendor printer and left when it didn't work and the card was stuck in the machine. Another library user, trying to use the correct card, was unable to do so until we were able to get the old card out with the pliers.
The library user suggested a sign immediately in front of the vendor card printer slot saying:
Use only a card that looks like this (image of current copy card.)

Earlier this week a student tried using his student id card in the vendor printer machine, and it got stuck, which I heard happens about once a week. I think the student tonight has a good suggestion about a needed sign. Perhaps we could add that such cards are available for purchase in Room 309.

Hello from Anne Esler

I saw Anne Esler yesterday and she says "hello" to everyone. She came down from Dartmouth for the Web 2.0 conference at the Javits Center.

The Merging of Marketing and Sports: A Case Study (Yankees)

I found this article from Business Source Premier.

The citation:
THE MERGING OF MARKETING AND SPORTS: A CASE STUDY. By: Marber, Allen; Wellen, Paul; Posluszny, Susan. Marketing Management Journal, Spring2005, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p162-171, 10p.
The New York Yankees are a perfect example of the merging of marketing and professional sports. But why are the Yankees such a financial and secular success? Why does this team generate more revenue from ticket sales, merchandising, advertising and other sources than any other American sports franchise? Indeed, the Yankees, whether wittingly or unwittingly, appear to be a perfect example of effective marketing management. This paper examines how the Yankees, and their principal owner George Steinbrenner, utilized the 4Ps and, as a result, developed a highly successful global marketing program.

another possible source re Yankees and marketing and new stadium

Today in Washington D.C. the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy is holding a hearing:
Gaming the Tax Code: Public Subsidies, Private Profits and Big League Sports in New York City.

Some news stories have begun to appear about the testimonies that are being given.

I looked at one of the prepared statements and there was some interesting information about ticket prices for the new stadium. (It is provided in the framework of if the public is subsidizing the construction then should prices be lower.) Some of the information being provided by those testifying is from previously private information.

I thought it might be of some interest to those students who have the marketing assignment related to the Yankees. It might serve as an example that information can be found in different types of documents and statements.

Kraft Foods will join Dow Jones Industrial Average next Monday

Kraft Foods will join the stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average with the beginning of trading next Monday, according to an announcement made this morning. It will replace AIG.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yankees and "Sports and Tourism"

Going on the hypothesis that a lot of resources exist about "cultural tourism" therefore a similar word strategy should work for the Yankees I ran a quick search experiment to see if a parallel might work to find information about the Yankees or more broadly other baseball teams or yet wider sports. Sure enough "sports and tourism" in a marketing database such as Business Source Premier led to a number of articles about sports attendance with at least marketing studies mentioned in the article abstract.

This is merely a starting point but possibly a helpful one. The search can be refined with "baseball" or "stadium" or other words or market or business oriented databases.

Re: student assignment re hospital closings and the impact on the quality of patient care

Yesterday I helped a new MBA student who is in the joint program about health care administration. They have an assignment in which she was to find information to support the position that the closure of hospitals does not impact the quality of patient care. (She said she didn't believe this, but it was the position she was assigned.) I showed her how to use Bearcat, which resulted in some articles (I limited the search to health resources and the year 2007 for the example.) She said it didn't matter what type of hospital (other than being in the U.S.) Using NBER, Health Reference, Medline, and ABI inform, we found some articles and studies. Health Reference has the subject heading hospital closures. A number of the articles dealt with the closure of specific types of hospitals--for example public hospitals for the mentally ill. SSRN had some articles about closures of hospitals in other countries.
The student is currently employed as a physician's assistant at a NYC hospital.

Marketing 3520 assignment re NY Yankees

Several students have come to the reference desk seeking demographics of those who attend NY Yankees baseball games. This is rather difficult information to find since the Yankees are privately held. (Perhaps students could try calling the Yankees' information office to see if this information is available. Asking people who attend the last games this weekend at the stadium may not be typical as it is the final series in the stadium.) I could not locate any statistical information about attendees on the Major League baseball website but once again, perhaps a phone call might be helpful.

Although the statistics are from 1998, the NYC Independent Budget Office produced some reports about attendees of games when NYC aid for construction of the new stadium was being considered. This report and others about the Yankees can be found at the IBO's web site and then search "Yankees."

had an article in July 2008 regarding the importance of Hispanic fans to baseball, which includes some information about the NY Yankees.

Hearing from Yankees fans, might also be possible through blogs. The economics of Yankees tickets, has some interesting comments, including that regular Joes have been priced out of the stadium, including many residents of the Bronx. Other comments include that regular families can only afford to attend one game a year.

I found some articles searching Factiva about how the Yankees led in attendance.

If anyone has any other ideas, please contribute.