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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Follow-up on Private Equity

Students (or librarians) wanting to know more about the key sources for research in private equity and venture capital should consult the guide to the Venture Capital and Private Equity Industry from the Baker Library at Harvard Business School.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Directories of private equity firms

I thought I'd share two sources for a question I hadn't gotten before. A patron asked for a directory of private equity firms and angel investors. With Louise's help, we identified two print sources that would work for this:
I tried D&B $Million Database, but found that the relevant SIC and NAICS codes weren't finely grained enough to search for just private equity companies.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Laptops for Faculty

I've updated the wiki page on laptops to reflect the fact that faculty can now borrow laptops from us. Details of the policy can also be found on that page.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Using the Reuters Terminal at Reference

This is a reminder that any use of the Reuters terminal at the reference desk is subject to the same rules that apply in the Subotnick Center. Most importantly, students may not save data to a USB device or print from the terminal. Data should be saved to the desktop and e-mailed to their address.

These rules are clearly stated on the two notice boards posted next to our terminal. The current group of students with the class assignment is one of the BUS1000 classes that uses the Subotnick Center as their classroom and they should be aware of the rules.

The Information Commons at the U of Kentucky

The undergraduate library at the University of Kentucky has posted a promotional video about their information commons. I heard Stacey Greenwell speak about designing what they call The Hub at SLA.

The video uses students to tell the story. Some things you might note are the reference desk signs that say "Help Help Help," the reference station on wheels, and the movable white boards.

The United Airlines Story and Information Literacy

Amy Fry posted a great piece on the ACRLog this morning about the implications of the UAL incident for information literacy(See my post from yesterday for details). She calls it "Information is Power - Even When It's Wrong."

She makes four points:

Proper metadata is important

There is no substitute for critical thinking about sources

Sometimes aggregators are misleading

Google is more powerful than even we realized.

Westlaw Campus Research back on

It's working again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Various Gale databases not working

Currently Gale Virtual Reference, Literature Resource Center, and MLA are giving error messages. This is a problem on Gale's end that their engineers are trying to fix.

Check Your Sources

An article in yesterday’s New York Times, “A Mistaken News Report Hurts United,” makes the case for always checking your sources and would be a perfect story to use when teaching business students. The stock of United Airlines fell from $12 to $3 dollars in less than an hour and trading in the stock had to be halted. How did it happen? An analyst in a research firm found an article about United saying they would file for bankruptcy and put it in his investment advisory where it was linked to by Bloomberg News. He found the article in a search on Google for bankruptcy filings in 2008. What he did not note was that the article was six years old. A follow-up story in today’s Wall Street Journal, “UAL Story Blame is Placed on Computer,” puts the blame on search robots. First the Sun-Sentinel featured the story as one of its most popular for the day and then Google’s bot picked it up and featured it on Google News, and finally, automated trading programs picked up the headline and started selling.

AP Images

Our subscription to AP Images has been canceled and I am removing it from the list of databases.

Gale Virtual Reference unavailable

Gale is looking into the problem.

Problems with CUNY Plus

This is the latest update from systems:

CUNY+ has come back, but browse is not working properly in the local catalogs - it is investigated and you'll be updated when it's restored.

Browse works OK in the Union Catalog (all CUNY libraries), and keyword works OK in the local catalogs.

CUNY Network Problems

CUNY CIS sent this notice out at 8:25 AM this morning:

CUNY CIS is currently experiencing some networking problems. Some application such us the CUNY Portal Login, Sharepoint, Stellent, Track-It, etc. may be inaccessible. Our administrators are working diligently to resolve the problem.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Westlaw Campus Research

We cannot connect at the moment. West is investigating.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Now that's advertising!

The statewide chat reference service QandANJ aired a 30-second spot in NJ markets last night during the MTV Video Music Awards. Here's the ad:

(link to video)

This is actually the 2nd year that QandANJ has done this. Here's last year's ad:

(link to previous year's video)

FYI: QandANJ is part of the QuestionPoint chat reference cooperative.

Gale Virtual Reference unavailable

Gale Virtual Reference is not working. Gale is aware of this and working to solve the problem.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Additional alternatives to Investext investment reports

Other sources of analyst reports are:

IS Emerging Markets has analyst reports, including some Thomson Investext reports. Because this database focuses on the "emerging markets" this might be most helpful for those doing international research. A few years ago, a professor was impressed with the reports available from India on Indian companies.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage..The Interactive Stock reports offer independent research by S&P analysts. The interactive choice lets you study the stock "like an analyst." The Stock Picks and Pans provides very short reactions by analysts to the news/events of the day.

Morningstar and ValueLine also have analyst reports. These may provide some help for students, although they are not the same caliber as investment reports from investment banks. Probably most helpful to beginning researchers.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Alternatives to Investext

We have access to two databases with investement reports that can be used instead of Investext. The best option is Thomson One Analytics since it has the most complete coverage including fixed income, equities,economic and country reports. It covers U.S. and international securities. All the "bulge bracket" banks are contributors including Goldman, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. And since Thomson One is a "real time" platform, reports are added daily without a long embargo. The drawback for our students is that Thomson One is not available from off campus. Students can use the database in the Subotnick Center or at the Reuters terminal at the reference desk. Students can not print from these terminals but must e-mail the reports to themselves.

Another alternative to Investext is the investement reports in Business and Company Resource Center. They come from Reuters Research on Demand. But none of the "name" banks are contributors; rather the reports are from boutique firms that focus on earnings forecasts, technical analysis and various investment strategies. (For more detail on the contributors, see my blog post of July 29th). Reports in BCRC are only available on companies, not on industries.


In the breakup between Gale and Thomson, Gale lost Investext. At this point our subscription has run out and I have removed it from our database list. It would be great if people could post here alternative sources for that information so we all can get a refresher.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Naxos: New interface coming

Naxos will be upgrading to a the new Naxos Music Library 2.0 between Tuesday, September 9th through Friday, September 12th, from 10:00 P.M. to 12:00 AM, each evening. The database might be unavailable at that time.

Researching Foreign Companies

I've had several students taking BPL5100 contact me wanting to know if it's a good idea to do their presentation on a foreign company. If you are helping a student with this question, they need to do some research to answer these questions:

1. Is it a public company and where is it listed?
2. Does it have a website with financial filings and other "Investor Relations" data?
3. Is it big enough to be covered by the U.S. business media and investment research firms?
4. Are its operations global?

If you can answer yes to all these questions, there is a good chance that there will be enough authoritative information that is current and in English to complete the assignment.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Students Discuss the Wikipedia

The 15 minute video from Prof. Bornstein's LIB 3040 class is now available in the Digital Media Library. It is described as "Excerpts of a class discussion on Wikipedia.Questions include: "What is Wikipedia?," "What is the controversy over Wikipedia?'" and "What is the policy for the use of Wikipedia when doing research and writing term papers?"

Better wording for "Title Request" in CUNY+

Eric Neubacher will be going to the CUNY committee next Tuesday that meets to discuss the catalog interface. At a recent IS meeting, it was proposed that we let Eric know of our recommendation for better wording for the "Title Request" link that lets users have books shipped from one CUNY library to another:

Title Request in CUNY+

If anyone would like to suggest some better wording, please add a comment to this blog post by Monday (Sept. 8).

Anchorage Daily News's stories re Sarah Palin

The Anchorage Daily News announced this morning that all their stories on Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain choice for his running mate, are now available on the paper's website. This is the largest daily newspaper in Alaska.

Printing Guest Logins at Reference Desk

Use IE to print out guest logins at the Reference Desk. For some reason guest accounts sent to the printer from Mozilla come out as gobbledegook.

Google Chrome and ebrary

Yesterday, I installed on my PC at home the brand new browser from Google: Chrome. I was amazed by how much faster it is than any other browser I've ever used; it's a noticeable difference. It's Windows-only software, for now, but Google promises that it will work on Macs, Linux, etc. in the near future.

For what it's worth, just want to note here that I was able to use Chrome to log in remotely to Factiva using Chrome and that I was able to pose as a patron in the QuestionPoint chat software. When I tried to read an e-book in ebrary, Chrome had some real issues. I was able to load pages and move through the book, but the screen flickered in portion of the page that offers a clickable table of contents. It may be worth trying out other databases in Chrome to see if there are any compatibility issues we should be aware of.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

IRS Code and Treasury Regs

Students in TAX9878 have specific citations and need to find those sections of the IRS Code and Treasury Regulations. In CCH Tax Research, you will find the Current Internal Revenue Code and Federal Tax Regulations (in the grouping of Primary Sources). Choose one and then click on "Find by Citation" under the search box.

Problem: Students using id cards in photocopy machines

During the past weekend three students tried to use their Baruch ID cards in the photocopy machines, which resulted in no copies and the need to use tweezers to get the cards out of the machine. I would like to suggest that the notice on the machines be changed to make references to the need for a photocopy card (showing the card that can be purchased in Room 309) and that Baruch ID cards are not to be used. For new students, the reference to not using the old photocopy card holds no meaning.