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