Friday, February 27, 2009

Wiki Now Requires New Login Procedure

Today, you may see in your Baruch email inbox a message with a subject line like this: has invited you to join their wiki, newmanlibrary
Please save this very important email. As of this morning, you will now have to login to the reference wiki in a new way. The URL for the wiki remain the same but the login procedures will change. You will now be able to login using your email address and a password of your own choosing (the shared password we had long been using will no longer work).

To get started, follow these steps:
  • Go to the email you received from
  • Click the “log in here” link in the body of that email
  • You’ll be taken to a special page in where you will type in your email address and create a personalized password.
Once you’ve done (1) – (3), you’ll be able to log in to the wiki using your email address and personal password, which is as always at this address:

If you have any problems, please let me know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mini-Workshops at the Reference Desk

I'd like to share Jerry Bornstein's quick summary of the two mini-workshops he did at the reference desk yesterday:
The IS Division is continuing to experiment with mini-workshops, which present in abbreviated format the curriculum normally included in our full-length, 75-minute workshops. Minis usually run 12-15 minutes. Tuesday, Feb. 24, we presented two sessions titled, "The Heck with Google: Find Information on the Web without a Search Engine." With regard to learning goals for the session, it was planned that after attending this session, students would be able to:
  • Formulate effective search statements in search engines using:
    • Boolean operators (AND in google by default)
    • Phrase searching (use of quotes around phrases)
    • Field searching (intitle)
  • Directly access most likely information producer sites without using a search engine
Twenty students attended the 12:45 session; 8 attended at 1:15.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Changing login procedures for reference wiki

The PBwiki software that we've been using to host our reference wiki is being upgraded on March 9. Prior to that upgrade, the way we all log in to the wiki will change. Instead of having a shared password, we'll each create a PBwiki account. Once you set have set up the account, you'll need to click a link on the login page (just once) to request permission from the wiki administrator (that's me) to have access to the wiki. Once approved, your PBwiki account will allow you to login and edit or view pages as before. One nice aspect of this new login system is that you will no longer have to remember the shared password but instead one that is more meaningful to you (i.e., you get to pick your own password when you set up your PBwiki account).

In the next few days, I'll change the settings so that we'll be using the new login system. As soon as I do, I'll notify everyone again here via the blog. If you have questions or problems, let me know.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Announcing: LACUNY Scholarship and Awards

LACUNY is calling for applicants for the Library School Scholarship. One Scholarship grant of $500.00 and one year LACUNY Membership will be awarded annually to one student registered in an accredited MLS Program, currently doing a part-time job or internship in a CUNY Library. Proposals will consist of three parts: personal data, essay, and transcripts. Essays will be reviewed by the Scholarship Panel (four members) appointed by LACUNY’s Executive Council.

Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2009

Award Announced: June Membership Meeting

The three-part proposal consists of the following:

Page 1: Cover Letter with the following information:

Name – Home address – Telephone number – E-mail address
CUNY College Work/ Internship - Address and phone number – Title – Years at CUNY
Library School – Number of credits completed in MLS program

Page 2: Essay

One-page essay on how the applicant’s present position and their MLS will give them a unique perspective on their chosen profession.

Page 3: Transcripts

Copy of most recent accredited library school transcript

Proposals must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than March 15, 2009 and addressed to ONE of the Co-Chairs of the Scholarship Committee:

Maria Isabel Fernandes
Assistant Professor
Faculty Outreach Librarian
Kurt R. Schmeller Library
Queensborough Community College
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, N.Y. 11364-1497


Danielle Becker
Assistant Professor
Web Librarian
Hunter College Libraries
Hunter College
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Long's hours in the library

Long, Kin's colleague, will assist the Reference Desk with technical support, on the following days:

Mon. 12:30-2:30pm
Tues. 12:30-3:30pm
Thur. 12:30-3:30pm
Fri. 11:30-3:30pm
Sat. 12:30-5:30pm

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wireless woes today

Tam told me that the wireless network is having trouble right now. Although laptops can pick up a signal from our wireless network, they can't actually then connect to the internet. Our systems staff is working on this issue at the moment.

Recession or Depression?

A student recently sent our Ask a Librarian service a question about how to compare the current credit crisis to the Great Depression. There are so many ways to research this question and I suspect lots of resources that a student could use. Two things that I have found are:

The Conference Board in January published a 7 page report, A Crisis of Confidence, that examines data from their Coincident Economic Index (CEI), a measure of business cycles, to ask “Are we in a recession or a depression?” This report can be downloaded from the Conference Board Research Database.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has A Great Depression web site for educators. What’s especially interesting in the guide is their links to Historical Documents that include the annual reports of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board between 1933 and 1951 whose job it was to “facilitate refinancing of homes to stem the tide of mortgage foreclosures, to make mortgage loans more affordable, and to provide supervisory and regulatory oversight for thrift institutions.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New NBER paper re commercial real estate

Newly added to the NBER database is the paper Understanding Commercial Real Estate: Just How Different from Housing is It? authored by Joseph Gyourko.

Printing Problem with Westlaw

We had a problem printing a case from Westlaw today. Clicking on the print icon only resets the page, it does not format it to print. The student was then not able to send it to the student printer.
I am contacting Mike W. about this.

Until then, students can email the case to themselves.

UPDATE: This problem is related to Pop-ups. When you first connect to Westlaw, you need to allow pop-ups. In IE, you need to choose "Always allow pop-ups" to print. In Firefox, you actually need to edit the pop-up window. You need to add/type in "" The instructions are on the connection page. However, are students allow to do this on the student computers?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Be Able to Talk About the Credit Crisis

When Rita mentioned today that the Starr Career Center is advising students that they should be prepared to talk about the credit crisis during job and internship interviews, I wanted to mention a video lecture I listened to this weekend. Alan Blinder of Princeton talks for about 90 minutes on "The Origins of the Financial Mess." Any student wanting to understand the issues, the causes, and the players would find it useful. You can find the video in the collection of lectures on Academic Earth, a new platform for video lectures from top universities and think tanks. Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT are participating universities.

Zoom In/Out on Webpages with Firefox

If you are using Firefox, you can easily zoom in or out on webpages to increase/decrease text and/or images by using Ctrl + or Ctrl -. To reset it back to the normal size, use Ctrl 0 (that is a zero). If using the menus, choose View, Zoom, and then Zoom In, Zoom Out, or Reset.

  • This is most helpful when demonstrating a library database during course sessions to a large classroom or for those with visual impairments.
  • You can change options for only the text to enlarge/decrease, in case you don't want images to increase & decrease. (Choose View, Zoom, and then Zoom Text Only)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources offers free case studies, industry, business and country overviews

MIT Sloan Teaching Innovation Resources last week started offering for free some case studies, course syllabi, and industry, business and country overviews through their Open CourseWare site. Sustainability, industry evolution and global entrepreneurship are covered.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I've cut and paste the following description of a problem logged over a year ago because a student came to me today with the same problem. I've left her e-mail address in the pen drawer next to the south ref. computer, with a note "westlaw problem" so that someone is able to get back to her. (Obviously, the problem is off-campus access)

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

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Faculty Laptop Loan

Faculty who are interested in borrowing a laptop can request one at the Circulation Desk. There are five laptops available. The loan period is a maximum of seven days. (They no longer make arrangements with library systems.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Welcome our LIS Intern

Danielle McGurran who will be our reference intern this semester started her internship this week. She is in her last semester at Queens College Graduate School of Library & Information Studies. Her BA is in Media Studies from Fordham and she worked for several years in positions including research editor and art production manager for various consumer magazines. Danielle will be here at Baruch on Mondays and Thursdays.

Tech Support at Reference

Kin is back and will be working with us on tech support this semester on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 to 7:30 PM and on Monday and Wednesday from 10 AM to 2:30 PM

Graphing calculators are all borrowed now

Ester Ramos says that all the calculators are now loaned out for the semester. If a student wants to be on a waiting list (in case any calculators are returned early), circulation will take the student's email address.

Student with purchased ebook (textbook) on own laptop and inability to print in library

Monday I helped a student at the reference desk who had purchased and downloaded on his own laptop the ebook version of the textbook Small Business Management for an entrepreneurship class. He wanted to print some pages from it, while here in the library, which he was uable to do. Due to the restrictions on downloading the book, he could not send the pages he wanted to print to his email and print using the student printing account. This was the first time I had encountered a student using an ebook textbook for a class. We do have a print copy of the book on reserve but the student did not want to pay for photocopying what he thought he would be able to print (from his laptop.)

The student told me that he purchased the ebook from ichapters. I checked and the hard copy price is $149.99 from the publisher, which offers an ebook version for $88.49, which ichapters does also.

With a $60 price difference, I imagine that in the future more students will have ebooks as their textbooks. Perhaps the ability to print might vary with the restrictions for each ebook. Perhaps this is an issue that might be considered from both technical and student use aspects, as well as the cost of the textbooks.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Textbook Rentals

While helping a student find a web site for used textbooks I discovered a site where students can rent textbooks for a semester. According to the site, students can save 65-85% off the list price. It's still not cheap, but can save students a lot of money for books they'll only need for one course. They have a chat service on the site as well.

Here's an example from their FAQ:
With Chegg there are no monthly subscription fees or hidden charges. Each textbook has a specific rental fee, which is dependent on the ISBN. Shipping fees are dependent on the shipment method chosen. The average rental price on Chegg is 60% lower than the list price!

Biology (7th Edition) is listed at $158.67. Rent it on Chegg for $71.40 - 56% savings!
Calculus (5th Edition) is listed at $180.95. Rent it on Chegg for $62.09 - 66% savings!

Monday, February 02, 2009 for special events in NY during 2009

The year 2009 notes the 400th anniversary of the voyages of Henry Hudson, who led (for the Dutch) the first European expedition to sail up the river that now bears his name, and that of the Frenchman Samuel de Champlain, the first to gaze upon the waters of the namesake lake. To celebrate these simultaneous Quadricentennials – as well as the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s maiden journey up the Hudson River on the first successful steamboat, the there are many events, as well as resources, posted on the web at

A replica of Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon, and information about the New Netherland Museum is available at (I volunteered to led tours on the Half Moon once last year and it is a very interesting ship to visit. It sometimes docks in New York City.)