New Saturday library hours!

March 21, 2007

Students asked for it, faculty asked for it, and now… hooray!  The library is adding new hours for Spring term, every Saturday, 10am-5pm!  These new hours are part of a pilot while the library monitors student needs for weekend hours and the best times to stay open. So, make sure you use your campus library on weekends, tell your friends about it, and give us your input on what you think about our new Saturday hours (use “add a comment” link above)!


College disparities

March 20, 2007

I know it’s not real news to most of us that America’s Ivy League and other elite colleges accept mainly students from affluent families.  Is it the fault of these colleges that they fail to recruit from low-income families and propagate such disparities?  Do rich students, regardless of merit, have privileged access to these expensive institutions to the detriment of more able and deserving students coming from modest or low incomes?  There are stories that Harvard, Duke or other Ivies use preferential criteria in their admissions favoring children of “celebrities, politicians, investment bankers, venture capitalists who have been generous to their alma mater”!  The disparity between rich and poor is widening in colleges and universities as disadvantaged students are hard to find in America’s most advantageous colleges.  On the other hand, there are those that explain the shortage of low-income students among selective colleges by the very fact that very few of them ever try to apply!  In their book Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, William Bowen, Martin Kurzweil, and Eugene Tobin explain that students from low-income families tend early in life to fall behind and get discouraged about the whole college admissions process. 

Where does the truth lie?  For a more detailed discussion on the reasons behind these discouraging trends read Scandals of Higher Education.  The article is based on a series of new book publications on the subject, all of them available for you to request through the Summit catalog!

The Rachel Carson Online Book Club

March 16, 2007

Silent Spring Book CoverI’ve been meaning to read Rachel Carson‘s Silent Spring for a long time; perhaps the Rachel Carson Online Book Club will provide the motivation I need. Over the next nine months, authors, professors, scientists, and other Rachel Carson experts will moderate weekly discussions about Carson’s life and her work. Folks like Linda Lear, a Carson biographer, John Elder, a literature professor at Middlebury College, and Cindy VanDover, a marine biologist will pose questions and participate in discussions. Titles to be discussed include Silent Spring, Lost Woods, and The Edge of the Sea, among other works both by and about Carson.

Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss blogs (and other social software like wikis or MySpace) as low quality or a waste of time. The Rachel Carson Online Book Club is a great reminder of the amazing things the read/write web makes possible.

Books in our library written by Carson
Books in our library written about Carson

Too much to handle…

March 14, 2007

Living in a whirlpool of data? Experiencing information anxiety? Well, the main reason may not be finals week…. The International Data Corporation issued a recent report according to which, “The world generated 161 billion gigabytes — 161 exabytes — of digital information last year,” and that’s way too much to store for future access! The article More Digital Data Than Space raises some good questions about our ability as well as responsibility to preserve this mass of information for future access and use. Check out the article!

Delectable news!

March 9, 2007

Death by ChocolateYou’ve probably heard the news!  COCC will receive a $1 million donation for its expanding culinary program.  While this is quite exciting for those with a career mind towards becoming an expert chef, those of us aspiring to be just amateurs may find the Campus Library collection a good starting point. Come and browse our books in the TX 700’s area to discover the food and drinking of different countries around the world through their cuisines, recipes, and culinary traditions! And if you are a true chocoholic, here is one of those titles that may catch your eye: Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion. So, be the first to check it out and treat your friends or family with one of the sumptuous desserts found in this cookbook!

Try these fabulous trial databases!

March 6, 2007

It’s that time of the term…you’re starting to pay attention to those research paper deadlines.  If you haven’t yet started that paper, you’re in luck! The Campus Library is experimenting with several databases offering viewpoints and perspectives (backed up with facts and basic scholarship) on a huge number of topics.   We’re just trying these out (we’ll have access to them ‘till about mid-March or so) and will probably end up subscribing to one of them.   

These trials are for COCC/OSU-Cascades folks…take a look (and get a jump-start on your research) then get back to ConXn and let us know what you think.  Oh, and nope, these nifty databases won’t write that paper for you, but they can give you that basic information you need to get started. 

Oh…here’s another thing…after you retrieve the basic facts you’re going to go to our Campus Library webpage and follow up by searching online catalogs (to retrieve books on your topic) and periodical databases (articles), right?

OK, so first try Opposing Viewpoints Database.    Your user name is: career (case sensitive).  Your password is: standards (case sensitive). Look for the “curriculum” link in the left hand frame…then scroll down a bit to find the link to “Opposing Viewpoints”. 

Opposing Viewpoints includes articles from over 450 social issues print volumes, statistics and government information from the “Information Plus” series, background and contextual information from reference books such as “Bioethics for Students” and “Civil Rights in the United States”.   Opposing Viewpoints also includes articles from the New York Times and over 2000 links to related websites. 

Next, try Points of View Reference Center.  (This trial is available from the COCC campus only).  Point of View is a full-text database designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue.  The database provides 200 topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point (affirmative argument) and counterpoint (opposing argument). 

So, which database do you like best…get back to us and let us know!  

Too many blogs, too little time?

March 5, 2007

Thanks for coming to check out ConXn, the Campus Library’s new blog!

Great, you’re probably thinking…I like to keep up with what’s happening on campus, but this is one more thing to remember to read….

Enter the feed reader!

A feed reader (also sometimes called an aggregator) is a program that allows you to read all the blogs you like in one convenient place. Maybe you already have some blogs you like to read, blogs like InsideHigherEd, The Chronicle’s Wired Campus Blog, or even the Freakonomics Blog. With a feed reader, rather than checking each blog to see if new information has been posted you can check a single website and see which of your favorite blogs have been updated since the last time you logged in. You can save favorite posts as well as email them to someone else.

Most blogs use something called “RSS” (generally said to stand for “really simple syndication”) to make the content of the blog available in other places. Feed readers are programs designed to automatically check the RSS feeds of blogs you select to see if there’s anything new available. If there is, the feed reader allows you to read the new content right from the reader–no need to check multiple websites.

In addition to blog feeds, you may be able to read the tables of contents for your favorite journals or even find out when new, relevant articles are added to your favorite databases–rss feeds are popping up everywhere!

Wondering how to get started? First you’ll need to sign up for a (free) feed reader subscription. There are plenty of options out there, but here are a few suggestions. I use Bloglines, a free web-based feed reader, with no complaints. Google is in the game with the Google Reader, and NewsGator offers another popular reader.

Once you have your reader set up, you’ll need to add some feeds! Of course you’ll want to start with ConXn–you’ll find the link to our feed to the right.Feedreader

Once you start looking for feeds, you’ll notice them everywhere–often you’ll see the little orange icon shown here, but sometimes you’ll just see a link to “feeds” or even “atom” (a form of rss feed). Whatever it’s called, it will make your online life a little easier!