The Power of the Human Spirit

May 29, 2008

Short notice, but a great event:
Benjamin Ajak, co-author of They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky
Monday, June 2nd, 6:30 p.m.
Pinckney Center for the Performing Arts

This school year, some high school students read a book. It was They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky the true story of Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak. When just boys (all three were not yet eight years old), their villages were destroyed and they were torn from their families. They became three of thousands of “lost boys” whose “journey would take them over one thousand miles across a war-ravaged country, through landmine-sown paths, crocodile-infested waters, and grotesque extremes of hunger, thirst, and disease.” More than half of these lost boys died. This book is the story of three who managed to survive.

The students from Denise Silfee’s COIC high school class were so deeply moved by the book that they decided to take some action. Specifically, they worked to bring one of the authors here to Bend, to share his story, raise awareness and hopefully inspire faith in the strength of the human spirit.

COCC is sponsoring the event which will be at 6:30, Monday, June 2nd at the Pinckney Auditorium here on campus. The library has ordered extra copies of the book, so come on in and pick one up if you want to read the story yourself. We also have some videos you can check out. For more background, check out some of these sites (all found at

Lost Boys of Sudan, official IRC website.
Lost Boys from the Red Cross.
Photojournalist’s Account – Images of Sudan’s displaced
God Grew Tired of Us – Excerpts from a documentary about the Lost Boys
Lost Boys Program Fresh Ministries’
Sudan Emancipation & Preservation Network (SEPNet)
Alliance For The Lost Boys
Sudanese Lost Boys Association of Australia
“Do Not Forget The Lost Girls of Sudan”, Refugees International, February 11, 2002.
Gabriel’s Dream A charity dedicated to securing education and dental care for the lost boys.
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky Official book site
Hope for Ariang, “Lost Boy” Gabriel Bol Deng’s project to build a primary school in the Bhar El Ghazal region
Lost Boys of Sudan, documentary film

New and exciting ‘Call to Artists’ at Rotunda Gallery

May 27, 2008
Rotunda Gallery at COCC’s Barber Library sends out a challenging call to local and regional artists in Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho for – The Artful Beauty of Science – an Art Exhibition honoring the COCC Science and Allied Health Departments.   In this unique call to artists, they are being asked to interpret scientific images & concepts in the genre’s of biology, botany, geology, anatomy & physiology, microbiology, chemistry, physics, oceanography and astronomy. Open to all artists with original work created within the last five years. Oil, watercolor, acrylic or pastel paintings; pencil, graphite, charcoal or ink drawings; macro-photography, limited digital imagery; glass; printmaking; lithograph; mixed media collage; fiber arts; ceramics; sculpture in wood, metal, stone or bronze are all accepted mediums.  Jurors are David Kinker & Marlene Alexander. One ‘Best of Show’ piece will be chosen for the Exhibition Poster. No fees. The submission deadline is Friday, July 25, 2008.  For Prospectus & Submission Form go to:  Contact: Cheri Lee 541-383-7515,

A Movement to Make Textbooks Affordable

May 22, 2008

Not surprisingly, more than a few students have noticed the exorbitant cost of textbooks lately. In fact both the Student Public Interest Research Group (SPIRG) and the U.S. Department of Education backed studies on the issue (see SPIRG’s Exposing the Textbook Industry or Department of Ed’s Affordability of College Textbooks). Both studies found that the average student spends about $900 a year on books, that prices have been increasing at rates that greatly surpass rates of inflation and that the textbook industry has contributed to the problem. Students have been saddled with these expenses for years, but many have decided they’re not going to keep meekly shelling out their money without taking some steps towards change.

Check out SPIRG’s Campaign to Make Textbooks Affordable. Here you will find tons of information, specific steps you can take to improve the situation, and maybe most urgently, the article Five Ways to Save on Textbooks Now, Three Ways to Lower Prices Long Term. Among the useful tips, you will find a link to the non-profit student-to-student site Campus Book Swap which does have some active COCC listings, but could only benefit from more COCC students registering to buy and sell their books directly to each other.

Before you sell those books, check out some of these ideas to see if you can do your part to make textbooks more affordable, not just for you, but for all those students out there struggling to afford their education.

the next step…

May 20, 2008

So, in my recent May 6 post,  I showed you how to look for and request books on a topic of interest using Summit.  Now, let’s work together to see how you can find articles!  

Academic Search Premier is one of the main databases students use to find articles in journals and magazines.  As a matter of fact, students seem to really like this database because of the simplicity of its interface and its ability to retrieve full-text articles (full-text means that you can retrieve the text of the article right on your screen)!

Here is how you may get to this database on or off-campus:

–          Start with the COCC Barber library web page.

–          Under “Articles & More: Databases,” select  All Databases and hit Go.

–          Academic Search Premier is listed first.  Go ahead and click on it!

–          After you press on Continue, you enter the database and you are ready to search!

Now notice that a search using the phrase “birth order,” similar to the one I described on May 6, will give you more than a thousand of results!  You see, compared to books, articles tend to focus much more on very specific topics.  As a consequence, a broad topic such as birth order tends to produce hundreds and hundreds of results on any possible issue that may relate to the subject area.  That’s why it’s always a good idea to start thinking of ways you may need to narrow down when your database search gives you way too many results.

For example, here are some searches you may try on the topic of birth order: 

birth order and intelligence

birth order and first born child*

birth order and psycholog*

Did you notice the * symbol in these last two searches?  Well, this is a clever way to tell the database that you want it to search for all possible endings of a word (child, children; psychology, psychological, etc, etc)!  Also, the “and” between your words tells the database to look for ALL of these words simutaneously.

Next, in the list of your results, you get article citations with the indication HTML Full Text or PDF Full Text.  This indication means that you are able to retrieve the article right on your computer screen!  Isn’t this cool? Hooray!  No need to take a trip to the library! If an article is NOT available full-text through the Academic Search Premier database, you will see the link Request this item through interlibrary loan, which you may use so that we can get this article for you from another library (this is called “interlibrary loan,” a completely free and wonderful service!). 

Try a few other searches yourself!  What do you think?  Aren’t students right when they say they love Ebsco’s Academic Search Premier?

Word Cafe 15 – Last One of the Season!

May 19, 2008

Students—Strut Your Sentences!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
COCC Library, Second Floor Reading Room

For Students Only! COCC and OSU-Cascades students take center stage for this season ending finale of the Word Café. From slam to sestina, fiction to non—Come show what your sentences are made of!

Audience members welcome too. Enjoy light refreshments during this free evening and give readers a round of applause.

For more information contact 541.330.4381 or email

what’s up?

May 13, 2008

Librarian: Hello there! I notice you seem confused and lost.  Can I help?

Student:  Yeah, I am lost.  What happened to all the shelves in the reference section?

Librarian:  We’re moving them around and eliminating some of them in order to make more room for computer stations, large tables, and group study areas.

Student:  But this is supposed to be a library!  Where are all the books, microfilm, and other materials going?

Librarian:  We will still have all those things available.  But we have noticed that more students are coming to the library to get work done either alone or with others– not just to look things up.

Well, that’s how it goes with some of the conversations we are recently having at the reference desk…  Despite the noise on some days, no, this not exactly a construction project for our Barber library!  We are simply trying to find new ways to make our library space more usable and inviting to you, students, by rearranging our stacks, collections, and computer workstations!  Have any ideas to give us?  Are there needs you want us to address in our space rearrangements?  If so, please don’t hesitate to email your suggestions to!  Will be looking for your feedback!

BFA Art Show Opening Reception-May 15th Rotunda Gallery

May 9, 2008

The public is welcome to attend the Oregon State University (Cascade Campus) Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition.  The Painters involved in the BFA Exhibition are: Logan Gomez, Jonathan Ludwig, Nikki Hoke, Matt Templeton, Barbara Walsh, and Christy Carkhuff.  Their work will be in both oil and acrylics, ranging from Abstract to Realistic. The exhibition runs from May 12th through June 19th at the Barber Library, COCC Campus.

The opening reception will be in the Rotunda Gallery on Thursday, May 15th from 4:30 to 6:00 pm with catering provided by the Art Club.   


taking a step at a time…

May 6, 2008

Looking for that perfect topic for your college project?  Well, this first step of your research assignment may not always be as easy as so many students, even instructors, may want to think… So, why not turn to the news for some help?

MSNBC just got a news story about a recent study confirming what most of us have always suspected: “The oldest kid in the family really does bear the brunt of parental strictness, while the younger brothers and sisters generally coast on through.” According to the research findings, the first born is more likely to be the rule-abiding and responsible offspring while younger siblings have a higher tendency to take more risks and get into trouble!

Now, this can be a great research topic for you students out there, especially if you come from or raising families with siblings! Finding something engaging and of personal interest to complete your writing or speech assignment is the first ingredient to a successful project! And since this piece of news certainly caught my attention (I am the youngest of two siblings, plus I am raising two boys with distinct personalities…), I decided to do a quick search on the topic using Summit, one of my favorite tools to use when looking for books! To do my search I used the expression “birth order,” which gave me a list of great titles to pick from. And remember, in Summit these are books (and videos, too) that you can request from other libraries and pick up from the COCC library within 2-3 working days! If you haven’t used Summit before, it’s easy to find the link on the COCC Barber library homepage, under “Books & More: Library Catalogs.”

So, now you got the first two steps of your research project done (topic selection and use of Summit)!  To be continued….

If you’re only searching Google, what are you missing?

May 1, 2008

Maybe a lot. Check out searchCrystal to find out. SearchCrystal is

“a search visualization tool that enables you to compare, remix and share results from the best web, image, video, blog, tagging, news engines, Flickr images or RSS feeds.”

So what does that mean? Basically, you go to the site, enter your search terms, pick your type of search (web, images, video, news, blogs) and hit search. SearchCrystal then searches five search engines – Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Exalead, and MSN – and gives you a visual, color-coded representation of your results. You see hits unique to each search engine and you see which hits that more than one search engine found. If you don’t like the “cluster” view, you switch to a bull’s eye or list view.

It takes a bit to catch on to all the symbols, but once you do, you will quickly be amazed to see how much you’ve been missing if you’ve been using just one search engine.