Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sage Journals

Free Online Access to All Sage Journals Until October 18th, 2006

Sage Publications is trying to entice us to subscribe to more of their journals directly from them. We already subscribe to a very large number. Some we get directly from them, others through other vendors like Wilson Web or EBSCOhost. But, hey, why not take advantage of their offer by reading as many articles as possible between now and October 18th.

Go to their website and browse through their journals. If there is a journal you think we can't live without, please let me know. (You might want to check our catalog first. We really do subscribe to a large percentage of their journals.) You may discover hidden journals we have that few people use! One of my goals is to get folks to use our resources. If books lie around on shelves or e-journals float in the ether, the University is tossing your tuition and tax money away.


Download Citations Even from Google Scholar!

I tell you, some days libraries, the Internet, computers, software, and research just gets so exciting, I don't know how we can manage not to smile from ear to ear every minute. (Oh. Right. We read what the research says. Oops.)

Anyway, the library subscribes to RefWorks, citation management software that is online. Faculty, staff, and students can use it to keep records of books, journals articles, webpages, videos/DVDs, and just about anything else we use for research. Because the records are online, you don't need to worry about your harddrive getting corrupted, your laptop being stolen, or your card file catching on fire.

RefWorks has tutorials to help you set up your work. You can use RefWorks to organize your reading (and writing) in different folders, print out Works Cited pages in hundreds of bibliographic styles, and download searches directly from databases. It's downright amazing.

And now, you can download searches, or at least individual citations, directly from Google Scholar. Keffer Library at the University of St. Thomas has a very nice tutorial that shows you how to set your preferences in Google Scholar so you can download to RefWorks. (You can also download into other Citation Management software like EndNotes or ProCite, if you use those.)

By the way, Google Scholar searches scholarly journals and links directly to full text articles. It's quite nice. One drawback...We don't know which journals it searches. It does NOT search ALL of our journals. And many of the journals it searches we do NOT subscribe to. But we do have SFX linking, so you can see which we subscribe to electronically and which we have print subscriptions to. Use it. You'll like it!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oxford African American Studies Center

Online Reference Books, Primary Sources, Biographies, Essays, and Special Features

I'm thrilled to announce that the UF Libraries now have access to the Oxford African American Studies Center, an online multidiscliplinary reference database edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University.

Wander through the database. You can find biographies, primary sources, information about music and art, life and culture, history, business, just about anything. It's especially good for finding topics for papers and getting started with good background information for papers and presentations.

For example, browsing through the maps, I found a map of "Post-War Black Schools," along with a description of the Freedman's Bureau and its relationship to education. A list of related links (within the database) would led me to the following articles
Navigation is easy and fluid. A timeline guides the user through all aspects of the African Diaspora at once or specific aspects of it, including links to articles in the database. You can highlight any word or phrase in an article, click on "Look it up" at the top of the page. The phrase will move into the search box and it will be automatically searched.

Under "Links" on the black stripe at the top of the page, are excellent links to websites on other topics: dance in Africa and the African Diaspora, Black women writers, the Greensboro sit-ins, African Americans in the military, among others.

You can print out or email articles to yourself.

As usual, let me know what you think about this database -- positive and negative. If you're having problems finding something you feel must be in it, but is elusive, we might be able to find it together. There's another similar (but even more exciting) database in our near future. So keep your eyes here!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mental Measurements Yearbook & AgeLine

Mental Measurements Yearbook is Now Readable!

Mental Measurements Yearbook? Readable? What?

The Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) is a database of reviews of published psychological tests, inventories, measurements, and assessment tools (okay, those are all the same things). The record not only includes the review, but also the contact information, price, institutional support, development background, and theoretical background for the test.

Sounds great. Right? It's extremely helpful for students and faculty in several fields, including Psychology, Linguisitics, CSD, and Education. Not only can you find the Beck Depression Inventory, but also foreign language tests.

However, for the last few years the UF Library has subscribed to MMY through OVID, whose search interface is difficult to use. Worse yet, the full-text result had no paragraph breaks, so that a review on a test for proficiency in Hausa looked like this:

But, now, we're subscribing through EBSCO! The same article looks like this! With paragraph breaks! And everything!

Isn't that the greatest! It lessens the probabilities that I'll get a migraine trying to figure out what's going on! (To see the articles in detail, just click on them and the scans will open in their own windows.)

We've also started a new subscription to AgeLine through EBSCO now, rather than through SilverPlatter. This should also be easier to use. Please let me know if you need some guidance with either database.

Monday, September 18, 2006

e-Journal Articles

Finding e-Journal Articles from Databases

Are you in the middle of a search for articles and wonder why so few are full-text in your database? There must be more than 5 articles online about eating disorders! Golly!

Well, the UF Libraries subscribe to over 600 databases, most with full text articles that you can read in the comfort of your own bed without having to visit the library. (But we like you, so come visit occasionally. And...we have good chairs.)

If you are in one database, like Sociological Abstracts, but the article you want is in another database, JSTOR, clicking on the SFX button next to the citation will guide you to the full-text article. To see how to do this in more detail, look at the tutorial showing the steps.

On the other hand, if you know a journal you're interested in, from the Library's home page, look under the Find column (the 2nd column) and click on Journals. In the first box, type in the title of the journal you'd like:

Say, I'd like to get an article from Language from 2004.

The fourth record is for Language. You want an article from 2004, so Project Muse, not JSTOR, will have the article You want. So click on the link for Project Muse, browse through the listings there and find the article you want.

Of course, UF still owns some journals only in print. Print journals in Library West are on the 3rd Floor. Lots of journals for Psychology or Communication Science and Disorders, especially, are at the Health Science Center Library. Several Sociology Journals are at the Legal Information Center (Law School Library). The Education Library holds journals for all areas.

Many older journals are in storage or in microform. Use the online request form to request them.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wireless Laptops

Checking Out Wireless Laptops

Is it too noisy around the computer workstations for you? Are all the computers taken? Not to worry. The entire library is accessible to your wireless laptop. (Although the 4th floor may have a few dead spots. You might want to move around to look for a stronger connection.)

"Alas," you say, "I left mine at home." "Good grief," you mutter, "I have a husband and 2 babies and a desktop at home. You think I can afford a laptop as well?"

Still, no worries. You can check out a laptop at the circulation desk. Just present your Gator1 card and all will be well.

Areas at the periphery of the library, on the 4th floor, and on the graduate students' 6th floor are much quieter.

A web page should come up asking for the login as soon as you open a browser and try to connect to any page. It's on the left-hand side of the page in the blue column. You'll need to log into the network with your Gator1 account and password.

Then click on the "to browse the web click here" link in the center of the page.

There have been times when I've browsed few pages before the webpage asked for my login. Probably a cached page saved by my browser came up from an earlier visit here before the network noticed I was around.

Take care!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Citation Searching

Citation Searching: Finding Articles into the Future

One of the neatest databases available is Web of Science. If you have hung out in academia long enough, you might remember it as Social Sciences Citation Index. Each year, published as 3 or 4 hefty volumes. (Only for the Social Sciences edition. Every year there was also a Science edition and an Arts & Humanities edition, each having its own 3 or 4 volumes.)

Each volume, a weighty tome, with thin transulescent pages and the most minute printing possible. Scholars over a particular age might need to use a magnifying glass to scan down the columns of print. But it was a treasure trove. And the only way to find out what had been published AFTER. After the perfect article exactly on the topic you were interested in, but published 15 years ago. Surely someone had published since? How else could you look into the future from that article to today? Who else was publishing on the same topic? Perhaps the persons who had cited that perfect article.

Many databases, such as PsycInfo or Sociological Abstracts, allow "Times cited in the database," "Cited by" or similar possibilites. However, the "cited by" articles have to be in the same database. The Web of Science is multidisciplinary, including articles from over 22,000 journals, compared with just 2,000 journals covered by PsycInfo and 1,800 by Sociological Abstracts.

Web of Science also has a nice online tutorial to guide you through citation reference searching. Besides Overview, make sure you also click on, and read Cited Reference.

Another special feature of Web of Science: you can search for Related Records, meaning other articles that include the same citations in their Reference Lists. Web of Science assumes that if 2 articles share References, they're probably on the same topic. The more references they share, the closer the subject matter. When you click on the "Related Articles" link, articles are ranked by the number of shared references.

(Sometimes this is a bit wacky. I saw an article with 204 references. The original article listed 34 references. Even though the overlap included 7 papers, they were probably only rated highly related, because the 2nd article had so many references.)

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One cool feature not mentioned in the tutorial: you can analyze the citations to find out WHO is citing the article. Are the authors the only scholars who cite this article? Is there a small circle of scholars who cite this article, all from the same institutions as the author? Is the author internationally read? Has the article been cited continually since its publication or just for the following 2 years? Or has the article been recently picked up again after lying dormant for 15 years?

To use the ANALYZE feature, find the citations to the article you're interested in, then click on the analyze button next to the listed articles:

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And then choose how you want to rank the citing articles and how you want to sort the fields. (If you rank by date, sort by "selected fields." That way you'll get the results along a time line, instead of when the most papers were published, e.g., 1984, 1996, 1985, 1986, 1995, etc.)

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However, there are a few problems.The worst is that the citations are lifted directly from the references in the back of articles and books, meaning that there are many errors in the database. Expect to find errors of authors' names, publication dates, page and volume numbers, journal titles, etc. There are some guides to help you with this, but it is a definite problem.

The second problem is that you can really play for days in here, wandering around a winding road, leading off into lands of great interest that can distract you from your major focus. It might help to keep your topic statement somewhere nearby for those days when you absolutely have to get your work done and have no time for those more enticing bits of research play.

Good luck. Have fun. And contact me if you'd like some help or more information!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Library West and Changes in the Catalog

What is that Cryptic Note and Where has the Request Button Gone?

You might have noticed a new note in many of the entries in the library catalog:

LIBRARY WEST -- [A-Z Call Numbers in West; Request 0-999 from Storage] -- BF76.45 .R53 1997 [Regular Loan]

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Many students and faculty members have asked me, rather confused what it means.Luckily, I had already asked someone else, so I could tell them.

Almost all of the books in Library West are catalogued following the Library of Congress Classification system (LC system), what the note refers to as books in the "A-Z Call Numbers." These books are already in Library West. If they are in Reference, they are on the 3rd Floor. If they are in the circulating collection and can be checked out, they are on the 1st and 2nd Floor. In the library, you can get Floor Plans showing where books are located based on their call numbers.

Some of the books are still catalogued following the Dewey Decimal Classification system (Dewey system), what the note refers to as "0-999."

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These are still in storage. Some will be reclassified into the LC system and relocated into Library West. Others will be left in storage. Either way, you can request them from storage and they'll be brought to Library West within 24 hours, just like before.

But, as you can see, the Request link that you've gotten used to seeing over the past 2 1/2 years is gone!

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Now to request something from storage, you need click on the "Online Requests" link at the top, right-hand corner of the page in the orange bar.

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When the page opens, choose George A. Smathers Libraries Forms. When that page opens, scroll down to and click on "Library West" or "Storage" Items. On the next page, click on alternative form. This is the actual form you fill out!

Or this is the URL:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

EBSCOHost & Visual Search

Academic Search Premiere and PsycINFO: A New Visual Search Interface

EBSCOhost changed its interface over the summer, adding an optional "visual search." (The traditional search is still the default, but EBSCOhost has added other features to their traditional search that will also help you.)

The visual search groups articles by subject into a visual map, making it easier to see what you've found at a glance. So if you search for "depression and aging," you might get a result looking like this:

With a traditional search you get a long list of articles, requiring you to browse through pages and pages, looking for what you want. Or you have to know exactly what you want before you start. It's hard to find articles serendipitously.

Get to the visual search page by clicking on the "visual search" tab at the top of the page.

Now you can see your results all at once and get an idea of what all the different articles are about. The circles are sets of articles on a particular topic, as are the spheres inside them. The boxes inside the circles are individual articles.

  • Roll over the boxes, circles, or spheres and you'll get more information about them: their subject terms, their titles, their authors, the journals.
  • Double-click on the the circles or spheres and you'll burrow down another level.
  • Double-click on a box and the article's record, including the abstract, will open on the right side of the page.
  • If you want the record to take up the entire page, just click on the arrows in the middle.
  • You can click on the SFX button to find the e-journal article or check our library catalog for print articles.
It's pretty cool!As usual, let me know if you'd like more information about the interface. If you'd like me to show this to you, your class, your lab, your pet alligator, I'm happy to meet with you.

Especially important: if you use the visual search, let me know if you like it, hate it, find it silly, or the easiest interface you've ever used.