Thursday, December 14, 2006

Alerts from Databases

Alerts to New Publications from Your Favorite Databases and Journals

In Graduate School, I was wicked jealous of a post-doc's doctoral days at MIT. Her cognitive science librarian would send her newly published articles to stimulate my friend's scholarly curiosity. The librarian did this not only for my friend, but for the entire faculty and graduate student population of her department

Well, life has changed. The library faculty has shrunk and the number of our liaison departments has grown. At the same time, however, electronic databases and e-journals have stepped in to send you alerts every time a new article is published that you might like.

How does it work? Well, after you decide on the appropriate database and the best search terms, save a search, and then you can have the database run that search for you every so often (usually, you decide the time period). E-journals will usually run the search after each issue is published. In your email, you receive an update or alert about the new articles published after your last search.

So, if you are awaiting the article of your favorite author, you can save an author search. Have the database automatically run it and then email the results to you.

For an explicit example, check out the tutorial about setting up an alert in CSA databases like Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts or LLBA or the one about setting up an alert in EBSCO databases like PsycINFO, Academic Search Premiere, or GLBT Life Full Text.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Maps and Atlases

The World Atlas of Language Structures! A Book a Linguist would LOVE

One day last year, I went home to visit my parents. My father had a book in his hand; he was beaming. "Merrie," he said, "you have to see this book. It's by John MacDonald." Honestly, I don't remember the author's name nor the name of the book. "It's called 'The Historical Atlas of the World 1625-1895.' You have to read it. Every word is a gem!"

"Oh." I said, thrilled. Someone in the world had found out about historical atlases! It's something that I fear only librarians know about. But Barnes & Noble had put one on its remaindered shelf and my father had found it for $10. Excellent! "That's great. I always try to get students to read those. Atlases are wonderful. In them time and space are superimposed so that folks can see where and when history took place."

My Dad was persistent. It was that particular book that was special. "This John MacDonald. Every word is important. You have to read it. I'm going back to find more of them!"

Well, let me tell you all. We have a fantastic NEW atlas in. If you're a linguist, it's probably the most fun you may ever have with an atlas: The World Atlas of Language Structures (LIBRARY WEST: -- Reference (3rd Floor) -- P143 .W67 2005 [In-Library Use]

It'll take you ages to look through the whole thing. There are articles about the typology of languages -- what grammatical and phonological features occur in which languages. Then the languages are literally mapped out.

And for those of us interested in signed languages, there are even two maps of 21 signed languages -- they are mapped by negative incorporation and question particles. Very cool!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Remote Logon

Logon from Home with the Virtual Private Network

Most of you know that you can access almost any of our databases or e-books from home. There are 2 different ways: the Library Proxy or the Virtual Private Network, each with a set of pros and cons. (You can link to them from the link in the upper right hand corner of most library pages -- in the blue stripe -- at the link "Remote Logon." But more about that later.)
Library ProxyVirtual Private Network (VPN)
Login each time you go to library pageDownload & install small piece of software to your computer
Must click on links to navigate through pagesThen, each time you return to the library website, open the software again and allow it to connect to the library proxy.
Using the back button or the address bar will knock you off the proxyCan navigate off library website and back on again
Can not link to databases from emails, WebCT, webpagesCan enter databases from other websites, email links, or software (EndNotes)

Basically, you have more freedom when using the Virtual Private Network and fewer concerns about being knocked off the proxy. Furthermore, it's actually more secure for the library. However, if you'll only use a particular computer once, you might still want to use the Library Proxy.

So here's the deal. Here's more information about the VPN -- at the upper, left-hand corner of the page. If you're convinced, download the VPN. You'll need your GatorLink ID and password. There are versions for Windows and MACs. Contact me with any questions you have. If I can't answer them, I'll find someone who can. And enjoy easy surfing through the library resources from home, Taiwan, or Iceland!