Monday, November 29, 2004

Off campus access to Emerald journals

Due to some problems with the authentication proxy server, we do not currently have off campus access to journals from the Emerald collection of library and management journals. There may be some problems with access on campus via Journal Locator as well.

Everything should be fixed by next week, once the updates are run. In the meanwhile, on campus users can access Emerald via the general URL, Any on campus computer should be recognized by IP address as being on the Southern network.

Please contact me about off campus access this week, or if you are still having trouble after Dec 6, 2004.

Update: (12/6/04) All fixed. (Thanks, Tim!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Thanksgiving break at the library

If you need assistance over the Thanksgiving break, the library will be open until 1 pm on Wednesday and reopen for normal hours Saturday and Sunday. Someone should be at the Reference Desk during most of that time (see for Reference Desk hours and phone numbers.) In the meanwhile, email me and I will get back to you as soon as possible, definitely Sunday afternoon. I will also try to stay available for chat on Sunday.

Monday, November 22, 2004


I mentioned in a previous post that RedLightGreen would format references in several formats. It then occured to me that I should mention Refworks.

Refworks is an online service that stores and formats references. You can download references from many of our databases into the system, plus enter them manually. You can sort your references into folders (for instance, by subject or by project). Once you have selected references for a particular paper or project, you can format them in any of a large number of citation styles, including the popular APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. Many styles for specific journals are also available. There is even a downloadable program that works with Microsoft Word to format your references within your paper, or you can generate your references online and copy and paste them into your paper. As with all automated systems, you should double check the details to make sure that everything came through properly. (One particular thing to check is the URL for Internet sources--they don't always transfer properly into the citation, though they usually are complete in the Refworks database.)

One of the great things about Refworks is that you can go back and reuse references that you have used before. Everything is stored until you get rid of it. No more sifting through you old papers trying to find that reference you used last year. Refworks is searchable, so as long as you can remember an author or a few keywords you can find that article again. You can also sort by the date you put the reference into Refworks, so if you can't remember anything but the fact that you used it last May, you should still be able to find it!

The Library subscribes to RefWorks so that any Southern Connecticut State University student, faculty, or staff member can use it. To sign up, you must either log in for the first time on campus, or contact me for the institution code. You will be able to log in from any off campus Internet computer using the institution code and the user name and password that you select.

For a couple of online tutorials and a schedule of classes, go to This page is also available from the Library Home Page by clicking on the Refworks logo at the bottom of the page. If you'd like some individual help, contact me.

Update: (11/28/04) An excellent suggestion comes from Jay Blatt (via STLQ). Set up a group Refworks account for your study or project group. You will be less likely to miss out on good resources your teammates find as well as not wasting time duplicating their research efforts. I've used FURL ( for group collections of online research, but FURL doesn't format the references for you!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Google Scholar

It's all over the news this morning (I heard it on NPR): Google is indexing "scholarly resources"!!!!

Google has set up a separate search page,, where you can search for materials that Google has determined are "scholarly" (it's not clear exactly what that means, right now.) They are definitely including full text articles available freely on the web as well as abstracts of materials that are only available through paid-for services. Some of the associations mentioned so far as having their materials included in Google Scholar are IEEE and ACM. Both of those institutions charge for their full text.

Google Scholar also lists how many articles in it's database cite each article, giving a rough idea of the "impact" of the article and also providing a list of potentially related articles. Similar citation analysis databases include the subscription-based Web of Science (Southern subscribes to the Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences segments), and free endeavors such as CiteSeer (computer science).

How can the distance student or faculty use Google Scholar? You can use it like any other database that has both indexing/abstracts and some full text. You do your search, read/print out/save the full text articles, and then look on Journal Locator for the journals that don't have the full text for free. Journal Locator will tell you if we have that journal available online or in print in the library. If we don't have access to it, you can request it from Interlibrary Loan.

You may also be able to buy the article from the publisher. You should first check if we already have free access to that article through one of our databases, but paying for it is an option if we don't have it and you don't want to wait for Interlibrary Loan.

Faculty: if you know of resources that are not yet included in Google Scholar, for instance an online version of your own work, you can make a request for it to be included.

For more information on Google Scholar, Google has an About Google Scholar page at A good review of the service is available from ResourceShelf at Another good review is from SearchEngineWatch at Both of these reviews list some of the benefits and pitfalls of the new service.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

OCLC/Yahoo toolbar

If you liked the idea of the Library Lookup, but didn't want to fool with, or had problems with the bookmarklet, OCLC and Yahoo have produced a toolbar search for Internet Explorer. It is just like the Yahoo search bar that Yahoo normally has, except that it includes "Libraries" in the drop down box.

Download it (, install it, and restart Internet Explorer. You will see a Yahoo box underneath the address bar (the exact placement may depend on what else you have installed). Type a subject into the search box, but don't hit enter. Next to the search box it says "Search Web". From this drop down menu select Libraries, and Yahoo will search for your keyword in just the OCLC database. All of the results should start with "Find in a Library" and clicking on them will lead into OCLC's records for each book, including the local libraries (once you have set up a postal code.)

The Yahoo search bar also gives you a pop-up ad blocker, quick access to Yahoo! Mail and other services. It is not available for any other browsers except Internet Explorer (at least right now). For other browsers, or for more information, try this good overview on Resource Shelf: I did get NeedleSearch to work as instructed in Mozilla's Firefox browser, except that you have to click on the "repeat the search with omitted search results" to get everything. This is a feature that prevents too many results from the same domain from clogging up your search results and normally it's quite useful.

Monday, November 15, 2004


I'm a little hestitant to suggest this amazing union catalog (collection of library catalogs) from RLG (Research Libraries Group) to distance students, just because it will cause that frustration of finding out that something exists when you can't get at it. But the search capabilites are great and it may allow you to find that perfect resource that actually exists in your local library, or can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan.

RedLightGreen is a special library catalog. The books (etc.) that are listed here are from research libraries all over the world. So far, no big deal. You can search worldwide library catalogs on the web or via the database WorldCat, or even in Google and Yahoo. What makes RedLightGreen special is the search. Specifically aimed at undergraduate students, the search is much more intuitive than your average library catalog. Some of the features include:
  • automatic "stemming", searching of word variations (i.e. put in cat and also get cats)
  • limit to exact word when you really want it (i.e. put in +cat and not get cats)
  • search authors, titles, keywords, etc., in the same search
  • use Boolean AND, OR, and NOT (and it doesn't care if you capitalize the Boolean terms)
  • phrase searching using quotation marks
  • limit by language (in More Search Options)
In other words, it makes searching for books in library catalogs much more like searching the web in a search engine.

It also combines different editions and versions in your results list, so you aren't looking at multiple entries for often-republished works, such as Shakespeare's plays. When I search for Shakespeare Othello, it looks like most the versions and editions of the actual play are represented by the first 4 entries, which include over 2000 separate editions. Imagine searching a regular library catalog and having to go through 2000 entries before finding the critical reviews!

Once you have found some interesting books, you can look them up in your local catalog. If you sign in (registration is free), you can set a particular library catalog as your default, but you can also choose others while you search. For instance, under United States, Connecticut, is the the Connecticut State University System, which links to the CONSULS catalog. You can also search for a library using a city name.

Another advantage of signing in is the ability to save records in bibliographic citation formats. MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian are supported. The references can be emailed, printed or copy-and-pasted. They are also saved under your log in, so you can go back later and find the reference you used before. The citations, at least in APA, are not 100% complete--you need to add the correct designation for editors, translators, and other non-author names. However, it points this out and gives instructions. As will all bibliographic citation software, you need to double check before you submit your papers.

Now, if it is so wonderful, why did I hestitate to recommend this? While searching is great, finding the actual book is more difficult. You have to look up each book in each library separately, unless you have a local combined catalog available. For instance, if I find a book I want, I can check for it in CONSULS and get all the CSU schools, but I have to reselect a library to search in Yale or the New Haven Public Library catalog. (I sent in a request for them to add reQuest [leave the login form blank to search without logging in], the Connecticut statewide catalog, which includes many of the state's colleges and universities, plus the public libraries.) If you have only one local library handy, this shouldn't be a problem, but it could be a real pain if you normally have access to half a dozen libraries.

I'd love to see the ease of searching in multiple libraries that exists in the WorldCat Library Lookup, combined with the search capabilities of RedLightGreen.