Friday, December 30, 2005

Early closing, 1 pm, Dec. 30, 2005

All the CSU campuses are closing early today, Dec. 30, 2005 at 1 pm. This will include all campus offices and libraries. Online resources will, as usual, still be available.

Buley Library will reopen Jan. 3, 2006 at 8am Eastern. I will be back Wednesday, Jan 4, though I will check email in the meanwhile.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Journal Locator

Our new Journal Locator is up and running. The link from the Library Home Page now goes to the new service (URL ).

Not everything is in yet, but all the major databases are included. For print publications, and electronic versions of journals that we get in print, check the CONSULS catalog Journal Title search.

Please let me know what doesn't work, or if there are journals that you were sure were in there that aren't now, etc.

We are also looking for some better terminology, including what to call the whole package. Many people try the "Journal Locator" to find journal articles, instead of searching in the online databases. What would you call a search to find if the library subscribed to a journal? We also need wording for the link to go directly to a full text article, to an issue table of contents, and to the online journal main page. Suggestions are welcome, via the comments or any of the contact methods on the DE Library Home Page.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Journal Locator is Gone!!!!

We've hit a snag in our switch to a new Journal Locator. We've lost the old one (TD-Net) earlier than we expected. When you click on the Journal Locator link on the Library home page you will go to a normal looking screen but Southern is no longer an option. You can still search to see if Central or Eastern have a listing for the journal you are looking for and try clicking through to the database. Or go directly to the database from our Online Database page. Many of our publisher supplied online journals are available through the CONSULS catalog--the database full text journals are not in there.

Also try Jake, JAKE lists which databases have which journals for all of the databases that Yale knows about (and Yale seems to get almost everything). Then see if we have one of the databases listed.

You can also contact me if you have a journal that you aren't sure about.

We were planning to have the new system up and running in two weeks. We'll probably put up an incomplete listing (major databases, but not individual subscriptions) as soon as possible. We'll do what we can to hurry it up, and I'll post any new information on this blog.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday Schedules

They have unexpectedly (we'd given up on the idea) closed campus at 2pm this afternoon (Friday). I hope no one was on their way down for this afternoon.

The rest of the holiday week(s) schedule:

Saturday-Monday, Dec. 24-26 -- closed
Tuesday-Friday, Dec. 27-30 -- 8 am - 4:30 pm (but don't count on Friday afternoon, just like today)
Saturday-Monday, Dec. 31-Jan. 2 -- closed
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006 -- open on Wintersession schedule

Regular semester hours begin again January 23, 2006.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Distance Learning and Snow

One of the big advantages of distance learning is not having to slide into the parking lot on campus, only to discover that your class has been canceled because the professor couldn't get out of his/her driveway due to the snow. You could say that snow really only affects online classes when it's snowed so hard that the server goes down (repair people can't get in, frozen pipes flood the server room, an ice age happens and glaciers cover the state--you get the picture). So why am I talking about snow?

While the classes aren't directly affected if the university closes for bad weather, services are. The library closes when the campus closes, so we won't be here to answer your calls. I do try and check email from home, but it's not always possible (my home computer crashed this weekend--and there aren't any handy tech people to give me a loaner at home!) However, there isn't much I can actually do at home--I can't reset your Library PIN, I can't do anything if a database goes down, etc. I can, and will, give advice on searching and alternative sources of information if you are having access trouble. So, when in doubt, email me if you can't get anyone on the phone at the library. No guarantees, but I'll try.

The University Snow Line (closings due to bad weather) is 203-392-SNOW (or -7669). If that line announces closings or delays for campus, figure the library will also be closed or delayed. You could also call the Circulation Desk, 203-392-5756, which is the desk that will always be staffed if the library is open. Normal closings, holidays, etc., are listed on the Library Hours page, and can be checked on the Library Information Line (automated, select-the-number-for-your-choice), 203-392-5750.

Students: don't forget that online faculty may also be affected by closings, since many faculty may prefer (or need) to access online classes on campus with the institutional Internet connection.

So, enjoy the winter weather (for all in the Northern Hemisphere) and be glad that you don't have to brave the weather to go to class!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Banner upgrade and downtime

From David Sieser and Kevin Zibluk of Information Technology:
On the weekend of Dec 2nd, the university Information Technology team
will perform a major upgrade to our Banner system. As a result many
administrative functions will not be available during this time.
Therefore, all transactions related to registration, payments,
financial aid and many other administrative activities will not be able
to be performed both online and on-ground. We thank you for your
patience during this time.

It is anticipated that the Banner system will be brought down on Saturday, Dec 3 at 12:30 A.M. and won't be available until Monday, Dec 6 at 10:00 A.M.
If I've understood this properly, the upgrade will affect the staff side of Banner, so students and faculty using the web interface should not see any changes after the upgrade.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is the newest database in the Buley collection. Opposing Viewpoints started as an excellent series of books on controversial topics (abortion, alcohol use, drugs, pollution, domestic violence, etc.) Each book has a series of essays providing different views on the particular topic. Now the essays are available online.

You can search by general topic from the list on the main page, or do a keyword search. The results are organized by tabs, including the essays (Viewpoints), reference materials, images, statistics, magazine/newspaper articles, "primary documents", and websites. A suggested citation is given for each essay and the individual essays/articles can be linked to using the address bar URL of any page that includes the "i on a ball" icon. (See the Gale/Infotrac instructions on my Deeplinking Guide page.)

While you can't directly see all the entries in a particular book, there are suggested subject headings listed on the lefthand side of all results pages that will collect related articles. This is actually a little confusing because it mixes the Viewpoints essay subjects with the magazine/newspaper article subjects. I'd prefer to see a subject list with an indication of how many results exist for each entry, so it would be easier to pick out useful headings. You can limit your search in the Advanced Search form to just Viewpoints essays, or any other type of resource.

Opposing Viewpoints will probably be most useful for classes that involve writing position papers, or doing debate style presentations. The books have always been popular for English classes doing "hot topics" essays. The database will be excellent for students who are having trouble deciding on a topic. The Spotlight section highlights a new current topic about every two weeks. However, they also provide a good overview for any coursework covering one of the subjects, especially in social work, public health, criminal justice, environmental studies, and government policy. All essays contain lengthy reference lists that would make an excellent starting point for more advanced research.