Wondering what gems you missed in 2012? Here is an exhaustive “list of lists” of the best books of 2012…
Brattleboro residents: Tuesday’s voting will be 9a.m.-7p.m. at the Brattleboro Union High School gymnasium on Fairground Road. The Elections page on the Town’s website gives details, including sample ballots so you can plan your choices ahead of time.
For help with decision-making, try the VTDigger site, a project of the Vermont Journalism Trust. They have a handy “Compare the Candidates” feature on their front page. Thanks, Jess Weitz, for pointing out this useful site.
News from our friends at the Yellow Barn in Putney. Act quickly!
Yellow Barn is thrilled to welcome our Writer-in-residence Stanley Corngold with a special promotion for literary enthusiasts: Any book club or library member will receive 50% off at all concerts between July 30 and August 3rd.
Stanley Corngold is a Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at Princeton and will spend the week immersed in the Yellow Barn community. During his time, Stanley will write two posts for Yellow Barn’s blog about the rehearsals and preparations for our matinee and finale concerts on August 4. Specifically, he will post about Schoenberg’s adaptation of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, which will be featured during the finale concert at 8:00 pm and Korngold’s String Quartet No 3 in D Major, which will be performed during Yellow Barn’s annual matinee concert at 12:30. More information about Stanley can be found in his bio on Princeton University’s website.
Additionally, composer Brett Dean, one of the most internationally performed composers of his generation, will be joining Yellow Barn for the week of July 30. His week at Yellow Barn will feature performances of ten of his compositions, including the interspersing of his Short Stories: Five Interludes for string orchestra, between movements of Webern’s Six Bagatelles for string quartet. In addition to his compositional activities, Brett Dean has a distinguished career as a violist, including a former principal violist position with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. During the Composer Portrait on Monday and the Season Finale on Saturday, Dean will join Yellow Barn musicians in performing his own compositions.
To redeem this offer, please call (802) 387-6637 and give us the name of your literary affiliation.
Folks who are interested in the transition town discussion: we have multiple copies of The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times, by Rob Hopkins (Chelsea Green, 2011). You’ll find it in the mezzanine under 307.14 HOP. Time to start your book discussion group?
A message from Wendy Cornwell from the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.
BMH is currently conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment to determine health needs and gaps in our community.
All community members are welcome to participate in this anonymous survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete. The link to the survey can be found on SharePoint or below in this email. If you know someone in the community who would prefer to complete a paper survey, please let me know & I will be happy to provide one along with a post-paid envelope in which it can be returned. Your thoughts and opinions are valuable. Thank you in advance if you choose to participate in this survey.
Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SLMTZ2Z
Wendy Cornwell RN, BS, BSN
Director Community Health & Hospital Education
Vermont Blueprint for Health Project Manager
Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
17 Belmont Avenue
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
Phone: (802) 257-8325
All of these elegies are making me nostalgic for ye olde print Encyclopedia Britannica, but let’s not forget that it lives on electronically and is available with your library card. With admiration for its will to survive, I offer this reprint of two earlier blog posts on the E.B.:
Part 1: Britannica vs. Wikipedia
Wikipedia addicts: your options have expanded. The Brooks Memorial Library’s website offers access to Britannica Online free to all from inside the Library. Cardholders also have access from home. Click on Resources > Reference, and log in with your library card number.
Why choose Britannica over Wikipedia? Because it is, according to itself, “the oldest English-language general encyclopaedia,” first appearing in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768. It has the weight and authority of centuries behind it. And if you’re working on a paper, chances are your teacher will accept it as a legitimate source in your bibliography.
Why choose Wikipedia over Britannica? It’s drawing on the brilliance of many authors and has an interesting 21st-century method for establishing authority. It’s very strong in particular subject areas; I love it for questions on popular culture, for example. But it isn’t considered a reliable source in many academic environments.
Today, I staged a Britannica/Wikipedia death match over Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (born January 20th, 1920), and these are my quick impressions:
Britannica: Nice, long, detailed article about his life and works, with critical commentary. Surprisingly, it has a wimpy bibliography, and the filmography is incorporated into the essay; there’s no handy list. But it’s nicely illustrated with public-domain photos.
Wikipedia: This one also has a substantial essay, but it’s more biographical than critical. Excellent bibliography and a handy filmography and awards list – plus, you could read the article in Fellini’s native language! Not many photos; try Google Images for that.
Photo credits: Fellini and Masina on the set of La Strada, still from 8 1/2, Mastroianni & Ekberg in still from La Dolce Vita. Courtesy Britannica Online.
Part 2: Using Britannica Online
On the Library’s website, click on Resources > Reference > Britannica Online. It will prompt you for your library card number: type the whole 14-digit number with no spaces.
Once you’re in, you have various options for searching. They always have fun features like “This Day in History,” if you just want to browse. If you want to research a specific topic, you can type a keyword into the search box, but that’s not my favorite way; I think you get better results by clicking the link called The Index, which is near the top of the screen, below the search box, next to the word BROWSE. On the Index screen, you can click the first letter of the word you want to search or use the Index search box.
For example, find the word ECOLOGY in the index, either by clicking on the E and working your way in through the alphabetical list or by typing the term into the Index search box. There are two entries for the word. If you click the first one, it produces a list of reference links to related articles in the online encyclopedia. Even better, it displays several links on the left side of the screen called Content related to this topic. If you click on the link for “Main Article,” you’ll get a nice 5-page overview.
To be honest, I think that the online Britannica has to work on its design. The way they display search results often obscures the main articles and highlights passing references. Once you get comfortable with it, though, it’s wonderful having online access to this detailed, authoritative encyclopedia.
The Vermont Digital Newspaper Project has digitized over 11,000 pages of old Vermont newspapers, including the early years of Brattleboro’s Vermont Phoenix. Read all about it on the VDNP blog, or go right to the papers at Chronicling America, a project sponsored jointly by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
More papers are coming, including a precious handful of issues of the Windham County Democrat, edited by noted feminist Clarina Howard Nichols.