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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?


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.

In other words, both sources have unique material, so why limit yourself?  It takes just minutes to search them both, and your knowledge will expand for your efforts.

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.


revised 3/27/12

Moore and Stephenson (no dates). American Library Association Twenty-first annual conference, Atlanta, Georgia, May 8-13, 1899. Courtesy

Are you exploring possible career paths?  Considering starting up a business of your own?  Looking for guidance on marketing your services as a private contractor?  Trade and professional associations are a useful resource in all of these circumstances.  They offer opportunities to learn about a career or business field, connect with other professionals, and benefit from special services provided to association members.

How do you find associations in your field?  A simple keyword Internet search (for example, paralegal associations) might be all you need.  On the other hand, there are advantages to using selective, published association directories, which can help you sort the well-established organizations from the fly-by-night groups.  Also, published directories offer the option of browsing, which can lead to new, creative ideas.  Maybe you didn’t know that there is an American Society of Indexing or a Biomass Power Association.  Browsing can lead a researcher down some interesting paths she hadn’t considered before.

The Brooks Memorial Library offers association-related material in print form and online.  Here’s a roundup of resources:

In print, on the Library’s shelves:

  • Encyclopedia of Careers & Vocational Guidance.  Ferguson Publishing, 2010.  REF 331.7 ENC.  We tend to call it “Ferguson’s” around the Library.  It’s a five-volume set of profiles of various career fields, including information on things like training, earnings potential, and typical work environments.  Each entry also includes contact information and website urls for trade and professional associations in that field.
  • Survey of American Industries and Careers.   Salem Press, 2012.  Hot off the press, and just reviewed by our own Jerry Carbone in the Booklist review journal.  It hasn’t even been cataloged yet, but you will find it soon in the Reference area near the Ferguson’s.  It updates and supplements Ferguson’s beautifully, so you’ll want to check both for information on your field, including information on associations.

Online, through the Library’s website (access from home with your card):

  • Business & Company Resource Center.  On the website, select Resources > Business.  Search for your field in the Industries section.  If you find a profile for your industry, look for the “Associations” tab on the far right of the screen.  It will bring up entries from published directories of national, international, and U.S. regional associations.
  • Small Business Resource Center On the website, select Resources > Business.  On the first screen, click on “Business Types,” choose your field of interest, and then click on the “Directories” tab.  It will link you to entries from business reference books, including roundups of trade and professional associations for small businesses of all kinds.

Online, free to all:

  • Associations on the Net, a special collection of the Internet Public Library.  Click on “Special Collections Created by IPL2,” and then choose the Associations on the Net link under “Other Collections.”  Use the subject links on the left side of the screen to zero in on associations in your field.  All of them have subdivisions to get even more specific information; for example, “Health and Medical Sciences” includes 20 or so specific health-related fields, all with their own associations.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  A free source that covers some of the same ground as Ferguson’s and the Survey of American Industry & Careers.  Includes links to trade and professional associations with a disclaimer that the links are for convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

May you find many rewarding associations!


The new edition of Gale’s online reference book collection is looking spiffy.  Find it on our website under Resources > Reference > Gale Virtual Reference Library.  Have your library card handy if you’re searching from home.  There are 100 or so titles that you can search all at once or individually.

News from the Vermont Department of Libraries and e-Vermont Community Broadband:

FREE 30 min Webinar:
Your Library Presents: Information 24/7

Find out how your library offers resources for job seeking & career exploration, lifelong learning, genealogy, and small business development. All available to you 24/7 from any computer with Internet access!

This webinar is easy to participate in wherever high speed Internet access is available.
Please log in 5 min. before the session begins and turn on your computer’s sound/speakers.

Tuesday November 8th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm or
Thursday November 10th , 6:00 – 6:30 pm or
Tuesday, November 15th, 12:00 – 12:30 pm

No registration required. Go to the webinar link at

We upgraded our NoveList subscription to NoveList Plus!  Check it out for reading suggestions for both fiction and nonfiction.  There’s also a separate K-8 interface for kids.  It’s a clever database that combines the wonderful ability of computers to remember everything and the wonderful ability of humans to describe things like writing style and tone: is it fast-paced and witty?  Is it disturbing and gritty?  Is it atmospheric and character-driven, with a strong sense of place…?

You will find NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 by clicking Resources > Books & Authors on the Library’s website.

During National Library Week (April 10-16), Reference Librarian Jeanne Walsh & friends will pack up the laptop and venture into café society to show off the Library’s online resources.  So mark your calendar for a coffee (or tea or cider) break at one of these wonderful Brattleboro cafes:

The Works Bakery Cafe, 118 Main St., Wednesday, April 13th, 10:00-11:30


The Blue Moose, 29 High St., Thursday, April 14th, 10:00-11:30 (with special guest: Christine Friese, Vermont’s Assistant State Librarian!)

Mocha Joe’s, 82 Main St., Friday, April 15th, 10:00-11:30

(Mocha Joe’s painting by Linda Marcille)





New York Times readers, the Library has news for you:

As you probably already know, the Times just instituted its new online article policy.  You are allowed full views of 20 articles per month from their website; after that, you have to pay.

However, the full text of the paper is available free with your library card at the Brooks Memorial Library website.  Coverage includes the current day plus a full archive of the print paper back through 1980, plus the Magazine and Book Review back through 1997.


  • It’s free with your library card.
  • It’s legal; the library subscribes on behalf of its patrons.
  • It archives the paper for you, so you can go back any time to find an article by keyword, date, etc.
  • It doesn’t limit the number of articles you can access for free


  • It’s text-only; no images
  • It isn’t automatically organized into sections, and it doesn’t present the usual visual cues to differentiate major and minor stories, etc.
  • It’s limited to what appears in the print version of the paper; it doesn’t include the valuable additional content (blog posts, etc.) featured at

If you’re interested in exploring the free New York Times on the Library’s website, click on Resources > Newspapers & Current Events > New York Times

Once you log in, you have various search options.  To find the current day’s paper, choose Date range > On this date from the pull-down menu and type in the date in the required format.

Another possibility is to view the paper at the Times website, find the stories you want to read, and then search for them by title or author in the Library’s free database.

Of course, as long as there are walls, there will be schemes for getting over them.  Here’s news from about other attempts to deal with the changes at the New York Times.



For up-to-date health research, Brooks Memorial offers the Health & Wellness Resource Center, an excellent general health database that is updated continuously.  But circulation statistics show that many of us also like to turn to books for health information.  Thanks to a generous grant from the Crosby Foundation, the Library was able to add approximately 60 new titles to its health collection in 2010. We will be highlighting a few of the new health titles by subject in upcoming blog posts.

Here are a few of the mental health books to look for on our shelves, followed by their call numbers:

Freeman, Daniel, Jason Freeman. Know your mind : the complete family reference guide to emotional health . New York, NY : Sterling Pub., 2010.  Addressing everything from addictions, bereavement, pain, and anxiety to sleep disorders, mood swings, depression, and stress, Know Your Mindeven features tools for self-evaluation, personal stories, and exercises. 616.89 FRE

Honos-Webb, Lara. The gift of ADHD : how to transform your child’s problems into strengths. Oakland, CA : New Harbinger Publications, c2010.  In it’s second edition, Lara Honos-Webb offers strategies for shifting parents’ understanding of their child’s attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to focus on the positive traits of this diagnosis by providing step-by-step behavioral exercises for helping children function effectively. 618.92 HON

Miklowitz, David Jay. The bipolar disorder survival guide : what you and your family need to know. New York : Guilford Press, c2011.  A practical, straightforward book that will be a great help to those who have bipolar illness, as well as their families 616.89 MIK

Phillips, Suzanne, Dianne Kane. Healing together : a couple’s guide to coping with trauma & post-traumatic stress. Oakland, CA : New Harbinger Publications, c2008.   This book is for people in relationships where either partner has faced trauma in any of its forms: violence, natural disasters, war, life-threatening accidents, crime, health problems, or loss of a loved one. 616.89 PHI

For up-to-date health research, Brooks Memorial offers the Health & Wellness Resource Center, an excellent general health database that is updated continuously.  But circulation statistics show that many of us also like to turn to books for health information.  Thanks to a generous grant from the Crosby Foundation, the Library was able to add approximately 60 new titles to its health collection in 2010. We will be highlighting a few of the new health titles by subject in upcoming blog posts.

Here are a few of the general health books to look for on our shelves, followed by their call numbers:

A family guide to first aid and emergency preparedness (DVD). Yardley, Pa.: Staywell, c2008. A booklet and DVD by the American Red Cross covering illness and injury first aid. 616.02 FAM

Goldstein, Mark, Myrna Chandler Goldstein, and Larry P. Credit. Your best medicine: from conventional and complementary medicine-expert-endorsed therapeutic solutions to relieve symptoms and speed healing. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale, c2008. An excellent introduction to integrative medicine, organized alphabetically by ailments. 613 GOL

Mayo Clinic family health book. Des Moines, IA: Time Inc. Home Entertainment, c2009.A reliable single volume covering health concerns from infancy to old age. Chapters include: Injuries and Symptoms; Pregnancy and Healthy Children; Healthy Adults; Diseases and Disorders; and Tests and Treatments. 613 MAY and  REF 613 MAY

Spinelli, Frank. The Advocate guide to gay men’s health and wellness. New York: Alyson Books, 2008.  A top-selling gay and lesbian news magazine provides a guide to health issues specific to gay men’s lives. 613.086 SPI

For a complete bibliography of all the new health titles Brooks Memorial Library has purchased under the Crosby grant, please ask at the reference desk.

About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry