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How do I find a list of all your…

DVDs?  Books on CD?

Very reasonable questions.  We wish our catalog could produce an easy answer, but it can’t. It can do other cool tricks, but quick lists like these are not part of its repertoire.

Luckily, human beings can help.  Check my document DVDs and CDs for ways to make the catalog yield up its information.  You can also check the binders we display near the DVDs and books on CD.  They contain lists that we run every few months to show all the current (more or less) titles in that format.

As always, if you’re still having trouble, don’t hesitate to e-mail or call.  asklibrarian@brooks.lib.vt.us; (802) 254-5290 x109.  Good luck!

JMW

If you enjoy certain magazines, but lack the time needed to keep track of their content, the General OneFile database can help.  Setting up an RSS Feed via the database will alert you whenever new articles are available.  Setting up the feed will take a few minutes of your time.  After that, however, things will be maintenance free.

The first thing you’ll need to do is go to the General OneFile database, which can be accessed via Brooks Memorial Library’s Resources page (http://www.brooks.lib.vt.us/libraryfromhome.htm):

Click on Browse Publications; when the Browse Publications page loads, you will be able to browse by title or you can search for a specific title by entering the title’s name in the Find Title box in the upper left hand corner.

Once you’ve found the magazine you’re looking for, move your arrow over the publication’s title; a box with information, as well a small orange icon, will appear:

Click on the icon to set up your RSS feed.  Clicking on the icon will open up a new window.  In this window, you will be given two options – you can create an email alert, in which case alerts will be sent to your email account, or you can subscribe to an RSS feed.  All you need to do in order to subscribe to an RSS feed is to copy and paste the URL provided in the window into your RSS reader.

After you’ve done this, you should be good to go.  And if you encounter any difficulties along the way, please feel free to contact the Reference staff at Brooks Memorial Library, who will be more than happy to help you.  — Sharon

The internet makes copy and pasting a wide variety of materials very easy. However, many of the text, image, and video files are protected by copyright law. Click on image below to watch a funny and informative video on copyright:

Next time you are looking for image resources for your website, report, or screen saver try one of these resources for copyright free images.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. They provide an excellent site for searching copyright free images.

Wikimedia Commons is a  repository to make available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyonClick on the upper right hand side to go to the image directory:

The Open Clip Art Library This project aims to create an archive of clip art that can be used for free for any use.

Public Domain Pictures a repository for free public domain photos. You can upload your own pictures and share your work with others.

WP Clipart A collection of clipart, organized by subject, for educational and personal use.

Google’s Advanced Search also allows you to have license type (called Usage Criteria) be part of your search limits:

Happy Searching!  ~ Jess Weitz

Being able to tease out a pressing question with a reference librarian can be a valuable experience. However, sometimes you might be struck with questions in the middle of the night, on holidays, or just prefer to try to find your own answers.  In this moment, many of us turn on the computer and hold our breath as we enter a string of words into Google and wait for the 34,578 responses to sort through.

There is a search engine alternative called a MetaSearch Engine. These search engines comb a number of search engines simultaneously and help to organize the links for more effective results. Here are a few to give a try:

Clusty retrieves results from Ask, Open Directory, and Gigablast. To see which particular search engines returned results for your query, click on the “Details” link at the top of the search results list. Clusty will generate broad subject areas (“clusters”) related to your search term.  You can choose links only within your topic of interest or do another search in your narrowed cluster.


SurfWax searches MSN, AlltheWeb, and Yahoo!. This engine allows you to see “snapshots” of the results list to determine if they are relevant before going to the site. A really geeky feature is the Results Stats link at the top of the page and you will see exactly how SurfWax retrieved those results:

Dogpile and MetaCrawler search Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Ask. Similar to Google, you can choose to do a general search, an image search, or a video search, as well as yellow and white page searches.  They also offer an ‘Are you looking for’ column on the right side of the search with related search terms.


~Jess Weitz

Thanks to the patron who asked for clarification on the last blog post.  How does one actually search the Britannica Online?   Good question.  Here are some tips, and I’m writing them down without the links so you can practice all the steps to get there:

On the Library’s website www.brooks.lib.vt.us, 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.

Jeanne

* That’ s the BROOKS MEMORIAL LIBRARY website, which you should save to your shortcuts list because it’s the hub of the information universe!

Library cardholders, you can use these features from home, or anyplace you have access to the Web.  Visitors, you have free access to all but the account features on the computers at the Library: 224 Main Street in Brattleboro.

1. Quickly assemble all the articles, statistics, radio transcripts, and reference book entries you need for your paper on a controversial issue:

Choose Resources > Newspapers and Current Events > Opposing Viewpoints.  Choose a subject link, such as Population Growth, Affirmative Action, or Genetic Engineering, or search for your topic by keyword.

2. Find the most recent book by your favorite author in the Library’s collection: Choose Catalog > Browse > Authors.  Search for last name only; you’re less likely to run into trouble that way.  If we have books by your author, you will see a link to his or her full name in the result list; click to see all the titles the library owns.  To find the most recent title, look for the box that says Sort results by and choose Publication Date from the drop-down menu.

3. Download audiobooks to your MP3 player or other portable device:

Choose Audiobooks and follow the links for news and instructions.  You will have to download some free software to your computer before choosing audiobooks to export to your player.  Not all titles are compatible with all devices, but there is a good selection for both PC and MAC products, including the iPod.  Call us for help if you need it: 254-5290 x109.

4. Search the U.S. Census, 1790-1930, by name, state, birthplace, and other parameters:   Choose Resources > Local History & Genealogy > Heritage Quest.  “Search Census” is the first option.  Your search will lead you to facsimiles of the original handwritten Census intake forms.

5. Find biographical profiles, articles, and mini-bibliographies about pharaohs, saints, robber barons, supermodels, and other fascinating characters, past and present: Choose Resources > Biography > Wilson Web biography database.

6. Learn how to maintain your own car:

Choose Resources > Do it yourself >Auto Repair Reference Center.  Click on the year, make, and model, and then choose Repair Procedures, which opens up folders on the left side of the screen.  Choose the General Maintenance folder.  Not all makes and models have general maintenance info, but most do—and they’re illustrated.

7. Request an interlibrary loan without leaving your cozy chair:

Choose Resources and scroll down to the “Useful Links” section; you will find a link to an online form called Request an Interlibrary Loan.

8. Renew all your checked-out library items, still without leaving your cozy chair:   Choose My Account and type in your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number).  Click the boxes for what you want to renew, and then click “Renew Checked Items.”  Some categories of items, such as interlibrary loans, cannot be renewed this way, but most can.  If you need help logging in, call us.

9. Find high-quality images from major photo archives of U.S. presidents, dogsled teams in action, and barking elephant seals, among other things:

Choose Resources > Homework Help Grades K-6 > Kids InfoBits.  Click on the topic areas or search by keyword until you find your subject.  Then look for the “Images” tab; if it’s bright with black letters, click on it for pictures.  [Source Citation: “Inuit Hunter and Dogsled Team.” (© Layne Kennedy/Corbis.) Animals with Jobs: Sled Dogs. Judith Janda Presnall. KidHaven Press, 2005.   Reproduced in Kids InfoBits.  Detroit:  Gale, 2009.   http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/KidsInfoBits%5D

10. Watch videos of past programs at the Brooks Memorial Library, including talks by author Howard Frank Mosher, former Iranian Ambassador Mansour Farhang, historian Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, and others:

Choose Videos, and have fun!

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Tip: Take an hour or so to improve your search skills; you will save time in the long run.

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I spent a fun two hours at Vermont Adult Learning this morning, where I presented a slide demo called Effective Searching on the Web. I have posted it on Slideshare, so check it out; I hope you will find it useful.

–Jeanne

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Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

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