Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Searching the Library Catalog

Finding the right book through the catalog can be a tricky thing sometimes. Recently, someone came to the Reference Desk asking for help to find a book on book binding. She had done a basic keyword search. Our catalog defaults to a "Quick Search," which automatically connects terms with the AND operator. She showed me that she had inputted "book" and "binding" into the search box. She identified just one out of twenty-nine results that satisfied her criteria, and that book had been checked out already: Books, boxes, and portfolios : binding, construction, and design step-by-step. After opening up the full record I pointed her to the subject heading: Bookbinding --Handbooks, manuals, etc. Clicking on this heading yielded six results, and these titles seemed to satisfy this particular individual.

What the student and I did not know was that "book binding" may not find you what you want, but "bookbinding" may. Who would know that it was one word instead of two? I am just glad the subject-heading strategy worked in this case.

Knowing how to use the subject heading can be rather useful. Thinking of synonyms for terms can also be helpful, although a search for book and binding or bookbinding would bring back more than 100 results. Again, once a person identifies a book that they think will match their information needs, they can look at the full record to view the subject headings available. Clicking on the subject heading may retrieve additional useful results.

Oboler Library ca. 1975

Oboler Lib ca. 1975_2
Oboler Lib ca. 1975_2,
originally uploaded by Ref & Ins.
Here's a photos of construction on the Eli M. Oboler Library about 1975. It was completed in 1977 and ready to be open for the Fall semester in August of that year.

Library Art

Library Art4
Library Art4,
originally uploaded by Ref & Ins.
Works of art have been donated to the Oboler Library through the years. Some of the pieces, though, originate from the University's collection of art, including works from former graduate students. This work of art does not include a title, and the artist's signature in the lower right is not easily legible.

During the month of November works of art have been hanging in the Current Display area. Afterwards they will be sent back to other locations in the Library.

Book Sale Prices

Family in Poky 009
Family in Poky 009,
originally uploaded by Ref & Ins.
Here's a photo with the prices. It looks like hardbacks sold for $3.00 on the first day and $1.50 the second day. Paperbacks sold for $1 the first day and 50 cents the second day. I managed to find a children's book about the Nativity told entirely with pictures of Gothic sculptures from the outside of a cathedral in France.

Anyone can donate books to the Oboler Library. We also have a Book Swap rack where individuals may bring a book in exchange for one on the rack.

Library Book Sale

Family in Poky 010
Family in Poky 010,
originally uploaded by Ref & Ins.
Every other year the Oboler Library has a book sale. Usually, the books have been donated to the Library, and a bibliographer has determined that we already have a copy or we do not need that book for our collection. The money made from the book sale goes back into purchasing more books for our Library. We sold books for two days. The first hour or two was the busiest, as it seemed that local book sellers came to buy as much as they could. They knew what they wanted and would dump them into boxes. The first day each book was a dollar and then the second day they were fifty cents, if I remember correctly. It seems that the paperbacks were sold for less than the hardbacks.

Recently, the Library has begun a continuous book sale. A stand of books are always for sale near the Circulation Desk. I have heard that it is going rather well. I frequently see people looking at the books available.

Arrrrgh! Come to the Library!

originally uploaded by Ref & Ins.
A year ago we had a theme of finding buried treasure at the Library, so I dressed up as a pirate for the white-tent event. We gave away brochures and pens. I did have to almost grab people to get their attention. Most students thought it was fun, and a few wanted to take pictures with me.

We rented the hat, boots, and shirt from a local rental place, but most of the paraphernalia came from Library colleagues. We bought the eye patch and the parrot from the rental place.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo-Sharing Assignments for the Classroom

Using Flickr & Picasa in the Classroom

Telling Stories
Students in an English class could take or find five photos of their choice and write a story about those five photos. Photos could be uploaded to a photo-sharing site, tagged, and linked to a blog with the story. The photos can also be posted to the blog.

History or Art Classes
Have students take five photos of different buildings around town that represent different architectural styles or historical time periods. Post the photos to a photo-sharing site and tag the photos using terms and ideas from class. Email a link to the teacher, so s/he can view the photos. Teachers can give additional feedback and insight.

Search for Photos Related to Class
Use Picasa Web Albums or Flickr to find images related to class. Encourage students to document their search, so they should tell which photo-sharing site they used, which terms they entered the search box, and the results they got back. Have them identify one image that at first seemed unrelated, but later proved to be relevant. Tell them to explain and/or analyze what happened. Example: I searched for images about “Abraham Lincoln” in Flickr. Naturally, it made sense to find images of Pres. Lincoln in Mt. Rushmore and at the Lincoln Memorial, but a small headstone did not appear relevant. Once I clicked on this image, I saw it was Dred Scott’s headstone. The photo included an explanation of who he was and his impact on American history—that his court case helped Abraham Lincoln win the presidential election.

Take Photos of Things Related to Class
Students in a chemistry class could look for items such as corroded batteries, rusted nails or cars, fizzing alka seltzer, burning matches, etc. With the photos they could also bring questions about how it works. This could be turned into a show-and-tell assignment that each student could do once a semester.
Math and history classes could easily do this as well. Those in math classes could take pictures of cones, cylinders, squares, building, cash registers, computers, leaves, etc. They could highlight some mathematical principle to describe their items. History students could take pictures of plaques, monuments, or statues that help the community remember events or individuals from the past. They could also photograph items owned by family or friends that hearken back to different times: army uniforms, classic cars, wagon wheels, etc.
Much of learning involves language acquisition and understanding how knowledge fits within the larger context of life. The photos prompt students to find images relevant to what they are learning in the classroom. Once they have found or taken photos, they can write or talk about the decisions they made. This can be a mechanism that aids students in developing written, speech, evaluation, and analytical skills.

Use photo sharing to:
• teach students how to search for royalty free photos for project (creative commons licensing in Flickr is great for this!)
• post a picture of the day for students to comment on
• create a montage of photos on a curricular topic
• create an online photo journal with students to capture a field trip or special event
See this wiki.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Possible Assignments That Use Social Bookmarks

Using Social Bookmarking in the Classroom

Applying the CRAAP Test
Give an assignment to students, asking them to search online to answer a question about United States history (or whatever topic you choose). They might use Google, Yahoo, or any search engine of their choice. Have students create a Delicious account. Tell students to bookmark websites they feel will help them with their research. Assign students to groups of two or three and have the students look at the websites their classmates found, using the Delicious application. They could use the CRAAP Test to determine whether or not the websites were good ones: This activity develops evaluation skills and invites students to be more critical of websites.

Search with Delicious
Invite students to search within Delicious ( In a history class, they might search “civil war.” They would then find websites that others had marked as bookmarks. Remember that the more a website is bookmarked, the greater its chances of being a reliable or useful site.

Worksheets with Delicious
Let students find answers to questions on a handout through the websites you have bookmarked and tagged. Bookmarks can be grouped into “Bundles,” so hints and reference to particular “Bundles” may assist students as they navigate your bookmarks to answer the questions on the handout. It is possible to create Delicious accounts specific to a class and separate from personal accounts. As far as I know, nobody has been limited in the number of Delicious accounts they create.

Find Five Websites for Your Project
Tell students to look for five websites that would be good for a particular research assignment. Then ask them to send these websites to your Delicious account. Do this by including the following tag: for:(+ account name.) Ex: for:sjardine. The saved websites go to your Delicious Inbox, identifying from whom they came.