Encouraging college students to use the library




Classes have started at colleges and universities. Some time at the beginning of every term, academic librarians conduct tours of the library and visit classes to offer library instruction. Or perhaps meet them in the library’s own classrooms. What are they trying to accomplish?¬†What happens when they don’t get through to students? The results can be comical. They also help perpetuate a cycle of ignorance. After all, some students who never catch on graduate anyway. And some of them wind up teaching somewhere. … Continue reading






Government websites you should know about: Medline Plus




Medline Plus is a database made available by the National Library of Medicine. Most library databases require a subscription that only libraries can afford to pay. Because Medline Plus originates from the federal government, it is free. As the name implies, it is something called Medline with additional features. Medline itself is the online version of Index Medicus. For anyone who remembers having to use Reader’s Guide, Index Medicus was one of a number of similar reference serials for specialists. Now anyone can use it and understand it. … Continue reading






USFAS: United States Federal Alphabet Soup




I was poking around the federal government’s web portal looking for something to explore when I noticed “Abbreviations and Acronyms.” That looked interesting. The link took me off site to something called GovSpeak, a library guide posted by the University of California at San Diego. So this post is not, as I intended, a look at the information made available by various agencies of the federal government. Instead it highlights the equally valuable resources provided by university libraries. … Continue reading






Government web sites you should know about: consumer issues




Various offices of the federal government offer a wealth of information that the public can use. It seems good to describe some of them here from time to time. This first installment looks at three web sites devoted to various consumer issues. Federal Trade Commission The FTC’s Consumer Information page has separate tabs for information on Money & Credit Homes & Mortgages Health & Fitness Jobs & Making Money Privacy & Identity It also offers a video/media library. There you’ll find not only videos, but audio tips and games. Quite a bit of the content deals with scams and consumer … Continue reading






Library robots




Libraries have always been at the forefront of adopting new technology, but their innovations usually have something to do with organizing and retrieving information. The online library catalog is a good example. Now some libraries are borrowing technology from manufacturing: robots that shelve and retrieve physical books. It may come as a surprise to some people that printed books are still such a big deal to academic libraries. After all, much of formerly huge reference collections has been replaced by online databases. Long runs of many important journals and other periodicals are likewise available as full text online. Ebooks have … Continue reading