Monday, December 19, 2011

Learning Express Library additions: NCLEX and Praxis

Learning Express Library is adding new licensing and certification exams (among other things) in 2012. Some of the more useful ones for CU students are NCLEX-RN Practice Exams and Praxis II PLT tests for grades K-6, 5-9, and 7-12. They are also adding more Praxis I PPST Practice Exams. Also on the roster are more eBooks, some of which will cover the NCLEX and Praxis I exam. The exact date of these additions has not yet been announced, but we'll try to keep you posted! To find out more about Learning Express Library, check out our posting on it from the Database of the Week series.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We've survived another semester! The Vise Library staff would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. Here are our hours during the break (starting today):

Monday-Friday- 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday- Closed

We'll be closed on the following days:
Fri. Dec. 23
Mon. Dec. 26
Fri. Dec. 30
Mon. Jan. 2

Spring semester hours will begin Sun. Jan. 8. Also remember, if the university opens late or closes due to inclement weather, the library may do so as well.

See you in January!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Database of the Week: Points of View

This week's database is Points of View Reference Center, which is a full text database that provides a series of essays presenting multiple sides of current issues. According to the product's website, the database provides more than 280 topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point (argument), counterpoint (opposing arguments), and Critical Thinking Guide.

There are a few different ways to find information about a topic. The first is to conduct a search in the search box at the top of the homepage. This is a basic search. The next way to find information is to use the advanced search link at the top of the homepage. This will allow users to search for topics and narrow results based on characteristics such as document type, date range, and whether or not the results are peer-reviewed. The final way to find information is to use the tabs provided on the homepage and browse by category or view all topics. The topical browsing is a good way to find out available information on a topic that interests you.

Once you have selected a topic, you will be taken to another tabbed page that has different types of results. The topic you choose may not have every type of results, but many of them have essays, periodicals, newspapers, books, radio & TV news transcripts, primary source documents, and images. Some topics also have related charts and graphs that can be used as visual aids in presentations.

Along with presenting essays about current issues, Points of View also offers research guides on topics such as creating an essay outline, writing a topic sentence, and evaluating a website. These short research guides are great for anyone looking for introductory information or for those who simply need a refresher over the topics. As with all of our databases, check the database's help files if you need more information or ask a librarian for help. Next week's database of the week (and final one in the series) will be Tell Me More.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Check It the Vise Library: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

With exams, term papers, and stressful holidays on the horizon, it's the perfect time of the year for a fun, easy read. Mindy Kaling's new memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) fits the bill.

Kaling, a comedy writer who plays gossipy Kelly Kapoor on The Office, writes about topics ranging to her chubby pre-teen years (in a section of the book titled "I Forget Nothing: A Sensitive Kid Looks Back"), her road to success as a comedy writer (she co-wrote a successful played called "Matt and Ben" about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's fictional exploits), her work at The Office, and random musings, such as why chest hair on men is sexy and her favorite revenge fantasies while jogging.

This hodgepodge of thoughts, memories, and lists makes for an easy read--and that's not an insult! Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a great book to read while drinking your morning coffee, curled up in bed before you go to sleep, or during commercials while watching syndicated television. It's an overall pleasant--but not too challenging--experience.

Comparisons to Tina Fey's recent memoir, Bossypants, are inevitable. Admittedly, Kaling's memoir is not as substantial or in-depth as Fey's. But I would argue that Kaling is not (yet) the icon that Fey is in the comedy world. As talented as she is, Kaling is still young, and I believe she has a lot more to experience and, eventually, write down and publish for our amusement.

This Thanksgiving break, if family drama and the looming specter of 15 page term papers is dragging you down, I strongly advise hiding out in your room (or the bathtub, if you share a room with someone) with a cup of hot chocolate and a copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? It's the perfect escape.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Database of the Week: Newsbank

This week's database is Newsbank, a database that includes access to the full-text of over 1,000 newspapers from around the world and is updated daily. The Vise Library's subscription does not cover 1,000 titles but still has access to content from titles such as Newsweek and Popular Science.

Newsbank has useful features beyond the access to newspaper and magazine titles. On the homepage, users will find a current events section that has a link to "hot topics" such as the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 2012 Presidential election. This section provides students with research questions on these topics to help them formulate their own research questions. This section also provides search terms so students can do research about these topics in other databases.

Another useful feature of Newsbank is the special reports section on the homepage. According to the website, the special reports section focuses on topics of current interest and new information is added daily. Once users choose a topic from the special reports section, they are taken to a page that has articles, background data, videos, images, maps, search topics, and websites. This is a great resource for finding a lot of information about a topic in one place.

Newsbank also has a year in review section, which is found on the special reports page. The year in review has information about business and economics, government and politics, people, natural disasters, social and legal issues, military, obituaries, sports, science, technology, health, the environment, education, the arts, and literature. Stories in this section have been compiled from national and international newspapers. The year in review section would be a great resource for current events classes or anyone interested in remembering the major events that happened during the prior year.

Newsbank differs from some of the previous database of the week selections because there is not a specific way to search by keyword or topic. This is another database where it is better to browse and see what comes up, rather than trying to start with a topic in mind. It's a good starting point for research and users can find a lot of information about current topics. Next week, we'll talk about Points of View.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Database of the Week: Learning Express Library

This week's database of the week is Learning Express Library. This database is an online platform of practice tests, exercises, and tutorial courses designed to help students and adults succeed on academic or licensing tests. Learning Express Library has a variety of practice tests, including graduate school entrance exams such as the GRE, LSAT, and MAT. There are also licensure practice tests for fields such as education and law enforcement.

Learning Express Library also offers resources that help with basic academic skills. For example, in the "college students" section, there are resources to improve skills in public speaking, writing and grammar, math, science, and reading comprehension. Additionally, there is a section for improving job search and workplace skills, which includes resources on interviewing, business writing, and creating cover letters and resumes.

Other sections include resources for elementary, middle school, high school students, and adults. These sections are great for brushing up on forgotten knowledge, helping children with homework, or even for creating lesson plans.

To access the resources in Learning Express Library, users must create a free account. In order to create an account, click on the "login" link in the upper right corner of the page. This will lead you to a page to create a new user account. Once you've created an account, you can save tests, courses, and eBooks in an area called "My Center". You will also be able to receive customized score reports with an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses and personalized recommendations of how you can improve your test scores.

The best way to learn about Learning Express Library is to create an account and start looking at resources. This posting just scratched the surface of everything that is available on the database! For more information about what Learning Express Library offers, visit their help page. Next week, we'll look at Newsbank, a database with access to over 1,000 newspapers from around the world.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Database of the Week: Tell Me More

Welcome to the last Database of the Week series! This week we're going to cover Tell Me More, which is a language learning database that focuses on all major areas of language learning- speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. Tell Me More offers the following languages : English (ESL/ESOL), Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Dutch.  

When users sign up for an account, they will be taken through an instructional video that gets them started on how to use the database. Once you have viewed the video, you will then select what language you want to learn and your level of familiarity with the language (complete beginner, beginner, intermediate, or advanced). The next step is to begin your lessons, called learning paths. The learning paths involve choosing responses to statements and pronunciation exercises (you will need a microphone for this portion). As you begin to go through the learning paths, the database will keep statistics of what you are learning, the different skills you practice, and how much time you spend on the learning paths. 

The database also features a section of resources about the language you are trying to learn. There are language explanations, verb conjugations, and a glossary. There is also information about the culture in which your language is spoken and an atlas to see the places where the language is spoken. 

Tell Me More is a great way to learn a new language since users have to work on pronunciation, which helps them more than simply listening to the language being spoken. There are plans for the database to add Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese as well. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Database of the Week: HeritageQuest Online

This week's database is HeritageQuest Online. HeritageQuest Online is a database that contains a collection of six core data sets that has its own features and rules about how searches can be formatted. Let's look at each data set and its different rules.

The first set is the U.S. Federal Censuses Collection. This set features the original images of every existing federal census in the United States, from 1790 through 1930. There are name indexes for many decades, and the collection covers more than 140 million names. This collection does not support the use of Boolean operators in searches, so users couldn't do a search using connectors such as "and", "not", and "or". Searches do not have to be case sensitive, though, meaning a search for 'George' is read the same way as a search for 'george'.

The second set is the Books Collection. This set includes more than 7 million digitized page images from over 28,000 family histories, local histories, and other books. The titles have been digitized from HeritageQuest's microform collections, as well as from the American Antiquarian Society. Users can search with Boolean operators in this collection. Users can also use wildcard characters in their searches. One wildcard character is the asterisk (*), which matches zero or more characters. For example, a search on 'Sam*' will give results that include 'Sam', 'Samantha'. 'Samuel', etc. Another wildcard character is the question mark (?), which will replace a single character. A search on 'Eli?abeth' will bring back results on 'Elisabeth' and 'Elizabeth'.

The third set is the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). PERSI is published by the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library. It is considered the most comprehensive index of genealogy and local history periodicals and contains more than 2 million records covering titles published around the world since 1800. PERSI supports the use of Boolean operators to find multiple terms. Users can also utilize double quotes around a phrase ("like this") to search for an exact phrase.

The fourth set is the Revolutionary War Records Collection. This set contains original images from pension and bounty land warrant application files, which help to identify more than 80,000 American Army, Navy, and Marine officers and enlisted men from the Revolutionary War era. This set does not support the use of Boolean operators, but it does allow users to use the asterisk wildcard character in searches. This set also does not require searches to be case sensitive.

The fifth set is the Freedman's Bank Records Collection. This set has more than 480,000 names of bank applicants, their dependents, and heirs from 1865-1874. This particular collection can help those who want to trace African American ancestors prior to and immediately after the Civil War. This set does not support the use of Boolean operators but does allow asterisks and question marks to be used as wildcard characters, as listed in the Books Collection paragraph. This set also uses a tool called Soundex searching. Soundex searching is a system of indexing names by the way they sound rather than how they are spelled. So, a Soundex search for 'Smith' would return results of 'Smith', 'Smyth', 'Smitty', and perhaps other closely related names. This is a good tool for searchers who are not sure how to spell a particular name.

The sixth set is the LexisNexis U.S. Serial Set. This set records the memorials, petitions, and private relief actions made to the U.S. Congress, back to 1789 through 1969. There are more than 480,000 pages of information available in this set. This set does support the use of Boolean operators and the asterisk and question mark wildcard characters.

HeritageQuest Online is a terrific database for anyone interested in conducting genealogical research. This database could also be used by anyone who needs historical primary resources. For more information about this database, please visit the HeritageQuest Online info page, which also contains the descriptions of the sets that were used in this blog posting. Next week's database is Learning Express Library, which features practice tests and skill-building courses.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Database of the Week: A-Z Resource Locator

Our first selection for the Database of the Week series is EBSCO's A-to-Z Resource Locator. According to the description on the Articles and Databases page of the Vise Library website, this database is "an alphabetic listing tool for locating the library's electronic resources." The description also states that it is "easy to navigate and provides access to the library's online titles including e-journals and individual articles in full-text databases."

That's clear enough, right? 

Okay, maybe not. For those of you who don't know what that means, let's break it down for you. Basically A-to-Z has two main purposes. The first is to show users the electronic periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers, etc) that the library has access to, including what databases they're located in and the dates we have. For example, if you need to find an article from the journal Nursing News, you could do a search for the title, and then A-to-Z would show you every database the journal is located in and what dates we have access to. Then, just click on a database name to go to it and see the journal articles.

Title Search Screen in A-to-Z

List of databases where journal is located

The second way you can use A-to-Z is to find the full-text of an article. This is useful if you've found a citation in another database or even somewhere online and want to be able to read the full text without having to pay for it. To find full-text articles, do a title search for the journal that the article is in. As with a title search, if the library has access to the journal, you'll see a list of the databases it's available in and what dates we have. Choose a database, then choose the date you need, and that should bring you to the article.

Available issues of Nursing News in CINAHL

Even though A-to-Z is a wonderful resource, there will still be times when we won't have access to certain periodicals or the full text of some articles. In that case, you can use Interlibrary Loan to borrow the article from another library, or talk to a librarian about finding similar articles.

Want to learn more about A-to-Z? EBSCO offers free training for it, or you can contact a librarian for a training session. Next week's database will be Heritage Quest, which is a great resource for finding census records.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Database of the Week Series

If you've ever attended a library instruction session, chances are you've seen a librarian talk about one of the databases, such as ProQuest Central, GreenFILE, or CINAHL Plus. Although those databases are fantastic, they are just a few of the resources that the library has. We've got databases that will help you learn another language, study for graduate school entrance exams, and find the full text of an article citation. In order to help library users know what kinds of resources we have, we've decided to profile some of these lesser known databases each week for the rest of the semester.

Every Tuesday, we'll profile a different database and show some ways it can be used by students, faculty, and staff members. We'll also give a few helpful hints to help you learn how to use them. This series will cover broad, non-subject specific databases, but we may focus on subject specific databases in the spring.

Our first "database of the week" will be A-Z Resource Locator, which is a great tool for locating the library's electronic resources, so be sure to come back next week to learn about it!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Recap of Amanda Little's Presentation

Amanda Little, author of this year’s iRead campus reading program selection Power Trip:  America’s Love Affair with Energy, visited Cumberland University on September 27, 2011 and gave a talk about the issues discussed in her book.   Her goal is to make the case that the story of energy in America is the most exciting, important and hopeful story of our time . . . .”  In her talk she addressed four questions:  What’s the role of energy in our lives? How did we develop such an enormous appetite for fossil fuels?  Why are we having such a hard time kicking the habit? Where do we go from here – what are the most promising signs of innovation?

Ms. Little began her presentation with an examination of her home office and concluded “that there was virtually nothing  . . . there that wasn’t there because of fossil fuels.”  The desk was made of plastic, her keyboard was made from petrochemicals, the computer was powered by coal plants and the walls were covered in oil-derived paint.  Even her food, clothing, cosmetics and medicines were refined from petroleum.   Ms. Little stated that “In a single day Americans consume, per capita, nearly 75 percent more oil per day than the people of Japan, and more than double the consumption of the people of Western Europe.”  She went on to compare “our appetite for oil to our appetite for food” and that “Our appetite for petroleum has spawned a kind of obesity epidemic - one that’s at least twice as severe as our food obesity epidemic – but without conspicuous symptoms . . . .”   Our energy-lavish lifestyles are evidenced by our high consumption of oil. Today 70 percent of Americans travel to work by car and more than 60 percent of us never use public transportation and home energy consumption is almost triple that of Japan. 

Ms. Little explains that she” wanted to get to the bottom of this problem, to understand how we as a nation [became] so thoroughly hooked on fossil fuels.”  Her book, Power Trip, was a journey in search of an answer to this question.  The book chronicles her travels to a deep sea oil rig, Kansas cornfields, the Pentagon, NASCAR speedways, New York City’s electrical grid, a plastic surgery operating room.  She also investigated innovations in green technology such as solar energy, wind turbines, electric cars, super crops, and green homes.

Prior to 1950 the United States was producing over 50 percent of the world’s oil, but the economic boom of post WWII created a greater demand for more oil than U.S. wells could produce.  The myth of our unlimited supply of oil was perpetuated by film and TV shows such as Giant, Dallas, the Beverly Hillbillies, and There will be Blood.”  We still function in this myth even though 60 percent of all oil consumed in the U.S. is imported.

Throughout the 20th century it was considered patriotic to consume energy and men, such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Eisenhower and FDR, led us to fossil-fuel dependence, yet they are considered American heroes.  “The quintessential American lifestyle was, by definition, and energy-lavish lifestyle,” which is still alive today in our culture with “NASCAR,  McMansions, monster trucks, and private jets.” The author also examined the military’s use of oil.  The Pentagon distributes approximately 1.5 million gallons of fuel every day.

Today we have geopolitical constraints on our energy supplies with grave environmental consequences. To satisfy our energy habit we are quickly using up our land-based oil reserves and are increasing our off-shore drilling.   Oil companies expect to expand off shore drilling within the next ten years and dramatically increase the number of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico

Energy made America a super power, but this source of strength is now a weakness.  Ms. Little believes that our ingenuity will prevail and that we can rebuild our energy landscape. This comeback of clean green energy “will be the biggest job-creation engine of the next century.”  It is already happening.   One example she gave was Wal-Mart which has cut down on high fuel costs by selling locally grown fruits and vegetables.   “It has pledged to be fossil-fuel-free, carbon neutral company by 2050.” 

We can all become leaner by doing the following; use efficient lighting, insulate our homes, use energy efficient appliances, observe no meat days as growing grain for livestock takes fossil fuels.  Grow your own foods and buy local produce, recycle, drive less, keep tires inflated to get better gas mileage and telecommute when possible.  The author advocates for labels to be placed on items that show how much energy was used in its production.  She states that part of the reason we have trouble slimming down our energy lifestyles is that we can’t easily measure our consumption.

Ms. Little discussed a South Park episode which poked fun at environmentalists by declaring that “Prius drivers are emitting toxic levels of smug.”  The environmental movement needs to be part of everyone’s concern; it is not just for the elite.  She described a visit with a woman in New Orleans, Melba Leggett, who lives in an energy efficient home which actually produces electricity through solar cells and geothermal technology. Hybrid cars and energy efficient homes are possible for ordinary people.

Ms. Little concluded her remarks with observations on the environmental movement which has a new generation of investors creating green technology jobs through innovations in wind power and solar energy. A new mantra is replacing “Drill baby Drill,” with “Shine, baby, shine,” and “Spin, baby, spin.”

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend!

Monday, September 26, 2011

iRead - Power Trip author here tomorrow!

Don't forget that Amanda Little, author of this year's iRead book Power Trip, will be here at CU tomorrow. Her presentation will be in the Heydel Fine Arts Center from 12:30- 1:20, and she'll be doing a book signing there from 1:30-2:00. The event is free for all Cumberland students, faculty, and staff members. For more information about Amanda Little or Power Trip, visit her website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art Exhibit in Vise Library: Ceramic Works by Chase Gamblin

Ceramic Works by Chase Gamblin

Chase Gamblin, adjunct professor in Cumberland University’s School of Music and the Arts, works primarily with wheel thrown parts, which he then assembles into vessel forms. He uses the wood firing process not only as a means to create surface variation on his works, but also for its ritualistic characteristics. Dualities occur though out the works. His pieces are whimsical and elegant yet hard and course: they have small and large proportions, and are both masculine and feminine. “I use the thrown vessel because I feel that everyone can relate to it in some way. Whether is be a ceramic mug to drink the morning coffee or an urn that holds the ashes of a loved one, clay is a part of everyone’s experience.

Gamblin started ceramics in southern Illinois in 2001. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN in 2007. He then studied and received his Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. During his MFA studies, Gamblin traveled overseas for residencies, the first in Vicchio, Italy in 2008 and the second in Sanbao, China in 2009. After graduating from Texas Tech University, Gamblin worked a yearlong residency at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks where he also served as an adjunct professor, teaching ceramic courses.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New JSTOR resources available

JSTOR announced on September 6 that they were making journal content published in JSTOR prior to 1923 in the United States and prior to 1870 elsewhere available to anyone. According to a statement from JSTOR, this "early journal content" includes "discourse and scholarship in the arts and humanities, economics and politics, and in mathematics and other sciences." It will include nearly 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals. The content is being released on a rolling basis starting today. For more information about the content or how to access it, visit JSTOR's website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Paper mosaic exhibit in Vise Library

Paper Mosaics

by Heloise Shilstat

Vise Library

August 15 – October 15, 2011

Heloise Shilstat grew up in Manchester, Tennessee and now lives in Murfreesboro. Her paper mosaics were created from cut or torn magazine paper, glued onto foam core board. She states, “I started making these pictures in 2006 after reading that this technique is sometimes used to teach art students to recognize subtleties in shading. Ideas for my pictures usually come from nature. In Manchester, we lived on the Little Duck River; now I live in the woods on the East Fork of the Stones River in Rutherford County. My quilt pictures were inspired by the quilts made by a Rutherford County woman.” Ms. Shilstat is a member of the Murfreesboro Art League and the Stones River Craft Association.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome back!

Hello, and welcome back (or welcome for the first time) to Cumberland! We're nearly a week into the fall semester, and there are a few things we'd like to share with you that may make life a little bit easier...

1. The IT Helpdesk is only in the library Monday-Wednesday from around 9:30-12:30.

2. The IT office is located in Labry Hall on the bottom floor, in the room on the left before the first computer lab.

3. If you are having trouble accessing your CAMS, Blackboard, and/or email accounts, try logging in with your first and middle initials, last name, and last 2 digits of your Social Security Number as your username, and your first and last initial (CAPITALIZED) and last 6 digits of your Social Security Number as your password. So, for example, if your name was Pat D. Jones, and your Social Security Number was 123-44-5566, your username would be pdjones66, and your password would be PJ445566. Easy enough, right? ;-p

If you have IT problems, submit a Helpdesk request through this link. You can find instructions on how to use the system here.

We'll do anything we can to help with these issues, so contact us if you need further assistance. We hope everyone has a great year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Vise Library's new blog!

Welcome to the Vise Library's new blog. We've blogged about all of our iRead books and programs (A Whole New Mind, Three Cups of Tea, Stealing Buddha's Dinner, and Power Trip), but this is the first blog we've had that is dedicated to everything going on in the library. We will be posting about upcoming events (including anything related to iRead), programs, changes within the library, and general news about the library and university. If you have any questions about anything you read about or want to suggest a topic for a blog entry, contact us by email at, by phone at 615-547-1299, through Facebook or Twitter, or come by the library and talk to us in person.