Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top 10 Tuesday – New Year’s Resolutions

It's the final Tuesday of 2008! Wow how time flies! New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past and forward to the coming year. Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I do every year…and sometimes I do okay at keeping them. From about.com here are the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions. Did your New Year resolutions make their list?

  1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
  2. Fit in Fitness
  3. Tame the Bulge
  4. Quit Smoking
  5. Enjoy Life More
  6. Quit Drinking
  7. Get Out of Debt
  8. Learn Something New
  9. Help Others
  10. Get Organized

Some of these really hit the mark! If you have a resolution, please post a comment and share your idea.

Good luck with your resolutions and I hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday – All I want for Christmas…

It's Tuesday – so I just had to give you a Top Ten list!

What do you want for Christmas? Have you been nice this year? From HispanicBusiness.com here is the 10 Most Wanted Gifts for Christmas!

  • Digital camera
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Apple IPod Touch
  • Caster Board
  • Apple iPhone
  • Universal remote
  • Hannah Montana toys
  • Lamaze toys
  • Robot dog
  • LCD TV

Agree/disagree? I'm all about electronic toys! A camera and HDTV are on my list. What's on yours? Post a comment and let us know.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! See you next year!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Textbooks For Less

BookFinder.com searches "the best buys from among 150 million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books for sale"-- including textbooks. Shipping is automatically included in the prices. You can also find the highest buyback price available for your textbook by entering its ISBN.

AddAll.com also scours the internet for new and used books for sale.

Happy hunting!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Just in case you didn’t make it to the library to see the Christmas tree display here it is!

The Acquisitions department created their tree using Kay Wiley's collection of ladybugs. Library Administration created a "princess" tree. The Cataloging/Processing area decorated their tree with miniature books, complete with call numbers and barcodes, pockets, spiral binder combs, printer paper, and created a cataloging record for the tree!

Circulation and ILL decorated their tree to honor all of our United States armed forces, using yellow ribbons, photos, and insignia from each branch. Library Environmental Services created a lovely traditional tree with glass balls and tinsel.

The Periodicals tree was decorated with mock magazine covers featuring all of the periodicals staff. The Reference staff used glass balls, mardi gras beads, unique Christmas decorations, and books. The Special Services area created their tree using Tarleton purple and mini books. And last but not least, Systems and Web Services created their tree using various computer parts, with a keyboard piece as a tree skirt!

We have decorated the little trees several times in the past and it is always a fun thing for our departments and staff to do! The first time we decorated the little trees for the display case was in the 1980's!

We hope you have a happy and safe holiday! See you next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday - Christmas Songs

It's Tuesday – that means a Top Ten list! Sorry this was supposed to automatically post last week while I was away on vacation. I decided to go ahead and post it this week. I hope someone is still reading the blog and enjoys Contactmusic.com's list of top ten Christmas Songs.

  1. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  2. Do They Know It's Christmas Time - Band Aid
  3. The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
  4. Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
  5. Merry Christmas Everybody - Slade
  6. Winter Wonderland - Doris Day
  7. Last Christmas - Wham!
  8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow - Dean Martin
  9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Tony Bennett, Toni Braxton and The Carpenters have all recorded terrific versions of this winter warmer but the late Rosemary Clooney nailed it.
  10. Peace On Earth/Peace On Earth - Bing Crosby + David Bowie

I think I have all of these songs somewhere in my music collection. Come by the office and give a listen.

I hope everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Congratulations Graduates!!

We are all very proud of your accomplishments!!

Now that you’re preparing for job interviews, here are some helpful tips:

  • Match your skills to the job - you should know in advance how well you qualify for the job.
  • Plan what you are going to say - Try to have some stories about your work experience that illustrate your skills, experience, and education.
  • Create a checklist - Plan a “things to do” list.
  • Be conscious of your behavior and communication - Display confidence through your posture, dress, walk, energy, and eye contact.

Click here to read more interviewing tips from iseek.org.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NBC Nightly News: Libraries offer free relief from tough times

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

What are your plans for Christmas break? Our library namesake, Dr. Dick Smith, traveled over Christmas break in 1954. The December 14, 1954 JTAC stated:

“Dr. Dick Smith, head of the department of social science, will leave from Dallas Sunday by plane. He will fly to Washington, D.C., where he plans to spend a day studying the pictures at the National Gallery of Art. He then plans to travel to the University of Virginia to visit friends. Following this, he will fly to Boston, spend one day at Walpole visiting friends, and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas at Boston and Cambridge. Christmas afternoon he will go to New York City where he plans to spend a week seeing shows and attending concerts. Among the shows Dr. Smith will see are “Quadrille,” a play starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontain, “Teahouse of the August Moon,” and “ The boyfriend,” and pajama Game,” both musicals. He is going to attend “any concerts I can get tickets for.” He will return to Stephenville Jan. 1.”

Hope you have great plans and they include some R & R before the spring semester begins!

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Warehouse to Our House - Part 5

How items are added to the Dick Smith Library Collection
Part 5 - Processing

Items newly added to the collection come over to processing from cataloging with a barcode on them, but they are not quite ready to be checked out. Cataloging Assistant Sharon Alexander and three student workers have a number of steps to go through to prepare items for the shelves.

The first step in processing these items is to create a call number label (also called a spine label) using InfoWorks labeling software. For processing purposes, the call number information comes from inside the book on the page after the title page where it was written by Catalog Librarian Melissa Cookson

Once the call number label is created, it is affixed to the item, usually one inch above the bottom of the spine. If the spine is not wide enough, the label is placed in the top left-hand corner of the front of the item. Then the item is stamped in various locations with the “Tarleton State University-Dick Smith Library” property stamp.

After that, the pocket that has been traveling with the item since receiving is date-stamped with the current date. Reference items don’t have pockets (since they can’t be checked out); instead they have “For Reference Only” stickers, and these are also date-stamped. The pocket/reference sticker is affixed to the inside front cover of the item, except for items with dust jackets, where it goes on the fly leaf (the front of the book before the title page, opposite the inside front cover) instead. It should be positioned so as not to cover up any information if possible – sometimes the fly leaf or inside cover have maps or illustrations. Sometimes this means it has to go to the end sheet (the back of the book before the back inside cover), or even somewhere else if the end sheet has important information.

Protective book covers are then attached to paperbacks and books with dust jackets. Paperbacks are protected with an adhesive plastic cover that also adds strength and stability to the book. The dust jacket is protected with a polyester film layer which is taped to the front and back of the book with acid-free book tape. Books without dust jackets and other items (such as DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks) have a transparent label placed over the call number label to protect it.

When the item has received the proper protection, the next step is to use Sirsi Workflows, our integrated library system (the software that drives our circulation and catalog systems) to change the current and home location of the item from “In Process” to the appropriate department where the item “lives” (Stacks on the third floor, Reference or Government Documents on the main floor, or the various collections on the lower level). The “current” location changes when the item is checked out – but that will be covered in a post on circulation later!

A “FINISHED” sign is placed on top of the cart of completed items for Assistant Director of Monographs and Technical Services Glenda Stone to review. Then they are taken to the various locations in the library to be shelved for our patrons to enjoy. New items for the Stacks on the third floor are displayed temporarily in a new book display on the main floor, near the Library Instruction Classroom.

[This concludes the series on how items are added to the library's collection. Wednesday blog posts next semester will feature circulation, periodicals, book repairs, systems, and other library departments.]

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cool Websites and Tools (edition #199)

If you're interested in learning about online tools, makeuseof.com offers lists, links, descriptions, reviews and user comments to help you choose tools that fit your needs. In addition, posts like "Cool Websites and Tools" bring the information together in useful lists like the ones posted in edition #199 below.

All listed websites are FREE (or come with a decent free account option).

  1. AwayFind - Make sure you receive urgent emails when you are offline or on vacation. AwayFind gives you a custom form that people can use to reach you via SMS when you’re not accessible via regular emails. Read more: AwayFind - Receive Urgent Emails While Offline Or On Vacation.
  2. Cornell Notes Generator - Generate printable note taking sheets. You can customize and make sheets ruled, graph style or have them blank. Moreover there are options to add name, subject, date, etc. Read more: PDF Notes Generator - Print Sheets for Note Taking.
  3. DeadlineApp - Simple reminder tool. Set up reminders from the site or schedule reminders via email, instant messenger or mobile phone. Read more: Deadline - The Simplest Tool To Set Up Reminders.
  4. DukaUs - Free group calling service for US and Canada. You can invite up to 5 participants and talk a maximum of 30 minutes per day. Read more: DukaUS - Free Group Calling for US and Canada.
  5. HideLinks - Offers a simple way to mask your private bookmark under a different URL and then password protect it. Read more: HideLinks - Password Protect Your Bookmarks.
  6. NumberZoom - Get info on telemarketers, collection agencies, and other unknown numbers left on your caller ID machine. Read more: NumberZoom - Lookup Unknown Caller IDs.
  7. PiccDrop - Upload, host and even hotlink your images online for free. There are no ads either. Read more: PiccDrop - Host and Hotlink Images Online.
  8. Project Draw - Easy to use online diagram and plan drawing tool. Draw diagrams, floor layouts, network plans, and lots of other stuff. Read more: Project Draw - Draw Plans and Diagrams Online.
  9. Protonotes - This tool comes as a big help for those teams who are working on web development projects. It helps the team members to easily add notes and collaborate on prototypes, no matter where they are in the world. Read more: Protonotes - Collaborate When Working With HTML Prototypes.
  10. Wordpress Theme Generator - Create your own WordPress themes. Easily customize different aspects of your theme such us layout, background color, body size and column dimensions, text style and color etc. Read more: Wordpress Theme Generator.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finding Databases for your Article Search

Databases are online collections of articles, reviews and other materials from newspapers, magazines, conference proceedings, academic journals and other research materials. They are usually organized by date, title, author, periodical title, subject and other categories. They're a great place to go for articles and other research materials. Let's say you have a paper due in a few weeks and you need some journal articles. Not sure where to begin? Here are some ideas:

1. You might try a general database like Academic Search Complete (from the library homepage: go to Databases then click on A-Z Databases and Academic Search Complete).

2. Search for articles from multiple journals about your discipline. From our homepage go to Help->Research Guides(or try Subject Specific Databases) to find links to database descriptions and internet resources.

3. Search a specific periodical (magazine/journal/newspaper) for articles about your discipline. From the library homepage, go to Databases then Online Periodicals By Title. Search by Title or Category. For example, searching the word “psychology” under Title and Contains brings up 284 journals.

Still feeling unsure? You're not alone; experienced researchers also get stumped from time to time.

4. Stop by the Information Desk, call us at (254) 968-9249 or e-mail us at reference@tarleton.edu. Faculty members can schedule a database instruction session with a librarian to familiarize themselves and/or their students with what's available.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We have had the annual holiday lighting of campus, and the annual Holiday Showcase arts and crafts show is tomorrow in the Thompson Student Center ballroom. Things haven’t changed too much. The December 17, 1957 J-TAC stated:

“Christmas Decorations Adorn TSC Campus. The Christmas season found its’ way into the Tarleton State Camps last week over the campus. A lighted multi-color decoration was placed above the east gate entrance, lighted wreath burns each night in the area across from the Dining Hall, and another lighted figure is above the entrance to the Home Economics Building. Decorated Christmas trees are in the parlor of the Girls’ Dormitory, entrance to the Dining Hall, and the Registrar’s Office. “These decorations really help to create the Christmas spirit,” commented one student.”

Even the girls in the dorm got in the spirit as “Rudolph and Crew” for their 1956 Christmas party!

Check out the cleverly decorated mini-trees in the Dick Smith Library display case!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From Warehouse to Our House - Part 4

How items are added to the Dick Smith Library Collection
Part 4 - Cataloging

Cataloging is a complex and sometimes confusing process. The goal is completeness and consistency, the latter so that one would (ideally) find the same basic information about the same item in whatever library one uses.

Catalog Librarian Melissa Cookson starts by wheeling a cart of newly-acquired items into her office. Most of the items are new additions to our library (rather than additional copies of something we already have, which require less cataloging). If the item is an EXACT match to something already in our collection (a second copy of the same edition, for example), she can skip down to the last step discussed below, adding another item record. If it’s not an exact match, a new bibliographic record must be added.

Melissa works with SmartPort, a part of Sirsi Workflows, our integrated library system (the software that drives our circulation and catalog systems). SmartPort links Workflows with OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), a global, nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization, that provides, among other services, a bibliographic utility for libraries to share catalog records.

Melissa says, “I first do a search (usually on ISBN – International Book Standard Number) for the item. I look for a bibliographic record that is DLC (created/edited by the Library of Congress), has a call number, and matches the item in hand (title, author, publisher, year, edition).” She will try different searches (such as author or title, particularly if the item does not have an ISBN) to find the record that is the best possible match.

If she finds something she can work with, she posts our holding while she’s connected to OCLC through SmartPort. This is what allows you to search WorldCat, an online catalog of libraries worldwide that are members of OCLC, and see that Tarleton State University has the item. Then she captures the record, which loads it into Workflows, either adding it to our catalog system or overlaying a record already there (if one was created during the ordering process). Melissa adds, “If I can’t find something I can work with, then I’ll have to create a new record, either based on one that’s close to what I want, or entirely from scratch. This is a very time-consuming process, but I don’t have to do it often.”

The next step is to edit the local bibliographic record (which is not reflected in the record you see in WorldCat). Melissa checks “just about everything” in the MARC record that was downloaded through SmartPort. MARC is MAchine Readable Cataloging, a standardized format developed by the Library of Congress for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information of a cataloging record. The format facilitates storage, retrieval, and editing of bibliographic records in computerized (automated) library systems. “It’s all very nitpicky,” she says, but it’s important.

She then adds the 590 (a local) field to the record, which includes the date received, vendor, funding source, selector (if applicable), and item cost that were written in the book's gutter across from the copyright page (or, for audiovisual items, on the library pocket that was inserted) during receiving, as well as the barcode number. Two barcodes stickers are added to the item – one to the top right corner of the front cover, and one to the pocket that will be stuck inside the item.

She also writes the call number in the book on the page after the title page (usually – on the library pocket for AV items). The call numbers either come from OCLC or are generated by Melissa for bibliographic records she creates from scratch, sometimes with the help of a free online tool called The Cataloging Calculator. If the item is part of a particular collection (such as curriculum, audiovisuals, local history, or reference,) or of a particular type (CD, DVD, audiobook, teacher resource book, etc.), that becomes part of the beginning of the call number – for example, AV AUDIO for audiobooks, EDUC REF for reference books in the Curriculum Collection, etc.

The last step is to add the item record in Workflows, which will correspond with the barcode (one item record per barcode). Melissa includes the item’s price, barcode, the vendor if it’s Blackwell, and whether or not it’s a new title. She also assigns item type – most things are books, but we also have audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, maps, reference materials, and so on. The home and current location at this point is still INPROCESS. This is “where” the item will show up as being when you check our online catalog. Later the home location will be changed to wherever the item “lives” (Stacks on the third floor, Reference on the main floor, or the various collections on the lower level) – but that will happen in the next step, processing (next week!).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Study Tips

The last week of school! Can you believe it?

Here is a Top Ten list to help you through finals. From the College Lifestyle Blog – Top 10 Study Tips.

  1. Find a quiet area and ditch the distractions.

  2. Love your libraries.

  3. Make a schedule and stick with it until it becomes your routine.

  4. Set aside an hour or two each morning to study.

  5. Review your notes before and after class.

  6. Take a quick break after every 60 minutes of studying.

  7. Avoid "all-nighters."

  8. Snack healthy.

  9. Study in groups.

  10. Don't stress about studying.

Read the entire post to find out how each of these can help you study for finals.
GOOD LUCK on your exams!

Monday, December 1, 2008

34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself

I know, I know. You needed this BEFORE the Thanksgiving holiday, so you could fill your post-prandial idle time with plans and actions for gift-giving!!

Buzz over to Get Rich Slowly's blog DIY Christmas for ideas on MEANINGFUL Christmas presents that won't blow your budget. They may take time, however, so get some seasonal stress relief by getting started. I am hoping someone thinks of me when they see the recipe for Almond Roca!