Friday, January 30, 2009

Wikipedia and Research: What's the big deal?

Wikipedia was [edit]"initially conceived as a feeder project for Nupedia, an earlier (now defunct) project" founded by Jimmy Wales. Its name,suggested by editor-in-chief Larry Sanger, is a combination of the words wiki (which means "fast" or "swift")2 and encyclopedia. 1 (More information).As of this writing, it has over 12 million free articles online in various languages, with more constantly being added. It has created an online kerfuffle in recent years, with many academics and research librarians waxing adamant on its flaws. They may have a point. The ability for anyone (as of right now) to create and edit entries sometimes translates into mistakes,pranks, and propaganda from Fortune 500 companies and politicians.

So, how do college instructors and librarians really feel about Wikipedia?

Many instructors take the middle road, stressing that Wikipedia is, yes, easy-to-use and a good starting point, but that's all. Others take a harder tack: in 2007, for example, one college history department banned citing Wikipedia at all.3 Professors had found numerous errors in the papers of students who used Wikipedia. Many librarians feel that since Wikipedia is not an academic or scholarly resource, it should be avoided for research. Others see the use of Wikipedia as inevitable and incorporate it as a teaching tool in their classes. Wikipedia itself has a page called "Researching With Wikipedia", which lists its own good and bad points, research suggestions, different aspects of the site, and FAQs.

Your professors (and maybe even some librarians!) may have cautioned you about using scholarly resources instead of Wikipedia for your research. But that doesn't mean they don't use it themselves ...well--not for academic research, of course.

(No particular citation style used)
1"History of Wikipedia." Wikipedia. Accessed on 30 January, 2009.
2"Wiki." Ulukau: The Electronic Hawaiian Dictionaries.
3"A History Department Bans Citing Wikipedia." Cohen, Noam.
The New York Times. February 21, 2007. Accessed on 30 January, 2009.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Snowy days on the Tarleton Campus

This house, built in 1917 for Dean Cox, was used until 1923 when the new President’s House, now the Trogdon House, was built. This house was then used as the Senior Girl’s residence. The left side of the image shows a girl's dorm, Lewis Hall, being constructed. The Senior Girl’s residence burned in 1935.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weather and Road Conditions

With the icy weather the past couple days, you might want to bookmark a few of the following websites. Dick Smith Library staff have been updating a number of our selected Internet Resources pages, including our Weather Internet Links. From here you can link to websites to get current weather conditions for Stephenville or other locales (just enter a zip code for the latter).

For road condition updates on state-maintained roads, try this TxDOT/Texas Department of Transportation Road Conditions web page. You can search by any combination of county, road, and/or condition (such as ice/snow, flooding, or construction). There’s also an interactive map available, where you can pan or zoom in for more detail (see the map instructions).

By the way, when the weather warms up, TxDOT also has a great map of spring wildflower and fall foliage sightings.

If you have weather or road condition web sites you like, please tell us in the comments!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – Study Skills

The third Tuesday of the new semester - Wow how time flies! It is time to start that research and hit the books. I wanted to give you this list of Top Ten Study Skills.

Top Ten Tips on Study Skills

  1. Budget your time.
  2. Read everything assigned.
  3. Do all assignments.
  4. Take good notes.
  5. Organize and use your notes.
  6. Find a good place to study. (I recommend the library!)
  7. Take care of yourself.
  8. Minimize distractions. (The upper floor of the Library is a quiet study zone.)
  9. Consider forming a study group or groups. (The library has group study rooms available for use.)
  10. Ask for help.

The reference desk of the Library is staffed with professional librarians who provide personalized service to assist with learning and research needs. You may get help and ask questions in person at the library, by phone at 254-968-9249, by email, or via the web at

Friday, January 23, 2009

Renewing your Tarleton library books online is easy!

Go to the library home page:
Click the Renew items, etc. - (My Account) link

Select: Renew My Materials

Login to your account:
User ID: Leave this box blank
Tarleton UID/UIN Number: Enter your 9-digit TSU ID number
PIN: changeme (Use this PIN if it is the first-time you are accessing your account)

If you have any questions, contact the Circulation Department @ 254-968-9450 or click Forgot Your Pin?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

The January 19, 1954 J-TAC stated that registration for the spring semester would begin at 8 a.m., Monday, February 1, in the library! At that time the library was housed in a portion of the first floor of the Science Building, which is now the Math Building. The recreation hall was across the street from the Science Building in what is now the Administration Annex, directly behind what is now the Howell Education Building. Read this article and discover how different the process was then!
Library in Science Building

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Wordle is a tool you can use to make word clouds for any text you enter (copy and paste, or type). Words that are used more frequently in the text will appear in a larger size. The word cloud will appear with a random color scheme and font, which you can tweak along with the layout.

ReadWriteWeb had a recent post comparing Wordles of Obama’s inaugural address to those of other presidents. I thought it wasn’t really fair to compare Obama’s to Bush’s 2005, post 9/11 address as ReadWriteWeb did, so I did a Wordle of Bush’s 2001 address instead:

And here’s Obama’s:

While Wordle is a lot of fun, it is also a visual way to view and analyze text. Wordle instantly reveals the central points--or overused words--in a document. Try it with your own writings!

[Thanks to Tracy for the idea for this post!]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday - Inauguration

It is a very historic Tuesday - The inauguration of our 44th president. I wanted to put a wonderful 10 top list up...and found that lots of people had already done a better job than I ever could. So I'm giving you a list of 10 sites to view/read about Presidential inaugurations.

They say that President Obama is the 1st president from the internet generation - be sure and check the YouTube, twitter, and blog links below!

1. 10 Weirdest Inauguration Day Blunders
2. Top Ten Inauguration Day Moments
3. Inauguration of the President
4. Presidential Inauguration '09 Fun Facts
5. Inaugural - the 56th presidential
6. Top 10 recipes for Inauguration Day
7. obamainaugural on Twitter
8. YouTube -Presidential Inaugural
9. National Park Service 2009 Inauguration Brochure
10. Presidential Inaugural Committee

Friday, January 16, 2009

What will change everything?

J. Peder Zane, in the News & Observer, January 4, 2009, wrote

"Talk about change was more plentiful in 2008 than loose coins in an old couch.
Despite all the lip-flapping, that place where gods and devils dwell -- the details -- was largely unexplored.

The Obama administration will soon offer its ideas for reviving the economy and reshaping America's foreign policy. But politicians aren't the only ones who can remake the world.

Scientists have at least as much power to transform our lives and history. What "game-changing scientific ideas and developments" do they expect to occur during the next few decades?

That's the question John Brockman, editor of the Web site, posed to about 160 cutting-edge minds in his 11th annual Edge Question. As in years past, they responded with bold, often thrilling, sometimes chilling, answers."

Take a look at what this group has to say--their answers range from engineered body parts to new solar technology to nuclear war to elimination of harmful impulses, even mobile phones---Whew! They are a more optimistic group than I expected.

What do YOU think will change everything? Read all the answers at
THe Edge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Aren’t you glad that this is truly a new year! Tarleton students returning from the holidays in years past returned to something different! The January 14, 1958 JTAC reported:
“New Year’s resolutions have been made and broken, term themes reluctantly finished and turned in (or corrected, as the case may be) and TSC students are now thinking about the approaching final examinations.” Aren’t you glad that you are returning to the beginning of a new semester and not final exams!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The next time you need images for a PowerPoint, try flickrCC. This is a great tool for searching the photo-sharing site Flickr for pictures that are useable under the copyright-friendly Creative Commons licenses. This means flickrCC does the legwork in rounding up pictures you can use for projects, clip art, presentations, bulletin boards, and anything else you can come up with, so long as you give credit to the photographer.

Enter a search term in the box and click “Find”. If you don’t like any of the first 36 photos, click on “more” on the bottom left. If you want to edit (or in any way change) the photo before you reuse it, make sure the “FOR EDITING” box is checked (that’s the default). If you’re going to use the photo for commercial purposes, make sure the “COMMERCIAL” box is checked. Here’s a sample search on the word “library” for photos to edit:

Even better, Peter Shanks of Lithgow, Australia, the developer of flickrCC, has also included features (when you click on the “Edit image: in house” link) that enable you to crop, resize, add text and basic graphics to the image, and then add an attribution mark for the photographer. Here’s an example of a photo from the search above that was cropped from the top, and had descriptive text and the attribution added (The attribution is always put below the photo and becomes part of the image):

Give it a try!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – Most used databases

Welcome back! The first Tuesday of 2009. It's back to school time. You guys did great work last semester. I thought I would start off the New Year by giving you a Top Ten list of the most used electronic databases last year.

Top Ten Most Used Research Databases in 2008

  1. Academic Search Complete - 21,326
  2. JSTOR - 14,409
  3. Ebsco databases – Multi-search - 7,168
  4. Business Source Complete - 7,101
  5. Psychology Journals - 4,961
  6. Lexis-Nexis Academic - 4,457
  7. ERIC - 4,178
  8. Education Research Complete - 3,887
  9. Proquest – Multi-search - 3,454
  10. CINAHL Full Text - 3,429

Our research databases were accessed more 221,605 time by Tarleton students, faculty and staff in 2008. Keep up the hard work!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – Returned Gifts

Welcome back from the holiday! It's Tuesday again. I finally finished having Christmas this past weekend, so it's time to return those gifts. Not really, I love everything I got. However this is the big gift return season. Check out this list from List Universe and see if you can relate.

Top 10 Most Returned Gifts

10. Duplicate Toys
9. Housewares
8. Movies
7. Video Games
6. Music
5. Shoes
4. Spouse-Inappropriate Gifts
3. Clothing
2. Age-Inappropriate Toys
1. Something You Just Plain Didn't Want

With School starting back next week I've got some really good Top Ten's to come. I hope you continue to check out the LOL – Library Online Lounge. Good Luck this semester.