Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 most visited National Parks

I need a vacation! (…don't we all?) I've always had a dream to visit all the National Parks in the U.S. I was doing some research and found a great Top Ten list! Here is data from the National Park Service. These were the 10 most visited National Parks in 2008.

  • Great Smoky Mountains NP - 20,257,688
  • Grand Canyon NP - 4,557,358
  • Yellowstone NP - 3,979,371
  • Olympic NP - 3,835,757
  • Grand Teton NP - 3,829,002
  • Yosemite NP - 3,618,395
  • Hot Springs NP - 3,408,731
  • Hawaii Volcanoes NP - 3,129,404
  • Rocky Mountain NP - 2,914,252
  • Saguaro NP - 2,787,595

I've been to 7 of them! We are so lucky to have such great public lands here in the U.S. Take a minute to think of not just the National Parks, but the National Seashores, Monuments, Historical Sites, etc that we can visit! Post a comment and tell us which National Park Service locations you have visited!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Understand your fellow Americans

Want to know about Americans? The Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives, including family, community, health, finance, work and leisure. The project explores these topics by combining original public opinion survey research with social, economic and demographic data analysis.

It is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take positions on policy issues.
Visit Pew Social and Demographic Trendsto learn a lot about Americans!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Search Engines Worth Checking Out

"Google is the most powerful search engine available, but when it comes to searching for something specific, Google may churn out general results." For more precise searching, a niche-specific search engine can be very useful.

To help us find these specialty search engines, the Hongkiat (Online Tips for Tech Users, Designers, Bloggers) blog has compiled and posted a list of 100+ Alternative Search Engines You Should Know About.

The search engines are grouped according to type, which makes choosing one that much easier. The categories include
  • E-Book & PDF Search Engines
  • Audio/Music Search Engines
  • Video Search Engines
  • RapidShare Search Engines

Happy searching!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Typical Texas Summertime Temperatures are Here!
Of course, air conditioning was not always available on the Tarleton campus. The photo above shows the "new" 1956 library's air conditioning unit - a "new" feature, when most buildings didn't have A/C! The library was one of the earliest buildings on campus to have air conditioning. Bender Hall, a men's dorm, went up in 1953, and even though it was advertised as the most modern in the state, it was not air conditioned, but had attic fams to provide some relief during hot weather. Ferguson Hall opened in the spring of 1959 and was also unairconditioned. A new health center went up in 1959 on the southeast corner of campus and was equipped with air conditioning. A new women's dorm was constructed in 1962, the first to have air conditioning. And, in 1964, the "new" student center (now the Tarleton Center) opened and became the "hub" of campus activities, housing the post office....recreation center....lounge area and snack bar....the Cave for dances and social gatherings....and it had air conditioning! (Guthrie, John Tarleton and His Legacy, p.116-117)
Just think about what it was like to be at Tarleton back then!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 email tips

Its Tuesday again – time for a list! I'm addicted to email. I hate being away from a computer for more than two day. PC magazine has produced a list – 25 golden rules of email. It is really a good list. I have picked my top 10 items for this post. I hope you find this useful.

  • Get a meaningful permanent address – you don't want "hottiemom1980" for life
  • Two different email accounts can be useful – one public and one personal
  • Be careful of the "Reply All" button
  • Subject lines matter – they put the reader and sender on the same page
  • Attach what you promised
  • Don't open attachments or click links you aren't expecting
  • Don't e-mail angry
  • Create a useful signature
  • Avoid confidential information
  • Beware of hoaxes and chain emails

The 25 golden rules of email is a great resource, you should really check out the link above. If you have email tips, please post a comment and share!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Phrase searching and Boolean operators

These search techniques can be used with search engines or library databases.

Phrase searching occurs when you put quotes around a search phrase: "drunk driving". This will search the web (or database) for every instance of these two words in that order.

Boolean operators are the words AND, OR, NOT.

AND narrows searches...for example, "small group" AND decision-making will only find instances with these two results.

OR broadens searches...."small group" OR decision-making will find results with one or both of these results.

NOT...narrows searches by eliminating results..."small group" NOT decision-making.

Images taken from this Tarleton search tutorial.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Teacher Education in Texas

Summer school usually brings public school teachers back to Tarleton to pursue their graduate degrees. However, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the only state supported institutions that offered formal teacher training programs were the University of Texas, Sam Houston, and Prairie View. “These institutions could never hope to train enough teachers to meet the increasing demand. Thus, from 1901 until 1925, seven new normal schools or teachers' colleges, located at Denton, San Marcos, Canyon, Commerce, Alpine, Nacogdoches, and Kingsville, were organized for teacher education”. Still many rural teachers were too far away and could not attend classes.

To address this issue teacher institutes were begun. “The first county teacher institute was held in 1872. County teacher institutes were organized so that all of the teachers in a school district, especially a rural one, would have opportunities to study new educational methods and improve their teaching. The institutes were usually conducted by the county superintendents. Each district, beginning in 1884, was required to hold an annual institute. Later, attendance for all teachers became mandatory. By the early 1900s the state superintendent began to issue suggested outlines of study for county teacher institutes, another move toward statewide uniformity in teacher education. The seeds of modern in-service education programs for teachers can be seen clearly in the county teacher institutes”.

Erath County held teacher institutes each summer so that more teachers in the area could further their education. The institutes were held in various school buildings over the county, including Tarleton. The photo above shows the Erath County Teacher Institute 1914 graduates.

Wow, Tarleton has certainly come a long way in teacher education since the early 1900’s!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flip Video Cameras

What is a Flip Video?

Flip Videos are pocket-sized, battery-operated, portable camcorders with LCD screens, one-touch recording, and digital zoom. They hold up to 60 minutes of TV-quality video on 1GB of built-in memory; no tapes or additional memory cards required (recording time may vary based on recorded content). A built-in USB adapter plugs directly into your computer for easy uploading and sharing of videos (however, you can only do this on your own computer, not a campus public access computer). Built-in software lets you easily e-mail videos, share them on YouTube and Grouper, do very simple editing like trimming the beginning and end of your video, and capture still photos from video. Or, you can watch videos instantly on TV with the included cable.

The Circulation Desk at the Dick Smith Library currently has two Flip Videos available for check out for one week loan (no renewal, and overdue fines are $2 per day). The camera comes in a case with cables and instructions.

What can I do with a Flip Video?

Record, edit, and share videos, just like any other video camera.

Since the camera connects directly to your computer, it’s fast and easy to upload videos to the internet or your hard drive, so Flip Videos could be used for simple video assignments:

- To show before and after.
- To demonstrate a procedure or process.
- To entertain or add a personal touch.

Flip Video Tutorials

Introduction to the Flip Camera by Learnthisthing.com (different model, but the same idea):

How to install Flip Video editing software by Learnthisthing.com

How to upload, organize, and share video by Learnthisthing.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat

Sunday is the official start of summer. That means more hot weather is on the way. I'm not a fan of warm temperatures. Here are some ways you can beat the summer heat!

  • Use a computer at the library
  • Go to Summer School – Tarleton buildings are air conditioned
  • Find a swimming pool
  • Take in a movie
  • Have a snow cone
  • Spend some time shopping
  • Find a river
  • Read a book - @ home or in the library
  • Visit the parks in the evening
  • Run through a water sprinkler

If you have additional ideas how to keep cool, post a comment and share!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Twittering in the classroom

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read each others' updates, known as tweets. Tweets are short text-based posts displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to other users - known as followers - who have subscribed to them.

YouTube video - Twitter in Plain English

In March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest-growing site in the Member Communities category for February 2009. Twitter had a monthly growth of 1382%.

With the appeal of this service, perhaps twitter can find a place in the classroom and improve communication? David Parry at the University of Texas at Dallas discusses his experience using Twitter in the classroom in a January 2008 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

If you want to give it a try, check out this blog post I found at onlinecolleges.net that lists 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the College Classroom for helpful suggestions, such as:

  • Direct Tweet. Professors and students can contact each other through direct Tweets without having to share cell phone numbers.
  • Get to know your classmates. A class Twitter group will help facilitate professors and students getting to know each other, especially if the class is part of a more intimate setting such as a seminar.
  • Collaborate on projects. When working together on projects, set up a group using an app like Tweetworks to facilitate communication between everyone working together.
  • Make announcements. Professors can send out reminders about upcoming tests, project due dates, or any news that needs to be shared via Twitter.
  • Brainstorm. The ability to share ideas as the occur any time and any where creates an excellent opportunity for brainstorming on class topics.
  • Take a poll. Ask student their opinions or get feedback on future projects or topics by using an app like PollDaddy.
  • Share interesting websites. Both professors and students can post interesting websites that are relevant to their class.
  • Practice brevity. English professors can assign stories that must be Tweeted within the 140 character limit to practice writing with succinctness.
  • twittories. Another great English class activity, participate in creating a story where each person can add 140 characters to contribute to the story as a whole.
  • Keep up with politicians. Many politicians are on Twitter. A political science or current events class can get real-time updates from politicians.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tarleton LibX toolbar

Download the Tarleton Libraries LibX toolbar (compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox) to search for articles, library books, and more from any page on the web.

Click on the T icon in the upper left corner of your screen to:
  • Go to the library or university home page
  • Search the catalog or look for e-journals
  • Go to the A-Z database directory
  • Email a librarian for help
  • Renew items online

To the right of the T icon is a search box for e-journals, database articles, or library items.


  • Change drop down option on the right of the search box to "Search Google Scholar."
  • Select one of the drop downs to the left of the box: keyword, author, journal title, or article title. Type in search terms and click on "Search Google Scholar."
  • Narrow your search by adding boxes for more options (click arrow to the right of the box).


  • Change drop down option on the right of the search box to "SFX".
  • Select one of the drop downs to the left of the box: journal title, author or ISBN/ISSN number.
  • Add drop-down search boxes if necessary (click arrow to the right of the box).
  • Change the search option on the right to Search [e-Library OPAC] University Libraries.
  • Search by keyword, title, ISBN, author, subject and/or call number.

Questions? Email us at reference@tarleton.edu or call (254) 968-9249.

Happy hunting!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tarleton’s Women’s Gym

Tarleton’s female population received its own gymnasium and physical education facilities in 1951. The men and women students had shared the original gym since 1924. The finished building was endowed with a basketball court, four badminton courts, two tennis courts, and a volleyball court. It also contained dressing rooms, an equipment room, a classroom, and an office. A swimming pool was installed on the west side of the building for all students. The Girls Physical Education Gymnasium remained in active use until 1977. At that time, the department was moved into the new Wisdom Gym. The pool was filled in four years later, and a concrete basketball court now covers this space. (Guthrie 113-114).

It housed the Intramural Sports offices and various physical education classes were held inside for several years. After the Recreational Sports Center was built and the intramural sports offices moved, it housed Risk Management & Safety. Currently it is being renovated to accommodate, along with Risk Management, the Information Resources Help Desk and Telecommunications, with expected completion in early July.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Search techniques: Truncation.

Truncation is when you shorten a word (or search term) to its root--think of cutting all the branches of a tree until you're left with...well, the trunk.

Truncation works best when you are searching for different aspects of a topic. Let's use Academic Search Complete for this example, as it's a good general database. (When you're ready to get more subject-specific databases, try our Subject Guides).

For example, if you were looking for research on drunk drivers, you might type "drunk drivers" into the search box. (Use quotes to filter out results with only one word or the other in them).

If you shorten drivers to driv* and add an asterisk, you will pull in results with the words "drunk driving" and "drunk drivers". You can also limit your search by changing the drop down box options from Select A Field to Subject Terms, Title, Author, Journal Name and other options.

This should work for most EBSCO databases (you can find out if you're using an EBSCO database by checking out the logo in the upper right hand corner). Other databases may require a $ or other symbol in place of the asterisk. You can find out by checking the Help section.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Summer Movies

I like to get out of the house, relax, and enjoy a good movie. Summer is the best time to see a movie because theaters are kept icy cold! Here is list of the proposed 10 best summer movies. If you watch them, post a comment and let me know if It is worth viewing.

  • BrĂ¼no (Opens July 10)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Opens July 15)
  • Inglourious Basterds (Opens Aug. 21)
  • Julie & Julia (Opens Aug. 7)
  • Public Enemies (Opens July 1) –
  • Star Trek
  • Taking Woodstock (TBA)
  • Terminator Salvation
  • Up
  • Whatever Works (TBA)

Not of their list, but movies I can't wait to see are Transformers: Revenge of the fallen which opens June 23, and The Proposal with Sandra Bullock opening June 19. I hope you enjoy the summer movies, but don't forget to visit the library! Having fun is great, but School work is important too.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Reasons to attend Summer School

Summer Session I starts on Monday! Did you have some fun during the interim? Are you ready to start hitting the books again? Here is a list of 10 reasons to attend Summer School. We hope to see you in the Library soon!

  • Shorter Semester
  • More time in class means less time to forget what you learned
  • It's too hot to be outside
  • The sooner your done with school the sooner you can start making the REAL money
  • Getting to take classes while visiting a foreign country can be great
  • Jobs are hard to come by so what else it there do
  • Always an open computer to be found in the library
  • The pool is really crowded anyway…
  • Impress friends and family with your determination to finish
  • Have some fun with your other college friends in town

Good luck this semester. Remember the library is here to 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 http://www.tarleton.edu/~library/askaref.html