Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Writing a Paper? Try These 7 Research Tips

This article by Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman in U.S. News & World Report offers practical tips for successfully starting, planning, and finishing papers. The following list gives article excerpts and along with links to Tarleton Libraries' resources and services to help you apply the research tips. Enjoy!
  • Start from where you are.
    • Pick a topic that interests you. Look to course materials, lecture notes, handouts, and so on for ideas.
    • Talk to your instructor to see if your topic is on target.

  • Think E.
    • “The best place to start is not with Google, Bing, or Wikipedia but with E-reserves that the professor has listed” and made available via your library’s site. Tarleton State University Libraries
    • “Next stop: the electronic resources (or E-resources) at the library Web page” for online access to articles, reference books, and more. Tarleton Libraries databases
    • Subject guides are useful because they list resources by subject and “can be incredibly helpful" when you start researching a topic. Tarleton Libraries’ Subject Research Guides

  • Discover WorldCat.
    • “One of the best resources is, a free and public catalog of more than a billion (with a "b"!) items available from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. . . . It's available in all modalities including online and mobile (with downloadable apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, and most Web-enabled phones).”

  • Learn the shortcuts.
    • “Use wild-card characters—typically a question mark (?), pound sign (#), or asterisk (*)—when you know only the first few letters of a word or when you want to find all the words that start with a certain string of letters.”
    • “Use the Boolean and operator (typically AND or +) to limit the results of a search, and the or operator (OR or -) to expand the topic.
    • “Take out any apostrophes (in words such as O'Reilly) and replace foreign language characters (ç, ü) with their English equivalents (c, u).”

  • Use the resources that live and breathe.

  • Learn about ILL.
    • If you need something your library does not have, use your library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) services. “The ILL crew will get you the physical book or a copy of the article from another library, usually free.” Request items as early as possible so you can get them in time.Tarleton Libraries Interlibrary Loan Service

  • Look for "gateway" sources.
    • When starting a research project, you may want to begin with “sources that survey the problem, area, or subject you're researching and point the way to further, more specific studies. They might have names like Cambridge Companion to X, Stanford Encyclopedia of Y, Grove Dictionary of Z, or Oxford Illustrated History of A.”
      -- You can locate these resources using Tarleton Libraries catalog.
    • When “reading any source, look in the footnotes and bibliography” for ideas about other sources.
      -- Then use Tarleton Libraries’ SFX Citation Finder and catalog to locate items.
      -- Use the library’s Interlibrary Loan service to obtain items not available locally.
      -- Remember to Ask a Librarian for assistance whenever you need it.

View complete article: Writing a Paper? Try These 7 Research Tips

Monday, March 29, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: 2010 Census on Campus FAQ

Why should I fill out the census?
An accurate count for Stephenville will help it obtain a fair share of federal funding, as well as provide crucial data for planning purposes and academic research. Also, 72 years from now, your descendants will know where you were living in 2010!

What kinds of questions will the census ask me?
Name, gender, age, date of birth, race, and Hispanic origins are asked of everyone. If you're off-campus and the head of a household, you're asked four questions about the household in general. If you're off-campus and not the household head, you're asked how you are related to that person.

Can my parents just include me on their census questionnaire?
If you’re living with your parents during the school year, then yes. But if you aren't living with your parents on April 1, 2010, then no.

Can I complete the census online?
Not for the 2010 Census, but hopefully in 2020.

Will the census share my information with anyone?
No. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share an individual's answers with anyone, including federal, state, and local agencies.

How should I be counted if I am…

Living on campus?
Those living in residence halls, fraternities, and sororities will receive an Individual Census Report during Group Quarters Enumeration between April 1 and May 21, 2010.

Living off campus?
If you live in a house or apartment, you should have already received the ten-question census form and a postage-paid envelope to mail it back.

Not a U.S. citizen?
The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States and its territories, both citizens and non-citizens. So even if you are not a U.S. citizen but you live and sleep in the U.S. most of the year, you will be counted in the census.

An international student?
Same as above.

Studying abroad for part of the year?
Census Day is April 1, 2010. Questionnaire responses should represent your household as it exists on this day. If you are living and studying abroad on April 1, 2010, you will not be counted in the census. However, if you live and study abroad during part of the year but are living in the U.S. on April 1, 2010, you will be counted in the census.

For more on these questions and answers, see Census on Campus: Students' Frequently Asked Questions. You might also want to read What Educators and Campus Leaders Need to Know About the 2010 Census and Counting College & University Residence Halls.

Did You Know?

Today is Oscar Mayer's birthday. Oscar Mayer was born on March 29, 1859 in Kösingen, Württemberg in Germany. In 1873, he began work as a butcher's apprentice in a meat market in Detroit, then went on to work at another job at Kohlhammer's market in Chicago, and spent 6 years working in the Chicago stockyards after that. Oscar's brother, Gottfried, joined him in the states and together they started a business selling bockwurst, liverwurst, and weisswurst. Soon after, their brother, Max, joined the company. Within a few years, they had a thriving business. They became one of the first to brand their meat products and used numerous names at first before deciding on the Oscar Mayer Weiner brand in 1929. They were also one of the first to be federally approved and to wrap their products individually making them instantly recognizable.

For more company history, visit the Oscar Mayer website.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lights out Saturday night

Earth Hour 2010 takes place on Saturday 27 March, 8:30pm - 9:30pm (local time) and is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community throughout the world to turn off the lights.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change.

To find out more information about climate change, visit the EPA's Climate Change webpage to learn basic information, get answers to questions, and find out what you can do.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

at Tarleton in 1920

Today the Tarleton campus was filled with some 1700 high school agriculture students from all over Texas! The Agriculture Department is, and has been for most of the history of the school, one of the most avid recruiters of future Tarleton students! As you can see in the photo above, high school vocational agriculture students even had "their" day at Tarleton as far back as 1920!

Tarleton's agriculture program is rated second of fourteen universities in Texas offering agriculture degrees and third nationally among non-land grant universities! Tarleton agriculture graduates have a reputation for high performance and for their contributions to the profession. Enhancing the program and Tarleton's contribution to Texas and the United States is the new Southwest Regional Dairy Center that is under construction! It will be a state of the art teaching facility with a mission to "support for teaching, research, and service/outreach programs to meet the need of higher education, the dairy industry and society in Texas and the southwest."

The total number of high school students at Tarleton today was in excess of 6000. Some 1700 were on campus, 2000 were at the Agriculture Center, 1000 were at the Hunewell Ranch, and 1600 were at the Lone Star Arena! While some will end up majoring in agriculture at Tarleton, others will come to Tarleton, but pursue other majors, so the FFA day at Tarleton is truely a long time recruiting event!

Way to go Ag!

Tarleton State University Agriculture Department.
Tarleton State University, Dick Smith Library, Cross Timbers Historic Images Project, Stephenville Museum photo.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Looking for something fun to read?

If your coursework isn't keeping you too busy, you might want to try looking for something fun to read (or listen to - we have audiobooks, too!) at the library. However, our books are shelved using Library of Congress Classification, which works fine for the kinds of books you need for your assignments, but can bury the kinds of books you might choose for casual reading. Where you browse really depends on what your definition of "fun reading" is, but here's some tips that might help you get started:
  • You'll probably want to concentrate mostly on our New Books display (on the main level, near all the computers), the upper level, and the lower level (young adult and children's books, audiobooks, and more).
  • PR6000 to PR6126 = English literature, Authors 1900 to the present
    Includes authors like: M.C. Beaton, Ian Fleming, Neil Gaiman, Agatha Christie, and more
  • PS3500 to PS3626 = American literature, Authors 1900 to the present
    Includes authors like: Nicholas Sparks, Isaac Asimov, Janet Evanovich, David Sedaris, and more
  • PZ7 - This number is used for a lot of the young adult and children's fiction in the library's lower level, including books by Robin McKinley, J.K. Rowling, Scott Westerfeld, and more.
  • The call number ranges I've given are only suggestions - try browsing in other areas, searching our catalog, or asking a librarian for suggestions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Makes you just want to stay home

Top ten places to vacation...ho hum. Try this list on for size:
Top 10 Places You Don't Want to Visit. Sometimes a photo and a description are enough. My stomach lurched just looking at the picture of Yungas Road. However, Derweze, Turkmenistan does hold a certain fascination...

You are invited to submit suggestions, as well!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Women in Aviation

Born in Atlanta, Texas 1892 Bessie Coleman would become the first African – American to hold a pilot's license and the first African-American woman to hold a pilot's license. At the age of 23 Bessie left Texas for Chicago to live with her two brothers and make something of her life. When she heard the stories from returning soldiers from World War I of flying exploits, she became interested in aviation. In 1918, few American women held pilot licenses and those that did were largely white and wealthy. Every flying schools Bessie applied refused her because she was a woman and black. On the advice of a newspaper owner, she decided to learn to fly in France. She left for Paris, France from New York on November 20, 1920. In June of 1921, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale granted her an international pilot's license. On her return to New York in September of 1921, she received a hero's welcome. Bessie would perform at air shows for the next five years until her tragic death. For more information on Bessie Coleman see:

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II provided invaluable service to the United States military in World War II by freeing male pilots to fly combat missions. Some of the missions flown by the WASPs included training flights, engineering test flights, check rides, target towing, and ferrying. The WASPs flew every type of Army air Force aircraft including the B-29 bomber. While these women served their country in World War II in the military, they did not receive veteran's status until 1979. Their efforts have largely gone unheralded. Only this year were their efforts recognized by the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal. The records of the WASPs are held by Texas Woman's University, more information about the Wasps and photos can be found here:

Women continue to contribute to aviation today flying for airlines and the military in combat roles. Some interviews with women pilots from the current s wars can be found at:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Job Hunting Resources @ the library


1. Under DATABASES, click "Online Periodicals By Title/SFX"
2. Type career or an occupation (ex: nursing) into the search box.
3. Click Go.

Video tutorial (requires Flash).


1. Under LIBRARY CATALOG, click "Books, Periodicals, etc..."
2. Click "Advanced Search Options"
3. Change Library drop down box to "TSC-Career Services"
4. Type career or the name of an occupation (ex: nursing) into the keyword search box.
5. Click Search.

Video tutorial (requires Flash).

Note: Items labeled "TSC-Career Services" are not located in the Dick Smith library. They are in the Tarleton Student Center, in the Career Services office (campus map).

Top 10 Tuesday - 10 Websites on Historical Women

March is Woman's History Month. The following is a list of websites that provide information about women who have done something notable in history. I wanted to do a Top 10 list of Women in History, but that is very subjective to each individual, so I leave it to the reader to decide who should go in the top 10 list. Who do you think should be in the Top 10 list of Historical Women? Post your comment and argue your point.

1. Women Adventurers:

2. Women in Mathematics:

3. Women in Science and Medicine:

4. Women in Business:

5. Women in Computer History:

6. Women in Literature:

7. Women Inventors:

8. Top 25 Influential Women in the World Today:

9. Women in Television History:

10. Top 10 Women Athletes:

Get off that couch!

We are in the middle of Spring Break! Swimming suits! Shorts! Fun in the sun! Well... not so much; it is cold and windy. HOWEVER, what with daffodils and an absolutely stellar Sunday, it is clear that summer is around the corner.

Check out Ace Fitness and find exercises to get you suit-ready. They have exercises that target certain areas, workouts (including no-equipment-required, so drop that excuse), recipes, and more.

There is also growing evidence that exercise enhances academic performance, so what ARE you waiting for?

Down on the floor! Gimme five pushups!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Texas History

Visit featuring the Best of Texas for a lot of neat information on Texas and its history. Really enjoyed this site.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

March is Women's History Month

Lily Pearl Ponder Chamberlain

Lily Pearl Ponder Chamberlain was one of the Tarleton faculty members when it opened in 1899. She taught Latin, arithmetic, college algebra, English, spelling, and ancient history! Wow, what an array of classes! Later she taught six to eight classes of English a day. However, after her marriage she began teaching English at Stephenville High School.

While teaching high school, Mrs. Chamberlain developed a great desire to see home economics taught in the schools. She believed that much of the poverty and sickness was due to the lack of proper training. In 1914 she returned to Tarleton and presented her idea to President Cox. He agreed, but said that there was no money to hire a teacher.

Well, Ms Lily Pearl "pondered" the situation, and, as many ideas do, an idea emerged during the still of the night! She would teach home economics herself! Even though she had no formal training in teaching home economics, and was teaching six English classes a day, she still wanted to try. President Cox even offered to teach her two afternoon classes. Off she went that summer to the College of Industrial Arts at Denton.

Above is an early Tarleton cooking class. Lily Pearl's first foods class had an enrollment of 18. She first set up in two basement rooms of the new Mollie Crow Administration building. Of course, later the building became the home economics building when the new administration building, now the Howell building, was built. The first classrooms had nine two-burner oil stoves, several plain pine tables covered with oilcloth, and a few dishes and utensils! The first classes were taught in the fall of 1915, making home economics a part of Tarleton for 95 years!

King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White, p.40-43.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Obsolete Occupations -- What Might be Next?

Time's passage brings with it many changes:
  • Advanced technologies become commonplace.
  • Medical discoveries enhance people's well-being.
  • Professions never before imagined become everyday occupations.
  • Occupations that once employed many people become extinct.
A glimpse into occupations that no longer exist is provided by the NPR article "The Jobs Of Yesteryear: Obsolete Occupations." This interactive, slideshow article offers photographs and descriptions of 12 by-gone professions, as well as several recordings of folk reflecting on "those oft-forgotten jobs."

The article also prompts some interesting questions:
  • What changes might the future hold?
  • Which of today's professions might be headed for extinction?
  • Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: 2010 Census Questions

Most 2010 Census questionnaires will be delivered in the mail this month. (If you are a student living in a dorm or Greek house, you will receive a slightly different form after April 1). There are only ten main questions on this year's census form:
  • 1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010?
  • 2. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010 that you did not include in question 1?
  • 3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home - (multiple choice answers here:owned with mortgage, owned free and clear, rented, or occupied without paying of rent)
  • 4. What is your telephone number?
For questions 5-10, information is provided for each person living in the household. Person 1 is an adult, preferably the owner or renter. If the owner or renter lives somewhere else, start with any adult living in the household.
  • 5. Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial
  • 6. Sex (male or female)
  • 7. Age on April 1, 2010, and date of birth
  • 8. Of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? (Multiple choice answers)
  • 9. What is this person's race? (Multiple choice answers; may mark more than one)
  • 10. Does this person sometimes live or stay somewhere else? Yes or No (if yes, there are multiple choices such as college, nursing home, jail, etc.)
All additional people in the household answer questions 5-10 above and one additional question - How is this person related to Person 1? (multiple choice answers).

In three weeks, we'll have a post on the top ten questions asked by college students about the census.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day - March 8

International Women’s Day (IWD) was started by the Socialist Party of America on February 28, 1909 and led to many protests over working conditions. It commemorates the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 146 garment workers (mostly women) either died from the fire or jumped from the fatal height of the building. In order to keep the workers from taking cigarette breaks, the managers would lock the doors to the stairwells and exits. After this fatal event, legislation was put in place to improve factory safety standards.

Today, many regions celebrate this holiday similarly to celebrating Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. The United Nations promote political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide.

This year, the attention is being focused on the hardship that women endure from displacement due to armed conflict. They are frequently exposed to sexual violence, discrimination and intimidation. It takes tremendous resilience and courage to make sure that their families are taken care of in such hostile situations. Most of them live alone with their children and have to flee their homes to escape further violence. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) would like to focus on specific needs, vulnerabilities, and strengths of women who protect and support their families during these times.

For more information, visit Wikipedia and ICRC.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Writing Women Back into History

What do life rafts, windshield wipers, dandruff shampoo, and chocolate chip cookies all have in common?

They were all invented by women.

This March marks the 30th anniversary of Women's History Month.
Visit the National Women's History Project website to read short bios of influential women in history and take their quiz to test your knowledge of women's history .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mary Corn Wilkerson Dorm

March is Women's History Month

Many women have played an important role in the development of Tarleton from its' beginnings to the present, and will continue to play an important role in the future! One woman who contributed to Tarleton's history is Mary Corn Wilkerson.

Early in the history of Tarleton there was no housing for the female students. By 1908 the people of Tarleton and Stephenville recognized the need for a girls dormitory and wrote an article in the Stephenville Tribune. Mary Corn Wilkerson, "a woman of considerable wealth and a widow the second time, stepped forward to confess that she wanted to donate to a good cause."

Mary's first husband, Richard Corn, died November 28, 1898. She then married Capt. Telephus W. Wilkerson. He died April 10, 1908. After his death Mary donated 370 acres of land located near Duffau with the proceeds from the sale of the land to be used to build a women's dormitory. Located where the Hunewell Annex now stands, and facing McIlhaney, the $14,760.54 building was ready for occupancy the Fall of 1908.

The December 11, 1908 Stephenville Tribune stated that "The dormitory for John Tarleton college has been entirely finished and completely furnished, and is not only one of the best ventilated, but one of the neatest and cleanest structures in Texas used for the purpose of sheltering students who are attending college, and no doubt will be a great factor in drawing students to Tarleton college. The young women who make it their home will always be surrounded by a healthy, moral influence under the watchful care of the president of the college and his wife."

Be sure to stop by the library to view the March displays which include Women's History Month, Texas History Month, and Tarleton's International Spring Festival.

Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and His Legacy, p.33-34.
King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White, p.65-68.
The Tribune, December 11, 1908.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to read a list of "kept" titles

When you "keep" a group of titles in the library catalog, your printout will look something like the above image. (If this looks familiar to you, great; if not, and you'd like to be able to do this, just ask!)

Do you know how to read this list? Where would you go in the library to find Transformers and philosophy? How about Persepolis 2? A lot of people have trouble figuring out which call number and location goes with which title when they look at these lists. Hopefully this post will help clear things up.

The image below is the same as the one above, only with the first and second titles in the list more clearly indicated.

Your first instinct might have been to think that the indented lines are the second half of an entry, so that the call number PN6747.S245 P4713 2007 goes with the title In Odd we trust, but in this second image you can see that this call number actually belongs with The complete Persepolis.

Remember, if you ever have problems finding anything at the library, we're happy to help!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Neighborhood pride

Yay, it is Texas Independence Day, an excuse for a celebration!

Neighborhood Pride: Ten Ideas To Boost Block Spirit provides great ideas to make friends with your neighbors.

Wonderful dishes from other countries figure prominently on the Food Trends in College Students 2010 which lists the most requested entrees from Sodexo (including YOUR TSU dining hall!!)

Everyone likes a celebration, so combine these two Top Ten lists and plan a neighborhood potluck in which people bring their favorite ethnic dishes and regale in our multi-culturalism.

Texas may not be independent any more, but we are all interdependent! Vive la difference!

Monday, March 1, 2010

On The Eve Of Independence

As I write this, it is a cold wet dreary March morning in Texas as it was in 1836. My thoughts turn to what was happening 174 years ago in Coahuila y Tejas. Delegates to the Convention of 1836 were arriving at Washington, not yet named Washington-on-the Brazos. Tomorrow the delegates would elect Richard Ellis president of the convention and Texas would declare its independence from Mexico. Colonel Travis and the other defenders of the Alamo are wondering if any help is coming. Travis writes a letter to the Convention on March 3rd asking for the convention to let him know if independence has been declared. If independence is not declared then they will abandon the Alamo, however if independence is declared they "will die a hundred deaths against a blood-red flag." The blood-red flag was a red flag with a skull and cross bones that Santa Anna had flown from the spire of the Church of San Fernando that indicated no mercy would be given to the Texans at the Alamo. You can view scans of the original hand written Texas Declaration of Independence and a broadside version of it and other historic Texas documents at the Texas State Library & Archives Commission website at: