Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Social Media Conference

Don't forget to stop by the Social Media Conference on December 2, 2011. This is the inaugural conference for the Texas Social Media Research Institute, which is affiliated with Tarleton's Communications Department.

Social media is defined by Merriam-Webster as " forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and micro-blogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)."

Social media affects many aspects of modern life, including politics, education, privacy, commerce and, of course, people's social and offline.

There is a terrific lineup of speakers, which you can view here: .

Several sessions will be held at the library--two sessions will be led by one of our librarians, Amanda Pape. One is on LibraryThing, and the other is on using social media sites for genealogy.

Paid registrants will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPod Touch. You can still register here.

Find out more about the Texas Social Media Research Institute here:

And don't forget to check out the Dick Smith Library on your favorite social networking sites:


We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - 10 Most Popular Social Networking Sites

With the Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) having their conference this Friday, I thought I would share this list of the most popular social networking sites.  You can read the entire list of fifteen and how they are ranked on this webpage.  The library is using some of these social media sites.  Click on the links to follow us!
  • Facebook - over 700,000,000 unique monthly visitors!
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Ning
  • Google Plus+
  • Tagged
  • Orkut
  • hi5
  • myyearbook
Do you use any other social media sites?  Post a comment and share!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The library will close today, Wednesday, November 23, at 5 PM.  We will reopen on Sunday, November 27, at noon.  Don't forget that you can access our catalog and databases 24 hours a day!

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Top 10 Amazing Databases

Popular Science recently produced a list of 10 amazing databases. Here is their list and a link to the article describing the databases.

1. The Combined DNA Index System
2. The Encyclopedia of Life
3. The Food and Agriculture Organization Database
4. The Genographic Project
5. The International Panel on Climate Change's Data Distribution Centre
6. The MD:Pro
7. OK Cupid's OKTrends
8. Sloan Digital Sky Survey Database
9. The Wayback Machine
10. Worldcat

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

If you don't know what National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is, check out this post Thomas wrote about it last year. With slightly under two weeks left, a lot of NaNoWriMo participants have probably fallen behind, but there's still hope left! If you need help figuring out what to do next with your characters and story, there are resources on fiction writing at the library that might help you out. If you need help finding those resources, here are a few tips and links:
Keep in mind that no one is grading you on your NaNoWriMo writing. Just try to write as much as you can each day, and remember that you can revise your work, if you'd like, after NaNoWriMo is over.

Good luck!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Frank Blazek, Tarleton Student Fall 1956

This week is International Week at Tarleton! Back in 1956 Tarleton student Frank Blazek had an interesting story. I mentioned him in my September 22, 2011 blog post but only stated that he was from Czechoslovakia.

The November 20, 1956 JTAC ran the above photo and a story of how Frank had escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia! It stated that Frank was born near Prague. When he was 11 the Communists jailed his father, an anti-communist leader. His father escaped in about a month and fled with his wife to Germany. Frank remained with his grandparents for 2 years before escaping. It took him and his sister 2 days to escape. They took a train to a small town near the German border and then they, disguised as workers, got on a bus bound for a workers dance. They and 6 others escaped from the dance and began walking. They walked all night and most of the next day before crossing the border. Frank explained that if they had been caught they would have been shot!

Frank lived a short time in Germany, then French Morocco with his parents. There he took up tennis and eventually became the winner of the Carmen Coupe tennis tournament over 4000 other participants! Then he came to the United States, first living in New York, and then attending Thomas Jefferson High School in New Jersey to learn English! After finishing at Thomas Jefferson he came to Tarleton! After graduating Tarleton Frank went to Texas A & M!

What a story!

Come by the library and see the great International and Study Abroad display in the foyer!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten Facts About Sleep

With the end of Daylight Savings Time about ten days ago, I've been trying to re-adjust my body's internal clock.  It seems to take me at least a week to adapt my sleeping when I travel across time zones or endure the switch to or from Daylight Savings Time.

I recently read and reviewed a book about sleep, and it was full of interesting information about the science and culture of sleep.  Here are ten facts, all from sleep research, in no particular order:
  • People can partially awaken from REM (rapid eye movement, the deep) sleep, but they cannot move.  REM muscle paralysis is carried over into wakefulness.  This sleep paralysis goes away by itself after a few minutes, but can be frightening (page 11).
  • A person’s core body temperature drops to facilitate the onset of sleep.  Body temperature is lowered by increasing blood circulation in the surface of our bodies.  Since hands and feet have a large surface area, warm hands and feet are an unmistakable sign that the body is getting ready for sleep (pages 13-14).
  • Melatonin, a hormone released by the pineal gland that promotes sleep, is secreted starting in the late afternoon and early evening and reaches its peak while we are asleep.  If we open our eyes and receive strong light impulses through the optic nerve, the pineal gland immediately stops producing melatonin, which causes us to awaken (page 14).
  • "Nap shops," where exhausted workers can rent a short-term sleeping space, are very popular in Japan (page 49).
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?  The next time you have the next day off (ideally, during a vacation or a break from school), write down what time you go to bed and when you get up the next day.  Then determine your sleep midpoint by dividing the length of time you sleep in half.  Early birds have sleep midpoints before 3 AM; night owls have sleep midpoints after 4 AM (page 63).
  • Insomnia is more likely to affect women than men (page 82).
  • Snoring is more frequent in men (page 83).
  • The ideal room temperature for sleep is between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (page 92).
  • Women who smell peppermint before going to bed sleep longer, with more SMS (slow wave sleep) and less REM sleep.  Men did not experience the same effects, but said they felt more awake and refreshed in the morning.  However, if the scent of peppermint is present all night long, it tends to awaken people from light (stage N1 and N2) sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep quickly (page 113).
  • Lavender, jasmine, and vanilla are soothing scents that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, but can have undesirable side effects in the morning, such as with tasks involving physical exercise. (pages 112-113).
More facts about sleep: 16 Things You Didn't Know About Sleep (infographic)
and 60 Eye-Opening Facts About Sleep.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Expand your language skills with Mango Languages

Celebrate International Education Week by learning a new language with Mango Languages. Access to the Mango Languages learning system is available from the library database page.
  • Mango is free to all Tarleton students, faculty, and staff.

  • The system is completely web-based and remotely accessible, so you can learn anywhere you have an internet connection.

  • You can start learning TODAY... no more waiting lists.

As you listen to and repeat after native speakers, you'll learn more than just words and phrases. You’ll learn how those pieces can be rearranged and combined to make new thoughts, new conversations, and even more practical communication! In no time at all, you'll be able to navigate all sorts of everyday situations — get directions, order a meal, make new friends — the possibilities are endless!
Bonne Semaine de l'éducation internationale!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Records

With today being Veterans Day I thought I would share how easy it is to obtain copies of veteran's records from the National Archives. If you are a veteran or next of kin of a deceased veteran you can request a copy of their records online. Just watch this short video to see how to request the records and to learn how many requests are received each day:

And thank to all of the veterans for your service and sacrifice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Library Time Capsule - 1956

"The heart of a college or university is its library" - words spoken by Edmon Low, librarian at Oklahoma A & M College at the dedication of Tarleton's new library on November 9, 1956! Tarleton President E.J. Howell added that the library had grown from 5,000 volumes in 1920 to 40,000 in 1956! The new building, which is incorporated in the current reference and computer area of the main floor, had a capacity for 80,000 volumes!

The November 1956 dedication ceremony was followed by the sealing of the time capsule shown above in the foyer. Student Body President Don Wilkinson and Cadet Colonel John Boyson are shown.

The time capsule above was recovered by a former Tarleton staff member and the construction crew during the 1984 renovation. Opened in 1984, the time capsule was added to and resealed in the new foyer of the library - the current foyer across from the circulation desk.

During the 2006 renovation, the 1956/1984 time capsule was opened. Rather than adding to it, a new time capsule was built to hold addition items. Both the old and the new time capsules were sealed in the library!

Do you know where the library time capsules are located and when they will be opened again?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The library at your fingertips!

Mobile Website

Use your smartphone/tablet to access the library! The library has a mobile website designed to work better for small wireless devices. The URL is The mobile site gives you information about our hours, the services we offer, links for searching our catalog, and it even lets you search our most popular databases! 


Additionally there is a library catalog app available for both iPhone and Android smartphones! The app lets you:

Catalog App
  • Search our catalog

  • Find materials and put needed items on hold if they are not available

  • Log into your library account and renew items

  • Check your account information


    If you have any questions please visit the Library Systems Department Office (Room 250) or contact us via phone (254) 968-9466 or email

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten (+) Online Photo Ideas

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it may be prime time to think about photos -- what to do with them and ways to share them.

If you have photos and are stuck for ideas, check out the iLibrarian blog post "Top 17+ Things to do with Online Photos" by Ellyssa Kroski to learn ways you can create

--- music videos,
--- blog and social networking slideshows,
--- business cards, stickers, and postcards,
--- trading cards, badges, and posters,
--- online scrapbooks and coffee table books,
--- newsletters and brochures,
--- photo collages,
--- online portfolios,
--- comic strips, and
--- photo widgets.

You'll also find links to tools that will help you
--- edit and caption photos,
--- turn photos into cartoons, and
--- frame photos.

Check it out!

Friday, November 4, 2011

17th Century Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and smartphones are today's social media; but in the 17th and 18th Centuries the written word in the form of letters and short notes, were social media. In the 17th Century public postal systems had come of age. Now it was possible for the ordinary citizen to communicate with others just as heads of state had been doing for years. This rise of the postal systems caused an explosion of letter writing. Voltaire wrote as many as 10 to 15 letters a day and dramatist Jean Racine complained of not being able to keep of with all of the letters. The equivalent of a full inbox. What was the subject of all of these letters? Not much, invitations to dinner, and OMG, did you hear about the king? One woman over the course of 26 years sent her daughter over 1,000 letters on the coming and goings in Paris.

Another form of writing much like Twitter today was les billets, little bits of paper with inflammatory words about politics that were thrown about in public. These little slips of paper were a way to organize uprisings and bypass government censors.

To learn more about these writings and the Mapping the Republic of Letters project see:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

Aerial View of Campus ca 1959-62

Still a familiar building on campus, Davis Hall is seen just behind the library in the upper right corner of the photo above! The former boy's dorm was named for Tarleton Dean (President) J. Thomas Davis.

The November 3, 1936 JTAC states that Davis Hall was named J. Thomas Davis Hall by T.O. Walton, the President of A & M College. It states that credit for growth of the college was given to Dean Davis. He was born in Heard County, Georgia, then moved to Sun Mountain, Alabama. At age 14 his family moved to Texas where he attended the rural schools in Denton County, then entered North Texas Normal in 1902.

When Dean Davis came to Tarleton in 1919 there were only 300 students, five buildings, and 11 regular teachers. Seventy five years ago, when Davis Hall was named for Dean Davis, there were about 1050 students, 20 buildings, and over 70 faculty members!

Gabe Lewis, John Tarleton Agricultural College registrar in 1936, stated that Dean Davis was a great man and one that deserved all the honors which had been bestowed upon him! Dean Davis was a member of many educational organizations, both state and national, as well as the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and the West Texas Chamber of Commerce!

Just look at us now! Way to go Tarleton!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11022011 Happy Palindrome Day

Today's date is a palindrome. A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or other unit that can be read the same way in either direction. Today's date is special because it is a rare eight-digit palindrome, of which there are only twelve this century. It is also special because this is the last time 11022011 will occur in all four digit years.

For you math types out there; 11022011 equals 7 x 7 x 11 x 11 x 11 x 13 x 13, that is, the product of seven square, eleven cube, and thirteen square where numbers seven, eleven, and thirteen are three consecutive prime numbers. There are even more palindromes in all of this math, see For more information and less math see: