Saturday, December 30, 2006

Interlibrary Loan

For the next few days, our usual interlibrary loan forms won't be available while we upgrade to a new version of MnPALS. In the meantime, you can use this form to request books or articles.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Take a Holiday on Us

Because of some work going on at the Minnesota State University, Mankato, the servers that run our MnPALS catalog, interlibrary loan, and the authentication system for our databases will not be available on the morning of December 28th, and perhaps unavailable for the entire day. Looks as if we all may just have to take the day off from research, at least any that entails searching our catalog and databases.

Which reminds us of why sometimes we like to have real, printed books in our hands...

Friday, December 15, 2006

EndNote Web is now available!

Access to EndNote Web logo, the online version of the popular citation management software, is now included with the library’s subscriptions to Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science).

From on campus, visit and click on the “EndNote Web Login” link to sign up for an account. If you already have a personal account in Web of Science, you should already have access.

Once you have signed up, you can begin to use EndNote Web from any web-accessible computer. You can:

  • import references from any database (Web of Science, WorldCat, PubMed, etc.)
  • save citations to folders
  • download plugins to create footnotes and bibliographies in Microsoft Word

If you are currently using EndNote software on your personal computer (version X.0.2 or higher), you can transfer references seamlessly between it and EndNote Web. Earlier versions of EndNote can import references from EndNote Web via a text file.

The library will also continue to offer RefWorks logo, a similar web-based citation management tool, to the Gustavus community.

For more information on using EndNote Web, see their online tutorials.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Interlibrary Loan Dec. 16-17

Due to software upgrades, the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) function will not be available through MnPALS or MnLINK from 5:00 pm Saturday, December 16 through noon on Sunday, December 17. During this time you will be able to request items in one of four ways:

1. Submit a printout of what you need at the ILL desk.
2. Fill out a paper ILL form at the ILL desk.
3. Use the online request form on the ILL homepage
4. Use the "Find It!" button in our databases to request ILL materials not available full-text or online.

Although you will not be able to request materials directly through MnPALS or MnLINK, we will be accepting all ILL requests that come in through any of these four options. Questions? Contact Kathie Martin.

*Please note that ILL through MnPALS and MnLINK will also be unavailable January 2-5 due to the second stage of the software upgrade. We will send out additional information at that time, and you will be able to request materials through the same four methods described above.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Primary Sources: New York Times & More

As we slowly but steadily update our web pages to their new look, we are also adding new resources and content. Our updated subject guide for finding Primary Sources includes links to digital collections such as the Library of Congress's American Memory historical collections and the Historical New York Times database.

Purchased last spring, the Historical New York Times contains the full text of the paper from its first issue in 1851 to 2003. An additional year of content is added annually (2004 content will be added next summer), with our subscription to ProQuest Newsstand filling the gap. The database is fully indexed and searchable with full-page images, including graphics. Now we just need volunteers to help move our microfilm into storage!

Extra Extra! Digital Archive of the Gustavian Weekly

Wondering what Gusties were up to in the past? Trying to find that great Gustavian article from last year? Look no further! This summer, the library's Periodicals Department and College Archives spearheaded a project to digitize backfiles of the Gustavian Weekly. You can now search, browse and view issues from 1980-2005 online. To access, click this link:, or visit the library's homepage and choose "Gustavian" in the Databases menu. The library hopes to add older issues in the future.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Poster Presentations Tonight

Students in the Common Readers First Term Seminar will give brief presentations Wednesday Nov. 29th at 7:30 p.m. on their research into four information ethics issues: music file sharing, surveillance cameras in schools, social networking online, and (an issue that hits close to the pocketbook) the increasing price of textbooks. The presentations will be held on the lower level, near the current periodicals, and yes, there will be refreshments.

Their posters will be on display in the library for the next couple of weeks for people too busy to fit another event into their schedule, but who need an interesting way to waste time when they should studying for that test tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chat Reference Service

Ever find yourself with a reference question when you're miles from the library? Try the library's new Instant Messenger reference service! Use chat reference for answers to factual questions or to be directed to resources that best address your research question. To use the service, visit the library's chat reference page. Follow the instructions to connect live with a Gustavus librarian.

Also consider using chat reference when you're in the library but don't want to give up your computer. As always, you can also contact the librarians in person, via email, or phone. We look forward to chatting with you soon!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Patricia Lindell Scholarship

Every other year the library awards a $1,200 scholarship to a junior or senior student who will work on a project of benefit to the library and the wider Gustavus community. This spring the project will focus on the purpose and outcomes of common reading programs in higher education.

Though these “one book, one campus” community reading events are held on campuses across the country, very little research has been done on them. The recipient of this scholarship, working with Professor Barbara Fister, will conduct a literature review, design and carry out an online survey of colleges with common reading programs, and will write up the results to provide insight into the nature and impact of common reading programs on college campuses.

Application forms can be picked up in the library and should be turned in, with a faculty letter of recommendation, by November 10th to the library administration office. This scholarship is made possible by the Gustavus Library Associates.

By the way, the winner of last spring's Lindell research award will be announced in early December.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Library Toolbar for Firefox

Do a lot of searching? Try using our new Firefox toolbar! Once you install the LibX Gustavus extension, Firefox will have a handy-dandy toolbar, always available on your browser, that allows you to search the MnPALS library catalog, check our Journal Locator, and even drag search terms into it to run a Google Scholar search. This only works with the Firefox browser, but it's awfully useful.

Check out our Journals

We now check out journals and magazines overnight, hoping to encourage students to discover and enjoy our print periodical collection. No, Virginia, it's not all on the Internet. But starting this semester you can take home an issue of Harper's or New Scientist for a leisurely read.

Booksale @ the Library

We now have an ongoing booksale! Take a look at the book cart beside the front entrance - and take a book home for only fifty cents. Proceeds go to our acquisitions budget.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Take a Look at Our New Look

It's here! After a year of surveys and focus groups, a lot of meetings, and many, many summer e-mails we have launched a new homepage for the library. We wanted to be more standards-compliant, have a look that was closer to the campus style, and include some neat things like a simple catalog search right on the main page. (The code for that, by the way, was written by Gustavus grad Alec Sonsteby, who is a now a librarian at Concordia.)

It's a little like getting a new couch - now everything else looks a bit dowdy. But we will be working on making changes elsewhere on the site.

Meanwhile, please do let us know if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. Thanks to those who participated in focus groups and surveys (including over 900 students!) and to the library publications committee and Jerry Nowell for his invaluable advice.

Blogs and more blogs - as part of the redesign, we are trying to make it easier to check on new resources and events at the library. Those will be listed in separate blogs. If you get this via e-mail you'll find them coming separately. Of course, we will take you off the e-mail list if you're feeling information overload. Just drop us a line.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Look for our Home Page

Minnesota's seasons - winter and construction. We're almost finished designing a new library home page that should launch before long. By the end of the summer we'll have some new organization for many second-level pages as well.

Social networking software has been getting a lot of attention lately, from Library Thing to the ubiquitous Wikipedia. Historian Roy Rosenzweig has just published some interesting ideas on "open source history" and Nature, the prestigious science journal, mulls over turning peer review over to the "wisdom of the crowds." Of course, one could argue libraries and scholarly work have always been about social networking - from the conversations that happen around the new books shelf to the books themselves that draw ideas from one another.

Speaking of social software, we'll be trying out chat reference next fall. We love the face-to-face interactions we have with students at the reference desk, but sometimes they may have a quick question that we can answer more conveniently. Quite a few of the libraries that have adopted instant messaging clients for reference questions chat with students who are in the library; they just don't want to give up their seat at a computer.

If you have questions over the summer you can always contact us the old fashioned way - by e-mail.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Library News - Finals Edition

There's still time - but not much - for students to submit papers to the library for the second Patricia Lindell Research Paper prize. Any paper written for a class in any discipline this academic year or last that utilizes primary or secondary sources (print, electronic, or both) may be submitted for consideration so long as we get it by May 23rd. The winner will receive a $400 award and the paper will be posted on the library's Website. If submitting a paper include the name of the course and instructor and an address where you can be reached next fall. This prize is made possible by the generosity of our stellar friends group, Gustavus Library Associates - which, by the way, you can join for a mere $35 membership that goes straight into the library's acquisitions budget. Hint, hint.

In addition to our usual list of new books, the library has just added a few more. Actually, 100,000 more, thanks to our new subscription to EEBO: Early English Books Online. This incredible database reproduces the full content of "virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War." An amazing cultural resource that should be of interest to students in any number of courses.

And that's not all! With this issue of Folkelore, you also get the new subscription to the Historical New York Times. Every article from every issue from 1851 to 2003 is searchable online, and they come with pictures and full page context. This will make many microfilm-phobic students very happy next fall.

Trying to figure out whether the NSA is breaking the law or not by collecting phone records? The Congressional Research Service has just issued an analysis. This research service of the Library of Congress provides non-partisan reports to Congress on a variety of issues. Though they don't publish them on their own Web site - they're written at the request of memers of Congress for specific issues - the Center for Democracy and Technology has over 10,000 of them available to the general public. Your tax dollars, hard at work.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

More News from the Library - and Beyond

Our interim arrangements for interlibrary loan seem to be working well. We should be switching back to having direct requests within MnPALS and MnLINK next Monday.

Teacher Reference Center
is a new resource provided to us at no cost by EBSCO, the database company for many of our databases. Primarily of interest for for the Education program, it provides indexing and abstracts for over 280 of the most popular teacher and administrator trade journals, periodicals and books, covering assessment, curriculum development, literacy standards, and other topics.

OCLC, the worldwide mega-catalog service that provides us with WorldCat, has been interested in "weaving libraries into the Web" for some time. One earlier project was to make "find in a library" links in Google and other search engines. If you do a Google search on a book you're interested in and add "find in a library" it will let you check whether its avaialable for borrowing locally. In another weaving project, they now are allowing users to add content. Like Amazon, you can post your own book reviews and ratings. Or your aunt can post a glowing review of your book. Like Wikipedia, anyone will be able to edit content if they don't like it. Of course, whether that is a good thing remains to be seen ...

Microsoft is going head to head with Google Scholar with their beta Academic Live. Currently this search engine only searches journal content for the disciplines of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Physics. Gary Price reviews it in The Resource Shelf; Information Today also provides a preliminary assessement.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where There's an ILL...

The new interlibrary loan feature in MnPALS will be temporarily disabled while several libraries join the the MnPALS system. Between April 13-24th you will be able to make interlibrary loan requests in four ways:
  • submit a printout of what you need to the interlibrary loan office
  • fill out a paper form available at the interlibrary loan office or
  • use the online request form for books or articles through the interlibrary loan link (though the forms will have a different look for the duration)
  • use the "find it" button in our databases; there is an interlibrary loan option for materials we don't have in either online or print format.
Though you will not be able to place requests directly through MnPALS - or through the MnLINK statewide gateway - during this time, we will be processing all interlibrary loan requests that come in by means of any of these four options. Question? Just contact the infinitely patient Kathie Martin at x7564.

Nothing to read? Have no fear, we have lots of new books.

If you've been putting things off here are some fascinating new tools to help you procrastinate. The Web 2.0 awards showcase some of the new Web-based social technologies that are keeping us from getting things done. Check out the best of wikis, podcasts, mashups, and more.

Want to get this blog via e-mail? Want to stop getting it? Drop me a line.

Friday, March 17, 2006

And the Winners Are ...

Thanks to all who took our Web survey. Over 900 responses! That will help us tweak and redesign our Website with you all in mind. Ashley Gibbs is the student who won the drawing to be a Library VIP; Marie Walker is our faculty Veep. Congratulations!

More new books have arrived. Check out the latest arrivals. No pun intended.

Peter Suber worries that there are developments that could hinder open access to information - specifically the Webcasting treaty, the opposition to "network neutrality," and the end of free e-mail. He discussed these issues recently in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.

Concerned about fair use? Read what Duke Law has to say about it - in their comic book, "Tales from the Public Domain!"

Want to find images that you can use for educational purposes without worrying about whether you're infringing copyright? Take a look at San Jose State University's World Art Kiosk. Or take a prowl through Flickr's Creative Commons Pool. For more ideas, explore tips for finding free media on the Web from the New Learning Technologies Buffet.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Take Our Survey - Please

Want to be a VIP? As the library considers a redesign of our website, we need faculty perspectives on the library's online tools and services. This survey will enable us to improve the quality of the services we provide for you and your students. If you complete the survey prior to Monday, March 13, 2006, your name will be entered into a drawing to become our "Library VIP." As the Library VIP, we will deliver library materials to your office on campus for the remainder of the spring term. We'll save you a few trips across campus! (Which, when the weather is like it is today, means something.)

L'Annee Philologique, the classic bibliography of Classics literature, is now available online, campus-wide.

If you haven't tried Web of Science lately, you may be missing some of its nifty features. This interdisciplinary database covers the natural and social sciences (including history) and in addition to searches by author and topic lets you search by cited reference. Another feature, the "find related records" lets you seek out articles that share the same sources. And finally, a new "analyze tool" creates histograms of search results, analyzing a set of records by date, author, subject area, or other variables. Want to stay on top of new publications? Save a search and have new results sent to you weekly by e-mail. AHSearch, a version of this database with fewer features, covers Arts and Humanities.

Friday, March 03, 2006

MnPALS Interlibrary Loan Goes Live!

At long last, the interlibrary loan function in the MnPALS shared catalog is now working. To order books from other libraries, you need to log in using your barcode and last name and select Gustavus as your library. Then, when you find a book at another library that you want to order, click on the ILL Request link at the top of the record. You will have to choose a "date needed by" from the calendar and check off agreement with the copyright statement, then click on "go." Finally confirm your request from the next screen.

One thing that may seem confusing : there is a form for requesting a photocopy of part of a book. You may fill that section out if you wish, but many if not most libraries prefer to loan the book rather than make a copy. And as libraries adapt to a totally new system behind the scenes, requests from other libraries may take a bit longer for the first week or so.

Online interlibrary loan forms for books and articles also have a new look.

Kudos to Kathie Martin and her student team for managing to get the new system up and running with such speed and good spirits.

The MnLINK Gateway will continue to serve as an interlibrary loan portal to public and academic libraries around the state. However, it has suddenly become necessary to enter your last name (where it calls for Pin or Password) in ALL CAPS rather than lower case letters. Why this is suddenly case sensitive is something only the gremlins know.

In other news ... congratulations to Edi Thorstensson for landing an NEH grant to bring a consultant to campus to advise us on conservation and preservation of the Church Archives, but also to help us with long-term preservation planning for the college archives, special collections, and the collection as a whole.

Some of our course reserves are being loaded on Moodle, an open-source course management system, as a pilot project. Next fall we expect all of our electronic reserves to be loaded on Moodle. Though this system has many additional courseware features, the library is only using it for reserve readings as we phase out our home-grown e-reserves system. Participating faculty don't have to use any additional Moodle features; students simply log in to find electronic readings for their courses.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hear about Hurricane Relief - Tonight

The students from Karen Larson's class who traveled to Key West to help with recovery from Hurricane Wilma will be presenting their insights and observations at the library this evening, January 25th, starting at 7 p.m. We'll be gathering on the first floor, in front of the current periodicals. Come hear how students integrated anthropological observations and social justice principles into their service learning. It's likely you may also be able to purchase a key-lime colored Wilma Relief T-shirt to commemorate the trip.

J-term is in its final week. Though it has been fairly quiet in the library, this year two librarians taught courses. Michelle Twait's class (in keeping with the Vocation theme) explored information professions. Edi Thorstensson taught weaving to students at the St. Peter Arts Center while exposing them to textile traditions around the world.

Cal State San Marcos has a new library that has been a big success. So why is this news? In the 1990s this new campus of the California system was not going to have a library at all - who needs it when everything's online? What this new library demonstrates is that there is s social dimension to learning that can't be easily replicated in cyberspace.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!

Google is honoring the inventor of Braille today.

Another new books list has been posted on our Web site. Better yet, we will soon be returning to the practice of sending those who request books a slip with its call number when they head out to the shelves. We had discontinued that process a few years ago to streamline the work, but we missed it. So those of you who suggest books for purchase will be finding those little slips in your POs again before too long. Thanks to Sonja Timmerman for making it happen.

RSS readers are dead? Just as I'm getting used to this fascinating way to waste incredible amounts of time? RSS - "Really Simple Syndication" - is a technological way to "feed" digital stories to potential audiences. And while I never got used to my checking Bloglines account routinely, I now have a dozen feeds on my upgraded FireFox toolbar. They call them "live bookmarks." I call them procrastination's best friend.