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Education Journals Online

September 28, 2010

This post is brought to you by a question from Mrs. Horsen about whether we subscribed to any teaching journals. The answer is that we do, but they’re hidden!

Those are just a few of the 500+ full-text journals on the Theory and Practice of Education that are available to you through the library (and don’t forget the 300+ education journals available through the Directory of Open Access Journals).

a screenshot of the page for the journal Childhood Education in Educator's Reference Center

Browsing

You can use any of the links above to browse through the contents of your favorite journal.

Searching

You can search within individual journals using the links to them. Many will feature a search box for that specific journal like the one in the screenshot of Childhood Education above.

If you’re more interested in a particular topic (say, approaches to teaching the scientific method to elementary students or ways of assessing student learning outcomes in social studies, you can do a general search across a variety of sources via Educator’s Reference Center, Teacher Reference Center, or ERIC.

Subscribing

But why waste time browsing or searching when you can have information come directly to you? Let’s say you’re particularly interested in the journal Childhood Education. Above is a screenshot of how the journal appears in Educator’s Reference Center. In the upper right hand corner are three little orange and yellow buttons. If you click on the middle one, you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

a screenshot showing subscription options for Childhood Education

Just enter your email address, choose how often you want to be updated, and click save. (If you use a feed reader such as Google Reader or Netvibes, you can also subscribe via RSS, which is a great option if you have a ton of websites you like to check a lot and want them all to come to the same place. If you’re curious, I’d be happy to help set you up.)

You can also subscribe to searches in many databases. Here, for instance, is a keyword search for elementary assessment limited to full-text articles, and you’ll see the same subscription options (Note: to get theĀ  best results with search subscriptions, you’ll want to define your search pretty well. Your friendly local librarian would be happy to help!)a screenshot showing the search and subscription options for a search for elementary assessement in Educator's Reference Center

In addition to the links in this post, I’ve also included links to many of these resources in the sidebar of this blog and on the Research page of the library website.

Searching the Library Catalog

September 10, 2010

a card for the McElderry Book of Greek MythsYou are all probably old enough to remember finding books in the library using cards kind of like this one. (Thanks to John Blyberg’s library card generator for the image.)

There were three ways you could look up a book in the card catalog: title, author, or subject. The title card for a book of Greek myths would have looked somewhat like this one, although most likely, if you were researching Greek mythology, you would have started by looking in the Gs for Greek or the Ms for mythology (if you’d started in the Gs, and your card catalog was a good one, you’d find a card that said something like “Greek mythology — SEE Mythology, Greek”).

Nowadays, we have all that information and more in the library catalog. Here’s the way the record for that same book looks in the computer. You’ll still see author, title, subject, and a call number, but as you can see, there are a lot of other things there, too.

catalog record for The McElderry Book of Greek Myths, showing title, author, ISBN, etc.

When you do a search directly from our library website, you are doing, by default, a keyword search. That’s the standard way of searching for things online: the computer looks at the string of characters you’ve entered and then looks for identical strings of characters in whatever it’s searching. When you do a keyword search of the library catalog, it look through every word in the records like the one above, and then it spits out the results, as previously noted, in reverse chronological order of when the item was added to the catalog. The end result is that sometimes your results list is a little. . . funny. For instance, try searching for mythology in our catalog. The first hits you’ll get are for the most recent Percy Jackson books. Why? Because the word mythology shows up in the record.

So, as promised, here are some tips and tricks to make your searches a little bit better. You’ll want to start by clicking on the WYLDCAT logo to get directly into the library catalog.

  • Restricted field searching: If you know the exact title or author of a book, try doing a search for title or author instead of for keyword. That will force the catalog to look for whatever words you’ve entered only if they appear in the title or author field.
  • Restricted format searching: If you click on the Advanced Search link, you’ll get a search form with a ton of fields and drop down boxes. One of those drop down boxes is for item type, and you can choose from a somewhat staggering list of options to narrow your search down to just books or DVDs or whatever.
  • Restricted level searching: Also in the Advanced Search area, you can choose to search just Adult, Young Adult, or Juvenile materials. Unfortunately, juvenile will still include both chapter books and picture books, but it will keep adult and YA materials out of your search.

Then there are some other things that people often want to do that you can do but that are a bit harder:

  • Fiction vs. Nonfiction: For reasons buried deep in the history of the Dewey Decimal System, it’s not generally possible to separate fiction and nonfiction in the catalog, but there is a trick that will often work for juvenile books. To get only juvenile nonfiction, type your keyword(s) followed by juvenile literature (e.g. horses juvenile literature would give you just nonfiction books for kids about horses. If you only want fiction, you’d type horses juvenile fiction).

I think that’s enough for now. Remember, if you’re having difficulties, please feel free to come see us in the library. Library catalog searching is not easy!

The Library Catalog vs. Google

September 2, 2010

This is the first in a series of what I hope will be brief, useful tips on the library, library resources, and finding information online.

Up today: The library catalog vs. Google!

Now, you don’t search these for the same reasons, generally. In the library catalog, you’re looking for a book or a movie; in Google, at least if you’re me, half the time you’re trying to remember how to spell something and the rest of the time you’re looking for websites or videos or whatever happened to that guy you went to high school with. But Google is so prevalent that it’s kind of influenced the way we think about all searching, and Not All Searches Are Equal. One might even say that Some Searches Are More Equal Than Others.

Google:

  • copies the internet (or a big chunk of it) onto its own servers
  • can consequently search it REALLY QUICKLY
  • spits out results to you that are ranked by Google’s super-secret PageRank algorithm
  • the more popular your site is deemed (i.e., the more people who link to it), the higher your PageRank
  • trivia: the Page in PageRank is named for Larry Page, one of Google’s founders, not for the web pages it indexes

The Library Catalog:

  • consists of a big database that is maintained by SirsiDynix, the company that runs our statewide catalog
  • sends out queries to this database *every time* you search, so searches are kind of slow
  • searches different parts of the record depending on what kind of search you do–a keyword search will look for those words anywhere; a title search will look just in the title field
  • gives you results in reverse chronological order of when the book or movie or CD or whatever was entered into the catalog
  • trivia: you can see a former VP of SirsiDynix doing karaoke online!

Why Can’t the Library Catalog Be More Awesomely Fast and Relevant Like Google?

  • We are not as rich as Google, so our tech is older.
  • There is a statewide committee (I’m on it) that’s looking at ways to make our catalog more awesome and fast like Google.
  • There are some neat tricks you can do with library catalogs that you can’t do with Google. Also, we don’t keep track of what you search for. So there are *some* advantages.

In our next installment, I’ll tell you a little more about some of those tricks and tips. Stay tuned!

New Research Guides and Help Finding Journals

September 18, 2009

If you look to the right of this blog post, you’ll see that the list of Research Guides & More is starting to flush out a bit, and there are more to come, including a Wyoming history research guide for the fourth grade and whatever else you may need for your students.

I have had a few teachers and staff members drop by occasionally looking for help locating journal articles, and so I thought I’d post a few tips in case they are helpful to others. If you would like further help, please don’t hesitate to stop by, and I’d be glad to assist you.

For education, your number one go-to place is ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. A growing number of articles in ERIC are available in full-text for free, but if you find one that isn’t but looks useful, we may well be able to locate it for you in a library database.

The library’s Research page is your portal to all our databases. If you are inside the school, you should be able to get to them directly. If you want to search from home, you’ll need your library card number and PIN.

I recommend starting with EBSCO. After clicking on that link, choose “EBSCOHost Web,” and then check the databases you would like to search. Academic Search Elite will have the most articles available full-text. The Teacher Reference Center is an abstract-only database, but again, we may be able to get the full article.

These resources are not all very easy to use, and they often take practice. If you are stuck or frustrated, please let me know — I would be happy to set up appointments with you during your planning periods or whenever else is convenient for you.

In the meantime, though, have a great weekend!

Updating the Collection: Say Hello to the 21st Century!

September 3, 2009

Between May and August of this year, thanks to funds from A Gathering of Grizzlies, the Wyoming State Legislature, and Park County Library Foundation we added 594 new books for children and teens to the Meeteetse Branch Library. If you browse through the stacks, you may see that some of the older books you remember are gone, but you should find many shiny, new, up-to-date books in their place.

For instance, we no longer have a book about the presidents published in 1957, but we do have Ann Bausum’s Our Country’s Presidents: All You Need to Know About the Presidents, From George Washington to Barack Obama, a wonderful book about the history of the White House and its inhabitants, with an introduction by historian David McCullough, called Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, and a new set of biographies of many of our notable presidents (I am sorry, but Millard Fillmore did not make the cut).

We no longer have books that tell you that you can contract HIV from a toilet seat, or that obsessive compulsive disorder is the result of poor toilet training, but we do have two new great health-related series, Rookie Read About Health for kindegarteners through 2nd graders, and the Life Balance series for 5th through 8th graders. Both are correlated to Wyoming standards.

We have new biographies of everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to John Lennon; books on sports records, books about cars and trucks and things that go; books about the battle of the Alamo and the cultural upheavals of the 1960s; books about . . . well, I could go on and on, but I hope you will stop by and see for yourself. Updating the library is an ongoing process, and we certainly have more work to do, but we’re really pleased with the progress we’ve made so far.

If you have suggestions, ideas, or requests for library materials, please don’t hesitate to tell us!

Welcome Back!

August 25, 2009

Welcome back to school, everyone! We’ve got new books in the library (come see for yourself — there are far too many to list here!) and soon we’ll have new pages on this blog. Stay tuned!

New Books on the March!

March 3, 2009

Picture Books
Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Williams — Don’t you just love Elephant and Piggy? So do I, and, fortunately, so does their creator. Here’s the latest from Mo Willems.

Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein with illustrations by Ed Young — Wabi Sabi (not to be confused with wasabi, which is how I first read it) is a Japanese concept about beauty and simplicity. In this book from Reibstein and Young, it’s also the name of a cat who goes on a quest to find the meaning of her name. Wabi Sabi is a gorgeous book and an unusual one — you open and read it from top to bottom rather than from left to right.

Little Panda written and illustrated by Renata Liwska — A grandfather panda tells a story to his grandson about a panda and a tiger that could fly.

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson with illustrations by Beth Krommes — This year’s winner of the Caldecott Medal starts and ends with the key to a house, but in between it takes you all the way to the moon and the sun in back.

The Tale of Two Mice by Ruth Brown — If you’d like to see this book in its full glory, come by soon — it has many little flaps that reveal the perils the two mice face as they search for food in an enormous mansion, and the flaps will not last for long.

Chapter Books
The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones by Helen Hemphill — Loosely based on the story of African American cowboy Nat love, this novel follows Prometheus Jones (born on the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed) as he wins a horse in a raffle and heads off to seek his fortune in the Wild West.

Young Adult Books
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta — Taylor Markham is a 17-year-old Australian whose mother abandoned her when she was 11. Now she’s a leader at her boarding school, trying to negotiate both the yearly war between youth factions and her relationship to a rival leader who might hold the secret to her past and her mother’s disappearance. Marchetta’s novel is this year’s winner of the Printz Medal.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi and translated by Cathy Hirano with illustrations by Yuko Shimizu — Ancient Japanese warrior fantasy! Hugely popular elsewhere and just now translated into English.

Nation by Terry Pratchett — In an ocean somewhat like our South Pacific, a tidal wave wipes out the population of an island — except for a boy who was out canoeing — and wrecks a ship, from which a girl from a place somewhat like 19th century Britain, escapes. The boy and girl end up on the island and must learn to communicate and to work together to help the survivors who are washed to shore.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen — Another one-syllable title romp from Hiassen about some kids who solve a mystery deep in the Florida Everglades.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White — This isn’t a new book, but I’ve had people asking for it, and until now we only had the first part, The Sword in the Stone. Now we have the whole thing!

Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley with illustrations by Bernie Wrightson and an introduction by Stephen King — We have other copies of Frankenstein, but, as someone noted recently, most of them aren’t nearly as much of a pleasure to read as this one, which is both a classic tale and a work of art in its own right.

Kin by Holly Black with illustrations by Ted Naifeh — A young adult graphic novel from the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles. Rue thinks of herself as an ordinary student, but when her mother disappears and her father is arrested, she learns there is more to her family and her background — and her powers — than she ever thought.

Nonfiction
Taylor Swift: Country’s Sweetheart by Lexi Ryals — We strive to provide all kinds of books in the library, including those that get requested. Here’s one we got for the kids clamoring for a book about Taylor Swift.

Drawing: The Only Drawing Book You’ll Ever Need to be the Artist You’ve Always Wanted to Be by Kathryn Temple — The subtitle may be a bit of an exaggeration, but this is a great drawing book — lots of examples and exercises and demonstrations of techniques.

Elves and Fairies by John Hamilton — Just what it sounds like. Our books on the subject were getting a little tired.

Amazing You: Psychic Powers by Jessica Adams — You never know. You could have psychic powers. Or you could just suspend your disbelief and read about it — I would bet that many of your students will.