Friday, September 26, 2008

Maybe Bathroom Breaks Are Bad

The last time I talked about bathroom breaks, I ran into a woman with a serious case of OCD. There was also the time a woman was singing "Jesus Loves The Little Children" in the stall next to me, but we won't get into that.

This time it was about child rearing techniques. Who knew such interesting research topics could be found in the ladies room?

In any case, an older woman was talking to a younger woman about ways to prevent poor behavior in children called the "extinction technique." The older woman explained that recognized behavior is repeated behavior, so if bad behavior is ignored and good behavior is recognized and rewarded, then it is the repeated behavior. If bad behavior is ignored, then to a child's mind, it didn't happen.

I'm not certain if I agree with that entirely, but it got me thinking about how this might be researched and applied by educators and others who specialize in child development.

I decided to try the ERIC database through the Marriott Library Article Databases.

This database has what I think is the best resources for education available, so I thought it would be a good place to start. To get there, I went to the library home page, clicked on Article Databases & More, and then on the letter 'E' to get to a list of databases that start with that letter. I scrolled down until I got to the one that said ERIC (Ebsco). There are several places to get information from ERIC because it originally from the U.S. Department of Education, but I like working with the Ebsco database vendor interface best.

Once I was in the database, I searched for "extinction technique."

And there they were, articles about exactly what the women in the bathroom were talking about. They ranged from information about how to help children with potentially dangerous self-destructive behaviors to behavior management information for parents using the extinction technique.

Ah, I do love when a good search comes together and I learn something new!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bimbos and Zombies in the Library

I was wandering through the “stacks” today; that’s what we library nerds call the general collection here in the library. I usually browse the “stacks” for eye catching books, furry covers, heat reactive paper, or catchy titles. Untidy gender was my favorite until today when I came across…Bimbos and Zombies. No kidding you can really find bimbos and zombies in the library! I’m not much one for bimbos, but I am quite fond of zombies so I asked myself: “how can I come up with a tidy search to find out how many zombies we have in the library?”

I like to start by doing a general key word search in the library catalog…feel free to try this yourself. When I enter zombie the catalog produces 49 titles, if I try zombies the catalog gives me 32 titles. I can use a Boolean operator 'OR', so I search 'zombie or zombies' and that produces 77 titles. That is just not enough zombies for me, I mean I’m not one for math, but doesn’t 49+32= 81. Tricky you say, well yes it is, but I can show you how to be tricky right back…with the zombifying power of TRUNCATION!

Truncation allows you to search words that begin with similar letters, but end differently. Most catalogs and databases use an asterisk (*). Truncation allows you to identify part of a word and search for that expanding your results and reducing the length of your search statement. So I can do a general key word search for zombi* and ….POOF 81 results. So we have at least 81 zombies in the library, how many bimbos can you find?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mathematics and the Aesthetic

Back a few weeks ago I posted an interdisciplinary proposal for the union of chemistry and political science. On the BBC news site I found another great example of working outside your field of study to enhance understanding and the essential transfer of knowledge (something we're keen on in libraries as you can well imagine). Watch the video The Art of Mathematics at the BBC Link and turn on your speakers for a great commentary by the creator.

You may ask yourself (how did I get here!?) and you may also ask yourself why I'm using a resource from the free and open web. The BBC, as you may or may not have noticed, has no advertising! Their american counterparts (CNN, local newspapers, etc.) all have advertising which could be construed as an editorial influence. I'll let you make the call on that one, but speaking as a librarian, I would say the BBC News services have an excellent editorial balance and are very credible.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Open Access Awareness Day--Tuesday, October 14

Open Access Day is an international event being held to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access

Here's a listing of U of U events to be held on Tuesday, October 14th as well as the following week. For more information, contact Allyson Mower, allyson dot mower at utah dot edu; 585-5458.

Date: Tuesday, October 14
Event: Publishing SMART

Description: Authors want their scholarly articles to be seen, cited and utilized. This class provides opportunities for researchers to increase their visibility by exploring various publishing and archiving choices. Tools for evaluating journal impact factors, online usage, local online availability, retaining copyrights, and submission to online archives are covered.

Time: 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: Marriott Library, Room 1735
Sign up here

Date: Tuesday, October 14
Event: Sir Richard Roberts, Ph.D., F.R.S. Broadcast

Description: Dr. Roberts will discuss how Open Access impacts research and will answer questions on this topic from participating campuses.

Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Health Sciences Education Building, Room 4100 C
26 S. 2000 E.
(801) 581-8771

Date: Tuesday, October 14
Event: Philip E. Bourne, Ph.D. Broadcast

Description: Dr. Bourne will discuss how Open Access impacts research and will answer questions on this topic from participating campuses.

Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Salt Lake City Public Library, Sweet Branch Meeting Room
455 F St
(801) 594-8651

Date: Tuesday, October 21
Event: Publishing SMART

Description: Authors want their scholarly articles to be seen, cited and utilized. This class provides opportunities for researchers to increase their visibility by exploring various publishing and archiving choices. Tools for evaluating journal impact factors, online usage, local online availability, retaining copyrights, and submission to online archives are covered.

Time: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: Health Sciences Education Building, Room 3100 B
Sign up here

Date: Wednesday, October 22
Event: Clinical Research & Methods Panel Discussion

Description: Panelists will discuss the larger scholarly communication system and how funding agencies, publishers, editors, reviewers, authors and libraries impact clinical research. The panel members include Dr. Kathleen Digre (Neuro-Ophthalmology), Dr. James Scott (Obstetrics and Gynecology), Mary E. Youngkin (Eccles Library) and Dr. Pat Murphy (Nursing) with Allyson Mower (Marriott Library) moderating.

Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Health Sciences Education Building, Room 2120

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cut the CRAAP!

The blogosphere is a buzz with talk of a budding new interest in librarianship…sexy librarianship. While I may not be a card carrying member of that elite force I am still a library specialist and just happen to wear my hair in a bun and sport stylish frames. VP candidate Sarah Palin has everyone talking or should I say typing about her, is she a “sexy librarian”, dose she promote censorship in libraries, was that really her in the American flag bikini with the rifle?
Any librarian sexy or otherwise would recommend that you cut the crap and use the CRAAP test created by the sexy librarians at Chico State. Card carrying librarians and most of us folks serving in libraries enjoy seeing research that is checked for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Check it out, does this blog pass the test?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Googling Health Info

Did you know you can use Google to find quality health information? Librarians have teamed up with staff at Google to create tools that lead searchers to reliable health information. Do any search for a health-related topic, such as asthma, and you will see options for refining your search:

It's a great way to begin a search for basic health information. If you need more advanced health information, check out PubMed. It's a free database from the National Library of Medicine. You can get to full-text articles the campus libraries have paid for by using the library icon.

Or, look for the PubMed Central icon for free full-text.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Publishing SMART

The next class is Monday, September 29 and there's only TWO seats left! Sign up to attend.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Have you ever had someone state that you're more likely to be killed by lightning than in a plane crash? Well the National Safety Council wants to foster more conversations just like that (you must know that I'm kidding)! Here's the most and least likely ways to die from injury (not natural causes) in a handy chart!

Heeding this chart for your coming academic year you'll want to avoid driving/riding in a car, and lay low to avoid falling. On the other hand, streetcar riders, enthusiasts of poisonous plants and picking on completely unarmed police officers still holds a lot of promise for you risk takers out there!

Odds of Death Due to Injury, United States, 2004
(most recently published data for this comprehensive chart)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Open Science

Robin Lloyd, Senior Editor of LiveScience, recently wrote "secrecy and competition to achieve breakthroughs have been part of scientific culture for centuries, but the latest Internet advances are forcing a tortured openness throughout the halls of science and raising questions about how research will be done in the future."

Gerry McKiernan goes on to say that the phrase, open science, is "shorthand for technological tools, many of which are Web-based, that help scientists communicate about their findings. At its most radical, the ethos could be described as "no insider information." Information available to researchers, as far as possible, is made available to absolutely everyone."

For example, check out and Both offer scientists ways of managing their data, sharing it and collaborating with others., a pre-print repository, is another example of open distribution that has been around since the 90s.

It's hard to imagine a world without paper journals, but new Internet tools will only result in new end products. The purpose remains the same--to communicate research and scholarship--but the means for doing so will have different text + streaming video instead of collated pages.

Younger scientists are breaking the mold, according to a story in The Boston Globe. "We're a generation who expects all information is a Google search away," [one 28-year old scientist] said. "Not only is it a Google search away, but it's also released immediately. As soon as it happens, the video is up on YouTube and on all the blogs. The old model feels kind of crazy when you're used to this instant information."

Want to participate more in open science? Attend the Open Access Awareness Day events on campus:

Broadcast of Nobel Laureate Sir Richard Roberts, PhD
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Health Sciences Education Building, Room 4100 C
5 pm

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hooked on Pandora

In high school, I was a music geek.

If it was playing on MTV (you know, back when the M stood for "music")--and even if it wasn't--I was listening to it: Rock, Pop, New Wave, R&B, Synthpop, Metal, Glam, Punk, Hiphop, Ambient, Raggae, Techno. I was in the stage band, marching band, concert choir, show choir, and high school musicals. I thought I'd be on top of what's new on the music scene for the rest of my life, unlike my parents who only listened to Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, and Elvis.

Then I went off to college and, without my noticing it, I settled into a music rut. Listening to the same ten albums that fit in my CD Walkman carrying case. Tuning in instrumental and classical radio stations (read: white noise I wouldn't be tempted to sing along with) when I studied.

Worse still, when I graduated from college and headed out into the real world, I got hooked on talk radio and eventually found myself listening exclusively to NPR and BBC news radio.

And that's the way it's been, until now!

This week, I discovered Pandora Radio. It's a perfect blend: I can be my own personal DJ, with the ease of a mindless radio broadcast, yet none of the commercials. Best of all, I don't have to risk a lawsuit by downloading all the songs I love but can't afford to pay for.

Here's how it works: you select an artist or a song that you like, and Pandora plays other music that has similar qualities. As you listen, you can give a thumbs up or down for each song, and Pandora will learn what your tastes are. Each song that you add to or ban from your "station" has a direct and immediate impact on what's played next. With the ability to create and share multiple stations, you can quickly tune in something that fits your mood.

The brains behind this tool is the Music Genome Project, where they've broken down songs to their sound essences and created a list of "hundreds of musical attributes, or 'genes'." Not unlike Library of Congress Subject Headings and the materials listed in our library catalog, Pandora labels each song with the musical attributes that comprise it. When you indicate that you like a particular song, it finds other songs with shared "genes" and puts them into the queue.

Pandora is free and my account is accessible anywhere I can find an open internet connection. I'm truly enjoying listening to a wide variety of music once again. As they say on the Pandora website:
It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Star Trek was Wrong!?

Remember when Kirk found his way out of certain doom by wooing the alien girl who, despite her utterly alien way of life, found him irresistible? And how about Carl Sagan helping us think that there were billions and billions of other places out there just like ours with so many alien boyfriends and girlfriends to meet. Alas, this may not be entirely as likely as we had hoped to experience once Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic got off the ground. It turns out that our solar system (you know, Mercury, Venus, Earth... all the way to Neptune, depending on who you ask) is rather unique and rare.

A recent publication in Science (search the Library Catalog under "journals/newspapers" for "Science") Thommes, Matsumura & Rasio; Gas Disks to Gas Giants: Simulating the Birth of Planetary Systems, (open access, thanks to arXiv!) puts some of those wishes on the backburner, for now.