Advanced Database Searching: Improve Your Search Results

GOLD.AdvancedSearvhingPlease bring a laptop to the workshop!

Leaders, scholars, and professionals all have one thing in common: they have complex information needs. This workshop will teach participants to leverage the power of online search tools by applying filters, citation tracking, and other techniques rarely used by casual researchers. You’ll be expert researchers after this workshop!
Instructors: Bonnie Swoger – Library Faculty, Milne Library; Sue Ann Brainard – Library Faculty, Milne Library

Tuesday, October 25th
1:00 – 2:00 pm
GOLD Leadership Center,
MacVittie College Union, Room 114

[Register for Ruby Certificate Credit]

Don’t Believe Everything You Read: Critical Analysis of Sources

gold-moonlandingPlease bring a laptop to the workshop!

Determining a source’s worth is more complicated than identifying whether or not it is scholarly or popular. All types of sources–even those that are scholarly–can potentially host biased stances and/or flawed conclusions. Workshop attendees will be empowered to evaluate all of their sources beyond the surface-level, enhancing the quality of their own scholarship.
Instructor: Dan Ross – Academic Excellence Librarian, Milne Library

Wednesday, October 5th
2:30 – 3:30 pm
MacVittie College Union Room 322/323

[Register for Ruby Certificate Credit]

Becoming an Uber Efficient Researcher

zotero_gold-ruby-workshopPlease bring a laptop to the workshop!

Find out how to use research management tools like Zotero to gather, organize and automatically create citations for research papers. In this workshop, you will learn about the options available and gain hands-on experience with one of these tools to capture, save and export citations into a word document in the citation style of your choice.  Instructor: Tracy Paradis – Reference & Instruction Librarian, Milne Library

Becoming an Uber Efficient Researcher Using Research Management Tools 
Wednesday, September 21
2:30 – 3:30 pm
MacVittie College Union Room 322/323

[Register for Ruby Certificate Credit]

New Access to Experian’s Credit Data Reports

business_research-400x300Our ABI/INFORM database now has access to the Experian Commercial Risk Database, containing over 40 million credit data reports for both private and public companies, allowing researchers to see details such as contact information, size, industry, MSA, sales range, business type, bankruptcy information, credit risk, and more. These reports are full-text with coverage from December 10, 1980 to the present.

ABI/INFORM can be found under recommended databases on both the Business/Economics and Accounting/Auditing library research guides.

To find these reports, search ABI/INFORM for a company (e.g.“Ford Motor company”), then limit to reports (or limit further to just experian reports under publication title).


For more info on the new content, see the announcement on ProQuest’s blog.

Scholarly sources and reliable news sources about the Ebola outbreak

This post was originally published on the Scientific American Blog, Information Culture, on September 29, 2014.

While there has been some high quality news reporting about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it is also easy to find vague, misleading or erroneous information about the disease and the outbreak. News related to the outbreak may also prompt more folks to explore the scholarly scientific literature on the subject.  The list below contains some reliable information sources on the topic.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center released an excellent guide to Ebola information resources. Many of the links in this post are also available from the NLM guide.

General information about the disease

News stories and collections

Scholarly materials

The National Library of Medicine has initiated an Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) for scholarly papers related to Ebola. The EAI is a partnership between the National Library of Medicine (the folks behind the PubMed biomedical research database) and the companies and organizations that publish scholarly articles. The EAI allows healthcare professionals, policy makes, librarians, and others involved in a health disaster event to temporarily access scholarly articles on the topic that would generally only be available to subscribers. Affected folks hoping to access the information need to login at the EAI site, then continue on to PubMed.  Once you get to PubMed, you can limit your search to articles available for free through the program. The current EAI allows access until October 17, 2014.

Many publishers have put together collections of ebola related articles available for free on their websites, including:

Of particular interest is an interactive map and timeline of the outbreak, discussed in detail by Larry Greenemeier on the Scientific American website.


The HealthMap of the Ebola outbreak

Governmental websites

This list is only a small portion of the high quality information sources available. Feel free to share your go-to high-quality information resources in the comments.

Why use Primary Sources?

A Primary source is material created at the time of an historical event and provides a true account of that event or time period. They are a great way to expose students to multiple perspectives on past and present events and issues.

Identifying and finding primary sources can be a challenge, however, which may dissuade students from using them in their research. The video below, designed by librarians Sue Ann Brainard and Michelle Costello, introduces the plight of the Little Rock Nine and their integration struggles through the use of primary sources, such as images, oral histories, government documents and music.

Sue Ann Brainard – [email protected]

Michelle Costello – [email protected]


What is the impact of textbook prices on students?

written by Tim Bowersox and Kate Pitcher

It is a commonly heard story on campus that students are feeling the pressure when it comes to textbook prices.  Anecdotally, librarians and faculty have heard about many students’ dropping or avoiding classes because they cannot afford the required texts — not because of content, interest or availability. Next week, Milne Library will be holding a series of events related to the open access movement and how we can redefine the impact of free and open resources on higher education.

How do textbook prices impact college students?

imageWe do know that nationally, students bear a high cost to attend college, but how much do textbook costs factor into these budgets?  In 2012, the Florida Student Textbook Survey was conducted by the Florida Virtual Campus (a network of public colleges in Florida). The researchers interviewed over 20,000 students from all 11 of Florida’s state universities.

Among the many survey goals, officials wanted to find out how much Florida students spent on textbooks during the Spring 2012 semester; the frequency with which students buy new textbooks; how students are affected by the cost of textbooks; what formats students prefer; and additionally, what students’ perceptions of the availability of textbooks in their institutions’ libraries actually is.

In brief, the researchers found several trends:

  • Textbook costs continue to take a toll on students financially and academically

  • Students use various means to reduce costs of textbooks, including purchasing books from a source other than the campus bookstore, renting textbooks, purchasing used books, selling their used books, and using copies on reserve at the campus library

  • Some institutions’ libraries provide textbooks for checkout, extending a lifeline to students who cannot afford to purchase a textbook

How Geneseo students feel about textbooks

Much of this was seen in our own informal polling of our students.  During the Spring 2012 semester, we conducted a brief survey to gage the attitudes of SUNY Geneseo students toward textbook prices. Though the response rate was small, we did receive some candid feedback:

“Sometimes, it makes me not want to take a class. I’m somewhat funding myself, so high costs of textbooks are a deciding factor for me.” — Sophomore

“Forced to get old outdated versions where the page numbers dont match up because buying the right/new version is too expensive.” — Junior

“I have to really think ahead and plan ahead to make sure I will have the money to buy my textbooks. There have been classes I haven’t taken because the cost of the textbooks has been too high for me to afford.” — Junior

“It is very expensive to buy textbooks. Generally my professors are honest about whether or not we will use the text during class, but sometimes I go through a whole semester without even opening it. Textbook buy-back stinks because I barely get a fraction of what I initially paid. Basically, it is an incredibly expensive addition to the already incredibly expensive cost of furthering my education. “ — Junior

“I had a work study job this year to cover various expenses, but with the costs of textbooks, I rarely had cash to spend. My parents are helping pay for my college education and they too are financially strained by how expensive the textbooks can be in addition to everything else we need to pay for.” — Freshman

Milne Library can’t do it alone

In an effort to mitigate some of the burden of purchasing textbooks, Milne Library has developed a Textbooks on Reserve collection. Currently, the collection consists of 787 unique titles — that’s roughly 72% of the unique titles assigned by faculty for the Fall 2013 semester. Although some of the titles were already in our collection, we rely heavily upon donations from faculty and students in order to stay current. Why? Because we simply cannot afford to buy the latest edition of each textbook every year.

FreeTextbookOur Textbook on Reserve collection also has limited reach. In order to ensure that as many students as possible can access the collection, students can only check out one book at a time for 4 hours. Since we often only have one or two copies of a book, not every student can access a copy when they need it most: often the night before an assignment is due.

Some students also try to borrow their textbooks through Information Delivery Services (IDS). However, this also has limitations. Many libraries do not allow us to borrow textbooks through interlibrary loan. We are often forced to borrow older or alternate editions. As with all materials we borrow from other libraries, due dates are often limited to 4-6 weeks — meaning students have to return the items before the end of the semester.

Where do we go from here?

We want to know your thoughts. Please respond to our blog post with your comments – how do textbook prices impact your educational experience at Geneseo?  What are some strategies or alternatives used to avoid buying a textbook?

Download and read the 2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey

Publishing student work openly: the GREAT Day Proceedings

GREATDayEvery year, GREAT Day (Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement & Talent Day) marks a college-wide symposium celebrating the creative and scholarly endeavors of our students.

For the past several years, SUNY Geneseo has published the conference proceedings of the GREAT Day presentations held every April.  The proceedings are designed to be a student-led publication, compiled and edited by a series of student editors and originally advised by Dr. E. Richie VanVliet of the Languages & Literatures department.  In 2011 the publication found a home in Milne Library when Dr. Van Vliet retired. Since the 2011 Proceedings, Milne Library has worked with two wonderful student editors, Stephanie Iasiello and Amy Bishop, to compile and edit the student work from GREAT Day presentations and poster sessions.  In the spring of every year, the Library publishes the edited proceedings of the previous year’s event.

Beginning in 2009, the Proceedings were published in print through the Amazon CreateSpace platform, and in 2011, the Proceedings were also made open access and freely available electronically through Milne’s journal publishing platform, Open Journal Systems (OJS).

Student submissions for the 2013 Proceedings are in the process of being reviewed  for publication — you still have time to contribute your paper!  Submitting is easy, and instructions are found on our website. Please contact the GREAT Day Proceedings journal managers (Daniel Ross, Academic Excellence Librarian [email protected] or Allison Brown, Editor & Production Manager [email protected]) for more information.

Scholarly Publishing across the Disciplines: Interviews with Geneseo Faculty

CostelloPeckInterviewThe Milne Library Scholarly Communications team and librarian liaisons for the campus academic departments interviewed 87 faculty members in one-on-one conversations during the academic year 2010-11 and part of academic year 2011-12.  The results of these interviews were analyzed and documented in a series of reports which will be issued over the next few months.

The interviews conducted with Geneseo faculty members were intended to be a survey of the current research and publishing practices on campus, giving us a glimpse of the issues affecting Geneseo faculty, including the changing scholarly publishing environment, digital and online scholarship, peer review, publishing with undergraduate researchers and open access.

faculty interviews wordle.SMThe first two reports in this series (both released today) document the issues and responses surrounding faculty and undergraduate students involved in research and publishing and the quickly changing environment surrounding digital scholarship and its value on campus and in the disciplines.  In particular, we look at ways in which the library may be able to meet the needs of new initiatives on campus.

To read the reports, please visit the Milne Library Scholarly Communications’ webpage at

We welcome your feedback about the reports.  Send any comments or questions to Kate Pitcher at [email protected] or by phone at 585-245-5064.

Milne Library Scholarly Communications Team


“How Do I …” save time and frustration with research projects!

HowDoISo you’re new to campus and kinda new to the whole research paper thing.  Or you’re not new but just a bit rusty, and that library skills class you took seems so long ago.  Who can remember all that searching/citing/writing stuff anyway?

Just settle down, breathe deeply, turn on your computer, and bring up Milne Library’s homepage.  See that list over there on the right, called Quick Links?  About half way down is the one you want – “How do I …

HowDoI sm




Click on it and you’ll find all you need to help you through your research project, no matter which stage it’s at. Just about everything is covered, from “Begin My Research” to “Edit and Proofread My Writing.”   Need help distinguishing scholarly from popular (or primary from secondary) sources?  There’s a guide for that! Need some guidance on which databases to use, and how to do a really great search? Yep – there’s a guide for that, too.

When asking a librarian is just not an option – whether because it’s 2 a.m. and you need help NOW, or because you’re more of a DIYer – Milne’s “How do I …” guides will help see you through the research, citing, and writing of your paper or project.  (But do try to ask a librarian, too, OK?)Start