Category: Resources

iPhone Apps for Research and Collaboration

If you’re like me, much of the time spent away from your laptop is spent checking your phone for news, email and new xkcd comics.  If you’re spending that much time on your phone, you might as well do something useful.

Check out the following free apps to help you search the literature, cite your sources, and organize your work.

iPhone Apps

iPhone apps for research and collaboration

Ebsco Databases – Ebsco provides access to a large number of databases via one app (ERIC, Georef, American History and Life, MLA International Bibliography, Business Source Complete, Academic Search Complete and lots of others).  Because access to these databases is paid for by the library (with your tuition dollars), you need to log in to Academic Search Complete via the library website first.  At the bottom of the screen you’ll click on a link that will send an email with an activation code.  After downloading the app, open your email on your phone and click on the link.  You will then have 9 months of access.  I’ve found this process to be pretty simple and easy – no need to log in every time.  The app will connect you to full text articles within the Ebsco databases, and even Geneseo’s “Get it” service for articles found elsewhere.

SciVerse Scopus Alerts – A search app for the interdisciplinary database Scopus.  This app can do keyword searching, citation tracking, and alerts for the science and social science literature.  Scopus is an outstanding database, but the app has some issues.  The biggest problem is getting it to work.  You need to remember your Scopus username and password (not your Geneseo username), and even then there can be trouble.  While the tech support is responsive, it just isn’t as easy to get started as the Ebsco app above.

Evernote – I recently started using this piece of software on my computer for note taking during meetings and lectures.  I am in love with its simplicity and universal usefulness.  Take class notes on your computer, then download the iPhone app to access them anywhere.  Record voice notes on your phone and automatically sync them to your laptop.  Take pictures with your phone and insert them into the notes you’ve already started, or start a new note.  The iPhone app syncs with the desktop application so that you never have to guess where a certain piece of information is.  Share notes with others via shared notebooks or simple weblinks.  I love this app.

Dropbox – Along with the Dropbox website, this tool allows you to easily share files among friends (with shared folders), or between your computer and phone.

EasyBib – An app from the popular website.  This app allows you to scan the barcode of a book and create a formatted citation (which you will, of course, check against the style manuals for accuracy).

Merriam Webster Dictionary – There are lots of dictionary apps out there.  This one is free, and has a nifty voice search function.

Mendeley – This app works with Mendeley Desktop and the Mendeley website.  It allows you to store and organize your PDF journal articles and book chapters.  It’s like iTunes for journal articles: Mendeley will organize your folders for you and you can create folders (playlists) of articles.  You can share those folders with others to help you collaborate on group projects.  The desktop version integrates with Microsoft word to help you cite your sources.  This mobile app allows you to access the journal PDFs you have synced to the web, as well as the ability to search your personal library.

Since I don’t have an Android phone, I can’t comment on the availability or usability of these apps on that platform.  Perhaps in another post.

What apps do you use to get your work done?

Resource Spotlight: GIS Subject Guide

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geotechnology

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geotechnology

Milne Library, in collaboration with the Geography department, has created a research guide for Geographic Information Systems and Geotechnology.  This fast-growing, practical, and influential field of study is both evolving and diversifying.  It is used heavily in many fields to visualize data, including (but certainly not limited to) medicine, law enforcement and business.  GIS incorporates visual-spatial data, and  data in a way that allows the user to view and even manipulate information, ultimately providing those users with more context and a clearer understanding of that data.

Whether you’re looking for examples of resources that incorporate GIS, looking to learn more about this ever-growing field, or even looking to create your own data-infused-maps, this guide can get you started!

Does Milne Library have a textbook I need or has my professor put class materials on reserve at the Service Desk?

Course Reserves

Course Reserves at the Service Desk

Milne Library may own a textbook and it might be in the regular collection, or you may be able to get it through IDS, but how?

In many cases, a professor chooses to put class material on reserve at the Service Desk in Milne Library.  The items would be available to checkout for a limited time so that the students have access to it without having to purchase it.  Where do I find out?

The answers to both questions can be found right from on the Milne Library Homepage in just a few simple steps

  • Under “Popular Subject Guides,” scroll down to the bottom of the section and select “View All Subject Guides.”
  • From the “Browse by Subject” box click on “How Do I…”
  • Click on “Finding Textbooks and Course Reserves” and follow the instructions given.

Also, please feel free to come to the Service Desk in Milne Library and ask for assistance.

New Movies in Milne’s Collection

New Movies in Milne's Collection

Milne Library has recently acquired the following DVD’s during the month of May:

  • Grease [videorecording] / Paramount Pictures presents; directed by Randal Kleiser. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing.
  • Grey Gardens [videorecording] / HBO Films presents; directed by Michael Sucsy. Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ken Howard.
  • Hamlet [videorecording] / Warner Bros. and Nelson Entertainment present; directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Helena Bonham-Carter. Originally produced as a motion picture in 1990.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Part 1 [videorecording] / Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films production; directed by David Yates.  Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson.
  • Se7en [videorecording] / New Line Cinema presents an Arnold Kopelson production; directed by David Fincher. Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Did you know that there is an easy way for you find out what the latest materials acquired @Milne.Library are? Simply subscribe to our  Milne Library New Books List RSS feed and view it in your favorite Reader.

Not sure what a Reader is and/or how to collect RSS feeds? Check out this video, RSS in Plain English to learn more and get started!

CSA databases are moving to the ProQuest interface, including PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and more

Users who have become familiar with the CSA interface for the following databases will expect some changes over the next month or so:

  • ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts)
  • ERIC
  • PAIS
  • PILOTS
  • Physical Education Index
  • PsycARTICLES
  • PsycINFO
  • Social Services Abstracts
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts

CSA purchased the ProQuest family of databases in 2007 and is finally moving all their interfaces to the new ProQuest platform so all databases  have similar layouts, help menus and navigation.  At the end of March 2011, CSA will be discontinuing the search interface through its CSA Illumina website and only using the ProQuest platform.  We want to inform you of the upcoming changes with enough time to  give all users experience testing the search capabilities of this new platform.  All “old interface” links to the listed databases will be available through the end of March.   If students or faculty encounter problems with the new search interface, please inform library staff immediately and we will troubleshoot any problems.

The new interface for PsycInfo and other databases listed above

For more information about the new search interface, go to the ProQuest website.

Or, please contact Kate Pitcher, Head of Technical Services and Collection Development at [email protected] or by phone at 245-5064 for further details.

New Research Guides for Classes and Subjects

Our research guides are now easier to use, with more resources and multimedia content.

Milne librarians have been working over the intersession to implement a new system for connecting users to important resources: LibGuides. The new system allows for easy creation of subject and class-related guides. It also allows librarians to incorporate a wider array of content than our previous system, including images, video and RSS feeds to provide subject-specific news and research headlines.

LibGuides pages replace the Resources by Subject pages previously used to help identify scholarly materials.

Users can browse the guides by subject or guide title, or search the guides for specific resources.

On some pages, users can provide feedback or suggest possible links for inclusion into guides.

Importantly, the system allows the librarians check links and to track which guides and links are being used. This helps us keep the guides up to date with content that users actually need.

Have a look at our new guides for Citing Sources and the topical guide about Haiti and the recent earthquake.

Our New Beta Catalog Launches with Improved Features

The main search box on the library homepage has been updated to make use of a new Beta Catalog developed by libraries in the IDS project.

This search engine allows users to search for books and media here in Milne, in IDS Project libraries (these items can be delivered in less than 3 days) or in libraries around the world (these books may take 7 to 10 business days to arrive).

New and improved features include:

  • Spell checking for misspelled search terms
  • Estimated time of arrival for items not held in Milne Library
  • RSS feeds for searches
  • The ability to export items to citation software (like EndNote or Zotero)
  • A quick link to create citations for each record.

Our new Catalog is still in a Beta testing phase, so please provide us with any feedback about your searches.

Study tips: apps, tools and tricks to help you prepare for finals

Once you have a comfortable seat and a cup of coffee from Books ‘n’ Bytes, it’s time to settle in to study. Here are some apps, tools and tricks to keep you focused and help you succeed on you final exams.

  1. Flashcard Machine – a free website (registration required) that allows you to create flashcards in any topic, including images. You can also browse the flashcard sets uploaded by other users (e.g. Mineral formulas or 19th century art). Flashcards can be printed or viewed online.
  2. gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests – a free iPhone app for flashcards. Use a Google Docs Spreadsheet to enter the flash card information then sync it with your iPhone.
  3. Schedule in study breaks: Take a walk, have a nap or read a novel. Brief breaks can help you focus better when you return to your studies.
  4. Create your works cited section – See our guide for information about citation styles, and download the Zotero add on for Firefox to help you keep track of your items and format your bibliography
  5. Get enough sleep! From the Zen College Life blog: “I cannot believe how many people walk around like zombies during finals week. It’s an epidemic, due to non-planning and all nighters, neither of which I advocate. Do yourself a favor. If you don’t function well on 3 hours of sleep, don’t try to. If you need your 8 hours regardless, factor that in and don’t push it. If your brain can’t take the lack of rest, your study time will be wasted anyways, make good plans for sleep as well as study.”
  6. Make a study to-do list. Lots of options exist for web based lists (Gmail tasks, Ta-Da lists), iPhone lists, and there are always old-fashioned paper lists.

Of course, this list could go on forever.

What tips and tools do you use to help you get through finals week?

WorldCat Local – your better alternative to Google

The Quicksearch box on the library home page now uses WorldCat Local. This search tool quickly finds books, articles, and materials held in Milne Library and in other libraries across the country.

Unlike Google which searches billions of web sites of unknown authority, WorldCat Local (containing 55 million articles) provides items from reputable databases that the library subscribes to. Search results can be narrowed to specific databases and refined by author, format, year, language, and content. Items not available in Milne or online are easily obtainable using Get Text/IDS service.

Post written by Rich Dreifuss.