Archive for November, 2012

A Different Take on Wikipedia

November 30, 2012

A little while ago, Salon.com posted a very interesting article on some of the recent issues surrounding Wikipedia, including the shrinking number of volunteer editors and the rising trend of people who are getting paid to write and edit Wikipedia articles.

The article provides a very different take on the ongoing argument about the credibility of Wikipedia articles as sources.   Give it a read, and then let us know what you think.  Does this change how you think about Wikipedia?

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Film History Online

November 19, 2012

Catching up on my email over the weekend, I came across a press release for a fantastic new online resource.

The Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been working for the last couple of years to make part of their enormous archive available online.  The digital collections currently include Alfred Hitchcock Papers, Cecil B. DeMille Photographs, Movie Star Ephemera, and a Sheet Music Collection.

If you have a few minutes, take a quick browse.  There’s some very cool stuff for both cinematic scholars and casual movie lovers!

Text-to-Speech feature for articles in EBSCO databases

November 15, 2012

Text-to-Speech functionality benefits users in multiple ways, particularly those who are blind or with low vision. And, let’s face it – it’s just fun! Who wouldn’t like listening to an Australian accent reading the article aloud?

“Database aggregator EBSCO Publishing…has built in a text-to-speech option for all of its EBSCOhost databases. A toolbar, created by software company Texthelp Systems, allows full-text articles available in HTML on EBSCOhost databases to be read aloud to users at variable speeds.” (Library Journal, Sept 1, 2010) 

The ‘Listen’ Text-to-Speech button is set up with standard defaults, but these can be modified by individual users:

EBSCO’s Support Site – To use Text-To-Speech:

  1. Locate an EBSCOhost article in HTML format which you would like read to you.
  2. From the Accent drop-down menu, select an accent in which you would like the article to be read.
  3. Click the Settings icon to set your Reading Speed and Highlighting Options.
  4. Click the Listen button to hear the article read outloud.

 –OR-

Click the Download button to download an MP3 file of the article being read to your computer.

 Use Text-To-Speech to Hear a Section of an Article

  • You may also choose to have only a section of an article read to you.
  • Highlight the passage of text you would like to be read outloud. A new mini-toolbar appears. Click the Listen button on the mini-toolbar.

 Downloading Text-to-Speech MP3s

You may also download audio files of HTML articles being read aloud to your computer in MP3 format.

 To download Text-to-Speech MP3 files:

  1. On the Text-to-Speech toolbar, click the Download button.
  2. Select to Open or Save the file to your computer.
  3. If saving the file, browse to a location in the Save As dialog box and click Save.

The MP3 file is saved to your computer.

 Minimum requirements for using Text-To-Speech on EBSCOhostmust have Adobe Flash Player 10 installed.

From the Suggestion Box: “Quiet Area” still an issue

November 9, 2012

You said:

“Help!!! Need to do something to make people stop chatting in person and on cell phones in the quiet area unstairs. Some of us come here just for the fact that we have nowhere else that we can go for some quiet time to study :(”

We said:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Our quiet zone upstairs has been problematic this year, and we’re not really sure why.

We have placed “quiet” tentcards on the tables as reminders. We also regularly monitor the area to try to be proactive in our response. However, we understand that there is still an issue in this area.

By next week, we will place a whiteboard message near the top of the stairs leading to the east side, so that all people entering the space will know that the entire upper east side is a quiet zone. We have found the whiteboard to be a good reminder in the past, and we hope that it will be as effective this year.

(more…)

New Ideas in the World of Peer Review

November 7, 2012

Peer review has long been a standard measure of credibility for academic articles.  However, the system has also long been criticized for a variety of reasons, including the length of time it takes for research to be published.

An article in Inside Higher Ed last week highlighted a couple of new ventures in the world of peer review aimed at speeding up the process and opening it up to more people. (more…)