Author Archive

Holiday Books

December 17, 2018

Now that exams are done, and the marking pile is starting to get smaller, it’s time to think about reading something not at all related to school… Instead of focusing on “Best of This Year” holiday reading suggestions, I thought I’d offer some options for something a little more seasonal:

And, because ’tis the season, I thought I’d close with a look at 14 of the Best Christmas Trees Made of Books.

Have a great break!  See you in 2019.

 

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Peer Review Week

September 10, 2018

Welcome back, and happy September! We’re kicking things off this year by marking Peer Review Week (yes, there is such a thing).

Peer review is an evaluation process where scholarly writing (like journal articles and books) are screened for quality and accuracy before they’re published.  Check out the “What Does ‘Peer Reviewed’ Mean?” section of our How to Research guide for a more detailed explanation.

While peer review is the standard method of evaluation for scholarly writing, it is not without problems.  This year, the chefs at The Scholarly Kitchen (the official blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing) are exploring way to make the peer review process more diverse (in previous years they and others have looked at issues around transparency in the process and recognition for the work).

Something to think about the next time you use the “peer-reviewed only” limiter in one of our databases…

 

June Reading Suggestions

June 19, 2018
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#IndigenousReads and Pride displays

June in Canada is National Aboriginal History Month and, in many places, Pride Month.  To go along with the book displays currently available in the library, and if you’re interested in exploring either or both of these themes as part of your summer reading, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Have a great summer, and happy reading!

Libraries doing cool things

April 26, 2018

When we hear the word “library” most of us still think of the big building filled with books.  And while that definition is still mostly true, inside those big buildings you’ll also find a lot of really different, innovative programming going on.  Check out some of the cool things different libraries have been up to lately:

  • Did you know that both RDC Library and Red Deer Public Library have collections of games?  RDC’s board games can often be seen out and about during our Long Night Against Procrastination and when we’re open for extended hours around exams but they can be borrowed anytime (ask at the Library Desk).  And RDPL has a great video game collection for a variety of different gaming systems.  Though at first this idea might seem nontraditional, this article from JSTOR Daily notes games actually have a long history as a part of library collections and activities.
  • The Public Library Association in the US has partnered with a company called Short Edition to install Short Story Dispensers in four public libraries across the country.  The machines dispense free short stories that can be read in either one, three, or five minutes, depending on how long the reader has.  Want to see one in action?  There’s actually one installed at the Edmonton International Airport.
  • In March of 2017 San Diego Public Library ran a project called Catalog of Life @ the Library that allowed citizen scientists to check out bug collecting kits and then return them with the bugs inside.  The kits were then shipped to the University of Guelph, where the DNA from the bugs was extracted and the data added into a global DNA barcoding database.  Contributors from the SDPL project added data for 41 species of insects to the database.

What cool things have you seen libraries doing recently?

Fair Dealing, Freedom to Read, and Open Education Weeks

March 8, 2018

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the library world raising awareness around a variety of issues near and dear to us. (more…)

New Search Engine Options

January 11, 2018

As I was catching up on my reading over Christmas, I came across this Wired article talking about search engines and how they can help you get to the full text of an article.

For a couple of years now we’ve been directing you to check Google Scholar for your article before you order it in through interlibrary loan (though you’re still welcome to order it if it’s not available).  But this article introduced me to a few new options: Microsoft Academic and Semantic Scholar.

Conducting the same search using all three tools yielded some interesting differences in results, and Google Scholar provides by far the most hits, but the other two have some fun features: Microsoft Academic lets you quickly filter by field of study and Semantic Scholar provides a nice graphic of results by year.

Check them out, and see if you like what they can do for you.

 

Summer Reading

June 29, 2017

I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of my favourite things about summer is the time to actually dig into that pile of books that’s been growing beside my bed all year.

No pile yet?  Check out some of these lists offering suggestions for the books you need to read this summer:

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Visit our Vacation? Staycation? Bring a Book! display on Floor 2 of the library

 

Don’t forget to look for these titles in our leisure reading collection.  Also, the display on Floor 2 all summer long will highlight our leisure reading titles, so when you’re up there checking on the progress of our new makerspace, see if something catches your eye.

 

Happy reading, and have a good summer!

Questions for Detecting Fake News

April 10, 2017

Fake news continues to be a topic of conversation in the news and in classrooms.  Earlier this year we posted about a study suggesting that the majority of students were not able to detect fake news when they came across it on social media and news websites, and we told you about a tool that lets you visualize how fake news spreads across the internet.

Now NPR has joined in, offering up a list of very practical, easy questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether the information you’re looking at is reliable or not.  Focused very specifically on news media and how it operates, these questions are a nice supplement to the CRAAP test as a tool for evaluating information.  Give them a try!

Freedom to Read Week

March 6, 2017

Last week (February 26-March 4, 2017) was Freedom to Read Week in Canada, an “annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom.”

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations/Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) celebrated Freedom to Read Week by releasing a preliminary report (pdf) on the 2016 findings from their annual Challenges Survey.  Each year CFLA-FCAB collects information on materials and services that have been challenged in Canadian public, academic, and special libraries.

Check out the report to get a sample of the challenges libraries face for the materials in their collections and the services they provide.

Playing with Google Trends

February 9, 2017

Did you know that Google has a really cool tool that allows you to visualize trends in searches? Google Trends lets you see what stories, searches, and YouTube videos are trending right now in different areas of the world, and also lets you see how interest in different search terms have played out across time and in different regions.  It’s this tool, for instance, that let’s you compare interest in Paw Patrol versus Dora the Explorer or shows you that “searches for ‘Superb Owl’ spike during the #Superbowl each year.

If you really want to get fancy, you can pair this tool with Google Correlate, which allows you to layer your own data over Google Trends data to see how they relate (check out, for instance, how searches for influenza information correlate with actual US Center for Disease Control-reported instances of the flu).

There’s some really cool potential here.