Author Archive

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:

File_000

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!

Advertisements

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.

Visualize the Spread of Fake News

January 12, 2017

A new tool developed by researchers at Indiana University allows you to visualize the spread of fake news across Twitter, and also shows attempts to fact check it.  Hoaxy lets you search for a specific claim and then creates a visual map of shares for that claim or headline over time. The researchers presented the tool, along with some preliminary analysis from it, at the 25th International Conference of the World Wide Web.

Give it a try and see what it shows you about how information, and in this case misinformation, can spread across the web.

Make Your Own Comic Strip

January 3, 2017

I was catching up on some reading over the holidays, and came across an article in Library Journal about a new Open Source Comics tool that has been released by Australia’s State Library of Queensland.  “The Fun Palaces comics maker lets users place a set of ready-made images into panels, then write their own word balloons to develop a fully fleshed out four panel comic.”

You can check out some comics other people have made, create your own comic, or dig into the code and customize it.

Just in case your new year’s resolution was to make something…

Judging Books by their Covers

November 17, 2016

An article published last week in MIT Technology Review reported on research being done in Japan to see if a computer can recognize the genre of a book based on its cover.  The researchers are training a neural network to “recognize the correlation between cover design and genre” and then testing it to see how it does categorizing newly introduced covers.  The findings so far are very interesting, including which genres were easier to recognize and which cover designs confused the network.

The article got me thinking about what makes a good book cover.  For some thoughts, check out this profile of a highly-respected book jacket designer, and then take a look at this funny essay from a writer who designed his own most recent book jacket.

Just want to look at some pretty covers? Shortlist Magazine created a list of what they consider to be the 50 Coolest Book Covers, and the New York Times created a list of the Best Book Covers of 2015.

New Books in JSTOR

November 1, 2016

Just in time for Open Access Week last week, JSTOR announced a new program to make Open Access ebooks available on the JSTOR platform.

The initial list of 63 titles covers topics from Bach Fugues to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  My favourite: The Resonance of Unseen Things: Poetics, Power, Captivity, and UFOs in the American Uncanny.

Happy reading!

The Value of Reading

September 16, 2016

JSTOR Daily recently had an interesting article on the increasing value medical schools are placing on reading and narrative. The article explores the various reasons medical schools are starting to integrate literature into their curricula, including the fact that it can help doctors better understand their patients and it can increase empathy.

This move by medical schools backs up a lot of the work being done by the National Reading Coalition, who are working hard to get schools to place a greater emphasis on reading for pleasure.

Interested in incorporating a little more non-academic reading into your own life?  Check out the Library’s new Leisure Reading collection and space.

Interested in reading more from JSTOR?  You can subscribe to their newsletter.

Happy reading!

Big Thinking

June 12, 2016

Like a number of other RDC faculty members, I recently returned from Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2016.  There was a lot going on over seven days at the University of Calgary; one of the coolest things was the Big Thinking series that occurred every day at lunch.  This lecture series was open to all Congress attendees and the public, and featured fascinating ideas from people like Naomi Klein, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, and Leroy Little Bear.  The lectures were recorded and are now available on YouTube, just in time for the slower pace of summer when you might have time to watch them.  They’re all available from the main Big Thinking page – just click on the title.  Enjoy!