Freedom to Read Week

March 6, 2017 by

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.

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Need Images for a Project or Class? These Ones are Free!

February 16, 2017 by

Did you know not every cute cat gif or perfectly relevant meme you find on the internet is free for you to use whenever you want? Technically someone owns the copyright to those images and might not want you to share their work without permission or sometimes even payment.

But…

Creative Commons recently launched a prototype of its new search engine, CC Search, which which will assist you in finding images that are free for you to use without having to ask for permission or pay the creator. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing with Google Trends

February 9, 2017 by

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 by

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 by

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…

“I suggested a book, what happens next?”

December 15, 2016 by

We launched our Leisure Reading Collection in May, but that was just the beginning! Since then, we have continued to ask for and receive book suggestions from students, staff, and faculty.

But how do we decide which suggestions are added to the collection? Below is a peek into our vetting process which may give you insight into why some books made it to our shelve and why others didn’t.

First, most suggestions DO get added! Some recent additions include:

If we have more suggestions than our budget allows, those titles are given priority next time we place an order, which was the case for Sense and sensibility and sea monsters by Ben Winters and Alliance of equals by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fake News – Can You Recognize It?

November 29, 2016 by

With all the news surrounding the spread of fake news, it’s hard to avoid the subject. Facebook has been under scrutiny for the spread of fake news on the site, which has prompted a plan to cut down on the amount of fake news the site hosts. It seems that fake news is easy to write and send out to millions of eager readers every day, but are you prepared to spot the real from the fake?

A study recently conducted by Stanford History Education Project provides evidence that not very many of us are able to spot the fake! The study tested students in high schools and universities across the United States and found that a majority of students are not able to detect fake news on social media and news websites.

Think you can do better than the students who were tested? Take a look at the examples provided in the study and see if you get them right!

If you need a refresher on how to evaluate what you’re reading online, take a look at our Research Guide for tips to guide you on your search for reliable information.

Good luck out there and happy reading!

Judging Books by their Covers

November 17, 2016 by

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.

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being

November 4, 2016 by

flourish“What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish?”

In Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman, a pioneer of Positive Psychology, explores the construct of well-being. He describes that well-being theory has five measurable pillars: Happiness (or Positive Emotion), Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. These are interwoven with topics such as grit and resilience, through personal anecdotes, case studies, and interactive exercises.

With a focus on positive education and well-being, Flourish will be of interest to learners of all ages and all disciplines.

Flourish is the current selection for the Quiet Book Club, an initiative of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). We invite all RDC students, staff, and faculty to read the book and join us at our next meeting to share how the book has impacted you personally or professionally:

Quiet Book Club
January 17, 2017 from 12-1 pm
Location TBA

Flourish is part of the RDC Library Collection.
It will soon be available for purchase in the RDC Campus Store.

Recommended Reading from RDC Library

New Books in JSTOR

November 1, 2016 by

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!