The students we never see

Paley Library sees thousands of undergraduates each day in its information commons, books stacks, and study spaces, but there are thousands more we rarely see. Since librarians feel strongly that the materials and services we provide both enrich a students’ intellectual life and improve their educational outcomes, we are always looking for new ways to reach students.

On February 10th of this year, a small group of librarians interested in data and statistics met with an undergraduate senior majoring in Risk Management and Insurance (Human Resources track) in the Fox School of Business, Andrea Markofski. She caught the attention of one of our group by commenting on social media about her enthusiasm for a fresh new dataset from the Census Bureau. Since we have little contact with students from this major, we invited her to speak to us about her experiences at Temple. An articulate, candid, and personable individual, Andrea offered us the chance to speak with a student who rarely uses the library. This demographic group is both hard to reach and important for us to understand.

Andrea explained that undergraduate business students take an introductory course in risk management and promising students are encouraged (“tapped”) to major in risk management. Next comes a course that is known informally as the “risk management boot camp” which is a treacherous bridge that stops about half the students who attempt to cross over. Those who succeed select separate tracks such as actuarial studies or employee benefits. Andrea chose the benefits track and became an enthusiastic student.

Risk management is known as a major that leads to good entry-level jobs and great career prospects. When asked about the changes she had seen in the program since her freshman year, Stephanie explained that the program seems to be easing the demands of the boot camp so that more students can major in risk management. Although she enjoys her studies and is looking forward to a career in the field, she is aware of students in her program who are unenthusiastic and simply want to find a good job on graduation. To do her work, Stephanie favors studying in the Tech Center as long as she can find a separate cubicle.

Much of Andrea’s course work involves building and manipulating Excel spreadsheets (though she remembers using other programs occasionally). Her discussion of using linked tables left us with the impression that she was a sophisticated Excel user. The datasets that she uses in her course work are made available in her classes so that she has little need to search for additional data. Though she writes papers that require scholarly sources, she seemed unfamiliar with many of the databases we would suggest that she use. She commented that the databases we described – Risk Abstracts, Business Source Complete, or ABI/INFORM Complete – probably would have saved her some of the time she spent wading through Google search results.

There were some other resources we mentioned in order to gauge her familiarity with the library. As a power user of Excel we wondered if she knew of Lynda.com, a subscription database of tutorials on computer programming and productivity software. We also wondered if she had ever used Refworks, one of the citation management programs to which we subscribe. In neither case had she heard of these resources. For citation management, she turned to RefMan or other free citation management tools recommended by her professors. We were surprised to learn that she was unaware of annual Temple Analytics Challenge in the Fox School because she appeared to be an ideal candidate for the competition.

We would like to thank Andrea Markofski for speaking with us. We learned a lot from her and we look forward to speaking to more students in the future. If you have suggestions about how we improve our services, please feel free to contact us.

Fred Rowland, Rick Lezenby

Integrating the Library Into Blackboard

Temple University Libraries’ subject specialists create guides to library resources for general subjects as well as for specific courses and assignments. Faculty should contact Subject Specialists to get more information on these. Here are the Subject Guides that are currently available.

Blackboard is a great place to make these guides available to students. View the Screencast below to see how easy it is to embed a library guide into your Blackboard course.

For more information, see Integrating the Library Into Blackboard.

RSS Feeds in Journal Finder

If you search for journals in our Journal Finder, you can now access RSS feeds to get notifications of new issues’ table of contents. What is RSS? We’ve created a subject guide on that very subject called “Current Awareness with RSS Feeds”. It includes information about what RSS feeds are and how you can use them for different purposes. If have you used RSS feeds before, Journal Finder can help you find RSS feeds for the tables of contents of hundreds of academic journals from a wide range of publishers such as: Sage, Wiley, Blackwells, Elsevier, Oxford, Nature, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, and many more. When you search in Journal Finder, if a journal in your results has an associated RSS feed, you will see the standard RSS icon, which looks like this:

jf_rss-1.png Clicking on the RSS icon will take you to the url for the RSS feed. Next to the RSS icons are small information icons which will take you to the aforementioned subject guide on RSS. If you have any questions feel free to ask your subject librarian.

Derik A Badman Digital Services Librarian

New: Find Articles by Citation

We have just added a new service to TUlink. The Find Articles by Citation form allows you to enter an article citation (or part of a citation) and let TUlink find the full-text for you.

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As long as you enter at least a Journal Title, ISSN, DOI, or PMID, TUlink will try to get you a link. In many cases you will get a direct link to the full-text labeled “Article”. In some cases, the best TUlink can do is get you a “Journal” link that will take you to our electronic access to the journal where your citation is found. If Temple holds the journal in question in paper, you will get a link, and if TUlink cannot find any results it will direct you to an interlibrary loan form where you can request your article.

(More information on using the TUlink Find Articles by Citation form.)

In conjunction with this new addition we have slightly altered the “Find Articles” section of our library home page. We have added Find Articles “by Citation” to the list. Also, as part of this alteration, the list of “Only Full-Text” databases has been removed. The reasons for this are two fold: a) with the addition of TUlink, even if a database doesn’t have full-text in it, full-text access is a few clicks away through the “Find Full-Text’ icon; b) the full-text database list has gotten so long that it is no longer the small, useful subset of resources it once was.

Derik A Badman,
Digital Services Librarian

Introducing: TUlink

Have you encountered frustration in fetching the full text of an article when using the library’s research databases? We have some good news for you. We are pleased to announce the arrival of TUlink, a new service of the Temple University Libraries.

With TUlink, the research process is greatly streamlined. TUlink acts as a bridge between a citation in a database and the full-text of the article in a different database–removing a number of formerly necessary steps.

When the citation you find in a database doesn’t have the full-text immediately attached to it, look for the TUlink icon:

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Clicking on this icon will perform a search of our full-text resources and when possible give you an “Article” link directly to the full-text of the article. In other cases you will see a “Journal” link to the electronic copy of the journal in which your citation was published. TUlink can also get you to information on journals held in the library on paper.

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If no full-text is available you will be offered an interlibrary loan link to request the article from another library.

TUlink is a work in progress. Currently enabled databases include all the EBSCO databases (Academic Search Premier, ERIC, MLA, PsycInfo, etc) and CSA databases (Criminal Justice Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, etc) and numerous others. Other databases will be enabled on an ongoing basis.

See more details on using TUlink.

Derik A Badman, Digital Services Librarian

Diamond Library Catalog Gets New Sparkle

Whether you call it Diamond, the library catalog or that web-thing that lets you look up the library’s books, be prepared for a new experience. On April 12, 2007, the Temple University Libaries will be offering a public preview for Temple faculty and students of an entirely new version of its library catalog – the one we call Diamond. Here are some of the brilliant features of the new Diamond* A less crowded interface replaces the current tabular-looking screen (see the image below). The new version makes use of horizontal tabs to better display the available search options (e.g., author, title, etc.), and each search screen has improved search examples embedded.

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* Where this new Diamond really shines is the way it delivers and displays results. Working much like familiar search engines, the results are retrieved and ranked according to their relevance to the search. Default results are grouped into categories such as “highly relevant”, “very relevant” and “relevant” as indicators of degree of relevancy to the search topic.

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* It offers searcher customization. If you prefer to see your results by date with the latest book displayed first, click the “date” link to get the results to display as they do in the current version of Diamond. Features for modifying searches and applying a variety of limits are clearly displayed with new icons. We have also improved the content of each entry to eliminate confusing abbreviations. *Searchers can view more content per page. The record results display is expanded to 50 items from the current limit of 12 per page.

During the preview period the current and new version of Diamond will run simultaneously. Users can choose either one, and make comparisons between the two interfaces. We are seeking your feedback on our new version of Diamond to help us fine tune the interface before we permanently migrate to this new version in early summer. Please use the links to our feedback form to share your thoughts with us.

Email Subscriptions and Comment Feeds

We’ve enabled a new feature for the library blog, email subscriptions. Now you can get all the posts about library news, new resources, events, and more sent directly to your email account. Just put your email address in the box below (or at the right side of any blog page). You’ll receive an email at that address to confirm your subscription, and then you’ll start receiving the posts by email. At most, one email will be sent a day (if any posts went up that day). Subscribe by email:

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— Also, now available, is a feed for comments to the blog. You can use this to follow what people have to say about our posts. For more on feeds, see this post. –Derik A Badman

Importing into RefWorks from Diamond

I was asked about importing from Diamond, our library catalog, to RefWorks. It can be a little tricky, so I offer a few abbreviated steps:

1) When you’re ready to export the records from Diamond, you should select “End-Note/RefWorks” as the format from the list at the left.

2) On the right select “Local Disk.”

3) Click “Submit” and save the file to an easily accessible location.

4) Log-in to RefWorks.

5) From the “References” menu at the left of the RefWorks menu bar, select “Import”.

6) Select “EndNote View” as the “Import Filter/Data Source” and the “Database”.

7) If you want all the imported references to go into a specific folder you can select it next under “Import References into.”

8) Under “Import Data from the Following Text File” click on “Browse” and then find the file you just exported (probably called “export.txt”) and click “OK”.

9) Click “Import” at the bottom.

10) Your records should then be imported. You can view them by clicking on the “Recently Imported” folder link.

If you have any question, ask.

Derik A Badman

The Chron on Refworks

The latest issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education (Volume 52 Issue 40 Page A29) has an article titled “Toss Out the Index Cards” (free online) on bibliographic management software such as EndNote and RefWorks. The University has a license for RefWorks that allows free use by students, staff, and faculty. Follow the link and sign up to give the software a try. As an addition to the article I will note that many of the library’s article databases (including all EBSCO and OVID products) have the ability to automatically export citations into RefWorks with a simple click of the mouse (and a quick log-in to your account). If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. –Derik A Badman

New Book Lists

Curious about what is new in the library? The library spends large amounts of money to purchase new materials both physical and electronic. While we will keep you posted with this blog on new electronic resources as they become available, we are now experimenting with a way to keep you informed about new books coming into the libraries. Our trial collection of new book lists, includes a list of all new books for the previous month as well as smaller lists for books in specific subject areas like Music, Film and Media Arts, and Religion, as well as new books at the Ambler Library. And don’t forget, if you want to keep up on specific topics, you can also set up new book emails. –Derik A Badman