Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Break (Hours and Online Access)

Library staff wishes you a terrific spring break but should you still need to work on paper or project do note, with our remote access service, you are never far away from the campus library resources you know and love.

Select the resource you need to use from the Libraries’ homepage. Resources requiring authentication will prompt you to log in with your NetID. (In some instances, apart from NetID, you may still be asked to submit your University ID number and last name as a password). Once you have entered either of these two pieces of identifying information, you will be able to use the resource as if you were on campus.

Campus libraries will be open during the break but with abbreviated hours. Confirm hours of operation by visiting the list of library locations and note the “Who’s Open” tab. The libraries will also be observing a required state furlough day and will be closed on Friday, April 2.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Staff Reflections

Steenbock Library will soon celebrate the career of one of its own--Robert (Bob). In light of that celebration, Bob was asked a few questions regarding his experience, here, to which he has replied below. We, at the library--friends and colleagues--wish him many, enjoyable adventures in retirement.

How long have you been with Steenbock Library?
I came in October 1982, so not quite 28 years ago. I was so thrilled to become a librarian in the big university after working in a small college (Cornell College). UW Madison has never let me down for a thrilling environment.

What has been your most memorable experience?
In 1992 I received "Librarian of the Year" [award] because of my work in networking databases to workstations in libraries across campus. Since then, librarians all over campus have participated in bringing our libraries to the desktops (and laptops) of students and faculty.

What have you found to be the most satisfying part of your work?
One thing that brought me here was the opportunity to develop teaching methods for library skills. In the 1970s this was an emerging area for improving the way libraries work for our customers. Now, every year we teach thousands of undergraduates and graduate students those library skills. The "teachable moment" resulting in an "I get it!" response from a student (or faculty member) is very moving to me. I love new technology; our libraries are constantly innovating: always new toys to play with.

How has your work changed during the years you have been with Steenbock Library?
'Evolving constantly' is a phrase describing library work. This is the secret of the library, we just never get bored with so much to learn, so many new things to master. The other answer is my work is exactly the same...make the collections of amazing value work for scholars who need more information.

What advice would you like to share with students and staff?
Our campus has librarians of great skill, who are very dedicated to service. For every student and faculty member there is a librarian who knows just what you need for your research. Learn who he or she is, ask for help, acquire the new skills librarians can provide.

What are your plans for the future?
Some things I've been attracted to over the years, but have not had the time to master, learning passable Spanish, improving my music skills. Also, at the instructions of my spouse, getting out of the house for at least two hours every day. Perhaps my dog will enjoy the walks?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Wiki World

Are you fond of Wikipedia? We know that it is popularly used by students (and staff!) as a place "to get started" with one’s understanding of a particular topic.

Students report that they often use this wiki resource to consider a would-be research topic and to identify resources for more information.

Wikis are collaborative websites where many people can add and edit the content on pages—usually by means of a simple HTML interface. While this collaboration can lend itself well to quality information-sharing, it can also be important to corroborate information—particularly if you are not able to determine who the content editors may be (which can pose a concern, for some in academia, with the use of certain wikis where content providers remain anonymous).

Two particular projects, the Encyclopedia of Earth and the Encyclopedia of Life, have fused wiki technology with expert editors to create resources of peer-reviewed, reliable information. Each encyclopedic resource supplies freely-accessible and fully-searchable content that is written and reviewed by identified educators, researchers and scientists--many within the disciplines treated.

Give them a try today!

Monday, March 22, 2010

World Water Day (March 22)

The United Nations, today, dedicates its World Water Day to the theme of water quality--"clean water for a healthy world." In accordance with that theme, its Water Day site supplies links to event calendars, fact-sheets, photos and videos regarding freshwater essentials and efforts by UN organizations to support resource management and sanitation.

Additionally, the UN Water site supplies reports and news regarding water scarcity, water quality, statistics and water policies.

Should you be interested in finding research literature about topics in hydrology, sanitation and water resources, consult with your librarians for assistance and search the following database products:

For more suggestions, see the Water Research Guide (Wisconsin’s Water Library).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

By JoVE!

You’ve asked for it; now we’ve got it! Campus libraries now enjoy subscription access to the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).

JoVE is a peer reviewed journal that publishes biological research in a video format so that reproducibility and transparency are enhanced. It is this video format that enables the user to examine a lab technique and to understand some of the intricacies of the experiments utilized in the research.

Access JoVE via the E-Journals List (browse A-Z list for complete title—Journal of Visualized Experiments) or by running a journal title search using the Journals tab from the Libraries home page (search by abbreviated or full title).

A Tale of Guinness and the Library

As I recall, one of the most-heavily thumbed reference texts in my primary school was Guinness World Records. We readers would deliciously speculate upon which records we could feasibly break and would gawp in endless wonder at the world’s curious inhabitants and their demonstrations of achievement.

Its use, though, has not been confined to school corridors but has informed any number of trivia exercises and sourced as a definitive answer to some of life’s more amusing disputes—which therein resides its genesis. According to legend (circa 1950s), Sir Hugh Beaver (then Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery) was caught up in a friendly dispute regarding which bird was the fastest game bird. When the answer could not be readily found among the resources immediately available to him, writers were contracted to compile a text of noteworthy facts and achievements.

While the Guinness company is no longer a player in the publication of this reference text, its name remains popularly-associated—at once familiar to librarians and generally a staple of their reference collections, including our own at UW-Madison. The current edition resides in the reference stacks of Memorial Library (whereas Steenbock maintains an older edition).

And, seeing as it is St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll raise a pint (responsibly) to that!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Managing Citations with EndNote

Drop by Steenbock Library for Tuesday's EndNote workshop. The workshop will explain the basic features of this product--how to organize databases and records, import records from MadCat and research literature databases, and format bibliographies. Its Web companion, EndNote Web, will also be featured. (EndNote Web is free to campus users courtesy of UW-Madison Libraries).

Managing Your Citations with EndNote
Tuesday, March 16 (4:30-6:00PM)
Room 105

Should you not be able to attend the March 16 workshop, an additional workshop is scheduled for April 9 (noon-1:15 PM) at Steenbock Library. Check the campus libraries workshops page for more information and dates for all upcoming library workshops.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spaces and Places (Where to Study)

As you prepare for your midterm projects and exams, do note the various areas of Steenbock Library that can accommodate your preferences for quiet study space or areas for group work.

Each floor can connect to the wireless network; there are also additional wall outlets to power your laptop. If you need to use your cell-phone, we ask that you set your phone to a silent indicator and take calls to the stairwells or entrance. Seeing as this can be a stressful time of the semester, we encourage everyone to be mindful of others so that all areas of the library prove conducive for productive work.

First floor (book stacks)
Visit the first floor to find the library’s group study rooms (that can be reserved using the Study Room Reservation System). Additionally, there are many large tables to accommodate group work. Snack machines can also be found here. A small bank of computers accesses online resources and the MS Office suite of software. For additional software, visit the InfoLab on second.

Second floor (entrance level)
The second floor (or entrance level) hosts the DoIT InfoLab as well as library circulation and reference services where you can get assistance from staff. The floor offers some relaxed seating and tables for reasonably-quiet group or individual study.

Third floor (journal collections)
The third floor affords table seating and individual study carrels. While it is generally a quieter study area than the first floor (for instance), the open atrium with its view of second, does permit some sound to carry.

Fourth floor (journal collections, government documents, University Archives)
This floor has been designated as the quiet study floor for this building. While there will be some staff working in this space between the hours of 8:00am-5:00pm, the library endeavors to preserve this space for quiet study needs. Large tables and individual carrels are available.

All the best for a successful midterm!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Compiling a Lit Review (Life Sciences)

Drop by Steenbock Library this Friday for a workshop designed for those beginning their literature review for a research project, proposal, dissertation, or publication. Specifically, this workshop will focus upon resources and techniques useful for seeking and retrieving the life sciences literature.

Participants will learn the key steps for conducting a search and have an opportunity to explore the core databases that are important for mining the academic literature in these fields.

Compiling a Lit Review in the Life Sciences
Friday, March 12 (noon-1:15 PM)
Room 105, Steenbock Library

No registration is necessary in order to attend; all workshops are free to students, faculty and staff.

Pick of the Harvest

The MACSAC organization (Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition) will host an open house at the Monona Terrace, March 14, from 1:00-4:00 PM.

At the open house, you will be able to chat with growers and to evaluate the different share options—often weekly or every-other-week deliveries of seasonal produce, eggs, cheese, honey or meat depending upon share plan and CSA farm. (And, many of these same growers also participate in the area farmers’ markets).

In order to plan ahead, take a look at the MACSAC 2010 Farm List to consider farms and share options that will best satisfy your appetite for produce and level of participation. Many of the farms have application forms that you can submit now.

In addition to supporting a local economy and savoring the fresh produce, there are some other incentives. Many health plans furnish rebates for CSA participation. Shares can also be donated to assist families in our community in need. And, less we forget, there are opportunities to volunteer and to learn more with an internship at an area farm or MACSAC event.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

National Grammar Day (March 4)

Celebrate your ability to speak and write well. “It’s not only a date; it’s an imperative!”

National Grammar Day, founded by Martha Brockenbrough (SPOGG), is brought to you by Grammar Girl, one of several ‘tip-masters’ hosted by the “Quick and Dirty Tips” site—and one actual Mignon Fogarty, technical writer and author of several books on grammar usage and effective writing. The site supplies a revolving series of tips, (accessible via text or audio), from general usage concerns to those of punctuation, word choice, and style.

The site also has some fun interactive content—quirky videos, polls, and examples of amusing typos, etc.

Once you have gleaned some useful content from the Grammar Girl site, be sure to also consult with your local experts at the UW-Madison Writing Center.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin, Status Report

The outlook for Wisconsin’s organic producers is positive despite the current recession. The state is also second only to California in the total number of organic farm operations in the United States--with 1443 certified and uncertified farms, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture. These farms account for some $80.6 million in farm-gate sales.

For a full accounting of this diverse sector, its challenges and future, consult the 2009 status report prepared by staff and associates with the UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin: 2009 Status Report
Authors: Kelliann Blazek, Erin Silva, Laura Paine and Thomas Atwell

Monday, March 01, 2010


Save the date for a screening of Fresh: New Thinking about What We’re Eating and faculty-led discussion, March 11 (5:00-7:00 PM), Memorial Library Commons (Room 460). The film, produced and directed by Ana Sofia Joanes, examines the current food system and celebrates the individuals who are looking to forge healthier and sustainable alternatives. The film features Will Allen (Growing Power), Joel Salatin (Polyface Farms) and David Ball (Hen House Markets), among others (see bios)

Professors Jack Kloppenburg and Jill Harrison, from the department of Community & Environmental Sociology, will lead discussion about the ideas sparked by the film--an event that is free and open to the public.

This event, held in conjunction with UW-Madison's Go Big Read common-reading program is intended to provide a forum for students, staff, and community members to share ideas and perspectives related to the film and their reading of In Defense of Food.