Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Research Projects: You’ve got this!

Many of your professors have begun to assign research projects. Along with the details of the actual assignment you may have heard words like information literacy and the research process. These words are often unfamiliar and can awaken the voice in your head. This voice is loud, laced with a touch of sarcasm and a smattering of doubt. It makes you feel like there is no way that you're ever going to get this. The voice is relentless and it fills your head with exclamatory questions like:
Research Project!?
Information what!?
Due when!?
10 pages!?

Surprise!! It isn’t just you…we all hear that voice but I am here to tell you that you’ve got this? How do I know? Am I psychic or something? I assure you I do not moonlight as a fortuneteller. I know because you already possess the basic information literacy skills you need to succeed. If you are still a little unsure, please…read on.

Everyday problem #1: Sell the heap and buy a Jeep!
You want to buy a Jeep. But first you need to determine the trade in value of your current vehicle?
You would… Google it and choose a site that looks useful from the results list or go directly to the Kelly Blue Book or Edmonds website, enter the information about your current car and presto! 
-I swear I do not own a crystal ball.-

Everyday problem #2: Rid yourself of the rash before your friends call the health department.
You have ignored it long enough and are now desperate to diagnose the weird rash on your arm?
You could take a picture of it and send it to your Mom (gotta love your Mom) but then you think, “Nah, maybe I should just Google it”. You might choose a medical website from the results list or go directly to WebMD. After reviewing WebMD you will need to make a decision on what actions to take, visit your doctor, explain to your roommate that it is not catchy and/or pick up some hydrocortisone crème at the drug store.
-Problem solved…fist pump!-

The scenarios above describe the process followed by information literate people in order to solve everyday problems. The definition of Information Literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and to have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."

Knowing where to start, how to find, evaluate and use the information is proof that you are information literate. The truth is in your life, you have used information literacy skills to solve countless everyday problems.

Formal research (like the research projects assigned by your professors) requires you to follow the same process and to use the best tools available. These tools include library catalogs, interlibrary loan services, credible websites, online databases, videos, podcasts, twitter and more.

Some of you may not be familiar with using these tools but never fear Reeve’s librarians are here. Feel free to call, email, stop by, chat with us online or schedule an appointment with us. We will be happy to help you with your research needs. Don’t forget to check out our Meet Reeves-Student Guide and the tutorials on our YouTube channel.  You’ve got this!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Criterion Collection at Reeves

Over the past few years, the DVD collection at Reeves Memorial Library has grown by leaps and bounds.  Much of the growth has been due to a generous donation of over 1,000 new items. One area of the collection that deserves to be highlighted is the large number of titles released by the Criterion Collection.

For those unfamiliar with the Criterion Collection, it is "a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films ... dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements" (description taken from the Criterion website).  If standard DVD and Blu-ray releases are sirloins and New York strip steaks, Criterion releases are filet mignon.  Their catalog currently includes over 900 titles, spanning a wide range of genres and featuring both American and foreign films, from mainstream hits to indie films.  Many of their releases provide cinema buffs with their first chance to see a film that had previously been unavailable for many years.

One great feature of their releases is the superb cover art, which has inspired a slew of fan-created fake Criterion covers that have been posted in a popular tumblr.

Reeves Memorial Library currently has about 140 Criterion titles available.  Recent additions include Charlie Chaplin's classic The Gold Rush, the landmark Holocaust documentary Shoah, and the hallmark French New Wave film Pierrot le fou.

If you're a Criterion fan, you can visit their website and set up a My Criterion account, which allows you to create lists of your favorite films, and to keep track of the Criterion films that you've seen.  Many of these user-created lists are featured on the Criterion Collection website.  Reeves Memorial Library has a My Criterion account that we use to keep track of the titles that we own, as well as our wish list for future purchases.  We also have a list of recommended teachable films from the collection, "Criterion in the Classroom."

Check out the Criterion Collection at Reeves Memorial Library and discover some of the greatest films ever made.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our Chat Reference Service is Out of This World!

Considering our recent post about the Buzz Lightyear that was left in the library (we're happy to report he has been reunited with his playmate), it's not surprising that someone signed into Reeves Library's online chat reference service this afternoon as Emperor Zurg.  For those of you unfamiliar with the film Toy Story, Zurg is the sworn enemy of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and Buzz believes he is poised at the edge of the galaxy with a weapon that can destroy an entire planet.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the beginning and end of today's reference transaction:

Emperor Zurg: "Hello."

Me: "Hello, Emperor Zurg. This is Adam Pellman of Star Command. How can I help you?

Zurg: "I greatly acquire assistance from your establishment of literary content. Where would you happen to find books on [confidential topic, although you can rest assured that it had nothing to do with space warfare] ...  My... er... cousin the Dark Lord of All requires such reading materials."


Zurg:"Emperor Zurg, sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance, greatly appreciates the assistance of human Adam Pellman of Star Command. I can now finish my homework! I will consider saving you as I take over the world."

Me: "Glad to help, and thanks for sparing me. Good luck with your ploy for galactic domination. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

Zurg: "That is all for today. Thank you!"

 This exchange was really fun for me, so I'd like to thank Zurg (whoever you are) for brightening my day.  It also shows that even galactic villains can benefit from a college education, and I applaud the emperor for his commitment to lifelong learning.