Odyssey Online

Entries Tagged as 'Research How-To'

Summer Update on Databases

July 19th, 2012 · Comments Off on Summer Update on Databases

A significant part of what the University Libraries purchase or lease consists of digital full-text databases.  The collections in these databases contain a variety of primary source materials useful for teaching and research projects across the curriculum. They are significant in scope and breadth, and here we’d like to provide synopses for three of these collections. We encourage you to explore them and consider how they could be used by students and you in assignments, research papers, and other kinds of intellectual inquiries and presentations.

All of these databases are available on the SLU Libraries web site (off campus access is limited to members of the SLU Community).

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

Scope: 136,000 titles published between 1700-1800 in Great Britain and number of British Colonies, searchable, and the materials include books, essays, pamphlets, and broadsheets. The database incorporates those titles from the eighteenth century in the English Short Title Catalogue.

Specifically: This is a particularly significant database for research in British literary topics, European history, popular appraisals of theater and the arts, religious studies, and personal testaments to the prevailing attitudes and dogma of the day.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online

Scope: Tens of thousands of titles published between 1790-1929 are collected into four digital archives—Asia and the West, British Politics and Society, British Theatre, Music and Literature: High and Popular Culture, and European Literature 1790-1840: the Corvey Collection.

Specifically: This database would be a great help for major primary source research projects in European Studies, History, English, Theater, Performance and Communication Arts, Government, Modern Languages, and Art.  This collection contains not only texts from the nineteenth century, but the critical response of the day.

Women Writer’s Project

Scope: This is actually one of our longest standing digital collections, a collection of 320 works by women authors first published between 1526 and 1850.  This is database facilitates both browsing and searching, and represents a useful collection for exploring the issues pre-Victorian women writers engaged, and faced.

Specifically: This is collection encompasses a range of titles from literary works to the sciences to satires on manners.  Like Nineteenth Century Collections Online this would be a useful resource for projects on the history of science, as a number of scientific treatises are included within this collection.

Tags: Research How-To

The Future of Maps

July 2nd, 2012 · Comments Off on The Future of Maps

…from Atlantic Magazine, Rebecca J. Rosen on the future of maps, a future where maps morph into “…all the information that exists in physical space, and then a layer of intelligence that can put that information to use.” Rosen mentions in the articles liking to use paper maps (you know, maps) and recently yours truly got in an argument that the correct phrase was “reading a map” not (as someone said) “interacting with a map.”

The people who would have the clearest idea about the future of maps, are our GIS staff, Carol Cady and Louise Gava! They can be found in Launders Science Library, on the second floor in our GIS space.  An overview of the great projects they are leading is prominent on our library web presence…



Tags: Essay on Technology · Research How-To

Summer Travel, Interlibrary Loan!

May 16th, 2012 · Comments Off on Summer Travel, Interlibrary Loan!

Whistle and summer is here! Whilst you are out and about in the pleasant summer time, remember SLU Libraries Interlibrary loan is still at work, available. Our forms are online, so for those working at home requests are easy.  The link here is to a quick reminder about what makes ILL’s wheels go ’round!

Tags: Research How-To

Watson as Search Engine

February 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on Watson as Search Engine

…this in the current issue of Nature, an article on Watson, the computer that recently did so well on the game show Jeopardy. The thesis is essentially that Watson could be a prototype for the next leap in search engines, namely, engines that are able to finally actualize natural language searching.  That is, computers you’d converse with and be doing so search databases.

Tags: Essay on Technology · Information Studies · Research How-To

National Virtual Library

October 14th, 2010 · Comments Off on National Virtual Library

Robert Darnton doesn’t trust Google. That is to say, he doesn’t trust Google to necessarily behave in the best interest of the public trust.  He is the author of The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future and in a recent New York Times editorial, he echoes a call he makes in the book for a National Digital Library.  This would be a collection of e-texts drawn from books essential to American Democracy.  It’s an interesting contemplation of what public institutions are and should do in compliment and contrast to Google…

Tags: Books · Essay on Technology · Google · Research How-To

Friday Blogging, Term Paper Mills

October 1st, 2010 · Comments Off on Friday Blogging, Term Paper Mills

…an interesting little note on Term Paper Mills. With the advent of the Internet a fear arose that Term Paper Mills, those folks who, for a fee, will write you a paper, had been given the perfect delivery mechanism.  A few years ago this fear on campus was palpable, and there was even services one could avail oneself to to create libraries of student work on foil these online paper mills at their own digital game.  Dan Ariely, a professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, did an experiment this fall to text the quality of the product produced, which he concluded is “best described as gibberish.” His argument is that the papers are so bad intellectually and technically that an student submitting one would rue the day…one less worry?

Tags: Computer Security · Essay on Technology · Research How-To · The Academic Internet

iPad Glued Not Screwed

April 7th, 2010 · Comments Off on iPad Glued Not Screwed

…in an essay published on Boing Boing Cory Doctorow states his case against the iPad, which is based on the iPad being a closed system, a proprietary technology resistant to reverse engineering.  As he puts it, (remembering a piece called Maker Manifesto) “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it. Screws not glue.” Johnathan Zittrain had a similar thing in mind as the argument of his book The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It where he argued that the morphing of the Internet into hand held devices would rob it of its generative quality. Tim Berners-Lee made HTML freely available, and that, coupled with the fact that the code could be readily understood (and then written) is what propelled the web forward.  Zittrain and Doctorow both raise the point that has the Internet moves to proprietary frameworks (like iPads, Facebook, blogs software such as you see here) it becomes a consumable technology rather than a malleable one.

Some comments directed at Doctorow’s piece suggest that people writing APPs for their iPads is very much in the DYI-coding of the Internet, but, that strikes me as decoration.  For the a period of time the world wide web was coded in readily learned ways that allowed one to build substantive, original, computer frameworks in ways that APPs just aren’t.  I can’t help but think it is analogous to what’s happened with cars…anyone with some patience, the right tools, and a manual could repair and work on an air-cooled automobile (think original Volkswagon Beetle or Studebaker), but cars with embedded digital technology require mechanics with specialized diagnostic technologies. The digital technologies are expensive t00–my car has tire sensors that need to be replaced every so often and are $150 a pop, which would buy a lot of spark plugs.  Life is change and succession, but it strikes me that much is being lost in turning from code to convenience…

Tags: Essay on Technology · Research How-To · The Academic Internet

Essays Upon the Internet

March 30th, 2010 · Comments Off on Essays Upon the Internet

…a couple of interesting things out there about living and writing online.  Elizabeth Stone has a very interesting piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how Facebook may be changing the concept of grieving (for those who spend their time on Facebook). On Techcrunch Michael Arrington suggests that the Internet’s ability to be a conduit for gossip may change the concept of reputation such that it becomes a null set. Also, Thomas P. Barnett has an interesting piece on blogger as writer in World Politics Review, where he reflects what he can do with a blog, and how it has changed him as a researcher and commentator.  One might not agree with all the conclusions, here, but worth a read, all three.

Tags: Blogging · Essay on Technology · Facebooked · Research How-To

Chrome and Firefox in February

February 24th, 2010 · Comments Off on Chrome and Firefox in February

…while this article from PC World is largely about Microsoft, it does give current browser share numbers. In a word, more good news for Firefox and Chrome.

One of the real joys of Firefox are the add-ons. Recent news on new Youtube add-ons for Firefox has just come down the pipe…for an overview of Firefox add-ons see the notes for a presentation back a year or two ago, but still current in terms of the add-ons as concept, and the add-ons it covers.

For information on what Chrome is and how Google is positioning it to be a web-based operating system, see these powerpoint notes for a presentation I did last December. Even though it’s a powerpoint it will still provide commentary on what Google is up to (warning, some sardonic comments about Google along the way…)

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · Research How-To · Uncategorized

Monday Morning Google News

December 7th, 2009 · Comments Off on Monday Morning Google News

…in a very interesting very quiet move, Google has personalized all searches. That is, based on the information Google keeps on searches an individual does, and based on information uploaded to Google by gmail and the like users, each Google search will be a little bit different.  Good commentary on what this means from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, and Mercedes Bunz in the Guardian. Sullivan makes a good connection to this and reference work done by librarians.  In a library every search is customized as a researcher works with a librarian to find the best materials…what Sullivan points out though, is that you wouldn’t expect a librarian to remember a conversation, verbatim, you had a half a year ago. That’s what Google does, and, I agree with Sullivan, that’s the creepy part.  What happens in the library stays in the library, even as the books leave…is that perhaps an advantage of a library.

Also, with criticism growing from the news industry of Google’s role in the economics of news delivery, Eric Schmidt takes a few pages of the Wall Street Journal to defend his company

Tags: Essay on Technology · Google · Research How-To

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