December 4th, 2013
Every year the Oxford English Dictionary selects a word to add to the quarter of a million entries in the OED collection. These words are chosen by popularity from a list terms that can be culturally, technologically, socially, or politically driven. In the past, technology has led the word selection with terms like GIF, unfriend, and podcast. This year is no exception, “selfie” has taken to the top spot.
Have you taken a selfie, or a picture of yourself, using a smartphone or mobile device and then uploaded to a social media site? If so, you are joining the millions around the world who have captured themselves at some moment in time. Selfies are not a new phenomenon, but they have definitely skyrocketed into popularity with the increased use of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. The word selfie first appeared in Australia in 2002, but use of the term did not become widespread until 2012 (OED Blog, 2013).
While some may consider selfies a vain habit associated with rise of social media, these types of pictures have been around for centuries. Self-portraits have evolved along with the medium available at the time (OED Blog, 2013). Centuries ago, a selfie would have looked like the Mona Lisa, but with today’s technology everyone can be their own Leonardo da Vinci.
Some of the other contenders this year include:
- Bitcoin- noun, a digital currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.
- Schmeat- noun, a form of meat produced synthetically from biological tissue.
- Twerk- verb, dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
- Binge-Watch- verb, to watch multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.
If you would like more information about Oxford’s word of the year, please visit the full article at Oxford’s Dictionaries Blog.
Picture and information courtesy of:
Oxford Dictionaries Blog. (2013). Retrieved from http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/press-releases/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2013/.
November 15th, 2013
Paris, 1942: After two years of German occupation the Nazis have increased their efforts to eliminate the Jewish population. Architect Lucien Bernard is approached by a wealthy businessman to design hiding places for Jews. At first both alarmed and appalled by the risk he is being asked to take, Lucien reluctantly agrees when he is offered an additional commission to design a factory. He becomes intrigued by the design possibilities in creating the hiding places as well as excited at the prospect of outwitting the Germans.
Though he begins with little sympathy for the Jews, when one of his designs goes terribly wrong Lucien becomes both more compassionate and more daring. But by doing so he is exposing himself to even more danger. The tension mounts when his mistress takes on a Gestapo officer as a lover and his newly hired draftsman, the nephew of another Gestapo officer, begins snooping around.
The Paris Architect combines historic detail, suspenseful storytelling, and character development. In addition, author Charles Belfoure describes the attitudes of the French toward both their occupiers and the Jews as well as the role of architecture in Nazi Germany in this debut novel.
The Paris Architect 364 pages
November 1st, 2013
Out of work due to the Great Recession and dejectedly looking for a job, former web designer Clay Jannon stumbles upon a help wanted sign in an ancient, dusty bookstore—Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore. After demonstrating his ability to quickly climb ladders and retrieve heavy books Clay is hired as the night clerk. Mystified by the strange merchandise, the quirky customers and Mr. Penumbra’s insistence on careful record-keeping of every transaction, Clay begins to unravel an enigmatic code linked to a secret society founded by a fifteenth century typeface designer.
Cleverly written and full of fascinating detail, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore will charm nerds. If you have ever wondered how to tie together Latin phrases, food service at the Googleplex, cracking DRM and promoting Ruby, the open source programming language this is the book for you.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore 288 pages
October 18th, 2013
October is all about awareness. Help the John Tyler libraries spread consciousness by learning more National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).
It’s more than wearing pink, its helping others learn about this disease and how to overcome this challenging diagnosis. Every October, NBCAM partners with health and research associations, government agencies, and other supporting organizations to bring awareness and information to a disease affecting the lives of so many. Just this year, the United States will lose 39,000 people to this disease and add over 230,000 new patients (American Cancer Society, 2013).
Information from NBCAM and other sponsors is not limited to breast cancer patients, it’s for everyone. From patients, to survivors, to supporters, everyone dealing with this illness can rally together and find help through this wonderful organization and their resources. To find the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month site, visit NBCAM.org and find more information about their organization and affiliates.
For more information available at the JTCC libraries, check out some of our resources- both online and in person!
American Cancer Society. (2013) Cancer facts and figures 2013. Atlanta, GA:
American Cancer Society.
October 11th, 2013
Having problems accessing certain materials through the databases and online article indexes? Thousands of students, researchers, and academics across the country are having the same issues. Due to the federal government shutdown, many of the online resources used by John Tyler students and staff are being affected by the closures. Some popular sites are available with limited materials and updates, while others are completely closed down. The restricted access during this period has caused interruptions to full-text materials and error messages for many users. Please contact the library if you have questions about which resources are affected.
Users can expect an interruption in service when using the following:
Limited access only:
Have questions about something you cannot access? Please contact the JTCC libraries to verify that the issue stems from the federal shutdown. We hope access will be restored soon. Stay tuned to LibrarySpace for updates!
Photo courtesy of the University of North Texas, 2013.
October 1st, 2013
The world is a strange, fascinating and sometimes hilarious place. Nothing brings that idea to light better than the Ig Nobel Prizes awarded by the Improbable Research organization. Motto: Research that makes people LAUGH then THINK. This year’s honors, presented September 12 in the 23rd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony, were conferred by actual Nobel Prize winners. Honorees included a study on dung beetles using the Milky Way for navigation, whether listening to opera music prolongs the life of mice with heart transplants and, my personal favorite, in psychology, “‘Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder’: People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive,” which confirms “by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive.”
· For further evidence that science applies to everyday life take a look at these past winners:
- Daisuke Inoue: (2004) Peace Prize winner for the invention of karaoke “thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.”
- Donald J. Smith and his father, the late Frank J. Smith (2004) Engineering winner for their patent of the comb-over (U.S. Patent #4,022,227).
- Jillian Clarke of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, and then Howard University (2004) Public Health winner for “investigating the scientific validity of the 5 second rule about whether it’s safe to eat food that’s been dropped on the floor.”
And another cool thing? These articles can be found in library databases!
Above image from Improbable.com: “The Stinker”, the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes. – See more at: http://www.improbable.com/ig/#sthash.vwnAiZSh.dpuf
September 29th, 2013
Tuesday, October 1 is Founder’s Day. No classes will be held; both campus libraries are closed.
The library databases, eBooks and Ask a Librarian are all still available off campus with your MyTyler login. Research can continue!
Normal schedule will resume Wednesday, October 2.
September 27th, 2013
No stranger to the Banned Book list (Books Challenged or Banned in 2009-2010), author David Sedaris in his latest work, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, looks at themes of modern culture. In each chapter, ranging from talking to telemarketers, sitting by strangers on an airplane or French reaction to the reelection of Barak Obama, Sedaris reveals not only something of himself but also something of contemporary society. For instance, in “Attaboy” he describes the reaction of a mother and father when their son is caught defacing a mailbox (accusing the victim of wrongdoing!) and imagines his own parents’ response if presented with a set of similar circumstances back in the day: “if I ever wanted freedom again, I’d have to pay for it: every hour outside my room costing me a dollar, which is like, I don’t know, seventeen dollars today’s currency.” Best of all Sedaris exposes the absurdities in life—not just the overprotective parents but subjects like the foreign phrases in Lonely Planet guidebooks and that rite of passage for fifty-year olds, the colonoscopy.
The John Tyler Libraries also own Sedaris’s previous (and wonderful!) works:
And in e-audiobook from Overdrive
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls 288 pages
September 22nd, 2013
It is one thing to be told you must read a book, say for a class assignment, but it is something else entirely to be told you must NOT read a book. Yet according to Bannedbooksweek.org, last year 464 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Since 1981 the American Library Association has set aside the last week in September to call attention to the threat of censorship in schools, libraries and bookstores. This week, September 22-28 take a look at the most challenged books in the U.S., some of which you can find on the shelves of the John Tyler Libraries:
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
- The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
Graphic novels, or comic books, come under even more scrutiny from those who would restrict access to books. According to the Comic Book Defense Fund “comics are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because the medium thrives on the power of static images and because there is a lingering stigma that comics are low-value speech.” Among the most challenged that you can find at the John Tyler Libraries are:
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel Reason challenged: Obscene images
- Maus, by Art Spiegelman Reason challenged: Anti-ethnic and unsuited for age group
- Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi Reason challenged: Profanity, violent content
So this week celebrate your right to read! Check out a book!
September 18th, 2013
If you attended a library instruction session no doubt you were introduced to the database Academic Search Complete. That is because Academic Search Complete covers such a huge range of research needs. From political science to philosophy, dermatology to diabetes, geography to giant squids Academic Search Complete (ASC) usually has you covered. However, ASC is not the only game in town research-wise. There are other resources for your papers and presentations that present information in highly readable, easily searchable formats that even include tools for citations. Here are some resources you might want to try:
- Opposing Viewpoints (a personal favorite) Combines magazine, newspaper, reference articles, academic journals and other sources. Don’t forget to check out the “Browse Issues” tab for help in choosing a research topic.
- Science In Context The sister site to Opposing Viewpoints. Like OP, Science in Context combines different sources—great not only for locating a scholarly source but also for general information.
- CAMIO New this year, CAMIO–Catalog of Art Museum Images Online—has thousands of images from famous art museums throughout the world. Searchable by artist, creation, museum, time period, type of art and more! Includes background information on many of the works.
- CQ Researcher Even at 90 years old, CQ Researcher is still going strong providing “in-depth reports on today’s issues.” Great for argumentative or position papers!
- Your friendly librarian: always ready to point you to the resources you need.