Archive for April, 2007

On trial: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

infolearning.jpg The trial’s almost up, but you still have 18 days to take a look at, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (PQDT), available on our Web site until May 15, 2007. The premiere database for graduate research offers access to 2.3 million master’s theses and doctoral dissertations from around the world. Dissertations written since 1980 include a 350 word abstract. Theses written since 1988 include a 150 word abstract. Many dissertations since 1993 include a 24 page preview and more than 750,000 dissertations are available in full-text PDF format. Search by author, title, advisor, institution or keyword. Curious about what your professors and/or colleagues did their dissertation on? Look them up today!

After the trial ends, you still have access to Dissertation Abstracts through FirstSearch. (Just click on Dissertation Abstracts on the Databases by Title list) but you won’t have access to the full-text versions. To order dissertations, request them through Interlibrary Loan, or if you would like to purchase them, go through ProQuest’s Dissertation Express.

Some universities are providing online access to their master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. To see a sampling of these, browse the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations and/or

As always, we’re curious to hear your thoughts.

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Library Survey Results

Remember the library survey we asked you to fill out in Fall 2005? Nearly 1,500 faculty and students filled out a survey form. If you would like see what they had to say, go the Library’s Survey page and click on the left menu bar to see these Word documents: 

  1. Improvements Made in Response to the Survey
  2. Tech Support Frequently Asked Questions
  3. Faculty Survey Form and Survey Results
  4. Student Survey Form and Survey Results
One of the things we were interested in learning was which resources faculty and students use the most to support their teaching and learning.

The top five resources used by faculty were:

  1. Their own books and articles or other resources from their files (88.9%)
  2. Websites found through search engines (87.7%)
  3. Web sites recommended by friends or colleagues (65.4%)
  4. Library databases (53.1%)
  5. Other university libraries (45.7%)
The top five resources used by students were:

  1. Web sites found through search engines (89.1%)
  2. Web sites recommended by friends (58.1%)
  3. Library databases (57.57%)
  4. Oscar, the library’s catalog (51.8%)
  5. Their own books & articles (36.5%)
These results are interesting in several ways. It appears that faculty and students use similar resources and in similar proportions. Students seems to use library resources a bit more than faculty, while faculty make greater use of materials from their own files, which are presumably larger than those of students. But students also use their own materials: it was their 5th choice.

Another interesting aspect of the survey which really hasn’t been much commented on is the confusion of terminology. For example, faculty’s 5th most used resource was other university libraries. What do faculty do when they visit those other libraries? Do they check out books, photocopy articles from journals, consult specialists? And which libraries are they gaining access to?
Librarians tend to be sticklers when it comes to terminology. We know for instance the difference between a web site, a database, and electronic journal. Students however often conflate all of those and prefer instead to assign the word “web site” to anything online. They often, for instance, refer to databases as web sites or search engines, much to our chagrin. It is possible that our results, which fail to take account of those differences in mental models, are somewhat skewed as a result. Check back for other survey results, which will be abstracted here periodically.

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Congratulations to Dr. Tan Lin!

The University recently announced that Dr. Tan Lin, professor of Creative Writing in the English Department has been awarded grants from the Asian American Arts Alliance and the Andy Warhol Foundation. According to the Asian American Arts Alliance web site, Dr. Lin’s work is a:

photographic novel that blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. The artist finds interesting newspaper stories and re-tells them as though they happened to him; inserting flea market photographs to “prove” that they happened to him. The work explores feelings of displacement, and the construction of identity and kinship, as experienced by first and second generation immigrants. 

If you’re interested in Asian American literature, come to the library and take a look at some of these books, all of which are available on the 4th floor:

Assimilating Asians : gendered strategies of authorship in Asian America / Patricia P. Chu / Duke University Press
PS153 .A84 C485 2000

The Americas of Asian American literature : gendered fictions of nation and transnation
 / Rachel C. Lee
PS153.A84 L44 1999

Double agency : acts of impersonation in Asian American literature and culture / Tina Chen / Stanford University Press
PS153 .A84 C47 2005

Form and transformation in Asian American literature /edited by Zhou Xiaojing and Samina Najmi / University of Washington Press
PS153 .A84 F67 2005

Tell this silence : Asian American women writers and the politics of speech / by Patti Duncan / University of Iowa Press
PS153 .A84 D86 2004

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This Day in History …

hlt08001.jpg From the Library’s Web site: “On April 24, 1800, Pres. John Adams approved legislation that appropriated $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” The first books, ordered from London, arrived in 1801 and were stored in the U.S. Capitol, the Library’s first home. The collection consisted of 740 volumes and three maps.”

The current collection includes over 100 million items and an overwhelming array of online resources through the American Memory Collection. Highlights include images from baseball’s early history in the 1860’s, presidential papers including letters written by Abraham Lincoln, early advertisements from 1850-1920, and oral history interviews with newly arrived immigrants.

If you need help using the web site, which is actually a bit complicated, please talk to one of the librarians.

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Nearly 2 Billion Served …

ylrcolor.jpg The American Library Association recently released its annual report, The State of America’s Libraries, available here. Among other facts, you’ll learn that Americans checked out 2 billion items in 1.8 billion visits to their libraries last year. The report offers an overall look at the nation’s libraries in addition to data about academic libraries, including the fact that purchases of e-books rose 68%, from 19 million to nearly 33 million items.

To take a look at our library’s e-book collection, go to OSCAR, our online catalog, select E-book in the Item Type Menu, then click on search. You will see the thousands of e-books available to you from offsite or on campus.

If you need help finding e-books or anything else, contact us by phone at 201-200-3033, email: or stop by and visit during the hours the library is open.

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library-081.jpg Today is the last day of National Library Week, which is usually celebrated the second week in April. We thank all of you who came to the library to check out books, take a look at our book display, participate in an info session or take the library’s pop quiz.

In honor of National Library week, we are officially launching Guarini Library’s first blog.  Starting today, we’ll be using the blog to let you know about library events, classes and new resources, in addition to stories about libraries and librarians. We hope you’ll check back often, and subscribe to our RSS feed too.

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