Archive for October, 2008

“A Night with the Jersey Devil”

Just in time for Halloween, Bruce Springsteen’s musical homage to New Jersey’s favorite monster is freely available here. For additional information on this legend, please visit this New Jersey Pinelands Commission site, or this contribution from Weird N.J., or this article from the New York Times, or this hyperlinked report from the New Jersey Digital Highway.

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Haunted Libraries

We’ve all heard of haunted houses and haunted castles, but haunted libraries? Here is a delightful listing of libraries inhabited by spectral beings. Libraries from around the world are also included. And of course, New Jersey is represented as well. For those who want to read about ghostly doings, please peruse these ghost stories.                                                    

“All houses wherein men have lived and died are haunted houses” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Haunted Houses” from Complete Poetical Works

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Incidence of Diabetes Doubles in Ten Years

In a rather ironic coincidence, a major report on the prevalence of diabetes is released on the day most closely associated with candy. The October 31, 2008 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report presents compelling evidence indicating that the incidence of diagnosed diabetes has doubled in ten years. What is unique to this report is a state-by-state examination of the increase in this disease. 33 states are represented, and New Jersey is among them. This state’s increase amounts to 64%, which is actually among the lowest of the states reported. The highest, with incidence rates of 200% or more, include Florida, Texas, and Idaho. There is much that can be done to control diabetes. Check out this CDC site and this one from the National Library of Medicine.

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QandA NJ Demos

Need research help at midnight and don’t know where to turn? QandA NJ is the place for you! Available 24/7 New Jersey’s online chat reference service can help you find what you’re looking for. To learn how to use the service, attend a demo next week.

A student demo will be held on Thursday, November 6 from 4-4:30.

A faculty demo will be held on Thursday, November 6 from 12-12:30.

If you can’t make these times but would like to learn about it, just email me at lkortz@njcu.edu and I’ll be happy to set up an online demo for you!

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Comparing Hospitals and Their Level of Care

Trying to find a hospital which has a good record in treating certain medical conditions or performing certain surgical procedures can be a daunting affair. How can one know the information is reliable? Where can one find statistics dealing with their level of care? What about patient ratings of the services they received? This site, Hospital Compare, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will assist you. While not every hospital is included, there are a fair number in here, almost 2400 or 60% of all hospitals in the country. New Jersey is represented by 68 hospitals; Hudson County has 6.

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Today in History: War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast

On the evening of October 30, 1938, listeners to the Mercury Theatre on the Air sat spell-bound and horrified as initial reports came in of an alien invasion from Mars. With eyewitness reports from the landing site in West Windsor, New Jersey, this radio broadcast, heard across the continental United States, had more than a few panicky citizens heading for their basements. Based on the classic H.G. Wells novel – The War of the Worlds– this fictitious radio adaptation, proved the power of this nascent media. It also made the reputation of its presenter, one Orson Welles. You can read the radio script, hear an audio of the original program, or read the original 1898 novel. To listen to all the Mercury Theatre radio productions, please visit here. Read the New York Times report on reaction to the broadcast.

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Where Do I Vote?

To find out where to cast your ballot in the upcoming elections, consult the Polling Place Finder. All fifty states and the District of Columbia are covered.

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Black Americans in Congress: 1870-2012

The title of this House Document says it all. It is the most exhaustive treatment( 800 pages) of African-Americans in Congress. Each scholarly entry has a photograph of the individual, along with suggested further readings and an inventory of manuscript collections. For the biographies of all who have served in Congress , past and present, you may consult the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present. Also, this CRS report – African Americans in Congress, 1870-2012 – provides additional information. Other online biographical resources may be perused in the biography subsection of our Reference site.

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2008 Eurostat Yearbook – Europe in Figures

Containing over 500 statistical tables ranging from the environment to international trade, this yearbook provides an in-depth look into the European Union, its member states, and candidates; it also provides comparative information for Japan and the United States. Previous editions can be accessed from this site as well. For more statistical publications, please visit our statistics section on the Library’s homepage.

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Major Report on Undergraduate Use of Information Technology

Culled from more than 27,000 survey respondents from 90 colleges and universities, this EDUCAUSE report provides wide-ranging insights into the “typical” undergraduate’s use of IT, and of how undergraduates assess their competencies. This report would benefit anyone who wishes to understand this generation which is on the other side of the digital divide.

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Piracy on the High Seas

Every year, hundreds of acts of piracy occur on the oceans. As with their predecessors, these modern-day pirates should not be romanticized or held up as paragons of virtue. So prevalent is the problem that the UN Security Council issued a resolution condemning piracy and urging nations to suppress these actions. A weekly piracy report, along with an interactive map, are hosted by the International Maritime Bureau; a similar updating service is provided by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency – the Worldwide Threat to Shipping Report. Other worthy publications include: Maritime Security: Overview of Issues(CRS); “An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization“(Journal of Political Economy); “A Plague of Pirates“(Time); “No Vessel is Safe from Modern Pirates“(BBC);The Maritime Dimension of International Security(RAND);”Suppression of Piracy and Maritime Terrorism: A Suitable Role for a Navy?”(Naval War College Review);Piracy at Sea(New York Times); and WWW Virtual Library: Piracy.

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2007 College Student Health Report

Based on a survey given on 14 Minnesota campuses with a return of 10,000 completed forms, this report can be generalized to other colleges and universities as well. Among its findings: students with health insurance had a 3.25 GPA compared to a 3.17 GPA for those without(p.10); stress and sleep difficulties were cited the most by students, 32.9% and 20% respectively(p.12); and 59.4% of those students who reported a learning disability had their academic performance adversely affected, while those who complained of allergies had only 6% experiencing academic difficulties. As this report states: “For college students, health issues that affect their ability to attend class, complete projects, write papers, or take tests can have a profound impact on their ability to succeed academically.”(p. v) A good literature review on stress and health can be read here, and this site on campus health contains valuable information. And please remember that anytime you are experiencing problems, you always have the skilled staff at the following NJCU offices to assist you: the Counseling Center, Health and Wellness Center, or the Office of Specialized Services for Students with Disabilities(Project Mentor).

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County-Level Health Insurance Statistics from the Census Bureau

The Census Burean has released statistics highlighting those who have health insurance vs those who do not. The tables can be broken down by sex, age, and income. In addition, there are maps that show health insurance along racial lines.(However, those of us who have color acuity problems may find the maps unreadable.) Look in the tables for New Jersey counties and see how we do.

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Arctic Report Card 2008

“There continues to be widespread and, in some cases, dramatic evidence of an overall warming of the Arctic system.” So reads the front page of NOAA’s(National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Adminstration) site on the Arctic. You can read here about the decline in reindeer herds, the continual warming of the sea ice since 1900, and the changing climate in Greenland. Other sites that will prove profitable include: The Far North and Taiga(Canadian Geographic); Arctic Studies Center(Smithsonian); the Arctic Institute of North Amerca, where one can browse through thousands of photos on the Arctic and read the journal Arctic back to 1948; the NSF monograph Science on the Edge: Arctic and Antarctic Discoveries; the howstuffworks polar history page, which includes videos and biographies; and the International Polar Year site with numerous links. For those wanting to read about early polar expeditions, we direct you here and here and here. In fact, one of these books, The Jeanette,  written by Richard Perry recounts numerous Arctic expeditions. Additional information is found at the Discoverer’s Web: Explorers of the Polar Regions.

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International Religious Freedom Report

The U.S. State Department has just issued its most recent annual report on religious freedom throughout the world. This supplements its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which is issued on a yearly basis.

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Selected New Reference Books

The Reference Department has witnessed a recent influx of new materials in many disciplines. Some of the more noteworthy ones include: the Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology, a two-volume work whose articles are models of informative lucidity(its discussion of autism spectrum disorders is a well-balanced, thoughtful distillation of current trends and controversies, written so that a layperson can fully comprehend the issues surrounding this disability); the 3d edition of the essential MLA Style Manual(kept at the Reference desk); the ever-reliable World Book Encyclopedia, which is supplemented by our online World Book Reference Center, a goldmine of information and documents; the Pocket Guide to Cultural Health Assessment, which examines the countries of the world through the lenses of health care beliefs and practices; the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales; the five-volume New Encyclopedia of Africa, which will become the standard work for all of Africa; and the 2d ed of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, a landmark work unto itself. These and other new reference materials can be accessed through OSCAR, our online catalog which is your portal to our book collection, our 100,000+ online government documents, our 3,000+ film titles, and our 3,000+ ebooks.

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Health Care in the Next Administration

This is the title of a symposium sponsored by The New England Journal of Medicine which featured the senior health policy advisors to both Senator McCain and Senator Obama. The video and text can be accessed here, along with the Senators’ own plans for health care. If you wish to see a side by side comparison of their views on fifteen select health care issues, then this other site is for you. Another recent report, Health Care Proposals of the 2008 Democratic and Republican Presidential Nominees should also be perused.  As health care is repeatedly one of the top topics of concern for all voters, regardless of party affiliation, this symposium will give us a view into the future of medical care.

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Test Driving New Databases

Most of us are acquainted with Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier, two of the Library’s most heavily used databases. Well, meet their souped-up versions, Academic Search Complete(ASC) and Business Source Complete(BSC). ASC boasts coverage of over 10,000 journals including 6100 full text titles of which 5100 are peer-reviewed. BSC contains arcane information cloaked in such terms as SWOT analysis and Black Book reports, and like its smaller brother, it features the full text of Harvard Business Review back to 1922. We have until the end of December to try them out. So why don’t you take them out for a spin and see how they handle? As always, comments are welcome.

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Correlation Between Children’s Health and Family Education/Income

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has just released its study – America’s Health Starts with Healthy Chidren: How do States Compare? It examines the state of children’s health in light of several variables, among them race, income, and education. There is a general report which allows the reader to compare the states as well as “snapshots” of each individual state; New Jersey is here.

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New Jerseyans in Washington

How have those with New Jersey connections fared in Washington, D.C.? Has the White House been graced by the presence of Garden Staters? As a matter of fact, yes. Grover Cleveland, a native of Caldwell, served two non-consecutive terms as President.(The only person to have ever done so.) By a deliberate manipulation of circumstances, we will make Woodrow Wilson a New Jerseyan based on his education(Princeton, 1875-1879), professorships(Princeton, 1890-1902), university presidency(Princeton, 1902-1910), and governorship(New Jersey, 1911-1913). Many of their Public Papers can be accessed here under “Option 3.” We can also count two New Jersey natives among the vice presidents: Aaron Burr(Newark) and Garrett A Hobart(Long Branch). Burr is the more famous/notorious of the two, having killed Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel in Weehawken, N.J.,  as well as being tried for treason, while Hobart died from heart disease before his term expired. You can read Burr’s memoirs as well as accounts of his trial. You can hear Hobart’s “Words of Welcome” from the Electrical Exposition of New York City, May 1, 1898; and you can consult The New York Times for articles on him. For informative biographies on all presidents and vice presidents, please try this site along with this site from the University of Virginia. Biographies on past and present New Jersey Congressional seat holders, including the man for whom this Library is named – Frank J Guarini – may be accessed here.

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