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Saturday, October 03, 2009

On World Vegetarian Day 2009, US WIC nutrition program expands to cover fruits, vegetables

  ~~ Maynard S. Clark: http://Maynard.Clark.GooglePages.com
QuantcastAn internationalist view:


Quantcast

An internationalist view:

"From New York to Kabul, we need to have the vegetables;
From Boston to Beirut, we need to have the fruit."
2001, Vegan Global Reflections on Peace and Rightful Human Moral Claims

  ~~ Maynard S. Clark: http://Maynard.Clark.GooglePages.com


WIC nutrition program expands to include the purchase of health-supporting, life-sustaining, disease-fighting high-fibre phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables


These changes in the supplemental US food package better reflect the US Federal government's dietary guidelines.

Vouchers also can be used to buy whole grains, canned beans, baby food, and tortillas.

By Mary MacVean October 1, 2009

Beginning today (World Vegetarian Day), women and children who receive food vouchers through the federal government's WIC program will be able to use them to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

"It's a really welcome change," said Gail Harrison, a public health professor at UCLA who was on the national Institute of Medicine panel that recommended the revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children -- the first major change in the program since it began in the 1970s. "The supplemental food package contributes a very substantial share of dietary intake, and so making it healthier is all to the good."

Added Laurie True, executive director of the California WIC Assn.: "We're in seventh heaven. We've been pushing for this for 20 years."

A typical family will get $14 a month for produce alone, True said by phone Wednesday. That breaks down to $6 for children; $8 for pregnant women and mothers of children 5 and younger; and $10 for mothers who are exclusively breast-feeding.

The changes, instituted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program, better reflect the federal government's dietary guidelines.

WIC predated the guidelines by several years and, because it was established at a time when hunger and anemia were problems, had emphasized consumption of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and protein. The revisions reflect today's problems: obesity and attendant diseases such as diabetes.

The changes also will allow recipients -- more than 8 million low-income pregnant women, new mothers and young children -- to use WIC funds for whole grains, canned beans, baby food and tortillas.

Previously, recipients could buy infant formula and cereal, eggs, milk, juice, peanut butter and dried beans. Nursing mothers could buy fresh carrots for their vitamin A content.

The new provisions reduce the allotments for some dairy products and juice.

Congress funds WIC annually, with $6.86 billion in fiscal 2009; the changes don't increase the program's costs.

Pina Hernandez, the outreach manager for the Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC Program, which provides WIC services to 316,000 people in Los Angeles and Orange counties, said families would continue to receive about $60 a month in vouchers, but the mix of foods would shift.

Families are eager for the change because of the high cost of produce compared with other foods, she said.

Added True: "We have little kids who have never tasted broccoli, have never seen brown rice. . . . The issue is not just ignorance; the issue is cost and access."

All stores -- major supermarkets, corner stores, shops operating exclusively for WIC recipients -- that want to take part in the program will have to stock produce and whole grains, True said. That's 4,700 vendors in California.

A UCLA study, published last year in the American Journal of Public Health, found that "if you add vouchers for fruits and vegetables that they get used and used wisely," Harrison said.

Overall, few Americans are eating enough fruits and vegetables, said a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Tuesday.

In the report, the CDC said that 14% of adults and 10% of adolescents were eating the recommended amounts of both fruits and vegetables -- not including French fries -- for their age and size. The recommended amount is two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day.

mary.macvean@latimes.com

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Is God bound by rationality?

In my work at HMS and HSPH, I do a fair amount of research into previously-published work. In the course of joining ResearchGATE (the ResearchGATE Scientific Network), I bumped into a discussion on this (above-stated) topic, "Is God bound by rationality?" You can follow the preceding philosophy discussion, to which I appended my own comment:

If there's room for ontological reflection here (e.g. Anselm: God is greater than that which can be conceived, traditionally, "God IS that than which nothing greater can be conceived), mortal rationality (in any species, not merely our own speciesist species is derivative (according to theological conceptions) and, despite periodic (weekly?) times of reflection (to which some give themselves full-time or intermittently), mortal rationality is best (in the spirit of religious liberalism, but quite consistent with the canons of more 'orthodox' schools of Christian thinking) dedicated to making life better here (in the mortal domain) for everyone, beginning with our own individual and shared responsibilities.


Perhaps the question should be reframed as:


Do soul-searching humans have an obligation to bind themselves to rationality of intention and behavior?


Indeed, in that kind of care, healthcare and other costs likely would plummet and the strategic obstacles to realizing the better world for everyone could be expected to diminish significantly.

Would YOU like to teach the world to sing?

Making connections for plant-based diets: teaching the world to sing vegetarian songs

In the process of making connections for plant-based diets, which I've been doing actively since 1993, when I started the Vegetarian Resource Center, I'm seeking vegan musicians who compose and either perform or sing pro-vegan pro-animal lyrics about what we and all others can do right - that are wholesome lyrics, not hateful, and help enable the good side of the general public in making the switch towards plant-based diets and vegan values.

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/VRC-Vegetarian-Music/

The TEXT on that VRC-Vegetarian-Music group list at YahooGroups.com (which is VRC's official discussion list for this very project) is:

The VRC-Vegetarian-Music e-mail discussion list is for volunteers of the Vegetarian Resource Center working in projects of developing vegetarian-supporting music.

Think about every value you hold dear to yourself. Wasn't that communicated through relationship, image, deed, song, and poetry?

Yes!

The 1960's movement for nonviolence throughout Europe, North America, and the rest of the world was spread through music and song. But though there IS an extensive body of lore and song which COULD do the job, vegetarians have never collected that set of resources into one site, nor have many modern vegetarians deliberated on the task and worked intently at creating a modern body of lyric and song, poem and prose, which effectively communicate poignantly, pithily, and powerfully the vegetarian message, and deep as it is in all its lifechanging dimensions.

And if you already HAVE such music already (or know of it), share it with us so that we can get a better idea of what we're doing.

And we're happy at present with commercial produce and condiment jingles.

Let's teach vegetarians to sing!
No, let's write the songs the WHOLE world sings!

We're all interested, too, in developing and collecting literature, music, art, and other resources for vegetarian families.

But in all our months, years, or decades, we've found precious little written BY vegetarians FOR vegetarians.

What do you think YOU can develop, collect, or inspire OTHERS to develop or collect?

Once you join this list, we'd like you to hold up, not only YOUR end of the conversation among all these volunteers, about our respective portions of this culture-building project, but THEIR ends of the conversation, also.

Your contributions to improving our rationale, our social marketing, and/or our persuasiveness in motivating the skilled pro-vegans for this project is sought.

Friday, October 02, 2009

World Day for 'Farmed Animals' (October 2) is morose because the tragedy of animal agriculture is needless and cruel

Unlike World Vegetarian Day (October 1, which is happy and festive), World Day for 'Farmed Animals' (October 2)  is more morose, on the spirit of remembering genocides and holocausts because of the sheer needless tragedy of meat production in the modern world.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Google feed/search for 'vegan' for World Vegetarian Day - October 1, 2009


veg*an

Vegans get blogging for Vegan Month of Food

Los Angeles Times - ‎10 hours ago‎
For all of October, vegan-minded bloggers are being asked to toil around the clock (only a slight exaggeration) to celebrate a month dedication to vegan ...
Vegan Month of Food 2009 Monroe News Star

Vegetarian Recipe: Ellen Kanner's Vegan Spinach Pie

MiamiHerald.com - ‎22 hours ago‎
An easy but impressive appetizer or main course, this lacks the cheesy ooze of traditional Greek spanakopita but has a fraction of the fat and a vibrant ...

Kerry Trueman: Tricks and Treats of the Vegan Lunch Box

AlterNet - Kerry Trueman - ‎3 hours ago‎
You can tell fall's in full swing, all the signs are there: the chill in the air, the fiery foliage, the stores stocked ...

Can Cars Go Vegan?

MotorTrend Magazine - Leslie Griffin - ‎4 hours ago‎
Consider yourself a DIY-er? Have an inclination to change your own oil, open your own hood once and a while, and maybe make your own fuel?

Jesse Eisenberg Becomes an Action Figure in Zombieland

Huffington Post (blog) - ‎13 hours ago‎
Woody is really happy with that because he's a strict vegan. Q: Harrelson is an incredibly naturally funny guy. I don't know how you get on set with him ...

Thin Mint Cookies, Cadbury Eggs Win at Vegan Bake-Off Event

LAist (blog) - ‎8 hours ago‎
Yesterday not only marked the last day of September, but also the last event at a vegan festival (of sorts) called 30 Days of Celebrating Being Vegan.

Vegetarian and vegan diets protect against dementia

Examiner.com - ‎Sep 30, 2009‎
But what experts know about this vitamin suggests that vegans could actually have a little bit of advantage regarding B12 as they age.

Vegans celebrate!

Big Island Weekly - Diane Koerner - ‎Sep 30, 2009‎
"We are very strict in our standards, so that vegetarians and vegans can know there are no slaughtered animal products in the store," he says.

Sustainability Without the BS: The Real Humane Farmers Are Going ...

Dissident Voice - Paul de Rooij - ‎Sep 30, 2009‎
Activists try to improve husbandry practices or promote supposedly sustainable animal farms because it's an easier sell than the go-vegan-or-else approach; ...

Chicago's VeganMania celebrates all things vegan on Oct. 10

ChicagoNow (blog) - ‎Sep 30, 2009‎
Vegans, vegan food lovers and environmentalists will unite on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 am to 4 pm, for EarthSave Chicago's VeganMania event.

Vegan for a Month surprises bloggers

The Tennessean - Jennifer Justus - ‎Sep 30, 2009‎
But when we learned about National Vegan Month in September, we smelled a challenge like a wok of stir-fried tofu. Could we follow the lifestyle for a month ...

Publishers Newswire Announces List of Books to Bookmark for Q3 2009

eNewsChannels - Aria Munro - ‎6 hours ago‎
“The Vegan Monologues” (ISBN 9781934074367, Apprentice House), guides readers through the world of being vegan, traveling life's path as an herbivore in a ...
Professional Reading School Library Journal

No butter, no eggs, no problem: Vegan baking coming into its own

Macon Telegraph - Ellen Kanner - ‎Sep 29, 2009‎
MIAMI - When Becca Medvin went vegan at the age of 14, she had no trouble giving up meat. Or milk or cheese or eggs.

Celebrate World Veg Festival at Golden Gate Park This Weekend

Examiner.com - ‎9 hours ago‎
Presenters include Rory Freedman, author of Skinny Bitch ; John Robbins, Healthy at 100; Howard Lyman, Mad Cowboy; Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Vegan Table ...

A Plum of a restaurant caters to vegans and vegetarians

Seattle Times - Providence Cicero - ‎Sep 25, 2009‎
Vegans are even more constrained. Remove the protein component from that vegetarian dish (usually cheese) and what's left is too frequently just a plate of ...

The State Fair of Texas goes raw (sort of)

Pegasus News - James Scott - ‎11 hours ago‎
DALLAS - It was the best of times, it was the worst of times -- it was time to go to the State Fair of Texas.

Vegan Carne Asada, Crispy Chicken & More: The Veggie Grill Opens ...

LAist (blog) - Zach Behrens - ‎Sep 29, 2009‎
If a vegan restaurant can open in Orange County and not only survive, but expand within the same city (Irvine), then it must be doing something right.

Vegan only answer to animal slaughters

Bellingham Herald - ‎Sep 28, 2009‎
Their website at WorldFarmAnimalsDay.org offers a number of ways to participate and affirms the need to go vegan. Transition to a vegan diet is the only ...

Beta Watch: Gist, TweetMixx, TwoFoods

Washington Post - ‎Sep 29, 2009‎
... sharing and the biggest current trends on Twitter. tweetmixx.com We all know what we're supposed to eat: carrots, brown rice, and vegan bean patties.

Scranton Prepares for Book Festival

WNEP-TV - Ryan Leckey - ‎10 hours ago‎
Not only are some business serving as venues, others, like Eden Vegan Cafe, are getting involved with the event by offering special discounts and some ...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software

After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software

Technology September 28, 2009
After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software Lisa Billings/Freelance
Jean A. Bauer, a graduate student in American history at the U. of Virginia, has been frustrated with the confusing search results from the university library's old online catalog. A new one is in the works.
Enlarge Photo Lisa Billings/Freelance
Jean A. Bauer, a graduate student in American history at the U. of Virginia, has been frustrated with the confusing search results from the university library's old online catalog. A new one is in the works.
By Marc Parry
Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. So you might think that typing his name into Virgo, Virginia's online library catalog, would start you off with a book about him.
Jean A. Bauer tried it the other night. At the top of the results list were papers from a physics conference in Brazil.
The problem is that traditional online library catalogs don't tend to order search results by ranked relevance, and they can befuddle users with clunky interfaces. Bauer, a graduate student specializing in early American history, once had such a hard time finding materials that she titled a bibliography "Meager Fruits of an Ongoing Fight With Virgo."
That's changing because of two technology trends. First, a growing number of universities are shelling out serious money for sophisticated software that makes exploring their collections more like the easy-to-filter experience you might find in an online Sears catalog.
Second, Virginia and several other colleges, including Villanova University and the University of Rochester, are producing free open-source programs that tackle the same problems with no licensing fees.
A key feature of this software genre is that it helps you make sense of data through "faceted" searching, common when you shop online for a new jacket or a stereo system. Say you type in "Susan B. Anthony." The new system will ask if you want books by her or about her, said Susan L. Gibbons, vice provost and dean of Rochester's River Campus Libraries. Users can also sort by media type, language, and date.
These products can also rank search results by relevance and use prompts of "Did you mean … ?"
"It's sort of our answer to, Why it is you need a library when you have Google?" said Ms. Gibbons. "What this is going to do is show how much you've been missing."
It's a pressing issue. Libraries once had a monopoly on organizing data about content. No longer. And today some users gripe about how libraries present materials online: how scattered they are, how sluggish searches can be, and how often those searches are useful only if you already know exactly what you want.
The worry for Jennifer Bowen, assistant dean of the River Campus Libraries, is that library catalogs could become "marginalized."
"There are people who just cannot find what they need," she said. "And they're just sort of giving up on libraries."
A Single Entry Point The issue concerns professors, too. One software developer pointed to a 2006 study by Ithaka, a nonprofit group that promotes the use of information technology in higher education. It found that faculty members value the campus library but "perceive themselves to be decreasingly dependent on the library for their research and teaching." The report described what appeared to be "growing ambivalence about the campus library."
The buzzwords for the technology that librarians hope will allow users to rediscover their collections are "Web-scale index searching."
That, in Ms. Gibbons's translation, is a fancy way of saying that the system, like Google, works by searching against a vast index of information. It's a contrast with an earlier attempt to deal with the search problem through "federated searching," where there is no local index, and each query is taken from the user and sent individually to various databases.
You expect a Google search to cast the broadest possible net. The same should apply to a library catalog, the thinking goes. That means a single entry point to the collection. The entire collection: books, articles, digital objects. Heck, why not even herbarium specimens?
Marshall Breeding, director of innovative technology and research at the Vanderbilt University library, calls the concept "an ambitious goal—and at this point I think it's more of a goal than reality."
But the move toward simplified, silo-busting, relevant-result-returning library searches may come with its own problems.
Mr. Breeding, who founded the Web site Library Technology Guides, has observed "pockets of resistance" in the library community. Some argue that new search products—sometimes called next-generation catalogs or discovery interfaces—amount to a dumbing-down of catalogs.
By contrast, traditional search tools reinforce the idea that library users need a clear understanding of the different materials involved in research, Mr. Breeding said, such as the difference between articles and monographs. New interfaces that mix many different information sources blur all that, he said.
And then there are the slew of devil-in-the-details questions that arise from the content convergence.
Will users understand it? Will they find what they want? Will books be properly represented among the flood of articles? What about image collections? Could the pile of stuff just get too big?
Libraries' online catalogs are typically one module of an integrated software system that runs library functions like the circulation desk, acquisitions, and cataloging. They are a window into what libraries manage inside their integrated systems, Mr. Breeding said, which tends to be mostly the print collections. But the problem is they lack a good way to include the growing electronic part of the library collection, he said.
What the new interfaces share is the ability to derive material from catalogs and combine it with other data in a modern package.
The commercial market for these interfaces has already produced Encore, from Innovative Interfaces, adopted by at least 44 academic libraries in the United States, according to Mr. Breeding's tally; AquaBrowser, from Media lab Solutions, used by 23 libraries; and Primo, from Ex Libris, adopted by 13 libraries.
How much institutions will have to pay for new commercial systems will vary depending on both what comes with the software and the size and complexity of the library. That could mean a price as low as $10,000 for a small academic library to one in the $100,000 range for a much larger one, Mr. Breeding said.
A 'Shift of Power' In the open-source world, at least 10 academic libraries have turned to VuFind, which originated at Villanova. Virginia's Blacklight, with Stanford University as a development partner, is in a beta phase. And Rochester's eXtensible Catalog, or XC, backed by $1.2-million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will be rolled out in the spring.
The shift from commercial products to open-source ones is about more than money, though.
Bess Sadler, chief architect of the online library environment at the University of Virginia, sees the open-source Blacklight project as a "shift of power," as she wrote recently in the journal Library Hi Tech. The idea is that libraries, which know their local needs, should control the technology that patrons use to gain access to their collections. That's a change from the one-size-is-good-enough-for-everybody, commercially managed model that has prevailed in the industry.
The ability to customize is important when it comes to something like a music collection. A librarian might get this question: "I play the guitar. My boyfriend plays the flute. What duets can we play together?" In the past, even though Virginia had cataloged the instruments used in all of its sheet music, a search of that information was impossible because the fields that were indexed were maintained by a vendor, Ms. Sadler said.
"The problem with a vendor solution is that it's hard for vendors to tailor that solution for different collections, for different user populations, for different specializations," she said.
With an open-source system, a library can set its own relevance rankings and adjust them based on what users want. By maintaining the system itself, Virginia is now able to search by musical instrument.
The downside is libraries need someone on staff who can install and maintain the open-source program. So far, vendors aren't supporting products like VuFind the way they support established open-source products like Koha and Evergreen, both integrated library systems, said Mr. Breeding. Vendors will install software like Evergreen, host it on their own servers, and provide a help desk that you can call if something breaks. Not so for the newer software. Another barrier is going to be trusting that an open-source project is sustainable. There is always a concern that there will not be a community of users to keep developing it.
Also, the open-source systems have been slower to fold in article-level data, Mr. Breeding said. Most of that action is on the commercial side.
With Blacklight, you won't be able to get individual journal articles. If you're doing research on cell division, for example, a search will tell you that Virginia subscribes to the journal about cell division, but you'll have to go to a journal database for the article.
"That's going to be true for a very long time," Ms. Sadler said. "For the foreseeable future, you're going to need to go to separate interfaces in order to search licensed content."
But commercial vendors, smelling a new market, are stepping in. Serials Solutions, a subsidiary of ProQuest, released a software product in July called Summon. The company has been negotiating deals with publishers and content providers to create a searchable index of their content. It's like Google, except what Summon provides is an index of the "deep Web" of paid content. So now university libraries that pay for a subscription to Summon can let their users search their licensed content as well as locally owned stuff, together. Summon has 17 customers so far, including Arizona State University and Dartmouth College.
The catch? It can be expensive.
Andrew S. Nagy, senior discovery-services engineer at Serials Solutions, wouldn't say how expensive. But the cost of a subscription can run into the tens of thousands, said one university administrator who was not authorized to discuss price and thus wanted to remain anonymous. Summon also does not have permission to display the full text of articles.
At Virginia, the open-source Blacklight has paid off for Ms. Bauer.
"You know the feeling of when you go into the stacks, and you're usually looking for one book, but then it's almost always the book that's next to it that's the one you really need?" she asked. "It helps replicate a bit of that experience."
And if you search for Thomas Jefferson, it even starts you off with a book about him.
Share Comments paievoli - September 28, 2009 at 09:18 am
Need to find a way to self sustain these costs or they are going to become prohibitive in the future. Self sustaining models are the future of all business and academia. Read Chris Anderson's "Free".
It explains how to deal with this new economic model that will affect us all.
mitt4jp - September 28, 2009 at 03:47 pm
Report Abuse I found this article a little mis-leading. First of all, a library catalog is structured differently from a search engine. To find items about Thomas Jefferson, the correct way is to use "Thomas Jefferson" as a subject, not as keywords anywere search.

Unfortunately, instead of teaching students how to conduct a precise search with few relevant results, faculty and librarians have found an easy way out -- googlize everything.
uvalibmobile - September 28, 2009 at 06:26 pm
Report Abuse The University of Virginia is using both Blacklight and Summon in its new mobile site (lib.virginia.edu/mobile). We created a web service called "Blacksummon" which merges results from the two indices and allows faceted browsing. A third API from Ebsco allows direct downloads of some PDFs.
bsparris - September 29, 2009 at 09:07 am
Report Abuse The problem is people are trying to use the catalog the wrong way. Instead of a keyword search like on the internet and online databases, the catalog offers something unique-- direct access to exactly what you want through a browse or exact search using subject headings, authors, titles. An old idea but it still works--give it a try!
bsparris - September 29, 2009 at 09:07 am
Report Abuse The problem is people are trying to use the catalog the wrong way. Instead of a keyword search like on the internet and online databases, the catalog offers something unique-- direct access to exactly what you want through a browse or exact search using subject headings, authors, titles. An old idea but it still works--give it a try!
bsparris - September 29, 2009 at 09:07 am
Report Abuse The problem is people are trying to use the catalog the wrong way. Instead of a keyword search like on the internet and online databases, the catalog offers something unique-- direct access to exactly what you want through a browse or exact search using subject headings, authors, titles. An old idea but it still works--give it a try!
pucciot - September 29, 2009 at 09:58 am
Report Abuse The Library was once considered to be the center of the University. It is now treated the same as the food court in the student center. It seems that the University Libraries (and Librarians) are not being rightly considered as an important part of the educational process. Teaching students what to search, how to search, and how to choose good resources is an important part of the the University education. Today it seems that just because our students come in knowing how to perform a google search that that is all they need. Library databases are "tools". Knowing how to use a tool properly must be taught. To apply a simple metaphor would be to think that just because a student took _Shop_ in High School that they should be able to be brought into a factory to build a car.
The University Library and the use of its resources should be considered part of the University Education. Web level discovery layers are new useful tools - but they do nothing to educate a student to be more information literate.
ladykaty - September 29, 2009 at 10:50 am
Report Abuse If the graduate students don't know the difference between a keyword and a subject search, I think, perhaps, that the university would do better to invest in a comprehensive information literacy instruction program rather than expensive "improvements" to the catalog.
commentarius - September 29, 2009 at 03:50 pm
Report Abuse Much as I am also irritated by users who don't know a keyword from a hole in the ground, the tendency to blame the user for not knowing how to use a catalog is exactly the kind of thinking that got us into this mess to start with. Yes, users are idiots. But good systems are designed for idiots and help idiots be successful despite their idiocy. That's why Google is so popular, and why catalogs are not. Any tool that requires "instruction" to use is doomed.
11134078 - September 29, 2009 at 04:22 pm
Report Abuse There is a serious difficulty in all this. Faceted cataloging is inadequate. We have to start from this realization. Good old LC subject headings are still (SHOULD still) be the way to go. Learning to use them takes a few hours, but it is really not a big deal. (I taught this stuff until just a few years ago.) Once the concepts of the free-floating headings and the authority files are understood and there is also a basic knowledge of the material that used to be in the introductory section of the "big red books" and now should pop up online when needed, the system is at its base quite simple (despite its occasional bouts of illogic) and very effective. By the way, the current OCLC search engine is an unusable abomination.
11134078 - September 29, 2009 at 04:24 pm
Report Abuse There is a serious difficulty in all this. Faceted cataloging is inadequate. We have to start from this realization. Good old LC subject headings are still (SHOULD still) be the way to go. Learning to use them takes a few hours, but it is really not a big deal. (I taught this stuff until just a few years ago.) Once the concepts of the free-floating headings and the authority files are understood and there is also a basic knowledge of the material that used to be in the introductory section of the "big red books" and now should pop up online when needed, the system is at its base quite simple (despite its occasional bouts of illogic) and very effective. By the way, the current OCLC search engine is an unusable abomination.
11134078 - September 29, 2009 at 04:24 pm
Report Abuse There is a serious difficulty in all this. Faceted cataloging is inadequate. We have to start from this realization. Good old LC subject headings are still (SHOULD still) be the way to go. Learning to use them takes a few hours, but it is really not a big deal. (I taught this stuff until just a few years ago.) Once the concepts of the free-floating headings and the authority files are understood and there is also a basic knowledge of the material that used to be in the introductory section of the "big red books" and now should pop up online when needed, the system is at its base quite simple (despite its occasional bouts of illogic) and very effective. By the way, the current OCLC search engine is an unusable abomination.
rattebur - September 29, 2009 at 05:01 pm
Report Abuse Commenters who claim that students need to be taught the correct way to use existing catalogs need to come up with a comprehensive way to teach every student at a university this information. Librarians don't often have access to a wide swath of students for instructional purposes; at many institutions, they are dependent on teaching faculty and instructors to want to integrate library instruction. More user-friendly catalogs seem much more realistic at this point.
rattebur - September 29, 2009 at 05:03 pm
Report Abuse Commenters who claim that students need to be taught the correct way to use existing catalogs need to come up with a comprehensive way to teach every student at a university this information. Librarians don't often have access to a wide swath of students for instructional purposes; at many institutions, they are dependent on teaching faculty and instructors to want to integrate library instruction. More user-friendly catalogs seem much more realistic at this point.
11134078 - September 29, 2009 at 05:52 pm
Report Abuse rattebur, my friend, there are lots of things students need to be taught. Many of them are now subjected to freshman seminars, how to study sessions, long harangues to the effect that credit card companies really do send bills and really do charge extortionate rates of interest if those bills are not paid promptly. Come on now, how about a session on how to use subject headings? And "user friendly catalogs" are in fact hostile to users who actually know how to use catalogs because they are so damnably primitive and therefore yield so many irrelevant hits (or, alternatively) none at all.
jhough1 - September 30, 2009 at 08:05 am
Report Abuse I teach at Duke and live in Washington D. C. The LC catalog is wonderful. You can make a mistake in spelling, type in half a name, you name it, and you get something. Duke, I assume, has bought something, and you must have a perfectly spelled name, usually with first name and maybe the middle initial to get a reasonable response even on the author catalog. I just use LC and check the Duke stacks. Unfortunately, older books are off campus. Is it not possible to use LC technology?
erla32 - September 30, 2009 at 08:24 am
Report Abuse Duke uses an open-source solution developed by the NC State libraries and used to search all of the Triangle Research Network institutions (Duke, NCSU, UNC-CH, NCCU). Library of Congress has a purchased system -- Ex Libris.
zizzer - September 30, 2009 at 09:37 am
Report Abuse I guess I have finally reached the tipping point of the generational divide, maybe it's just my learning style, but I don't like getting a muddle of everything and the kitchen sink from search tools. I like knowing what media the tool I am searching indexes and where it will ultimately lead me.

Short of that I would want clear delineations in any results, and I see that frequently from students who didn't grow up digital. They don't want an eBook, they want a "real" book they can check out and take home. (We serve a rural area with spotty Internet access.) They don't want a citation, they want full text - right NOW - that they can print or save to a flash drive for later. We have a federated search tool to a set of consortium resources and many find it very confusing and it often yields inferior results because the searches have to be dumbed down to adapt to each individual database. In short, it stinks, and users often don't understand the results and miss great information. The smart ones ask for help, which gives me concern about the rest.

I would that we had more time to teach Information Literacy. When I was in elementary school our library visits had three components: Time that we learned about the library, story time, and time to find books to check out. In my freshman year of college I had to take a half-semester course called Bibliography where we learned to use the library and its resources. As it is now, we are lucky to get 50 minutes with the students who take Study Skills, but not all students are required to take it, and many consider the library day a day to blow off.
blackbart - September 30, 2009 at 09:38 am
Report Abuse I _think_ the issue that this article is trying to probe is the dichotomy between binary searching and search engines. Most well-established library catalogs use binary searching--you type in a term, and the catalog returns only those records that contain the term you typed (in whatever fields you did or didn't specify, depending on the search and the catalog interface). The results are binary: either the record matches the search string and is retrieved, or it doesn't and isn't. Search engines like Google, by contrast, use complex algorithms to interpret the search string in an effort to show you what the software "thinks" you wanted based on that search string.

It takes all of five minutes to explain that difference to students. It might take as long as an hour to drill the difference into them by demonstrating identical searches on binary and search-engine interfaces. Each has tremendous strengths; each has weaknesses relative to the other model. But do we really need to spend a gajillion dollars in software development and retrain the entire university community just because students were using Google before they got to campus?
greebie - September 30, 2009 at 09:44 am
Report Abuse Library instruction is limited. To remember what special ritual dance you need to do in your specific discipline, you need to actually practice it. That means dancing with each and every student for quite a long time. Personally, I'd rather put the teaching resources into critical thinking skills, source evaluation, finding learning networks (the best way to get the 'classic' tomes of a field is still knowing a prof and then tracing the scholarly pedigree via the bibliography).

Open source models look promising and hold the best option for sustainability over time. These products are very expensive for what they do - they shouldn't have to be.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our Planet Weekly - Week of September 27th, 2009

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Week of September 27th, 2009

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NEWS THIS WEEK
Brighter Idea Than the CFL May Soon Hit the Market
Reported by Jessica Rae Patton
Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), though far more energy efficient than their incandescent forbears, leave a lot to be desired.
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Grizzlies Make the List
Reported by Jessica Rae Patton
According to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, "In the past two years grizzly mortality has risen alarmingly...[and] their future remains precarious."
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 Reporting by Jessica Rae Patton
THIS WEEK'S COMMENTARY
Igniting Activists
It's the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day-Are You Ready to Get to Work?
Last year, Earth Day took some heat by online green scorekeepers, but this year-the celebration's 40th-it's reasserting its prominence. By Brita Belli
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IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF E
GREEN LIVING
Lessons from Etsy
Tips for Taking Your Eco-Ideas Online
Get crafty with home-biz tips from these eco-entrepreneurs. By Jessica A. Knoblauch
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CURRENTS
Surviving the Downturn
Environmental Nonprofits Face a New Economic Reality
Environmental nonprofits are riding out the recession by joining forces-and office space. By Kristin Bender
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EARTHTALK
Week of 9/27/09
Dear EarthTalk: As I understand it, hair salons are pretty toxic enterprises on many counts. Are there any efforts underway to green up that industry?

Dear EarthTalk: Not long ago there were concerns about honey bees disappearing. Are the bees still disappearing, and if so do we know why and do we have a solution?

Go to this week's EarthTalk
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