Monthly Archives: May 2010

MLA Bibliography Database Trials

The MLA Bibliography is moving from the FirstSearch platform at the end of June, and we need to select a new interface.   We have trials with each of the different database vendors.   Please let us know which interface you prefer.

MLA Bibliography from Ebsco

MLA Bibliography from Gale/Infotrac

MLA Bibliography from ProQuest/CSA

MLA Bibliography with ABELL (select MLAIB or "combined search")

The MLA International Bibliography is a subject index of scholarly books and articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore, film, and linguistics which has been compiled by the Modern Language Association of America since 1926. The electronic version includes the Bibliography’s entire print run, and currently contains more than 2 million records.

Please let us know what you think of these interfaces (comment below or send email to

Presidential Libraries

Separate presidential libraries are a generally a 20th century phenomenon–previously presidential papers were usually kept by the National Archives or in historical societies.  The privately funded museum/library/shrine of modern presidents has many advantages, and some drawbacks.  The advantages are that there is a focused, dedicated staff collecting and arranging material, and the drawbacks are that each library has its own way of listing material, so that there is no consistency.  However, these libraries contain a great deal of information about the period, not just about the president.   Many of the libraries collect oral histories of people associated with the president, and many have copies of archival documents, which can be easier to plow through than the site.   All of the libraries are listed at

though of course Google will find them as well.

It is a good idea to look for a Research button on the home page–many of the libraries stress material for high school students.   But perhaps someone would really like

hooverhatHoover Wore Many Hats, an interactive game for children of all ages. Play the game!

New Database: Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels

Debuting this week is a brand new database devoted to the history of alternative comics: Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels, the first ever scholarly, primary source database focusing on adult comic books and graphic novels.

This collection includes original material from the 1950s to today along with interviews, commentary, theory, and criticism from journals, books, and magazines. The contents–which will eventually consist of over 70,000 pages of comics–range from classics of the early underground years, such as Bob Burden and Trina Robbins, to giants of the modern indie scene like Daniel Clowes and Dash Shaw.flaming-carrot-comics-1-f

Users can create free accounts that allow them to create “playlists”–lists of links to thematic content: perhaps a list of all the comics by Los Bros Hernandez, or all the comics that deal with drug use.  These lists can be embedded in papers or on CourseWorks pages.

If you have any questions, contact the Graphic Novels librarian, Karen Green, at

Military History Institute

The website of the Military History Institute at Carlisle PA (official name: U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

is a gold mine of useful information, both bibliographic and full text, for an area in which Columbia traditionally hasn’t been strong.   There are two basic catalogs listed on this link, the Research Catalog, which is basically their card catalog, and the Resource Guides Finding Aids, which is a treasure trove, though it can be hard to navigate.

This is their gateway.

Resource Guides/Finding Aids

Groups of  subject bibliographies are listed in folders, alphabetically by subject, so that for instance, the Women folder has bibliographies on various topics as esoteric as “Woman Disguised as Male Soldiers”, (mainly American ones, but there are references to world history) or a three-page bibliography on “Laundresses”, with the irresistible reference

Wettemann, Robert P., Jr. “The Girl I Left Behind Me?  United States Army Laundresses and the Mexican War.”  Army History (Fall 1998/Winter 1999):  pp. 1-10. 

To print these, click on the upper right icon for “Show document”.

Not everything is as specialized; there is a useful and focused bibliography on “Battle Art”, under the “Art” folder, which can be helpful for the inevitable UWP topic of war and art.  (There is also a short bibliography on “aircraft nose art”, which sounds like a paper waiting to happen.)

These bibliographies are useful for less stridently military questions as well; there is one on civil-military relations, which was useful to a student writing about the influence of the DOD, as opposed to the Department of State, in post-WWII foreign policy, and references to fraternization were helpful answering a question on women in post WWII Germany.  Nor are these all focused on the US–there are some bibliographies on classical and European warfare.

Individual bibliographies (presumably ones which didn’t fit under the subjects) are listed beneath the folders, including the intriguing “Lessons Learned” and “Ghosts”.  There is also another UWP perenial, “Films”,  with some useful references to works on war films.

One recent problem (they have just rejiggered the site) is that sometimes you get caught up in a loop, and either a blank screen comes up, or the last search.   I have found that using the “sign out” link on the left hand side (if it is displaying) helps, but if not, starting over again works.

The bibliographies are probably the most useful item, but the digitized documents and photographs are also fun to look through; the photographs, especially are quite rich and varied from the 1912 German Olympics olympicsto an Indian Chief.


Butler Study Break, Tonight 10PM – Midnight

Study Days are here! Need a break? Stop by the Butler Cafe Lounge tonight (May 5) from 10PM to midnight to grab a bagel, coffee, and enjoy some study-break activities.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your study breaks this week.

  1. Have a snack and stay hydrated with lots of water.
  2. Take a break from the computer. Your eyes need a rest!
  3. Do something creative, like doodle.
  4. Exercise a different part of your mind with a crossword puzzle or sudoku.
  5. Enjoy nature. A quick walk around Butler may not be scenic, but it’s good to breathe fresh air.


Feeling overwhelmed? Contact CU Counseling and Psychological Services to talk to someone.

Need help with a paper? Ask a librarian! We’re here to help, and we’ll be at the study break to answer your last minute questions.

What’s your favorite study break activity? Let us know!