Monthly Archives: February 2010

Blogs Scavenger Hunt Starts March 1st

Need a research break?

The Journalism Library and the Watson Library of Business and Economics invite you to join in a virtual scavenger hunt on their blogs!

Beginning March 1st, one question will be posted on alternative days to one of the blogs – a question whose answer can be found on the blog – along with a link to submit your answer.  The first question will be posted to the Business Library Blog on Monday, March 1st, and the first 5 people who submit the correct answer to the daily question will win a 1GB USB key.  The scavenger hunt will continue for 2 weeks, Monday-Friday, and there will be ten opportunities to win a USB key!  Winners will be notified by email, USB keys can be picked up in Watson Library (Columbia ID is required).

Let the games begin!

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UNEP Yearbook


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the UNEP Year Book 2010: New Science and Developments in Our Changing Environment. It examines in six chapters new science and developments, and discusses the cumulative effects expected from degradation of ecosystems, the release of substances harmful to those ecosystems and to human health, the consequences of our changing climate, the continued human and economic loss resulting from disasters and conflicts, and the overexploitation of resources. It calls for an intensified sense of urgency for responsible governance in the face of approaching critical thresholds and tipping points.

Resource Spotlight: David Dinkins Papers, 1941-2001

The David Dinkins Papers, 1941-2001 are now available at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Columbia University Libraries. The Finding Aid is available at

The David Dinkins Papers contain documents from his 1985 campaign for Manhattan Borough president, as well as 1989 and 1993 campaigns for mayor. Additional materials include campaign literature, fundraising events, speeches with drafts, candidate questionnaires with responses, and position papers. Also included is an extensive photograph collection that contains images of David Dinkins alongside many political figures.

Professor David Dinkins is a member of the faculty at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). He also serves on SIPA’s Advisory Board, chairs the Earth Institute’s NYC Sustainable Development Initiative, and hosts the annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum.

Additional information about the Dinkins Papers can be obtained by contacting the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at (212) 854-5153 or

NYPL Map Rectifier


 NYPL has a new toy tool for rectifying digitized historic maps from their collection called the NYPL Map Rectifier.

After creating an account, browse through the various maps and collections, choose a map to rectify, clip or mask the image, and finally export out to either a KML (for Google Earth) or a WMS base URL for use in a GIS software. Some maps have the option to export into either PNG or TIF formats as well.

There is also a vectorize option for a few of the rectified maps (I didn’t see this option on most maps, I’m guessing because it’s still in beta). For these, the vector layers can be downloaded in several formats including shapefile.

NYPL has also created a site called Relief Map Warper and has uploaded maps for Haiti which after georeferencing, the maps will become available in Open Street Map for tracing, and also made available for use on the ground by relief workers. I highly recommend joining and helping out if you can.



Columbia on iTunes U and YouTube EDU

butler2008-redbullColumbia University has audio and video content available on iTunes U and YouTube EDU!  Course lectures, workshops, events, Library Essentials videos, and much more – click above or bookmark the following links:

Grab your earbuds and join us!

Revamped Roper Center for Public Opinion Research site

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is the world’s largest computer-based archive of survey research and public opinion data.  The interfaces for its key products, iPoll and the Catalog of Dataset Holdings, both have been recently enhanced.


iPoll contains over half a million survey questions and answers gathered over the last 70+ years by more than 150 U.S. survey organizations. You can search it with very specific subject terms or combinations of terms. The results are questions meeting your search criteria and, for each question, a summary of how respondents answered.  You also can retrieve either all questions for that survey or, if the survey is archived at Roper as indicated by the Roper Express icon, the survey dataset (full data file plus questionnaire and documentation).

rexpress3The Catalog of Dataset Holdings is the database that contains the survey datasets. There are entries for the U.S. nation-wide surveys indexed in iPoll, plus other U.S. surveys that were not nation-wide, and surveys done in other countries. Search this catalog using broad search terms that would be in the title or abstract for a survey. You can also specify country, date and/or survey organization. All entries will have the Roper Express Icon that links to a download page

When accessing the Roper site be sure to use the Columbia-specific URLs that will identify you as coming from a institution that is a Roper member. These links can be found on the DSSC’s Opinion Poll Data page or in the E-Resources list of databases. To take advantage of all the features at Roper’s site, register your email with Roper.

If you have any questions about opinion poll dat a, stop by the Electronic Data Service (on the lower level of the DSSC) or email

Workshop – Using Spatial Joins as a Spatial Analysis Tool


image3James Quinn, the GIS Specialist at ISERP will lead a workshop titled "Using Spatial Joins as a Spatial Analysis Tool" next week Friday (2/26) in EDS from 10:30-12:30.

Registration is now open so sign up today!

A spatial join is a method for combining information between GIS layers. Performing a spatial join results in the attribute information from one layer being combined with the attribute table of another layer based on their relative location. This then makes further analysis possible.

This two hour workshop aims to demonstrate the powerful spatial analysis capabilities of spatial joins and how they can be used to examine the spatial relationships between different data layers. Objectives of the workshop include:

  • Learning the purpose and capabilities of spatial joins
  • Correctly setting up spatial joins based on cardinality and feature type.
  • Learning to solve problems with spatial joins.

The lecture will be followed by a hands-on exercise. An introductory level knowledge of ArcMap is required to attend.

Need Hearings?

U.S. Congressional hearings can be difficult to locate, but two databases can help you find them. LexisNexis Congressional includes the full text of hearings, 1824-2003.
Records for these hearings can also be found in CLIO. has the full text of hearings, 1994-present.
There are no CLIO records for these hearings.

Problems locating hearings? Email me!

Jerry Breeze

Government Information Librarian