Category Archives: PhD Students

Alumni Library Privileges

graduationCongratulations on your upcoming graduation!  Wondering what Columbia library privileges you'll have after graduation?  Here's the scoop:

Your Columbia UNI and password will continue to give you electronic access to library resources for a grace period of about 6 months after graduation (assuming you were registered during the spring semester).  The Library Information Office (LIO) encourages you to continue to use your UNI during the grace period for all eresource access (electronic databases, ebooks, ejournals), and after this time, you may obtain an alumni ID card through LIO.  The cost is $5 payable with Visa, MasterCard or personal check (cash is not accepted).  Borrowing privileges may be purchased for $30 per month.

Library Information Office
201 Butler Library
535 West 114th St.
New York, NY 10027

(212) 854-7309,

Once you are registered as an alum, there is a special libraries gateway for Columbia University Libraries Alumni & Friends through which you may access all electronic resources for alumni – – including premium datababses made available by special arrangement just for you!  For a complete list, please go to the E-Resources for Alumni and Friends page.  And be sure to check the newspapers collection!

Evaluating Information on the Internet

The World Wide Web is a composite collection of content created and hosted on the internet by millions of organizations and individuals. In order to effectively evaluate the information, consider the following criteria:

Authorship –

Currency –

  • Is the information provided timely? This is particularly important in areas of science, technology, health, and politics.
  • Is publication date or “last updated” date included with the information?
  • If the information is dated or historical, does the document refer to the source and year, e.g. “Based on 1990 U.S. Census data”?

Objectivity –

  • Does the author or web page sponsor have a bias?
  • Is more than one viewpoint expressed on the topic?
  • Does the author or publishing body have a particular agenda?

Coverage –

  • Is the information freely available?
  • Is the site complete or under construction?
  • Does the information have a print equivalent?

Accuracy/Verifiability –

  • Does the information include references to experts in the field or rely on other sources?
  • Does the information include a bibliography?
  • Was an explanation offered on how the data was gathered and interpreted?

Please ask if you need help in evaluating a particular internet resource – or IM the Columbia Librarians!

Research Consultations at the Journalism Library

Need some research assistance with your project or thesis second draft?  We can help!  Come to the Journalism Library, meet with Cristina Ergunay (who is back from leave and available on Wednesdays and Thursdays) or one of her colleagues.  Send email to to set up a research consultation. 

Have a quick question and need an immediate answer?  Try Ask a Librarian instant message service!

Welcome, Fall MAs, PhDs, China and Spencer Fellows, and Knight-Bagehots!

 pencilWelcome, Fall MAs, PhDs, China and Spencer Fellows, and Knight-Bagehots!

Reception for PhD Students

Columbia’s PhD candidates are invited to join the Libraries for a wine and cheese reception this Thursday.  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and mingle with PhD students and librarians from across disciplines.  See you there!

When: Thursday, October 21, 6pm – 8pm
Where: Butler Library, room 523


Sponsored by Columbia University Libraries.

World Bank Data Products Now Freely Available

wbGreat news for current students, graduating students, alumni, and faculty!  The World Bank has recently made their data products freely available without subscription through their new open data site (, with more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic, and human development statistics.  Most of these products were previously only available through subscription.

What kinds of data can you find here?  Over 300 indicators covering over 200 countries – some of the data going back 50 years:

  • annual fresh water withdrawals
  • electric power consumption
  • fertility rates
  • GDP
  • health expenditures
  • internet users
  • life expectancy
  • literacy rates
  • long-term unemployment
  • marine protected areas
  • methane emissions
  • military expenditures

…and much more!

The data come from a variety of sources including international agencies, private and NGO partners, and the World Bank’s 186 member countries. For more information about World Bank’s open data initiative, see this video of World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick.

2010 Census – be counted!


The Census counts every resident in the United States, and is required by the Constitution to take place every 10 years.  The 2010 Census will help communities receive more than $400 billion in federal funds for things like hospitals, schools, bridges, tunnels, senior centers, and much more!  The data collected by the census also help determine the number of seats your state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.  And researchers, such as yourselves, use this data to analyze socio-demographic indicators.

Before March is over, the post office will be delivering a Census form to every household in the U.S.  

  • 10 Questions in 10 Minutes!  That’s how long it takes!
  • Who Gets Counted?  Everyone!  Citizens and non-citizens
  • What Do I Need to Do?  Complete the form and mail it back!

If you have questions about your participation, the form, or the importance of the Census, the answers are at the Census Bureau’s 2010 Census web site,