HAPPY SUMMER SESSION! Journalism Library will begin summer hours starting Tuesday, May 27th. The Library will be CLOSED Monday, May 28th.
Congratulations on a spectacular Spring semester! Journalism Library will begin intersession hours on Friday, May 16.
Friday (May 16): 1-6pm
Saturday and Sunday (May 17 & 18): CLOSED
Monday-Friday (May 19-23): 1-6pm
Saturday and Sunday (May 24 & 25): CLOSED
Please enjoy your time off before the summer semester, and if you are graduating, CONGRATULATIONS! We wish you all the best!
Sure, you use Google all the time, even for your research. This doesn’t shock your librarian—actually, she uses Google for research, too. Not as an end-all, but as one more tool in the research arsenal, along with databases, the library catalog, and organizational websites.
But are you using Google to its full potential? Probably no one is—there are many features with more continually being developed. Here are a few suggestions of how to use Google to extend your research.
You can save yourself some time and frustration by installing the Columbia Library LibX Widget. This is a browser plug-in for either Firefox or Chrome, which automatically links to CU's library resources from ISBNs, DOIs, and more. For instance, when you’re using Amazon, LibX will tell you if Columbia owns that book. When you find an article in Google that costs money to view, right-click and select "Reload page via Columbia Libraries Off-Campus Proxy" to see if that article is accessible through Columbia. LibX also adds a button to your browser for instant library searching, so you don’t have to remember or navigate to the library website.
You can configure Google Scholar so that it auto-links to full-text articles at Columbia.
Alternately, you can simply use this link: http://www.columbia.edu/cgi-bin/cul/resolve?clio5119262
Found one good article (or book), and can’t find another on that narrow topic? Or did you find the perfect article—but it’s twenty years old and way out of date? You can solve both of these with Google Scholar.
Enter the title (and author last name, if you have it) into Google Search. When the article title comes up in your results list, look near the bottom of the entry. There will blue text that reads "cited by X." Click on “cited by” to see more recent articles/books that cite the original source. Often these will in turn be “cited by” more recent and relevant works, so you can accrue a lot of titles this way.
This can also help judge of the significance and popularity of a work. For instance, if you find a book in the Columbia catalog that seems relevant, you can get a feel for how it’s viewed in its research field by looking up its number of citations in Google Scholar (you can also do this with Scopus or Web of Science). A word of caution, though: some works may be cited often because they’re badly reviewed, or a quality work with few citations may be too new to have been widely read. So it’s best not to use this as your only judge of worth.
Now that graduation is around the corner (hurray!), you may be wondering about your future access to library resources. Here's a summary of what you'll be able to use as an alum!
Moving away? Get to know your local public librarians! They will be invaluable sources for you, particularly when figuring out how to find data and information in a new city. You can find listings of local public libraries through LibWeb or IMLS. Don't forget, even if you live far away, you can reach CU Libraries through online chat, or contact us at the J-Library with the email and phone info below.
Need government information? Find your closest U.S. federal depository library.
Finally, remember that you can always contact your friendly Journalism Librarian, Starr!
Here's an example. I'm looking for the number of traffic accident fatalities in New York State in 2010.
Well, I'm looking for the total number of traffic accident deaths in New York State, so that's a state-level question–though it may also be reported at the federal level.
It turns out that this is reported by two different agencies. Traffic deaths are reported both by the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (there is a GIS-run state statistic finder), and the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which lists data on Deaths & Mortality, including causes of death. Under causes of death, the NCHS reports traffic-accident deaths under the broader category of "Accidents (unintentional injuries)," which is subdivided into "Transport accidents," which is further subdivided into motor vehicle accidents, other land transport accidents, and water/air/space accidents. The NCHS also provides direct data through CDC Wonder, which allows you to choose variables such as age, and specify the specific type of transport accidents (for instance, you can choose to include pedestrian, motorcycle, car, bus, railway, and streetcar accidents, but exclude animal and water transport accidents). I chose ages 18+ (to capture all adults).
In addition to the total state number of deaths, I'd also like to see the total deaths for each NYC borough. Since the five NY boroughs are counties, in CDC Wonder I selected data for New York State, at the county level. I found that the total number of traffic-accident deaths in NYS in 2010 (according to the criteria I selected) was 1,242.
It's not always easy to find data for the past year, or even the year preceding that. Data takes time to gather, clean up, and make public, and often you may find that the most recently available statistics are for 2-5 years ago.
Hello all you beautiful Journalism Students! Are you enjoying the great weather? Well, there is more headed our way and next week is a chance for you to enjoy it! So, be safe, have fun, and if you get tired of being away from us, then feel free to stop by.
Spring Break Hours:
Saturday, 3/15: CLOSED
Sunday, 3/16: CLOSED
Monday 3/17-Friday 3/21: 1-6pm
Saturday 3/22 we will resume our regular semester hours from 10-6.
In the previous post, I discussed the basics of U.S. government (its levels, branches, and how to approach finding government information). Now I'll list some of the best places to find government information, both by government branch and with a list of popular documents. First, here are a few places to start a search for government information, particularly when you're not sure what branch or agency might have collected the information that you need:
Information for many federal government agencies is centrally located in FDsys (the Federal Digital System).
New to the U.S., or just need to brush-up on some government basics? Here's a quick run-down of U.S. government at various levels and how to find government information. (I'll be writing two follow-up posts that tell where to find primary source information for each branch of government, and show an example of a gov info search.) First, here is a U.S. government chart and three basic guides to the federal government:
The United States has several levels of government: federal, state, and local (county/city). Federal is the overarching national government, which has three branches:
NYC Borough Counties:
Each state has its own government which echoes the federal government in its three-branch organization. The Legislative branch is composed of the state senate and house (or assembly), the Executive branch is composed of the Governor and typically many departments (structure varies by state), and the Judicial branch is composed of the state court system, headed by the state supreme court. There are different local government offices at the county and the municipal (city/town) level. Typically, cities follow a similar pattern to federal and state government, with a Mayor acting as the chief executive officer of a city. Usually, a county is larger than and encompasses many cities and towns. However, New York City is made up of five boroughs, which are each actually counties (listed at right).
The U.S. government covers a surprising number of programs, and thus data and information is available on nearly any topic you can think of, including:
Some of the few topics that aren't covered well in U.S. gov info include: