Sunday, September 30, 2007

Top Shelf

by Ann Willard and Sidney Laramie, SWC Librarians

In our weekly Top Shelf column, SWC Librarians highlight some of the best books, e-books, and websites out there.  Thanks to Ann and Sidney for this week's selections.

Book Selection
Last week I discovered a Reference book about 'losers'
Presidential Also-Rans and Running Mates, 1788 through 1996, Second Edition, by Leslie H. Southwick (Ref E 175.1 S695 1998)

There are biographies on all the major candidates who have run for the office of president or vice president, since 1788 (up through 1996), and who have lost the election. Even third party candidates are included if they received 10 percent of the vote. Read about party candidates in the Free-Soil, Prohibition, and Greenback parties! An essay at the back of the book discusses criteria for judging whether a candidate would have been an effective President if they had won, based on an analysis of presidents who have won. Very intereresting stuff. There are also rankings of presidents from polls and journals; photos, and a general index. 

Website Selection
San Diego Magazine

When you chose a doctor don’t you want to have the best in town? How about an attorney? San Diego Magazine can help you find those professionals rated top by their peers. If you go to its website you don’t have to worry about obtaining a particular magazine issue, and you can also look at older lists and other lists.

I like this site, despite it’s not being very user-friendly, because of its “best of” lists. For example, it told me of a trustworthy, affordable mechanic who hosts free barbeque lunches every Friday and gives free car washes to his customers. I also now know where the computer repair technicians have the motto: “We’re not satisfied until you are”. One of the technicians even sends a customer e-mails notifying him of important updates! And best of all, I know which of Karen Krasne’s “Extraordinary Desserts” is considered the most sensational. Do you?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Library at Home - Encyclopedia of American Folk Art

Is it raining? Is the library closed? Are your kids off from school?

There is always a good reason to use the Library at home, including NetLibrary's collection of over 14,000 e-books available to you online. These full-text books were originally published as print books, they simply have been converted into digital form to make them easier for you to access.

You'll find books like the Encyclopedia of American Folk Art, a book full of beautiful illustrations of artwork in grave decoration, doorstops, walking sticks, and other interesting items. You may also read about folk art movements and American folk artists.

The e-books are only available to SWC students, faculty, and staff. For more information about accessing NetLibrary e-books, visit our NetLibrary Remote Access page.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Once Upon a Quinceañera

Every year, more than 400,000 American Latinas turn the magic age of 15 - a birthday that is traditionally celebrated with a coming-of-age party, the Quinceañera. Julia Alvarez spent a year attending Quinceañeras, interviewing families and party planners, researching rituals, and learning about what this rite of passage means to the girls themselves. The result is a fascinating study of the cultural and personal significance of this event in the lives of girls, families, and their communities. Once Upon a Quinceañera : Coming of Age in the USA (GT2490 .A45 2007) is available for you to check out for 4 weeks.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Top Shelf

by Mark Hammond and Ann Willard, SWC Librarians

Welcome to Top Shelf - a guide to some of the best, most useful resources out there, selected by SWC Librarians. Thanks to Mark and Ann for their contributions this week!

Book Selection
Encyclopedia Judaica
Reference BM50 .E5 2007

This is one of those major reference works that sits there on the shelf until it becomes part of the furniture. But it is a treasure trove of entries on people and topics that are addressed in less depth or from a different viewpoint (or not addressed at all in more mainstream encyclopedias). Try looking up the same topic in this and in the Catholic Encyclopedia!

Website Selection
Trip Advisor

Tripadvisor is a 'trusted network' of over 5 million travelers who write reviews and rate their experiences on places they have visited. This includes reviews of lodging, restaurants, and special events such as a sunset luau in Kauai or a bus ride in Denali Park in Alaska. I find Tripadvisor tremendously helpful in making my decisions on whether a particular park lodge or B&B or sailing trip, etc. fits my personality, budget, and profile for a particular trip I am planning. To contribute reviews you must sign up for the network, but anyone can read the reviews. All reviews are read by the Tripadvisor staff before they are posted to ensure the reviews meet their criteria. Reviewers can include photos of the trip they have taken and rate the lodging, or whatever they are reviewing, on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being a top notch place and experience. Recently Tripadvisor enabled its members to set up a mini network within Tripadvisor of friends and family. I also have an email alert set up to tell me whenever new reviews are posted on places I am going in the next couple years. And there is lots more on this site besides the reviews! Once you take a look at this site you will never plan a trip again without consulting Tripadvisor.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Access Science - Online Science Information

Take an online visit to Access Science and view their new redesign of their science information website. Access Science includes the 10th Edition of the McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and other online science reference resources like: the McGraw-Hill Yearbooks of Science & Technology; the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms and the Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography.

AccessScience also includes late-breaking science and technology news, RSS feeds, flash animations, image galleries, podcasts, videos and more. Let AccessScience help you keep up to date in all the major areas of science and technology.

Online access is provide through the Southwestern College Library's website. To use this online resource visit our Articles and Databases webpage and click on AccessScience . Select the Access Off-Campus link for information on how to use this resource from off campus locations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

50 Ways to Save the Ocean - New Book of the Month

by David Helvarg (GC1020 .H448 2006)

"Whether you play in the waves, work in its waters, are nourished by its bounty, or are refreshed by its beauty, the oceans need us -- now.”

Helvarg says that we need to make fundamental changes in our everyday habits, and he gives us plenty of examples. Among them: wear waterproof sunscreen (to keep grease out of the water); pick up any litter you find on the beach; suggest that your church hold a worship service by the ocean; eat organic (fewer chemical fertilizers entering the sea); patronize stores and restaurants that support sustainable, healthy fisheries. He provides great advice for taking a child to a local tide pool (avoid stepping on clumps of seaweed which might harbor crabs and other creatures). You may not have thought that keeping your tires properly inflated (thus making your car more efficient) would help the ocean, but Helvarg points out that fossil-fuel-driven climate change is already increasing water levels and temperatures, killing corals, and causing beach erosion. The least surprising advice? “Vote for those who protect the coast.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Top Shelf

by Katie Dunn and Naomi Trapp Davis, SWC Librarians

Welcome to Top Shelf -- a weekly column where SWC Librarians share some of their favorite resources. Thanks to Katie and Naomi for giving us this week's selections.

Book Selection
Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States by M. Wesley Shoemaker (Reference Collection DK 17 D6)

Alright, ‘fess up now. Can you honestly say you know just where Kazakhstan is, or Azerbaijan, or Tajikistan? Me neither. How about their current foreign or domestic policy? Are their policies a worry to the United States? The entries in this paperback provide what, for me, would be just about the right amount of detail to give me a greatly improved and very current understanding of the economy, the culture, the history, and the politics of this region. The volume is part of a series (The World Today Series) that appears to be published annually. (So maybe every librarian but me knew about this title 5 years ago, but hey! I like it today.) -Katie.

Website Selection
Cooking with Google

Have you ever tried to cook dinner, only to find that your fridge has very little in the way of inspiration? “What can I possibly do with chicken, 4 radishes, and some yogurt?” If so, this custom Google search will be your new best friend. Simply type in ingredient(s) and out pops a list of recipes from some of the best recipe websites out there – sites like Epicurious, Eating Well, Cooking Light, and, to name just a few. You can even edit your results further with categories like “Diabetic” or “Low Fat.”

The URL is a little too long to remember, so make it easy on yourself and bookmark it. Now, the next time you have to cook dinner, it’ll be fun to think up ways to use up that tofu and spinach. -Naomi.

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Online Music Encyclopedia

A new addition to our Articles and Databases website is the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online .

This comprehensive online resource is devoted to music research of all the world’s peoples and includes the entire set of the ten volume Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. The online resource is searchable and provides an overview of a geographic region; a survey of the region’s musical heritage, traditions and themes; and a description of its musical genres, practices, and performances.

Visit our Articles and Databases website to access the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online and other online resources that Southwestern College Library provides.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This Week in CQ Researcher

Racial Diversity in Public Schools by Kenneth Jost, September 14, 2007
Has the Supreme Court dealt a blow to integration?

Fifty years after the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public schools, a new ruling has raised doubts about how far local school boards can go to integrate classrooms. The court's 5-4 ruling in cases from Seattle and Louisville bars school districts from using race as a factor in individual pupil assignments.

Meanwhile, some experts argue that socioeconomic integration – bringing low-income and middle-class students together – is a more effective way to pursue educational equity.

  • Should school systems promote racial diversity in individual schools?
  • Should school systems seek to promote socioeconomic integration in individual schools?
  • Is the focus on diversity interfering with efforts to improve education in all schools?

To read this article and others visit our Articles and Databases webpage and click on CQ Researcher. Select the Access Off-Campus link for information on how to access this resource from off campus locations.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Alert! A new issue of your favorite periodical just arrived!

Would you like EBSCOhost to notify you or someone else each time a new issue of a favorite periodical enters the databases? It takes only a minute to set up a Journal Alert which will send you e-mails with links to each article in the new issue. Click here to find out what to do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Botanical Riches - New Book of the Month

Botanical Riches: Stories of Botanical Exploration by Richard Aitken (QK5 .A38 2007) catches the eye because of a huge red poinsettia on the cover. Inside, the bright-colored and sepia plates and sketches show plants from ancient times through the twentieth century.

Besides being delightful to look at, this book tells how plants have been used throughout history. We learn that the free-fruiting date palm had sacred significance in what later became Mesopotamia and that it has “perhaps the longest tradition of cultivation of any fruit tree in the Old World.” Throughout the area which gave rise to Islam, fig trees were used for food, shade, and beauty. The Olmecs, forerunners to the Aztecs, were vegetarians who ate maize (which had been domesticated from a wild grass perhaps 8000 years ago), beans, and squash. There are surprising facts in the book: the avocado was cultivated in southern Mexico and Guatemala as long ago as the time of the Olmecs, the sweet potato can be dated to 4000 years ago in coastal Peru, and tomatoes were once regarded as unsafe because of their poisonous cousin, the deadly nightshade.

This beautiful book can grace your coffee table for four weeks when you check it out from the Library.

Monday, September 10, 2007

ARTstor Image Addition

The Artstor Digital Library has added additional images in the second, and final, release of the Library of Congress "Eyes of the Nation" collection. This brings the total number of images in this collection to over 5,000 images.

"Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States," published 1997, provides a pictorial overview of American history including images of prints, posters, maps, manuscript pages, photographs, design, movie stills, and cartoons. The images found in the book were selected from the Library of Congress to "show how Americans have viewed themselves, and have been viewed by others.

To locate these images in the ARTstor Digital Library, simply perform a basic search with the following phrase, "eyes of the nation." You can also browse to view all the images included in this collection. From the ARTstor welcome page, click on "Image Gallery" then choose "Eyes of the Nation: A visual history of the United States (Library of Congress)" from the resulting list.

The ARTstor digital collection contains approximately 500,000 images from many time periods and cultures, and documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design, as well as many other forms of visual culture.

For information on how you can access and register for an ARTstor account visit our ARTstor information website at .

Top Shelf

by Tony McGee and Katie Dunn, SWC librarians

Welcome to Top Shelf -- a weekly column where SWC Librarians share some of their favorite resources. Thanks to Tony and Katie for giving us this week's selections.

Book Selection:
Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Alexander Gates. Reference Collection QE521 .R58 2007

This encyclopedia provides an easy to navigate alphabetical listings for the terms, regions, people, and episodes in the fields of seismology and volcanology. It includes excellent in-depth discussions on topics like plate tectonics, seismic wave types, avalanches, landslides, and tsunamis. -Tony

Website Selection:
Critical Compendium: a Daily Dose of Book Reviews from Around the World

Links to book reviews drawn from over 100 newspapers, magazines, broadcast media, and online sources.

How it works: Each day 3-5 titles appear with a “teaser” of several lines. A link takes you to the actual review. The books reviewed are a mix of fiction and non-fiction. There is a long list of links to the book review sections of perhaps 100 newspapers, journals, magazines, and web zines. There is also a link to the archives.

What I like: Lots and lots of reviews in one place. Oh, how my To Read list is growing. Critical Compendium itself is not searchable but the short “teasers” can get your attention and link you to an exciting review. When you follow the links on the left side (to the newspaper and magazine reviews) you can search in whatever way that website is set up.

What I learned: Robin Pilcher is a male! I always thought he was a she. An August 29 review of a new book by this author caught my eye, and as I read though it, I thought perhaps the reviewer made a pronoun mistake, so I was off on a quick Google search. Well, I stand corrected.

Who maintains this site: Shawn A. Miller of Fairfield, CA. A Google search found that he writes a weekly column for the online version of the Fairfield Daily Republic. -Katie

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Week in CQ Researcher

“Domestic Poverty,” by Thomas J. Billitteri, September 7, 2007
Is a new approach needed to help the poorest Americans?

Despite sweeping welfare reforms in the 1990s and generally healthy economic growth in recent years, domestic poverty remains intractable. Moreover, signs are emerging that so-called deep poverty is growing sharply – most significantly among children. U.S. poverty is fueled by a long list of problems, including Katrina’s devastation, immigration, the growing income gap between rich and poor, the subprime mortgage fallout and education disparities.

* Is extreme poverty growing?
* Has welfare reform reduced entrenched poverty?
* Would more government spending on poverty help?

To read this article and others visit our Articles and Databases webpage and click on CQ Researcher. Select the Access Off-Campus link for information on how to access this resource from off campus locations.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Top 10 Computer Energy Savers

Here is an article from the Lifehacker blog that lists 10 ways to reduce the energy your computer uses plus saving you money on your electricity bill and reducing your carbon footprint.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September e-book of the Month

Our September e-book of the month is The Economist Pocket World in Figures Profile Books, 2007 .

Where is economic growth fastest or inflation highest? Who consumes the most energy? What country has the most asylum seekers? Who are the heaviest drinkers and smokers?

If you want to know the answers to these, and thousands of other questions, you’ll find them in the September eBook of the Month.Completely updated, revised, refreshed and expanded for 2008, The Economist Pocket World in Figures contains rankings on more than 200 topics in subject areas as wide-ranging as geography, population, business, the economy, trade, transport, finance, industry, demographics, the environment, society, culture and crime.

If you have already established a NetLibrary account through Southwestern College Library, visit and log in to read The Economist Pocket World in Figures or any of our 15,000 e-book titles.

If you do not have a NetLibrary account, you can create your own account from any computer on the Southwestern College campuses. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Top Shelf

SWC librarians share some of their favorite resources.

Come back and take a look each week -- whether it's for a class assignment or for your own curiosity -- we're sharing some of the best, unique, most interesting (and occasionally odd!) books, e-books, and websites out there.

This week's Top Shelf selections come from librarians Tanya Carr and Tony McGee.

Book Selection
The Firefly Spanish/English Visual Dictionary, Call No. Ref PC 4629 F362 2004
If you're a bilingual Spanish/English learner, this source will be enlightening. It not only provides names of things in Spanish and English, it gives in-depth illustrations and a thorough breakdown of the item it's presenting. I can't put into words how helpful this reference tool is! It's organized by a series of indexed sections to include both scholarly subjects (astronomy) and every day useful subjects (food and kitchen). As for our avid golf librarian, Ron, it even breaks down golf terms for you. Did you know that the cover of a golf ball is a "revestimiento" and a tee is a "tee." Enjoy! -Tanya

Website Selection
(pronounced as "delicious") is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. A place to share your favorite Web links and see what other people are bookmarking. Its collective nature makes it possible to view bookmarks added by similar-minded users.Use of is free and you can search the site by keyword, create your own list of favorites to share with everybody else, add to an existing collection or view by popularity using a tag cloud -Tony

Bonus Website Selection
This medical and heath information site provides easy-to-understand information on hundreds of diseases, conditions and related issues. A new tool called Symptom Checker, lets you, "pinpoint potential conditions"—in seconds by clicking on body parts and selecting from a list of specific complaints (just be sure to check with your doctor for a real diagnosis). The new Revolution Health portal, which launched last April, has many of these same tools and features, including its own symptom checker. -Tony

Sunday, September 02, 2007

This Week in CQ Researcher

Wounded Veterans by Peter Katel, August 31, 2007
Is America shortchanging vets on health care?

Early this year, The Washington Post exposed shockingly substandard treatment for wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center 's outpatient facilities. Follow-up investigations soon turned up evidence that problems extended beyond shabby conditions at the military's top-drawer hospital.

Amid the present uproar, a presidential panel on military and veterans' health care has called for far-reaching changes, but some critics say changes need to go deeper if the country is to live up to its promises to its troops.
  • Does the Dole-Shalala commission have the best plan for improving veterans' care?
  • Are veterans being shortchanged by DoD and VA to save money?
  • Would more money solve most of the problems with veterans' care?
To read this article and others visit our Articles and Databases webpage and click on CQ Researcher. Select the Access Off-Campus link for information on how to access this resource from off campus locations.