Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Top Shelf

by Naomi Trapp Davis and Patty Torres, SWC Librarians

Top Shelf is our weekly column where we highlight interesting reference books and websites. This week's website selection contains valuable information about last week's fires - be sure and take a look!

Book Selection
Photographic Atlas of the Body (Firefly Books, 2004)
Reference QM 25 P46 2004

Most of us don’t necessarily spend our free time pondering our hair follicles, or how food looks going through our small intestine. This book will fix that.

After browsing through the full color pictures of cells, tissues, body systems, and the brain, you will never look at your eyelashes or fingernails the same way again. The pictures were taken using a variety of special imaging technologies including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), tomography, thermograms, X-rays, microscopes, angiograms, and ultrasound. The results are educational, but mainly they are beautiful, enlightening, or just unusual. Each picture on its own is a miniature work of art.

Website Selection
California Wildfires

The California Wildfires web page includes information on the health effects from fires and exposure to smoke; links to air quality resources, environmental clean-up following fires, and animals in disasters.

This web page is designed to help emergency responders, health care providers, public health workers, and the general public find authoritative and timely information about key health concerns from wildfires. Links to other federal government web sites, including, FEMA, and the Department of Health and Human Services are included.

In addition, resources for emergency responders and information in Spanish are also included. Searches of NLM databases, such as MedlinePlus, PubMed, TOXLINE, Tox Town, and Haz-Map (occupational health) are provided for additional health information. It also provides the locations of facilities reporting to the EPA Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund sites in and around San Diego (TOXMAP).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Air Quality Forecast - San Diego County

Concerned about air quality after the fires? The San Diego Pollution Control District has a current forecast for all regions of San Diego County.

This site gives daily reports about particulate matter in the air, including the level of health concern.

The San Diego Pollution Control District warns:
"Due to the numerous wild fires burning throughout San Diego County, localized areas of smoke and ash have occurred in many areas. As a result elevated particulate matter concentrations, including fine particulates, or PM2.5 concentrations, may reach unhealthful to hazardous levels in some heavily smoke impacted areas."

The California Environmental Protection Agency has an excellent website with quick facts about the 2007 fires, information on state and federal assistance, and how to clean up ash safely:

Additional useful San Diego air quality information can be found at:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orientation to Blackboard - Tues at 5:30 PM

for new online students:
one-hour optional orientation to Blackboard
Tuesday, October 30, 5:30 -6:30 PM
Room L-244 (Library building, main floor)
No signup necessary. Please be on time.

Top Shelf

by Laura Galván-Estrada and Mark Hammond

This week's top reference resources were selected by SWC Librarians Laura and Mark.

Book Selection
Latinas in the United States: a Historical Encyclopedia
Eds. Vicki L. Ruiz & Virginia Sanchez Korrol
3 vols.
Reference E184.S75 L35 2006 and as e-book via NetLibrary.

These recent encyclopedia (2006) contains a wealth of information and it is one of a kind. In three volumes, about 600 hundred women are covered. The set starts with a five historical overviews of Latinas in the different regions of the United States. Each biographical entry is supported by a list of sources, and, most of the time, a photograph. There is a List of Biographical Entries, where you can find out entries by subject area. Besides entries on individuals, the encyclopedia also contains entries on important topics as they relate to Latinas in the U.S., such as "Health: current issues and trends" and "Telenovelas". Though the set contains entries on some contemporary women (you'll find entries for Cristina Saralegui and Gloria Estefan), the entries are mostly historical, as the title implies.

Website Selection
My picks for websites this week are not selected for their usefulness to most people, but rather to illustrate how the web makes it economically feasible to make relatively obscure information available to researchers around the world. These are both sources that I have used recently in my own research.

The first is Fordham University's Internet Medieval Sourcebook:
This site collects and makes available a large collection of medieval documents ranging from the renowned to the truly obscure. When I needed to see examples of medieval promissory notes and other commercial documents, this site was just the ticket.

The second is a more limited site that I used just the other day. I needed to read the Assizes of Ariano, the laws issued by King Roger of Sicily in the 12th century. There are only two surviving copies of the Assizes, both in Latin and both in libraries in Europe. I was able to find a recent translation into English on the Medieval Texts in Translation page of the School of History at the University of Leeds:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Due to the fire emergencies in the San Diego County, and with due consideration to the health and well being of our students and staff, all of our college locations will remain closed Wednesday, October 24 through Saturday October 27, 2007. (Note: This includes all extension site and online/hybrid courses).

Students and college employees are advised to remain off campus, with the exception of emergency and authorized personnel.

The college will reopen and classes will resume on Monday, October, 29, 2007.  The Library will be open Monday at 7:30 a.m.

For further information, please check our web site at or local media.

Monday, October 22, 2007


The Library is closed as of noon Monday, October 22, 2007. It will be closed all day Tuesday, October 23, 2007.

Due to the fire emergency, and with due consideration to the health and well being of our students and staff, classes have been cancelled at all of our campuses effective Monday, October 22, 2007, at 12:00 p.m. The College will remain closed tomorrow, Tuesday, October 23, 2007.

For further information, please check our web site at or local media.

Fire update!

The Library is closed as of noon Monday, October 22, 2007. It will be closed all day Tuesday, October 23, 2007.

The SWC homepage is being updated with all of the current information on the fires and how the situation is affecting Southwestern College. Go to

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This Week in CQ Researcher

Aging Baby Boomers by Alan Greenblatt, October 19, 2007

Will the ‘youth generation' redefine old age?

In January, the oldest baby boomers will turn 62 – and become eligible to collect Social Security benefits. For the next 18 years, a member of the baby boom generation – the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 – will reach that age every eight seconds.

Boomers have long been famous for their desire to stay or at least act young. What will they be like as seniors? Many predict they will reshape the nation's view of old age, as healthier boomers continue to work and stay active longer than their parents. Others worry that the vast expansion of the nation's senior population will put unaffordable strains on government entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

  • Can boomers afford to retire?
  • Will boomers bankrupt America ?
  • Will boomers change the nature of aging?
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, October 18, 2007

Top Shelf

by Sidney Laramie and Laura Galván-Estrada, SWC Librarians

Thanks to Sidney and Laura for this week's Top Shelf picks - the "best of the best" resources, brought to you by SWC Librarians.

Book Selection
Encyclopedia of Exploration
Call No. Ref G 80 W33 2004

I picked this reference set largely because of the subtitle of the second volume. The subtitle of the first volume is “Explorers”, and that of the second is “Places, Technologies, and Cultural Trends”.

The first volume contains almost 1,000 biographic entries in alphabetical order. The authors’ definition of “explorer” is broader than most – they include astronauts, scholars, artists, underwater explorers, and more. In addition, the book lists the explorers by “most relevant occupation”, “region of activity”, “sponsoring country or…nationality”, and year of birth. Most entries are between a half a page to two pages in length; some have illustrations. They usually end with a brief description of the future influence of the explorer’s finds.

The second volume is also a series of a-z entries, some of which are over ten pages long. Many of these are overviews of explorations of particular areas or geographic features; explorations by particular organizations, countries, etc., and explanations of geographic terms and of items used in exploring and cartography. These range from mappa mundis to keelboats and gnomons. There is an appendix of 65 maps of trade and exploration routes and a 101 page “Chronology of Exploration”. Both volumes are indexed and contain cross-references.

I had wondered how the authors were going to deal with the “cultural trends” in exploration and concluded they did a pretty good job. They accomplished this through articles such as “European Age of Exploration”, “Native Peoples and Exploration”, “Writing and Exploration”, “Renaissance”, and “Religion and Exploration”.

Website Selection
Human Rights Organization

Human rights involves such a wide range of issues and this site has so much information. Topics include but are not limited to Children's Rights, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, Health & Human Rights, HIV/AIDS, Migrants, Refugees. You can also see the state of human’s rights in a specific country, by looking at its yearly report. Some of those reports date back as far as the late eighties. So, sit back and learn about the world around you in this multilingual, heart-wrenching site!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

College Book 2008 is Blink

The College Book for 2008 is:

Blink: the power of thinking without thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink is about the first two seconds of looking--the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars, and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of "thin slices" of behavior. The key is to rely on our "adaptive unconscious"--a 24/7 mental valet--that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea. Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us "mind blind," focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to "the Warren Harding Effect" (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president). In a provocative chapter that exposes the "dark side of blink," he illuminates the failure of rapid cognition in the tragic stakeout and murder of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. He underlines studies about autism, facial reading and cardio uptick to urge training that enhances high-stakes decision-making. In this brilliant, cage-rattling book, one can only wish for a thicker slice of Gladwell's ideas about what Blink Camp might look like. (from

The results of the vote were:
Blink 53
Water for Elephants 36
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress 29
Last Days of Dogtown 18

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote and especially to Patty Ramert of the Web Team, who designed the electronic ballot.

The prize copies will go to the following, who were selected at random (they will be contacted when we have the books)
Jasmin Garcia, student
Jen Walther, student
Carole Ziegler, faculty
Joan Stroh, faculty

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Week in CQ Researcher

Consumer Safety by Peter Katel, October 12, 2007

Do government regulators need more power?

Americans have been alarmed by recent product recalls, including toothpaste containing an ingredient found in antifreeze, tainted pet food and millions of Mattel toys containing toxic lead paint. The recalls – all involving Chinese-made products – prompted government hearings that spotlighted problems at the underfunded and, critics say, overwhelmed Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Meanwhile, inspectors found contamination in imported seafood as well as millions of pounds of U.S.-produced ground beef, triggering concerns that the two agencies responsible for food safety – the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture – were also understaffed and underpowered.

  • Does the current regulatory system protect consumers?
  • Do government agencies need stronger regulatory powers?
  • Is more funding the answer?
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, October 11, 2007

Orientations for new online students

Online class? Enrolled or thinking about it?

Attend a one-hour intro session and learn about
SWC’s Blackboard Online Learning System.

Free, no signup necessary. Please be on time.
Location: Room L-244
Learning Resources/Library building

Start times listed below:

Wednesday October 17, 5:30 PM
Thursday October 18, 5:30 PM
Friday October 19, 2:30 PM
Saturday October 20, 10:00 AM
Monday October 22, 7:30 AM
Tuesday October 23, 11:00 AM
Tuesday October 23, 5:30 PM
Wednesday October 24, 9:00 AM
Friday October 26, 2:30 PM

New Reference Collection Resource

New to the Southwestern College library's reference collection is the two volume set "Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers" edited by Yolanda Williams Page.

The encyclopedia has entries on 168 African American (and some Caribbean) female authors who published works from 1746 to 2006. The writers featured range from the established and popular to the overlooked or newly emerging and include Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Michelle Cliff, Edwidge Danticat, and Jamaica Kincaid.

Each A-to-Z entry, profiles the writer, discusses major works and includes a bibliography consisting of a list of the authors works and a list of studies of those works.

The Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers call number (PS153.N5 E49 2007) can be found in the Reference Collection located behind the Reference Desk.

Sunday, October 07, 2007 World News Digest Database

The World News Digest provides original coverage of top news stories, plus primary documents, editorial cartoons, and a selection of newspaper editorials back to October 1940.

This month the World News Digest focuses on the U.S. housing market which has experienced a dramatic spike in the number of mortgage foreclosures, and mortgage lenders filing for bankruptcy.

To learn more about the subprime mortgage crisis visit our Articles and Databases webpage" and select World News Digest .

Online access is provide through the Southwestern College Library's website. Select the Access Off-Campus link for information on how to use this resource from off campus locations.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October e-book of the Month

Our October e-book of the month is Capitalism as if the World Matters by Jonathon Porritt.

In this substantially revised and updated edition with a new foreword by Amory B. Lovins, Jonathon Porritt—Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief environmental advisor—tackles the most pressing problems of our time.

New material includes in-depth coverage of the United States and the politics of climate change, and the state of environmental debate. Fresh case studies include the role of huge US corporations such as Walmart and General Electric in our sustainable capitalist future. Porritt also looks in-depth at China and the global impact of this economic giant.

If you have already established a NetLibrary account through Southwestern College Library, visit and log in to read Capitalism as if the World Matters 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.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Vote for College Book 2008

Faculty, staff, and students can vote for the College Book to be used on campus in Spring semester. There will be campus-wide activities and an essay contest based on the book selected, and faculty will be given suggestions for classroom activities and extra credit opportunities for students.

Click here for a ballot and to learn about the books that are finalists.

The deadline to vote is Monday, October 15, at 8 p.m.

Four entrants will be chosen at random to receive copies of the winning book (it doesn't matter how they voted).


Call Diane Gustafson at 619-482-6433.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Peony in Love - New Book of the Month

Like her Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, one of the most popular book club selections of recent years, Lisa See’s Peony in Love is set in long ago China. The narrator is sixteen-year old Peony, daughter of a wealthy family in the time of the Manchus and, unusual for that time, well-educated. She collects editions of her favorite opera and, as the novel opens, is allowed to view the opera from behind a screen on three consecutive nights. She wanders away from the performance and meets a young man, something totally forbidden but exhilarating.

The descriptions are vivid (“My eyes were shaped like bamboo leaves, my brows were like gentle brushstrokes limned by a calligrapher”) and the conflict between the loving, indulgent father and harsh, tyrannical mother masterfully drawn. The novel sheds light on another culture and is beautifully written. For example:

“For daughters, marrying out is a little like dying. We say goodbye to our parents, our aunts and uncles, our cousins, and the servants who cared for us, and go into an entirely new life, where we live with our true families, where our names will be listed in our in-laws’ ancestral hall . . .”

Travel to Peony’s world via call number 3043 in the Leisure Reading collection.