Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Shelf

by Ann Willard and John Stanton, SWC Librarians

Top Shelf is a weekly column where librarians share some of their favorite resources with you.

Book Selection

Ever thought about moving somewhere for a job or for retirement or just for a change of scene? Most of us have, and even if you are not currently considering a move, the electronic reference book Cities Ranked & Rated by Bert Sperling & Peter Sander, makes fascinating reading. Although SWC only holds the 2004, 1st edition (the 2007, 2nd edition is now out), you can go to the website http://www.bestplaces.net/ to get a free membership and updated information. Sperling is the author who started Money Magazine’s original “Best Places to Live” list and he has been creating such lists for 20 years. The other author, Sanders, has his MBA and has worked for over 20 years as a marketing and logistics specialist for a high-tech firm.

Most of the data in this reference work are obtained from public sources such as the US Census, but additional data are obtained from industry associations and trade groups. Over 400 cities are compared in one volume, 276 in the US and 27 in Canada. Although the actual city profiles are only two or three pages in length per city, you can quickly glance at an entry to see what the authors consider to be the main pros and cons, as well as the city’s score and ranking. For fun I looked up San Diego where I live and compared it to Fort Worth (where my brother lives) and Minneapolis-St.Paul (where my sisters live). San Diego is rated highly for such things as its great year-round climate and future job growth; however it ranks only 74 and gets a score of 71.5 because of such things as the high cost of living and urban sprawl. Everyone knows about the harsh winters in Minneapolis, but because of other attributes like its education and diverse economy, its rating is 24 and has a score of 83.9. Fort Worth is also ranked higher than San Diego, earning a ranking of 36 and a score of 80.5, because of its great arts and culture, economy and cost of living, and proximity to Dallas. Still, I wouldn’t trade my house in San Diego for a life back in the Midwest!

While reviewing Cities Ranked & Rated, I stumbled across the book America’s Top-Rated Cities, published in 2007 by Grey House Publishing. You’ll find this reference book in hard copy at both the main campus and in the Otay Mesa, HEC Library; Reference HA 214.A43 2007. A four-volume set, SWC decided to collect vol. 2, the Western Region. Only 100 cities with populations of 100,000 or more are included in this work, but the profiles are much longer and the resources used to provide rankings and data are extensive. For San Diego I found 27 pages of material, seven of which were lists of rankings summarized from various other publications. For instance, did you know that in 2005 San Diego was ranked number two in the nation as one of “America’s Best Mannered Cities?” Unfortunately, the SWC Library does not own the volumes in which Fort Worth and Minneapolis are included so I could not read about those cities in depth. Appendix C of America’s Top-Rated Cities, vol. 2 does include over 130 pages of “Comparative Statistics”, which compares all 100 cities, including Fort Worth and Minneapolis.

So whether or not you have a move planned in the near future, take a look at these reference works for hours of interesting comparisons!

For more information on accessing e-books from off campus, read about Remote Access on our website.


Website Selection

Freakonomics -- http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/

With the financial crisis in the news so much these days a reading of the blog Freakonomics might be in order. This blog combines economics with pop culture in an interesting and entertaining way. The book Freakonomics was written by Dubner and Levitt. Their book Freakonomics has sold 3 million copies worldwide. The blog, begun in 2005, is meant to keep the conversation going.

Stephen J. Dubner is an author and journalist who lives in New York City. Steven D. Levitt is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. Recurring guest bloggers include Ian Ayres, Jessica Hagy, Daniel Hamermesh, Sudhir Venkatesh, and Justin Wolfers.

A blog is contraction of the words "web log" and is a website that contains the personal musings of one or more authors. So, if you would like to read some interesting analysis of the current financial crisis, give this blog a look.

-John S.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Enciclopedia Universal en Español - take a look!

As part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica reference center, The Enciclopedia Universal en Español is a comprehensive Spanish language database that covers more than 47,000 articles with links to related articles, as well as accompanying images, maps and tables. It is easy to navigate by using a keyword search or the alphabetical navigation links. This product includes a Spanish language dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Spanish-English Dictionary. At the end of each article, APA and MLA citations are provided.

To access this resource from home, use the current passwords.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Got a question? Need an answer?

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Banned Books Week: Sept 27 - Oct 4

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas ("The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1953, p. 20).

Banned Books Week (BBW) is celebrated during the last week of September to remind us of the importance of "the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular." (ALA Banned Book Week Basics).

The Color Purple by Alice Walker was one of the top ten challenged books last year. Curious what some of the others were? The American Library Association provides lists of the top challenged books over the last couple of decades.

For more information about Banned Books Week, see the official BBW 2008 website.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Library card registration reaches historic high

"As Americans deal with a slumping economy, U.S. libraries are experiencing a dramatic increase in library card registration," according to a new Harris Poll. The American Library Association reports that in addition to increases in library card registration, 76% of card holders visited their local public library in the last year.

Remember, your SWC photo ID card is your library card here at SWC Library. Bring it with you any time you would like to check out materials from the library.

If you are a community member, you are welcome to apply for a Community Borrowers card. Community Borrowers must be 18 years of age, a San Diego County resident and can borrow a limited number of materials from the library. To apply for a Community Borrowers card you will need to provide proof of your current address and identification. may bring in a photo ID with current address to apply for a Community Borrowers Card.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2008 Presidential Election Guide

The Facts.com World News database has added a new presidential election section with convention coverage, candidate profiles and the transcripts of convention speeches by John McCain, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and Joseph Biden.

For background information on prior presidential elections, visit the Facts.com webpage Presidential Elections from 1940 to 2004.

All the Facts.com databases can be used from any Internet accessible computer both on and off campus, visit our Articles and Databases webpage for the complete list. Select the Remote Access link for information on how students can access our electronic resources from off campus locations.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Shelf

by Naomi Trapp Davis and Diane Gustafson, SWC Librarians.

Top Shelf is a weekly column where librarians share some of their favorite resources with you.

Book Selection
Historical Atlas of California : with original maps
by Derek Hayes
University of California, 2007
Call #: Reference G 1526 S1 H39 2007

This atlas reminds the reader that maps are not just about drawing lines. Through narrative, historical maps, and illustrations, the reader makes her own visual discoveries about the past 500 years of our state's complex history.

Browse through unique chapters such as "Russian California," "Water, Wine, and Oranges" or "California at War”. See what the Gold Rush miners saw – a map of the gold regions of California in 1849 (p. 92) and mining districts in 1850 (p. 95). Ever wonder about the origins of Los Angeles car culture? Take a look at where it all began – a map of roads in the region in 1915 (p. 206-7). Note the pueblo lands of San Diego in 1858 and how they changed (p. 73). Be prepared for surprises, like a San Francisco map outlining race, considered relevant planning material for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 (p. 189).

The atlas illuminates the social, economic, and cultural issues that contributed to our region's fascinating history and development.


Website Selection
MyPyramid.gov: Steps to a Healthier You

This is a United States Department of Agriculture site that I learned about in a seminar led by a dietitian.

You can start out by entering the foods and amounts you eat in a typical day, as well as the amount and intensity of exercise for a day. You will receive an evaluation of both.

You can plan your menus around the foods you like and within the suggested number of calories. For example, I selected flavored oatmeal with an “add on” of fat-free milk. Besides indicating the correct amount (1/2 cup) the food was added to my breakfast column for Day 1, and I could see from the brightly-colored chart that the oatmeal represented 25% of my grains for the day. And there was a running total of calories as I selected foods for other meals. I was surprised to learn that 4 oz. of broiled salmon was 100% of my meats and beans category for the day!

If you register on the site, you can keep your menus for a year.

The site is available in both English and Spanish.


Friday, September 19, 2008

This Week in CQ Researcher

America's Border Fence by Reed Karaim,
September 19, 2008

Will it stem the flow of illegal immigrants?

America is rushing to build 670 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border by the end of the year. The fence – or wall, as critics along the border call it – is to include 370 miles of fencing intended to stop illegal immigrants on foot and 300 miles of vehicle barriers. To speed construction, the Bush administration is using unprecedented authority granted by Congress to waive environmental-, historic- and cultural-protection laws.

No one claims that building physical barriers along roughly a third of America’s 2,000-mile Southern border will stem illegal immigration by itself, but supporters believe it is an essential first step in “securing the border,” providing a critical line of defense against illegal migration, drug smugglers and even terrorists.

Opponents see it as a multi-billion-dollar waste that will only shift illegal immigrants toward more dangerous and difficult routes into the country, while doing environmental, cultural and economic damage.

  • Can a border fence stem the flow of illegal immigrants?

  • Would blocking all illegal immigrants hurt or benefit the U.S. economy?

  • Does the fence harm U.S relations with Mexico and other countries?

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SWC Online Library - Open 24/7

The Online Library is always open! You'll find full-text articles, e-books, tutorials, and information on how to access these resources from home. There is also a link to our 24/7 chat reference service, staffed by librarians who are ready to help you with your research.

Go to the library's website: http://www.swccd.edu/~library and click on "Online Library"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 - October 15 is Hispanic Heritage month! Started in 1968 (as Hispanic Heritage Week), celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

An outstanding resource on the historical and contemporary experiences in the United States of Latinos and Latinas from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Central America, South American and elsewhere is the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. This resource is available in both print and electronic versions from the Southwestern College Library. The print version is located in our Reference collection E184.S75 O97 2005 and the electronic version is available both on and off campus on our Articles and Databases website.

Another online resource is the Ethnic News Watch database. This database provides access to several hundred magazines, newspapers and other periodicals covering a variety of ethnic groups, including the Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States. To access this outstanding resource from on or off campus locations visit our Articles and Databases website. For additional information about off campus access visit our Remote Access website.

The Library of Congress has created an outstanding website recognizing the patriotism and civic involvement of Hispanic Americans. The website is located at http://www.loc.gov/topics/hispanicheritage/index.html

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top Shelf

by Diane Gustafson and Patty Torres, SWC Librarians

Top Shelf is a weekly column where librarians share some of their favorite resources with you.

Book Selection
Modern America 1914-1945 (series: Almanacs of American Life)
by Ross Gregory
Facts on File, 1995
Call Number: Reference E766 G74 1995

This volume is filled with statistics, photographs, and commentary about that era that were new to me. For example, one table shows that the percentage of the civilian labor force who were unemployed went from 3.2 in 1929 to 25.2 in 1933. There are poignant poems written by West Virginia’s poet laureate, and a description of the “great black blizzard”(dust storm) that darkened the sky from Texas to Canada on November 11, 1933.

In this volume that covers the years 1914 to 1945, there are twenty subject divisions. Some of them are: The American Economy, Vital Statistics, Cities of the United States, Profiles of Prominent Individuals, and Education. I found that we have other volumes in the Almanacs of American Life series that cover the periods for Colonial, Revolutionary, Civil War, Victorian, and Cold War America.


Website Selection

This is the official Spanish portal for the U.S government. It provides information on government programs and services at the federal, state and local level in spanish. It was formerly called “FirstGov en Espanol”.

Although most beneficial to native Spanish speakers it is a good source to know about. The main page allows searching under general public, recent immigrants, visitors, & businesses.

Information can be found on such topics as employment, health, education, benefits, and legal matters.

-Patty T.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Environmental Resource

The library's Articles and Databases website has added the GreenFILE , which offers information covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. The EBSCOhost GreenFile collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on the environmental effects of individuals, corporations and local/national governments, and what can be done at each level to minimize these effects.

To access the GreenFILE from the Southwestern College Library’s homepage, click on the Articles & Databases tab. Scroll down the page until you reach the GreenFILE and click on that link.

For information on how you can access all of our databases and from off campus visit our Remote Access information page.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Got a question? Need an answer?

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fun, brought to you by librarians

"The quest for the greatest ever clip on YouTube is over!" reports The Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw.

Are you a film buff? If so, then chances are you'll agree with him. The video he is describing, titled "100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers", was created by Librarian Alonso Mosley from Jacksonville, Florida.

Mr. Mosley recently posted a centennial edition of "100 Movies, 100 Quotes" on his blog.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Top Shelf

by Patty Torres and Tony McGee, SWC Librarians

Top Shelf is a weekly column where librarians share some of their favorite resources with you -- both books and websites.

Book Selection
The Handy Science Answer Book
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Reference Q173 H24 2003

This is a collection of 1700 of the most asked, most interesting or most unusual questions and answers in subjects such as science, buildings, boats, communications just to mention a few. This is a user friendly source with appeal to children and adults alike. The answers are written in non-technical language and there is something for everyone. Some examples of questions are:

-- Why do golf balls have dimples?
-- Who made the first golf shot on the moon?
-- What was the first mass produced alternative vehicle in the United States?
-- What does the code that follows the letters ISBN mean?


Website Selection
My website for the week is Searchme:

It’s one of the latest search engines to hit the market, and it’s certain to make waves. Basically, you type in your search term and it brings up a “visual result.” Meaning, you’ll see actual webpage snapshots of the most relative sites for your search term, not just a description. You can scroll through the results just like in the album view in iTunes. Plus, the results page has a list of relative categories to help you further narrow down your search.

Once you’ve found the web site you want to go to you just click on the picture, and Searchme sends you directly to that site. Searchme lets you split the browser page into two sections. One for the visual results, and the other for your standard descriptive results.

There is also a feature that lets me roll my mouse over the visual result which pops up the descriptive result at the bottom, pretty much removing the need for the split section. You can also create "Stacks of bookmarked Web pages" to revisit later.

Next time you’re online try a visual search.


Monday, September 08, 2008

September ebook of the Month

Over 19,000 electronic books are accessible from your desktop through the Southwestern College Library. For information on how you can access this electronic resource visit our NetLibrary information page .

During the month of September, The Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technology, edited by Antonio Cartelli and Marco Palma is the feaured NetLibrary ebook of the month.

This comprehensive encyclopedia describes the influence of information communication technology in urban communities and in scientific knowledge construction in these communities around the world, with emphasis on the roles of communications technologies, urban technology planning, and knowledge management.

If you have already established a NetLibrary account through Southwestern College Library, visit http://www.netlibrary.com/ and log in to read "The Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technology" or any of our 19,000 electronic 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 our NetLibrary information page .

Friday, September 05, 2008

This Month in CQ Global Researcher

Crisis in Darfur by Karen Foerstel,
September 2008

Is there any hope for peace?

More than two years after government and rebel fighters signed a peace agreement in Sudan, violence is still rampant in Darfur. At least 2.4 million people have been displaced and up to 400,000 have died since 2003. And observers say the situation is getting worse.

A year after the U.N. authorized the world’s largest peacekeeping force in Darfur, only 37 percent of the authorized personnel have been deployed, and no military helicopters have been provided. The International Criminal Court is considering genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, but some fear an indictment would trigger more violence than justice. Some say China, Sudan’s largest trading partner and arms supplier, should pressure Sudan to end the violence.

To read this month's coverage in CQ Global Researcher and others visit our Articles and Databases webpage and click on CQ Global Researcher. Select the Remote Access link for information on how to access this resource from off campus locations.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Presidential Campaign '08: John McCain

Citizen McCain
by Elizabeth Drew
New York : Simon & Schuster, c2002

Since John McCain became the clear leader for the Republican presidential nomination, Citizen McCain by prize-winning journalist Elizabeth Drew, published in 2002, has been reprinted. Drew has been the author of many political books, professor, host of a PBS series, and Washington correspondent for Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. It is significant to note that she was a panelist in the first 1976 Presidential debate, was moderator of the debate between the Democratic candidates for the nomination in the 1984 race, and wrote Citizen McCain as an unauthorized biography, although she was given access to McCain and his staff. She is a journalist of integrity who came to admire the candidate rather than an author who set out to produce a gushing view of him.

Much of the book is devoted to McCain’s fight for campaign reform. He is quoted as saying in 2001, “They’re without shame. I’m talking about members of Congress, not the lobbyists, who are doing what they’re paid to do. It’s the system that makes good people do bad things because of the corrupting influence of money. . .” (p.166)

But McCain was at his best after September 11. Drew details his receiving more requests to speak than President Bush and gives many quotes from McCain, such as this one on the Tonight Show when Jay Leno asked, “What can normal people do to help?”:

“Live a normal life. Their goal, their object, is to destroy the American way of life. The best way to defeat that is to not let them do that. We’ll have our freedoms, we’ll have our independence, we’ll have our disagreements. If you were planning on traveling, travel. If you were planning on buying something, buy it. Young people, if you were thinking about joining the armed forces, think about it. Young people, volunteer in your community. There is a lot to be done now. Give blood. Do what we see all over, do what I saw from my car on the way here tonight, and what I see all over Arizona: Fly the flag. Fly it proudly.” (p.142)

Citizen McCain is shelved in the Stacks on the top floor of the Library, call number E840.8 M26 D74 2002

A book review of Hopes and Dreams: The Story of Barack Obama was published last week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Launches New Web Browser

Google has released it new beta web browser call Chrome. This new browser is only available for Windows users with Mac and Linus versions coming soon.

One of the features of Chrome is a new approach to page rendering that isolates web applications inside each of the browser’s tabs — a crashing web app might cause a single tab to crash, but that won’t affect anything outside that tab. The rest of the browser remains stable.

For additional information about the Chrome browser visit these websites


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Top Shelf

by John Tibbals, SWC Librarian

Latin American and Caribbean Artists of the Modern Era : A Biographical Dictionary of More than 12,700 Persons
Shipp, Steve.
McFarland & Co., 2003
Call Number: Reference N 6502.4 .S45 2003

Compiled in response to the relatively recent growth of international interest in artists of Latin America and the Caribbean, this extremely comprehensive work consists of several sections. The main body is an alphabetical listing of artist biographies. Appendix 1 lists artists by country, Appendix 2 is a chronological record of exhibitions featuring Latin American or Caribbean artists, Appendix 3 is an alphabetical listing of art museums containing works by artists in this book, and Appendix 4 is a list of galleries showing Latin American and Caribbean art. There is an extensive bibliography and two sections of reproductions.

Top Shelf is a weekly column where librarians share some of the top resources they've discovered.