Friday, October 31, 2008

Don't drown in an ocean of results

Try our Online Reference Chat Service

Real People -
Real Help -
Real Fast -

24 hours a day, 7 days a week @

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vote for College Book 2009

Students, faculty, and staff can vote for the next College Book, which can be used across the curriculum in spring semester. The finalists are:
Glass Castle (nonfiction by Jeannette Walls)
Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility (fiction by Patricia Santana)
Water for Elephants (fiction by Sara Gruen)

To read about these books and to learn how to cast your vote, go to the College website. The deadline for voting is Friday, October 31 at 10 p.m. Four copies of the winning book will be awarded in a random drawing of those who voted (and it doesn't matter which book they voted for).

Current Periodicals on Display

The library provides a display of over 50 current magazines and periodical titles in our New Books and Current Periodicals display area near the entrance of the library.

You'll find the most recent issues of various magazines and journals in this section.

To view our complete list of periodicals, use our online Periodicals Holding List

Drop by when you have some time.

Library hours are Monday through Thursday 7:30 am to 8:00 pm, Fridays from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Monday, October 27, 2008

ARTstor New Collection: Islamic Art

Approximately 1,500 images of Islamic Art have been added to the ARTstor digital library. These images illustrate patterns and designs found throughout the Islamic world, from the Middle East and Europe to Central and South Asia.

David Wade photographed the works during his travels, as well as drawings and diagrams he produced for publication and the images are reflective of Wade's particular interest in symmetry and geometry.

To view the David Wade: Pattern in Islamic Art collection: go to the ARTstor Digital Library, browse by collection, and click "David Wade: Pattern in Islamic Art;" or enter the Keyword Search: patterninislamicart .

To view ARTstor from off campus locations you need to create an ARTstor account at from any on campus computer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

This Week in CQ Researcher

Financial Bailout by Thomas J. Billitteri, Oct. 24, 2008

Will U.S. and overseas action stem the global crisis?

Bowing to doomsday warnings that the U.S. and global financial systems could collapse, Congress passed a $700 billion rescue bill early this month. Part of a sweeping $1 trillion government plan to calm the stock market and unfreeze credit – the unprecedented rescue came amid mounting fears of a deep recession and the collapse of such major financial institutions as Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual.

The government’s efforts included the federal takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together hold or guarantee $5.4 trillion in mortgage loans – 45 percent of the national total. The quasi-governmental firms were dragged down by investments in subprime mortgages and other “toxic” financial instruments.

Meanwhile, even as the Bush administration and congressional leaders were calling the bailout plan vital, fundamental questions were being raised, including: Is the bailout big enough? And did risky lending by Fannie and Freddie and poor regulatory oversight fuel the crisis?

  • Will the bailout plan work?
  • Did Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cause the financial crisis?
  • Should Congress adopt tougher regulatory reforms?

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.

Learning Express Library: Basic Skills Improvement Database

The “Learning Express Library is a comprehensive, interactive online learning platform of practice tests and tutorial course series designed to help patrons—students and adult learners—succeed on the academic or licensing tests they must pass. You'll get immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and an individualized analysis of your results.”

If you need to brush up on your math, reading and writing skills, this database offers a wide choice of materials from 4th grade to college. A student can login, create their own account, and choose a product (course, tutorial, or practice test) that they want to work on. If you are not finished, you can logout and still have that product available to you when you log back in.

The courses and tests offered cover a wide range of topics. Click on the following categories and you will be able to access the titles and topics available:

E-BOOKS (Citizenship, Military, Reading, Writing, Career Tools, Science, etc.)
HEALTH CAREERS (Nursing School Practice Exams)
Job and Career Test Preparation (ASVAB, Border Patrol, California Highway Patrol, Corrections Officer, EMT, Firefighter, Nursing Assistant, Paramedic, Police Officer)
NURSING (Nursing Assistant, Nursing School)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top Shelf - Bonus!

by Tanya Carr and Naomi Trapp Davis, SWC Librarians

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

Book Selection
Cops, Crooks, and Criminologists: An International Biographical Dictionary of Law Enforcement
Call #: Reference HV 7911 A1 A94 2000

This one-volume encyclopedia includes personalities from both sides of the law, along with thumbnail sketches for each entry. The passages run the gamut- from criminals such as “godfathers,” corrupt mayors, and bank robbers to crime fighters such as social reformers and courtroom crusaders.

Over 600 entries are included with detailed information about the lives of people who in one way or another have shaped law enforcement and crime from 2100 B.C. to the present.

I found the entries to be succinct and brief- a great place to start researching issues that deal with the difference between morality and legality and the evolution of law enforcement throughout history.


Website Selection
Google: U.S. Voter Info

Have you registered to vote, but you’re not sure where your polling place is? Maybe you are wondering if there is still time left to request an absentee ballot.

Google has launched a new voter information site to help. Just type in your address and Google will provide personalized voter information, including your polling location, the number of days left for absentee ballot requests, links to state election materials, local election contacts, and any other relevant voter information for you.

Just in time for November 4th!


Top Shelf

by John Stanton and Laura Galvan-Estrada, SWC Librarians

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

Book Selection
Oxford English Dictionary

Call#: Reference PE 1625 N53 1989

If you are looking for in depth information about a word including its etymology, this granddaddy of dictionaries is the right place to look.

The 20 volume 1989 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is available in print at the main library. But if you need information that is more recent or you are at one of the branch libraries, an online version of the OED is available. You will need a user name and password to access the reference book however. The password to the OED can be gotten by showing a current student ID at any SWC library and getting the list of passwords for databases. The online OED is accessed from the Articles and Databases page of the library web site ( To learn how you can use the online OED from off-campus, visit the Library's Remote Access page.

According to the description of the online Oxford English Dictionary, it is a work in progress and hundreds of new entries are added every year. The OED is currently being revised, with the aim of producing a completely updated third edition. Draft material from the revision program is published online, alongside unrevised entries from the 20-volume Second Edition, first published in 1989, and its 3-volume Additions Series, published in 1993 (volumes 1 and 2) and 1997 (volume 3).

-John S.

Website Selection
Living Libraries

I had been looking for some innovative site that would help me learn something and that I would find it possibly interesting for others. As I’m scanning news sites tonight, one grabs my attention. The first Living Library is the United States is opening this weekend in L.A. Santa Monica Public Library (

So, what is a Living Library, you may ask? A Living Library has a collection of live books (people) with a unique specialty/knowledge/life experience. The user gets to “check out” the living book for half an hour. If no one is waiting, you may renew your checkout. The purpose is that you learn about a certain topic from a live person, living that particular “subject.” For example, Santa Monica will start with a teenager, a Buddhist, a nudist and a vegan as part of their collection. These live books will share their life stories in a protected, safe environment.

I particularly like their checkout policy:
“The Reader must return the Book in the same mental and physical condition as borrowed. It is forbidden to cause damage to the book, tear out or bend pages, get food or drink spilled over the book or hurt her or his dignity in any other way. The Reader is responsible for preserving the condition of the Book.”

So, Santa Monica PL is the first one in the US but this concept has been around since 2000. It was started by group of youth in Denmark, Finland, in an organization to stop violence. The idea, broadly summarized, is that we will be less prejudiced if we learn more about others. This project has mostly taken place in Europe but also in Canada and Australia (Australia has even come the first library with a permanent Living Library collection!).
So, go check out this fascinating idea. And we’ll see how it is received in the United States.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Daily Life Online

Daily Life Online is a fascinating database on social history throughout time and throughout the world. Information is retrieved from books, articles, selected websites, primary documents, images, and maps.

Accessible via the library's databases page (, this database can be searched with keywords in both the basic and an advanced mode, the browse feature is useful when you want to narrow a topic, step-by-step. You can browse by subject, by region, and by time period.

For instance, I wanted to find out how people viewed food in the middle ages. I started browsing by subject and chose “Food & Drink”. From there I chose the region I wanted – “Europe”, then the time period Medieval (5th century – 14th century). 138 entries were listed. I found my particular question on balancing the ‘humors’ in the entry “Cooking in Europe – 1250-1650 – Influence of Health Concerns”. All of the entries were relatively short, so I looked through a couple likely ones and not only found my ‘answer’ but also found information on other interesting topics.

Daily Life Online includes many popular topics such as the role of women throughout history, and contains a wealth of information drawn from folklore and literature. You can also browse through the list of full text titles the database has used, and directly browse the contents of each particular electronic book. For teachers there are lesson plans under “Teacher Resources”. Take time to explore Daily Life Online: it is an entertaining database with unexpected treasures!

To access this database from off campus, follow the instructions for Remote Access.

Review by Ann Willard, SWC Librarian

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Voting America the History of Presidential Elections

With the 2008, presidential election racing towards election day on November the 4th, the Voting America project from the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab provide users the ability to visualize and analyze previous presidential election data back to 1840.

Also included on this site are animated maps illustrating election history over time, and short video commentaries from historians and political scientists

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top Shelf

by Laura Galvan-Estrada and Sidney Laramie, SWC Librarians

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

E-Book Selection
My selection for Top Shelf is the Handbook of Psychology (Wiley, 2003) available through our netlibrary subscription. It is a multivolume set, with a total of 12 volumes covering the field of psychological science and practice. Each volume is a separate entitity in netlibrary. For some reason, Volume 2 is not in the netlibrary collection – at least not in our subscription.

The volumes are as follows:
v. 1. History of psychology
v. 2. Research methods in psychology
v. 3. Biological psychology
v. 4. Experimental psychology
v. 5. Personality and social psychology
v. 6. Developmental psychology
v. 7. Educational psychology
v. 8. Clinical psychology
v. 9. Health psychology
v. 10. Assessment psychology
v. 11. Forensic psychology
v. 12. Industrial and organizational psychology

Each volume is truly a wealth of information. Each has its own experts in the field as editors, with experts writing the individual entries within the volumes. Each article is well cited and each volume has its own author and subject indices. The information within each volume is very well organized, easy to find and access.

The set doesn’t contain a cumulative index to all the volumes. For a beginner user who may not know where his specific subject might be found, this is a major drawback (especially when dealing the an e-book format). But then again, we (librarians) might be the only users looking for a cumulative index J

Aside from the usual nuisances of handling electronic books, netlibrary does not list the titles in numerical order, which would be nice. You doesn’t get a sense of how many volumes there are unless you scroll down the screen or read the preface in one of the books. And, of course, for some reason, volume 2 is missing.

Overall, as a reference tool, I think the contents of this set are absolutely outstanding. For me, it was a nice gem to find. And, as it turns out, we don’t own a paper copy of this expensive set, so it is a nice resource to know no matter which library we happen to be staffing! Enjoy.

E-books are available to all SWC students, faculty, and staff. Read our Remote Access webpage for information about accessing e-books from home.


Website Selection

British librarians have a fascinating idea for helping people find “which book to read” although it’s not real practical at this point. While the graphics version is more fun it is definitely much harder to use than the text-only version, and it has more problems. Checking out the “how to use” demo also facilitates use of the site, especially if you want to try the “graphic version”.

Either mode presents the user with a choice between selecting the mood or style of a book or picking plot type, attributes of the main character, and a setting. For the first option the user is given a choice of twelve continuums between two opposing descriptors. Examples include “beautiful” vs. “disgusting”; “easy” vs. “demanding”; “larger the life” vs. “down to earth”; “short” vs. “long”; and “conventional” vs. “unusual”. It is also possible to specify audio book or large print. The main character may be defined by race, sexuality, age and gender, and plot options include “success against the odds”, “quest”, “revelations”, and “generations”.

Search results which match the parameters chosen are presented differently depending on which type of search you use. Usually there is a comment at least about the best match, parallel works are given and sometimes extracts.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Online class? Enrolled or thinking about it? Spend 60 minutes with us first.

Attend a one-hour introductory session and learn about SWC's Blackboard Online Learning System. These sessions are free -- no sign-up necessary. Sessions are offered at Main Campus, National City, and Otay Mesa. Please be on time.

Main Campus: Room L244 (Library/LRC)
Thursday - October 16 - 5:30 PM
Friday - October 17 - 12:30 PM
Tuesday - October 21 - 11:00 AM

Higher Ed Center, National City: Room 7202B
Wednesday - October 15 - 4:30 PM

Higher Ed Center, Otay Mesa: Room 4423
Thursday - October 16 - 1:30 PM

For more information about online classes, visit the SWC Online Learning website.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Got a Question? Need an Answer?

Try our Online Reference Chat Service

Real People - Real Help - Real Fast

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 Issues and Controversies in American History

With Issues and Controversies in American History, history comes to life and help builds a deeper understanding of how historical events have shaped our nation by exploring the key players and the battles they fought.

Issues and Controversies in American History is updated biweekly with links to overviews and background articles, touching on crucial topics from Colonial America to the present. This online resource provides arguments for and against, giving a framework for understanding and analysis of each issue—as it was seen in its time and as it relates to our own.

This resource also includes presidential election coverage, timelines, photographs, statistical charts, explanatory diagrams, maps, and cartoons.

To use Issues and Controversies in American History on-campus visit our Articles and Databases webpage. Select the Remote Access link for information on how to access this resource from off campus locations.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Top Shelf

by Sidney Laramie and Ann Willard, SWC Librarians

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

Book Selection
Historical Statistics of the United States : Earliest Times to the Present
Cambridge University Press, c2006 (5 vols.)
Call #: Ref HA202 H57 2006

I chose to highlight this source because I had never seen it before and because I envision more and more students being assigned to compare aspects of our current economy or government to those of an earlier period (e.g. The Great Depression). Such students should find the chapter on “Business Fluctuations and Cycles” in Vol. IV. to be helpful. There I learned that 3,460 banks were “suspended” in March 1933.

This work is actually a “… revised, updated, and [greatly] expanded Millennial Edition…” of the standard, two volume set last published in 1975. This new edition includes additional topics such as American Indians, slavery, the Confederate States, and poverty. It also gives broader coverage to existing topics and extends the old data by as much as an additional 30 years.

The five volumes which now comprise the set are subtitled as follows: I. “Population”; II. “Work and Welfare”; III. “Economic Structure and Performance”; IV. “Economic Sectors”; and V. “Governance and International Relations”. Each volume averages 850 pages, and contains from seven to nine chapters, all of which have at least one introductory essay. The introductions discuss the statistics in that chapter, the trends observed in them, and give references for further research.

The information available in this set is much broader than one would expect. For example, in glancing through the introduction to the “Population” volume I noticed the foundation of my alma mater listed in a chronology entitled “Important Events in the History of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender: 1619-2003. In the American Indians chapter of the same volume I discovered a list of the amount and price of timber cut on Indian land between 1910 and 1998. Vol. IV. even contains the attendance at NCAA basketball and football games.


Website Selection
Petfinder is a wonderful website which links almost 12,000 animal shelters, humane shelters and animal foster care groups from around the country. If you are thinking of adopting a pet or are trying to find a pet you have lost, the pet finder search engine allows you to specify the type of animal, sex of the animal, age, color, and even the breed, located within a few miles of your zip code. Are you missing a pig? No problem, pet pigs are included on the list of animals. The search remembers the last few animals you have viewed, so after looking at perhaps a half dozen potential pot-bellied pigs to adopt, their photos will be displayed at the bottom of your screen. Each entry includes a little description of the personality of each animal and lets you know which group to contact for more information. The pet entries are even coded so that you can quickly identify cats which are declawed, or cannot be in homes with children, etc.

Ok, so community college libraries may not get many people asking about how to find their lost pets. also has much more information on the site. There are cat breed and dog breed directories; pet training videos; volunteer and donation opportunities; articles on all kinds of pet-related subjects and FAQ’s, including how to ‘go green’ with your pet and how to deal with pet separation anxiety (for the pet’s anxiety, not yours); a newsletter and blog; and a shopping site. And go to the Fun section of Petfinder and find free e-cards to send your friends. is well worth a visit!


Monday, October 06, 2008

ARTstor Collection Release: Mexican Retablos

ARTstor, in collaboration with Douglas Massey, has recently added 170 images of Mexican retablos to the Digital Library. Retablos are small, colorful oil paintings made on tin and offered as votives of thanks for miracles granted and favors bestowed.

Douglas Massey photographed retablos dating from 1912 to 1996, which appeared in Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States (University of Arizona Press, 1995), a book co-authored with Jorge Durand. These images represent modern expressions of the traditional Mexican folk art genre. The bright palette and vibrant style that characterizes this art form later influenced the work of Mexican artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

To view the Mexican Retablos Collection (Douglas Massey): go to the ARTstor Digital Library, browse by collection, and click "Mexican Retablos Collection (Douglas Massey);" or enter the Keyword Search: massey retablos.

To view ARTstor from off campus locations you need to create an ARTstor account at from any on campus computer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October eBook of the Month

The featured NetLibrary eBook of the month during October is "Great Events from History: The 20th Century, 1971-2000", edited by Robert F. Gorman.

This electronic version provides extended coverage of major events between 1971 and 2000. The late twentieth century was a time of significant advances in science and technology. Space probes explored comets and the outer planets. Personal computers were born and quickly grew to change the way people all over the world work, play, and communicate.

The events covered include geopolitical events of the era - from end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1973 to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. Essays also address important social and cultural developments in daily life: major literary movements, significant developments in the arts and motion pictures, trends in world population and immigration, and landmark social legislation.

If you have already established a NetLibrary account through Southwestern College Library, visit and log in to read "Great Events from History: The 20th Century, 1971-2000" or any of our other 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 .

This Week in CQ Researcher

Gay Marriage Showdowns, by Kenneth Jost,
September 26, 2008

Will voters bar marriage for same-sex couples?

The California Supreme Court gave gay rights advocates a major victory in May, ruling the state’s constitution guarantees same-sex couples the same marriage rights as opposite-sex pairs.

Opponents, however, have placed on the state’s Nov. 4 ballot a constitutional amendment that would deny marriage rights to same-sex couples by defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Similar proposals are on the ballot in Arizona and Florida. The ballot-box showdowns come as nationwide polls indicate support for some legal protection for same-sex couples, but not necessarily marriage equality.

  • Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
  • Should state constitutions prohibit marriage for same-sex couples?
  • Should states recognize same-sex marriages from other states?

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.