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February 26, 2008

Services for People with Disabilities

In 2001 the American Libraries Association stated that “libraries must not discriminate against individuals with disabilities and shall ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to library resources��? (http://www.ala.org/ala/ascla/asclaissues/libraryservices.cfm). The University Libraries are proud to have a host of services and policies in place to provide for persons with disabilities.

As part of the University Libraries, Dewey Library also offers services and equipment specifically designed to allow all our patrons access to the library and its resources. Patrons can utilize a wheelchair elevator to enter the library from Draper Hall. Once inside the library both the circulation and reference desk are on the first floor. Since the library’s collection in on two floors, retrieval services are offered to patrons who need items located on the lower level.

Dewey Library also has a designated computer located on the first floor for users with disabilities. This computer has JAWS voice output software which allows low vision users perform computer related tasks (spreadsheets, email, surfing the web). JAWS, in addition to providing voiced readings of the information on the screen can also produce braille text of the on-screen content.

The Dragon Naturally Speaking voice command software lets the user provide voice commands rather than keystrokes or mouse clicks. Users should be aware the voice recognition software can take some getting used to – both on the part of the user and the software. Oftentimes there is an adjustment period as the program gets “trained��? to your voice.

The Kurzweil Reading Edge provides users with a voiced reading of scanned materials. Users should note that scanned items must be printed text. The Kurzweil software can also convert an electronic document to other types of file formats (ex., .PDF to .doc) if necessary.

As some of these programs may be unfamiliar to people, we encourage you to consult with a reference librarian before using them. We are eager to hear how the disability services provided at the Dewey Library can be expanded or improved. Please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or contact us in person, by phone (442-3691), or e-mail with any suggestions that you may have.

Blog post written by Michael Daly.

February 24, 2008

Workshops at Dewey: Week of 2/25/08 - 2/29/08

Workshops and instructional sessions focus on a specific aspect of how to use the Dewey Library. These presenatations may be oriented to an academic subject, or deal with a specific category of resources at the library. The class will usually take about an hour, which is time well spent: if you learn how to use the resources now, you will not have to try to figure them out on your own when you are under the gun to finish some important research. Sign up for one or more sessions online, in person at the Reference Desk, or call 442-3691.

This Week's Workshops:

Monday:

4:30PM Social Welfare Research Seminar

Tuesday:

3:00PM Introduction to Resources in Information Science
4:30PM Introduction to EndNote

Thursday:

2:00PM Introduction to Research Databases
4:00PM Using the Web to Communicate and Collaborate

February 19, 2008

New Book by Rockefeller College Professor

While Tip O’Neil’s infamous phrase “all politics is local��? remains part of national political rhetoric, (especially in election years!) a new book by University at Albany professor Sally Friedman, Dilemmas of Representation: Local Politics, National Factors, and the Home Styles of Modern U.S. Congress Members, highlights how “legislators can find surprising and creative ways of combining the local and the national��? (29).

Seemingly contrary to her thesis, Friedman, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rockefeller College, University at Albany, keeps the focus of her book localized. In the opening chapter, “Overview of Theoretical and Methodological Concerns��? readers learn not only how she focused on New York State, but also why. Using ten congressional representatives from New York as her starting point, Freidman suggests that in the twenty years since Richard Fenno’s Home Style, which presented representational politics as requiring almost a singular focus on local issues, there has been shift more equal focus between local and national issues. In this new focus, Freidman points to the trend of representatives working more intimately at national and international events, in conjunction with local concerns, to structure their stances and policies. Friedman investigates the numerous factors initiating this change, detailing how adherence to ideologies along party lines, pressing (and highly contestable) national issues and the role of the Executive Branch come together to directly influence legislators.

Written in conjunction with several of her graduate students, Friedman’s book is thoroughly researched while remaining accessible and informative. The plethora of charts and data she incorporates to support her conclusions are well-designed and add much to the presentation of the topic. Local readers might also enjoy the fact that one of her highlighted representatives is Mike McNulty, the Democrat who represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Albany County. Astute readers will note that Fenno was Friedman’s undergraduate professor. This book is a prime source for those interested in, or students engaged with American politics and the forces driving them in the 21st century.

Blog Post Written By Michael Daly

February 17, 2008

Workshops at Dewey: Week of 2/18/08 -2/22/08

Workshops and instructional sessions focus on a specific aspect of how to use the Dewey Library. These presenatations may be oriented to an academic subject, or deal with a specific category of resources at the library. The class will usually take about an hour, which is time well spent: if you learn how to use the resources now, you will not have to try to figure them out on your own when you are under the gun to finish some important research. Sign up for one or more sessions online, in person at the Reference Desk, or call 442-3691.

This Week's Workshops:

Wednesday:

2:00PM Introduction to Resources in Criminal Justice

Thursday:

4:30PM Evidence Based Practice

Friday:

11:00AM Introduction to Research Databases

February 12, 2008

Which Library Workshops Should Social Work Students Take ???

Many Social Welfare students come to us with questions about which library seminars they must take in order to graduate.

We recommend that all Social Welfare students first take the Social Welfare Research Seminar. In this class we cover: library services, the library website, encyclopedias and dictionaries, basics of searching the
MINERVA library catalog, which databases to use, introduction to database searching, Internet sources for social welfare including test and measurement resources and statistics, evaluating information, finding APA Style information.

After you have taken the Social Welfare Resarch Seminar, you will likely need to take an advanced or more specialized seminar. The topic may differ, depending on your academic concentration. Here is some assistance in making this choice:

Recommended for all students:


  • MINERVA, UA Libraries' Online Catalog : advanced skills in using the Library Catalog and locating and accessing library materials

  • Introduction to Research Databases: learn how to effectively search for articles using databases

  • Conducting Research from Home : an overview of research resources that can be accessed from outside the libraries

  • Using EndNote: EndNote software helps organize sources and produce bibliographies
  • Using the Web to Communication and Collaborate: Learn about blogs, wikis, RSS and more

Recommended particularly for direct practice students:


  • Library Resources for Evidence-Based Practice: learn how to find and evaluate research information for clinical social work practice

Recommended particularly for MACRO students:


  • Introduction to Federal Public Policy Research: resources for finding the legal authority for polices, constructing a legislative history and evaluating federal public policies

  • IIntroduction to Westlaw Campus: how to find statutes, regulations, cases, and other legal information

  • Non-Profit Organizations: Information Sources: print, online and Internet sources for information regarding non-profit organizations

We encourage you to attend one or more of these seminars as soon as practiable -- you will get the most benefit out of the material covered if you attend the seminars early in your course of study. You can view the full schedule of seminars online. In addition, each week's offerings are posted on this blog each Monday. In addition to the online registration, you may also register in person at the Dewey Reference Desk or call us at 442-3691.

February 10, 2008

Dewey Workshop Schedule: Week of 2/11/08 -2/15/08

Workshops and instructional sessions focus on a specific aspect of how to use the Dewey Library. These presenatations may be oriented to an academic subject, or deal with a specific category of resources at the library. The class will usually take about an hour, which is time well spent: if you learn how to use the resources now, you will not have to try to figure them out on your own when you are under the gun to finish some important research. Sign up for one or more sessions online, in person at the Reference Desk, or call 442-3691.

This Week's Workshops:

Tuesday:

4:30PM: Conducting Research from Home

Wednesday:

4:00PM: Social Welfare Research Seminar

Thursday:

1:00PM Introduction to EndNote
6:00PM Introduction to Research Databases

February 5, 2008

New Look and Features to Social Welfare and Criminal Justice Subject Guides

LIbrarians who are Subject Specialsts here at UAlbany have created online guides, to help you get the "lay of the land" with regard to key library resources for your academic discipline. These guides are found on the sidebar of our Dewey pages, under the heading: My Research Subject . You will also find them in the pull-down menu of the UA Libraries' main page .

Bibliographer (also the Head of Dewey) Mary Jane Brustman has updated the Subject Guides for Social Welfare and Criminal Justice.

The guides now include information about resources relevant resources in our Special Collections Department. For example, Special Collections has an archive of materials from Neighborhood and Community Associations, which may be useful for Social Welfare researchers; and The National Death Penalty Archive, of interest to some Criminal Justice researchers.

In addition to a slightly redesigned format (e.g., the guides now display an image of a recently published work by departmental faculty), the Social Welfare and Criminal Justice Subject Guides also have a "mini-update" at the bottom listing upcoming classes and library events that pertain to the subject.

We hope you'll take a look at the Subject Guides and provide us wiith feedback -- how helpful are these guides? What can we do to make them more useful? Our purpose is to make the library easier for you to use, so we welcome your opinions.

February 4, 2008

Dewey Workshop Schedule: Week of 2/4/08 -2/8/08

Workshops and instructional sessions focus on a specific aspect of how to use the Dewey Library. These presenatations may be oriented to an academic subject, or deal with a specific category of resources at the library. The class will usually take about an hour, which is time well spent: if you learn how to use the resources now, you will not have to try to figure them out on your own when you are under the gun to finish some important research. Sign up for one or more sessions online, in person at the Reference Desk, or call 442-3691.

This Week's Workshops:

Monday:

1:00PM: Introduction to Westlaw

Tuesday:

2:00PM: Minerva, the University at Albany's Online Catalog
4:30PM: Introduction to Westlaw

Wednesday:

2:00PM Social Welfare Research Seminar
4:30PM Minerva, the University at Albany's Online Catalog

Thursday:

3:30PM: Minerva, the University at Albany's Online Catalog
6:00PM Introduction to Research in Information Science