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November 29, 2009

Dewey Workshops: November 30 - December 4

If you are a Social Welfare student who needs Information Literacy credit, or simply need to get up to speed on how to use the library, there are still some slots available in some workshops. Check the schedule and register for a class using the online registration form, by calling 442-3691, by emailing dewclass@albany.edu, or dropping by in person at the Reference Desk.

This week we are offering the following sessions:

Wednesday, December 2:
2:00pm: Introduction to EndNote

Thursday, December 3:

10:00am: Conducting Research Online

November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

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For those of you who celebrate the holiday, have a happy Thanksgiving. The Dewey Library will be closed Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27. We will once again be open for our regular hours beginning Saturday, November 28.

Having trouble finding the right articles? Try using the Database Thesaurus

Electronic resources, such as online databases have forever changed the way we conduct scholarly research. It is now easier than ever to search through thousands of journal articles in the blink of an eye and retrieve quality articles that are relevant to your search terms. However, simply using everyday words or phrases as your search terms, or Natural Language search terms, might not always be the best way to go about searching within a database. Luckily, many databases provide users with a customized thesaurus that can connect users with the terminology used within the database, resulting in much more accurate and relevant search results.

The Ohio State University Libraries provide a good explanation of database thesauri:
A thesaurus is a list of predetermined words and phrases that describe the subject matter of a database. A synonym for "thesaurus" is "controlled vocabulary" because the database creators "control" the vocabulary assigned to the database's subject headings. A real-world example of a thesaurus is the list of subject headings used in the telephone Yellow Pages. That is, whether you want to find a lawyer or an attorney (or an ambulance-chaser) in the Yellow Pages you must look under "Attorneys." This actually helps you out--provided you know what term to use--because you only have to look under one heading in order to find yourself a good lawyer.

An information database often has an accompanying thesaurus. An online database like ERIC and PsycINFO may have an online thesaurus incorporated into it. Other databases, whether online or print, may have printed thesauri that you can use in tandem with the databases.

One popular database we can use to highlight its thesaurus is PsycInfo. From the initial basic search screen that appears when you first open PsycInfo, click on the “Search Tools��? link within the green search area. Underneath the search box, change the selection from “Map Term��? to “Thesaurus��? and enter your desired terms. For example, a search of “Substance Abuse��? will produce the term “Drug Abuse��? within the thesaurus. From there, the thesaurus provides broader, related, and narrower terms that pertain to drug abuse and can help refine your search. While “substance abuse��? might have produced some results within PsycInfo, “drug abuse��? is the official term used in the database thesaurus, and will return articles that are better suited to your topic.

Other databases with easily accessible thesauri include EBSCO’s ERIC and Medline databases. For both databases, the link to the thesauri is located at the very top of the search screen. In Medline the link to the thesaurus is called MeSH, while in ERIC it is simply called Thesaurus. While they may be named differently, they function nearly identically. After clicking on the link, you are given a search box to input your natural language terms, which the database will then attempt to retrieve the corresponding term within its thesaurus. From there you can use the controlled vocabulary provided by the thesaurus to find articles under the same heading.

In addition to being readily available through the database, the thesauri for both PsychInfo and ERIC can be found in print in the Reference section of the library. Their call numbers are as follows:

Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms
Dewey Library / Reference Z 695.1 P7 T48

Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors
Dewey Library / Reference Z 695.1 E3 E34

Other less frequently used databases also have thesauri. If you are not sure if the database you are using has th is feature or have any questions regarding the use of database thesauri, bring your questions to the Reference Desk, email us at dewref@albany.edu or give us a call at 442-3691.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 24, 2009

The Ins and Outs of New York State's Recent Special Election

When President Obama selected former New York Representative John McHugh to be the new Secretary of the Army on September 21st of this year, it created a unique situation for the state of New York. With the departure of McHugh, who received his Masters degree from our own Rockefeller College, to his new position in Washington, a special election became necessary to fill the vacancy created in the 23rd Congressional District of New York. Let's take a moment to examine the process that led up to this month's Special Election.

A Special Election is an election held to fill a political office that becomes vacant during the incumbent's term of office. The two most common causes of a vacancy in a political office are the death of the incumbent, or in the case of New York's 23rd Congressional District, the incumbent resigns for any number of reasons. Once John McHugh accepted the offer to become the Secretary of the Army, he had to resign his position as a member of the House of Representatives.

Following his acceptance of the position of Secretary of the Army, Governor David Patterson issued a proclamation declaring November 3rd to be the day that the Special Election take place to vote in John McHugh's replacement for the 23rd Congressional District. The Governor of New York has the sole authority to declare a Special Election. There is no timetable for the Governor to release an election proclamation declaring the seat vacant. Once the Governor declares the seat vacant, the Special Election must take place within forty days of the proclamation. New York law does not provide for a primary election when a special election is needed for a vacant House seat. In place of a primary election, nominees are chosen by the county leaders of each party within the district.

The Democratic Party nominated businessman and attorney Bill Owens, while the Conservative Party of New York nominated businessman and accountant Doug Hoffman (the Republicans nominated New York State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who withdrew days before the election). According to the preliminary unofficial tally, Bill Owens emerged victorious, narrowly beating out his opponent, Doug Hoffman. This was a most unusual result because the area represented by the 23rd Congressional District has historically been one of the most Republican districts in the State.

With the unofficial tally showing a 5,000 vote lead for Owens, Hoffman had conceded the race, thereby allowing Owens to be sworn into Congress and vote for important legislation including the Health Care Reform Act. Now that the absentee votes are being counted, however, it looks like Owens has a chance at coming out as the victor in the race. The Health Care Reform Act passed the House by only 5 votes, including Owens’, making it strategically critical for Congress to swear Owens in before the count has been certified. If Owens is found to have lost the election, Owens could be asked to resign, but it will likely be a more drawn out process than that -- it would be almost a given that he would ask for a recount. But Owens' votes while currently in Congress will remain valid, because he has been officially sworn in for the time being.


UPDATE from Nov 25 New York Times --

Hoffman Stands Down: With Election Day three weeks in the rear view mirror — and with the final count of the ballots in — Douglas L. Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the special House election in upstate New York, released a statement on Tuesday to “re-affirm��? that Democrat Bill Owens had captured the seat.

Mr. Hoffman, if you remember, had conceded on Election Night to Mr. Owens, who was sworn in quickly enough to vote for the House health bill later that week. Mr. Hoffman later rued that concession once he found out that he had a slight chance of winning the race after provisional ballots were counted.

In the end, Mr. Owens won by roughly 3,500 votes — or around 2.3 percentage points. Mr. Hoffman has already announced plans to seek a rematch next year. (Check out the Watertown Daily Times for more on the race’s aftermath.)

If you are interested in researching the Special Election process or the Special Election that occurred in New York on November 3rd, please contact our Bibliographer for Political Science, Public Administration & Policy, and Law, Richard Irving. He can be reached through is email address, rirving@uamail.albany.edu, or by calling 442-3698.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 22, 2009

Dewey Workshops Week of November 23- November 27

There are only a few weeks left in the semester, but there are still some slots available in some workshops. Check the schedule and register for a class using the online registration form, by calling 442-3691, by emailing dewclass@albany.edu, or dropping by in person at the Reference Desk.

This week we are offering Evidence Based Practice at 2:00pm on Mondday, November 23.

November 20, 2009

Photo of the Week

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It's a time of thanksgiving for multiple reasons here at Dewey. Lindsay Van Berkom, the Dewey Library's Assistant for Library Operations is expecting a baby and Dewey held a shower for her on Thursday. Lindsay anticipates working for several more weeks, but we'll miss her for those weeks she's caring for her newborn!

November 18, 2009

The Fair Use Section of the Copyright Law – Title 17 Ch1. § 107

Most of us haven’t looked at the copyright law, Title 17 of the US Code. Chap. 1 Section 107 is worth reading because it helps us understand what copyright protected materials we can use without asking permission within our Fair Use rights. Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 7 of the copyright law http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107:

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

There are many web sites and publications that help us understand the four factors:

When we use the work of others in activities as faculty members and students, we should be aware that we may be infringing on their copyright. Don’t be naïve about copyright! There are many very useful web sites available that can provide much more detail and practical advice about copyright and fair use. The list above and the Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Fair Use Resources page on the University Libraries' website are good places to start.

Blog post created by Lorre Smith

November 17, 2009

SPEC Kits: New Information Studies Resources

Now available at the Dewey Library are six new SPEC Kits. Published by the Association of Research Libraries, these SPEC Kits are the product of collaboration between Librarians and ARL staff. Together they design and edit the components of the SPEC Kits, which serve the needs of the library community worldwide.

According to the Association of Research Libraries' Website:

SPEC surveys gather information from ARL member institutions on current research library practices and policies. SPEC Kits combine the survey results and documentation from ARL member institutions to provide resource guides for libraries as they face ever-changing management problems. These guides help libraries learn about current practice in research libraries, implement new practices and technologies, manage change, and improve performance.

The titles and call numbers of the new SPEC Kits are:


  • Social Software in Libraries: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.304

  • Promoting the Library: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.306

  • Manuscript Collections on the Web: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.307

  • Graduate Student and Faculty Spaces and Services: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.308

  • Library Support for Study Abroad: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.309

  • Public Access Policies: Dewey Library Oversized / Z 678 A88X NO.311

These SPEC Kits can currently be found in the New Books Display, located on the main floor of the library. For more help or information regarding the SPEC Kits, please contact our User Education Librarian & Bibliographer for Information Studies, Deborah Bernnard. She can be reached by email at dbernnard@uamail.albany.edu, by telephone at 442-3699, or stop by the Reference Desk.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 15, 2009

Dewey Workshops: Week of November 16 - November 20

There are only a few weeks left in the semester, but there are still some slots available in some workshops. Check the schedule and register for a class using the online registration form, by calling 442-3691, by emailing dewclass@albany.edu, or dropping by in person at the Reference Desk.

This week we are offering Introduction to EndNote at 3:00pm on Wednesday, November 18.

November 13, 2009

Photo of the Week

small justice journals 003.jpg

These journals are good resources for locating Criminal Justice book reviews

Photo credit: Morris Stilson

November 11, 2009

Need a Place to Store Your Files? Use Your S Drive!

Flash Drives have emerged as the go-to technology for storing and transporting information from place to place. With their large storage capacities, pocket-friendly form factor, and miniscule price tag, flash drives are here to stay. But what do you do when you forget to bring your flash drive with you? There’s no need to fear, the S: Drive is here!

Each and every UAlbany student has access to their own space on the UNIX system, called the S: Drive. Students can drag and save files to their S: Drive so that they are readily available each time the S: Drive is accessed. At 100mb, the storage capacity of the S: Drive is likely smaller than that of your flash drive, but unlike your flash drive, the S: Drive is always here for you, so long as you are logged into the system with your NetID and password..

Students can access their S: Drive through the library computers located in the Information Commons area of the Dewey Library. The drive can be easily located by clicking on the Start Button of any Information Commons PC. Also, any time you click on "My Computer, from a campus computer, the S: drive will be there.

More information regarding the S: Drive can be found at the Using Your S: Drive At-A-Glance page from the ITS website.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 10, 2009

Need Help Finding Book Reviews on Criminal Justice Topics?

Locating book reviews from any field of study can prove to be a challenge. Finding reviews of books written on a Criminal Justice topic are no exception. Equipped with the proper information, the process of finding and acquiring reviews of books written on Criminal Justice can become a manageable task.

The first step in the process is to identify the author, title, and date of publication for the book being reviewed. If any of this information first try Minerva, our online catalog. If it's not included in our catalgo, your best bet would be to search the If any of this information is missing, your best bet would be to search the WorldCat database with the information you already have to locate the necessary information.

Once you have identified the book whose reviews you are interested, you will need to know the proper databases to search for reviews.

Book Review Digest Retrospective, which covers 1905-1982, and Book Review Digest Plus, which covers 1983-Present.

Criminal Justice Abstracts covers 1968 - present and has a limited selection of criminal justice book reviews.

Sociological Abstracts covers 1952 - present indexes reviews for sociology, criminal jusice and other subjects.

Important: Be sure to select a database that provides coverage when the book and the subsequent book reviews were published. If the full text of the reviews are not available directly through the database, print out or copy the complete citation of each review, including the journal title, volume number, and page numbers.

Once you have the citation information for the desired reviews, search the journal title in the Journal Finder, to determine if it is owned by the University Libraries (go to the libraries' main website and click "Journal Finder" on the left) . If you discover that the University Libraries do not own the review source, take a moment to fill out an Interlibrary Loan request. Within a short period of time, usually a week or less, the full text of the review will be sent to your email account.

Criminal Justice journals subscribed to by Dewey Library that feature book reviews include:
Criminal Law Bulletin: Dewey Library / Periodicals K 3 R5
Criminal Justice Ethics: Dewey Library / Periodicals HV 7231 C75
Justice Quarterly: Dewey Library / Periodicals HV 7231 J88X

For more information or assistance in finding book reviews for Criminal Justice topics, please contact our Bibliographer for Criminal Justice, Mary Jane Brustman. She can be reached by email at mbrustman@uamail.albany.edu or by calling 442-3517.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 8, 2009

Dewey Workshops: Week of November 9-November 13

Don't forget to register for a workshop to help you with the "crunch" of late semester research projects! For the final time this semester, Information Resources in Gerontology will be offered on Wednesday. You may also find the EndNote class helpful in organizing your bibliographies, footnotes and references cited.

Monday, November 9:

4:00pm: Social Welfare Research Seminar

Wednesday, November 11:
Information Resources in Gerontology

Thursday, November 12:
Introduction to EndNote

Register for a class using the online registration form, by calling 442-3691, by emailing dewclass@albany.edu, or dropping by in person at the Reference Desk.

November 6, 2009

Photo of the Week

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Page Hall also bedecked with fall colors in the foreground.

Photo credit: Morris Stilson

November 4, 2009

Get One-on-One With a Librarian!

Now that your papers, assignments, and large research projects are coming due, you might need to spend more time using library resources and services. Sometimes knowing even where to start can be overwhelming, and sometimes you've had luck in the past but this time your searching seems to be fruitless.

Have no fear! Librarians are happy to help with your research project, we can help find the most relevant search terms in a given database and teach you advanced searching strategies, as well as help you set up database "alerts" to keep apprised of new publicatons on your topic of interest. We will be glad to set up a time to meet with you on a one-to-one basis for extended assistance with that important project.

Contact a subject bibliographer today to set up an appointment:

Criminal Justice: Mary Jane Brustman: email: mbrustman@uamail.albany.edu, phone: 442-3540
Information Studies: Deborah Bernnard: email: dbernnard@uamail.albany.edu, phone: 442-3699
Public Administration and Policy: Dick Irving: email: diriving@uamail.albany.edu, phone: 442-3698
Social Welfare/Gerontology: Elaine Bergman email: ebergman@uamail.albany.edu, phone: 442-3695

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 3, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office and the Federal Budget

One of the key players in the advisement and development of the federal budget is the Congressional Budget Office. Located on the fourth floor of the Ford House Office Building in Washington, D.C., the CBO was created with the enactment of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act in 1974. The agency began operations the following year.

According to the “Who We Are��? section of the Congressional Budget Office website:

CBO produces policy analyses, cost estimates of legislation, and budget and economic projections that serve as a basis for the Congress's decisions about spending and taxes. Every piece of legislation affecting the use of the nation's resources undergoes CBO's scrutiny. The agency is a public-sector think tank that employs an elite, multidisciplinary staff of professional analysts--public-policy and budget experts, economists, and other critical thinkers who enjoy challenges--at levels ranging from undergraduate and graduate interns to researchers with doctorates and substantial experience.

While they may seem similar at a glance, the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office are not one in the same. The CBO assists the House and Senate Budget Committees with the creation of the budget by preparing reports and analyses as an enforceable blueprint for Congressional action on spending and revenue legislation, whereas the GAO supports Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.

One interesting feature of the Congressional Budget Office website is that the current Director of the CBO, Douglas W. Elmendorf, maintains a blog covering pertinent topics and issues. His recent post, titled “Health Care Reform and the Federal Budget��? provides a unique perspective on the debate of health care reform and how the Congressional Budget Office factors into the discussion. The CBO also has a Panel of Health Advisers, which consists of experts in health care. This Panel of Health Advisers examines current research in health policy and advises the CBO on its analysis of health care issues.

There are several resources available in the Dewey Graduate Library on the topic of Congressional budgeting:

Schick, Allen. (2007) The Federal Budget: politics, policy, process. Washington, D.C. Brookings Institution Press.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 S3424 2007

Fisher, Patrick. (2005) Congressional budgeting : a representational perspective. Lanham, Md. University Press of America.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 F484 2005

Le Loup, Lance T. (2005) Parties, rules, and the evolution of congressional budgeting. Columbus, OH : The Ohio State University Press.
Dewey Library / HJ 2051 L45 2005

If you have any questions about researching the Congressional Budget Office, the federal budget process, or any related topic, please contact our Bibliographer for Political Science, Public Administration & Policy, and Law, Richard Irving. He can be reached by calling 442-3698 or by email at: rirving@uamail.albany.edu.

Blog post created by Matthew Laudicina

November 1, 2009

Dewey Workshops: Week of November 2- November 6

There is still time to take a workshop here at Dewey! These workshops can help you become familiar with library resources and services, database searching techniques, and other tips and tricks to help make your library research more efficient. We have several sections of Nonprofit Organizations- Resources offered this week.

Tuesday, November 3:
10:00am: Evidence Based Practice

Wednesday, November 4:
4:30pm: Nonprofit Organizations- Resources

Thursday, November 5:
2:00pm: Nonprofit Organizations- Resources

Friday, November 6:
10:00am: Nonprofit Organizations, Resources

Register for a class using the online registration form, by calling 442-3691, by emailing dewclass@albany.edu, or dropping by in person at the Reference Desk.