Friday, March 6, 2009

Movies, events, and articles, oh my

This week certainly got off on an interesting footing, what with the snowstorm and all. Still, Chapel Hall looked lovely amidst the large flakes of snow falling around it -- or plastering it when the wind got a little feisty.

Anyway, what's new this week?

First, we just got a bunch of new DVDs in. Here's what you can look forward to:

Two new Superman movies
A few zombie flicks, including 28 Days Later, its sequel 28 Weeks Later, and Shaun of the Dead -- to go with Evil Dead and Army of Darkness
Some updates to our family-friendly collection, including both older and newer versions of Yours, Mine, and Ours, as well as Cheaper by the Dozen, Kung Fu Panda, and Wall-E
A couple nice adventure movies, like The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Gladiator, and Enchanted
A brief update to our Quentin Tarantino collection, including Death Proof and both Kill Bill movies

... as well as many more. These aren't the only new movies; we got quite a few more in a couple of weeks ago, which are now on the shelves, including the Sex and the City movie and some relics from a more civilized age, like Clueless and Sixteen Candles.

Aside from the new DVDs, we also have a new display up by the west entrance (the doors by the Mary Thornberry building) for the Big Read D.C. If you haven't heard of it yet, it's a nationwide program where each city picks one book to read, then they host a month's worth of fun activities based on that book.

We're excited about this because this year, they picked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which is an absolute classic in Deaf literature. It's also really depressing -- and a good read. It's about this Deaf guy whose best friend -- the only other Deaf person he knows -- gets taken away, leaving him alone in a little town full of hearing people during the Great Depression. Four townspeople start visiting him so they can pour out all their secrets and feelings without being embarrassed, because he can't hear or understand them; he mostly just sits there while these people talk to thin air for hours on end. This isn't really a fun way for anyone to spend their time, especially for a smart Deaf guy who also happens to be incredibly isolated.

I always thought it was an unusually sympathetic treatment of a Deaf character for its era, and I'm thrilled to see that the entire city of Washington, D.C. is focused on this book this spring.

So, the display. We have approximately sixteen billion copies of Lonely Hunter (which seem to be going quickly), plus a few biographies of Carson McCullers, the eminently fascinating woman who wrote the book. We're also giving out bookmarks, reader's guides to the book, and flyers for a panel discussion we're hosting in April.

The panel discussion is going to be really neat, so save the date: April 7, 4-5 p.m., in the G-area of the JSAC (where Starbucks is). We'll have Deaf people discussing the book and what it means to them and Deaf culture in general. We're also calling for volunteers to participate in the panel, so if you're interested in throwing in your two cents about the book, come find me in MLC 1304 by the Deaf School Yearbooks, at the Service Desk in the Library, or e-mail me at We'll be giving free gift certificates to the Bison Shop to anyone who sits on the panel! Useful if you're in need of Gallaudet-branded umbrellas, sweaters, lanyards, vehicles, animals, plants, or beer-bottle openers.

That about wraps it up for this week. Next week will be our first librarian profile!

Question of the Week
My instructor wants me to find sources for a research paper, but she said they have to be peer-reviewed journal articles. What does "peer-reviewed" mean and why does it matter? How do I find peer-reviewed articles?
A lot of times, academic journals require peer review for new articles. What this means is that when an article is submitted to a journal, it has to go through a process where other experts in the same field read it and decide whether or not it's a good article. That decision depends on questions like: Is it well-researched? Are the methods consistently applied? Are the basic principles of the article accurate according to the reviewer's knowledge of the subject? Is the article as neutral as possible, or does the author seem to personally prefer one conclusion over another?

This is important because it's a quality-control process, which means only good, strong articles that are accurate, well-researched, and consistent are published. Because of that, you can trust those articles because you know the author didn't just make up a bunch of big words that sound nice together. Peer-reviewed articles can also be called "scholarly" articles because they're very high-quality works that are appropriate for use by scholars (like you!) in their academic research.

You can find peer-reviewed articles in most of our e-journal databases. When you search for articles, you will usually see a little box under the search box that says something like "Scholarly journals, including peer-reviewed" in ProQuest Research Library or "Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals" in Ebscohost: Academic Search Premier; the database will let you put a little check mark in that box so that only high-quality articles appear in your search results. You may need to hunt around for that little box if you're not familiar with the database you're using, but it's always worth the effort!

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