Friday, April 3, 2009

More new books

Thanks to the Big Read, I am now famous. Check out the first item in this calendar from the Humanities Council of Washington, DC!

As Gallaudet's newest celebrity, my first endorsement is next week's panel discussion on The Heart is a Lonely Hunter for the Big Read. It's in the G-area in JSAC (where the Starbucks is) at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. Come take part in some good old-fashioned book talk! We'll discuss everything from the characters to deafness and society and explore the layers of meaning in the book. It'll be fun and hopefully enlightening.

Now on to today's subject: books. New ones. Lots of them. Recently arrived with the aroma of fresh binding glue, mixed with newly-crinkled mylar sheaths on the dust jackets.

There's a neat one on spiders, for instance, with lots of lovely color photos. Personally, they give me the heebie-jeebies, but this book managed to make them look fairly friendly and even, I daresay, attractive. A bunch of books on drugs also came through the Service Desk recently, focusing mostly on heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, which are always fun subjects!

But I'm not the best person to go over all the various subjects we cover here in the Library, so today, we're going to bring in the other librarians and their recommendations out of our recent acquisitions along with my own. We'll also be doing a display at the East entrance (by JSAC) with a few of the books listed below; swing on by and check them out!

That was a pun, wasn't it? "Check them out." I'm very sorry. Let's move on. In the following list, all titles are linked to their ALADIN Catalog information.

Diana Gates
Hands of My Father
If you missed Myron Uhlberg’s visit this spring, read his heart-tugging and hilarious memoir about his life as the hearing son of deaf parents--in a world that he found unaccountably beautiful, even as he longed to escape it.

Mysteries of Beethoven’s Hair
Two scientists try to explain Beethoven’s many health problems and his deafness by testing samples of his hair that survived into the 20th century.

Visiom: The Deaf Planet
A children’s story on CD-ROM about a hearing boy who taunts a deaf mainstreamed student; he falls asleep after being sent to the resource room to think about his behavior and wakes up on Visiom, a deaf planet, where he is the special education student.

James Castle: a retrospective
Castle, a deaf artist with almost no communication skills or formal schooling, created his work by using soot and spit. (All items related to James Castle can be found in the Deaf Stacks at 709.2 C378)

Terp on the Line: a novel
In this novel, a CODA interpreter must confront the typical challenges of interpreting--and solve a murder at the same time.

Laura Jacobi
Becoming a woman: a biography of Christine Jorgensen
The first famous, and very glamorous, transsexual person.

Decline of men: how the American male is tuning out, giving up, and flipping off his future
Women are catching up to -- and surpassing -- men in many respects, and it seems as though men are giving up. Is this really the case, and, if so, why?

Finish your dissertation once and for all!: how to overcome psychological barriers, get results, and move on with your life
Fired up! Ready to go!

Guyland: the perilous world where boys become men

The lives of American men between 16 and 26 years of age are studied in an effort to understand how the male gender has been affected by various factors of modern-day society.

Hooking up: sex, dating, and relationships on campus
This book studies the proliferation of one-night-stands and booty calls and how traditional dating seems to be increasingly rare among college students.

Jim McCarthy
Maus I & II
A graphic-novel adaptation of World War II mentioned in some circles with The Diary of Anne Frank and Night; the Jews are depicted as mice, the Nazis as cats.

Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes
A collection of essays about suburbia and its role in American culture, history, art, and architecture.

At the Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition
The spooky story of an ill-fated expedition to the South Pole and the horrors they found there; one of H.P. Lovecraft's seminal works and the intellectual foundation of much of Stephen King's work.

Blonde Roots
An alternate-history tale in which white people were enslaved by black people.

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul
A gorgeous exhibition catalog of historic Afghan artwork hidden away during the Taliban regime.

Patrick Oberholtzer
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
You have heard about his Indian policy but you probably didn’t know about his duels.

Alex & me: how a scientist and a parrot discovered a hidden world of animal intelligence--and formed a deep bond in the process
Learn how an African gray parrot stunned the scientific world.

Black men built the Capitol: discovering African-American history in and around Washington, D.C.
Did you know that the Capitol and White House were built by slave labor?

The gamble: General David Petraeus and the America’s military adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008
Find out all about the surge and what the future of Iraq may be.

American Mafia: a history of its rise to power
The history of organized crime over the last 120 years is featured.

Jane Rutherford
Online social networking on campus: understanding what matters in student culture

How do college students use various social networking sites (such as Facebook)? Find out how some college administrators view these sites.

Comprehending Columbine

Learn all about the Columbine shootings … the most famous case of school violence.

The house in the night
This is the 2009 winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal presented by the American Library Association to the artist of the “most distinguished American picture book for children.”

The graveyard book
Another award winning book as chosen by the American Library Association. This one is the 2009 Newbery Medal winner for the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

Is it safe?: protecting your computer, your business, and yourself online
Identity theft … spam … fraud … online predators … computer viruses. Learn how to protect yourself from these threats.

As you can see, we cover a ton of interesting subjects and although these books are very good, they aren't the only ones here. The stacks are worth at least an hour of browsing through!

Next week, you'll learn that the Library doesn't just have computers -- we have a whole range of equipment available for you -- and you'll find out where various useful things are located and how you can use them.

Question of the Week
When I look in the ALADIN Catalog for old residential school newspapers, I see a lot of records with the word "microform" in them. What does it mean, where can I find it, and what do I have to know before I use it?
The word "microform" is a general term, kind of like "fruit" -- apples and oranges are two different kinds of fruit, for example. Here at the Library, we have two kinds of microforms: microfilm and microfiche. They work on similar principles but look a little different.

A microform is a photographic reproduction of a document on a film, which is usually made of some kind of plastic. The image is much smaller than the original, which helps save storage space. The only caveat is that you need special machines to read something in microform.

Microfilm is essentially a long tape that can hold many pages, while microfiche looks like a plastic card about the same size as a large index card, and holds fewer pages. In our Library, we use microfiche mostly for documents from ERIC, a government-run education database. The microfiche documents are arranged by ERIC numbers, which start with ED (for "ERIC document"), and they are located in large yellow cabinets downstairs by the periodicals. Fortunately, all ERIC documents produced after 1997 as well as some earlier documents are available electronically (see the ERIC database in ALADIN).

Microfilm is used in our Library to store readable copies of deaf-related dissertations and other documents. The dissertations are arranged by special four-digit numbers that we assign to them, plus the year (like 1356 1987), which you can find in ALADIN. The other documents are all deaf-related and are mostly residential school newspapers and other publications. Those are arranged alphabetically by title, then by the date published. All microfilm documents are contained in individual boxes that are labeled with information about what's on the film inside it, so it's very easy to browse for, for example, a copy of the Arizona Cactus from 1996. You can find microfilms in big orange cabinets between the index shelves and deaf periodicals on the first floor.

In order to read either microfiche or microfilm, you will need a microform reader; those are the three gray machines with big screens on the first floor by the computers. Loading microfilm into one of those machines can be a little tricky, so if you're not familiar with it, please feel free to ask a librarian for help! In addition, you can print from microform; all three of our readers have printers that can print out what you see on the screen. Printing is very similar to making a photocopy, so a copy card is required to print anything out from a microform reader. The same price applies: 10 cents per page.

Microform resources themselves are not electronic; you can't do a quick search to find the precise location of the information you need. However, some of the dissertations and periodicals that we have on microform are also available electronically.

The truth is, microfiche and microfilm are increasingly outdated formats. The Library recognizes this, and we are in the process of digitizing our microform collection so that it will be more accessible to Gallaudet students and faculty members, as well as researchers around the world. For example, the first 20 published volumes (1847-1875) of American Annals of the Deaf is now available online.

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