Library News Blog
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
The Library provides access to a large collection of resources useful for researching controversial issues: research reports, reference materials, ebooks, periodical articles, editorials, speeches, public opinion polls, and multimedia files. The following is a list of selected databases that cover current events and controversial issues.
CQ Researcher Plus Archive is composed of over 3,600 research reports, which provide in-depth analysis of timely issues in the areas of health, social trends, criminal justice, education, the environment, science and technology, international affairs, and the economy. Written by experienced journalists, each report features an article overview, extensive discussion and background information, a chronology, pro/con debates, an outlook for the future, and a bibliography. Dating back to 1923, reports can be studied historically as the database tracks issues published in reports from earlier years.
Opposing Viewpoints in Context is another full-text database covering a wide range of issues. Topics are arranged under broad subject headings such as “business and economics,” “health and medicine,” “society and culture,” or “law and politics.” Many types of content are available in this multifaceted, multi-disciplinary database, including pro/con viewpoint essays, topic and court case overviews, agency profiles, national and global news sources, academic journal and magazine articles, primary sources, images, videos, podcasts, multimedia files, interactive maps, statistical information, and links to websites.
Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) consists of hundreds of online reference books, spanning sources in art, literature, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, as well as medicine and law. Articles on contemporary issues can be found in numerous subject encyclopedias, with titles including encyclopedias of American social issues, American immigration, bioethics, cybercrime, climate change, environment, homelessness, law enforcement, media violence, and social problems. This database also features reference handbooks and other full-length online reference (or e-reference) books, which are often published as books in a series (Contemporary World Issues Series, Information Plus Reference Series). Online reference titles include books on abortion, capital punishment, gun control, marijuana, and women and crime.
In contrast to GVRL, Academic Search Complete primarily contains academic journal and other periodical articles, including full-text access to more than 7,850 peer-reviewed journals in over 20 academic fields. Research studies in scholarly journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities impart excellent background information on a wide range of issues. Other sources available in this database include Congressional Digest, an independent, impartial publication that summarizes key arguments for and against current issues before Congress, and Vital Speeches of the Day, which reproduces major speeches given by modern leaders. Among its collection of magazines, e.g. Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Atlantic, Mother Jones, Harper’s, The Nation, Commentary, National Review, some titles aim to be objective regarding current affairs, while others are openly opinionated, representing well-delineated liberal or conservative viewpoints.
LexisNexis Academic is a premier database well known for its extensive collection of legal, news, business, and reference sources. Supreme Court decisions and law review articles can be applied to pro and con research, as court cases often begin as controversial issues in the news. The Gallup Poll News Service analyzes findings from public opinion polls. A wide range of news sources is available in the database. Containing over 3,000 local, regional, national, and international newspapers, the full text newspaper collection is especially notable.
Using editorials and opinion pieces published in multiple newspapers, researchers can identify and examine different points-of-view. Along with LexisNexis Academic, two library databases recommended for these types of comparisons are the Wall Street Journal Database (Proquest), containing one very influential newspaper, and Ethnic NewsWatch, containing more than 200 ethnic, minority and native newspapers, magazines and journals. Topics, such as affirmative action, the Dream Act, police use of force, racial profiling, and raising the minimum wage, may highlight differences between mainstream newspapers and the minority press, between publications originating in different geographical regions, or between titles promoting opposing political philosophies.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:24pm
A brief history of federated & web-scale search in the library
From the Fall 2014 Newsletter
The Lloyd Sealy Library, with considerable help from CUNY, currently provides access to over 200 databases, multiple ebook collections, six streaming video collections, and over 80,000 online journals; not to mention the millions of books listed in the CUNY online library catalog (CUNY+). Students (and faculty, too) are understandably bewildered by this surfeit of riches. Give me a single search box, they cry, let me put some words in it, and out should come the books and articles that I need to write my paper.
Twenty years ago that was a ridiculous idea, but since the rise of the Google search engine, the general public has learned that they can, in fact, just put a term into a search box and pretty much all the time get the information they want. Why can’t this happen in the world of scholarly writing?
Actually, to a certain extent, it can. Library publishers and database vendors have been experimenting with this idea since the middle of the last decade. “Federated search” engines were developed, which let users enter search terms that were then turned into queries sent to multiple distinct databases at the same time. The Lloyd Sealy Library subscribed to such a federated search service beginning in 2009; we called it “Hound Hunt.” Federated search was slow and clunky; results were incomplete; there were duplicated results; and extra clicks were needed to finally get to the full text of the article. Hound Hunt lasted until summer 2013, but it never really took off in popularity at John Jay:
The Library community knew that a more “Google-like” experience was needed, and a number of library vendors developed “web-scale discovery services.” Instead of a search bot performing separate searches on multiple different databases, publishers and databases vendors agreed to contribute their metadata to huge merged indexes which could be searched quickly and painlessly via a “discovery” layer that then displays results in a user-friendly and intuitive manner, leading seamlessly to the full text of articles, books and even media. Anticipating that the CUNY libraries would be moving to a discovery service offered by the vendor of our online catalog, but knowing that this service was at least a year away, the Lloyd Sealy Library, with the help of Student Technology Fee funds, subscribed to the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) beginning in August 2013. Our users immediately found this search to be faster, easier and more rewarding, as the following usage figures reveal:
The EDS service did not search the books listed in CUNY+, unfortunately, performing searches only on the combined indexes of multiple article databases. But the CUNY Office of Library Services has now begun implementing the Primo Discovery Service, which can search multiple databases plus CUNY+ all at once. The CUNY implementation of Primo, named CUNY OneSearch, is now available in beta form on the Library website. Try experimenting with OneSearch (also available as a tab on the Library’s home page).
More information about OneSearch will be forthcoming on the Library website and in the Spring 2015 issue of Classified Information.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:20pm
A selection of videos from Films on Demand
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
The demand for digital content anytime from anywhere continues to increase. The Library is doing its part to keep up with this demand. It provides 24/7 access to over 225 databases through its website, including access to a growing collection of streaming videos. Currently, you can watch over 25,000 streaming videos in subject areas across John Jay’s curriculum.
These streaming videos, which allow for unlimited 24/7 access, include embed codes and links, making it easy to include them in course syllabi and other course management tools like Blackboard. Each collection has a user-friendly interface that allows you to browse or search by title, discipline, historical event, therapeutic approach, cultural group or other criteria depending on the nature of the content.
Listed below are the databases containing these streaming videos and the top five titles accessed by the John Jay community in the past year.
- The Great Depression
- Columbia Revolt
- Minik: The Lost Eskimo
- Thurgood Marshall: And Justice for All
- The Abused Woman: A Survivor Therapy Approach
- Time Limited Dynamic Psychotherapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Feminist Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Interpersonal Process Recall
- Children Who Kill
- Predicting Criminality
- Cincinnati White Castle Incident
- Crime and Death Scene Response
- Kids Behind Bars
- First Contact
- The Nuer
- The Ax Fight
- Dead Birds
- Eunuchs: India’s Third Gender
- Anita Hill vs. Clarence Thomas
- The Mind of a Killer: Case Study of a Murderer
- Effective Internet Search: Basic Tools and Advanced Strategies
- Eyewitness: What Actually Happened?
- Come Together: Ancient Worlds
- Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio
- The Gift
- The Universe of Battle
- Destination America: The People and Cultures That Created a Nation
- Huey Long
- Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment
- Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory: An Introduction
- How Happy Can You Be?
- People to People
To find a streaming video that meets your needs, follow the links above or go to the Library’s home page and select one of these collections from the list of databases by title. A large proportion of the library’s streaming videos can only by found by searching the individual collections, that is, individual titles/names are not represented anywhere else. Once in the collection, use the unique tools on each interface to browse or search for content.
Make sure that links are proxied. If you wish to link to any of these videos in course materials, please keep in mind that access to database content licensed by the Library is possible from outside the college only through the Library’s proxy server. The proxy server ensures access for all John Jay students, faculty and staff by requiring them to sign in using their John Jay email user ID and password. If you copy a link when you are off campus, the proxy server address (ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu) should appear somewhere in the link.
For links that do not contain the proxy server address (which is often but not always the case if a link is copied while on campus), the library proxy server prefix address: http://ez.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/login?url= should be added before the permanent URL. Be sure to test any links before sharing them! Please email Prof. Maureen Richards if you encounter any problems linking to content.
For more information about the library’s video collection, freely available streaming videos or how to reserve any of the Library’s videos on DVD or VHS, visit the Videos subject guide.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 1:11pm
Update July 2016: Due to restricted budgets, the library has had to make difficult decisions about our database offerings and will no longer subscribe to Rosetta Stone. We regret any inconvenience this causes.
Archived article from the Fall 2014 Newsletter
Whether you are currently enrolled in a foreign language class, always wanted to learn another language, or would like to engage with confidence in multilingual settings at home or abroad, now you have one more tool to help achieve your goals. Anyone with a current John Jay email address can use the Rosetta Stone Library Solution through the Lloyd Sealy Library website to study the following languages:
- English (UK & US)
- Spanish (Latin America & Spain)
Key features include:
- 50 hours of foundational instruction
- Core lessons to build reading, writing, speaking and listening skills
- Focused activities to refine grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation
When you are ready to get started, access Rosetta Stone from any device by going to the library website and selecting Rosetta Stone from the dropdown menu of popular databases, or find it on the list of database titles. If you are new to Rosetta Stone, click on the “First Time Users” link to make sure your device has the necessary resources to run Rosetta Stone. Next, click on “Launch Rosetta Stone” to start learning.
Once you have set up your account, you can continue building your language skills anytime and anywhere you have internet access by returning to the library website’s link to Rosetta Stone and entering the email and password you used to create your account.
Please keep in mind that although you can access your account from all types of devices through a web browser—including smartphones and tablets—you must always sign in through the link on the library website. You cannot access this product through apps.
Enjoy, and please contact Prof. Maureen Richards if you have questions or need assistance.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:59pm
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
This year the Library began subscribing to Psychological Experiments Online, a multimedia collection of documents and videos covering famous experiments in psychology, such as the Stanford Prison Experiment and experiments on conformity and obedience to authority. The collection contains 51 streaming videos totaling 37 hours of viewing time. Videos include lectures, presentations, documentaries, experiment footage and interviews. Notable video titles include Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment and Obedience. Some videos are conveniently divided into themed sections which allow a quick and easy navigation. Others include a running transcript. The collection also consists of 538 books and documents totaling over 36,000 pages of content. Documents include reference titles such as Classic Experiments in Psychology, instructional materials and journal articles.
The collection can be searched using the simple keyword search box on the introductory screen or the advanced search screen where users can enter the name of a psychologist, experiment or methodology. Results can be filtered by format (text, video, etc.), content type (documentary, reference, instructional materials, interview, article), and methodology (observation methods, experiment design, and so on). Results can be saved on the Alexander Street Press’s platform and shared through social networking sites and email. Permanent links accompany each item in the collection and citations can be exported to various citation management tools.
Professors have mentioned that Psychological Experiments Online has been useful in classes such as Theories of Personality (PSY 353) and Correctional Psychology (PSY 272, 373). Videos can be assigned prior to class for later classroom discussion or they can be screened in class.
If you have any questions about Psychological Experiments Online, please contact the Electronic Resources Librarian, Prof. Maureen Richards.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:52pm
From the Fall 2014 Newsletter
On the first day of classes, people stopped to behold a brand-new addition to their morning commute. Inside Haaren Hall, at the foot of the busiest escalators on campus, a gleaming white wall adorned with glossy mounted photographs stretched the length of the lobby. All along the walkway, students and faculty of today gazed at the students and faculty of yesteryear—sometimes looking at their younger selves, sometimes seeing the old John Jay campus for the first time.
This is the 50 Years of Educating for Justice exhibit, created and curated by the 50th Anniversary Exhibit Committee, which starred two John Jay librarians, Professor Ellen Sexton (then the Interim Special Collections Librarian) and Robin Davis (Emerging Technologies & Distance Services Librarian), alongside Distinguished Professor Gerald Markowitz (History), Professor Fritz Umbach (History), and Professor Claudia Calirman (Art), in consultation with Bill Pangburn (Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery).
The exhibit’s opening ceremony was held on Tuesday, Sept. 2, with thoughtful remarks from President Jeremy Travis, Prof. Markowitz, and Prof. Calirman. The exhibit will remain in Haaren Hall until next fall.
The contextual essays for each section of the exhibit were written by students with the help of Prof. Markowitz’s book, Educating for Justice, which details the rich and tumultuous history of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. (We hold 10 copies of this book in the Library. The most recent edition can be found in the Stacks with the call number LD2602 .J32 M37 2008.) The images in the exhibit are all from the John Jay College Archives in the Special Collections, curated collaboratively from the archival materials selected by Prof. Sexton and Prof. Tania Colmant-Donabedian, using materials arranged by Special Collections Librarian Prof. Ellen Belcher. Except for scans of newspaper articles, all of the images used in the exhibit are viewable in the Digital Collections. The exhibit itself, complete with the essays, is available online in the Digital Collections.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:48pm
From the Fall 2014 Newsletter
Got a quick question? Get a quick response! The Lloyd Sealy Library launched a new chat reference service this semester. We offer patrons real-time, one-on-one interactions with librarians through our website, accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
In the first two months of chat reference, we had 111 questions from the John Jay community, mostly students. Questions ranged from “How do I look up court cases?” to “I need a book on Reserve” to “Where would I find empirical research articles?” We responded in under 1 minute to 73% of chat questions, and under 2 minutes for 87%. Now that’s service!
Chat reference is always staffed by John Jay librarians, unlike many other library chat services—so you always know there’s a John Jay expert on the other end. We use LibraryH3lp software, which is well-supported across browsers and operating systems.
We offer chat reference Mon–Thurs, 11am–5pm, during the busiest times of the day in the library building and on the library website. Chat is part of the suite of communication channels we offer the John Jay community, alongside email, phone, text (SMS), and, of course, the Reference Desk on the upper floor of the Library.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:44pm
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
The legal battles over reserves continue to play out in the Georgia courts. Georgia State University was sued by publishers in 2008 for “pervasive, flagrant and ongoing unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials” through the library’s e-reserve system. The university revised its policies, but the case went ahead. On May 11, 2012, Judge Evans in the District Court of Northern Georgia made a ruling sympathetic to the University, finding only a small number of violations and setting out specific guidelines to be used in evaluating fair use of copyrighted material. Her ruling was appealed by the Oxford University Press to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on October 17, 2014, reversing the decision in the favor of the publisher and remanding the case back to the District Court.
Many commentators have been assessing what the latest ruling means for library reserves services. The decision has weakened considerably the relevance of the 1976 “Classroom guidelines,” to the point where many observers say they are useless. However the decision reiterated the importance of the “four factors” we consider in deciding whether or not our copying of materials is fair. These four factors are written into Federal copyright law, Section 107 of title 17, U. S. Code:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
- The nature of the copyrighted work
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
At the Lloyd Sealy Library, we continue to follow the Georgia State University case, as do libraries across the country. As the Minnesota-based copyright librarian Nancy Sims points out in her blog, “It may also be worth remembering that none of this legal interpretation is binding law outside of the 11th Circuit (Alabama, Florida, Georgia). In other states, we can look to these opinions for guidance, but we can also explore different paths.”
- Starr, M. GSU Library Copyright Lawsuit.
- Sims, N. (2014). 11th Circuit Rules On Georgia State Fair Use Case.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:41pm
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
For the second year in a row, the Lloyd Sealy Library doubled as a Time-Traveling Detective Agency to solve a cold case using real historical sources. Forty-five first-year students worked in 17 teams to solve the Murder Mystery Challenge, led by Peer Mentors from the Student Academic Success Programs (SASP). The teams built up their library research skills as they solved each clue—finding a 1921 New York Times article about a Midtown murder, for example, or hunting down a book in the stacks by call number. Student feedback rated the activity highly. Responding to the survey afterward, one student wrote, “It was a fun and educational experience, although I think having the Challenge in the library might have possibly distracted other students at the library by piquing their curiosity as to what we were up to!” Another student wrote that she wished the Challenge had more clues. On a scale of 1-4, students rate the fun level as a 3.75.More importantly, students reported that they learned library skills—“I learned how to navigate the library,” “I learned how to do an APA citation,” and so on—and the work they turned in supports their claim.
Basic library research skills were covered: finding a newspaper article; finding a scholarly article; finding a source in the article’s footnotes; searching for a book in the library catalog; finding the book in the stacks; and citing a book correctly in APA format. In addition, bonus questions asked students to find a secret message hidden within the APA citation and to post photos on various social media channels of their team looking “sleuthy” with Lil Jay. (See photos at left.) In total, the most points students could get was 125. Eleven teams scored over 100 points — not bad for junior gumshoes! We awarded prizes to the top 3 tiers of the point spread. Prizes included Amazon gift cards, a VIP lunch in the Faculty Lounge, Starbucks cards, movie passes, and New York Times swag.
This fall’s Murder Mystery Challenge was an improved version of last year’s. Revisions were based student feedback. In 2013, students felt the Challenge relied too much on using computers, as they had to read clues on a special website, find information online, and input their answers in a page-by-page web form. This year, the clues and answer fields were included in a colorful printed packet, along with some “hint” materials, like a map of the library. As with most library research in the 21st century, many clues did instruct the students to find information online—but encouraged the students to take turns at the computer. Using a paper packet felt more like completing a scavenger hunt than filling out a form. In addition, teams had 4-5 students last year, but some students felt left out because there wasn’t enough for everyone to do. So this time around, students worked in teams of 2-3, which created a more intimate and intense setting for team learning.
The Murder Mystery Challenge was created as an event for first-years in partnership with SASP. It was organized by Robin Davis, Marta Bladek, Nancy Yang (SASP), and Shelley Germana (SASP). Robin Davis wrote the Challenge using a real 1922 trial transcript held in the library, and prizes were sponsored by the Faculty-Student Engagement grants from the Division of Student Affairs, paid for through the Student Activity Fee and with support from the Office of Student Life.
Keep an eye out next fall for the Murder Mystery Challenge!
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:39pm
From the Fall 2014 newsletter
This fall, the Library classroom has undergone some major changes. A new projection system that includes four interactive whiteboards, along with the comfortable new chairs, will definitely improve the learning experience of students. The 36-seat classroom is mostly used for library classes and workshops taught for courses for which students are required to complete an extensive research project. While 100-level sessions introduce students to the academic library and basic searching principles, higher-level sessions aim to prepare students to undertake more complex projects involving specialized resources within and beyond the Library. Now, freshmen and seniors alike will get to learn about the wealth of information sources in a visually attractive setting that allows for a more engaging, interactive instruction, well suited to the increasingly multimedia-rich content of library databases.
The interactive whiteboards, a high-quality projector, and sound system were purchased with Tech Fee funds. After the Library’s proposal had been accepted, we thoroughly researched vendors and their products, making multiple site visits to assess available systems prior to purchasing. CLSS Director Raymond Jiggetts provided his expertise and feedback all along; he also oversaw the installation itself.
The model we ultimately chose accommodates a variety of teaching styles: because the interactive features are optional, it supports the more traditional instruction methods while also allowing for more experimental kinds of classes. All librarians have been trained in using the new boards and their fall semester workshops have benefited from this new technology.
Thanks to the Office Planning and Capital Projects, we have been able to complement the projection/sound update with the addition of bright new chairs. Exchanging our old, well-worn chairs with new ones wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Holly Kallman, Sara Cuya, and Kishel John, who guided us through the process, assisted in the chair selection, communicated with vendors and oversaw the delivery. We are grateful for all their help.
Posted Monday, December 15, 2014 - 12:35pm