The Government Shutdown and Your Students’ Research

October 3, 2013

When the federal government shut down on Tuesday, some important research sites became unavailable. Among the sites that have gone dark:

Dear Users, Due to a lapse of appropriations and the partial shutdown of the Federal Government, the systems that host have been shut down. Services will be restored as soon as a continuing resolution to provide funding has been enacted.

What the National Center for Education Statistics website currently looks like.

In the library we frequently encourage students to go to these sites to support their arguments when writing papers and preparing oral presentations. In particular it is difficult to find substitutes for the vast amount of statistical data the federal government collects and makes available to the public.

We do have a couple alternative strategies to suggest.

First, we recently started a subscription to the ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States. The Statistical Abstract used to be a government publication, provided for free on the Web until it was defunded a couple years ago. Ironically, librarians loudly opposed its privatization, but if it were still public it may well have gone dark this week. Please recommend it to your students, and we will do the same. You can find it on the Research Databases page.

Second, some of the above sites are still partially accessible via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Enter e.g. in the input box, select a recent date, and you will be able to get to some of the content. Be warned: at times you may get redirected to the current shutdown page, so this might be a frustrating experience.

But who isn’t frustrated by this whole thing?

D2L Workshops for Students – All You Need to Succeed

September 30, 2013

Students, have you reached your last nerve when it comes to figuring out what going on with the “new and improved” on-line management of D2L (Desire2Learn)?

Well, stress no more; there IS a light at the end of the tunnel if you come to one of our D2L workshops this month, and learn to successfully navigate the new D2L Toolbar featuring:

  • My Home
  • Course Home
  • Content Outline
  • Dropbox
  • Discussions

Through hands-on instruction, learn how to use these tools to successfully complete your D2L coursework!


If you have questions about the workshop schedule, please call Johni at 558-2461, or email me.

Here’s to our success with the new on-line learning environment of D2L, and hope to see you there!!

Curious about the Future of Libraries?

April 30, 2013

There’s nearly always something about libraries in the news.  This article stood out because librarians are often asked what we think about the future of books, reading, and libraries.

A New York Times opinion piece asks “Do School Libraries Need Books?”  The article offers a variety of viewpoints - not at all limited to school libraries – from a school headmaster, an associate professor of English at the University of Maryland, a former high school English Teacher, and a couple of authors concerned with life in the digital age.

Here are a couple of excerpts that may provoke reflection about college students and reading:

“…knowledge is proximate. In the digital world, that proximity is less about geographical locale than about licensing, digital rights management, and affordability; but all the more reason for students (and teachers) to know that not everything is always within reach of a mouse.”

“The digital natives in our schools need to have the experience of getting lost in a physical book, not only for the pure pleasure but also as a way to develop their attention spans, ability to concentrate, and the skill of engaging with a complex issue or idea for an uninterrupted period of time.”

“…the fact that books are not connected to the electronic grid is becoming their greatest asset. They’re a space apart, a private place away from the inbox where we can go to quiet our minds and reflect.”

Read the article and add your comments here.

Books, Computers, Librarians, Apps? What Do You Want from Your Library?

January 24, 2013

A survey of public library patrons finds that they “are eager to see libraries’ digital services expand, yet also feel that print books remain important in the digital age.”

Read about the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project survey of public library patrons:  Library Services in the Digital Age.

What do you want from your SCC library?

Student Ambassadors Rock the Library

January 27, 2012

SCC student ambassadors Vivian Bui, Joseph Crenshaw, Angelica Duran, Natalie Medina, Donald Peat, and Shinesh Prasad have made a powerful contribution to the early success of their peers these first 2 weeks, helping the new kids find call numbers for their textbooks, add courses with permission numbers, print from D2L, search for classroom locations, manage cranky copy machines, and change eservices passwords.  Then they brought brownies! It doesn’t get any better.

New students seemed especially happy to get help from their peers.  Brilliant program.

Sinesh fixes the printer

Shinesh fixes the printer with the wave of a hand.

New York Times: Still free to you

March 28, 2011

New York TimesThe paywall went up today. The new limits in summary:  20 free articles a week, and 5 clicks a day from search engine results. The truck-sized loophole: links coming from outside sources (blogs, Facebook, etc.) will always work.

Plenty of people are weighing in on the big questions: Will people pay for quality journalism?  Will people simply skip the Times in favor of free sources?

But much of the discussion has focused on workarounds, ranging from four lines of code to Twitter accounts that systematically link to every article. Has the Times designed its paywall to catch only its “most loyal and most stupid” readers?

This may be a good time to remember that current SCC students, faculty and staff can always get the Times for free via the library databases. You will find a link on our databases page that allows you to get full-text articles from 1985-present using the EBSCOhost interface. Or, for more complete coverage, try LexisNexis Academic. Or, if you prefer to turn the pages, we have the most recent six months of the paper in the Periodicals section of the library.

If you’re having trouble finding anything, please get in touch with a librarian and we’ll do our best to get it for you!

Library Helps Students Get to Work

November 23, 2010

The SCC library can connect your students to books, media, articles, and websites that will help them prepare for careers in many fields.  Here’s the tip of the iceberg.

A few books (from a list of 640 titles!)  To find more, search LOIS, the library catalog, for “vocational guidance.”  (Watch a video on LOIS).

Search LOIS for media by adding the Media limiter to your keyword search for “vocational guidance.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Register to Vote in the June 8 Election

April 16, 2010

Faculty, staff, students: Are you registered to vote?  Have you changed your address since your last voter registration?  Changed your name?  Changed your political party affiliation?

“Yes” to any question means you must register or re-register by May 24 to vote in the June 8 Statewide Direct Primary Election.

The Easy Voter Guide Project links you to answers about voter registration.  You can pick up a voter registration form at most public libraries, post offices, DMV offices, social service agencies, and at your county elections office.  You can also call 1-800-345-8683 to have a form mailed to you.  Registration forms are available online from the California Secretary of State’s elections webpage.

Find more information about the candidates for statewide office and about propositions 13 through 17 on the June 8 primary ballot in the downloadable Easy Voter Guide, also available in hard copy in the SCC library.

The Easy Voter Guide Project is managed by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.Voter Button

Library Adds Thousands of Ebooks

March 12, 2010

Cover of Video Game Spaces: Image, Play, and Structure in 3D Worlds Michael NitscheThe SCC library just added 3174 titles to the ebook collection, bringing the total number of ebooks in the library catalog to over 18,000.  These run the gamut of disciplines, with lots of scholarly titles.  Browse the list and see for yourself.  The list is sorted by call number, but call numbers correspond to subjects.  Find call numbers for your subjects.

A few notes about these ebooks:

  • Access ebooks from home 24/7, just like the subscription databases.
  • Search for e-books using the LOIS catalog.  A LOIS search will also bring up older ebooks.
  • Watch our video to see how to limit your LOIS search to e-books.
  • Update your web browser and Adobe Reader for best viewing.
  • Ebooks are generally read online, although you can print a limited number of pages at a time, per publisher restrictions.
  • If you get a “not available” message, just wait a bit till another user takes a break and closes the ebook.

Kindle and its cousins offer a different kind of ebook experience, as well as content more suited for entertainment.  We’ve got a Reader article on that..  Several recent magazine articles cover the handhelds; here’s one from Academic Search Premier (library database).  If you have one, bring it to the library to show it off!

Second Life: Virtually Abandoned?

February 18, 2010

Virtual classrooms, such as those in Second Life, probably aren’t going away any time soon, but colleges that use Second Life are increasingly hosting their own rival environments, according to recent news from The Chronicle of Higher Education.   Instructors want more control than Second Life allows as well as fewer problems with clumsy avatars, inconvenient obstacles, vandalism, and random inappropriate activities.

Led by researchers at Duke University, Open Cobalt plans an initial release of its teacher-friendly virtual world in April.  Open Cobalt will store data on your computer, reducing worry about a host going out of business.  View Open Cobalt in action.

OpenSimulator provides another alternative, although similar to Second Life.  Colleges can host their own world, rent access from an intermediary, or score free “land” from the non-profit Immersive Education Initiative.   OpenSimulator allows in instructors to limit access to students.

Image from OpenSimulator

In response to these challengers, Second Life’s owner, Linden Lab, is designing a virtual world that will better meet teacher’s requirements.

But are virtual classrooms even here to stay?  How might they be improved to provide value?  Are there better ways to harness the power of the Web for education?   Take the poll and leave your comments below.

Read more:  “After Frustrations in Second Life, Colleges Look to New Virtual Worlds.”  Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 14, 2010.


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