Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Have you ever wanted to learn to use EndNote? The WSU Libraries can help! Check out our line up of Spring Semester EndNote classes.

All classes are held in the Holland 105 computer lab. Please register ahead of time through HRS.

For instructions on how to register go to: http://hrs.wsu.edu/Library Instruction Page
or call 335-4521 or email: hrstraining@wsu.edu.

For more information on class content, contact scales@wsu.edu.


Tuesday: 3/29/2011 @ 10:00-12:00
EndNote: Beginners Class

Tuesday: 4/5/2011 @ 1:00-3:00
EndNote: Using Databases with EndNote

Tuesday: 4/12/2011 @ 10:00-12:00
EndNote: Cite While You Write

Tuesday: 4/19/2011 @ 1:00-3:00
EndNote: Open Workshop

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the Un-Cool Soapbox with Huckleberry Finn

As everyone has no doubt heard by now, a new edition of Huckleberry Finn is eliminating the N word (and also an I word, though the replacement of "injun" with Indian hasn't been discussed nearly as much).

I could talk about the dangers of ignoring the past, of sweeping the uglier parts of U.S. history under the rug, or even of teaching certain "classics" to grade school students who may not be ready to explore the themes of those novels.

But I think that the heart of why I cringe at the bowdlerization of Twain's novel is that I was once faced, in my pre-librarian life, with a class of drama students, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and a group of white students who were going to act out a scene from the play involving the N word. There were black students in my class, too, and a few of them approached me about feeling very (very) uncomfortable with this. The white students weren't swimming in comfort, either. I was a TA, and a novice; I was scared. But the days of discussion we had in that classroom before the scene was acted out probably comprised the best and most meaningful classroom experience I've ever had. We talked about language and power, about language appropriation and re-appropriation, about history and exploitation and music and about how Wilson brought these issues into focus in his play. Perhaps most importantly, we discussed what we all needed and wanted to do with that history and language now, in our own lives. And you know what? The answer wasn't to ignore the fact that all of this history had happened.

My students and I learned a lot that wasn't only valuable for understanding American theater. But it almost didn't happen. I almost didn't teach the play, almost avoided the scene, almost excused myself because of my inexperience and fear. It would have been much, much easier, and would have felt much safer. And that's why the "new" version of Huckleberry Finn makes me want to scream. It's just so easy to give into the fear of facing and discussing painful issues. It's just too damned easy to deny ourselves real and valuable learning, to try (and fail, incidentally) to whitewash history, and to let the looming issues of racism and language become more looming by feeding them with fear and avoidance. And we need novels like Huck Finn (and plays like August Wilson wrote) to remind us that it really isn't easy and that it's not supposed to be easy but that we need to have these discussions anyway.

Off my soapbox now, but, seriously, I thought we knew better than this.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Books in Women's Studies

Happy almost-New Year! Here are links to the most recent new books list for Women's Studies at the WSU Libraries.

From the Women's Studies LibGuide: http://libguides.wsulibs.wsu.edu/content.php?pid=87466&sid=838124
*Tip* You will also find older new book lists on this LibGuide page.

The list is also available from WSU WorldCat: http://washingtonstate.worldcat.org/profiles/eacarlson/lists/2187021

If you have Women's Studies titles to recommend, please let me know. I'm always glad to receive suggestions.

New Books in Anthropology and Archaeology

Here are links to the last new books list of the calendar year for Anthropology and Archaeology at the WSU Libraries. Look for more new books lists in 2011!

From the Anthropology LibGuide: http://libguides.wsulibs.wsu.edu/content.php?pid=88408&sid=842267
*Tip* You will also find older new book lists on this LibGuides page.

The list is also available from WSU WorldCat: http://washingtonstate.worldcat.org/profiles/eacarlson/lists/2186400

If you have Anthropology or Archaeology titles to recommend, please let me know. I'm always happy to hear from you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Books in Communication

Here are links to new books list for Communication. There are some very interesting new titles now available at WSU Libraries!

From the Communication Studies LibGuide: http://libguides.wsulibs.wsu.edu/content.php?pid=83396&sid=838182
*Tip* You will also find older new book lists on this LibGuides page.

The list is also available from WSU WorldCat: http://washingtonstate.worldcat.org/profiles/eacarlson/lists/2169380

If you have Communication titles to recommend, please let me know. I'm always happy to hear from you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

End of the semester tips for using the libraries

It's that time of year again, the time when you may be realizing that you have four papers due (and three exams to study for) and only a few more days in which to write them and get in your studying time.

As I sit at the reference desk in the Holland and Terrell Library, I can feel the tension mounting as the days go by. I remember my own experiences with end-of-the-semester stress (it was ugly - there was blatant abuse of caffeine, hysterical laughter, crying, and at one point a really unfortunate experiment with cigarettes that I don't want to get into), and I sympathize. But my sympathizing and witnessing your pain won't help you much, so here are six tips to make your library work, be it researching, writing, or studying, less stressful.

  1. Recognize that stress makes research harder. When people are under stress, they are more likely to forget things, and also more likely to have a hard time following directions, reading signs, or doing normally easy things like typing passwords. If you find yourself panicking, remember to breathe and (I'll be saying this again) ask for help.
  2. Back up your work. Please, please, please for the love of all that is good in the universe save any paper you're writing on a library computer and save it frequently. Then back it up by emailing it to yourself of putting a copy on Google Docs. The library computers don't automatically save your work, and the TempStore drives on our computers are wiped clean every night. If you lose your work, we will want to get it back for you, but we won't be able to.
  3. Please remember to make sure you have everything you need when you leave the libraries. The last thing you want to do after sweating out a search for peer-reviewed journal articles is to have to hunt down the flash drive you've saved them to. Or to hunt for your cell phone. Or iPod. Or wallet. And while we do have a lost and found at the Circulation Desk, it's a sad truth that sometimes things are stolen in the libraries.
  4. Ask for help. I know I've said this before, but it's really important. We have people at the Circulation Desk and Reference Desk whose job is to help you, who are glad to help you. If you get confused, stuck, or frustrated, let us know and we'll do our best to help you find what you need. Plus, most of us are friendly types, even if we look a little scary at first.
  5. When you're under stress it's easy to take it out on those around you. Try not to. Your fellow students (who are all working with their own loads of stress) will appreciate this and it will get you better help. I try to do my best for every person who comes for help at the reference desk, but I'm much more likely to go the extra mile for those who are respectful and polite.
  6. Okay, admittedly this one is partly to decrease my stress load, but please return things like staplers, scissors, or the three-hole punch to roughly the same places you found them. We like them to be available to anyone who needs them, and sometimes people get quite upset when they can't staple their papers. Also, the old and cranky staplers we sometimes have to resort to have wounded people who attempted to refill them. Seriously. There was blood. There were bandages.
Good luck, and hang in there. May your computer never crash, especially while you're writing. May your research be as painless as possible, and may your study sessions never be so exhausting as to make you sleep through your exams. May your holiday travel be smooth and uneventful. And may you learn enough that is useful and true and important to make all of this work worthwhile.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oscar in the Library

Some vintage Sesame Street.

Oscar finds his books in the end, but in many ways this seems to be an object lesson on how not to conduct a reference interaction.