Monday, April 26, 2010

Search Competency 4: BIP-Books in Print

For this next competency I am going to be using Books in Print(BIP) as my database. BIP is a database that contains a catalog of over 14.8 different book titles. I am going to try a previous naive question and see if I get better results with BIP. Naive question is:

I love Indian contemporary fiction. Can you suggest some authors?

For this search I am going to be using a browsing strategy. My plan is to start with a general search, see where that takes me, and then build upon that. In the case of BIP, their layout is not set up to operate on the standard Boolean Logic protocol, which makes a browsing strategy more realistic to yield results.

ss1: (modern) keyword search. With the limiters of the English language, and country of origin as India.
Results: 58

Out of the results retrieved, a lot of them seemed to pertain to Native America and not South Asia. There were titles like A Daughter of the Sioux, Algonquin Indian Tales, and The Moccasin Maker.

I then tried changing the search to contemporary, and it yielded the same results.
ss2: (contemporary) keyword search. With the limiters of the English language, and country of origin as India.
Results: 45

Now, to be more specific.
ss3: (contemporary) AND (South Asia) keyword search. With the limiters of the English language, and country of origin as India.
Results: 12

This search was much better. Here are some results:
Contemporary Gujarati Short Stories: An Anthology Author: Jadav, Kishore Publisher: Indian Publishers ISBN or UPC: 81-7341-129-8 (Active Record)Format: Trade Cloth Date: 2000 Price: $26.00 Market: United States LC Class #: PK1858.2.E6C66 2000 Dewey#: 891.4/730108071
ISBN 13: 978-81-7341-129-8

Truth Tales: Contemporary Writings by Indian Women
Author: Kali for Women Staff Publisher: Manohar Publications ISBN or UPC: 0-8364-2197-3 (Active Record)Format: Trade Cloth Date: 1987 Price: $10.00 Market: United States ISBN 13: 978-0-8364-2197-2

Search Competency 3: JStor

For this search competency I am going to be using the database JStor. JStor is a digital archive that consists of over one thousand academic journals and other scholarly content. Since this database covers more information that pertains to the liberal arts than news or event oriented information I am going to use the following naive question:

I love Indian contemporary fiction. Can you suggest some authors?

For this search I am going to use the Building Block search strategy.

My initial facets are: Indian, contemporary, and fiction.

Descriptors and synonyms:
Indian- India, South Asia, New Delhi, Mumbai
Contemporary- modern, current, present, latest, recent, twenty first century
Fiction- novel, literature, book*

ss1: (India or South Asia* or New Delhi or Mumbai) AND (contemporary or modern or twenty first century) AND (fiction or novel or literature or book*)full-text search
Results: 197251

Way too many results to sort through. I'm now going to change my search sentence so that it contains less search terms.

ss2: (India or South Asia*) AND (contemporary or modern or twenty first century) AND (fiction* or literature or book*) Abstract Search
Results: 30

After going through the results none seem relevant!

ss3: (India) AND (contemporary or twenty first century) AND (fiction* or literature or book*) Abstract Search
Results: 12

With JStor full-text search retrieves too many results and abstract search too little! Once one runs an abstract search JStor immediately warns the searcher that only 10% of the articles offered have abstracts. I'm going to now narrow my search even more and try a new field to search in.

ss4: (India or South Asia*) AND (contemporary fiction or contemporary literature) Item Search
Results: 7

Though the results are sparse, all seven results are contemporary book reviews.

Title: The Crisis of Contemporary India and Nayantara Sahgal's Fiction
Author(s): Makarand Paranjape
Source: World Literature Today, Vol. 68, No. 2, Indian Literatures: In the Fifth Decade of Independence (Spring, 1994), pp. 291-298
Publisher(s): University of Oklahoma
Stable URL:

Title: Reviewed work(s): Truth Tales: Contemporary Stories by Women Writers of India
Author(s): Alamgir Hashmi
Source: World Literature Today, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Winter, 1992), pp. 206-207
Publisher(s): University of Oklahoma
Stable URL:

What I've learned from all of my database searching this semester is that each database has a specific language that one must understand in order to run a successful search. With JStor, there is no subject search like most databases, and with only 10% of the articles having abstracts it becomes substantially more difficult to weed through the items. With JStor, the less, and most specific one can make a search query, the more successful their search will be.

Search Competency 2: ERIC/First Search

For this next search competency my naive question is going to be:

Does gender affect reading scores in national reading tests?

For this question I am going to use the ERIC/First Search database because it contains education related materials and bibliographic records.

The main search strategy that I am going to use for this one is the Pearl Growing, or Snowball strategy. I am going to perform a basic search, and then identify a record to pull indexing terms and concepts from in order to further narrow down my search.

ss1: (gender) and (reading score*) and (national test*)keyword search
Results: 71

From a few articles I pulled the following descriptors:

Descriptors: Reading tests, national competency tests, reading skills, gender differences, reading comprehension, scores, test results, gender issues, standardized testing

Now, I am going to take a few of the key descriptors and put them in to ERIC's subject search thesaurus. The following terms were retrieved:

reading skills, reading tests, reading comprehension, language tests, reading diagnosis

ss2: (gender or gender issue* or gender differ*) and (reading skill or reading test or reading comprehension or nation* competenc*) and (test or test results or score) subject search
Results: 113

This search brought up a lot of relevant results. Also, 113 results is a good number because it provides one with just enough articles to sift through.

Here are a few results:

Berkant, H. G. (2009). An Investigation of Students' Meaningful Causal Thinking Abilities in Terms of Academic Achievement, Reading Comprehension and Gender. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice. 9(3), 1149-1165.

Hawke, J. L., Olson, R. K., Willcut, E. G., Wadsworth, S. J., & DeFries, J. C. (2009). Gender Ratios for Reading Difficulties. Dyslexia. 15(3), 239-242.

Limbrick, L., Wheldall, K., & Madelaine, A. (2008). Gender Ratios for Reading Disability: Are There Really More Boys than Girls Who Are Low-Progress Readers? Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties. 13(2), 161-179

Pearl growing worked well for this question and database because the initial facets had a lot of general terms to build off of. Plus, since ERIC is an education oriented database it provided not so much synonyms, but like terms that broadened the search results.

Search Competency 1: Library Literature Database

Naive Question: How is the economic downturn affecting public libraries nationwide?

For this search the first thing I did was decide which database to use. Since the naive question I am trying to answer involves libraries I chose the Library Literature Database. The Library Literature Database consists of articles and information that was created with libraries and librarians in mind, and that pertains to library trends.

The main search strategy I am going to use for this question is the Successive Fraction Strategy since my key facets are general and don't have that many similar synonyms.

ss1: (econom*) and (librar*) and (nation*) subject search
Results: 21

A lot of the results retrieved pertain to different nations, especially areas that have well known socio-economic issues, such as Africa.

ss2: (socio-econ* or econom* or recession) and (librar*) and (United State* or America) subject search
Results: 11

The following article came up which pertains to government aid and libraries during Roosevelt's economic crisis of 1933-1943:

Swain, M. (1995). A New Deal in libraries: federal relief work and library service, 1933-1943. Libraries & Culture, 30, 265-83. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database.

Though reflections of the past provide insight in to the future, my initial inquiry has still not been answered. I am going to have to change my search query so that it is Y2K specific.

ss3: (recession or econom*) and (public librar*) and (20*) subject search
results: 199

The majority of the articles seem very pertinent to my search query!
The following articles answer my question specifically:

LaRue, J. (2010). Tough Times and Eight Ways to Deal with Them. American Libraries, 41(1/2), 16-17. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database.

Martell, C. (2009). Hanging Tough at Our Neighborhood Libraries. Public Library Quarterly, 28(4), 336-43. Retrieved April 26, 2010, from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database.

With this search I am glad that I chose the successive fraction searching method. Once I learned the language of the database it became easier to manipulate and my relevant search responses went from non existent to abundant! If I would have relied on another search method, such as the building block method or pearl growing, this search would not have been nearly as fruitful as it ended up being.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Competency: Internet

For this competency I would like to introduce everyone to It is a website that broadcasts independent shows and supports independent video bloggers. What I like about this site is that it seems to take on more personal responsibility than youtube and provides more helpful information and discussions than other video searches.

For example, YALSA, Young Adult Library Services Association, has it's own channel on

I found while performing a search on dogpile for information pertaining to young adult librarianship. I then eventually weeded my search down to contain YALSA and was given a list of videos of theirs on

Here is a video I've found through that discusses risks in young adult library services:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Competency 7: Image

This blog also relates to banned books. I aspire to be a young adults librarian one day, and when I am I will encourage the reading of banned books. The topic seems kind of ridiculous at times. I remember when I was a freshman getting my undergraduate degree at Stephen F. Austin I somehow stumbled upon Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I remember laughing hysterically on my top bunk bed and my roommate asking me what was so funny. Now that I'm much older I don't only appreciate Mark Twain's wit, but the fact that he was the first writers to ever give a positive voice and perspective of a black man. But, due to mild racially charged language The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is on banned book lists.

I found the following comic as I was going through some blogs and I wanted to share it on mine. I found it on a fine blog entitled Techfun that relates to Web 2.0, technology, and occasionally the library sciences. Techfun then lead me to another related blog called Unshelved that specializes in comics relating to technology and the library sciences, which is a great spot to kill some time for any librarian or technology enthusiast/geek.

Here is the comic I'd like to share:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Competency 8: Multimedia

While I'm taking Information Storage and Retrieval this semester, I am also taking Children and Young Adult Literature. While in that class I have gotten the opportunity to read some really great books. A lot of my favorites happen to be on banned book lists. For example, I recently read Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and the anonymous memoir Go Ask Alice. Both books deal with identity, sexuality, violence, and various other confrontational issues that might seem alarming and can make one uncomfortable. But still, no matter how uncomfortable one becomes or disagrees with something in a book, it is still unconstitutional to restrict or ban those books.

It seems to me that a lot of the issues that initially cause a book to be "put on trial" are books that deal with very real issues that shouldn't be suppressed, but explored. Such as issues involving sexuality, ethnicity, or even basic insecurities that a youth is going to have to eventually confront. I've included a graph that I found on the American Library Association website that ranks the different reasons that a book is challenged. You might be surprised when evaluating what you personally might consider a threat to our youth.

exploring DIALOG

DIALOG is a source which provides thousands of different sources and databases full of information to search. The difference is that you the user decide how you want to search and do away with the already constructed user interface that is found in other databases and database sorting tools. I performed two searches on DIALOG before I Finally got the hang of it and realized what a valuable resource it can be.

My naive question for this search is as follows:
I am researching any and all censorship attempts made against picture books or wordless books in school libraries.

Before one gets started with DIALOG they must choose the databases they want to scour. I chose ERIC(B1) and Library and Information Science(B438). Or, I think I chose both? Either way, I entered B1, received the ERIC information, and then B438 in to the command prompt the second time. After my databases were chosen, I was ready to start my searching. I prepared 3 sets of synonyms prior to searching and entered them in accordingly.

ss ban? or censor? or restrict? or forbid? (s4)
ss picture book? or wordless book? (s7)
ss librar? (s9)

I then combined the three by entering:
s4 and s7 and s9
that returned me with 19 results.

Out of the results there were several that I feel answered my inquiry. Here they are:

9/8/19 DIALOG(R)File 1:(c) format only 2010 Dialog. All rts. reserv.
0004496889 ERIC Number: ED196018
Picture Book Sexism: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back?
1978 (19780000)
Descriptors: *Childrens Literature; Content Analysis; Cultural Influences; Elementary Education; *Picture Books; Reading Materials; *Reading Research; *Sex Bias; *Sex Role
Dialog Update Date: 20090918; 02:08:17 EST

9/8/12 DIALOG(R)File 1:(c) format only 2010 Dialog. All rts. reserv.
0008709594 ERIC Number: ED379657
Battling Dragons: Issues and Controversy in Children's Literature.
1995 (19950000)
Descriptors: Adolescent Literature; Black Family; *Censorship; *Childrens Literature; Cultural Context; Elementary Education; Picture Books; *Publishing Industry ; Sex Role
Identifiers: African Americans; *Controversial Materials; *Controversial Topics; Educational Issues; Heroes; Heroines; Politically Correct Communication
Dialog Update Date: 20090921; 01:18:33 EST

After that search I logged out and received the bill! The search cost $6.32.