DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

November 2007

Nov 29 2007

The Pack Rats of the Internet

by Jimmy L

Did you know you can find the full text of many books online?  Here are a few sites who specialize in archiving (and providing free of charge) everything from books, films, sound, and even other websites:

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works.  It is also the original, and oldest, e-text project on the Internet, founded in 1971.  The project has made over 19,000 eBooks available, with an average of 400 more being added each month.  They publish whatever they can publish legally, which usually means they publish books in the public domain.  Although you won’t be able to find the latest best sellers here, you could find plenty of the classics from Shakespeare and Dante to Lewis Carroll and the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Ubu_films__le_cirque_de_calder_sm
UbuWeb

UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts.  It functions as a distribution center for hard-to-find, out-of-print and obscure materials, transferred digitally to the web.  As a result, most of the things you’ll find here are things you won’t be able to find anywhere else!  It is in this way that the site has grown to encompass hundreds of artists (including the likes of John Lennon, Alexander Calder, and Gertrude Stein) and hundreds of gigabytes of sound files, books, texts and videos.

The Wayback Machine
What if you could go back in time and take a snapshot of the world wide web?  Well, you can with the Wayback Machine.  Since 1996, the Wayback Machine has archived 85 billion web pages.  Simply type in the web address that you would like to examine, then select the month and year you want to see it.  Voila!  Who said time travel wasn’t possible?

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Nov 28 2007

Water, Drought, and Conflict

by Heather O

Visiting family in Florida over the holidays I was repeatedly asked
about the drought from an Atlanta perspective: What was Atlanta, or
Georgia going to do if we ran out? What were we doing to conserve? Did
Florida or Alabama have the same rights to the water that we’ve been fighting over for more than a decade? Who owns the
water?

During one of the worst droughts in Georgia history the concept of water as not only a finite resource, but also of an economic commodity no longer belongs in the realm of science fiction. Having never lived in a place where water was not abundant, how important and precious it is never really sunk in. The American West was won by water; where you could get it, people settled. Wars over water have been fought for thousands of years, current conflicts can be partially attributed to and possibly be mitigated by water. From current events from Australia to Southern Europe; droughts can cause wildfires, crop failure, and population displacement. Could water become the most powerful political and economic force in the world?

Interested? Check out these books:

Cadillac desert: The American West and its disappearing water

Every drop for sale: Our desperate battle over water in a world about to run out

Mirage: Florida and the vanishing water of the Eastern U.S.

Tapped out: The coming world crisis in water and what we can do about it

Water: The fate of our most precious resource 

Water wars: Drought, flood, folly, and the politics of thirst

When the rivers run dry: Water, the defining crisis of the twenty-first century
 

Other websites:

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library Links

Georgia Department of Natural Resources Water Links

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Nov 27 2007

Library Basics – A Catalog Tip

by Chris S

Many of the questions we get at the library reference desk involve the use of our catalog. People want to be self-sufficient and to find what they are looking for, and part of our job as librarians is to teach the public how to use the catalog themselves. Many people expect the library catalog to behave like Google or Amazon in the way it finds items, but this is not the case. The library catalog what is known as a “finding tool,” and like all tools, it only works when you learn how to use it. Here’s a tip for searching success:

Tip #434 – Use List Searching Instead of Keyword Searching

When you know the specific title or author of a book (or other item) you’re looking for, list searching is the most effective way to quickly find it. Here’s how:

1. On the “Search” bar in the catalog window, click “Lists.”

Cat1_2

2. Use the drop down menu to select which list you would like to search.

Cat2

3. Type in your search terms (spelling must be exact!) and click Go:

Cat3

4. Click on the correct item on the list of results (for context, your search term will be the third down).

Cat4

Voila! You have found your list of all the John Grisham titles available at DeKalb County Public Library. This technique works the same way for titles or for subject headings. If you don’t know the exact title or author name, try typing some keywords into Amazon.com or a search engine. That usually allows you to know the information you need to use our catalog most effectively!

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Bone_cover While I vaguely remember reading some Archie comics as a child, it wasn’t until the late eighties that I really started reading comics.  Not being a huge fan of the superheroes, I began reading comics after discovering titles like Sandman, Bone, Maus, and Swamp ThingAt the time, comics were still pretty much thought of as “just for kids,” but in 1993, DC Comics launched their Vertigo imprint, described as a more mature line of “serious, innovative fiction told in compelling visuals.” Moving away from mainstream family-friendly fare, these titles became a cult success and began to attract a whole new audience to comics, including women and those who had never really read comics before–readers just like myself.

As that generation of readers has grown older (and perhaps moved into jobs in the entertainment and comics industries), comics in general have become more mainstream.  Movies based on comics have become more numerous in recent years, and comics are now widely available in many bookstores and even–you guessed it–libraries. 

Libraries have slowly but surely started to collect comics and graphic novels.  DeKalb County Public Library began adding titles to the collection a few years ago, originally in the Young Adult collection. More recently, titles have been added to the children’s and adult collections.  In DCPL’s catalog, you will find various types of books (including graphic novels, manga, and comic trade paperbacks) listed under the subject heading of “graphic novels.”  To make it easier to find them in the catalog and on the shelf, many of these titles are now labeled “GN” for graphic novel.  GN titles include fiction, non-fiction, and biography, and are available for a wide range of reading levels for children, teens, and adults.  Graphic novels are also labeled according to their collection: J (juvenile), Y (young Adult), or B (biography).  Each library may shelve these books differently, so ask at your local branch for where the graphic novel collection is located.  Remember that these items are designated as  J, Y, or adult to reflect age-appropriateness, so use these guidelines and your own judgement when selecting titles for children!

To find graphic novel titles in the DCPL catalog for teens and adults, click HERE.

For more information on comics and graphic novels, check out these links:

ALA Resources for Comics and Graphic Novels

Recommended Graphic Novels for Public Libraries

Great Graphic Novels for Teens from the American Library Association

Comic Books for Young Adults

Kid-safe Graphic Novels from Brodart

TIME Top Ten Graphic Novels

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Nov 22 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Jimmy L

Drive safe, eat plenty of turkey, be thankful, and don’t forget that all DeKalb County Public Library branches will be closed today, Thursday, November 22. An exception will be the Doraville Library, which will close on November 22 through November 24.

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Nov 21 2007

Remembering Deep Roots

by Heather O

Native American literature has transformed from the realm of oral storytelling to a unique blend of modern literature that never forgets its traditions. Below is a selected list of contemporary Native American Literature for Adults within the DeKalb County Public Library system and in no order:

N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa): House Made of Dawn -winner of 1969 Pulitzer Prize
James Welch (Blackfoot-Gros Venture): Fools Crow
Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe): The Trickster of Liberty: Tribal Heirs to a Wild Baronage
Linda Hogan (Chicaksaw) Mean Spirit
Joy Harjo (Muskogee-Creek): A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales
Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo): Voice of the Turtle -collection
Michael Dorris: A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
Leslie Marmon Silko (Laguna Pueblo): Gardens in the Dunes, Ceremony -currently only availible in audio
Simon Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo): Men on the Moon: Collected Short Stories
Louise Erdrich (Anishinaabe): Master Butchers Singing Club, The Painted Drum
Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene): The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and even a Young Adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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BittmanI grew up in a cooking family.  We had home-cooked meals every night at my house and  ate them all together as a family.  Eating out, even fast food, was a once-in-a-while luxury, and we only occasionally resorted to frozen dinners.  My mother was the family cook, and she taught me the basics of cooking, and by the time I went to college, I was comfortable cooking spaghetti with meat sauce or my crowd-pleasing black bean burritos.  Aside from these occasional home-cooked meals, my repertoire was quite narrow, and I most often resorted to the single-guy-in-his-twenties fare of boxed macaroni and cheese.

My parents gave my brother and me copies of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food one year for Christmas.  I have since worked my way through many of its recipes, and have found that the title is appropriate.  Bittman’s method is to teach the basic techniques for a given type of cooking, then to show all the variations you can make after mastering the technique.  Packed full of instructive illustrations, useful techniques, and most of all, many recipes, this encyclopedic tome is a must have for the serious home cook.  My wife and I actually used it so much that we had to buy a new copy!

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Nov 19 2007

Oh, the irony!

by Nolan R

As I was checking in a cart of new books recently, I came across The Big Book of Irony by Jon Winokur.  The volume is ironically small in size, but crammed full of information (possibly more than one might ever need) on the subject of irony.  The book includes definitions and examples, and explains many different types of irony one might encounter: 

  • Verbal irony: when you say one thing but mean the opposite, with the intent of being understood as meaning the opposite
  • Visual irony: when images contradict themselves
  • Ambient irony: when irony is everywhere!
  • Auto-irony: when celebrities try to humanize themselves

as well as:

  • Morissettian irony: when there’s no irony at all (based on the ironically unironic 1996 hit song by Alannis Morissette entitled “Ironic”).

Confused?

Not to worry.  Winokur’s book provides numerous–and often humorous–past and present examples of irony, as well as those things that are often mistaken for irony, including coincidence, sarcasm, hypocrisy, and inconvenience. 

If you’re interested in finding other fun books about language use and grammar, check out these titles:

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Nov 15 2007

The Vocabulary of Hunger

by Jimmy L

FreericeWhat does improving your vocabulary and ending world hunger have in common? Well, it sounds far-fetched, but a website called FreeRice.com has made the link between these two needs. From their website:

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

On their website you can play a game that will build your vocabulary. The game detects your vocabulary level based on the answers you get right, so that it’s always challenging, but never too challenging. For every correct answer you get, they donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger. They’ve donated a total of 1,712,371,750 grains of rice (and counting) so far.

Give it a try, and this Thanksgiving, you’ll have two more things to be thankful for!

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Nov 14 2007

Norman Mailer (1923 – 2007)

by Heather O

Mailer Controversial, abrasive, and prolific, Norman Mailer outlasted most of his generation of writers remaining an influential literary figure until his death this past weekend. Pioneering the creative non-fiction/biographical novel genre, Mailer contributed to journalism, activism, theater, and the screen in his prodigious body of work. From his seminal 1948 work Naked and the Dead, a semi-autobiography of his WWII experience to Hitler’s alternate childhood in The Castle in the Forest in 2007. Two-time Pultizer Prize winner with 1968 The Armies of the Night (also a National Book Award winner) and The Executioner’s Song 1979. His larger-than life persona and abrasive behavior belongs to an earlier era: the writer as celebrity, the Hemingway school of huge ego and even bigger lifestyle. Heavy drinker, womanizer, existentialist hipster, protester, politician, brawler- Mailer was as provocative in life as his writings. From his infamous feuds with Arthur Miller and Truman Capote to his brief imprisonment for stabbing one of his six wives, Mailer never shied away from the spotlight or backed away from conflict. While Mailer may never have written the ‘Great American Novel’ his body of literature truly represents America: from the 1968 Democratic convention, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Apollo mission, feminism, McCarthyism, and the death penalty – Mailer was a keen observer and critic of the epic that is American culture.

Check the online catalog or your DeKalb County Public Library branch for more Norman Mailer life and literature.

New York Times obituary

NPR obituary and interviews.

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