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electronic resources

Jul 15 2015

Database Spotlight: eBooks on EBSCOhost

by Arthur G

I’m sure more than a few of you are familiar with the lovely storehouse of electronic literature that is OverDrive. Whether you’re perusing through digital equivalents of library hard-copy materials, or seeking the latest additions to the Library’s electronic bookshelves, our eLibrary is a treasure trove of fun and interesting reads for the technologically connected.

EBSCOHostBut did you know that our site plays host to another rather extensive eBook archive? EBSCOhost has a selection of over 27,000 eBooks available to choose from, and all can be found right on our Reference Databases page. Once you’re in, you can scan the highlighted picks, search the listed categories, or simply look up whatever you want. Navigating the page is a fairly hassle-free affair, and a few handy links grant access to the information titan that is GALILEO if you tire of browsing. Most of the books can be read right in your browser, without the need for a media console or management tool, though if you really want to bypass the joy of clicking the same arrow button 203 times, creating a free My EBSCOhost account is quick and painless, and lets you check out the full PDF for up to seven days.

Just a fair warning, though: Don’t expect to find the latest James Patterson or John Grisham. While there are fiction titles (including many classics), much of it is pretty heavy stuff–and the nonfiction covers everything from applications in quantum chemistry, to the state of feminist-based NGOs in Central Africa, to some things considerably more esoteric. The 7-day check out can be a bit of a bummer, but when you factor in the typical price tag for books of such density (FYI: they ain’t cheap) plus their ready-availability in your browser at any time, it’s hard to find much grounds for complaint.

So if you’re looking for a good, challenging read, show a little love to eBooks on EBSCOhost. Think of it as OverDrive’s stuffy, college-bound older brother–a little stiff and foreboding at first blush, but full of fascinating information if you’re willing to take the time to chat a bit.

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May 27 2011

Ahoy lasses and laddies!

by Amanda L

With the release of the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, there is renewed interest in all things pirate. Would you like to be able to speak in Pirate? One of the electronic resources that we  subscribe to is Mango Languages. The company is offering a free language course on how to speak Pirate. You have to go through this link to get to the course and leave your e-mail.  The course is available until June 30th. If you want to learn another language besides Pirate, Mango Languages offers a variety of languages including the standard ones such as Spanish, French, etc. They also have a few lesser known languages such as Irish, Tagalog, Urdu, etc.

Speakin’ pirate not your cup o’ tea? The library has movies and books about pirates.

Arrr, o’ course we have the Pirates o’ the Caribbean movies.

Ahoy, thar be se’eral stories that have been written about pirates. My favorite one is the Bloody Jack series. The story takes place in the early nineteenth century.  Mary Faber joins a pirate ship at the age of thirteen. The catch,  she joins dressed as a boy to get onto the high seas.  The first in the series is Bloody Jack: being an account of the curious adventure of  Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy

Aye, if a series is not what your lookin’ for, you might try Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton or the classic, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Ahoy, lookin’ for a book on the history o’ pirates? Try Pirates of Barbary by Adrian Tinniswood or Pirates: predators of the sea by Angus Konstam.  For true tales of modern day pirates try Terror on the Seas: true tales of modern day pirates by Daniel Sekulich.

Arrr, if you still have not gotten your pirate fill,  remember  Pirate Day is on September 19th.


Once upon a time one of my graduate school professors gleefully recounted her days as a militant library science student (yeah, you never saw that phrase coming, didja?) at Columbia University in the ’60s.   She said the school administration’s biggest fear during all the unrest was, of all things, that students would destroy the university library’s master catalog, known in jargon as the shelf list.  Back in the day, as they say, it would have been too easy to destroy a shelf list–just pull the rods out, dump the drawers and kick the cards all over the place–thereby rendering a rich and extensive collection pretty much useless.  Sure, it could be reconstructed but doing so would take ages and a lot of people who knew their ABCs and understood the mysteries of either the Dewey Decimal classification system or the even more mysterious Library of Congress system.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with card catalogs since I was a small child, when my children’s librarian, after making certain I had washed my hands, introduced me to the mysteries of looking up a book.  As I started my life in libraries I got more involved and the shine sort of wore off.  I still loved the smell of the cards, the sound of a drawer being pulled out and set with a thunk on the little pull out shelf and the feel of that honey brown wood.  I admired the elegance of tracings (the subject headings for each title) and was strangely comforted by the presence of the the shelf list that hulked behind the “staff only” doors of every system I ever worked in save one.  However, I was never so lost to the romance that I couldn’t see the ugly side, especially when I was  on my knees trying to scoop together the contents of several drawers that a frolicsome patron, no doubt in a brave attempt to amuse the staff, would dump at the end of a long Saturday.  My love for all that solid wood and perfectly sized cardstock died violently when I took a job at a major university and was presented with cases of retired shelf list cards.  My task was to pull all those elegant tracings, rendering the catalog accurate.  I felt like the miller’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin, faced with a room full of straw to be spun into gold, but there was no crazy little man with a long beard to save me.  Nope.  That task took the better part of two years.  On-line catalogs have some drawbacks too, but they are here to stay, despite early predictions.  They offer more access points, are much easier to update and keep accurate and offer so much more information than their venerable predecessors.  They can even be browsed at 2:00 a.m. by folks in their jammies and scuffies.

Starting today, the DCPL catalog also contains, along with a record of holdings for books, music CDs, DVDs and Read-alongs, holdings for electronic content that we purchase.  A good portion of our budget has been trending towards electronic media the past few years and now it’s easier than ever to find.  Go on, try it out—go to the catalog on our homepage and look up Learning Express Library, home site for many on-line practice tests including the TOEFL.  Try  Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell and then follow the hotlink to other OverDrive products.   I think it’s all pretty cool and I’ll never, ever have to pick these records up off the floor.


Aug 18 2010

A Victory Worth Remembering

by Joseph M

Sojourner TruthAmong the most significant American sociopolitical developments of the 20th century was the achievement of national women’s suffrage, as codified 90 years ago in the 19th amendment of the U.S. constitution. Ratified by the states on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment enshrined the right to vote as an essential liberty of all adult citizens, regardless of gender. This triumph was the culmination of a tremendous amount of activism and struggle, and the library is a great place to explore the stories of the courageous women who helped bring about this landmark piece of legislation.

Interested in learning more about the lives of women’s suffrage activists like Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony? You can get more information from the Biography Resource Center, one of many great reference databases available on our website and accessible with your library card.

Another noteworthy suffragette, Carrie Chapman Catt, founded The League of Women Voters in 1920. The group is perhaps best described by their mission statement: “The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.” Their website has a wealth of resources to explore and is well worth visiting.

While we’re on the subject of voting, did you know that you can get a voter registration form from the library?  Be sure to check out our Voting and Elections subject guide, a handy resource with links and answers to all your questions about the upcoming elections.


Aug 16 2010

I Beg to Differ With You

by Veronica W

“First me, then maybe you – but not for a long, long time!” When my friend said that, in the middle of  our heated discussion, I laughed so hard, all the fire of the moment vanished. Her tirade was winding down and as I opened my mouth for a cogent, lucid rebuttal, she held up her hand and autocratically uttered that ridiculous statement.  I don’t know whether it was original or not, but the sheer audacity of it struck me as very amusing. While her argument was weak, her bravery was admirable. What’s that  amusing threat about losing the hand you’re waving in my face? “Keep it up and you’ll draw back a nub!”

At some point, don’t we all feel there are some subjects for which it is worth going to the mat? Listen in on conversations during any pre-k or kindergarten recess (Do they still have those?).  Debating skills have not been honed yet, so many “discussions” are ended with a frustrated “Is not! Is too!” Sometimes this is punctuated with a stuck out tongue. The victor is the one who doesn’t cry or run to the teacher. Older children, all the way through high school, learn there is strength in numbers and develop their own cliques and  political parties, with  friends who think, act and dress like them. Backed by their cronies, they can take on all verbal opposition.

Adults are troubled, for the most part, about weightier matters. Beer, paper towel, garbage bag and soap powder commercials notwithstanding, grown -up concerns center around  world changing issues, such as politics, religion, social and environmental problems. To see just how many topics there are which are considered worthy of debate, you can go to the DCPL website, click on Reference Databases and then Student Resources. Under Opposing Viewpoints, there is a mind-boggling number of themes with two sides. If you are passionate about something and want to take on all comers at your next Tupperware or Superbowl party, but have no confidence in your persuasive rhetoric, there are also books that will help you.  How to Debate by Robert Danbar, Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Persuasion by Steve Booth-Butterfield and Persuasive Speaking by Dixie Waldo will get you started. Also, just to get in the spirit of it, you can check out that wonderful movie, The Great Debaters, which was inspired by a true story and stars the remarkable Denzel Washington.

When we think about the ill will  sometimes generated by the passionate discussion of our personal bugaboos, we may realize some things in life are not worth any discussion at all, and certainly not worth our strident zeal. There are a few really important issues we may want to address but the merits of, say, Krispy Kremes vs. Dunkin’ Donuts is certainly not one of them.  “Is too?”  “Is not!!”                                           


May 10 2010

From AARP to Z

by Vivian A

Although you can get many magazines online these days, to me there’s nothing better than sitting down with a good cup of coffee or tea and perusing the nice shiny pages of a magazine.

The library offers over 300 choices from AARP to Z magazine. This breaks out to 1700 subscriptions among the branches. We have three subscriptions in Chinese, three in Spanish and one in Russian. The issues found at most of the branches include Oprah, Newsweek and Essence.

Did you know you can check out up to five issues at a time for three weeks? If you’d rather look online, you can use GALILEO to search EBSCOhost or ProQuest. (See your reference librarian if you’re not sure how to do this.)
Unfortunately, DCPL has been hit with cutbacks and many subscriptions have been cut. My branch alone cut nearly thirty titles. There is a bright side to all this, the library accepts gift subscriptions from patrons like you. So the next time you’re missing your Economist or InStyle magazine, know that you can give back to DCPL.

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Apr 19 2010

The long and winding DVDless road

by Patricia D

We were a few hours into a 13 hour car trip when tragedy struck.  The hand-me-down portable DVD player, meant to provide a pain-free way to while away the miles for the members of the Back Seat Club, failed to deliver somewhere south of Lexington.  As a veteran of I-70 through Illinois and Missouri, I knew we could pass the time with show tunes, cow counting, keeping a sharp eye for State Troopers, and one endless tutorial in knock-knock jokes.  We made the trip with only minor complaints but of course my family was ready to run out and get a new DVD player for the Back Seat Club because 12 hours on an interstate without a Disney movie apparently equals child abuse.

As I contemplate the purchase, I’m at odds with myself because even though this is a good way to keep the dreaded “Are we there yet?” scenario from playing out between state lines, I don’t think it’s good for a young brain to be subject to such a passive activity for a 12 hour stretch.  A dear friend very sensibly put a stop to this inner struggle when she said, “Look, get a little MP3 player instead, download books from OverDrive and the BSC can listen to stories while counting cows.”  The woman is brilliant.   Listening to stories will do so much more good than an 84th viewing of the Lion King—it improves vocabulary, increases comprehension, and most important of all in this Google world, it develops an attention span that will last long enough to get through a college lecture.

Getting books in MP3 format can’t get any easier either.  OverDrive is a new downloadable audiobooks service at the Library and has a permanent home under the “eLibrary” menu of our homepage.  You can also get to it from the Reference Databases page.  You may check out two items at a time, with your choice of 7, 14 or 21 days circulation.  You’ll need to download the OverDrive Media Console the first time you use the product but it’s easy peasey.  Click on the Quick Start Guide once you’re in OverDrive for simple step by step instructions.  Before you know it you’ll have something you can listen to on your PC, MP3 player, and in some instances even your iPod.  You just need your library card.  Go forth!  Listen to books!


Feb 26 2010

Help Wanted – Optimal Resume

by Lesley B

This month the Library added a new online tool for our patrons – Optimal Resume (available through our Reference Databases page). As the name suggests, Optimal Resume assists you in creating a resume and cover letter but it has many other features that make it a comprehensive aid to job seekers. Every day, library staff help people using our computers make resumes and search for work. We’ve been looking for something that would make it easier for job seekers and Optimal Resume is the best product we’ve seen. It’s used in many college and university career centers and we’re happy to be able to offer it to DeKalb County residents.

To use Optimal Resume, you will need to first set up your account through the library’s website. If you’re accessing the website at home, you will need your library card number and PIN. You only have to go through the Library’s website the first time. Once you’ve set up your account, you can login directly to our Optimal Resume website.

Once you login, you’re taken to the Document Center. The resume and letter sections have lots of professionally written sample resumes and lots of online help (like a link that suggests appropriate “action verbs”). Optimal Resume takes you section by section through the resume process and formats the document for you. You can work with their examples, start your resume from scratch or upload an existing resume. You can customize your resume for different job openings and store all the versions online in your Optimal Resume account. No more keeping your resume as an email attachment or on your flash drive (we have a lot of flash drives in our lost-and-found drawers.)

Beyond creating resumes and letters, Optimal Resume will help you create your own website. You can post your resume, create an online portfolio and more. Your website can be public or password protected. I used several of the sample documents to create a resume and application letter for the imaginary Jane X. Sample. You can see her personal website at http://dekalblibrary.confidentialresume.com/Jane_X_Sample/.

If you have access to a webcam, you can use Optimal Resume to record yourself during a practice interview. A video “coach” offers advice on good ways to answer some of the usual interview questions. It’s a great way to rehearse for a real world interview.

The Libray is offering classes to help you get started with Optimal Resume and staff will be also be available to assist you with the site during any of our “Open Labs for Job Seekers”. Come in and try it out at any of our libraries or at any time from your home computer.


Feb 12 2010

Who is Brett Favre?

by Amanda L

I often have questions come to me about information concerning a variety of people. The Library has a wonderful resource called Biography Resource Center. I have found that if the person is even remotely famous, you can find information about him/her in this resource.

The type of information available ranges from short biographical entries to very detailed biographical information.  Biography Resource Center often provides links to magazine articles. If you have a library card with us, you can access this resource 24/7 using your library card and PIN number.  It is located on our Reference Database page under the History and Biography section.

To answer my original question, Brett Favre is a quarterback who has been playing professional football since 1991. He has played for the Atlanta Falcons (drafted),  Green Bay Packers,  New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. Want to know more about Brett Favre? Check out the Biography Resource Center. Of course, we also have a few biographies about him if you want a more detailed account about his life.

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So here’s how it happened:  I was cruising around on Amazon and I found  a magazine article for sale on a topic in which I have a great interest.   I wanted to read this article but suspected it wasn’t something I was going to want to keep and it was an absolute that I didn’t want to pay $10.00 for the privilege of downloading it.  I know–you think I just went to the magazine’s web page and read the article there, right?  You may be forgiven for thinking that because frequently that is exactly what I do.  In this case though, the magazine didn’t even have a website.  I was not to be denied in my quest and I did the next best thing.  I went to www.dekalblibrary.org, logged on with my library card number and PIN and then chose the Research header on the home page.  I then chose Magazines and Newspapers and clicked on Research Library at ProQuest.  I plugged in the title of the article and there it was.  Guess what–I appreciated the article but  I was awfully glad I didn’t have to cough up a tenner to read it.

But wait!  There’s more!  Hypothetically speaking, you are sitting in your kitchen at 1:30 in the morning, worrying about the smashed bumper on your car, which is your own fault because you were doing something stupid in the driveway.  You can’t sleep for the worry and your brother, who just wants to go to bed says, “If we had a  Chilton’s right now I could tell you if I can fix it with a part from the junkyard.”  You shout, “Hey! We have something that looks exactly like Chilton’s and we can look at it now.”  Then you fire up the computer, go to www.dekalblibrary.org and log in.  After that you choose Reference Databases and then AutoRepair Reference Center and you now know that you can sleep because your brother looks over the pages he needs and says, “Yeah, we can fix it easy, we’ll just call the junkyard in the morning.  Now go to bed.”

See, DeKalb County Public Library is there for me, 24/7, saving me money and sleep.  Take some time to play on our site and get to know what’s there that can save you the same.