Tag Archives: Research & Instruction

New database: Social Explorer

The library recently added a subscription to Social Explorer, which provides easy online access to demographic information about the United States, from 1790 to present.  It allows for the easy creation of thematic maps and downloading into other software products such as PowerPoint.  It also provides convenient digital access to two censuses never before available online: 1970 and 1980.

Electronic Note-taking and Grading Workshop Summary

Jason Mittell (Film & Media Culture), James Morrison (Political Science) and myself lead a workshop for faculty on taking notes and grading digital documents yesterday that was well attended (see: Moving Away from Paper: Useful Practices for Electronic Note-taking and Grading Assignments).

Jason and James described how they assigned and collected students papers.  Both used email as the primary means of collecting assignments from students for the following reasons:

  • emails are timestamped providing a simple way to ensure deadlines are met
  • email provides a single place to archive records of all papers
  • email ensures a definitive version of student work

James and Jason differed in the format they required their students to submit assignments and the tool they used to annotate and grade these assignments.  Read more about their annotation and grading workflow on the Teaching with Technology blog (see: Moving Away from Paper: Annotating and Grading Digital Documents – Jason Mittell & James Morrison)

Both James and Jason have also had their student use Google Docs for collaborative projects.  Unfortunately Google Docs does not support footnotes so that is cannot be used as a tools for writing scholarly papers.  That said, Google Docs may be a good tool for creative writing classes or for language classes.

Moving Away from Paper: Useful Practices for Electronic Note-taking and Grading Assignments

The Faculty LIS Advisory Committee (FLAC) is sponsoring a workshop for faculty on taking notes and grading digital documents.  This workshop will be taught by Jason Mittell (Film & Media Culture), James Morrison (Political Science) and myself and will present some common tools and practices for inserting comments and notes into Word and PDF documents as well as Google Docs.  Here are details:

Moving Away from Paper: Useful Practices for Electronic Note-taking and Grading Assignments
4:30 – 5:30 pm, Feb 22nd
Axinn 219

This workshop coincides with the introduction of printing quotas (see: Notice to students about new printing system) and has the objective of outlining the benefits and limitations of a completely digital workflow as well as getting a sense of what kinds of tools faculty need to provide feedback and evaluate student assignments.

An email announcement about the workshop has been sent out to all faculty.  Faculty interested in participating in this workshop are encouraged to fill out a workshop form that will help us gauge interest and provide the opportunity to request specific topics.

Quick-Start Guide for new library web site

Our updated Quick-Start Guide to Library Research [pdf] provides:

  • a screenshot “map” of research resources in the new library web site
  • step-by-step instructions for finding journal articles

We often use this guide as a handout in research workshops.  It prints on one page, double-sided.  Please use it and distribute it widely!

And that’s the news for today…

Looking for the latest news? Just as nationally the number of dailies and weeklies available at the newsstand, the local drugstore or delivered to your doorstep has decreased in recent years, so too has the number of paper subscriptions that the library receives and puts out on the shelves in the Harman Reading room. But access to news from both the United States and around the world, current and archival, has actually increased through the library’s subscriptions to news databases. To locate and explore the wealth of news sources available to you through the library portal follow the link to the newspaper guide. And keep up with the latest political scandal, cricket scores or just compare sources for accuracy and bias.

Trial access to IMF statistical databases

Submitted by Brenda Ellis

Wonder how we get new library databases?  Librarians are inundated by offers for new databases as well as offers to migrate existing resources to online versions or new platforms, which we investigate for relevancy to the curriculum, ease of use, cost, etc.  The publishers often give us “trial” access for online resources so we can try before we buy.  We currently get a number of statistical publications from the IMF (Int’l Monetary Fund) in print format and/or CD-Rom.  We have trial access to the online versions until May 31st.  (single user access to the online should cost about the same as what we currently pay for print/cd-roms).  Try them out and see if you can figure out how to use them.  Comments to me are welcome.  Here are the databases:

International Financial Statistics

Direction of Trade Statistics

Balance of Payments

Government Finance Statistics

These are also on the Economics Subject Guide go/econguide and the new databases/trials page go/trials

NExpress Enhancements

Submitted by Elin Waagen

In collaboration with NExpress partner libraries, LIS has recently implemented a couple of very nice enhancements to the NExpress service we offer.
NExpress now offers a third renewal to accommodate research needs.
Midd now loans out DVD’s from the Browsing Collection – and we can now request DVD’s from NExpress partner libraries.
Books – 28 day loan
DVD’s – 7 day loan

Pass the Word!
Midd staff, faculty and students who will be living or traveling near our NExpress partner libraries during the summer can borrow directly from them – Colby, Bates, Bowdoin, Northeastern, Williams and Wellesley – with their Midd ID.