Since last fall, the Library has been developing its World Wide Web (WWW) homepage. We are now a presence on the Web having been located by Alta Vista, one of its premiere search engines. Homepages are files or documents which introduce a particular website. Their hypertext format allows users to access linked pieces of information simply by clicking a mouse or pressing a key. Besides text, these links can include graphics, audio segments and even video clips. This is one of the reasons the World Wide Web is so popular now.
Through our homepage, you can search LIUCAT, the Library's online book catalog, which also includes substantial university-wide holdings. The homepage also gives general information about the Library and its collection and services, as well as bibliographies and research guides prepared by the librarians. Another valuable feature is its direct connections to interesting websites. For example, we created links to other universities that have made ERIC available on the Internet so that our students could search the database from home without having to locate these sites on their own. In the future, we hope to be able to accept and process online requests for interlibrary loan and other reference services.
Each Library department is in the process of developing its own homepage. The Reference Department's homepage includes information on its collection and services, such as CD-ROM and Internet instruction. The Virtual Reference Collection takes you to sites on subjects from art (RILA) to medicine (American Medical Association). Recently, CBR, Periodicals and Government Information have added their own homepages to the Library's website.
We try to update the homepages weekly. This requires constant monitoring for timeliness, new offerings, and proper formatting. With the invaluable assistance of the Academic Computing Center, we have been able to place our material on LIU's master Web document. Taking advantage of hypertext, Web browsers, and all that the World Wide Web has to offer, libraries can create powerful tools for their students and faculty that can both be fun to use and highly educational. The Web opens up a new world for information junkies; electronic publishing; a forum for marketing our services; online instruction; exhibits; and lectures. The Internet is transforming the role of the library in academic institutions. The possibilities are endless and unfolding. Stay tuned.
Have you checked the CD-ROMs lately? We now have Silverplatter's version of Art Index, a boon for art and design students. We've also added Infotrac full text to the menu of databases. On our shelves is the new Dictionary of Art, a 34 volume set with 41,000 articles and 15,000 beautiful illustrations.
The Reference Department has once again begun offering students its basic introduction to the Internet. Sign-up is required, so check in Reference for the workshop schedule. For those of you who prefer learning electronically at your own pace, Prof. Kelly Turzillo has designed a Self-Paced Online Internet Course which is also accessible from the Reference Homepage. [2003, Note: online course is no longer available]
If you are an LIU student or faculty member, you can email reference questions or call 299-2305.
John Turner Bequest
The Special Collections Department has reviewed over 2800 volumes in the John Turner Bequest and has selected almost 1200 for the Library's collection. The bequest was particularly strong in European history, Asian history and Communism, and included such rarities as a title by Trotsky signed by the author and several items from the library of "Wild Bill" Donovan (Chief of the OSS, forerunner of the C.I.A) with the owner's own signature.
The Library's movie posters now paper the walls of the newly refurbished Paramount Theater in Brooklyn Center, thanks, in part, to the efforts of President Steinberg. Only duplicate copies of Paramount Pictures movie titles were picked and then placed in secure frames. Very recently, the rest of the Paramount duplicates were also sent to be framed. There is also the exciting possibility of movie poster exhibits animating one of the Tilles Center's rooms. Movie buffs, please watch for coming attractions.
In September of 1994, a BBC television crew came to the Special Collections Department to film sections of the Hearst Collection and to interview the department head. The resulting documentary, "The Sale of the Century" focused on the sale of William Randolph Hearst's unfathomably huge art and artifacts collection at Gimbel's in 1941. (Orson Welles' film classic Citizen Kane, based on Hearst's life ironically debuted at the time of the sale).
This documentary was aired in the United Kingdom in January 1995, but has not yet, to our knowledge, been distributed to any public broadcasting station in the United States. For C.W. Post viewers, it features a sunny frontal shot of the Library and our Special Collections librarian doing his talking head routine as well as his inestimable voice-overs.
The traditional approaches to research are shifting more towards electronic research due to the influx of information networks and more specifically, the Internet. Lewis J. Perlman in School's Out: The End of Education and the New Technology explains:
"... as the exploding power of information technology itself adds to the mushrooming problem of data overload, it becomes ever more difficult to discern the shape of the forest made up of the spreading horde of twigs and leaves. The problem in most technical fields now is not a shortage of data, but making sense of the flood of data pouring in - which, as the saying goes, is like 'trying to drink from a fire hose.'"
Now more than ever, librarians are needed to help users navigate through this flood of electronic information. Traditionally, their role has been to identify, locate, collect, organize, analyze, evaluate and disseminate information, as well as to teach information retrieval skills to others. The criteria used to evaluate the quality of data and to analyze the usefulness and validity of print resources may be similarly applied to the electronic resources of the Internet. These evaluative criteria include: authority of the source, its coverage and purpose, the currency or recency of the material, its accuracy, objectivity, writing style, arrangement, and the format or physical make-up of the work.
When applying evaluative criteria, be mindful that there is no central authority governing the Internet. In other words, there is no assurance of quality. Any individual or organization can share information electronically by publishing it on the Internet or more specifically, the World Wide Web, the most popular and widely used resource area. Unlike a refereed journal which involves peer review, no such requirements exist on the Internet. Consequently, finding inaccurate, incomplete and out of date material is always a possibility. Some materials such as electronic refereed journals have actually gone through a review process, however much of the information primarily reflects people's ideas and opinions.
Before using or citing information found on the Internet, the user should determine the authority of a given source. The Internet address or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) will help identify the type of organization putting out the information. The three letter code at the end of the address will indicate the type of site: For example, an academic institution (edu); government agency (gov); commercial entity (com); or non-profit or other organization (org). Countries are generally represented by two letter codes such as ca, jp, uk, etc., and usenet or newsgroup addresses may begin with codes like alt or rec. Next determine who the author or editor is, as well as the reputation, experience and credentials of the source.
Coverage and Timeliness
You should also determine the scope of the electronic resource, the intended audience, and how current it is. Internet sites may be available one day and gone the next, or moved to another location. So it is important to question the reliability and stability of a source. For example, The Alex Catalog of Electronic Texts was used to retrieve electronic texts and documents through the Internet, but maintenance for this electronic tool was suspended until further funding could be found.
Fact or Opinion?
Some further questions to consider when evaluating electronic resources are:
An Authoritative Site
Columbia University's Project Bartleby may be considered an authoritative site because it provides electronic versions of well regarded print sources such as Strunk's The Elements of Style, the 9th edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the poetry of famous authors such as Emily Dickinson, and many other well-known literary works.
Citing Electronic Sources
Following the evaluation of electronic resources, it is imperative to properly cite the material. The most recent editions of standard style manuals, such as MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, The Chicago Manual of Style and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association now include formats for citing electronic media such as electronic journals and texts, documents, newsletters and conferences. Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information is exclusively devoted to electronic media. These bibliographic guides are all available in the Reference Department.
One final tip for your electronic research: The librarians have been identifying and selecting academic resources on the Internet and creating direct links to them from the Library's HomePage. You can explore these sites from the Library's Electronic Library Resources page or from the Library Reference Dept. Virtual Reference Collection. For links to business-related sites, try the CBR's Virtual Business Sources.
Whatever your research needs may be, the librarians will gladly help you find your way through the electronic information arena known as the Internet.
Recently, the Government Printing Office revealed a 5-year plan which assumes "that nearly all of the information provided through the Federal Depository Library Program will be electronic by the end of fiscal year 2001." Information previously distributed to depository libraries in paper and microfiche formats will be available instead via remote electronic access and by CD-ROM. Whether this idea becomes full reality in this time period remains to be seen.
The Government Information Department still receives hundreds of paper publications each day, but it cannot be denied that the era of remote electronic access has already arrived. There is an immense amount of government information on the Internet, distributed from literally hundreds of sites. One of them, GPO Access, is sponsored by the Government Printing Office and is slated to be a key player in the electronic depository system. This site already provides full text of many well-known and heavily used government publications including the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, recent public laws, Congressional bills, the United States Code, the Monthly Catalog, and much more.
Full-text electronic products have certain advantages over paper products even though they may be more awkward to use at least initially. The excellent subject indexing they provide is particularly important because many of the paper versions of the documents in question have little or no subject access. There are other advantages. For instance, the Monthly Catalog through GPO Access indicates which depository libraries are likely to carry each of the thousands of documents that it catalogs. Congressional bills, which many depositories do not carry or only receive in microfiche format, can now be printed or downloaded.
Internet access will be a great boon to many patrons. They will be able to obtain government information easily in their homes or offices, without having to visit the library and this information will be more up to date with improved subject searching.
How will this new access affect libraries? On the whole, probably not badly, if only for the fact that not everyone is computer literate or computer equipped. But at the same time that electronic dissemination makes government information more readily available, it also makes it more confusing. More than ever, librarians will be needed to educate the public as to the nature, purpose, and relevance of government materials (now electronic) and to provide instruction in their use.
The Library was bustling with exhibits, lectures and events associated with our King Arthur exhibits last Fall. During a six week period, we presented the Arthurian legend to over 1000 visitors and recreated the medieval world with heraldic banners, illuminations, dance, music, knights and armor. The Many Realms of King Arthur, a national traveling exhibit organized by the American Library Association and the Newberry Library, adorned the Hutchins Gallery while a complementary exhibit, Arthur's World was on display in the library lobby. Lectures were given by visiting professors as well as some of our own. We were visited by members of the Society of Creative Anachronism who graced us with dance, music and crafts of the time period. Thanks to all our campus colleagues for their support, cooperation and contributions which made these events an overwhelming success.
We welcomed 1996 with African-Americans in the Visual Arts: A Historical Perspective, an exhibit prepared by Prof. Melvin Sylvester and mounted in our newly renovated Main Lobby. Over 50 artists were featured, with biographical data and samples of their work, all presenting the African-American artist's quest for creative recognition and free expression.
This was followed by a Spring into Fitness theme which explored today's fitness options such as walking, jogging, swimming, stretching, weight training, sports, aerobics, eastern forms (e.g. yoga and tai-chi) and several other hybrid forms, such as water aerobics, power yoga, dance aerobics and aeroboxing. The exhibit which ran through June 14th, also looked at the mind body connection, healthy foods, fitness in the workplace, and highlighted C.W. Post students in action.
Our summer exhibit from June 20 - August 30 included the works of two noted photographers, Walter Pietrowitz and Louisann Pietrowitz, winners of several national and international contests.
This Fall, Professional Experience and Placement Services of C. W. Post Campus mounted an exhibit highlighting their services to students and job outlook for the future.
The exhibit, entitled The Library Land: LAN, WAN, NETscapes, which runs through the end of January, explores the field of information access and delivery, the structure of the Internet, differences between Internet and Intranet, security issues, search engines and telecommuting. Take a look at the timeline of technological development at the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library from 1969 to l996 and I'm sure you will agree that the library has been in the forefront of technology on the campus. After years of online access to hundreds of databases followed by networked CD-ROM technology, we now provide LIU users access to the Internet as well as Internet access to the Library's catalog. In January, the Library will be installing a new and unique system from Ameritech which will give users a wide range of information services at each workstation.
As a result of a grant received from the N.Y. Council for the Humanities, the Library is co-sponsoring with Hutton House, a lecture and book discussion program called Lives Worth Knowing, led by noted scholar John Baick. This program focuses on how four contemporary American writers (Maya Angelou, Eva Hoffman, N. Scott Momaday and Richard Rodriquez) portray themselves. Call 299-2868 for details.
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