Roving Librarians @ Lyle for Fall 2012

Each Tuesday from 2 to 3PM through the Fall semester, Melanie Golder and I will be visiting the Lyle School to provide students and faculty with research support.  Whether its a question about acquiring a book or help setting up a database alert, we’ll be there for you.  Here’s our schedule of visits:

Junkins Visits (Ben): September 4 & 25, October 16, November 6 & 27
Embrey Visits (Melanie): September 11, October 2 & 23, November 13, December 4
Caruth Visits (Ben): September 18, October 9 & 30, November 20,

We look forward to see you through the fall!

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New Research Guide: Physics

Research guides are great resource for quickly finding the best Internet sources, paid databases and library items on a given subject.  This week I’m launching the Physics Research Guide, and it includes links to, CERN, IOPscience, and other physics resources.  You’ll find it all grouped by general information, astrophysics & astronomy, and energy & matter.

I’ve also upgraded the Electrical Engineering guide with a new tab for suppliers and manufacturers aimed at students working on design projects.

Consider promoting the guides to students in your syllabi or on Blackboard. You’ll find  other library research guides through this link. Please e-mail me any additional subject-related resources to consider for these guides!

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Creating Direct Links to Online Articles

As you’re constructing your required reading lists, consider using proxy-enabled links. When you link to articles, rather than post them to Blackboard or e-mail them, it gives the library a more accurate count of resource usage and avoids gray areas about copyright. Linking to articles can be easy to do and here’s how:

Step 1: Copy a proxy-enabled link to your database source using links found through our subject-specific Research Guides or Find Article Databases page:

Step 2: Locate your article and copy it’s link:

Step 3:  Paste the article link after the proxy link and delete duplication:

Now you’ve created a link that students can directly access the article, although if they are off-campus they may need to authenticate with network ID and password. Some databases may be more difficult, so please contact your subject liaison if you need additional support.

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Evaluating Google Scholar

“Scholarish: Google Scholar and its Value to the Sciences”
Jerry Grey & Others
Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2012

When it comes to searching online, Google dominates like no other. So when Google Scholar came along in 2004, many students and researchers flocked to it because of its ease of use and seemingly unlimited access to great information.  That’s not to say there aren’t detractors, specifically librarians and specialty databases serving scholarly users.

The article is an excellent assessment of the good, bad and sometimes ugly truth of using Google Scholar.  Problems of the service’s transparency and Google’s attitude about disclosure (“hey, it is a free service”) are unsettling when you realize there’s no quality control for determining what items are truly scholarly and what’s not. Sorting and ranking result items are also a problem with the service.

I use Google Scholar when I want to uncover open access or gray literature.  Remember the key to using Google Scholar is the same for any search tool – know what it does best and apply the right tool for the right job.

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Engineering Online Resources Update – Fall 2012

Several of our engineering databases were upgraded and updated this summer.

IEEE Xplore: We upgraded our subscription to include all conferences and standards in the IEEE collection.  Here’s a link to all the content you can now access.

Engineering Village 2: Our search screen to access Compendex has entire changed, and is now similar to other Elsevier databases. You can watch a video on using the new and improved search at this link.

SpringerLink: We purchased the catalog of 2012 Springer and Apress published titles.  You can see a list and access titles here.

Contact me if you have questions or would like a personal tutorial on using these great resources.

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Library Services Make Semester Planning Easier

Now that Summer Semester is over and you are preparing for the Fall, here are some services we offer to consider in your plans:

Course Reserve. If you assign required or supplemental reading in your courses, we can manage your materials.  Our Circulation staff can set up and manage your course reserve material, whether its books, photocopies or provide persistent links to articles found in our databases.  In addition to library items, we can also handle your personal material, so you don’t have to track them down. For more information check our Reservation page.

Library Instruction. Anytime your students need to learn more about searching online resources and evaluating information, we can help. Our STEM librarians are all experienced instructors at teaching skills that promote lifelong learning.  We can either come to your class, or schedule a session in our computer labs.  For best results, schedule any instruction session close to the time students start on an assignment.  Visit our Library Liaison page for contact information.

Purchasing Resources. As much as we try, we don’t own everything at Fondren.  Please let us know if you need a book or journal to support your classes.  Many times we can order a books in print or e-version. If you don’t find the item in our catalog, send your suggestion through our Purchase Request page.

Research Guides.  If you use Blackboard with your students, consider linking to one of our Research Guides.  Our guides bring together the best academic and  professional databases, journals, books and websites in your discipline.  You can also suggest new resources to add to the guides.

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Meet the STEM Librarians: Ben Toon

Hello!  I’m the library’s subject matter expert for computer science, electrical engineering, EMIS, mathematics and physics.  My experience is heavy on the engineering side as I’ve worked as a market researcher in the telecom industry for the past fifteen years. Most of my time was spent supporting electrical and software engineers developing fiber optical transmission equipment.  I’ve built and managed information-based research services, analyzed competitors and forecast new markets. What does this mean to you?  Well, if you need help locating information for a project, class assignment or research paper, come see me. I can help you improve your search strategy, or acquire an item if we don’t own it.

Along with Melanie Golder, you’re bound to see me visiting the engineering buildings.  Stop by to introduce yourself and let me know what you’re working on!

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Meet the STEM Librarians: Carol Baker

Hello and Greetings from Out West.  I’m the library”s subject expert for biological and environmental sciences.  This summer and fall I am working as the Fort Burgwin Librarian in the SMU in Taos program.  I have served as the information resource person for the SMU in Taos courses in plant biology, parasitology and environmental and ecological science for the past five years.  I have recently begun ordering for those subject areas for the Fondren collection as well.

Feel free to email me at with any information or order requests you may have this summer and fall.

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Meet the STEM Librarians: Sandra Setnick Zucker

Hello!  I’m the library’s subject matter specialist for geology and maps.  I’ve been a science research librarian at SMU Central University Libraries for over 25 years.

What does this mean to you?  Well, if you need help locating information for a project, class assignment or research paper, come see me. I can help you improve your search strategy, or acquire an item if we don’t own it.

You can often find me in the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library (SIC  131). Contact me by email to set up an appointment.  Or stop by the Map Library to introduce yourself and let me know what you’re working on!

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Meet the STEM Librarians: Melanie Golder

Hi! I am the library’s subject specialist for Mechanical, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemistry.  I have a Master’s degree in Botany and am certified to teach high school biology and chemistry.  I taught Middle School Science for 6 years, but most of my professional life (23 years) has been spent as a Science Librarian and Inter-library Loan Department supervisor right here at SMU.  I’d be happy to help you locate information for a research project or paper or get you started on the literature review for your thesis or dissertation.

So schedule a research consultation with me when you are ready to get started.  This fall I will be offering research help once a week in Fondren Science and the Embry Building.  Look for my “Librarian on the Loose” sign.

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