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This Week in Reference

Laughter Therapy and Exam Review Materials

Reference doesn’t stop in the summertime!  

Some of the topics coming across our desks this week were:
  • Laughter Therapy​
  • Public health education in impoverished communities
  • Wine additives and allergies
  • Spanglish

And a detailed look at one of our email questions:

Does the DePaul library have any digital CPA exam review materials? Practice tests? Video lectures?

AnswerThe DePaul Library has a selection of accounting exam guides in electronic format, including: Wiley CPA Exam Review Focus Notes, Auditing and Attestation​. There are even more in print, including the Wiley CPAexcel series of study guides and exam reviews held at the Loop Campus.

You may find additional online guidance/materials through various accounting organization websites, including the American Institute of CPAs​

Bearing in mind the constant changes in this field, and the limited capacity for academic libraries to obtain/maintain collections of the most recent exam guides, in order to prepare for all the likely question types in your exam, you may wish to consider purchasing an individual copy, whether in electronic or print format.

This Week in Reference: July 24, 2015​​​

Hyperobjects and Personal Interviews

​​​​​Some topics coming across our desks this week were:

  • Pet Therapy
  • Education Reform in Ireland
  • Environmental Consulting Industry
  • Hyperobjects​
  • History of the Chicago River

And a detailed look at one of our questions about citation style:

Question: How do I cite a personal interview using APA style?  

Answer: According to the APA manual, no personal communication is included in a reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator’s name, the phrase “personal communication,” and the date of the communication in your main text only.

This Week in Reference: May 15, 2015​

Weird Food and Finding Certain Editions

Food Cultures of the World
This week students enrolled in the WRD 104 “Weird Food” section have started stopping by, looking for help researching their ‘weird foods’.  Luckily we have a great Research Guide specifically for these students: WRD 104: Food​.  It lists some wonderful country resources, encyclopedias, databases, and search tips for finding books and articles.

Some other interesting topics coming across our desks:

  • Disability Theory
  • Cyclops​
  • Heidegger
  • Google’s Corporate Culture

And, here’s a closer look at a question we’ve had over the phone, IM, or in person:

Question: How can I find a specific edition of a book?  DePaul owns the 11th edition, but I need the 13th edition.

Answer: If you are looking for a specific edition, using the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is always a good start.  If you don't know the ISBN, searching in WorldCat Local will let you specify one specific edition in the results.  First, select "View all editions and formats":

Then, you'll be able to choose whichever edition you need from the list:

This Week in Reference, May 1st, 2015


Louis Pasteur and Girls in Gangs

Some topics coming across our desks this week were:

Louis Pasteur in his laboratory, painting by A. Edelfeldt in 1885

And a detailed look at one of our questions this past week:

Question: Hi, I am trying to find peer-reviewed articles about the Influences that causes girls to join gangs in urban America. What search tools can I use?

Answer: This is a very interdisciplinary topic, so there are quite a few databases that will be useful, including: PsycINFO, GenderWatch, Women’s Studies International, ProQuest Criminal Justice, and Sociological Abstracts.  You can find these (and other) databases on our Databases A-Z List​, or you can find them organized by subject in our Research Guides​.


This Week in Reference: April 24th, 2015​

Marginalia and Instagram

Some topics coming across our desks this past week:

Sir Isaac Newton's marginalia

And, a closer look at one of our questions through IM:  

Question: I am researching the negative effects of digital images; how taking too many pictures degrades our memory and ruins experience.

Answer Starting with the Psychology Research Guide would be a good first step, then moving on to the computer science literature.  Try using simple search terms like digital photography and effects and memory or experience, rather than including too many additional concepts in a database search.  Articles like Digital photography: communication, identity, memory” and the book: Digital Snaps : The New Face of Photography should provide a good window to the research being done on this topic.

This Week in Reference: February 27th, 2015

Lev Vygotsky and Interior Design

The hunt for the cultural significance of brain tacos and the purple yam is largely behind us, but many other interesting searches have taken their place

Some topics crossing our paths this week include:

  • Lev Vygotsky
  • French occupation of Vietnam 
  • Holographic energy wristbands
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Bloomberg Certification

And, this week, we’ve had more than one question about finding images of different types of interior locations for a theater class.  See below for more details. 

Question:   I need to find research images of multiple interior locations, like apartment interiors, office interiors, and a doctor’s exam room, specifically for a class in lighting design.

Answer:  The library subscribes to quite a few architectural magazines, both online and in print.  Two in particular seem especially useful for a lighting design class: Architectural Lighting, and Interior Design.  Both are available online, along with  pdf images of the articles, complete with photographs and illustrations.  Searching for books with keywords 'interior architecture' locates more than a few good items in our collection like, Office space planning : designing for tomorrow's workplace and Interior Design of the 20th Century​.  In print, the dewey decimal number for browsing both journals and books about architecture is 720.  And, finally, the library also subscribes to Artstor, an image database, which can be useful as well. 

This Week in Reference: February 20th, 2015

Food Cultures and Company Information

Lots of students were coming by the Research Help Desk this week to learn about the history and culture of certain foods: from kimchi to plantains and everything in between.  Good thing the library has many resources to help out, including an online copy of The Cambridge World History of Food.

Other topics crossing our paths this week include:

  • US Intervention in Haiti
  • State funding levels for education
  • Commodity trading
  • John Wycliffe

And, an in-depth look at a conversation we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Question:  Hi!  How can I get access to the database Hoover’s?  I’m researching the companies like Razorfish.

Answer: While the library doesn’t subscribe directly to Hoover’s there are Hoover’s company profiles in the database LexisNexis Academic.  In LexisNexis, click “Get Company Info” and enter the Company’s name.  Additional information can be found in the database Business Source Complete​.  Find “More” at the top of the page, and choose “Company Profiles” to search by company name. 

 This Week in Reference: February 13th, 2015

Beowulf and Impact Factors

Some of the interesting topics coming across our desks this week include:

Beowulf Manuscript
Beowulf Manuscript

  • Beowulf
  • Day Trading
  • Impact of Nonprofits on Public Policy
  • Pastoral care in the Emergency Room

And, an in-depth look at a conversation we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Question:  How do I find out about journal impact factors?

Answer:  The library subscribes to Journal Citation Reports which provides one way to assess the prestige or influence of a journal.  Find “Journal Citation Reports” in the Library’s A-Z Databases list.  We have access to two sets of journals.  The JCR Science Edition contains data about more than 8,000 journals in science and technology, and the JCR Social Sciences Edition contains data about more than 2,600 journals in the social sciences.  

The Impact Factor is calculated by dividing the number of citations that year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. An Impact Factor of 1.0 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited one time. An Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published one or two year ago have been cited two and a half times. The citing works may be articles published in the same journal. However, most citing works are from different journals, proceedings, or books indexed by Web of Science.

Other metrics can also be useful in assessing the influence or prestige of journals as well.

Have more questions about Impact Factors or evaluating journals?  Just ask!


This Week in Reference: January 23rd, 2015

Turkish Cinema and Advertising Rates

Here is our first “This Week in Reference” for the Winter Quarter.  Happy New Year!

Despite the frigid weather, the students and faculty made their way to the library to begin their work during this first week back at school.  And, perhaps because of the frigid weather, we helped a surge of students online through our Ask-a-Librarian Chat feature.

Some topics making their way to our desks and inboxes this week:

Turkish cinema : identity, distance and belonging

  • History of Turkish Cinema
  • Writing instruction in high schools
  • Euclid
  • Historic CEO compensation for all companies in technology sector 
  • The Barber of Seville
  • Autodesk Maya Tutorials

And, from our IM reference transcripts:

Question: I need help finding industry averages for the cost of online advertising using different revenue models.  

Answer: Start with either the Companies & Industries Research Guide​, and specifically to the financials section, or the Public Relations & Advertising Research Guide.  Key Business Ratios is a good source for benchmarking data, and is available both online or in print at the loop library.  However, advertising averages might be difficult to find because public companies are not required to report specifically what they spend on advertising.  Advertising is commonly folded into the ambiguous "administrative costs" reported in a 10-K filing with the SEC.  

Another strategy would be to look for articles about the topic - what advertisers might pay to post ads on a website using different revenue models - in databases like Business Source Complete and ABI/Inform.  SRDS, available in the A-Z Database list, also provides information on actual rates charged by publications both in print and online.

This Week in Reference:  January ​4 - January 10, 2015​​​

Hercules and Tickling

Here’s our last “This Week in Reference” of the quarter.  We’ll take a short break over December, but will be back in January 2015!

Hercules and Cerberus
Hercules and Cerberus​ by Nicolo Van Aelst

This past week, we met with quite a few students researching the various myths of Hercules.  When searching this topic in a database, it’s useful to include all of the various spellings of this Greek divine hero, including Hercules, Heracles, and Herakles.

Other topics coming our way included:

  • Frenemies
  • Wicca
  • Kolb's Learning Style Inventory
  • Tesla
  • Aristotle and Time

And, an in-depth look at a conversation we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Question:  Hi! I’m trying to find some articles about tickling and when and why it might be considered appropriate behavior.

Answer: There are lots of articles on tickling in the popular and scholarly literature!  Search Academic Search Complete and PsycINFO together  using the truncated keyword tickl* combined with words like “social norms,” “behavior,” and/or “culture.”

This Week in Reference:  November 9 – November 15, 2014 

Roseanne and Consumer Complaints

We are in the homestretch before finals!  Good luck everyone!

Roseanne The Complete Series

Topic coming to us this past week include:

And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Question:  Hi, I was wondering if data sets were available electronically from the library?

 Answer:  We have a guide to finding datasets that are either freely available online or are available through DePaul’s subscription resources: Statistics & Data

Question: I am trying to find some research about the level of customer dissatisfaction arising from services from local service providers like home repair or auto repair etc.

 Answer: You could start by looking for articles on the topic in the database Business Source Complete, using the terms auto* repair (the asterisk looks for all endings of the word like automobile, automotive, etc.) OR plumbing, combined with the terms "customer satisfaction" OR "consumer complaints."  You could also search for articles about reviews in Yelp or on a service like Angie’s List.  And, definitely check the Better Business Bureau for information.  You'll find a trove of material and statistics on business complaints.

This Week in Reference:  November 9 – November 15, 2014

The Crucible and High School Dropouts

The Crucible
We had many students asking for help with an assignment to perform a script analysis of The Crucible​, which required the student to research the background and historical/cultural context for the play, as well as research about the playwright.  Other topics coming to the desks this past week:

  • History of Ghana
  • Virginia Woolf and Eco-feminism
  • Eye fatigue
  • World War I training manuals
  • Alcoholism in Russia

And, an in-depth look at a conversation we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Question: How do I find articles by Rumberger about high school dropouts?

Answer: Most databases allow you to search for articles by a specific author.  Since this topic concerns the field of education, it makes the most sense to search in our Education databases: ERIC and Education Research Complete.  Enter “Rumberger” in one of the fields, and select "Author" in the drop-down list.

You can narrow your search further by adding the term “dropout” in the second box.  Then, filter just to articles using the facets on the left.

This Week in Reference: November 2-8, 2014​

LGBT Homeless in Chicago

Topics coming to us this past week include:

  • World War II documentaries
  • Annette Messager
  • Bronzeville
  • Polish Immigration
  • World Oil Prices

And, an in-depth look at a conversation we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

Out In Chicago

Question:  Hello there, do you know if the library has any books that talk about the Chicago LGBT homeless community?

Answer: To learn what books we have, check the DePaul VuFind Catalog , which is searchable by keyword, subject , author and more.  In this case, however, the topic may be too specific for a book.   We have many titles about LGBT issues in general, and many just about the LGBT community in Chicago.  But none specifically examining the homeless community in that population.  Finding journal articles, newspapers, or researching local organizations would be a good alternative.  Also, instead of looking for the one perfect source on a topic, you can look through some of the many articles about the homeless LGBT population and articles about the homeless population in Chicago, and then make your own connections between the two.

This Week in Reference: October 12 – 18, 2014 

ADHD and Scholarly Books

We are seeing and hearing from lots of students in the School for New Learning working on their Advanced Projects, many students from International Studies researching Ludwig II, and still more students with their own varied, interesting, complicated research needs.

ADHD In The Schools

 Some of those topics coming to us this past week include:

  • ADHD
  • South China Sea
  • Suicide in Europe in the 19th century
  • State lotteries and the funding of public education
  • Vietnamese population in France in the 1970s

And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:


How can I tell if a book is scholarly?


For an overview of what makes something scholarly, visit our FAQ: How Do I Find Scholarly Articles?

Much is the same for books. Look to see if the author has an academic affiliation, e.g.  Joe Smith, Professor at Harvard.  You might also note if the publisher is a university press, e.g., University of Chicago Press.  In addition, check to see if there are footnotes or references or a bibliography in the book.  Scholarly sources should indicate what resources the authors consulted in arriving at their conclusions.

You can always ask a librarian if you are not sure that a specific book or article is appropriate.  Just because something is not scholarly doesn't necessarily mean that it won't be useful to you.

This Week in Reference:  October 5 - 11, 2014

Hull House and Chamber Music

Welcome back to class and welcome back to This Week in Reference!

Topics coming to us this past week include:

Hull House
Hull House

  • Donald Ivey
  • Photoshop
  • Animation
  • Community profile for Devon Avenue
  • Hull House
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student needed help looking for chamber music scores, specifically for either 2 clarinets and 1 bassoon or 2 clarinets and 1 cello.  The librarian walked them through a search in the DePaul VuFind Catalog.  They used the keywords chamber and clarinet and cello (for starters) and scrolled down to check the box for "Music Score" in Formats & Media.

A researcher had found a working paper via Google and wanted to know if the authors had also published a 'finished' article on the same topic.  The librarian explained that sometimes the name of the work might change from working paper to published article, so it would be wiser to search for the authors' names, rather than searching for articles by title.  They did, and found a published chapter - with a slightly different title - in the book: Sage Handbook of European Studies.

This Week in Reference: Sept 7 - Sept 13, 2014

Gilgamesh and Personality Tests

Its getting more and more crowded in the library and at the Research Help Desks as we head into the beginning of the quarter ...  Ready, set, go!

 Topics coming to us this past week include:

  • Eric Voegelin
  • Ecology of Lake Michigan
  • Pi (not pie)
  • Gilgamesh

And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

We were asked for help researching entrepreneurial personality tests.  The researcher didnt have a particular test in mind, so the librarian started with PsycINFO, from the Psychology Research Guide.  They searched for the term Personality specifically in the Tests and Measurements field in the drop-down list, with Entrepreneurship as a subject.  They found lots of good results, including several articles about the Big Five Personality Test.

This Week in Reference: August 31-Sept 6, 2014

The Middle East and Discrimination in Education

Lots of textbook requests and questions about the new website, but thats not all!  Other topics coming to us this past week include:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Peace, conflict, and diplomacy in the Middle East
  • 19th century Irish immigration
  • Term limits

And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

We had a  student ping through on IM looking for articles on the history of social order and education.  He was understandably overwhelmed with an initial search that retrieved over 23,000 articles.  Realizing that the key words social order and education were overly broad, the librarian worked with the researcher to find some ways to narrow the search.  They tried again, focusing on the issues of race and class exclusion in education through history, using the terms: racial or race, discrimination or segregation, history, and education.  The librarian also suggested using books, since they can cover more information than articles for such a complex topic.  One especially good book they found was: In Browns Wake: Legacies of Americas Educational Landmark.

This Week in Reference: August 24-30, 2014

The Emaciated Siddhartha and School Uniforms

Topics coming to us this past week include:

  • History of chandeliers
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Face to face marketing
  • The Emaciated Siddhartha in Buddhist art

And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help finding articles written in support of school uniforms.  The librarian first explained that articles with useful information are often objective, and may include both positive and negative aspects of any one issue.  Then, we suggested using terms like advantages, success, or outcomes in the search, especially making use of the databases: ERIC and Education Research Complete.

A doctoral candidate needed assistance determining the scope of whats published in several different journals, understanding how the articles within those journals are organized.  In addition to reading through some of the issues, the librarian suggested looking at the publishers websites for more information.  Usually, there is a page devoted to author guidelines that provides exactly this type of detail.  The library also subscribes to Cabells Directories of Publishing Opportunities, which has related information about individual journals, including the type of review process proposed articles undergo, and the acceptance rate.

This Week in Reference: August 17-23, 2014

Kandinsky and Chicago Neighborhoods

Topics coming to us this past week include:

And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A researcher was interested in finding demographic changes over time in different Chicago neighborhoods.  The librarian immediately pointed him to the Chicago Community Fact Books (up to 1990) to find information organized by Community Areas or to the Census Bureau to search by census tracts or zip codes.  The problem with tracking different neighborhoods can be aligning our idea of the neighborhoods with either the Community Area or the zip code or the census tract. The librarian supplied some other great resources as well, like a map of Community Areas in Chicago , a description of Census Blocks, and the City of Chicago for data from the 2000 census for Community Areas.

 This Week in Reference, August 10 - 16, 2014

Teff Flour and Postpartum Depression

Topics coming to us this past week include:

Eragrostis tef, for Teff Flour
  • Teff Flour
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Common Core
  • League of Nations
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student was writing a literature review on diagnosing postpartum depression, and needed specific information about the validity of the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale in different languages.  The librarian started with HaPI (Health and Psychosocial Instruments), linked from the Nursing & Medicine Research Guide.  Next, they worked through some useful searches in CINAHL, Health Source, and PsycINFO.  The librarian also suggested searching for articles about language problems in relation to research instruments in general, and then applying those general findings to language issues specific to the one instrument.  Terms like interpretation and translation were also very useful.

A question came through IM about the relationship between commute time and college GPA.  The librarian pointed the student toward the databases ERIC, Education Complete and others, searching with the subject heading "commuting students" and "GPA" or "Grade Point Average" or "Academic Success."

This Week in Reference, July 13-19, 2014

Joan of Arc and Gaudi

The finals frenzy has passed, but we've still been answering interesting reference questions!  Some topics to come to the research help desks this week include:
  • Guilt vs. Shame
  • Frances Willard
  • The trial of Joan of Arc
  • Christian themes in The Matrix (film)
  • Invasive rats in Ireland
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student was looking for material about Tim Burton for a philosophy class.  The librarian first suggested the book Burton on Burton.  They used the Click for more information on this title link to read a summary of the book, making sure it would be a good fit for the paper.  Then, the librarian suggested searching in the Film and Television Literature Index with the terms: Tim Burton and (themes OR interviews).
We were pinged on IM for help researching the personality of Antoni Gaudi.  The librarian pointed out the Art History Research Guide, and helped search for books, finding: Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miro, Dali, and Living Gaudi, the Architects Complete Vision.  They were also able to find biographical information in the journal literature, through an all databases EBSCO search by subject for Gaudi.
This Week in Reference: June 8 - June  14, 2014 

Walter Benjamin and Family Life

Classes are over, and the final citations are being written in APA, MLA,  and Chicago styles.  In addition to reference formatting questions, topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Walter Benjamin
  • William Conger
  • Chess Records
  • Scrabble
And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student was looking for information about what it meant to be a “successful” family in the early 1900s.  The librarian asked questions about the assignment to help narrow down the search, and found quite a few useful articles in Academic Search Complete, with the terms households OR families AND united states AND history.  Also recommended was the resource American Decades.  The student could search for the word “family” across all of the volumes/decades and they found some wonderful material, including an article entitled “Home Life: 1900-1909.” 
A researcher needed statistical information on graduation and retention rates for students with disabilities.  The librarian immediately pointed out the National Center for Educational Statistics, listed on the Education Research Guide.  He also provided the student with a link for the report: Diplomas At Risk from the National Center for Learning Disabilities which contained all of the needed data!

This Week in Reference: June 1 - June  7, 2014

Giovanni's Room and the Smothers Brothers

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • History of Printers Row
  • Giovannis Room
  • Nam June Paik
  • Teachers professional identity
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help with research on theologian Carter Heyward.  The librarian immediately suggested starting with the Religious Studies Research Guide, and looking for articles in the  ATLA Database, searching for Heyward, Carter as a subject heading.  They found 147 citations, including a few books.  Then, since the student thought he needed a bit more, the librarian explained how to search additional databases in the EBSCO platform, and how to find the results in each of the different databases (Womens Studies International, Humanities Abstracts, etc.) in the facets on the left-hand side, at the bottom.

A student came into the library looking for information about the TV Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  She had to find critical information about the show, reviews, as well as when it aired and what other shows were on the major networks at the same time.  Happily, one of our reference books: The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (1946-1980) (R791.45 B873C2) has all of the prime time TV schedules, by network for each year.  In 1967, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was up against the ABC Sunday Night Movie and Bonanza! For reviews written in the 1960s, the librarian showed the student how to search in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times, and they also found critical material in the Film and Television Literature Index.
This Week in Reference: May 25-30, 2014  

Alban Berg and Italian Wine

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Mixed Income Housing
  • Nelson-Denny Reading Test
  • Alban Berg
  • Chicago Soil Formation
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help finding books summarizing the major periods and empires in Islamic History. They found the following, among others: Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World, and Chronology of Islamic History 570-1000 CE.  The librarian then suggested looking through an encyclopedia for a more concise explanation of the time periods.  The librarian shared a list of History Encyclopedias, and helped the student find relevant articles, especially using the online Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages.

The librarians on IM were asked for help with a project about food and wine of Italy.  The librarian clarified what class the research was for (Travel, Values, and Identity), and determined that the Hospitality & Tourism Complete database would be best. They searched with the terms Wine and Italy, and limited the search to peer reviewed sources with the facets on the left.  They found several great articles, including: Wine tourism in Italy: New profiles, styles of consumption, ways of touring And The Staging of Experiences in Wine Tourism.

This Week in Reference: May 18-23, 2014 

Graceland Cemetery and Crowdfunding

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Umar Mukhtar
  • Graceland Cemetery
  • Sanborn Maps of Illinois
  • Censorship in China
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student sent us an email looking for guidance researching the topic of crowdfunding medical expenses.  The librarian suggested that there might not be a lot of scholarly information about this topic, but he suggested a useful search strategy:  Searching several of the EBSCO databases together with the terms: crowdfunding OR crowd funding (since the term appears as both one word and two)  AND medical care or medical bills.  Other ideas to find more literature included searching with the terms: fundraising, fund raising, online, social networks and/or social media.

A student used our IM service to ask for help researching how modern residential space influences people.  The librarian drew on her subject expertise to immediately recommend the book: Home: A Short History of An Idea.  From there, they checked for more books with the subject heading: Dwellings Psychological Aspects, which surfaced quite a few good titles owned by DePaul.  For articles, the librarian suggested starting with the  Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, and searching with the subject term personal space and keyword psychology.  The student found just what she needed!
This Week in Reference: May 11-16, 2014  

Oyster Mushrooms and The Basilica of St. Francis

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Cosplay and Identity in Japan
  • John Whitney
  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • NGOs in Haiti
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A question came through IM about research on age and interculture from the human resources perspective.  The librarian helped clarify the topic, and they searched through  Business Source Complete with the terms generation Y AND baby boom AND millennials, combined with the subject term for human resources: personnel management.  The results from the search were just what the researcher needed! 

A student looking for information about the Basilica of San Francesco dAssisi was coming up empty.  The librarian suggested starting with an encyclopedia, picking one listed on either our Religious Studies Research Guide or our Art History Research Guide.  After finding general information this way, a search in Art Full Text and ATLA uncovered some valuable scholarly articles.  And, finally, the librarian guided the student to a few great books in the collection, including: The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi: Glory and Destruction
This Week in Reference: May 4-9, 2014  

The Buddha and Virginia Woolf

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Harry Everett Smith
  • The Buddha in Hinduism
  • Mesoamerican Ballgame
  • Food distribution in Guatemala
And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:
A student asked for help writing a research paper on Dorothy Parker and Virginia Woolf.  She specifically wanted assistance finding book reviews from the 1920’s.  The librarian first pointed out that the student could search for book reviews from the 1920’s, but could also look for scholarly articles about these authors written from the 20’s till today.  For book reviews published in the 1920’s, the library has a subscription to the (London) Times Digital Archive (1785 – 1985)JSTOR, and more resources listed on the guide: Book Reviews: How To Find Them.  For scholarly/peer-reviewed criticism on Woolf and Parker, the librarian suggested starting with the  MLA International Bibliography for scholarly articles about each of these authors.
Displacing place: mobile communication in the twenty-first century / edited by Sharon Kleinman
A student needed information to support a thesis that cellphones are killing face to face communication and interactions. He was looking mostly for books, but hadn’t been able to find anything. The librarian suggested searching for books with the subject heading: Wireless Communication Systems, and they were able to find the book: Displacing place : mobile communication in the twenty-first century. The librarian cautioned that since the book was published in 2007, the material might be dated, even though the topic was appropriate. The librarian clarified that articles would have more recent information, and that the student should expand his search. They started with the database: Communication and Mass Media Complete, using the subject heading “cell phones” and keywords: interaction or behavior, finding more recent material.
This Week in Reference: Apr 27-May 2, 2014 

Cyrus the Great and Malaysian Markets

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • Art therapy and disability
  • Cyrus the Great
  • Dodd-Frank
  • Homeless youth in Chicago
And, an in-depth look at some conversations weve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help researching major markets in Malaysia for an international business class.  General searching overwhelmed the student with information about the missing airplane, and he couldn't find the material that he needed.  The librarian pointed the student to the International Section of the Companies and Industry Research Guide.  The  Dismal Scientist  has a country page for Malaysia, and searching the and Viewswire are also worth exploring.  The librarian then suggested searching for articles and other material in  Business Source Complete, where they found a recent report on the Malaysian economy.

A student came to  us looking for some very specific data about how college students use music apps such as Pandora and Spotify. The librarian cautioned that the particular information the student was looking for might not be compiled anywhere.  She suggested searching through several of the EBSCO databases at the same time, since the topic is very interdisciplinary.  The search combined the terms: spotify or pandora or internet music (as a subject) AND college students or students or young adults.  One of the articles they found was just right: "In search of Music: A study of music consumption and search behaviors in undergraduate students," published in Music Reference Services Quarterly.

This Week in Reference: Apr 20-25, 2014

Liar's Dice and Interior Design

Happy Easter!

Topics coming to the reference librarians this past week include:
  • New Urbanism
  • Affordable Care Act
  • Prison Reform
  • Liar's Dice
And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help with an assignment to develop a marketing plan for an interior design firm in Chicago.  The librarian pointed the student toward the Companies and Industries Research Guide, specifically starting with Business Source Complete.  They searched for "interior design" (in quotes), and the librarian explained how to limit to Industry Profiles and Market Research Reports using the facets on the left -- under Source Types.  They also limited geographically to the United States, removing any international reports. One of the results they found was the Interior Design Services Industry (United States) Capital and Expenses Report from 2014, helping the student out greatly. 

A researcher was looking for articles about the effect of physical exercise on well-being.  The librarian helped the student narrow down her topic to psychological well-being and suggested starting with Academic Search Complete. Searching with the terms exercise and well-being didn't find too much.  The librarian was able to help the student discover a better search strategy: (exercise or physical activity) as a subject term and "happiness".  The results from that search were just what the student  was looking for.

This Week in Reference: Apr 13-18, 2014

Fracking and Graffiti

We are well into the Spring Quarter now, and the questions have gotten past the standard “do you have my textbook?” and have become more interesting and complex!  
Topics coming to the reference librarians include:
  • Trade data for Chile
  • German cinema
  • Active learning in middle school
  • Software Industry market research 
  • Fracking
  • Atlantic Slave Trade
And, an in-depth look at some conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, through email, or over the phone:

A student was starting research for a paper on “a person of significance” and was having trouble picking a subject.  The librarian referred her to our Biographical Information Guide, and suggested using the Credo Reference: Biographical Sources database.  It includes a number of useful online encyclopedias that can be browsed for an appropriate topic for this type of research.
A student was looking for a recent article on teachers as public intellectuals.  The librarian suggested she start with our Education Research Guide, specifically searching through ERIC or Education Research Complete with keywords, and limiting to articles published within the past 12 months.  When the student found a great source, the librarian explained how to find the full text of the article through the Full Text Link, and they were able to locate a pdf version.

A researcher was looking for articles about graffiti art and its benefits for society.  He knew about JSTOR, but needed additional resources.  The librarian suggested searching several databases on the EBSCO platform, including Academic Search Complete, Art Full Text, and even PsycINFO.  They used terms like graffiti, street art, benefits, purpose, society, and more.  She also described how to limit to scholarly articles through the facets.  

This Week in Reference: Apr 6-11, 2014

Food and Indic Art

This week, we’ve seen some recurring assignments, including research about the animation of Walt Disney, Roman Architecture, and the history of food – including the history of lasagna!  Other topics have included: 

  • Pipo Nguyen-Duy
  • Collaborative learning models    
  • Herakles

And, some interesting conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, email, or over the phone:

A student asked for help finding information about food deserts in Chicago.  Since the student was already searching through Academic Search Complete, the librarian suggested searching through all of the EBSCO databases together with the terms “food deserts” and Chicago.  While they found some material, the librarian suggested that more scholarly information would be available about food deserts in urban areas in general, not necessarily specific to Chicago.  To find more material only about Chicago, a search through some Chicago area newspapers, links available from our Newspapers and News Stories Guide, would round out the research.

A student was looking for material about Post-WWI Italy, focusing on the years just after the war ended.  The librarian suggested starting with the database Historical Abstracts, explained how to limit the search to certain historical periods, and suggested a search for “Italy” as a Geographic term, along with the keyword “interwar”.  The librarian recommended adding additional terms or concepts or names (e.g. Mussolini) that the student might wish to research. 

A student needed help finding material on Indian art during the Ganga period, because she was coming up with too much material about North America.  The librarian explained that searching for “Indian art” finds material about American Indians, while a search for “Indic art” finds material about South Asia.  With this piece of information, they were able to narrow their search and find some very useful material.

This Week in Reference: Mar 2-7, 2014

Sitcoms and Potato Famine

This week, research topics were diverse and interesting, and included:
  • Irish Potato Famine
  • Gender wage gap in Illinois
  • David Alfaro Siqueiros 
  • Orem's self care deficit
  • Unionization of college athletes
And, some other conversations weve had via IM, in person, email, or over the phone:
A student pinged into our IM service, asking for help finding educational statistics for prison inmates.  The librarian shared our Criminal Justice Research Guide and then suggested the U.S. Department of Justice website, where they found just the right data.
A student needed help finding sources on the history of sitcoms.  The librarian suggested that they start by searching for articles, using several databases at once, including Communication & Mass Media Complete, Film & Television Literature Index, the Humanities Index, America: History & Life, and others.  They searched with keywords Sitcoms and History and found some very useful material.  The librarian then helped the student find books in our collection, including: The Columbia History of American Television, the 2-volume Comedy : A Geographic and Historical Guide (with a chapter called Television Sitcoms), and The Sitcom Reader : America Viewed and Skewed.

A researcher was looking for medical articles discussing how a diagnosis is made for a person in a persistent vegetative state.  The librarian first recommended searching PubMed, with the Medical Subject Heading: Persistent Vegetative State.  The librarian then suggested using the National Guideline Clearinghouse, a resource from the US Department of Health and Human Services, to find other definitions and assessment techniques.   Finally, the librarian advised looking at relevant professional organizations for additional material, including: American Neurological Association, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

This Week in Reference: Feb 23-28, 2014

Gewandhaus Orchestra

Welcome to This Week in Reference!

These are busy times for our students.  There have been lots of interesting topics to come our way at the Research Help Desks, including questions about:
  • Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan 
  • Ancestor Worship
  • Witold Lutosławski
  • Air pollution in China
  • Effect of faith on presidential foreign policy
  • Experimental films of Kenneth Anger
And, some other conversations we’ve had via IM, in person, email, or on the phone:
A student was trying to identify the components of a creative process and then explain how it affects one's perception of the world.  The librarian found the Creativity Research Journal, and used that as a starting point. They then searched for some general information about creativity in both Grove Art Online and Credo Reference.  For more scholarly information, they explored the databases Art Full Text and Humanities Abstracts.  If the student was still in need of more information, the librarian suggested searching for biographical information on a famous artist, which should include descriptions of that artist's creative process.

A researcher was looking for statistical information on various "looting" activities related to antiquities. The librarian looked at several resources, and found the best information was offered by Unesco.  Searching with terms like "world heritage" and "looting" produced good results. The librarian also recommended checking websites of museums of antiquities, which often keep records of such thefts; for example, the Oriental Institute in Chicago has records of looting in Iraq.

A student was writing a paper about the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, and how an orchestra affects the people and the culture of a city.  The student was specifically in need of primary sources.  The librarian helped the student explore sound recordings, our historic newspaper databases including The New York Times and The Times of London,  contemporary newspapers through our database Access World News, as well as useful books and memoirs.  Through these searches, they were able to find quotations from the Gewandhaus conductor about national funding for the orchestra and its importance to the musical life of cities. 

That’s all for now…..As always, thank you for reading This Week in Reference!
This Week in Reference: Feb 16-21, 2014

Isadora Duncan and Senegal

Welcome to This Week in Reference!

With midterms behind us, students are turning in earnest to their research papers, and are coming to the Research Help Desks for assistance.

Recent topics have included:
  • Vatican II
  • Isadora Duncan
  • Yoga and PTSD
  • Chicago Public Schools Drop-Out Rates
  • WWI Propaganda
  • Syrian Refugees
And, some other conversations weve had via IM, in person, email, or on the phone:

A student asked for help finding information about the people of Senegal, including ethnic groups, religions, traditions, and languages.  The librarian directed the student to the International Studies Research Guide, pointing out resources like the CIA World Factbook and the Europa World Yearbook, as well as the online article databases to find information on Senegal.  When they turned the search to books, the librarian determined that the student was enrolled in an online class, living abroad.  He was able to produce a list of DePaul owned e-books about Senegal, including the title:  Tolerance, democracy, and Sufis in Senegal, helping the distance student enormously.

A question came through about finding information on Pilsen.  The librarian immediately suggested using the Chicago Collection at the John T. Richardson library, including a book called Ethnic Chicago: A Multicultural Report, and following that up with a search for Pilsen Chicago in WorldCat Local.  Determining that the student was looking for information about immigration patterns and gentrification, the librarian explained how to narrow searches in WorldCat Local to articles, and how searching with additional, relevant terms would produce a better list of results.
This Week in Reference: Feb 9-15, 2014

Diverse Images of Human Holiness

Welcome to This Week in Reference!

Several students came to the Reference desks this week in search of the “Diverse Images of Human Holiness” for a class assignment.  The “Diverse Images of Human Holiness” is an art installation at the top of the stairs on the 4th floor of the Jonh T. Richardson Library.  If you haven’t stopped by recently, you may want to look again.  You’ll find icon portraits of a variety of figures, including St. Ignatius of Loyola and Mother Theresa of Calcutta, but also Harvey Milk of San Francisco, and Steven Biko of South Africa, among others. 

Other topics to cross the Reference Desks have included:
  • The Hyde Park-Kenwood Urban Renewal project, 1956.
  • Jeremiah the Prophet
  • Sandra Bem
  • Ethics and accuracy in American journalism
  • Syria and humanitarian relief
  • SWOT analysis for Campbell’s Soup
And, some other conversations we’ve had:
A student looking for historical rankings of television shows was directed to the American Decades series, in the reference collection, which provides the top 10 ranked shows for each decade.

A researcher logged into IM looking for information about how the use of the Spanish subjunctive has changed with different generations of Spanish speakers.  The librarian was able to find some dissertations, including:  The subjunctive in Miami Cuban Spanish: Bilingualism, contact, and language variability, and some articles, including: Past and present perspectives on language change in US Spanish by searching with the terms: subjunctive and Spanish.  

A student was researching the costs of college textbooks, specifically how the recent economic recession has affected students.  The librarian suggested starting with Academic Search Complete and Education Research Complete, with the search terms: higher education OR college OR university AND cost OR expense AND economic conditions, expanding the search to all costs, not just textbook costs.  They found a relevant research paper that was produced by NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) and tracked down the original report.  They then searched for more material about rising tuition, and found an article specifically about Illinois, which was very helpful for the student.
Someone asked about finding articles from the 1950s about television, hoping to find information specifically about I Love Lucy, Dragnet, and the Colgate Comedy Hour.  The librarian suggested newspapers as a great source, and they found many articles from our Historical Newspapers databases about all three programs.
This Week in Reference: Feb 2-8, 2014

Latin American Soap Operas and Bitcoin

Welcome to This Week in Reference!

This week we’ve had students ask for our help researching the history of different games, a familiar assignment for many of us.  So far, we’ve delved into the past of Rummy, Sorry, Dominoes, and Craps (among others), and there will be many more before the quarter is done!  Since the students need to research the game as well as find primary source material, librarians often recommend searching a combination of the following sources: Credo Reference, JSTOR, newspapers, books at DePaul (including the Oxford History of Board Games, Ancient Board Games in Perspective, The Games We Played : The Golden Age of Board & Table Games, Dice: Deception, Fate, and Rotten Luck), books ordered through I-Share, and books available online through HathiTrust.

Other topics to cross the Reference Desks have included:
  • Perceptions of death and dying
  • Francis Cecil Sumner
  • Racism in Cuba
  • Depiction of Religion in Latin American Soap Operas
  • State of the Union Address
  • Title IX
And, some interesting online conversations from IM:
A student asked for assistance with a speech about the misconceptions of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  The librarian suggested starting with our Psychology Research Guide, and looking for articles in the database: PsycINFO.  Or, if the student needed less clinical information, a search for articles in Academic Search Complete might be more than sufficient.  Suggested keywords included bipolar (or schizophrenia) AND myths OR misconceptions OR misunderstood OR stigma.
A researcher was coming up empty looking for film reviews of the first Godfather movie.  The librarian sent her to the Film Studies Research Guide and suggested starting with the database: Film & Television Literature Index, since it begins coverage in 1971.  She suggested searching for “The Godfather” and review*.  That particular search also pulled up a bunch of reviews of television shows, so they focused their search with the exact heading for the movie: "GODFATHER, The (Film)", and were very successful.

A student was researching Bitcoin, its background, pros and cons.  The librarian clarified if the student was interested in Bitcoin’s affiliation with the drug trade and money laundering, as that also seemed to be a useful search strategy.  They started with a search in both Academic Search Complete and Business Source Complete together for “bitcoin” and several keywords describing pros and cons, like: advantage or disadvantage or benefit or drawback or problem or challenge, etc.  They were then able to sort the list of results to the most recent first, and used the facets to limit to only ‘scholarly’ articles.
This Week in Reference, Jan 26-Feb 1, 2014  

This Week in Reference: Dominoes and Childbirth

Welcome to another chilly installment of This Week in Reference!

The cold weather did not keep people away, and this past week we helped people find information on a wide range of different topics, including:
  • Health care research related to small businesses
  • Significance of the purple robe placed on Jesus at his crucifixion
  • History of dominoes
  • US intervention in Congo, 1965
  • Yoga and cellular health
  • Population statistics for different Chicago zip codes
Other interesting questions to come our way (from IM, Email, phone and in person) included:

A researcher needed help finding information about feminism and yoga.  She had been relying only on Academic Search Complete and hadnt been finding much.  The librarian introduced her to our fabulous research guides on the various topics of Women & Gender Studies, Psychology, Yoga, and Sociology.  And, the librarian emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the topic, pointing out the wide variety of resources that DePaul has available.
A student needed material comparing childbirth in four different cultures.  The librarian demonstrated how to search the catalog for books on the topic, suggesting a subject search on Birth customs or a subject search on Childbirth.  They found several useful titles, including: The American Way of Birth, Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birth and Healing, and The Manner Born: Birth Rites in Cross-Cultural Perspective.
A student was looking for articles related to the use of reflection in the faculty mentor/mentee relationship, specifically in the nursing profession.  The librarian suggested a search in CINAHL first, and then possibly expanding to ERIC and Education Research Complete.  Suggested subject terms and keywords included: faculty, mentor* (truncated to include mentor, mentoring, mentorship), and reflection. 

A researcher asked for help finding catalogs, handbooks, and manuals for Early Modern Spanish coinage, and was coming up empty.  The librarian suggested using the terms: coinage and numismatics, and found quite a bit of material for a very grateful patron. 

This Week in Reference: Jan 19-25, 2014

US Intervention in Angola and Sister Carrie

Welcome to another This Week in Reference!

Students have been coming into the library to find course readings, to do homework, and to get started on some long-term research assignments.

Some topics that have come across the Research Help Desks have included:
  • Biographical material on Elizabeth Loftus
  • Finding 'liner notes' for 'Smithsonian collection of classic jazz'
  • Parental attitudes to sending preschoolers to special education
  • Alzheimer's and family caregiver burden
  • Greek Civil war
  • Contemporary fiction about the middle ages
  • Other interesting questions to come our way (from IM, Email, phone and in person) include:
For help with primary sources, books, and peer-reviewed articles about Angola and the Cold War, a librarian pointed the student to the International Studies Research Guide, and used Europa WorldPlus for background information.  Then, they delved into the databases: PAIS, JSTOR, and Historical Abstracts for articles.  And finally, the librarian recommended searching newspaper databases for additional primary source material. 

A student needed help with a literature review about the experiences of black women attending predominately white institutions in higher education.  A librarian suggested searching across several different databases in the fields of women’s studies, education, and psychology for the phrase “Predominantly White Institution” or “PWI”.  The librarian was also able to show the student how to find memoirs and personal narratives using the Classic Catalog and WorldCat Local.
To find material about Sister Carrie and economic conditions of Chicago in the 1890’s, a librarian pointed the student to the resource: The Value of a Dollar, as well as a publication by the US Department of Labor.  Also of interest were the following books and articles: Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930, “Sister Carrie’s Popular Economy,” and “Sister Carrie and Industrial Life: Objects and the New American Self.”  
A student was looking for information about how the internet has changed the field of technical writing.  The librarian suggested she check the communications databases as well as Academic Search Complete. An initial search for the phrases “technical writing” or “technical documentation” or “technical communication” along with the keywords: internet or online or web or blogs or wikis (etc.) found some useful information.  However, an additional search for “technical writing” and the keyword “trends” also proved helpful.
This Week In Reference: Jan 12-18, 2014

Bloomberg Terminals and African Fiction

Although we started the winter quarter with a horribly cold snow day, there were still plenty of Reference Questions at the library this week!

You might guess that the most frequently asked question was: “Do you have my textbook?” – and you’d be correct!  However, we also answered many more complex questions in person about things like:
  • Theories of Health Care Policy
  • Galileo and the Church
  • Young Peoples’ attitudes toward death
  • 1963 public school boycott
  • History of Spain
And, questions from IM included:

A student asked if DePaul subscribed to any databases that would provide yields of specifically rated bonds.  A librarian directed the student to the Bloomberg terminals as the best source for that information, and provided instructions on how to sign up for use.
A student wanted to find a work of fiction about Africa, written by a writer from Africa.  A librarian searched through the catalog with the keywords: “Africa” and “fiction” and then did some research on the authors to find their nationalities.  The DePaul library has quite a few titles that fit this description, including:  Life and a Half, by Sony Labou Tansi, Passage of Tears, by Abdourahman A. Waberi, and Say You’re One of Them, by Uwem Akpan.

A patron wanted to find a list of all the recordings of Palestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass held by the library. The librarian advised the searcher to use the classic catalog and to set the limit to music recordings under Primary Format.  After trying  a search for Palestrina as an author word, and “Pope Marcellus” as a keyword at first, the librarian found more recordings using the alternate: “Papae Marcelli” instead. 

This Week In Reference: Week of Jan 5-11, 2014