Posted by: libraryliza | December 14, 2009

LIS 205 – Exercise 4 – Part V

For the following, find and cite THREE sources that would be useful to the patron asking the question: one reference resource (print or online, but not Wikipedia), one book (circulating or reference), and one article from a periodical. Cite in APA style. For each of the 3 cited sources, state which database(s) or other resources you used to find them, and briefly explain to the patron why it appears to be a useful resource.

4) I have to write a short paper for my physics class about what causes rainbows.

Cowley, L. (2009). Rainbows. Retrieved from

i. This reference site is linked from St. John’s CampusGuide for “Physics – Scientific Inquiry” ( and from its homepage, users click “rainbow” to get to the dedicated section. Clearly trusted as a source by St. John’s Libraries, it breaks down the elements of a rainbow in layman language, has detailed photos, and also has a section linking to other resources. This is a great starter reference, as it is so easy to use and leads right into topics detailed in the following two resources.

Farndon, J. (2008). From Newton’s rainbow to frozen light : discovering light. New York: Paw Prints.

i. Nothing turned up relevant in St. John’s catalogue, so I turned to WorldCat. Using the advanced search options, I selected keyword “rainbow,” format “book,” language “English,” content “non-fiction,” subject “physical sciences” which still had 205 results. Disregarding the first page of results either as too young or not relevant, I selected this title. Because this is for a short paper, I selected a book that discusses the entire phenomenon of light, is by a trusted author of introductory science books, is easy-to-read, and is even available on Google books.

Adam, J. A. (2002). The mathematical physics of rainbows and glories. Physics Reports, 356(4-5), 229-365. doi: 10.1016/S0370-1573(01)00076-X

i. To find this article I connected to Science Direct from St John’s listing, and searched the keyword “rainbow” in the subject areas of both “Earth and Planetary Science” and “Physics and Astronomy.” The first result was this article, and after reading the abstract, the articles seems to offer a comprehensive summary of a mathematical perspective of rainbows and glories, and it also provides a more analytical compliment to the book title previously suggested with an extensive bibliography. However, because of the article’s length, I would suggest that the student focus on the sections dedicated to rainbows (sections 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 2.1) and the conclusion while writing his or her paper.

Posted by: libraryliza | December 14, 2009

LIS 205 – Exercise 4 – Part IV

Compare & contrast the entries for “Morris, Robert [signer of the Declaration of Independence]” in American National Biography,, and Which would you recommend for whom, and why?

American National Biography

– Signed article
– Discusses the decisions that prompted Morris’s participation in the War of Independence and his work in Philadelphia
– Goes into detail about Morris’ financial work as Superintendent of Finance
– Lists bibliography

I would recommend this article to students in need of an academic source for a short essay (either for middle school students) or as a started source for more in-depth economic analysis

– Short, no external links
– Very brusque and succinct language
– Leaves out 5 years before Morris’ death
– Does not discuss Morris’ impact on the creation of the United States

I would recommend this article to students studying US History in high school or as a general education requirement for college; also recommended for someone with a casual interest in this man or the signers’ of the Declaration of Independence


– Longest, most in-depth (oddly enough)
– Many embedded links to additional and relevant content
– Divides Morris’ life into subheadings
– Best contextualizes Morris’ work with the other world events and lifestyles of the late eighteenth century

I would recommend this article for anyone who wants to do some in-depth work on Morris — but only as a perfect starting point with the listed references, links, and further reading

Posted by: libraryliza | December 13, 2009

LIS 205 – Exercise 4 – Part III

For 10 of the following queries, recommend 1-3 of the best resources and/or database(s) for finding the answer, using those available through the Guide to Reference, Credo Reference, Oxford Reference Premium Online or St. John’s Libraries. In other words, do not google search for the answer! For each query, describe to the patron in a few sentences why your selection(s) is/are good choices.

1. Can you help me find a handbook of social dancing?

a. If you would like a guide from the catalogue, using the search terms “social dancing” and then the subject term “dancing,” fourteen titles came up. Several titles might work if you are looking for a guide to all dancing, and not just literal instruction on how to dance.

i. Social Dancing, a short history GV1751 .F745 1963
ii. Dancing: the pleasure, power, and art of movement GV1594 .J66 1992
iii. Dance instruction : science applied to the art of movement GV1589 .G73 1989

b. A search of the Guide to Reference also results in a similar guide that covers more than just simply instruction: Social dancing in America: A history and reference; its ISBN is 031333756X.

4. I want to browse issues of the journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry. How can I do that?

a. First I immediately searched the title in the E-Z listing of journals from the library homepage. My result tells me that ScienceDirect Freedom Collection hosts the journal from 1995 to its current issue. I showed the student how to do this and s/he left to browse the journal him- or herself.

6. I need information about Jamie Wyeth for a 5-page paper.

a. After a couple questions about how much and why this student needs this information (clarifying whether it was Jamie or James—it’s both), I went to the Art database listing and selected the Wilson and Proquest databases. In the Wilson database, I first searched “Jamie Wyeth,” then winnowed the result using the subjects listed to the left (“Wyeth, Jamie, 1946-”), and was able to provide the student with 63 results. In Proquest, I searched “Wyeth, James” and 39 results popped up. Lastly, searching “James Wyeth” in ArtSTOR, I was able to offer the student 9 digital images of his paintings. Wilson and Proquest were the best resources in the case of this paper, but the ArtSTOR images would be useful for the student if s/he was doing an analysis of a piece of his work.

7. Where can I find scholarly articles about how to effectively train employees in the food services industry?

a. Not knowing for sure where to begin with this question, I tried MegaSearch from the St. John’s Library homepage, using the terms [training AND food services]. From the results, I selected the Science Direct databases and found some promising results from the Journal of Safety Research and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
b. After using the Megasearch, I headed to ProQuest and searched similar terms, [(LSU({TRAINING}) AND LSU({FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRY}))]. This search came back with 82 hits. Most results looked promising because I used such specific terms; some interesting results included “A new school of thought: Rethinking the old training model means educated employees, better business” and “Survey: One-on-one training trumps other methods.”

8. Does drinking milk actually improve bone density? Where can I find clinical studies that support this?

a. As most medical scholarly articles are based on clinical studies, I decided to head directly to a science database, using the list in the Medicine and Health CampusGuide. First I tried PubMed and searched using [milk AND bone density], and that search returned 475 results. The first study, “Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis” would have an extensive bibliography for the sixty-one studies synthesized in the article. The general conclusion seems to be that milk slightly improves bone density, or at the very least, makes bone density no worse.

b. Also from the CampusGuide, I went to the EBSCO databases and searched the terms “Bone Density” and “Milk consumption. Twenty-four results were found, and these seem to suggest the same conclusion as the PubMed article, although clearly there is a debate ongoing in the medical field.

9. Where is Hank Williams Trail? How can I find out more about Hank and Tee Tot?

a. What I would want to use for this question is something like a searchable AAA state guidebook, but nothing like that was listed in Credo, Oxford, or the Guide to Reference. Searching in these databases “Hank Williams Trail” turned up nothing, and “Hank Williams” articles were all strictly biographical. So I thought maybe a news bureau may have covered the trail as part of a travel piece. So I turned to ProQuest’s newspaper search, using the terms [“Hank Williams” AND trail]. From the results I found an article from the St. Louis Post that said the trail was in Alabama. That same article mentions a “Rufus Tee-Tot Payne.” However, the article indicates that not much is known specifically about Tee-tot. So to learn more about these two men, going back to those biographical entries and news articles, and also initiating a new search using a combination of the various forms of Tee-Tot’s name (Rufus, Rufe, Tee Tot, etc.). Thus news sources seem best for finding out information about Tee-Tot, while plenty of biographical sources (including the Oxford, Credo, and Guide to Reference databases) have information of Hank Williams.

10. I would like to write a paper on the Antarctic. Is there an encyclopedia that I could use to get started?

a. Any general reference encyclopedia would have an entry on the Antarctic. However, a good specific reference work, The Oxford Companion to the Earth (located through the Oxford Reference Online) has two entries about the Antarctic.
b. Additionally, from the Credo Reference homepage, the link to Encyclopedia divides them by subject. From those about science, the McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Science and Technology also has a good entry on the Antarctic Ocean and Antarctic Circle.

12. I need current information on Congressional action in the last few years regarding our troops in Afghanistan. I’ve searched newspapers, but need something with more depth, like committee hearings.

a. The St. John’s Government and Politics CampusGuide has a great deal of resources to find out detailed information about Congressional hearings and the like. Specifically CQ Weekly has summaries of congressional activities, which in conjunction with the next resource would provide a lot of depth on the Afghanistan situation.
b. The US FED News Service provides transcripts of government briefings, speeches, press conferences, and other events, and is searchable within ProQuest. ProQuest only makes complete transcripts available from 2005; however, this fits the bill of the students’ needs.
c. Lastly, the Military and Government Collection in EBSCO is perfect for this kind of research, and because of EBSCO’s format, this patron can easily search for congressional reports relating to Afghanistan.

13. Where can I find literary critiques of Corinne by Madame deStael?

a. Going to the list of literature databases I selected Literature Databases. Using the Humanities Index, I searched “Corinne” in the “Essay & General Lit” and “Fiction Core Collection.” To winnow the 61 results, I selected “Stael, Madame de, 1766-1817 / About individual works / Corinne; or, Italy” in the left hand column. This cut the list down to 27 records.
b. The next resource I used was Literature Criticism Online (Gale), trying “Corinne AND Madame deStael,” “deStael,” and “Corinne.” Without definitive results. Normally this resource has very promising results, but not in this case, yet as Corinne is not a very well known text and as a result, it has not been included in larger compiled literary texts.
c. If the student is looking for very specific and highly critical articles, I would point the student to the Project MUSE index. I searched first just Corinne and then selected under listed subject headings “Staël, Madame de (Anne-Louise-Germaine), 1766-1817. Corinne.” That search only came back with four results, each very detailed and scholarly.

15. I’m looking for current data on Iceland’s economy.

a. Using Credo Reference’s listing of material by type, I selected “statistics” to see what resources were available that would list economic information. I selected the CIA World Factbook and found the Iceland information. The economic information listed is from 2008, with some statistics from 2006 and 2007, and its financial collapse.
b. Using the Guide to Reference, I searched “Iceland” and from the Narrow by Category column on the left, selected “Statistics and Demography” and “Economics and Business.” Each had a result, one linking to Statistics Iceland ( and Nordic Statistical yearbook (LC = HA1461.N67). The latter is likely too old and is not available in the library catalogue. The former appears to be updated daily with sections dedicated to various aspects of the economy. This site has detailed analysis, but is a bit clunky, so it useful for very specified searches.

Posted by: libraryliza | December 11, 2009

LIS 205 – Exercise 4 – Part I

Let iGoogle simplify your life! Link your email inboxes, social networking profiles, syndicated blogs, news, and more from your search engine home.

Click here to begin creating your own iGoogle homepage.

Posted by: libraryliza | December 3, 2009

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld: An Annotated Bibliography

Below is an APA formatted annotated bibliography focusing on scholarly materials relevant to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, especially articles revolving around themes of empowerment, reader-engagement, and postmodernism. Although there are over 25 novels in Pratchett’s Discworld universe, likely due to their fantasy setting and huge popularity, scholars have been slow to analyze the immense range of topics, styles, characters, and themes employed therein. This bibliography attempts to begin a list of the scholarly articles that have been written about Pratchett’s great subcreated world.

Please note this blog entry is not in perfect APA style, as WordPress does not allow second-line indentations or double-spacing. To download this bibliography as a .pdf please click here.


Anderson, D. (2006). Bewitching writing: An analysis of intertextual resonance in the witch-sequence of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (Unpublished master’s thesis). Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.

In investigating intertexuality within the novels of Discworld, Anderson discovered that it functions to comment, reflect, parody, and satirize the world, human folly, and other texts.  She finds this pattern is largely relevant to Pratchett’s reoccurring theme of identity, as intertextuality allows Pratchett to awaken his readers to “fixed features of language as well as [to] issues dealt with on a thematic level” (79-80).  This thesis is incredibly in-depth, even though it focuses on several Discworld titles.  However, it usefulness is dependent on extenuating Anderson’s conclusions to what intertextuality offers readers (see Ma, 2002, below).

Butler, A. M. (1996). Terry Pratchett and the comedic bildungsroman.  In T. Burns and J. W. Hunter (Ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism (pp. 56-62). Retrieved from

Butler argues that Pratchett thematically combines an atmosphere that is carnivalesque with bildingsroman plots so as to simultaneously empower characters and the world characters’ inhabit.  As such, Bulter says this kind of writing is normally counter-cultural and it allows Pratchett flexibility in creating the familiar journey of maturity known as bildingsroman (see Gruner, 2009 and Walsh, 2003, below).  Although I was initially unfamiliar with the context of Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais used by Butler to articulate his case, he does a good job of introducing and logically proving Pratchett’s appropriation of similar meanings in his writings.  Because this article introduces the idea that Pratchett writes bildingsroman type stories, it provides evidence that Pratchett is interested in positively empowering his characters and readers.

Byrant, C. (1998). Postmodern parody in the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett (Unpublished bachelor’s thesis). University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom.

Approaching postmodernism from the perspective that it is interested in originality, repetition, simulation, and (hyper)reality, Bryant argues that Discworld novels present a postmodern depiction of reality around two expository points.  Consequently, Bryant says Discworld depicts a world that resituates traditional fantasy and parodies the human experience in a postmodern mode.  The theoretical foundation of this article is its strongest element—Bryant presents an articulate overview of the complexities of postmodernism, while also exploring representations of the “real” in Pratchett’s texts.  In sum, the legitimacy of this article is a result of its attention to the details, complexity, and application of postmodern concepts to fantasy literature.

Cockrell, A. (2006). Where the falling angel meets the rising ape: Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld.” Hollins Critic, 43(1). Retrieved from

This article attempts to survey Pratchett’s adult novels and argue that they are valid members of literature’s canon.  Cockrell tries to identify the “deeper, more substantial life” found within Pratchett’s novel to highlight what makes these novels compelling.  However, this is a largely informal article and an overly ambitious task to complete without a great deal more analytical depth.  As a result, this article provides a good introductory treatise to the vast numbers of themes, allusions, and literary elements used employed by Pratchett in his Discworld novels, but cannot be used for further study.

Croft, J. B. (2008). Nice, good, or right: faces of the wise woman in Terry Pratchett’s “witches” novels. Mythlore, 26(3-4), 151-164.

Using the series of witches Pratchett has developed in Discworld, Croft explores themes of free will, right and wrong, and the ethics of power as epitomized by these characters.  This article explores all but two of the witch novels, and thereby provides a good overview of the common connections and threads throughout; similarly, Croft explains the very use of “nice, good, and right” as they appear textually in these novels.  She has a very effective argument, and readers can easily grasp the problems of moral responsibility presented by these characters.  Croft discusses ideas of power and empowerment, and as such, her analysis is an effective vehicle for discussing the ethnics of “rightness” over “niceness” (162).

Croft, J.B. (2009). Education of a witch: Tiffany Aching, Hermione Granger, and gendered magic in Discworld and Potterworld. Mythlore, 27(3-4). Retrieved from

Thematically following her previous article, in this article Croft makes the case that the depiction of education within these novels by Pratchett and Rowling reflects social anxieties and uncomfortable ambiguities.  Although these two literary worlds seem polarizing, both problematize gender, education, and power.  While this article does not immediately address issues of empowerment, it stills suggests ways in which Discworld openly addresses such modern problems and presents an effective argument.  In addressing these issues, the article proves constructive to understanding another facet of Pratchett’s worldview.

Gruner, E. R. (2009). Teach the children: Education and knowledge in recent children’s fantasy. Children’s Literature, 37, 216-235. doi: 10.1353/chl.0.0815

This article attempts to broadly summarize and analyze the depictions of learning throughout children’s books, so as to demonstrate the continued emphasis on didacticism and pedagogy, and how this emphasis fails children.  Focusing on magic children, because they are already agents in their worlds, Gruner makes the argument that traditional educational systems fail to develop children’s gifts and that new systems need to be developed.  Gruner’s positive reading of fantasy literature is unusual among scholarly articles, and she passionately argues the ways in which fantasy novels offer greater empowerment to their protagonists.  This article is a valid part of understanding some of the broad themes of Pratchett’s work, such as the subversive ways he situates children and teens as protagonists.  Peripherally the article addresses the humanism that imbues Pratchett’s works and the positive means of empowerment that he offers his readers.  This kind of reading is a useful mode to amplify meaning within Discworld.

Ma, K. (2002). The realm of turtles: Why we read novels in the Electronic Age, as demonstrated by Pratchett’s Reaper Man (supporting article to an unpublished master’s thesis). University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada.

Ma complex argument states that reading uses and multiplies the senses and “raise[s readers] into the realm of creative, selective, and fantastic sensation.”  Although never addressing this empowerment overtly, Ma explained this as an active process that enjoins the reader to a created world.  Moreover, Ma is more interested in the power of literature toward individuals, rather than toward self-contained literary characters.  The depth of Ma’s literary analysis, combining both literary events and reader response, is unique and effective.  Accordingly, this article is an invaluable aid to understanding the broad work Pratchett affects when readers enter Discworld.

Miller, F. (2008). Terry Pratchett: The soul of wit. In T. Burns and J. W. Hunter (Ed.), Contemporary Literary Criticism. Retrieved from

This critical overview of Pratchett’s works takes a biographical perspective to emphasize Pratchett’s position as a satiric author and ironic observer.  Chronologically surveying Pratchett’s bibliography, Miller highlights Pratchett’s curiosity, skepticism, and absurdism, all which position him (says Miller) to uniquely observe the mores and society of the twentieth-century world.  Enthusiastic and well-written, this article expertly contextualizes Pratchett’s writings.  Although the article is introductory, it is not simplistic and would prove useful in understanding the underpinnings of Pratchett’s work.

Pratchett, Terry. (2000). Imaginary worlds, real stories. Folklore, 111(2), 159-168.

Written by the author himself, this lecture discusses Pratchett’s use of folklore, his understanding of reading and literature, and the relation of both to the “real” world.  In his normal engaging style, Pratchett spells out the elements of folklore that most influence is work, such as witches (the crone, the mother, the daughter) and the Morris Men, and what impact folklore has had on his writings.  The article gently reminds readers of the importance of folklore, while only whetting the appetites of those not familiar with the motifs Pratchett’s mentions.  This article is beneficial for being one of the rarer academic articles by Pratchett, and because he is expertly weaves his own ideological perspective into the article.  He hints at the need for folklore, fantasy, and science fiction, and speaks outright to what reading has brought to his life.  Lastly, his explanation of “narrative causality” suggests a very interesting connection to humanism that is begging for further analysis (166).

Paul, Lissa. (1999). Feminism revisited. In P. Hunt (Ed.), Understanding Children’s Literature (pp. 114-137). New York: Routledge.

The theoretical work of Paul’s “Feminism revisited” addresses the way in which feminist readings and treatment of texts have changed in the past fifteen years; however, this point is not the primary use of Paul’s essay in terms of understanding Pratchett’s works.  Rather she looks to redeploy feminist analysis to unpack the confines of children’s literature and to examine constructions of the individual.  What Paul makes obvious with this critical piece is the importance of themes and complexities of identity construction.  Taking Paul’s point to heart requires that a critic recognize the instability of any reading of any text because the construction of the subject changes through reading.  Understanding this method of mapping ideology onto texts is important in understanding the ideological importance of Pratchett’s works as pieces of literature and their value to readers.

Walsh, S. (2003). “Irony? — But children don’t get it, do they?” The idea of appropriate language in narratives for children. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 28(1), 26-36. doi: 10.1353/chq.0.1405

Walsh argues in this comprehensive article that typical analyses of children’s literature are overly concerned with what is good for a child, rather than the “aboutness” of a text, and therefore these analyses neglect properties of language.  She suggests this kind of analysis needs to be performed to understand the constructions of “child” and “irony” because doing so breaks down the boundaries of objectivism and modernism.  Walsh highlights an important aspect of literary studies of children: that of the supposed truism of the understanding “child” as representational and whole.  Any study of children’s literature shows that a much more discursive and destabilizing representation of children is very present.  Although this article never addresses Pratchett’s work in any direct way, it presents ideas on how Pratchett’s novels for children and young adults are examples of more radical writings for children.  His work never attempts to pigeonhole children’s forms as so much of literature tries to do, and as such, the references and comments in this article would be a valuable resource to an analysis of Pratchett’s works.

Posted by: libraryliza | November 30, 2009

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