Can’t find an item at any of our branches? Interlibrary Loan finds items at other library systems and borrows them for all Nashville Public Library members.

Okay, be honest, who is aware of the library’s online Interlibrary Loan request form? Anyone? If you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for?

“I’ve requested several woodworking books we don’t own.” – Jenny
“I’ve borrowed sheet music collections through ILL.” – Kyle

Is there anything you’ve been longing to read to that the library system doesn’t own? What are you waiting for? Now you can request things quickly using the online form!

And remember, this also means anyone can take ILL requests from patrons. Instead of transferring a phone call to Interlibrary Loan, try filling out the online form for the patron. It will save the patron some time and they’ll remember how helpful we all are.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Take a look at the Interlibrary Loan page (under Services on the website).
2. Find the ILL Title Request form.
3. If there’s a book, movie, or CD you’ve always been looking for that the library doesn’t own, go ahead and request it.
4. Repeat this to yourself 5 times (and don’t forget it): “If the library system does not own something, we can request the item with the online Interlibrary Loan Request form.”
5. Take the survey.

Wikipedia (16)

January 20, 2008

Do you use Wikipedia? Is it to be trusted? Colleges have banned its use on papers because anyone can edit it and insert false information. But does its openness make it defective? Is it ever appropriate to use Wikipedia?

We think yes. And here’s why:

Wikipedia is a great place to get started when you have little information on a topic. When you consult wikipedia, you’re consulting thousands of people who are passionate about sharing information on each topic. The site abounds with timely, accurate information on millions of topics. Plus, the citations may reference additional sources to continue your research.

We do draw the line at using Wikipedia as your main source of information, though. It is a good resource, but it isn’t flawless. It is always good practice to verify Wikipedia information using a second source.

Here is an entry from Wikipedia on Ernest Hemingway viewed on 12/13/07. We tried to verify the highlighted information with another source.


Now, we’d like you all to do the same thing. Onward, to the mission…

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Go to Wikipedia and look for biographical information about Ernest Hemingway.
2. Use a library resource to find a second biography (hint: we looked at an online literature resource last week).
3. Do the facts about his early life match?
4. Do we need a third source? Tell us in the comments.
5. Take the survey.

We have two online literature resources now: Literature Criticism Online (LCO) and Literature Resource Center (LRC).

Literature Criticism Online has several ways to search. Basic search lets you search for words in the full-text, by keyword (words in the title, citation, abstract), or by author and title search. Advanced search lets you combine terms and search for several elements at once. “Browse authors” and “browse works” are the remaining ways to find info, and are probably the easiest.

The current default is full-text searching. If you go to LCO and type in pride and prejudice then click search, you’ll be doing a search for those words in the full text of every article in the database. This means that any article that uses the words pride and the word prejudice will be retrieved. Putting “pride and prejudice” in quotes will narrow your search to that particular phrase, which will give you more accurate results. One note: when you do a full-text search, the terms will be highlighted in the text.

You can control the size of the text by using the scale drop down menu – it can be found at the top or bottom of the “print” pages. The default is 25%, but you can scale it up to 100%, which would make the text very large and not very readable. I find 33-50% the most readable range.

We should be able to change the default search from full-text to keyword, if that is found to be more user-friendly.

Thanks for all the comments so far!

School’s back in session and pretty soon we’ll be hearing the cry for sources for literature criticism papers. But, there is good news! No need to drag out those heavy Gale books or send some poor student across town to see a source. We’ve got what students need online!

If you haven’t checked out the library’s database page in a while, you’ve been missing two incredible resources: Literature Resource Center and Literature Criticism Online.

Literature Resource Center is easy to use: Type in the name of an author or title of a work and you’ll get biographical information, criticism, and reference sources, all online from one source.

Literature Resource Center includes:

  • Contemporary Authors
  • Contemporary Authors New Revisions
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism
  • Literature Criticism from 1400-1800
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism
  • Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism
  • Drama Criticism, Poetry Criticism, Shakespearean Criticism, Short Story Criticism
  • Scribner Writers Series
  • Twayne’s Authors Series
  • And a whole lot more

Literature Criticism Online is new as of December 2007. It contains actual scanned images from the popular Gale literature books. If your student really resists LRC, you can show them LCO to prove that the information came from a book.

Literature Criticism Online has LCO includes:

  • Contemporary Literary Criticism
  • wentieth-Century Literary Criticism
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism
  • Literature Criticism from 1400–1800
  • Shakespearean Criticism
  • Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism
  • Poetry Criticism
  • Short Story Criticism
  • Drama Criticism
  • Children’s Literature Review

That’s a lot of sources covered in only two database searches!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Find the first name of Dr. Watson, of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series.
2. Use Literature Resource Center and Literature Criticism Online to find a source in a print reference source.
3. Take the survey.

What’s the difference between using the Internet for research and using one of the databases on the library’s website?

The Internet is adept at assembling general and current information, but does not currently offer in-depth material used in research. Web sources seldom undergo vigorous editorial review process. Anyone can publish whatever they want to a blog or web site, so it is not considered a credible source for research. Once students have established basic facts on a topic, they should turn to database sources and the library print collection.

Databases feature printed journal and magazine articles rather than web features. They gather material from various publications, digitize it, and index it online. The information undergoes an editorial or peer-review process before publication. Use databases for school reports, medically-sound information on health issues, repairing cars and trucks, etc.

“But I can’t use the Internet”
I don’t know about you, but I hear this a lot. And it is the library’s duty to help students understand the difference. Magazine articles in databases do not constitute the Internet. When teachers explicitly prohibit students from using the Internet in their papers, this generally refers to content on the world wide web.

Many of our databases are provided through TEL, the Tennessee Electronic Library. Take a look at TEL.

All databases are accessible from the database section of the website, under Research & Subject guides.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:
1. Pretend you’re in Jr. High School – think back to the embarrassing hair, rolled up jeans, whatever gets you there.
2. Find two articles about climate change. One needs to be a current news story and one needs to be from a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
3. Were you able to find both sources on the world wide web, or did you have to use another resource?
4. Take the survey.