The New ReferenceUSA

July 20, 2009

Ever wanted to see how many lawyers practice in your zip code? Ever want to compile the addresses of your neighbors for a direct mail campaign? Ever wanted to find out the names of the top executives at local corporations?

You can’t go wrong with ReferenceUSA, the mighty business directory and list-generator.  Now, they’ve streamlined things a bit. So, take a look at the new ReferenceUSA and compile some business lists. View our tour!

The good people and robots over at Gale have been busy reading and sorting their magazine collection into new Princeton files. As a result of this spring cleaning, Tennessee Electronic Library’s PowerSearch will become PowerSearch 2.0 on Wednesday. PowerSearch 2.0 adds some great new options to the robust periodical search.

PowerSearch 2.0 allows you to search across fourteen TEL databases including OneFile, General Business, and Health. The default search now offers most popular limiter options: Full-text, Peer-reviewed, or documents with images only. Also, the default search is keyword; this will only match terms in title, author, subject, or abstract. For a more comprehensive search, remember to use entire document.

Powersearch2.0 still breaks down the results into a series of tabs for magazines, journals, books, newspapers, and multimedia. Magazines will appear first, but don’t stop there. Along the left side you will see more results from images and podcasts. Next time you want to watch some old news, head over to PowerSearch’s extensive video collection including videos from NBC Newscasts (Today, Meet the Press) and PBS (Jim Lehrer News Hour, Frontline, Nature). Plus, find matches under podcasts – including NPR’s extensive audio archive. Keep scrolling down your result list to get image results from the UPI photo archive.

C3PO

Once you hit article level, you can do just about anything short of republishing it. Within each entry you can now listen to a robot read you each article. Hey, these cyborgs are good readers! If you’re running short on time, download all the audio files for your marked articles, then have the robots read to you on your iPod. ¿No habla ingles? Let Gale’s protocol droids translate your article into Spanish or ten other languages. The robots will even reformat the citation so you can cut & paste it into your report.

The most improved part of 2.0 is the Publication Search, which had not seen an update since the nineties. The title lists are now infinitely sortable by format or subject. For example, you can quickly pull up all the full-text magazines that cover “Cooking.” As you mouse-over the titles, you get the important coverage details: full-text and dates of run. Select a title and you can get an RSS feed that will alert you when new issues are available to read in PowerSearch. RSS feeds are also available for any PowerSearch you run.

Check out Tennessee Electronic Library on the database page this Wednesday, July 1st.

Online Resumes

January 26, 2009

Building a Resume with word processing software is challenging for new computer users. After locating the templates, the task still requires familiarity with the table, format, and layout functions. Those crafting a resume at a public computer also contend with saving to disk or email storage, then exporting the files in various formats online. Streamline the process with LearningExpress and online word processors, Zoho Writer and Google Docs. 

LearningExpress

With word processor templates, there is no practical guidance for choosing what should be included in the document. LearningExpress: Creating a Good Resume is a great place to start – and you’ll find it on the library website’s databases page under LearningExpress.

Before crafting the file, LearningExpress helps the applicant identify what to include in the resume. Using templates, word processor novices sometimes feel limited to a fixed number of entries in each field. This program makes it easy to add more schools and jobs. Plus, the details are permanently saved in LearningExpress, so they can update it for future job hunts.

Zoho Writer & Google Docs

Zoho Writer and Google Docs programs may be the pared-down cousins of desktop word processors, but they are more suited to the new online resume world. The simple interface should be familiar to email users – which is handy, since an email address is the only requirement to use these free sites. Sign up at Zoho Writer or Google Docs. Choose from a dozen templates, then fill in the blanks with personal details to create professional-looking resume ready to be emailed, uploaded or printed from the software.

“Where did I save it?” Online!

Once registered with the site, everything is automatically saved online under the login. Going forward, all documents can be accessed from the Internet. No floppy disks or flash drives required. If uploading and downloading files is causing fits, this is the way to go. 

“I need it in pdf., .html, .doc, .rtf…”

Online job applications require files uploaded in different formats. Online processors will instantly export or email in any document format. Remember the Send To: feature that never sent anything? Try Download file as (Google) and Email/Export (Zoho). This function works like a charm.

The Eternal Undo

As many of us have learned the hard way with installed word processors, it is all too easy to lose data or damage a file beyond repair. The online programs save earlier versions automatically, so this is not a risk.Use History to refer back to an earlier version or undo all changes back to that point.

“What about MS Word online?”

With such useful online counterparts, it is no wonder Microsoft is going online with their own product, Office Live Workspace. This product provides an avenue to back up Office files, but currently offers none of the collaborative editing capabilities or automatic saving features of Zoho or Google. See Consumers Have to Wait for Web-based Office (CNet, 12/05/08).

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:    1. Create a sample resume document in either Learning Express, Google Docs, or Zoho Writer. 

2. Use the program to export or email the file to yourself.

 Last week we told you about the Job Search section of Learning Express. Once you find a job you’d like to apply for you’ll need to have a resume and some interviewing skills. Check out the Resume and Interviewing Success Skills area of Learning Express.

There are three modules in Resume and Interviewing Success Skills

Module 1: Creating a Great Resume

The Creating a Good Resume module shows applicants exactly what to include in the resume. For each section (heading, experience, education), the applicant uses simple web forms to develop the resume content. The exercise offers practical guidance on business writing and best practices at each point.

Once complete, the program provides a simple, unformatted resume to be saved to a word processor or printed as a reference. The generated resume file is adequate for many entry-level positions. Or cut & paste from the file into different resume templates to choose the best fit. 

Module 2: Creating Great Cover Letters

As with the Resume, this module methodically explains cover letter protocol and helps the applicant compile good content for a professional letter. First, LE outlines the typical cover letter with examples of good and bad form. Then, a guided web form helps the user locate and add the most relevant details for their submission. Like Resume, LE will export the cover letter outline as a text file, so the user can quickly craft their cover letter on their computer.

Module 3: Interview Tips to Get the Job You Want

Interviews can be the most daunting part of a job interview. The LearningExpress site provides helpful tips to make the applicant comfortable at every point in the interview, from appearance to nerves; from interview formats to business etiquette. In a step by step format, the program walks the candidate through the stages of an interview, all the way through writing good thank you notes. Finally, the program explains the process of evaluating a position and negotiating an offer. These quick tips will stick with the applicant as they approach a new employer. 

 You might know LearningExpress as a test preparation database where you can study for the SAT, ACT, and more. But Learning Express is not just test prep – it wants to help you get a job too.

Check out the new Job Search and Success Skills area of Learning Express. A dozen guided exercises aim to organize and prepare applicants for the job market. This simple, click-through online format condenses volumes of job hunting tips into an interactive online survey.

There are three modules in Job Search and Success Skills:

Module 1: Determining What You Want from Your Career

Put your job search in proper perspective with a methodical survey of personal interests and goals. Fill out the online questionnaire to identify career goals and job preferences. After considering career options with this handy program, download or print the lists made during the session.

Module 2: Job Search and Networking Skills 

Get specific advice about organizing the job hunt. Create contact lists using guided worksheets. See how to quickly browse through the online job banks to match qualifications with openings. Learn how to create a contact list as well as the ins and outs of networking. Any information you type in will be saved for you to print or download at the end of your session. 

Module 3: Success on the Job 

The task is not finished after the hire-date. Get valuable tips on time management, professional etiquette, and dealing with co-workers. Organize plans for asking for a raise, getting a promotion, or create new career goals.

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.