Biology web site: Action Bioscience

Posted on July 9, 2010. Filed under: Reference, Web sites | Tags: , , , |

The Action Bioscience web site (from The American Institute of Biological Sciences) is a great resource for Biology students or anyone interested in global ecological issues. You will find peer-reviewed articles on biodiversity, biotechnology, the environment, evolution, and genomics. Up-to-date external links are provided at the bottom of each article to help the reader “learn more” about or “get involved” in an issue. They also have an Educational Resources section that provides links to sites appropriate for children. Action Bioscience has been added to our Delicious account with a Biology tab (and with gusto!).

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

What is the question?

Posted on February 16, 2010. Filed under: Libraries and Librarians, Reference | Tags: |

Here’s a post for those who are doing/have done their Refex training, copied wholus bolus from The Feel Good Librarian blog as it illustrates so well the need for a good reference interview ~ Heidi

As a Reference librarian, my job is to answer questions. From “where’s the bathroom?” to “Can you tell me if my husband is dead?” to “who exactly IS my husband?” I have been asked them all. But sometimes, just figuring out what the question IS is the real job.

A woman called the desk one night. “Can you give me the phone number for that college in Berkeley, California?”

“UC Berkeley? Sure, hold on just a moment while I find it,” I said. This was the question.

“Well, they would have an archeology department, right?”

Ok, maybe not.

“Maybe. Would you like me to try to find their number?”

“Yes, they would deal with linking Egyptian artifacts to DNA, right?”

Ok, the phone number was definitely NOT the question.

“Um, I’m not sure what you mean. Like finding out the cause of King Tut’s death?”

“No, YOU know – tracing living DNA to artifacts.”

“You mean the DNA of a person living right now? To ancient artifacts?”

“Yes! So that you can trace your ancestry.”

Oh. Well, then. Of course. THIS was the question.

“Well, I’m not sure the archeology department would cover that. Wouldn’t DNA fall more into the biology department?”

“Maybe you’re right. Never mind that, can you tell me how people get the Nobel Peace Prize?”

Oh, THIS is the question? “Sure, I can find that out for you.” I began to read her the information off the Nobel website – that a person must be known for their work and contribution to world peace.

“To peace? Can’t it be for other things?” she asked.

“Well, no. Not for the Peace prize.”

“Well, how about the Nobel Peace prize for DNA? I know they have one like that.”

Ok, if this is the question, then I have some serious homework to do. But fortunately, the penny dropped for me … “Ma’m, I think maybe what you want is the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine?”

“Yes, that’s it. How does someone get that?”

I continued to read from the Nobel website that the prize is awarded for outstanding contributions in the field. The person must be nominated by a professor or scientist from a selected medical academy or university, or by a Nobel laureate.

“You mean I can’t nominate my pastor?”

Voila – that is the question. Finally.

“No, ma’m, unless you are a professor, scientist or Nobel prize winner, I’m sorry, you can’t.”

She sounded fairly cheerful about it. “Well, thank you for all the information. I’m so glad I can call the library and find out things like this, aren’t you?”

You know, maybe THAT is the real question. And I was happy to answer this one:

“Yes. I am.”


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Be careful what you wish for . . .

Posted on November 3, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

I loved this story which I found on the Merry Librarian blog where you can submit funny stories about interactions with clients. You may be very pleased with yourself after finding the answer to a tricky question but the customer response might not be as you anticipated:

I sympathize with the librarian in “Lost in Translation” who was asked to translate Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics and so forth.

My previous organization produced a commemorative poster of Gerardus Mercator (1512 – 1594), the famous cartographer, and it included an old woodcut with a Latin inscription surrounding the image. A woman called up our public inquiries center and asked for a translation of the Latin. Her telephone call was referred to me in the library.

Since we had produced the poster, I went ahead and–after a great deal of difficulty, an old Latin dictionary and some schoolboy church Latin–I was able to call her back and say the inscription more or less said, “Here is the great Mercator, in his study, surrounded by all his instruments.”
The woman was obviously heart broken and began sobbing.

When I asked her why she was upset, she stated that she thought it was a coded message from Mercator to her, through all the centuries. She was so disappointed that it wasn’t a love note addressed specifically to her from the famous man. She knew he loved her.

Cue the theme from the old Twilight Zone TV series.

Well, I ruined her day. But she sure made mine!

~ Richard

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

HSC web sites

Posted on June 19, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

There is now a separate category on the Recommended sites for HSC specific sites. The HSC sites that were already listed under Education have been moved there and 3 new sites have been added:

HSC Legal Studies News Watch Blog
A blog created by the State Library Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) that provides help to students in finding information about recent changes to the law, recent cases, new legislation and new useful publications.

HSC Exams Papers Past Higher School Certificate Examination Papers and Notes from the Marking Centre, from the NSW Board of Studies.

HSC Syllabus NSW HSC (Stage 6) Syllabuses, Support Materials and Examination Resources from the NSW Board of Studies.

Check it out:


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

NSW Reference and Information Services group new web site

Posted on June 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The NSW Reference and Information Services Group has launched a new website: The website provides a portal to the numerous online resources created by the group including the Reference Excellence wiki, New Technology Blog, Reference Forum and Readers Advisory Wiki.

Twitterers can follow NSWRISG on twitter and keep up to date with current reference related news join the NSWRISG twitter feed:

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

ANZAC useful sites

Posted on April 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Should you get some queries re the ANZACs, here are some useful sites:


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 72 other followers

  • Facebook

  • Meta

  • Archives by date

  • Links from our account

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...