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Archive for May, 2009

UVM Libraries on Facebook

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Facebook Logo

Become a fan of the UVM Libraries on Facebook to see sample collections, learn about events, and get updates on new resources and services. As always, we want to hear your feedback about the Libraries—what do you like and what do you wish we would do differently? This is a great place to sound off and share information.

Top Ten Government Documents

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The U.S. Government Documents and Maps collection located on the ground floor of the Bailey/Howe Library is a treasure trove containing a wide array of materials from Congress, all of the federal agencies, and the federal courts. We asked library faculty and staff what Bailey/Howe Government Document users were looking for and what they should be looking at, and they provided us with a list of their top ten (plus one!) great government information sources:

American FactFinder

Gets between one and two million visits a month from users of its census data and maps. A great source of economic and demographic information about the American people.

Census atlas of the United States [Online]; Documents C 3.205/8-3:29

Census data through 2000 presented in map format.

Sample Census Atlas map

Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers [Some volumes available online]; Documents S 1.1

The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes.

New England wildlife: management of forested habitats; Documents A 13.88:NE-144

An important ecological resource that provides detailed information on New England wildlife species and their environmental needs, with the goal of increasing wildlife species numbers.


Occupational outlook handbook [Online]; Documents GP 3.22/2:270

The handbook provides information on hundreds of different jobs, as well as job search tips, and information on each state’s job market.

Recovery.gov [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act]

“The site will include information about Federal grant awards and contracts as well as formula grant allocations. Federal agencies will provide data on how they are using the money, and eventually, prime recipients of Federal funding will provide information on how they are using their Federal funds.”

Chart from recovery.org

Statistical abstract of the United States [Online]; Documents C 3.134; Ready Reference HA202 .A1

“The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web. Sources of data include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations.”

Sample tables include labor union membership by state, military reserve personnel, students who reported carrying a weapon, estimated number of persons living with AIDS.

The United States government manual [Online]; Documents AE 2.108/2; Ready Reference JK421 .A3

The United States Government Manual is the official handbook of the Federal Government and provides detailed information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees.

Ever wonder who the Architect of the Capital is and what they do? Curious how many assistants work in the White House Office? Confused about the exact mandate of the Department of the Interior? Here’s where you get your answers.

War surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: a series of cases, 2003-2007. Edited by Shawn Christian Nessen, Dave Edmond Lounsbury, Stephen P. Hetz; Documents D 104.35:SU 7

This medical textbook was jointly published in July of 2007 by the United States Army and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Borden Institute. It contains 83 case studies, describing the unique conditions and treatments of military and civilian injuries in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The graphic photographs accompanying the studies proved controversial—the Army struggled to keep the book from the general public for some time. As the first work of its kind to be published while the wars it studies continue, it serves as both a lesson in how to treat wounds in the war environment and a chilling document of human casualties.

“The average Joe Surgeon, civilian or military, has never seen this stuff,” author Dr. Lounsbury [a University of Vermont College of Medicine alumnus] told The New York Times. “Yeah, they’ve seen guys shot in the chest. But the kind of ferocious blast, burn and penetrating trauma that’s part of the modern I.E.D. wound is like nothing they’ve seen, even in a Manhattan emergency room. It’s a shocking, heart-stopping, eye-opening kind of thing. And they need to see this on the plane before they get there, because there’s a learning curve to this.”

In The New York Review of Books, Sue M. Halpern wrote, “These pictures, which were taken by doctors in the field with personal digital cameras, were not intended for publication. Though in most instances they are gruesome, they are not prurient. Nor are they editorial. Unfiltered, they are instructive, not only to those who may someday find themselves working in a MASH unit, but also to those of us who, like it or not, send them there to do that work.”

The woody plant seed manual; Documents A 1.76:727

A comprehensive handbook on the seeds of trees and shrubs.

Baccharis Pilularis photograph

The World Factbook

A reference source produced by the Central Intelligence Agency for U. S. government officials, which contains information about the countries of the world. It is an excellent resource for learning more about any nation, with details about a country’s economy, government, landscape, and people. 2008 saw the last printed volume; it is now available online and updated every two weeks.

Birds of North America

Friday, May 22nd, 2009



Step outside on a quiet summer evening in Vermont and you just might hear the call of our state bird, the Hermit Thrush, beautifully singing in its fluty warble “Oh, holy holy,-ah, purity purity,-eeh, sweetly sweetly.”  If you’re not sure a Hermit Thrush is what you’re hearing, log into Birds of North America and listen to their audio sample rather than relying on this phonetic description.  But audio samples of bird songs are just a small percentage of the useful information you’ll find in this database.  Birds of North America “provides comprehensive life histories for each of the 716+ species of birds breeding in the USA (including Hawaii) and Canada.” The in depth articles contain everything you would want to know about a bird including information on demography and population, migration, habitat, food habits, behavior, and breeding information.  The database also contains images, video, and audio that illustrate plumages, behaviors, habitat, nests and eggs, and more.  So whether you need to gather some information about the local birds of Vermont before a bird watching trip or want to add some visual or auditory appeal to your presentation, Birds of North America is the premier reference source for your North American ornithological information.

Santee Wood Duck by murali_n used in accordance with the Creative Commons license.

New Book & DVD Highlights

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

How to Read Bible Stories in Myths and Art book cover How to read Bible stories and myths in art: decoding the old masters from Giotto to Goya by Patrick de Rynck.

“In How to Read Bible Stories and Myths in Art, Patrick De Rynck explores the roots of Western civilization from three different angles: He introduces the reader to the best-known stories from the Bible and mythology; he presents a selection of exquisite masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest painters; and he shows the reader how these painters interpreted these famous scenes.” –Publisher’s information.

An Orchard Invisible book cover An orchard invisible: a natural history of seeds by Jonathan Silvertown ; with illustrations by Amy Whitesides

“The story of seeds, in a nutshell, is a tale of evolution. From the tiny sesame that we sprinkle on our bagels to the forty-five-pound double coconut borne by the coco de mer tree, seeds are a perpetual reminder of the complexity and diversity of life on earth. With An Orchard Invisible, Jonathan Silvertown presents the oft-ignored seed with the natural history it deserves, one nearly as varied and surprising as the earth’s flora itself.” -Publisher’s information

The Myth of Mars and Venus book cover The myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron

“Ambitious in scope and exceptionally accessible, The Myth of Mars and Venus tells it like it is: widely accepted attitudes from the past and from other cultures are at heart related to assumptions about language and the place of men and women in society; and there is as much similarity and variation within each gender as between men and women, often associated with social roles and relationships. Cameron concludes that we have an urgent need to think about gender in more complex ways than the prevailing myths and stereotypes allow. A compelling and insightful read for anyone with an interest in communication, language, and the sexes.” -Publisher’s information

The West Wing Season 2 DVD coverThe West Wing. The complete second season.

“It’s never politics as usual inside this Oval Office. The President and his staff have been targeted for disruption by rival politicians, soon after being targeted by would-be assassins. Yet the determined colleagues continue to serve the U.S. and its President as the administration heads through midterm elections and into a crisis that leads to allegations of criminal conduct. The West Wing’s second season won the Best Drama Series Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.” -Publisher’s info

Watch excerpts from Season 2 of The West Wing:

Reliable H1N1 Information

Monday, May 18th, 2009

H1N1 lab image

Looking for reliable, scholarly information about the H1N1 influenza (also known as swine flu)? Dana Medical Librarians have compiled a handy list of links from reputable sources.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) offer the following resources on the H1N1 Flu:

  1. Newest 2009 H1N1 Flu Outbreak Sequences
  2. Citations recently added to PubMed
  3. MedlinePlus (consumer health information)
  4. Enviro-Health Links

The following information is provided by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

  1. US Info
  2. Things you can do
  3. Plan & prepare
  4. International Info.

The image above of the newly identified H1N1 influenza virus was taken in the CDC Influenza Laboratory.

Behind the Libraries’ New Website

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Detail from website banner

Paul Philbin, Head of Systems for the UVM Libraries and the project manager for the new Libraries Web Site sat down with Dana Medical Library faculty to talk about the making of a new web site, the most significant changes and his favorite features.

Philbin explained that the new site was designed to put the most frequently used information front and center, so that patrons wouldn’t have to drill down through hierarchies of web pages to find what they were looking for. Usability testing and careful analysis of statistics informed these choices. Creating an attractive, image-driven site was also a top priority. Work continues on the project, with refinements to the “Find” section of the site, based on user feedback and needs.

To read the full interview, see the Dana Medical Library Newsletter.

Paul Philbin at his desk

Paul Philbin at his desk.

Pulitzer Prize Winners

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

When Pulitzer Prize winners were announced last month, works on American history that shed new light on slavery and its aftermath dominated the non-fiction awards. Raise the bar for your summer reading with these titles:

The Hemingses of Monticello book cover The Hemingses of Monticello : an American family by Annette Gordon-Reed.

“This is a scholar’s book: serious, thick, complex. It’s also fascinating, wise and of the utmost importance. Gordon-Reed, a professor of both history and law who in her previous book helped solve some of the mysteries of the intimate relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, now brings to life the entire Hemings family and its tangled blood links with slave-holding Virginia whites over an entire century. Gordon-Reed never slips into cynicism about the author of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, she shows how his life was deeply affected by his slave kinspeople: his lover (who was the half-sister of his deceased wife) and their children. Everyone comes vividly to life, as do the places, like Paris and Philadelphia, in which Jefferson, his daughters and some of his black family lived. So, too, do the complexities and varieties of slaves’ lives and the nature of the choices they had to make—when they had the luxury of making a choice. Gordon-Reed’s genius for reading nearly silent records makes this an extraordinary work.” -Publisher’s weekly

Preview in Google Books

Annette Gordon-Reed talks about The Hemingses of Monticello, on the occasion of the work’s nomination for the National Book Award (which it went on to win):

American Lion book cover American lion : Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.

Newsweek editor and bestselling author Meacham offers a lively take on the seventh president’s White House years. We get the Indian fighter and hero of New Orleans facing down South Carolina radicals’ efforts to nullify federal laws they found unacceptable, speaking the words of democracy even if his banking and other policies strengthened local oligarchies, and doing nothing to protect southern Indians from their land-hungry white neighbors. For the first time, with Jackson, demagoguery became presidential, and his Democratic Party deepened its identification with Southern slavery. Relying on the huge mound of previous Jackson studies, Meacham can add little to this well-known story, save for the few tidbits he’s unearthed in private collections rarely consulted before. What he does bring is a writer’s flair and the ability to relate his story without the incrustations of ideology and position taking that often disfigure more scholarly studies of Jackson.”-Publisher’s Weekly

Preview in Google Books.

Jon Meacham speaks at length about the work in the Authors@Google series:

Slavery by Another Name book cover Slavery by another name : the re-enslavement of Black people in America from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon.

Wall Street Journal bureau chief Blackmon gives a groundbreaking and disturbing account of a sordid chapter in American history—the lease (essentially the sale) of convicts to commercial interests between the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Usually, the criminal offense was loosely defined vagrancy or even changing employers without permission. The initial sentence was brutal enough; the actual penalty, reserved almost exclusively for black men, was a form of slavery in one of hundreds of forced labor camps operated by state and county governments, large corporations, small time entrepreneurs and provincial farmers. Into this history, Blackmon weaves the story of Green Cottenham, who was charged with riding a freight train without a ticket, in 1908 and was sentenced to three months of hard labor for Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel. Cottenham’s sentence was extended an additional three months and six days because he was unable to pay fines then leveraged on criminals. Blackmon’s book reveals in devastating detail the legal and commercial forces that created this neoslavery along with deeply moving and totally appalling personal testimonies of survivors. Every incident in this book is true, he writes; one wishes it were not so.” -Publisher’s Weekly

Preview in Google Books.

Bill Moyers interviews Douglas A. Blackmon

America’s Historical Newspapers

Monday, May 4th, 2009

America's Historical Newspapers graphic

The University of Vermont Libraries recently acquired a subscription to America’s Historical Newspapers, a powerful database that provides access to American newspapers dating from 1690-1922. The resource makes hundreds of newspapers from around the nation available as searchable, online documents that provide contemporaneous accounts of events such as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, westward expansion, the abolition of slavery, and the labor movement.

America’s Historical Newspapers lets you search newspapers by region, state, and title as well as by article type. All articles are avilable in PDF format and can be zoomed in or viewed in the context of the whole page.

Newsboys standing next to a gate

[Newsboys standing next to a gate holding bundles of newspapers and drinking from cups]. 1904 Aug. 11. DN-0001790, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society. Accessed via American Memory.