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September 24, 2010

Minitex Reference Services has a new name!

Dependable and trusted, we're still the same unit that you've come to rely on for excellence in reference referral and all-things-ELM services. But given the tremendous effort we put into our outreach initiatives and ventures as well as variety of instructional opportunities, we thought Reference Outreach & Instruction better describes who we are and what we do. You can consider us your ROI, a solid return on your investment!

Our contact information remains the same:
email: mtxref@umn.edu
ph: 612-624-4150

September 23, 2010

Answer the Unanswerable

Give it a shot - try answering Ask.com's top 10 unanswerable questions. However, be forewarned many of those questions are going to be tough to answer - some of them are "What is the secret to happiness?" and "Who is the most famous person in the world?" You can find these questions at Jeeves' Unanswerables.

Don't forget! Minnesota has it's own 24/7 Q&A chat service staffed by librarians - ask your questions at AskMN!

September 22, 2010

Library Book Back After Decades in Winona

WINONA, Minn., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A Minnesota librarian said a book more than 35 years overdue was returned in "Amnesty Week," during which late returns can be made with no fees.

Winona Public Library reference librarian Robin DeVries said "Small Voices: A Grownup's Treasury of Selections from the Diaries, Journals and Notebooks of Young Children" was found in the drop box last week, the Winona Daily News reported Monday.

"We appreciate it," DeVries said. "We really do. We really are thrilled to get (the book) back."

DeVries said officials have no way of determining where the book has been. She said the due date bears a stamp with no year, a style used prior to 1975, and member records were purged in 1987 to make way for a new digital barcode system.

Officials said the fee on the late book could have ranged from $445.80 to more than $1,400.

September 14, 2010

(Articulating) the Value of (Academic) Libraries

An Inside Higher Ed article called "The Value of Libraries" points to an ACRL study written by the prolific Megan Oakleaf of Syracuse University. The paper pulls from library literature and beyond to help provide language to college libraries looking to articulate their value to the campus in times of financial scrutiny. As both the paper and the Inside Higher Ed write-up are careful to note, college libraries are already valuable, but may not be "armed with the data and vocabulary to articulate their value." (thanks to Todd Digby http://twitter.com/tryandig for the link)

September 13, 2010

Bloglines to no longer exist

According to Ask.com, owner of Bloglines, their RSS reader will no longer exist in a few weeks citing tough competition from Google Reader, increasing use of microblogging services such as Twitter, and refocusing their company on the Q&A service as reasons. Read more.

If you use Bloglines, check their homepage on instructions to export your RSS feeds to another reader.

September 8, 2010

NY Times: Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits

A very interesting article in the NY Times asserts that our seemingly collective acceptance of different learning styles, dedicated study areas, and extended study sessions is pretty much wrong. To support this potential game-changer, the author turns to a review of the research literature.

"In recent years, cognitive scientists have shown that a few simple techniques can reliably improve what matters most: how much a student learns from studying ... The findings can help anyone, from a fourth grader doing long division to a retiree taking on a new language. But they directly contradict much of the common wisdom about good study habits, and they have not caught on."

Does this give you pause to reflect on how you present library instruction to students or the public, or how you talk to learners about studying?

September 3, 2010

August Reference Notes

The August issue of Reference Notes is now available.

It's back to school time! The time of year that triggers butterflies in the stomachs of students everywhere and seems to trigger press release machines at database vendors as well. So we've got some very exciting updates about the ELM databases in this issue, as well as our own very exciting announcement about a new version of the Research Project Calculator. Plus, tips to make your ELM K-12 databases student friendlier. And if you need a back to school refresher on ELM, we've got a listing of conferences we'll be attending and an announcement about our new ELM instruction made to order.

Here's the TOC:

Reference Outreach & Instruction
The NEW Research Project Calculator Is Here!
The Kids Are (Probably Going to Be, at Least in Terms of the Internet,) Alright
ELM Spotlight(s)
ELM Webinars Made to Order
Making K12 Databases Student Friendlier
Library Publications on Facebook
Information-Seeking Behavior in the Big Lebowski
Minitex Reference Outreach and Instruction Fall Conferences and Instruction

Reference Notes

September 1, 2010

St. Paul Pioneer Press Added to ProQuest Newsstand

ProQuest is pleased to announce the addition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press to the ProQuest Newsstand database! Access is available now with backfiles to April 21, 2010. This important Minnesota newspaper joins the hundreds of other regional and national newspapers available in ProQuest Newsstand and accessible to Minnesota libraries through ELM. Please contact Minitex's ELM Support if you have any questions.