Sharing new ideas, resources, knowledge and technology to keep abreast of new development in reference service field

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good Football Websites

Now that football season is in full swing, I'd like to point out a few interesting sites that are informative and fun to explore. The official site of the National Football League is

This is probably the best place to find complete statistics, game recaps, and all the most important stories pertaining to pro football. There are regular columns written by some of the sport's most knowledgeable writers, great action photos from the week's games, many video clips of outstanding highlights from recent contests, and loads of other special features. You could spend hours surfing this site.

Another good site is Although not as colorful or flashy as the N.F.L. site, there's quite a variety of interesting material to be found here as well. There's in-depth coverage of individual players, a lot of N.F.L. news, analysis, and stats by a team of experts, along with extensive coverage of the fantasy football phenomenon and predictions for next week's games. Give it a try.

For the fan that enjoys football history, give a try. It's a fascinating site that delves into a tremendous amount of historical facts and stats for all of the pro teams, past and present. The site gives the all-time records of all the players who ever played pro football, along with information on all the coaches as well as how each team played from year to year since the league was created. If you're a real fan, you can lose yourself for days in this site.

In a future blog I will discuss a few of the best college football sites, but for now, try these and see what you think.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New Reference Book

by Facts on File
6 volumes
ISBN 0816059047

Did you know that herons have special feathers whose tips crumble into a powder that spreads over their plummage to keep them water repellent? Did you know that albino blackbirds sometimes occur? These questions and more are answered in this six volume set designed to introduce readers to the world of birds. Wonderful colored photographs and illustrations show birdsfrom the forests of North America, to the beaches of South America and the plains of Australia. Alphabetically arranged, information on each bird includes order, family, genus and species; habitat; behavior; breeding; food and feeding; distribution and range; vital statistics and creature comparisons. This set will fascinate bird lovers of all ages.

Friday, September 21, 2007

New England Court Records

September 21, 2007

I would like to highly recommend purchase of a relatively new book by Diane Rapaport called “New England Court Records: a research guide for genealogists and historians: (Burlington, MA: Quill Pen Press, 2006, $29.95). While aimed at the genealogist and historian, it is a good introduction to legal records. In the first, smaller section there is information on the court systems, types of records created and how to locate them. The second section has individual chapters on each of the New England states, giving a judicial time line, the courts today and where to actually find the records for each court.

This book is quite readable and extremely informative. I think it belongs on the shelves of any library.

Nancy E. Gaudette
Worcester Public Library

More on Searching Obituaries in Proquest

I recently posted instructions from Proquest on how to search for obituaries. Several of you responded that the instructions did not work for the T&G. There is no option in the T&G interface to select "obituary" as a document type to narrow the search. I went back to Proquest and told them this. Their reponse in part was "The Worcester Telegram & Gazette does not use a separate designation for Obituaries in their electronic feed to ProQuest." The woman I spoke with recommended that you use a date limiter to find an obituary. Bet she's never worked on a reference desk before! I told her that people don't often have a clue what the date is and if they think they have a clue they are often mistaken. So I went to the source...George Labonte, the T&G Librarian, to get his input. I am posting his comments with his permission:

"Here's my suggestion:

Go to the "advanced" search tab. Type the name of the deceased in the top search line. Leave the operator "and" in front of the second line and type "deaths" (without quote marks) on the second line. Click on the menu to the right, and choose "Section." Most obituaries in the T&G appear in the Deaths section. Obits of prominent people may appear in other sections.

For most names, that will suffice. If the searcher is looking for a very common, name, change the designation to the right of the name on the first line from "Citation and document text" to "Citation and abstract." That may help narrow the search results. Currently the ProQuest interface does not allow you to confine a search to the headline, which would be the most efficient search.

Another way to narrow results is to add a date element. That is done in the section below the textual search elements. If a searcher chooses "Specific date range," spaces will open to the right in which a beginning date and a closing date may be entered. Follow the style indicated.

It's important to remember that there is no law that requires that obituaries be published in the newspaper. Submission has always been voluntary. Sometimes a name only appears in the "Recent Deaths" list. (You must search the entire document and not just the abstract to find such a name.) That is the only free publication of a death notice now available in the Telegram & Gazette. If the name only appears in Recent Deaths, the entry usually includes the name of the funeral director, who could be a further source of information. Last, remember that coverage of obituaries on ProQuest begins in January 1989. Obituaries before that date are only available on microfilm. In Central Massachusetts, the Worcester, Auburn and Shrewsbury Public Libraries hold our microfilm. In Boston, our microfilm is available at the Boston Public Library and the Statehouse library. Library of Congress also collects T&G microfilm. "

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Worcester E-Resources at Your Library

Thursday, September 27
10 AM - 12 PM
Groton Public Library

Want to use the e-resources that Worcester Public Library subscribes to? Learn what each database covers, and pick up search tips and strategies. We'll bring handouts to promote this new access. Pingsheng Chen and Paul Pelletier will lead this session.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Copyright issues for Community Access Television Story Hour

I'm looking for some advice on copyright issues and perhaps some personal advice from someone who might have produced a Community Access Television Story Hour. I'm working with my local community access television station to produce shows. I would like to apply for a local Cultural Council grant to produce a show featuring grandparents who want to read to their grandchildren. The grandparent would come down to the studio and sit in a rocking chair and read.

Here's my reference question: Do I need to get permission from each publisher to use the book on Community Access Television? Or, is there some type of blanket contract that might apply, similar to permission to show videos/dvds in libraries?

Here's the concept: We would film the story being read by a grandparent, which would be reproduced on DVD for purchase by the Grandparent, so it could be replayed as many times as it interests the grandchild. The reading would air once or twice for a general audience, more if it was a classic book by an exceptional reader. I think the project would be especially popular among grandparents that live far from their grandchildren. The grant would provide seed money for a selection of good big print children's books. If successful, the profits from the DVDs would keep the show going after the grant runs out.

Any comments are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finding obituaries in ProQuest newspapers

Finding biographical information about people and celebrities is one of the many uses of the ProQuest newspaper database that is provided by CMRLS to members. One important source of biographical information can be found in newspaper obituaries.

Obituaries may contain information about a person’s birthplace, family names, work history, where they lived, leadership positions, affiliations and hobbies. Genealogists may be able to use obituaries to determine family member names and relationships.

There are several ways to find obituary information using ProQuest newspapers databases. Below are listed various strategies you can use.

Published newspaper obituary

Most obituaries contain information about average citizens and are written by the deceased person’s family or a local newspaper based on information supplied by the family. ProQuest uses the Document Type = Obituaries field to narrow a search to just published obituaries.

1) Click on the More Search Options tab in the middle of the page.
2) Expand the Document Type field and choose Obituary
3) Go up to the Basic Search box and type the deceased person’s name. You may want to try typing the name using given name, initials and nickname. Trying various forms of the person’s name within separate searches will help to insure success at finding the obituary.

An alternative method for finding newspaper obituaries is to use the following search strategy in the Basic Search box:

John Smith AND (obituary or obituaries)

Famous people and Celebrities

Many newspapers do not publish standard obituaries for the death of famous people or celebrities. Instead, they may do a feature story on the famous person’s life. These newspaper articles are not designated as obituaries and you will need a different search strategy. Try using the following strategies for finding information about the death of famous people and celebrities:

June Allyson AND (dead OR death OR died OR dies)
June Allyson AND (obituary OR obituaries)

Additional strategies to narrow your search include narrowing to a local newspaper or using the date feature to narrow the approximate month or year of the death.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

United States Government Documents at WPL

The Worcester Public Library has been a select U.S. Government Documents Depository since the inception of the program in 1859. As one of the oldest such libraries in the country, Worcester has some unique holdings of federal government publications.
Some of these irreplaceable materials include: War Department publications from the Civil War, the Panama Canal construction, and World Wars I and II. The very early works include Journals of Congress from 1790, American State Papers from Colonial times, the United States Serial Set from the early 19th century (1833), State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the accession of George Washington to the presidency, exhibiting a complete view of foreign relations since that time. 1789-96, and The Papers of James Madison purchased by order of the Congress.
Now, 148 years later, we still receive around 5,000 documents each year from all the various government agencies. Only now they come in paper, microfiche, mixed kits, VHS, DVD, CD-ROM, and online through the library's OPAC

The Rosetta Stone, Then and Now

The Rosetta Stone gave the world the key to the long-forgotten language of ancient Egypt. A French officer of Napoleon's engineering corps discovered it in 1799.He found the stone half buried in the mud near Rosetta, a city near Alexandria, Egypt.The stone was later taken to England, where it is still preserved in the British Museum. Today, the name also stands for the fully-interactive, step-by-step language-learning software. It includes thirty languages, and its applications are far-reaching. Rosetta Stone is recognized by thousands of schools and universities as an ideal English as a Second Language(ESL) solution, giving millions of English learners the confidence to communicate. The Worcester Public Library Foundation received a grant from the Verizon Foundation that will allow the Worcester Public Library and Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester (LVGW) to add Rosetta Stone Online to the Library’s Internet-based database collection. Rosetta Stone is language-learning software that features an interactive dynamic immersion method. Library patrons can use it to learn English at their convenience from anywhere, through the Library's webpage link to "Online Databases". A Worcester Public Library card is required. LVGW will hold classes in the library’s computer lab for people who want personal instruction. Please contact LVGW directly at 508-754-8056.

CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608