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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Google Book Search for Magazines

Google recently added magazines to its popular Google Book Search. Its partnership with publishers began with 10 full magazine archives and is now growing at a steady rate. The archives are in full-color, page-to-page, in a format that is easy to browse. As more magazines are scanned, Google will incorporate them into their standard search results.

To access the magazine archive, go to Google Book Search and select "advanced book search" on the right. Limit the content to magazines and start searching. Click on your chosen title, and select "browse all issues" on the right column to see a thumbnail of all issues included in the archive.

Google has not yet published a list of titles included in their archive, but you can view a partial list at the following blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Patent Searching Online

You can search U.S. patents online at
When you arrive at the site you see a list of topics along the left margin. The fourth item down is patents. Clicking on the word expands the topic to 16 categories. Item number 3 is "Search Patents". If you are just searching by a known patent number this will suffice. Since searching is not exactly simple, if you are doing a full search you may need to start at item number 10, Guides & Manuals". When you click on this topic you will get a screen with two columns. In the right hand column in the second box, below the word "help" the third line down is "How to search patents and more". This should give you a better start. If you want to print a patent from the site you will have to have TIFF installed on your computer. Good luck! If you need help you can call me at the Worcester Public Library.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Capital Gains and the 2008 Income Tax Statements

Do you have patrons asking you for back issues of the Wall Street Journal so that they can accurately report their capital gains?

In the past, most small libraries could not help their patrons answer these kinds of questions but now they can. A few weeks ago I introduced you to Mergent Online and I suggested the benefits of having your patrons get a Worcester Public Library card. Well, with Mergent Online you or your patrons can now retrieve historical stock prices. Navigating your way through is a little tricky so make a copy of the directions and the process will only take minutes.

1. Go to Mergent Online from the Worcester Public Library homepage.

2. Click on the tab "Enter Mergent Online."

3. Type in a company name or ticker symbol.

4. One company or more than one company will appear in a list. Choose the correct company and click on it.

5. Click on the Tab "EQUITY PRICING."

6. Scroll down to the word CONTROLS:
a) click button "Date From"
b) if you want the closing cost of a stock for a certain date (for instance, 09/12/2008), then you must enter the date "from and to" like this: 09/11/2008 to 09/12/2008. As you can see the date range is separated by at least 24 hours.

7. To the right of the date range are the words "Show Grid." This must be checked off.

8. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Draw Chart."

9. A chart will be presented to you. Above the chart and on the left is the dollar amount at the close of 09/12/2008.

10. Your date range needs to be a minimum of 24 hours apart but it can certainly be years apart as well. So, if you want to see the opening and closing costs for each day throughout the years then go to the Tab at the top and click on "REPORTS."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Family Health Portrait

My colleague and office-mate, Anna K, showed me an Associated Press article printed in the Boston Globe, "Tracking red flags in family history", knowing my interest in medical issues. Thanks to the efforts of Surgeon General Steven Galson, there is now an online tool to create a family health tree, similar to those genealogists use. According to the website, "My Family Health Portrait is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. The tool is easy to access on the web and simple to fill out. It assembles your information and makes a "pedigree" family tree that you can download. It is private--it doesn't keep your information. It gives you a health history that you can share with family members or send to your health care practitioner."

The premise behind the creation of this site is to find familial connections that may alert you to identify potential risk factors. If you know you may be predisposed to cancer or hypertension, you may want to quit smoking, reduce salt intake, etc. According to the Center for Disease Control, fewer than 30% of Americans have ever collected health information from relatives.
If you want to check out this site and perhaps start creating your own family health profile, go to

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mergent Online

Mergent Online is a subscription database providing financial information on 10,000 U.S. and 20,000 non-U.S. public companies. Many libraries are not familiar with this sophisticated and pricey service. Small libraries are more likely to subscribe to Value Line Investment Survey which compiles single page reports on some 1,700 publicly traded companies. Value Line has a unique system of ranking stocks by summarizing the facts about a company (background on what the company does, past profitability, market-related measures, risk- and volatility-related measures, and projections). Research is all important when buying any stock and Value Line has some great advantages as a starting point.

While Mergent Online does not rank stocks it does go well beyond Value Line by providing key financial information for those working in the investment management field as well as the academic and corporate information fields. Coverage includes history, mergers, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, property, long-term debt, bond ratings, capital stock, balance sheets, income statements, cash flow, annual reports, insider trading, ratios and more.

With Mergent Online you can create any number of reports. For instance, you can choose a company (or more than one) and compare that company against the industry as a whole or you could create a competitors report.

Also, if your library has traditionally subscribed to Europa World Yearbook you will appreciate even more the information on foreign countries (and the U.S.) provided by Mergent Online. Each country profile offers detailed organized information and statistics on that country's history, geography, people, government, economy, stock exchange and corporate filing practices.

The Worcester Public Library provides remote access to patrons with a Worcester Public Library card.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Locally Grown

An article in caught my eye the other day. It was “Nine finds in New England” and one of the “finds” related to buying locally grown products:

There’s nothing more satisfying than doing good by eating well. Whenever you’re traveling in New England, resolve to patronize restaurants that support local growers, fishermen, foragers, cheesemakers, bakers, and beekeepers. New England chefs have been in the vanguard of the ‘‘locavore’’ movement that nurtures sustainable agriculture and fisheries while providing the best possible food with the smallest carbon footprint. Some parts of New England make it easy to find these local boosters. Berkshire Grown ( lists more than 50 restaurants. (The Red Lion Inn, for example, serves a locavore ‘‘sustainable menu’’ on Sunday and Monday nights.) Vermont Fresh ( lists more than 100 restaurants that support Green Mountain State producers. They include the Farmers Diner in Quechee (, which devotes 65 cents of every dollar to buying food produced within 70 miles. New Hampshire is just getting organized; check the sponsors list for Seacoast Eat Local ( for a few restaurants. You can browse for options throughout New England by checking the website of Chefs Collaborative (, an organization that celebrates local foods and works to foster a more sustainable food supply. Click on ‘‘local food search,’’ highlight restaurants, and put in the location you want to search.
(Text : David Lyon/Globe Correspondent)

This idea, or movement, has been getting a lot of attention lately, so I thought I would do my part to support the movement especially since there are so many fresh products produced here in Central Massachusetts. Some other websites worth checking are:
and perhaps my favorite,
It’s probably not the best time of the year to start trying to become a locavore, but it is a good time to stay inside and read up on a new idea or investigate restaurants you might visit on an upcoming vacation.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A New ALA Store is Coming!

The ALA Store is a project of the Publishing Services Department of the American Library Association, which develops products that support the educational goals of the organization and meet the needs of the information services community. Revenue from products in the ALA Store provides direct support to the programs and initiatives of the American Library Association.

About the ALA Store
The current ALA Store will soon be completely updated, filled with user-friendly features based on your suggestions. Our attractive new interface will help you to browse ALA products and publications by product type or by area of interest.

The new ALA Store will remember the contents of your cart for up to 30 days, so you can always come back later and pick up right where you left off.
Our new Wishlist will allow you to store items of interest for later purchase. Email your Wishlist to friends and colleagues directly from the ALA site.
Product descriptions for books will include handy links to Library Thing, WorldCat, and bookmarking sites like Del.ici.ous.
RSS feeds can alert you to new products.

A "Print for Purchase Order" feature will generate a printer-friendly order summary, including tax and shipping charges. A running shopping cart total will make checkout always just one easy click away. There will be no disruption in the filling or shipment of your orders!

As always, we will be here to help with any questions you may have at 800-545-2433, extension 2427 or email us at After you've had a chance to try out our new site, we would like to hear your comments and suggestions, which you can quickly provide using the Feedback feature on our new site. Thank you for shopping with the ALA Store!

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