Thursday, April 17, 2014

Having a beer with His Serene Highness

According to a Wall St. Journal article, every year in the tiny principality of Liechtenstein the Prince, His Serene Highness Hans-Adam, and his son Prince Alois, host a garden party in the castle and invite all their subjects up for a beer.

The variety and diversity of countries in the world is remarkable, and often it can seem hard to find out information on them. Our guide to country information is a good starting point, showing you what resources there are for articles, books, government reports and more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CCC - POW - Brockport Vets

An interesting bit of Brockport history has recently surfaced about where the housing for married vets that used to be on campus came from originally. You can read more about it in the archives blog. The story is of interest not only because of some new information about our campus, but also because of the broader context it touches on.

Many are familiar with Hamlin Beach Park, up on Lake Ontario. But how many people realize that the park, like many across the region, was originally developed by workers of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930s? Or that after the war began, POWs, mostly Germans, were brought from Europe and housed at Hamlin Beach? (One of the many stories about the POWs is that they were used as workers on the local farms, many of which were farmed by people of German descent, and who still spoke German.) There is a local group which is interested in the history of all this, and they do have a website. We have books in our catalog about the CCC and POWs in WWII, and America: History & Life would be great for articles on the subject.

Pictured above are Hienrich Willert and Gottfried Schulze, two men who in their youth were German POWs at the Hamlin Beach camp, and in recent years discovered via the Internet the efforts to build a small museum there. They contacted the local history group, and supplied many stories about the camp. Below is an image of the married vets housing that came from Hamlin to the campus.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mapping Brackish Water

Only geologists and oil well workers would likely know this, but when drilling wells a log is kept of the materials drawn up. Those logs are kept and archived. This site describes the process of keeping well logs. A current use of such an archive has come up in Texas and was noted in an archival email list. It involves using old drilling logs to map out brackish water tables that, while not fit for drinking initially, could be rendered drinkable by modern filtration methods. In the current drought in Texas this could pinpoint a useful source of water.

Our article databases Academic Search, GeoRef, and ScienceDirect would be good sources for articles on oil well drilling, water tables and well logs.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Mutiny on the Bounty

The story of the mutiny on the Bounty in the 18th century has long been one that has fascinated people. There's something for everyone, the drama of shipboard life, the tension between Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian, the mutiny itself of course, and then the aftermath of it. The mutineers retreated to a deserted island with their Tahitian followers, there to live a rather violent Robinson Crusoe sort of life, and Captain Bligh and those loyal to him embarked on one of the great sea voyages of history, navigating several thousand miles across the Pacific in an open ships boat. (Left, Captain Bligh, standing, played by Charles Laughton in the 1935 movie version.)

This topic was brought up by noticing a new book on the Bounty in that new books section on the bottom of the library home page, where the cover images rotate through. We do have other materials related to the Bounty in our catalog, and article databases like Historical Abstracts would be good as well. You could even try looking in our microfilm of the Times of London for period stories about the episode!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Finding Statistics...

People often want to find statistics as part of their research. Someone doing business research might want statistics on population or income for a certain area, or export numbers, someone else researching health topics could be looking for numbers on a certain disease, or yet another researcher will be looking for crime statistics.

These sorts of things can be tricky to find. You may find some statistics in a good article on the topic, or in a background reference source like an encyclopedia. Another good place to look is in the library research guide to your topic, as our guides generally include information about finding statistics. As a last tip, the U.S. Government guide points to a wide range of useful government sites.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Fax machine?

We are asked sometimes if the library has a fax machine people can use and the answer is yes, we do. The fax machine is in the director's office on the main floor of the library. Ask one of us at the desk how to find it. If you just need to fax a page or two somewhere, this should work fine.

The thought occurred while writing this, where does the word "fax" come from anyway, and how long has it been used? According to the OED, it comes from the word facsimile, which makes sense. The surprising thing though was to see how far back the word has been in usage; all the way back to the 1940s! And by the way, our fax machine is a little more modern than the 1920s telephotography machine pictured here ;-)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Library Catalog & WorldCat

If you just want to see what we have on hand for books, the library catalog is your best bet. Click on the "Find Books" tab on the library home page, in the center there, and away you go. If however, you don't see enough books, or are they aren't quite what you wanted, you might try WorldCat. You can access that via the "Books" link over on the left hand side of the library page. What's the difference?

Well, the library catalog is more or  less what we own, mostly print or other materials here in the building, although we are getting more and more e-books. WorldCat on the other hand is a site with shared records from libraries all over, so even if we don't have, someone else probably does. If it is something we don't own, you can request it through inter-library loan. If you have any questions please ask one of us.