Thursday, November 20, 2014

Be safe, use filecity

Many people don't realize it, but everyone has a "cloud" account where they can safely store documents, images and other files. Each student and staff member has a filecity account, with a folder that has a 5gb capacity. That's more than enough to store all sorts of files, and better yet, the files are always safe, and always available. If you log on to a campus lab PC, you're automatically connected; if you are in a dorm or off campus, go to filecity.brockport.edu to log into your folder. Whenever starting or opening a file, save it to filecity, and that will maintain it for you.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Historic NY newspapers online

The NYS Historic Newspapers site has a wide range of NY newspapers online, covering towns from Albion to Youngstown, and dates from the early 1800s up to the 1960s and '70s. The newspapers are full text, articles, ads, everything. They scanned the microfilm of the newspapers and then added it to their database. As a matter of fact the back run of the Stylus is in the process of being added to this site, 1928-2014!

You can search in different ways, download page images etc. Ask one of us if you have more questions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Women Airforce Service Pilots

The play "Censored on Final Approach" was staged here at the college recently. This play was based on the experiences of women pilots in WWII. There is a fascinating online archive about the real life women pilots of that era here. Our library collections have many materials about this topic.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gov docs for your research!

Government documents can often be very useful for research. These aren't the peer reviewed journal articles, or magazines, newspapers and books people often think of when doing their research. Instead these are statistical surveys, reports, and much more. Many people are probably familiar with the census, but the federal government counts and reports and studies much more than just that. For example, for criminal justice purposes, consider using the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and the other resources at the National Criminal Justice Center site. The various state governments do quite a bit too. Our guides to U.S.  and N.Y. documents will help you discover the wide range of materials available.

In the old days our government documents collection took up most of the south end of the main floor in the library; Pat Jewell, a long time staff person, is shown here standing by the census records in the 1990s. Nowadays it is pretty much all online though!

Monday, November 03, 2014

"Research"

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "research" as being, "The act of searching carefully for... a specified thing or person..., systematic investigation or inquiry..." Another way to put it is in this insightful observation by Zora Neale Hurston, "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

So research can take time, time to poke around, to look carefully. Give yourself time to work through the sources, the answers may well be in there if you look closely and patiently...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Legal research fun

Well, maybe legal research isn't always exactly fun, but it is something that people want to do once in awhile, and the good news is that it isn't actually that hard to do. We have a legal research guide that points to a number of relevant legal information sites, where you can find court cases, laws and helpful reference type articles too.

   For example, if you were researching segregation, it might be of interest to know what the actual legal framework was, what were the laws that separated people, the relevant court cases and so on. Or perhaps you are researching someone like Edward Snowden, the famous, or infamous, leaker of various government secrets. Was that treason? What actually does "treason" mean, legally? Our guide would point you to many good sources, for example Wests Encyclopedia of American Law, great for background information, and then other sources for laws, court cases etc.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ghosts of Hartwell Hall

Something for Halloween week: in 1993 a student, Jennifer Valaitis, conducted an intriguing set of oral history interviews with some staff who worked in Hartwell Hall, concerning their experiences with the ghosts said to haunt the building. The stories about these ghosts have long circulated on campus; one staff person who was a student here in 1970 recalls hearing about them!

A curious aspect of these stories is that although the archivist, with whom Jennifer was working as an intern, was skeptical at first, he found himself surprised by the real life connections with at least some of the stories. For example, one ghost was said to be that of someone who drowned in the building. True enough, there was once a swimming pool in Hartwell, but no one ever drowned there, thus adding to the archivist's skepticism. However, some research revealed that behind the building that stood there before Hartwell Hall, the old Normal school building, there had been a large cistern or water tank, and in the 1890s a workman replacing rotten planks on it fell in, and was drowned...

Read the stories for yourself!