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Streaming live today (Wednesday, January 13th) the First Annual World's Fair Use Day is a free day-long web event that lets you listen in on the conference that is being held in Washington, DC.  If the legal use of copyrighted materials in contexts such as higher education is an important topic for you, and it is really important for all of us, why not listen in.


Does your program  require that you use APA Style for the research papers you write?

Did you go out and buy the brand new 6th Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association?

Yes? Well, I have some bad news for you.

It seems that the first printing of the 6th edition is riddled with errors. What's worse is that many of the errors are in the very examples you count on to make sure that your own writing is error-free.

How do you know if your copy of the 6th edition Manual is from the first printing? Two ways:

  1. If you have the paperback and you bought it before November 2009 (in case you are reading this in the future), then you have one from the first printing.
  2. If you have the hardcover or spiral bound book, just look at the fourth (unnumbered) page of the book. It's the same page as the copyright and cataloging-in-publication data. At the bottom of the page it will say "First Printing" or "Second Printing".

So, what can you do to be sure you are looking at the correct examples?  At the moment, all we can do is look at the two PDFs (here and here) of corrections that the APA has posted on their website.

At the moment, the APA has kindly decided that posting the errata in those PDFs is a better option than replacing the defective books with with the corrected second printing.  Don't agree?   You could always contact APA Style to let them know how you think they should fix this problem.

Update: If you want to exchange your copy for a corrected "second printing" version they should be available after November 2 through the APA Service Center - 800 374-2721.

You can find an interesing story about this on the Inside Higher Ed blog.


Ever hear a news story on the radio about a new bill introduced in Congress and wonder what the bill actually proposes? Well, I do.   Let me show you a quick way to find out just what that bill says.

The easiest way is to use Thomas (thomas.loc.gov), the legislative information gateway of the Library of Congress.

thomasYou can search for legislation from the current Congress (there's a new one every two years) right from the middle of the home page.

Right below the search box are drop-down menus that you could use to see what legislation  a particular Senator or Representative has been involved with.  You can also search for terms across multiple Congresses.

OK, let's track down the bill I heard about on the radio, it was about college textbooks.  I didn't catch the sponsor's name so let's just search for the keyword "textbooks".

This search brings us results from two bills.  One is H.R.1464 and the other is S.1714.  Now I heard them say this was a Senate bill, so we'll  click on the link for S.1714.

From this link we see that this bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Durban (IL) on 9/24/2009 and is titled, "A bill to authorize grants for the creation, update, or adaption of open textbooks, and for other purposes. "   Hmm, sounds interesting, huh? We can also see what Senate committee the bill is before and there is a link to the full text of the bill.

You can also follow links to see what action has been taken on the bill, including Sen. Durban's introductory remarks for the bill, from the Congressional Record.  When available, there will also be links to the Congressional Budget Offices' (CBO) cost estimates for the bill.

Pretty cool stuff.  And that House bill looks interesting too.  We could go back and look at that too.

Looking for something older than this Congress?  No problem.  Thomas searches back to the 101st Congress (January 3, 1989 to January 3, 1991).  And Drexel has a subscription to Lexis Nexis Congressional (including Congressional publications called the Serial Set) that searches content all the way back to the first Congress in 1789.

Oh, and if the title of this post didn't start you humming, maybe this will help:


Welcome back everyone!

This Fall I'm trying something new.  I am offering online office hours with Adobe Connect.

Twice a week (starting September 24th), on Mondays and Thursdays from 3pm to 4pm, I will be online in a virtual meetingspace ready to help you with your research needs.  Here is the link: http://drexelmeeting.na4.acrobat.com/r55763449/

screenshot of Adobe Connect meetingspacescreenshot of Adobe Connect meetingspace

With this tool, you will be able to watch me demonstrate a database, explain how to collect citations with RefWorks or Zotero, or chat about your research topic, all in realtime.  Adobe Connect is AV chat ready to facilitate a real discussion and several people can be in the meetingspace at once, so a whole group can join in the conversation.

This will be a trial to see if there is interest in this kind of service.  If there is, I may be able to expand the hours I am available.

And don't worry, I'll still be just as available as I always have been. You can reach me in person or electronically over IM, email, or phone.


The Wilson Center is, right at this moment, running a live webcast of its panel discussion of KGB officer turned journalist Alexander Vassiliev's newly released notebooks.   Drawn from the KGB archives, these notebooks offer an unprecedented look into Soviet espionage activities in the US from 1930-1950.  Some topics discussed will be Alger Hiss, and I.F. Stone.

The webcast is available here. The agenda is available here (PDF).

English language translations of the notebooks (now held by the Library of Congress) and available as PDFs here.


Primary day in Philadelphia is Tuesday, May 19th.  Do you know who is running? What ballot issues are up for the vote?  If not, Philly good government organization the Committee of Seventy has a web pages devoted to introducing the candidates and ballot issues.  You can find it here.


If you haven't yet tried Zotero, a free, open source citation management system (CMS) for the Firefox browser that is similar to RefWorks and Endnote, this would be a good time to give it a shot.

The Zotero 2.0 beta already syncs citations and notes remotely and, if you have a webDAV account, can even sync your PDFs.  This weekend's update to 2.0b3 has now added (partial list):

  • Support for group libraries
    • Create and join public and private groups on zotero.org
    • Access group materials from within Zotero, even when you are offline
    • Easily move materials from a group library into your personal library
  • Add Item by Identifier
    • Automatically add an item by DOI, ISBN, or PubMed ID
  • RTF Citation Scan
    • Author a document in your editor of choice using ”(Smith, 2006)” citation placeholders, save as RTF, and run through Zotero for automatic formatting in style of choice
    • Asks for disambiguation if required
    • Still under development
    • Does not currently work for names with accents
  • Import from Clipboard
    • Import any supported format (RIS, BibTeX, etc.) from the clipboard
    • Available via Actions menu option and keyboard shortcut (Cmd-Shift-V/Ctrl-Alt-V)

This can be a very power research tool.  If you have any questions about using it I'd be happy to talk with you about it.


As part of it's very interesting "Remade in America: The Newest Immigrants and their Impact" series, the New York Times has put up a fascinating interactive map that displays the country of origin for the foreign-born population by county.

This is pretty cool in itself but the demographics fun is multiplied when you notice the slider that lets you look at the map using data from every census back to 1880.  Want to see how the population of your home county has changed over the last 128 years?  Just move the slider and watch the color coding shift.  Want to see where people from a particular county settled, and when?  Just choose one of the countries a drop-down menu and you can see what counties they settled in.  Sadly the list of countries isn't very long but does cover the most common countries of origin.

A mouse-over of the county will cause the county, it's number of foreign-born residents, and total population -- all for the selected census--to be identified in a bubble.

New York Times--Immigration Explorer


New this term, the Library has a subscription to the Contemporary Literary Criticism Online collection.  This resource brings a vast number of critical essays on contemporary literature and makes them available in fulltext, right on your computer.

Sure we've had around 150 print volumes of the CLC in print on our Reference shelves for a while but it was cumbersome to use.  First you had to look through the title index looking for the literary work, then grab the print volumes from the shelf and find the essays individually.

Now, with the CLC Online, you can search for essays by Keyword, Named Author, Named Work, Critic Name, and Source Publication Title giving you far more flexiblity.

This is an excellent resource for criticism on the works of novelists, poets, playwrights, and short story writers alive now or who died after December 31, 1959.   But what about works by authors who lived and died before 1960? For the earlier part of the 20th century we have a hundred volumes of the Twentieth-Century Literature Criticism available in Reference. And the online resource Literature Resource Center includes biographical and critical essays for works back to the classical period.

Good tools to remember when it's time to take ENGL103.


The New York Times has an interesting web feature up right now that presents a timeline of all of the presidential Inaugural addresses from 1789 on.  While that is pretty useful in itself, this site is particularly interesting because it shows you a tag cloud of the frequently used words in each speech.  It's a great way to quickly survey the changing language and themes.

The page is available here: Inaugural Words: 1789 to the Present.


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