Archive for 2008

LC 4 Life?

This is the “jumping off point” for the Learning Commons blog at Loyola University, New Orleans.

1)  What is a “Learning Commons?”

We are the best, and newest thing, to come your way amongst the recent miriad of library advancements.  At the Monroe Library, we strive to provide “traditonal” library services and at the same time, we are committed to providing new models of what it means to be a library.  The Learning Commons encourages engagement with information in its various forms, reinforces the value of collaborative inquiry, creates new opportunities for community interaction, and supports student success at Loyola.

2)  Where Should You Ask Questions?

The LC (Learning Commons) is where you should feel free to ask ANY question.  We will direct you to where you can find research about anything:  freeway displacement, women in the 1960′s, the Christmas Tsunami:  you can find it all here!  At the Learning Commons desk, you can get assistance with standard circulation, reference, and technology questions. Users wanting or needing more in-depth knowledge are connected to appropriate experts, materials, programs, or workshops.

The Learning Commons is a work in process, so please join us as we discover ourselves and expand your world!

-ria

Do you have a topic you'd like us to cover?

If there is a topic you’d like us to write about, leave a comment here. We will write about any research or technology related questions you have.

Scholar has Arrived!

So, what exactly is Scholar?

…I am so glad you asked. Scholar is the new social bookmarking service from Blackboard that allows all users of Blackboard systems across the globe connect and share research resources, favorite sites and Ideas. For an idea on what Social bookmarking actually is, take a look a Wikipedia’s entry here.

The first time that you click on the Scholar tab, you will be prompted to create an account; a few pieces of information and you are in. Blackboard will save your account information and automatically log you in to scholar each time you log into Blackboard. Here is the great thing about Scholar, your account is completely transferable. If you continue your studies at another institution, you can simply associate your scholar account with that institution’s blackboard server, or even if they don’t use blackboard, you can simply sign into your account directly at scholar.com.

If you want more information about Scholar, you can visti their website at http://www.scholar.com.

So get tagging, and let me know how it goes.

Fall Faculty Workshops

Learn how to use Wikis and Blogs in your classes, best practices for grading and online assessment, and how to create a course that bridges the gap between online and oncampus education. Not quite sure what this ‘Blackboard’ thing is? we have that covered too. For a full list of this fall’s Blackboard workshops, go here.

Learning Express Library has practice tests

The Monroe Library added the Learning Express Library during the summer of 2008. It’s not a database of books or articles, but a service with lots of practice tests and ebooks for improving performance on academic and professional tests. Includes practice exams for GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and TOEFL. Also mathematics, reading, and other skill improvement tutorials. This service requires registration. Ask questions at the Learning Commons Desk in person or by telephone at 504-864-7111.

World Book now online!

During the summer of 2008 we were able to add the World Book Online family to our research databases. This service has browsable and searchable full text of the World Book encyclopedia. It includes a dictionary, an atlas and special features, like Explore Louisiana. Links at the bottom of the page to World Book Discover (for secondary school students), Online Reference Center, World Book Kids, and the Spanish and French World Books.  Ask questions at the Learning Commons Desk in person or by telephone at 504-864-7111.

Grove Art and Grove Music are now Oxford Art and Oxford Music

Over the summer of 2008 two electronic databases have been changed. Grove Art is now Oxford Art, and Grove Music is now Oxford Music. These new names reflect their integration into the Oxford University Press online family. We also receive the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Oxford Language Dictionaries Online, and Oxford Reference Online. See all our online reference works at the Encyclopedias & Dictionaries page. Ask questions at the Learning Commons Desk in person or by telephone at 504-864-7111.

What is a peer-reviewed journal article?

Scholarly literature has a process for ensuring high quality in what is printed. This means that you can read scholarly material with high confidence that it is accurate and represents good thinking in that field.

If I’m an author and want my article to appear in a scholarly journal, I submit it to an editor for that journal. The editor is the first line of defense and can reject manuscripts of obviously low quality. If my article is approved by the editor, copies go out to recognized experts in the field. They are generally researchers or faculty members at reputable colleges, universities, and research institutions (private or government). These people are my peers. They review the article and respond to the editor. The are usually three responses:

  • The article is fine as it stands and can be added to other articles for future publication.
  • The article is not acceptable and should not be published under any circumstances.
  • The article has some flaws and may be publishable with some changes. They may also make specific criticisms to be corrected before publication.

The editor then lets me know what the reviewers thought of it. If most reviewers feel that it needs some changes, I can decide whether to make the changes or submit the article somewhere else. If I make the changes, I then send the article back to the editor. The revised version may go back to the reviewers, who again respond, or it may be added to the pool to be published in the future.

This process takes some time. Some journals give the date submitted and date accepted in the article itself when it’s published. Look for it to see how long the gap is between submission and acceptance.

You can be confident that a peer-reviewed journal article is substantially accurate in the information that it reports, the methods used and the conclusions drawn. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t open to criticism by other researchers. Others might be doing the same or similar work and have different results.

A “refereed” article is the same as “peer reviewed.” The referees are my peers who reviwed the article. Magazine articles are written by professional journalists and writers and reviewed only by an editor.

Welcome to the Blackboard Center Blog!

Fast on the heels of our website re-design, We are very excited to introduce the new Blackboard Center Blog. Over the coming months we will be using this space to introduce new features, offer tips, and answer questions from our users (namely, you) to help make your experience using our Blackboard system as easy, enjoyable, and edifying as possible.

Please feel free to ask questions in the comment area of any post, or to contact me directly at jgallawa@loyno.edu. Also take a moment to explore the new Blackboard Center, complete with updated Frequently asked questions, tutorials and polices.

Thanks, and happy Blackboarding.

Jonathan Gallaway, Blackboard Manager

Academic Search Complete has changed

The EBSCOhost company has just made a major update to their user interface. That’s important because we get 56 databases from them – more than any other company! They produce important titles like Academic Search Complete and Business Source Complete. They’ve made the initial page more Google-like, with a simple search box. The search results look different, too. There are many ways to focus your search, by year, type of publication, and other ways. Old features are still there; look at the top of the page and the sides for familiar functions. A great overview is available at http://www.ebscohost.com/2.0_flash. Try it and let us know what you think at 504-864-7111. — Jim Hobbs, hobbs@loyno.edu, 504-864-7126