Archive for July, 2008

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.

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  • The article is not acceptable and should not be published under any circumstances.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 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

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.

I keep seeing the word citation. What does that mean?

A citation refers to a book, article, website, score, speech, or other published item uniquely. You’ll find citations to books and articles in library databases and the library catalog. These citations give you the information — title, author, date of publication, etc. — you need to find the actual item. When you write an essay that refers to research material, you’ll create a bibliography or works cited page that lists all the citations you used. To learn more, visit our Citing Sources section:

I can’t keep up with all the websites I like. Help!

You might just benefit from RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it delivers new content from web sources you select directly to you. This video from Common Craft explains RSS and its benefits clearly and concisely:

What the heck is a wiki?

A wiki is a set of web pages that allows anyone to edit its content. Here is the article on wikis from the ultimate wiki, Wikipedia:

What is interlibrary loan?

Interlibrary loan provides access to materials not owned or available through the Monroe Library.  We can borrow books and get copies of articles, book chapters and dissertations.  It’s free for you, and you can learn more here:

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.