Lent and the library

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent. Forty days are set aside before Easter as a time of preparation. For some this might include extra devotions, prayers, fasting, or giving up favorite treats. Between the College and the Seminary we have many books about this season, but I would like to call attention to a category of items which might be of interest to anyone seeking a new way to prepare themselves for Easter. A call number search BV245 leads you to a list of prayer books in Van Wylen library. I find new inspiration in prayers written, not for a liturgy, but by other individuals, and there are many of them on the shelves this special Wednesday.

A. J. Muste

There are several events scheduled this week to honor A. J. Muste, a minister and graduate of Hope College who spent his life as a peace activist. If you were unable to see “Flags of Our Fathers” or “Letters from Iwo Jima” at the Knickerbocker, you might want to check the dvd out from the library. Or you could come in and leave a message on the interactive Muste sculpture in Van Wylen. You could peruse “Reminiscences of A.J. Muste” by using the microfiche machines, or just pull one of our many books on peace and non-violence from the stacks. If you know of an appropriate item about peace studies, which you think would be a good addition to the collection, send me a note.

Getting citations just right

We receive countless questions about formatting citations. We help by using tools built into many databases, checking style guides, and using the bibliographic manager RefWorks. As a shortcut to answers to some of the most common citation-related questions, we recently updated our Services for Students web page. Use it to discover online tools that will help with citations. Ask for assistance with any of the tools, or any citation, at the Reference Desk. We’ll do our best to help you get the citation just right.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week the nation celebrated a day honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are hundreds of books and videos in the library about the life of Dr. King, about his beliefs and political ideas, showing his speeches and sermons, and illustrating how his life has affected the lives of others. But did you know he was interviewed by Merv Griffen, and a dvd of that show is in our collection? “The Merv Griffin show: 40 of the most interesting people of our time” is a 3 disc set divided into sections; hollywood legends, great comedians, and extraordinary guests. The King interview is on disc 3 and in it you might find a picture of him unlike the formal portraits provided by videos of his prepared remarks. BTW, if you are unfamiliar with this show take a look at some of the other interviews in the set. Merv was a great host who, apparently, could talk to anyone.

Creating links to Databases and Online Articles

“How do I create links to electronic journal articles,” is a common question asked by faculty. There are two parts to this. First, it is necessary to identify the correct link to use, and second, the link may have to be modified to work for off-campus users.

Identifying the link

In some databases, it is possible to right click on the full-text link and use the URL provided. For example, in CSA databases such as PsycARTICLES you can right click on the full-text PDF link in the Record View screen. From the menu that comes up, choose “Copy Link Location” (FireFox) or “Copy Shortcut” (Explorer), and paste the link into Moodle or wherever else you want to create a link to the article.

In other databases, it is necessary to have the database generate a URL that can be used to link back to an article. Gale databases, such as OneFile, offer a “Bookmark this Document” link. Clicking on this link will open a new browser window with a stable URL that can be copied and pasted.


Linking for Off-Campus Users

Nearly all of the databases available through the library require a Hope Internet address to use them. This creates a problem for off-campus Hope users who need to be able to access a database. The solution is to use another computer (a proxy server) that makes the user appear to be on-campus. In order for this to work, the URL to the database or article needs to modify slightly.

If this is the regular URL for a database:


the off-campus version would be:


Two items need to be added to direct the link through the proxy server. First, the0- after the http:// and then .lib.hope.edu afte the domain (com).

With this kind of a link, on-campus users will go directly to the resource, and off-campus users will get an authentication screen (library barcode/PIN) before getting to the article or database.

If you enter a database through the Off-Campus Databases, General, or Subject web pages, the links will usually already be configured to work for off-campus users.

If you need help in creating links to a database or online article, please contact a librarian.

Politics in the Stacks

Yesterday was primary day in Michigan. We have a lot of books about politics and elections; the kind of books you would expect to use to write a political science paper. But we also have books by politicians which are, perhaps, more inspiriational than historical. Three examples are: “Faith of my Fathers” by John McCain, “Living History” by Hillary Clinton, and “Dreams from my Father” by Barack Obama. Of course our budget, and finite shelf space, does not allow us to buy everything, so be sure to try MEL (Michigan Electronic Library) or ILL (interlibrary loan) for the things you want and we don’t have. Politicians are prolific writers!

Keeping Up: RSS Feeds and Email Alerts

As we all get busier, one of the more difficult things to stay on top of is the explosion of journals and journal articles that may be of interest in your field. This can be especially difficult with electronic journals. Most databases and journal publishers have built-in alerting services to help you keep up with the latest research. There are generally two ways to be alerted, RSS feeds and email alerts. Alerts can contain either the table of contents of a new journal issue, or the results of a specific search. Each time new articles are added to the journal or database that matches your criteria, you receive a new alert.

Since we now all use Google mail, one option is to use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds from blogs, web pages, databases and journals. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology enables anyone to “subscribe” to content on the web and have updates downloaded into their RSS feed reader automatically. For a simple explanation of RSS feeds, watch this brief YouTube video tutorial “RSS in Plain English“. (doing this early morning is better than mid-afternoon)

Another approach, if you don’t mind getting updates via email, is to set up an email alert within a journal or database. For example, if I do a search in the Gale OneFile database for (diversity OR multicultural) AND pedagogy, I get 175 journal articles. If I want to be alerted each time a new article appears on this topic, I would click…


Here is another example. I want to be alerted each time a new article about teaching and diversity appears in the journal New Directions for Teaching and Learning. So, I went to the publisher’s website and set up an alert for a specific topic within a specific journal.

In databases like ScienceDirect and Web of Knowledge, you can set up RSS or email citation alerts so that you are notified each time someone else has cited an article you have published.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to create a user account in a database or publisher’s website where you want to create an alert. “Remember to write down the user name and password you select for each.

Here is a selected list of the journal publishers and databases that offer RSS feeds and/or alerts.

  • ACS Journals
  • Blackwell Synergy Journals
  • CSA Databases (BioOne, Biological Sciences, EconLit, PsycInfo etc.)
  • EBSCOhost (America History & Life, CINAHL etc.)
  • Gale Cengage Databases (OneFile etc.)
  • Ingenta (set up five table of contents alerts for free)
  • Oxford Journals
  • ProQuest (ABI Inform)
  • Sage Full-text Journals
  • SpringerLink Journals
  • Wiley Interscience
  • Web of Knowledge (Web of Science)

If you are interested in learning how to create an alert or RSS feed for these and other sources, please contact a Reference Librarian.