Monday, January 30, 2012

Supply and Demand for Old Vinyl

NPR reports on trends in the record collecting market, that it has split into two segments. While prices for prized rarities are spiking, there has never been a better time to buy the rest of what's out there, "bottom-of-the-barrel to mid-grade purchases."

It's A Buyer's Market: Crate-Digging On $100 A Day

If you want to learn more about the culture of digging in the crates, check out Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop by Joseph G. Schloss (ML3531 .S35 2004) which won the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's 2005 Book Award.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Federated Searching: It's Not About Forming Labor Unions

As with any field, librarians have their own jargon that works as a convenient shorthand when we talk among ourselves. Terms like "bibliographic instruction" and "integrated library system" can be confusing and off-putting to the general public even if they benefit from the underlying concepts. Case in point: federated searching. In lay person's terms, this means searching across multiple databases simultaneous. While searching a single database is great when you know exactly what you are searching for, federated searching is ideal when your needs are more vague, especially when you are starting your research.

Here are examples of the value of federated searching from two different reference questions we received yesterday. The first was for a copy of journal article for which the person only provided the article title, not the journal name, author or any other publication information. From our E-Resources page, I clicked on "Search Articles & More." We currently have two different versions, one that we are in the process of phasing out and a new one that is still receiving its final spit and polish, but both work. I selected all databases and searched for the title surrounded by quotation marks so that it would be searched as an exact phrase. I was able to find the full text of the article in JSTOR and provide a full citation. Without federated search, the ability the search across multiple databases simultaneously, I would have had to perform the same search over and over while trying to guess, based on the subject matter implied by the title and the coverage of each database, where I might find it.

Another person wanted an audio example of an unusual musical instrument. For this, I started at our Streaming Audio page went to Music Online. (If you are accessing this from off campus, you need to go through our web site to be authenticated as a Berklee user). Music Online is the the federated search tool for the wide variety of streaming music databases provided by Alexander St. Press. While I found text descriptions of the instrument in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, I found a streaming audio track demonstrating the instrument in a different database, Contemporary World Music.

The term "federated searching" may sound like trying to locate potential members for labor unions, but it is really a helpful tool to speed up your research. Even better, the library provides these tools without requiring you to remember what we call them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Name That Drum Fill

As we have mentioned previously, NPR's All Songs Considered has a recurring game to identify distinctive drum fills, and they've just posted an new collection:

Drum Fill Friday

Here's a hint: one fill relates to an event we held at the library last semester. You'll find information about all our library events both on the library homepage and on Facebook. We can't promise that all our events will help you recognize drum fills, but we will always have something informative or entertaining. Upcoming events include:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check out CDs and DVDs (and Other Changes)

We listened to your feedback, and we've made a few changes based on your suggestions: Students and alumni are now allowed to check CDs and DVDs, and the library will open at 8:45 a.m. on weekdays.

To be more specific, students and alumni may check out CDs and DVDs except for items that are on reserve. Reserve media items must still be used in the media center, but the bulk of our collection is available to take with you:

Students can check out 3 items for 3 days.
Alumni can check out 1 item for 3 days.
Staff can check out 6 items for 3 days.
Faculty can check out 6 items for 7 days.

Also, the maximum fine for overdue reserve materials is now $50, so be sure to return reserve materials on time.