Thursday, November 29, 2012

Music Appreciation: Beethoven

Prepared by Andrew Lopez

Students in the music appreciation course write a research paper on a composer of their choosing. There is no better way to approach a writing assignment than to do some background reading on your topic. And there is no better way to do some background reading on a topic than to use the library.

The library has an extensive collection of resources - articles, audio, books, catalogs, databases, etc. - which are perfect for this assignment. What follows is a brief, selective showcase of some of the types of sources that are available for research in the area of music appreciation, using Ludwig van Beethoven as an example.

Many classical and contemporary composers, musicians, and artists are known well enough that information about them is amply represented across media.

For background information, one should consult these sources:
  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians: this reference book includes a 5 page sketch of Beethoven's life and work, with 5 additional pages of musical works and sources for additional information listed
  • Biography in Context: this biographical database has a good overview of Beethoven's life and accomplishments, with hundreds of other contents, including popular and scholarly articles on Beethoven from books and periodicals, and links to recent news and radio broadcasts on him
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: this core reference book has an excellent 6 page overview of the life and work of Beethoven, with 2 additional pages listing key sources for further reading
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library: this reference database provides access to Beethoven entries in a number of different encyclopedias

For additional information, one should consult these sources:
  • Credo Reference: this discovery service provides access to many different encyclopedia entries on Beethoven, as well as articles, books, and images from elsewhere in the Delgado collections
  • The Oxford History of Western Music: this reference book includes a 40 page entry on Beethoven's life and work, with many dozens of additional pages focusing exclusively on his individual compositions, including a 15 page overview of the Fifth Symphony
  • Oxford Music Online: with content from Grove Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and The Oxford Companion to Music, this databse contains extensive information on the life and work of Beethoven
  • Naxos Music Library: offers a brief overview of Beethoven's musical output, and provides access to hundreds of streaming audio files of his works
  • EBSCO Discovery Service: this expansive discovery database searches across library collections, providing access to hundreds of thousands of documents, including print books on Beethoven, ebooks on Beethoven, articles on him, and more

The Delgado Library has an outstanding collection of books in print that should not be overlooked. There are more than 100 books in the library catalog on Beethoven, which include outstanding information on his life, his letters, his art, and his music. Please search in the catalog for books, and please check them out.

If you need assistance with anything mentioned or alluded to on this page, please come to the library. We are ready to help!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dine on Literature

prepared by Cynthia DuBois and Jude Morrissey

City Park Wall Display - From Menus from History

November's display is already getting attention around campus! Food has been a central part of human life for as long as we've existed - and not just for sustenance. We eat to live, but, in many ways, we also live to eat. Food is integral to our celebrations at feasts and festivals; we also incorporate food into our mourning, at wakes and by bringing meals to the families of the deceased. Romantic dinners, wedding showers, baby showers, birthday parties, quinceañeras, bar and bat mitzvahs - food has been incorporated into the most important aspects of our lives.

This month, we celebrate food in literature. Come see our displays at the City Park and Westbank campuses. You can also check out our LibGuide for more information: look through books detailing interesting facts like menus from history - including what was served on the Titanic, check out food-related websites, find a novel in which food is as important as any of the main characters, and much more. Whatever flavor of information you're looking for, we can help you satisfy your hunger!

Menus from History (Image: WorldCat)

Tweeting through Class

prepared by Jude Morrissey


On Friday, November 9, 2012, Reference Librarian Jude Morrissey presented "All a-Twitter: Integrating Twitter into Academic Life" as part of the L.I.N.K. lecture series for faculty and staff professional development.

The presentation centered around what skills students can learn from using social media in the classroom, how the use of social media can benefit student-teacher interactions, and why Twitter is a particularly useful social media platform for community building, class communication, and educational opportunities. The growing use of social media by organizations outside higher education - including as a commercial tool and as a way to research employees and prospective hires - was noted.Various methods of integrating Twitter into classes - ranging from instructor accounts to foster less stressful communication avenues with students to the possibility of building Twitter-based assignments - were also discussed. Some possible problems, especially lack of student access to devices (such as computers and smartphones) and the quick evolution of social media platforms, were additionally considered.

For those interested in learning more about social media in and out of the classroom, a bibliography for further reading has been provided.

You can find Delgado Library on Twitter and Facebook. The library has also created several useful YouTube videos.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Outstanding Student Research

Prepared by Andrew Lopez

In the library, we have a sense of research trends among students based on what they are using in the library collections. If you see me running across the fields between building 10 and the library trailers behind the baseball field, then it's probably because I am fetching books that someone requested.

I usually run to and from the trailers because I am excited to fill student requests, and because I know we are all working on a tight schedule, which means students need resources as soon as possible.

City Park campus with Library and Trailers marked

In the last week we had two particular requests that caught my attention, because they indicate that someone is taking a topic seriously by doing some real research. One person requested a handful of books on life in ancient Rome:

The other person submitted a request for books on Andrew Jackson and Native Americans:

For me, there is nothing nicer than to see students taking the time to do some careful research and reading. I salute the students who requested these books. To find them, or others like them, all one needs to do is search in the library Catalog. While the catalog also includes links to ebooks and electronic journals in the collection, one could search the Databases as well for additional resources in electronic format. 

If one searches the database Ebsco Discovery Service, it will search the library catalog and the databases simultaneously. Today, these kinds of resources are unquestionably the easiest, most effective way to do research in the digital millennium. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

14 Clicks to Perfection, or, Guess what? It's not on the internet

Prepared by Andrew Lopez

These days, a lot of people assume everything is on the internet. And it's not just students. Teachers, administrators, and even some librarians have lost touch with how to do some of the most basic kinds of academic research.

The Library Website
Students in Deborah Reed's English 102 class, which is focusing on short stories by Raymond Carver and Zora Neale Hurston, are beginning to find out about this. One of their assignments is to engage a short story by one of these authors, and produce a critical analytic response essay. It goes without saying that students in this predicament would want to consult secondary literature on the topic. That is, find articles and books written by others on the same or similar topics. It is always a good idea to see what the literature says.

Somehow these students have decided they want to read Kathryn Seidel's article, "The Artist in the Kitchen: The Economics of Creativity in Hurston's 'Sweat.'" So naturally they turn next to Google, just as a number of teachers, administrators, and even some librarians would have them do. But guess what, folks? You are not going to find this article, or book chapter as it is, with Google. Take a look. There are a lot of weird references to it, citations of it, and some stuff for sale, but no article.

Literature Criticism Online 
In comes the library. These students find their way to the library and they half-articulate what they are looking for. It sounds like it has something to do with sweat, the kitchen, and something else. "What?" I ask. "What are you looking for?" Or better yet, "what is it that you are trying to do? What are you working on?" "I can find it on Google," they say. "Oh good, let's see what it says on Google," I respond.

Perfect. With Google we are able to find the basic bibliographic information we need - i.e. author, title, publication, etc. - in order to identify the article's availability. Exeunt Google. It just so happens that the piece of criticism in question was republished in 2005 in a compendium of criticism called Short Story Criticism, which is available through the Literature Criticism Online database.

Because of the way the Literature Criticism Online database works, these are the steps I would suggest following in order to access this article:

  1. Start at the Library website:
  2. Mouse over Find Databases, and select Find Databases by Title
  3. Click on the letter L to jumpt down the list to Literature Criticism Online
  4. Click on Literature Criticism Online
  5. Once inside, click on the Browse Authors tab
  6. Because of the alphabetic location of the name Hurston, click on the letter I
  7. Click the Previous Screen button, scroll down and select Hurston, Zora Neale
  8. Select the second entry, which comes from the compendium Short Story Criticism, 2005
  9. Now you are confronted with a 100+ page online document. Click on Inside This Entry
  10. On the list that displays, you should see a link to Kathryn Seidel's essay. Click on it
  11. The essay is there, reprinted on pages 60-66 of this entry
  12. Click on Print/View PDF
  13. Select pages 42-165 and Submit
  14. On the PDF that displays, you are interested in pages 19-25

Once we have arrived at this point in our interaction, and the students have accessed what they wanted, they look at me and ask, "How would I ever have found this?"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Book Month Winner!

prepared by Adriene S. Jones

The Diary of Anne Frank (Image: WorldCat)

Congratulations to Cassidy Wilson, winner of the National Book Month Contest!  Cassidy’s favorite book is The Diary of Anne Frank because it shows the struggles of what Anne Frank went through during the Holocaust.

Some other favorite books of students at DCC Covington Library (and their reasons for choosing the books they did) include:

The Bad Beginning (Image: WorldCat)

All the Weyrs of Pern (Image: WorldCat)
The Voynich Manuscript (Image: WorldCat)

Don’t be too sad if you didn’t win or missed the contest. Just be on the lookout for more contests and events hosted by the DCC Covington Library. We may not have a contest every single day, but we’re always available to help you with your research needs.

Days of the Dead

prepared by Regina Gillam

Sugar Skulls (Image: Tomás Castelazo)má

All Saints' Day on November1, All Souls' Day on November 2, and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which spans both days,  mark two days of the year when deceased family and friends are remembered. All Saints' and All Souls' days are observed by many people around the world. These days are often spent in prayer for deceased family and friends. People also go to cemeteries to clean up and decorate the gravesites of loved ones on these days. The observance of All Saints' and All Souls' days is of Catholic origin.

Día de los Muertos, celebrated in Mexico and throughout Latin America in different forms, is more of a celebration. Family members and friends often create altars in remembrance of the deceased. The altars usually have candles, food and drink items, and sometimes bright orange flowers called marigolds. The celebration of Día de los Muertos is of pre-Hispanic origin. In her paper "Making Arts of the Day of the Dead: "MexiCatalan Cultures"," Marlen Mendoza-Morteo states “The Day of the Dead is a celebration that syncretizes the “mixed indiosyncrasy of the Mexican People” (Mendoza-Morteo 250).

Día de los MuertosAltar (Image: Steve Bridger)
“On the one hand its indigenous and pre-Hispanic origin” from “cultures like the Maya, Mixtec, Zopotec, Totonac and Purepecha, among others had something in common: a cult of death. On the other hand” it has “Catholic elements as a result of the Spanish colonial heritage” (Mendoza-Morteo 250). Due to this dual influence, “the celebration recreated itself and created a fusion of the pre-historic ritual into the Catholic religion” (Mendoza-Morteo 250).

Mexican immigrants have traveled to and settled in several different places around the world. Through their migrations, they have taken the celebration of the Day of the Dead with them. There are several Día de los Muertos celebrations throughout California and the rest of the world. Several books have been written on the topic, including those listed below.

Juvenile books:

Non-fiction books:

Día de los Muertos Kite Festival (Image: Nimrod Zaphnath)

Work Cited
Mendoza-Morteo, Marlen. "Making Arts Of The Day Of The Dead: "Mexicatalan Cultures"." Sociology Study 1.4 (2011): 248-258. SocINDEX with Full Text.