Today, Dec. 1: Meet the Author Event Cancelled

Posted by: Kristin Richardson


Today’s scheduled event with The Big Policeman author J. North Conway is canceled due to illness. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your support this fall! Stay tuned for an announcement regarding our Spring semester line-up.

Posted in: Serendipity


The science of being a grad student

Posted by: Hillary Corbett


At the beginning of this semester, I had the opportunity to meet with several groups of new graduate students in the sciences. I quickly realized that they didn’t easily fall into either of my preconceived categories of “students” or “faculty.” Sure, grad students pay tuition like undergrads, but they often also work as research or teaching assistants, and especially in the sciences they’ll have the chance to gain experience publishing their research in scholarly journals. It’s been a while since I was a grad student myself (and never in the sciences), so I decided to do a little, well, research on the topic.

Quite by coincidence, I found a recently published book in the Hub that any grad student (or faculty member who works with grad students) would find helpful:

The Art of Being a Scientist: A Guide for Graduate Students and Their Mentors, by Roel Snieder and Ken Larner (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

It’s geared towards grad students and faculty in the sciences, but chapters on time management, the ethics of research, and “turning challenges into opportunities” will be of interest to anyone getting started in the world of research and publishing.

Over the summer I read a book called Bad Science, by Ben Goldacre — it’s a collection of Goldacre’s columns from The Guardian newspaper in Great Britain.* He’s a doctor who works for the National Health Service there, and has made quite a name for himself debunking various health claims from drug companies, advertising agencies, etc. It really showed me that skepticism is a good thing. He bases his writing on the concept of evidence-based medicine (also called evidence-based practice), which promotes the use of the scientific method to guide clinical decision-making. Goldacre points out in many of his columns that in fact evidence is sometimes ignored in order to promote a claim that is not supported by, for example, drug trials. He also cited this book as a classic in the field:

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence Based Medicine, by Trisha Greenhalgh (BMJ Publishing Group, 1997)

Another book on the topic in our collection is:

Studying a Study and Testing a Test: How to Read the Medical Evidence, by Richard K. Riegelman (5th ed., Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2005).
(Also available as an e-book!)

I liked the second one for its inclusion of “flaw-catching exercises” designed to make readers think about why a certain statement is not supported by the example evidence. I’m not a scientist, but I still found reading about evidence-based practice really interesting!

As Scholarly Communication Librarian, I meet with a lot of faculty who are active in researching and publishing, but until this semester I had not had the pleasure of meeting many graduate students. At the library, we are especially interested in starting to work with researchers at all levels to support data management needs — you’ll see more about this in the months to come. I look forward to meeting more of you in the future and supporting your research and publishing needs as well!

* We don’t own Bad Science at this library but you can borrow it through NExpress!

Posted in: Library News and Events, Scholarly Communications


For All of You Night Owls

Posted by: Brian Greene


Do you use the library overnight? If so, did you know that library materials are now available for you to check out, even after the circulation desk is closed? Try our new self-service overnight check-out and let us know what you think: http://www.lib.neu.edu/contact_us/

Make sure to hang on to your receipt–it’s the only way security guards will know your items were checked out. Questions? Give us a call at 617-373-8778 or just stop by the circulation desk to say hello.

Posted in: Library News and Events


Are You a Road Warrior?

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian


As you think about traveling this year, whether for Christmas or spring break, take a look at Global Road Warrior, an online web site available as a trial for Northeastern-affiliated users.

Global Road Warrior is supposed to help travelers, especially business travelers, know what to expect when they go to unfamiliar countries. It has information about transportation infrastructure, useful foreign phrases, how to dress, what to see. Details like currency conversion (updated daily) and types of electric plugs are also available. It shies away from recommending particular businesses (like hotels and restaurants).

So the real question for us is, after all, this information is free on the internet, so is there a special value to paying for this particular site? Does it stand out in the internet crowd?

Bottom line: Is Global Road Warrior worth the library paying for it, for Northeastern users?

Try it for yourself, between now and January 9, and let us know what you think.

Posted in: Library News and Events, Research Online


Help Test New Resources: Jewish Studies, Research Methods, Travel

Posted by: Rebecca Bailey


Here at Snell we are always looking for new online research tools that would be useful to the Northeastern community. They are often expensive, however, and so we usually try them out before we buy them. You can always see what’s currently on trial by going to the All Databases and Trials page and clicking on the link that says “check out our current database trials.” (Also, note the evaluation form on that page — be sure to fill that out so we can have your feedback on these resources!)

Right now we have some very interesting products on trial. To welcome Dr. Lori Lefkovitz, the new director of Northeastern’s Jewish Studies Program, we have a couple of Jewish Studies resources to sample. The Index to Jewish Periodicals provides access to English-language articles and book reviews on Jewish history, activity, and thought in more than 220 journals devoted to Jewish affairs, with coverage back to 1988. Jewish Studies Source offers a multidisciplinary view into the study of Jewish civilization from its historical origins to the present, drawing across multiple areas of study, and contains much full text (over 350 titles). Both resources are available to try out until the end of 2010.

Another new tool you can try is Sage Research Methods Online. This resource provides full text for more than 500 books and several encyclopedias offering relevant research methods content across the social and behavioral sciences, covering quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (it includes the well-known QASS or Little Green Book Series). You can try this until the end of 2010.

Finally, an interesting departure from our usual resources: Global Road Warrior. According to its description, this is “a source for practical travel information and intercultural communication. You may want to make use of it to get acclimated to a country’s business culture and etiquette (greetings & courtesies, ethics, meetings, attire), society and culture (gift giving, food, media, time & punctuality) and travel tips (money & banking, transportation, and more) for 200+ countries.” This sounds like it would be great for students heading off to study-abroad programs or international co-op jobs. Global Road Warrior is on trial until January 9, 2011.

Remember, when you test out any of the products on trial, be sure to fill out our feedback form letting us know what you thought!

Posted in: Library News and Events, Research Online