Archive for the ‘resources’ Category

Tips for Conducting Research in the Digital Age

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

With an abundance of information available today, it is necessary for researchers to have savvy evaluation skills. You need to use information tools wisely to research the context of a fact or quote given in a news story.

For example, The did-you-know website noted that “8 days before the Wright Brothers flew for the first time, the New York Times wrote that maybe ‘in 1 to 10 million years’ man could build a flyable plane.” This website linked to the source of the quote, “Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright” at This article stated:

The New York Times wrote, maybe in “1 million to 10 million years” they might be able to make a plane that would fly. It was only eight days after the U.S. Army failure and the prediction of the New York Times that the Wright brothers were successful in flying the first manned plane.

Notice that this source did not give the date nor the title of the article in the New York Times. When faced with an unknown source of information, you can use the library’s web resources to verify a fact. Since the library has a subscription to the New York Times ProQuest Historical database, you can search the database to find the article and determine the context. Searching for “million years” and fly and limiting to articles before 1904 produces several articles, including one titled “Flying Machines Which Do Not Fly”.

Reviewing the article for the quote “one million to ten million years” will help explain the context of the quote. The beginning of the article described a failed military test of a flying machine. Then, the author explained that birds and humans change in a slow evolutionary manner. This is the sentence where the quote can be found.

Hence, if it requires, say, a thousand years to fit for easy flight a bird which started with rudimentary wings, or ten thousand for one which started with no wings at all and had to sprout them ab initio, it might be assumed that the flying machine which will really fly might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years–provided, of course, we can meanwhile eliminate such drawbacks and embarrassments as the existing relation between weight and strength in inorganic materials.

Since the Wright Brothers didn’t achieve first flight of their plane until December 17, 1903, this was written 2 months and 8 days before the flight.

Resources for Cited Reference Searching

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

If you ever find a great article that is exactly on your topic, but it is on the older side, you can use a citation database to see if someone has more recently cited that older article.  Students and faculty often use the Web of Knowledge platform (also known as the Web of Science) and Google Scholar to see who cited older literature.  Please note that we are offering a workshop on these databases on Friday the 27th of April.

When you go to the Web of Science, this will take you to the page where you can search for scholarly articles on your topic.  The default set of search results will come back in chronological order with the most recent at the top. Because the most recent articles appear at the top of the search results, they may not have any citations yet.  However, you can resort your results list a number of different ways, including “times cited.”  This is a good way to see to highest cited articles on a topic.  For example, here are the top three cited articles concerning global warming.

Once you find an older article, you can see how many times that article has been cited, and which more recent articles cited it.  Below is an article from 2004 that was co-written by a DU faculty member.  It is “Pollen-based Summer Temperature Reconstructions for the Eastern Canadian Boreal Forest, Subarctic, and Arctic.”

It should be noted that these 33 citing references are just from journal articles.  If there are any books, book chapters, conference papers or web-based reports that cite this 2004 article, they will not show up in the Web of Science.

Google Scholar can be used to see what other types of materials cite scholarly work, but just as with the Web of Science, it won’t find everything.  The sorting and search features are also not as robust as offered in the Web of Science.  Google Scholar indicates that the same article has been cited 38 times instead of just 33.  However, one should compare the results lists between Google Scholar and the Web of Science.  Each database may have found unique citations, so the total number of reference may even be in the 40s.

There are many other ways that these databases can be used.  These databases can also be used for checking to see if someone has cited books, book chapters, conference papers, websites, and more, but most people use citation databases to see if a specific article has been cited.  Please let us know if you have any other questions about citation searching.

Resources for Leisure Reading

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Are you tired of reading just for class? Then it is time to pick up your next pleasure read! Did you know the Penrose Library offers some of the latest and greatest popular fiction and nonfiction titles such as 11/23/63: A Novel by Stephen King, Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, and Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson, all of which are currently on the New York Times best seller list?

Having trouble deciding what to read? Try the Reading for Pleasure research guide to find some useful resources to help you decide what to read next. This research guide lists some great books about books, links to online book and award lists, book recommendation websites, and also book review journals. With all of these resources your problem won’t be a lack of good books to read, but figuring out which one to read first!

New Course Reserves Guides

Monday, March 12th, 2012

New Course Reserves Guides for Students and Faculty

Like the Academic Commons, the Course Reserves webpages and guides were under construction…but no longer!  Our newly updated websites and new guides for students and faculty, will help you understand more about creating and finding Course Reserves on our ARES system.

Faculty Guide to Reserves

Student Guide to Reserves

Our recently improved sites offer FAQs, troubleshooting tips, and more detailed information about Course Reserves.  Whether starting anew or needing a refresher in Course Reserves,these guides should have the answers you need.  If you would like something added to these sites, please contact

Click the links above to access the guides, or go to our homepage, and hover over the “Faculty” or “Students” tabs to see the Course Reserves link.

Book Display on Global Women’s Rights

Monday, March 5th, 2012

This month the Penrose@Driscoll book display, Women’s Rights across the Globe!, highlights the diversity of women’s experiences around the world.

Come check out the display to find out about global feminisms, anti-feminisms, raunch culture, international women’s rights, female revolutionaries, and enjoy some graphic novels featuring leading ladies, plus much more! And don’t forget about International Women’s Day March 8th, 2012.

Book Display on African Americans and the West

Monday, February 6th, 2012

In honor of African American History Month, Penrose@Driscoll is celebrating the rich history of African Americans in the West.

Come check out our February book display, African Americans and the West, and learn about local history, Buffalo Soldiers, African American settlements, western writers of the Harlem Renaissance, and much more!

Organize Your Personal Book Collection

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

As you build a personal library of books and other resources at home, you can take advantage of some websites that will help you keep your personal collection organized.  Just as the University subscribes to RefWorks so you can keep your scholarly articles and other readings organized, there are several free websites that provide the same function for popular reading materials.

LibraryThing – This website “is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.”  LibraryThing is very popular with librarians and other bookish people.

GoodReads – From their about page, they say that “Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. We have more than 7,000,000 members who have added more than 240,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more.” As you can see, book readers also enjoy using this service.

Shelfari by Amazon is another popular service. They say it “is a community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers.  Create a virtual bookshelf, discover new books, connect with friends and learn more about your favorite books – all for free.” If you are a heavy user of Amazon, you should consider using Shelfari.

If you need any more information, there are plenty of good reviews of these three services from librarians and other readers.

Google Scholar Citations and User Profiles

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Recently, Google released a new service called Google Scholar Citations. This is a good way to follow the publication and citation trail of an author. Here are some user profile examples for Richard Feynman and Albert Einstein.  Many scholars from the University of Denver have accounts.

If you are an author of any scholarly publication, you can set up a Citations account to see if there are any citations to your papers.

One of the items you will see for authors is an h-index number.  Be wary though, the data used to calculate this h-index may not be 100% accurate.  The Google Scholar Citations h-index number may differ from other sources.  One can also find an h-index for an author using the Web of Science database.   There are several short YouTube videos that explain the process.  The videos are done at other universities, but the process is the same.

“Let it Snow” December Book Display

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

snowboarding book coverDo you love it when the weather outside is frightful? Throughout the month of December, Penrose@Driscoll is featuring “Let it Snow”, a book display featuring a variety of books and DVDs focused entirely on the subject of snow. From the Killer Monster Snow Goon creations of Calvin and Hobbes to polar exploration narratives to the history of snowboarding and skiing, come check out all that this wintry precipitation has to offer! To see a full list of items on display, as well as relevant e-books and subject guides, see our Research Guide for more information.

Newspapers of the French Revolution

Monday, October 24th, 2011

We recently added to our collection a database called Archives Unbound- Journaux de la Révolution de 1848 (Newspapers of the French Revolution 1848).

Publishers Description:

“This series captures the British Library’s holdings of all newspaper and periodical titles published in France during the revolution of 1848. Coverage is continued through the coup d’état in 1851 to the establishment of the Second Empire in 1852. Some titles represent continuations of national dailies and weeklies which published through the unrest, offering a base-note of news coverage from experienced journalists, while many others sprang up in direct response to the political situation, and witnessed events from very partisan perspectives. George Sand is just one of the famous literary voices here commenting on the unrest and uncertainty.

While the revolutions are second only to World War II as research areas in French History, specific titles also address those studying many aspects of 19th-century French life, including: women’s periodicals, literary, musical, theatre and opera reviews; medical and trade titles; regional papers; and newsletters. There is also a strong strain of illustrated satirical and humorous titles, and pamphlets held at the main British Library rather than being classed as newspapers.”

To access this collection, click on the Databases tab on the library’s homepage and look under the History (World) subject area.