Sept. 27, 2010: On This Day in History

On September 27th, 1998 a record was set that we would have never thought could be done, and one we never thought would be repeated. Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals hit his record-setting 69th and 70th home runs in the last game of the season to beat out Sammy Sosa in the Home Run race. At that time, the use of steroids wasn’t even a consideration. Years later, when the record was impossibly broken by Barry Bonds*, there were countless questions, accusations, and investigations to his sudden power surge. This resulted in the largest exposure of a drug scandal to hit professional sports ever, and has spurred on completely new areas of study about sports, regulation, and the standards by owners that lead to drug abuse. New to the University Libraries are some books written on the subject in the current year, past much of the controversy and accusations. These books are able to reflect and give a fresh perspective now that most athletes involved have been named and regulations imposed. The effect is far from over however, as we see stricter testing and more importance being put on the public image of individuals as well as entire teams and sports organizations. Here are some sample titles in Snell Library’s collections: Doping in Sports Athletes who Indulge Their Dark Side Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love and more!

Summer goal-setting for academics

I like to share interesting and useful blog posts that I find, and this morning I read one that resonated with me because I’m gearing up to set goals for both the summer and the coming year. Chances are, you are, too! In higher ed, we tend to think of summer as “project time,” whether we’re gearing up to start researching for a new article or book, or finally turning our attention to something that’s been pushed to the back burner during the academic year. But so often, it seems like the summer’s over before we know it, and the projects haven’t gotten done. Kerry Ann Rockquemore writes a blog called “Career Advice” for Inside Higher Ed; her post this morning is “Support for Summer Writers: No More Post-Summer Regret.” Rockquemore offers useful advice on planning what she calls SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Time-Framed. So, instead of your goal being “work on book,” it might be “complete first draft of chapter 2 by August 1st.” She advises that we look carefully at our calendars for the summer, making sure that time already committed to other things (vacation, conferences, etc.) is blocked out. Only then will we know exactly how much time we can devote to our summer goals and be able to make realistic plans. I know that I definitely work more effectively, and feel more of a sense of accomplishment, when I have a “to-do” list and can cross things off as they’re completed. But I do have a tendency to make those “work on book”-type goals that are vague and have no specific timeline, and now I can see that I’m setting myself up for failure by doing so. So, the first item on my to-do list for today is: “Look at calendar and determine specific schedule for working on summer projects.”

Try Our New EBSCO Search and Give Us Your Feedback!

You may be familiar with EBSCOhost, the face of many of the library’s article databases. Now we are trying out a new concept in search: the EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), and we hope you will help us evaluate it. The hallmarks of EDS are speed and simplicity. EDS provides a starting point for your research, an easy keyword search across multiple databases, including the library catalog, article databases and more, returning a list of results that points to articles from academic journals, magazines, newspapers, books, book chapters, video, music and more. With EDS it is easy to see what sources your results are coming from so that you can continue your search in the individual databases if you wish. The EBSCO Discovery Service is a product in progress, and that is why your input is so important. Features will be enhanced and content added as we work with the vendor to develop the service. Please check back as progress continues on the EDS and leave feedback on this blog, or use the feedback form that is linked on the EDS main search page.

Researchers: Share your views on open access publishing

I received this announcement today on a listserv I belong to. The Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP) seeks to gain insight into researchers’ views and experiences on open access publishing through your completion of a brief survey. Although sponsored by the European Commission, SOAP is seeking respondents from all parts of the world (and at all stages of their careers). Here is the message they sent:
The SOAP Project (*), funded by the European Commission, would like to announce the release of an online survey to assess researchers’ experiences with open access publishing. This survey aims to inform the most comprehensive analysis of attitudes to open access publishing to date and is seeking views from a wide a range of interested parties. It is primarily aimed at active researchers in public and private organizations, from all fields of the research in the sciences and humanities and focuses on publication of research articles in (open access) peer-reviewed journals. If you would like to contribute to shaping the public discourse on open access, please visit: It should take 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey outcome will be made public and the resulting insights as well as recommendations will be openly shared with the European Commission, publishers, research funding agencies, libraries and researchers. Thanks in advance, the SOAP Project Team (*) Note: The SOAP consortium is coordinated by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. It represents key stakeholders in open access, such as publishers BioMed Central, SAGE and Springer; funding agencies (the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council) and libraries (the Max Planck Digital Library of the Max Planck Society). The project runs for two years, from March 2009 to February 2011.

Mechanical Engineering students’ capstone project cited in article

On March 9, 2010, the popular website published an article titled “Mile-High Mega Kites Could Pull Giant, Floating Power Plants,” by author Alexis Madrigal. Madrigal cited the work of six NU students, and included a link to their capstone project, which had been published in IRis, Northeastern’s digital archive of scholarship. In the past 2 months, their capstone project, “Hydroelectric Power Generator: Technical Design Report,” which the students created in the course MIME1501 in May 2002, has been viewed 350 times by readers of the Wired article. Congratulations to student authors Anthony Chesna, Tony DiBella, Tim Hutchins, Saralyn Kropf, Jeff Lesica, and Jim Mahoney! Want to increase your citation rate? Submit your work to IRis!