cuthbewm's blog

UN Graphics on the Environment, Development, and Vulnerability

As official depositories for the United Nations and the European Union, the Miami University Libraries have access to a wealth of information -- in print and online -- pertaining to the people living outside the borders of the United States, and the realities of our own thirst for global resources.

Whether discussing environmental sustainability, the effects of globalization, trends in “greener” mass-transportation and transit, or the overlap between economic development, migration, and climate change, documents from these organizations provide stunning evidence to support programs across the academic curriculum. The Libraries, in just the past month, have received a number of United Nations publications worth highlighting.

The UN’s Vital Graphics Series is an excellent compilation of statistics presented in understandable, colorful charts. These graphics often speak for themselves in explaining their findings:

From Vital Forest Graphics (Call No.: Govt & Law UN | SD131 .V58 2009):
Loss of Human Lives due to Conflicts over Land 1997-2007 Brazil

From 2004’s Vital Waste Graphics (Call No. Govt & Law UN | HD4482 .B354 2004):
Ability of Countries to Support Their Citizens from Their own Environment

Among publications produced from the UN’s Environment Programme are the short (50-100 page) but thoroughly researched Rapid Response Assessments. Much like issues of CQ Researcher put to a grander scale, these topical publications provide summaries and definitions of ecological events and human processes, backed up by excellent bibliographies.

The Environmental Food Crisis: The Environment's Role in Averting Future Food Crises
The Natural Fix? The role of ecosystems in climate mitigation
In Dead Water- Merging of Climate Change with Pollution, Over-harvest, and Infestations in the World's Fishing Grounds

The United Nations Population Fund’s State of World Population is an annual publication that presents statistics on health, development, and global patterns of change specifically as these issues affect and influence women. Previous reports have centered on urban growth, gender equity, and adolescents' health and rights. The State of World Population 2009 confronts population and climate change.

Finally, Vulnerability in Developing Countries is the title of Wim Naude, Amelia SantosPaulino, and Mark McGillivray’s book from the United Nations University Press. Using economic case studies on India, Zimbabwe, and China, among other countries, the book discusses micro-lending, poverty, hunger, and growing exposure to HIV and TB. The earthquake in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, may have students reading Marin Heger’s chapter : “Vulnerability of small-island economies: the impact of ‘natural’ disasters in the Caribbean.”

The Miami University Libraries receive a few hundred publications from the United Nations every year. These materials are rich, but often overlooked, sources of data and social research. If you have any questions about what items are available in your area of interest, contact the Government Documents Librarian.

New Additions in Law and Legal Reference

The Government and Law Reference collection has a number of new releases of interest to Pre-Law, Computer Science, Business, Sociology, and Kinesiology students.

New to the collection is the second edition of The American Bar Association's Guide to Credit and Bankruptcy. This indexed, readable reference item is written for non-lawyers and individuals with questions about their rights and responsibilities for issues of credit repair, personal bankruptcy, and debt management. (Call no.: Govt & Law Reference | KF1524.85 .A46 2009)

Also new to the collection is Managing Risk In Sport and Recreation by Katharine Nohr. Written specifically for sport and recreation professionals, Managing Risk discusses risk assessment and control, steps to creating a sport-related risk management plan, and summaries of relevant, recent court cases involving college and professional-level sports from all fields. (Call no.: Govt & Law Reference | KF1290.S66 N64 2009

Susan Gluck Mezey's Gay Families and the Courts follows a similar path, summarizing case law and definitions from state and federal courts, in this case for a range of family issues, including parenting, the right to marry, school settings, and the Boy Scouts. (Call no.: Govt & Law Reference | KF4754.5 .M48 2009)

Finally, the Libraries now hold Computer and Video Game Law: Cases, Statutes, Form, Problems and Materials. This well-organized volume highlights cases and definitions for many key concepts relevant to the development of games and game-related intellectual properties: Trademark and copyright protection, regulation, asset acquisition, and ownership. This is a rapidly growing area of interest for those in computer science and the legal profession. (Call no.: Govt & Law - Law | KF3987 .L57 2009)

All three of these items are currently available on the shelves in the Law and Legal Reference area of King Library.

Congress Remains Fascinated with Asteroid Collisions

Over the weekend, your Government Documents Librarian started reading "The Dead and the Gone," the companion novel to Susan Beth Pfeffer's young-adult novel, "Life As We Knew It."

The series, whose third part arrives in March, is premised on the alteration of the Moon's orbital path by a collision with an asteroid. The shift results in massive changes to the Earth's tides, plate movement, and volcanic activity, making it, little by little, a nearly inhospitable planet.

Never put it past the United States Government to be any less fearful about the end of the world than your average young adult reader.

As recently as November of 2007, the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held hearings on what are called Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). In 2002 the same Committee explored the threat of near-earth asteroids, and in 1998, they looked at the threat and "opportunity" of asteroids and other NEOs.

When viewed in the library catalog, the subject headings for these government publications read eerily like the synopsis of a Ben Affleck film:

Near-earth asteroids
Asteroids--Collisions with Earth
Comets--Collisions with Earth
Space flight to asteroids

Clicking on those links, however, will lead readers to scores of interesting materials in Government Documents, the Brill Science Library, and the Instructional Materials Center that explore the real science behind such an idea.

For those interested in space but who wish to stay away from the probabilities of such an event, NASA has just released a very nice book, "The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System," by the late, famed astronomer John A. Eddy, that is a little more -- or perhaps less -- down-to-Earth. (He refers to asteroid-catastrophes as "Space Weather.")

You may also put this all in perspective with the board game recently released by NASA, and pictured below: "Space Travel Hazards: How safely can you travel through space?" In this game, teams of players travel to Mars (and back) braving radiation hazards. It's actually quite a bit of fun to play, even though its lesson seems to be that a person is safe nowhere.

Click on the call numbers below to see these items in the library catalog, and, in the event of an asteroid collision with the Moon or the Earth, the libraries wish you good luck!

"The Sun, The Earth, and Near-Earth Space: A Guide to the Sun-Earth System" by John A. Eddy
Call no.: Gov Docs, NAS 1.83:NP-2009-1-066-GSFC

Space Travel Hazards (board game)
Call no.: Gov Docs, NAS 1.2:T 69/2/KIT

New to Collection: Statistics Sources, 33rd Edition

Subtitled "a subject guide to data on industrial, business, social, educational, financial, and other topics for the United States and internationally," the four-volume set, Statistics Sources, is an impressive and extensive finding aid.

Its publisher, Gale Cengage, describes the set as follows:

This easy-to-use alphabetically arranged dictionary serves as a guide to current sources of factual quantitative information on more than 20,000 specific subjects, incorporating almost 135,000 citations and more than 1,600 sources. Statistics Sources provides the widest possible range of print and nonprint, published and unpublished, and electronic and other forms of U.S. and international statistical data on industrial, business, social, educational, financial and other topics.

The 2009 edition, soft-bound set has just this morning been added to the ready reference collection in the Government Information and Law department. Click on the call number below to view Statistics Sources in the library catalog.

Call no.: King Govt & Law Reference | HA1 .S735 2009 v.1-4

THOMAS provides new RSS, Top Five Bill, and full-text options

THOMAS, the free-access legislative database maintained by the Library of Congress, yesterday announced several new features for the Web site.

New RSS feed: Bills Presented to the President
This new RSS feed lists bills that have passed both the House and Senate and have been sent to the White House for the President's signature.

Top Five Bills
The five most-searched-for bills from the past week are listed in the center box on the right side of the homepage. Hovering the mouse over the bill number will display the title of the bill. Clicking on the bill number will bring you to the Bill Summary and Status page for that bill.

Bill Text PDFs
Changes to bill text display pages were made to make the PDF more visible and accessible. Clicking on a PDF link will bring you to the Government Printing Office (GPO) PDF for a specific version of a bill.

Other site additions, including social bookmarking options, are described at the THOMAS What's New page.

Originally launched in 1995, THOMAS provides free, public access to an ever-expanding catalog of Congressional activity. For more information on it, and other sources of Congressional information, contact the Government Documents librarian.

2009 Tax Forms Now Available

The GIL/IMC Area (Government Information and Law / Instructional Media Center) has a limited number of printed tax forms available for U.S. federal taxes. The links below provide online copies of these forms, as well as to tax forms for Ohio, the Midwest-area states, and Canada.

For more information about accessing these forms, contact Government Information and Law at King Library.

For quick access to this blog entry, feel free to use this URL:

Federal Tax Forms:

Oxford City Tax Forms:

Ohio State Tax Forms:

Great Lakes area State Tax Forms

Illinois Tax Forms:
Indiana Tax Forms:
Iowa Tax Forms:
Kentucky Tax Forms:
Michigan Tax Forms:
Minnesota Tax Forms:
Missouri Tax Forms:
Pennsylvania Tax Forms:
West Virginia Tax Forms:
Wisconsin Tax Forms:

Canada Revenue Agency:

More Content Added to U.S. Government's Digital Repository

FDsys, the digital repository created by the U.S. Government Printing Office, continues to grow with new content additions.

Over the holiday break, FDsys was expanded to include the following government publications:

* Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (1991 to 2005)
* Code of Federal Regulations (2007 to 2009)
* Precedents of the United States House of Representatives (as part of the GPO Federal Publications collection)

Released to Public Beta in 2007, FDsys is home to scores of contemporary government publications, including Economic Indicators, the Congressional Record, and the weekly and now daily Compilations of Presidential Documents.

For more information about FDsys, or help on how to use it, visit the extensive FDsys Help Center, view an online tutorial, or contact the Government Documents Librarian.

Decorate Your Dorm with World War II Posters

If you're looking for a unique way to celebrate Veterans' Day, American military service, or the civilian support of the military during times of war, you may be interested to learn that the World War II-era posters currently on display in the main stairwell of King Library are available for download -- for free!

The Government Information and Law department teamed up with the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and the libraries' Digital Initiatives department to create high-quality copies from the original World War II posters held at the Miami Libraries.

Because these posters have proven highly popular, and in some cases too popular -- you know who you are -- they've been placed online for easy and free access.

With a little help from the CIM lab staff, and for the standard printing fee, you can create your own life-sized World War II poster. With their stunning imagery, and still relevant messages, they'll be an excellent addition to your dormitory, office, or holiday stocking. Just don't take them off the library walls.

You can download the collection of World War II propaganda posters from this page, or by clicking the images in this post.

If you're curious about more cool Government Documents, stop by the GIL, or come to our Centennial celebration this Friday afternoon (See it on Facebook). We hope to see you soon!

Salute 100 Years of Service at Friday's Federal Depository Celebration

This Friday the Miami University Libraries are celebrating 100 years as Federal Depository Libraries.

Government Publications have been received by Miami since the 1850's, and have always been a cornerstone collection of the Miami University Libraries. This Friday, you can join us for an event celebrating our Centennial as an official Federal Depository Library.

The Celebration is slated for 2:00 p.m., Friday, November 13, in Room 320 of King Library, and will include the presentation to Dean Judith Sessions of a plaque from the Government Printing Office commemorating this rare milestone. The event is open to all members of the Miami University community as well as to the general public. Refreshments will be served.

We encourage you to visit the range of special Government materials already on display in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections, and to enjoy the Government-published World War II propaganda posters lining King Library's main staircase.

Remember that to help decorate the GIL area for Friday, students, faculty, staff and their families can enter the GIL coloring contest. Read more about this activity in our previous post.

If you can't make the centennial event, you find find a few surprises awaiting you in the IMC/GIL throughout the day on Friday. We hope to see you there!

Gov Docs Coloring Contest

The 100th Anniversary of Miami Libraries' Federal Depository is approaching, and to help decorate the Government Information and Law (GIL) area in advance of the Federal Depository Centennial Celebration on Friday, November 13th, we're having a coloring contest!

Materials to color are selected from, of course, coloring books that the libraries have received as part of the Federal Depository Library Program:

"Biosecurity for Birds," "Winter Survival," "Crack Down on Drugs," "Getting to Know Your Mailman," or even "Mining and Reclamation" -- it's strange but true: If you can think of a topic, the Government may have created a coloring book for it.

Crayons are available at the IMC/GIL main desk, and everyone is encouraged to participate. Entries for the contest must include your contact information to be eligible. More details -- along with lots of different coloring sheets to choose from -- are available at IMC/GIL.

For a better look at the kinds of Government-published coloring books available in GIL, you can search for "coloring book" in the Libraries' catalog. Many are available as PDFs or interactive Web sites online.

Give it a try!