News & Notes

By: Ken Grabach on: January 11, 2010 11:16 am | grabacka

This web site takes a new slant on city rankings.
http://www.walkscore.com/

It shows rankings for major cities based on the ease of use for pedestrians. One can also create a personal ranking based on a particular address. Results will show distances to amenities such as businesses and services. It will display a Google map based on the address with the businesses identified. The intention is to help citizens reduce dependency on automobiles to carry out daily activities.

For those to whom that is important, this an interesting, potentially a useful tool.
However, the nature of the criterion, walkability for a commuter or shopper, is possible more for urban dwellers than for any other group. Another caveat, although it may change, is that distances are calculated 'as the crow flies', that is in a straight line from starting point to destination. Of course, nobody in an urban, suburban, or rural setting, can walk in a straight line to a market, a bank, a library, or whatever. There is false information included in the database (it claims that in my suburban neighborhood, one of my neighbors is operating a Subway shop!). These factors may be minor to some users, may be crucial to others.

One can join a discussion, vote on criteria to improve the algorithm, and participate in other aspects of the site. It is an interesting site that offers urban dwellers, and potential urban dwellers, an additional method to evaluate or to choose a place to live. It also offers the student of urban life an additional tool for that area of study.

By: Arianne Hartsell-Gundy on: January 11, 2010 11:18 am | hartsea

If you saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie over the break and really liked it, you might be interested in reading some of the original books. Sure they don't have as many fistfights as the new movie, but the mysteries are often very good. In fact the New York Times recently had a great article comparing the new movie with the original books and some of the other movies.

Here are a couple of titles we own at Miami University Libraries:

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. King Library PR4621 .K55 2005. Three volumes

The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes. King Library PR4622 .C38 1999

The Return of Sherlock Holmes: A Facsmile of the Stories as They Were First Published in the Strand Magazine, London. King Library PR4622 .R48 1975

The Hound of the Baskervilles. King Library PR4622 .H69 2006

We also have copies of some of the older movies:

Murder at the Baskervilles and The Woman in Green. King Library, Ground Floor, IMC, DVD | PN1997 .S53653 2005

The Sign of Four and The triumph of Sherlock Holmes. King Library, Ground Floor, IMC, DVD | PN1997 .S5346 2005

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. King Library, Ground Floor, IMC, DVD | PN1997 .P758 2003

Finally we have books about Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

The World of Sherlock Holmes: The Facts and Fiction behind the World's Greatest Detective by Martin Fido. King Library PR4624 .F54 1998

Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Sleuth to Modern Hero edited by Charles R. Putney. King Library PR4624 .S475 1996

The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Sherlock Holmes by Dick Riley and Pam McAllister. King Library PR4624 .R55 1999

The Man who Created Sherlock Holmes: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Andrew Lycett. King Library PR4623 .L93 2007

The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Biography by Russell Miller. King Library PR4623 .M55 2008

Victorian Detective Fiction and the Nature of Evidence: The Scientific Investigations of Poe, Dickens, and Doyle by Lawrence Frank. King Library PR878.D4 F73 2003

Happy sleuthing!

By: cuthbewm on: January 11, 2010 11:17 am | cuthbewm

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

By: cuthbewm on: January 08, 2010 9:48 am | cuthbewm

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

By: Jennifer Bazeley on: January 08, 2010 9:49 am | bazelejw @@jwbazeley

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, has selected 25 motion pictures that will be preserved as cultural, artistic and/or historical treasures for generations to come. Spanning the period 1911-1995, the films named to the 2009 National Film Registry of the Library of Congress range from the sci-fi classic "The Incredible Shrinking Man" and Bette Davis’ Oscar-winning performance in "Jezebel" to the Muppets’ movie debut and Michael Jackson’s iconic video "Thriller." This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 525.

To see the complete list of 25 motion pictures selected for 2009:
http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-250.html

To nominate films for the 2010 National Film Registry:
http://www.loc.gov/film/

By: cuthbewm on: January 08, 2010 9:47 am | cuthbewm

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.

By: Kevin Messner on: January 06, 2010 1:59 pm | messnekr

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) now invites your input on the *management* of policies to deliver public access to the published results of taxpayer-funded research, to be submitted to the online discussion no later than TOMORROW, January 7, 2010.

*All* are urged to respond to this pivotal opportunity and to encourage researchers, students, and others to weigh in. Your input will be critical in helping the administration to form a deep and balanced view of stakeholders’ interest in ensuring public access to publicly funded research.

The questions before us now are:

  • Compliance. What features does a public access policy need to ensure compliance? Should this vary across agencies?
  • Evaluation. How should an agency determine whether a public access policy is successful? What measures could agencies use to gauge whether there is increased return on federal investment gained by expanded access?
  • Roles. How might a public private partnership promote robust management of a public access policy? Are there examples already in use that may serve as models? What is the best role for the Federal government?
  • (See the full post at http://blog.ostp.gov/2010/01/01/policy-forum-on-public-access-to-federally-funded-research-management/).

    This is the last of the three announced phases of the online discussion. The first two phases focused on public access policy implementation as well as on features and technology. From January 8 to 21, the online discussion will revisit in more detail aspects of the conversation that warrant deeper exploration. To participate, visit the Public Access Policy blog at http://blog.ostp.gov/category/public-access-policy. Comments emailed to publicaccess@ostp.gov are also accepted, but will still be posted to the blog by the moderator.

    General comments, addressing any part of the Request for Information, may be submitted to the Federal Register no later than January 21. See the full notice at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-29322.htm for details.

    via SPARC (http://www.arl.org/sparc)

By: cuthbewm on: January 05, 2010 11:57 am | cuthbewm

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: http://tinyurl.com/MU2009taxes

Federal Tax Forms:
http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html

Oxford City Tax Forms:
http://www.ritaohio.com/individual/formsandinstructions.htm

Ohio State Tax Forms:
http://www.tax.ohio.gov/forms/index.stm

===============================
Great Lakes area State Tax Forms

Illinois Tax Forms:
http://www.revenue.state.il.us/taxforms/index.htm
Indiana Tax Forms:
http://www.in.gov/dor/taxforms/
Iowa Tax Forms:
http://www.state.ia.us/tax/forms/indinc.html
Kentucky Tax Forms:
http://revenue.ky.gov/forms/curyrfrms.htm
Michigan Tax Forms:
http://www.michigan.gov/taxes
Minnesota Tax Forms:
http://www.taxes.state.mn.us/taxes/individ/forms.shtml
Missouri Tax Forms:
http://dor.mo.gov/tax/personal/individual/forms/2009/
Pennsylvania Tax Forms:
http://www.revenue.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/forms_for_indi...
West Virginia Tax Forms:
http://www.state.wv.us/taxrev/personal.html
Wisconsin Tax Forms:
http://www.dor.state.wi.us/html/formpub.html

Canada Revenue Agency:
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-e.html

By: cuthbewm on: January 04, 2010 12:55 pm | cuthbewm

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.

By: gamsbymk on: January 04, 2010 12:56 pm | gamsbymk

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is tracking Santa using Google Earth. Check out their webpage and see if Santa has made it to your neighbourhood yet!

Google Earth is a really neat free program you can download from Google. Google Earth allows you to view a 3-d representation of the globe (and space) with maps and satellite imagery.

You can also follow Santa's journey using Facebook, Twitter, and Picasa.