Olympic Resources

by Emily Hamstra

I can’t get enough of the Olympic Games. Whether you love the Olympics or are already growing weary of the coverage, we all have patrons who will be asking for resources related to the Olympics. I pulled together some resources related to the Olympic Games to help as you put together displays, and answer readers’ advisory and reference questions.

Online resources:

The Olympic Studies Centre has a library of resources related to rules of the Olympic Games, history of the Olympic Games, champion records, and funding opportunities for those interested in Olympic studies, to name a few.

The International Olympic Committee Library (IOC Library) contains Olympic publications. Search for your favorite sport to read about the events at the London Games brochures, and to see brochures from Olympic games of the past.

The LA84 Foundation has made available an interesting collection of journals, bulletins, oral histories with Olympic athletes, and results from Olympic games.

If you’re interested in images, the Guardian has collected some photos of the Opening Ceremonies from 1924-2008. Library as Incubator has a post about images from past Olympic games.

If your library has a subscription to the database SPORTDiscus, search there for more comprehensive coverage of scholarly journals and trade publications related to sports, kinesiology, and fitness.

Continue reading

Lexiles, Genres and Page Counts, Oh My!

Like most librarians, we at Chasing Reference love to read- just take a look at all our What We’re Reading posts. Reading and sharing books is one of the joys of librarianship, and the art of Reader’s Advisory (RA) is a vital part of nearly every librarian’s position. RA can be a wonderful puzzle, carefully pulling together the threads of a reader’s interest to find just the right book for them.  When you work with children, as I do, RA becomes a fascinating blend of both reference and RA, as children sometimes need help finding a book that meets certain homework and school criteria. Continue reading

The Librarian of MOOC

It seems that everybody is talking about massive open online courses (MOOCs). Steven J. Bell sang their praises during a doom and gloom ACRL/NEC keynote. The Ubiquitous Librarian, Brian Mathews, credited the universities who pioneer(ed) MOOCs with “inventing the future,” in a recent essay for The Chronicle Blog Network. And, the New York Times published a story last week about how the ventures of MOOC companies, like Coursera, are “part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education.” Readers’ reactions were mixed.

Feeling curious, and following an incredibly simple and intellect-affirming admissions process, I registered for a free, six week Coursera class to, hopefully, learn more about US Food Systems through the lens of public health. Though I would have preferred to enroll in an art, theater, or historical topic course, there were almost none. At first the limited selection of Humanities courses discouraged me, but I persevered, knowing that I may skip class, ignore assignments, and withdraw at any point. There are no grades, no pass/fail. Without spending a dime (or thousands of dimes), I’ll be learning for the sake of learning, and from experts in their fields. I like it. What librarian wouldn’t? Continue reading

Curiouser and Curiouser: What caught our eyes online this week

“Curiouser and Curiouser!” cried Alice…
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Welcome to Chasing Reference’s weekly roundup of the curious articles and links that have caught our eye this week!

  • Are you a green librarian? A Providence-based startup called NuLabel wants label consumers–ahem, technical services–to consider the 1.2 million tons of waste created by the nonstick, nonrecyclable liners that we throw away after each use. When linerless labels hit the market, librarians will not only save the planet, they’ll also save money because liners cost more than labels to produce. Good design sticks around (ha ha…ha…).

GIS and Mapping for Reference Librarians: A Short Guide

by Sarah Elichko

open street map of Haiti earthquake damage

Chances are high that you’ve used Google Maps (or Bing Maps or Mapquest) to find your way somewhere.

But there are far more interesting applications of these technologies than finding the nearest coffee shop (essential though that is).  I’ve learned about some of these possibilities from the short online course from RUSA called Spatial Literacy 101, taught by Eva Dodsworth of the University of Waterloo.

I’ll skip professional-level GIS programs (e.g. ArcGIS) and focus on freely available resources that you can explore and share with your library patrons.  Here are a few of the resources we’ve looked at in the course.  (The course goes into these resources and others in much greater depth, so this is just a preview.)

Curiouser and Curiouser: What caught our eyes online this week

“Curiouser and Curiouser!” cried Alice…
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Welcome to Chasing Reference’s weekly roundup of the curious articles and links that have caught our eye this week!

  • Thinking about your future as the Director of Library Services? If so, then The Free Range Librarian has some sage advise.

Come to your census!

by Amy Barlow

In April 2012, the US National Archives released the 1940 census records to the public. Like any massive digitization project, the newly published collection of 3.8 million images is mostly user friendly. While I wouldn’t compare searching for a name to finding a needle in a haystack, I would compare it with hoping to bump into your ex-boyfriend at Coachella. Probing the census feels like stalking, which is probably why the US government mandates that 72 years pass between the collection of data and the publication of household-level details, such as a person’s address, country of origin, age, occupation, education, employment status, weeks worked, salary, etc. The census takers, who’s handwriting skills are highly variable, left no stone unturned.

Continue reading