Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hello! Posts are getting far and few between, due to summer session and intersession. I'm not on the desk very many hours, and when I am it's slow. Still, I have overflow from the regular term, and I'm getting a few questions here and there. I'll try to keep posting semi-regularly through the summer, for those faithful few who check in now and then...

Here's the latest crop:
  • Mary Midgley wrote an essay called "Philosophy as Plumbing," or "Philosophy is Plumbing"--I'm not sure which. Where can I find it in the library?
  • I'm looking for information about the Canadian health care system. Specifically, I want basic information like how much hospital visits cost and how long typical waits for procedures are, compared to the US system. I'm also looking for newspaper reporting on the subject in both the US and Canada, and I'd like to see what conservative groups are saying about the Canadian health care system.
  • I need to find a quote by Louis Armstrong that I think he said once...something about race and performance, about the differences in how he was treated as a performer and as a black man in white society. I don't recall any keywords or where he said it, or where I heard it--it might have been in Ken Burns's Jazz, although a friend checked it for me and didn't find it there. I'm in a huge hurry and can't check books. If I can't find that, I'd like to get a quote from Amiri Baraka's The Dutchman, about Ella Fitzgerald. (Note: It's actually about Bessie Smith.)
  • I need an English-language dictionary! The city is tearing up the street outside my house, and it's so noisy I can't grade my students' papers at home. I need a dictionary by my side while I work. And then a quiet space to work in.
  • I need to find precipitation levels for the Berkeley area, dating back about twenty-five years. [Note: I futzed this one; a quick check in the Librarian's Internet Index could have answered her question. Kudos to John Kupersmith to drawing my attention to this tool.]
  • I need to find secondary sources talking about German women's experience of being in the workforce during WWII, and of being removed from it after the war was over.
  • I'm doing a research paper for a Mass Communication class and my professor told me to find primary sources for my topic, which is the demise of the print newspaper. She said I need scholarly journal articles.
  • I need a copy of Lolita. All the copies I saw in the catalog are out.
  • I need a copy of the play titled Rashomon, by Fay Kanin.
  • I need a copy of Samuel Beckett's Endgame.
  • Why won't my article print from JSTOR?
  • Where can I find reviews of the book La Llorona's Children?
  • I'm doing a paper on a play from the 1980s about the 1940s internment of Japanese-Americans. I'm supposed to show how the play influenced the racial climate of its period. I don't even know what the racial climate of its period was. Where do I start?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Instruction has ended here, and we're into the final frenzied days of students writing papers and cramming for exams. Desk hours are going to slow down soon, and I'm about to go on a week's vacation, so the pickings may be a little slimmer for a while. But here's the latest batch to tide you over:
  • I have the names of two people who went to Cal, and I need to find out information about them. I don't know anything about them--who they are, when they lived, when they went to school here, what they do, whether they're still living. One of them has a scholarship named for her at one of the local sororities.
  • I'm looking for official government statistics of US casualties during WWII. Preferably, by European and Pacific theatre.
  • Where is the Bade Museum, at the Pacific School of Religion?
  • I forgot my Spanish text at home, and want to know if the library has a copy of it either in the stacks or on reserve.
  • I have several citations for African journal articles that Berkeley doesn't have, including something that I've transcribed without any formatting into my notebook, and I have no idea what it describes. The title is totally bizarre and I don't remember what it could have been about. The publication is completely mysterious. (After a protracted search, it appears to have been a newspaper article from a 1990-something Gambian newspaper. To which Berkeley does not subscribe.)
  • I'm working on a particular group of people in Peru called the Moche. They made "sex pots," sexually explicit ceramics showing scenes such as women masturbating skeletons while holding babies. I've found an article on these pots, with a lengthy bibliography, but I can't find most of what's in the bib. I also want to know where else I can look for more information.
  • I need to find an article in one of these fifteen or so psychological journals, to serve as the primary article source for my paper. I don't know how to limit my search to just these journals. My professor said I could browse journal ToCs through Melvyl. Where do I start?
  • I need to find a copy of the book Lives of the Selves.
  • Where can I find a copy of an exam put on reserve for my Chem 3a class?
  • I need articles from the 1940s through the 196os about the bracero program. I already found a bunch in my library research class but I can't remember what I did and the searches I've done on my own haven't worked since.
  • I'm looking for primary source information on cowboys. I'm not picky about what I find--newspaper articles, magazine articles, etc. I just need something from the period (and I'm pretty flexible about what 'the period' is--1800-1890 works for me--for my presentation. [Note: this was the most rewarding interaction of the day. The student was very patient with the ins and outs of the various primary source and newspaper databases we tried, and when we found some articles he was ecstatic. Very grateful, very appreciative, very sweet. A total pleasure to work with, and he obviously got a lot out of it too.]

Happy Mother's Day!