Thursday, August 24, 2006

We're halfway through Welcome Week here at UC Berkeley, so it's high time to drag the Bibliophagus blog out of summer storage, blow off the dust, and start posting again.

I'm not working very many hours on the reference desk this fall, due to other commitments (which I hope to start posting about more regularly in my library blog--I'm just waiting for our library to firm up its blog software decision.) I am, however, working a couple of hours each week at the Environmental Design Library, which is great. Their collection is fascinating, and I get a whole different species of question (usually about architecture, planning, or landscape design.) It's a nice change of pace and I hope it'll give me some interesting additions to this blog.

To get the year started, here are a few holdovers I've been sitting on all summer. Posting will probably be slow for the first few weeks, but look for it to pick up again once midterm time rolls around...

  • I'm looking for information about particular events and figures in the history of Chechnya. I know a lot already about the field, but I'm not used to using libraries and I'm not sure where to start. In particular, I was told I could find articles about the Caucasian leader Schamil in The Times of London, from the nineteenth century. [Note: This student was a real pleasure to work with. We spent a long time figuring out the best places for her to browse the shelf. She was patient with the quality of transliteration in Pathfinder, which is not good. It also took a long time to find the articles in The Times, because of the poor quality of the Chadwyck-Healey Historical Newspapers Online database. The spelling of Schamil's name has changed over time, which was part of the problem--but even worse was the issue of printing legible output from the pdf files. Really very bad support from the vendor on this database. But the student was very pleased to find the articles in the end, and went away happy. I saw her later in the stacks--she was going back for more books, and gave me a big smile. Very satisfying exchange.]
  • I want to find out Erika Lopez's birthdate. She hasn't emailed it to me, and I can't find it in any of usual places, like Contemporary Authors. (Note: neither could I.) I'm also looking for Rhodes Montijo's birthdate.
  • I want to find a list of Berkeley researchers working in Richmond. I don't care what they're working on, although if they're actually examining something to do with the location, that's great. I want to interview them about their experiences in the area.
  • I'm looking for a Russian textbook titled Nachalo, which was published in 2002.
  • I'm looking for a basic textbook for learning Italian. I can't find a single one in the whole library, which seems wrong. (Note: When I did a subject keyword search on "italian AND usage" to get him in the right call numbers, he was frustrated that the search took such specialized knowledge. He's totally right: it shouldn't.)
  • I need an article from Art Bulletin from 2002, which is online but which I can't access from home because I'm not a UCB student. How can I print it here in the library? (Note: the computers in the public lab weren't working properly; they kept dropping connections to Pathfinder and JSTOR. This makes it very hard to teach someone how to use the tools. Again, we should be making things easier than this.)
  • I'm looking for a book on reserve for my Biology class; it's not showing up in GLADIS.
  • How much does printing cost?