Friday, August 31, 2012

TWUniversal Search: Your One-Stop Research Tool

You may remember where you were when you heard the news.

15 years ago today--on August 31, 1997--Britain's Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris at age 36 (

You may want to know more. For researching Princess Diana and other topics, TWUniversal Search--
TWU Libraries' one-stop solution for finding articles and other database content, books, digital collections, journals, web pages, streaming video, course reserves and more--is a very powerful tool. Using TWUniversal Search to research Princess Diana, for example, yields results in a variety of formats--journal articles, books, e-books, newspaper articles, videos and more--all with a few keystrokes.

To use TWUniversal Search, see the TWUniversal Search box at the top of the TWU Libraries homepage--and be sure to log in with your Pioneer Portal information for best results.

For more on TWUniversal Search--including how to sign in and what it can do for you--don't miss the TWUniversal FAQ page.

~Sandy Cochran

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keep Calm and Chat with a Librarian

TWU Libraries have a brand-new way to connect with and serve our patrons--a live chat service.

TWU students, faculty and staff members and other members of the TWU community who wish to ask a librarian a research or other library-related question now have five options:

Email your question;

2) Ask your question in person at the Information Desk of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus, or make an appointment with a librarian;

3) Call the library on the TWU campus in Denton (940-898-3701), Dallas (214-689-6580) or Houston (713-794-2048);

4) Text a message (beginning with twulib, followed by a space and then your question) to 66746; or

5) Chat with us Mondays through Thursdays between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. by connecting to our new chat service
. This new service enables TWU Libraries staff members to chat with you and answer your queries live via instant message.

The staff of TWU Libraries, as always, welcomes your questions--however you choose to submit them--and looks forward to serving your information needs.

~Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Research Skills Training the Hunger Games Way

Editor's note: Although the date of this particular training event has now passed, opportunities for research instruction are available--in lecture, hands-on and online tutorial format--year-round. We also invite you to ask a librarian your research or other library questions in person or via chat, text, email or phone.

Would you or your students benefit from a fun and interactive library event designed to reinforce its participants' research skills?

Then don't miss Research, Do or Die: The Hunger Games in the TWU Denton Campus Library. Taking place one day only--Wednesday, August 29th, 2012--from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Blagg-Huey Library
(the last tabletop tour begins at 3:45 p.m.), this Hunger Games-themed event will allow students to:

Explore library resources used to search for books, journal articles, multimedia and more;

Identify scholarly journal articles;

Review primary and secondary sources;

Examine current and historical materials;

Have a chance to win prizes (may the odds be ever in your favor);

Get a goodie bag; and most importantly,

ave fun while learning some useful library research skills.

We hope to see you there.

~Sandy Cochran

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Write On: The Write Site Comes to the Library

Bill Watterson, September 16, 1986. Appears in Something Under the Bed Is Drooling, The Essential Calvin and Hobbes and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes.

The Write Site, the very popular comprehensive writing center at Texas Woman's University, serves the writing needs of the entire TWU community--current students and faculty and staff members--by providing free face-to-face assistance to individuals or groups with any aspect of the writing process.

Beginning Monday, August 27, 2012, the Write S
ite is coming to the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus. Sundays through Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., a Write Site tutor will be available by appointment in room 213 (on the library's second floor), ready to offer
a variety of writing-relate
d assistance including:

FREE assistance with writing assignments in any discipline at all stages of the writing process--prewriting to revision;

Help with:
--integrating research findings into writing
--understanding proper use of all citation styles (MLA, APA, etc.)
--developing stylistic skills, including grammar and usage

--writing resumes and cover letters

--composing essays for scholarships and applications

--polishing personal writing;

Tutoring of non-native speakers in writing in English; and

Help for students preparing for the writing portions of ASSET, COMPASS and THEA, and the sentence skills portion of the ACCUPLACER.

Any current TWU student or faculty or sta
ff member can make an appointment for writing assistance on the Write Site's appointment page.

~Sandy Cochran

Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome to our Very Important Patrons

The long, hot summer of 2012 is coming to an end, and a brand-new academic year is under way. The staff of the libraries on the Dallas, Denton and Houston campuses of TWU would like to take this opportunity to say welcome.

If you've been on campus and used the libraries before, welcome back. If you're new to TWU Libraries and all that we have to offer, we encourage you to visit our homepage where you can read all about the research tools and services we offer. Learn about our student services, faculty services, guest services for visitors and other friends of the libraries, research resources, library services, training & tutorials and collections.

The information, resources and services that TWU Libraries offer is extensive and can at first seem a bit overwhelming. For personal assistance with your library or research needs, we encourage you to contact us in whatever manner is most convenient for you--via chat, e-mail, phone or text, or in person.

Whether you're a new or returning faculty member, distance education student, student on one of our campuses, staff member, guest or other friend of the libraries, TWU Libraries considers you a very important patron--and we are eager, as always, to serve your information needs.

From everyone at TWU Libraries, our best wishes for an extremely productive and successful Fall 2012 semester.

~Sandy Cochran

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Fleeting Days of Summer

Officially the hottest on record, the days of summer 2012 seemed to form one long heat wave. Before we know it, though, summer will end (the Fall 2012 semester begins on August 27th)--and the focus will shift from barbecues, vacations and lazy days to classes, research and all the trappings of a brand new academic year.

While the calendar still has a little summer in it, allow us to suggest the following from the collections of TWU Libraries--for escaping the heat, giving your mind a change of scenery . . . and relishing these last fleeting, glorious days of summer.

Items in TW
U Libraries' Cookbook Collection may not be checked out--but visit the Woman's Collection on the second floor of the Blagg-Huey Library on the Denton campus to browse, read, dream, plan (and copy) to your heart's content.

People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn's Coolest Pop Shop by N. Jordi, D. Carrell and J. Horowitz
A collection of 65 seasonal ice pops and shave ice recipes

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
by Jeni Britton Bauer

Learn how to prepare professional-quality ice creams, yogurts and sorbets using unique flavors and minimally processed milk; flavors include salty caramel and roasted pump
kin five-spice (yum!).

Cornelia Guest's Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining by C. Guest and D. Reverand
The author shares the story of her commitment to vegan eating after her mother became ill, then offers recipes and entertaining ideas to follow suit--among them, recipes for stuffed squash blossoms, raspberry muffins and chilled asparagus soup.

Summer Rental
by M.K. Andrews
Ellis questions everything she believed after losing an all-consuming job, while Julia struggles with insecurities that threaten a loving relationship and Dorie confronts a maelstrom of problems after a shocking betrayal.

One Summer by D. Baldacci
ack, terminally ill and preparing to say goodbye to his family, has a miraculous r
ecovery after his wife is killed in a car accident, and struggles to reunite his family at her childhood home on the South Carolina oceanfront.

Cabin: Two Brothers, a Dream, and Five Acres in Maine by L. Ureneck
The account of years spent building a small post-and-beam cabin in the hills of western Maine tells a deeper story about brotherly bonds, home and nature and explores the satisfactions of building and physical labor. Inspired by his From the Ground Up New York Times blog, this is the author's memoir about building and brotherhood. Confronted with the disappointments and knockdowns that can come in middle age--job loss, the death of his mother, a health scare and a divorce--Lou needed a project that would engage the better part of him and put him back in life's good graces. City-bound for a decade, he decided he needed to build a simple p
ost-and-beam cabin in the woods. He bought five acres in the hills of western Maine and asked his younger brother, Paul, to help him. Twenty years earlier the brothers had built a house together; now Lou saw working with Paul as a way to reconnect with their shared history and to rediscover his truest self. As the brothers undertake the challenging construction with the help of Paul's sons, nothing seems to go according to plan. But as they raise the cabin, Lou reveals his own evolving insights into the richness and complexity of family relationships, the healing power of nature, and the need to root oneself in a place called home.

The Darkest Evening
by W. Durbin
In the 1930s, a young Finnish-American boy reluctantly moves with his family to Karelia, a communist-Finnish state founded in Russia, where his idealistic father soon realizes that his conception of a communist utopia is flawed.

One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place by S. Haltom, J.R. Brown and L. Clay
The authors of One Writer's Garden draw connections between Welty's gardening and her writing. They show how the garden echoed the prevailing style of Welty's mother's generation, which in turn mirrored wider trends in American life: Progressive-era optimism, a rising middle class, prosperity, new technology, women's clubs, garden clubs, streetcar suburbs, civic beautification, conservation, plant introductions and garden writing. The authors illustrate this garden's history--and the broader story of how American gardens evolved in the early twentieth century--with images from contemporary garden literature, seed catalogs, advertisements and unique historic photographs. Noted landscape photographer Langdon Clay captures the restored garden through the seasons.

Camp Summer Read: How to Create Your Own Summer Reading Camp by C.K. Gooch and C. Massey
Get students to continue to read during the summer months—and enjoy it! Camp Summer Read: How to Create Your Own Summer Reading Camp is the brainchild of two Texas librarians who have created just such a camp—and have a waiting list of kids who want to attend.

Dogtag Summer
by E. Partridge
In the summer of 1980 before she starts junior high school in Santa Rosa, California, Tracy, who was adopted from Vietnam when she was six years old, finds an old ammo box with a dog tag and picture that bring up painful memories for both Tracy and her Vietnam War-veteran father.

How T́ía Lola Saved the Summer by J. Alvarez
When three girls and their father visit for a week in the summer, it takes T́ía Lola to make Miguel forget his unhappiness with the absence of boys and embrace the adventures that ensue.

Viola in the Spotlight by A. Trigiani
Back home in Brooklyn, fifteen-year-old Viola has big summer plans--but with one best friend going to camp and the other not only working but experiencing her first crush, Viola is glad to be overworked as an unpaid lighting intern when her grandmother's play goes to Broadway.

~Jimmie Lyn Harris

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chillax--They're In the Dictionary, Obvs. Woot!

The English language is fluid, with new words continually coined and morphed into being as a reflection of current society.

Below, from Mental Floss, a collection of recent additions (with official definitions) to the online version of the Oxford Dictionary. This volume--along with a host of other online research tools--is available via the TWU Libraries Research page.

1. Bling (n): Expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry.

2. Bromance (n): A close but non-sexual relationship between two men.

3. Chillax (v): Calm down and relax.

4. Crunk (adj): Very excited or full of energy.

5. D’oh (ex): Exclamation used to comment on a foolish or stupid action, especially one’s own.

6. Droolworthy (adj): Extremely attractive or desirable.

7. Frankenfood (n): Genetically modified food.

8. Grrrl (n): A young woman regarded as independent and strong or aggressive, especially in her attitude to men or in her sexuality (a blend of “grrrr” and “girl.”)

9. Guyliner (n): Eyeliner that is worn by men.

10. Hater (n): A person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing.

11. Illiterati (n): People who are not well-educated or well-informed about a particular subject or sphere of activity.

12. Infomania (n): The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.

13. Jeggings (n): Tight-fitting stretch trousers for women, styled to resemble a pair of denim jeans.

14. La-la Land (n): A fanciful state or dream world. Also, Los Angeles.

15. Locavore (n): A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

16. Mankini (n): A brief one-piece bathing garment for men, with a T-back.

17. Mini-Me (n): A person closely resembling a smaller or younger version of another.

18. Muffin Top (n): A roll of fat visible above the top of a pair of women’s tight-fitting, low-waisted trousers.

19. Muggle (n): A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.

20. Noob (n): A person who is inexperienced in a particular sphere or activity, especially computing or the use of the internet.

21. Obvs (adv): Obviously.

22. OMG (ex): Used to express surprise, excitement or disbelief.

23. Po-po (n): The police.

24. Purple State (n): A U.S. state where the Democratic and Republican parties have similar levels of support among voters.

25. Screenager (n): A person in their teens or twenties who has an aptitude for computers and the internet.

26. Sexting (n): The sending of sexually explicit photographs or messages via mobile phone.

27. Textspeak (n): Language regarded as characteristic of text messages, consisting of abbreviations, acronyms, initials, emoticons (wut hpns win u write lyk dis.)

28. Totes (adv): Totally.

29. Truthiness (n): The quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.

30. Twitterati (n): Keen or frequent users of the social networking site Twitter.

31. Unfriend (v): Remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site.

32. Upcycle (v): Reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.

33. Whatevs (ex, adv): Whatever.

34. Whovian (n): A fan of the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.

35. Woot (ex): (Especially in electronic communication) Used to express elation, enthusiasm or triumph.

If you forget these words or their meanings--whatevs. Chillax--they're now a part of the Oxford Dictionary, obvs, and accessible online 24/7 for your convenience. Woot!

~Sandy Cochran

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Issues & Controversies: Today's Hot Topics Investigated

Interested in today's top issues? A politics or news junkie? Need a research topic? Not sure what you think about a particular issue, because you just don't have all the facts? Issues & Controversies, a database now available through TWU Libraries to all TWU students and faculty and staff members, has done the investigating for you.

Updated weekly and indexed by subject, Issues & Controversies provides in one location in-depth coverage of issues in the headlines (current topics include the European Debt Crisis, Gun Control, Presidential Candidates and Religion--and much, much more); research topic suggestions; a host of special features (for example, see Bill of Rights in Debate for background material on and discussion of controversial aspects of Constitutional Amendments 1 through 10; By the Numbers for a fascinating roundup of statistics on a wealth of topics; Groups to Contact for contact information for everyone from AARP to the organization Zero Population Growth--and that's just the beginning);
Tools for Students (including research tools; guidance for presenting research; and information on analyzing and understanding a variety of resources, from editorial cartoons to historic documents); Tools for Educators (including classroom activities and assignments and teaching aids)--and the list goes on.

There is a true wealth of useful information available through Issues & Controversies.
With links to a back-file, it offers thought-provoking, in-depth articles meant to inspire discussion and debate. Issues & Controversies helps researchers, both scholarly and casual, understand the crucial issues we face today by exploring more than 800 hot topics in business, politics, government, education and popular culture--then goes one step further by providing guidance on using that information in research and the classroom.

Access Issues & Controversies via the TWU Libraries homepage at Databases A-Z List/I/Issues & Controversies.

For questions regarding this or any other database, just
Ask a Librarian. As always, we would be happy to assist you.

~Sandy Cochran

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CFL Bulbs: The Downside of a Green Idea


If it's not one thing, it's your light bulbs.

The following is from the August 3, 2012 edition of
HealthDay from MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

If you've gone green, it's highly likely you have CFL bulbs in your home. These compact fluorescent light bulbs are the ones that look like curly cues, and are sold as "energy efficient" alternatives to traditional incandescent lighting.

Now, researchers at Stony Brook University have found that CFL bulbs may leak UV rays that can harm your skin. The Stony Brook team purchased a variety of CFL bulbs from different manufacturers at several locations. When tested in their lab, all of them had cracks or bald spots in their phosphor coating, which appeared to allow both UVA and UVC rays to be emitted. Two types of healthy human skin tissue were then exposed to the same bulbs.

The results, according to the lead researcher: the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation. Traditional incandescent light bulbs tested the same way had no effect on skin.

The takeaway: researchers stress that consumers should avoid using compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs at close distances.


Q: How many librarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: We don't know--but we know where you can look it up.

~Elaine Cox

Monday, August 6, 2012

Can a Robot Feel A Raindrop?


Scientists One Step Closer to Developing True Artificial Skin

Engineers in South Korea have
recently released a paper on work they have been doing on flexible sensor, the high sensitivity of which rivals that of human skin. This sensor is capable of detecting a number of forces, including pressure, torsion and shear. Photo from A flexible and highly sensitive strain-gauge sensor using reversible interlocking of nanofibres by Pang, Lee, Kim, Kim, Kim, Ahn and Suh, 2012.

This new material as described in the paper by Pang, et al. represents a major scientific breakthrough in a number of ways.

First of all, the sensor is extremely sensitive to pressure; it can detect pressures as low as 5 pascals (which is about 100 to 1000x lighter than the pressure you would exert picking up a pen or pencil.) This is sensitive enough to detect a ladybug walking or a water droplet bouncing.

In addition to possessing high sensitivity to pressure, this material can also detect and quantify the effects of torsion (or twisting motions) and shear (pulling/stretching motions)--and it can do all this simultaneously. This makes the new sensor a good candidate for an artificial skin, because this material represents the first time scientists have been able to develop a sensor that can simultaneously detect all of these different forces in much the same way our own skin does. Furthermore, because it is light, flexible, and does not contain any brittle electronics like
past attempts, this new sensor could also be much more durable and potentially easier and cheaper to manufacture.

The inspiration behind this new sensor was beetles, which lock down their wings when not flying. When resting, rows and rows of tiny fibers on a beetle's wings and body interlock as a result of weak attractive forces; this holds their wings to their bodies (much like velcro.) For application as a sensor, sheets of similar hairs were manufactured from a special polymer, then coated with metal to make them electrically conductive. Finally, one sheet of fibers was layered on top of another, with the fibers interlocking. When they lock together the fibers, of course, touch--completing a circuit and allowing an amount of applied current to pass through and be measured. The degree to which the fibers touch limits the current flow, which in turn allows one to determine the magnitude of the forces applied to the sheets.

The makers of this new technology already have numerous ideas for its use. Aside from potentially allowing robots to get reliable tactile feedback about their surroundings (raindrops included), there is also potential for this material to be used in medical sensors for monitoring heart rate and/or muscle movement, or even for giving people with prosthetic limbs sensation in those areas again.

Sources/Further Reading

Electronic sensor rivals sensitivity of human skin by Katherine Bourzac
Engineers create ultra-sensitive artificial skin by Bob Yirka

Beetle Wings Inspire Electronic Sensor, Makes Machines More Sensitive Than Man by Sui Ying Teoh

~Andrew Farris

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Are the Pros and Cons?

We've all done it. There's a tough decision to make, and the deadline for making it looms. How to make up your mind? Make a list of the pros and cons.

Is this process valuable where substantive, controversial issues are concerned? When the subject's very nature invites contentious debate, with strong emotions on both sides--the death penalty, illegal immigration,
healthcare reform, abortion or euthanasia, for example--can a person get bias-free facts on both sides from one source?

These questions are at the heart of, a website with the mission of "promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format." Mission statement of

Founded in 2004, is a useful source for facts on both sides of a wide variety of issues--from standardized tests and insider trading by Congress, to video games and violence and medical marijuana, to voter registration on Facebook and milk (yes, milk)--and much, much more.

Deciding what you think? That's up to you.

~Connie Maxwell

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Movin' on Up: This Blog Has a New Address

So that this blog's address would more clearly reflect who we are, Check It Out: The TWU Libraries Blog can now be found at

If you follow our feed
, please update your feed accordingly.

If you haven't yet signed up to follow us, you can do so

Thanks for your patience during this transition--and for allowing us to be a part of your day.

~Sandy Cochran