New(s) @ Axe

News and Events of the Leonard H. Axe Library, and of the
Kansas Technology Center Library - Pittsburg (KS) State University

Monday, May 21, 2007

Axe Library Toolbar is Available

The Axe Library now has a browser toolbar available for download. You may already be using a Google or Yahoo toolbar in your browser, and this one is very similar.

Not only are you able to search the Axe web site and online catalog, but you may search Google, Google Scholar, Technorati, and others. Links to our online databases and Research Guides make it easy to get to information on your topic.

Browse through our blog headlines by clicking on the "New(s) @ Axe" button, go directly into WorldCat, or head over to one of several popular PSU sites. Throw in weather and other features you may configure once the bar is loaded and we think you will like it very much!

Go to our toolbar page and take a peek. We think you'll like it!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Celebrating the Centennial of the Founder of the Modern Environmental Movement

This month, in honor of Rachel Carson, marine biologist, ecologist, bestselling writer of popular science and author of Silent Spring, one of the most influential books of the 20th century, the Library will be putting up a display of her works in the 2nd floor along with a collection of books and documents on pesticides and their damaging effects on the environment.

Rachel Carson
May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964

One of Carson’s first jobs was with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries during the Depression. There, she scripted a series of seven-minute radio programs on marine life called "Romance Under the Waters." At the same time, she wrote articles on conservation and nature for newspapers and magazines, in which she encouraged regulation of “the "forces of destruction", urging her readers to consider always the welfare of the "fish as well as that of the fisherman." Her articles were published by the Baltimore Sun and other syndicated papers.

Carson's first book, Under the Sea-Wind was published in 1941. After getting a position with the new government agency. the U.S. Bureau of Fish and Wildlife, she used her talents as a writer of popular science to write pamphlets and speeches for Fish and Wildlife personnel as well as edit all the work of their writing staff. Her second book, The Sea Around Us, was a great success, enjoying 81 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and enabling her to quit her government job in 1952 and pursue her writing full time, In 1962, she published her environmental classic Silent Spring.

Carson had been aware of the dangers of chemical pesticides but also knew she would face opposition from the agricultural community, which needed pesticides to increase crop production. Concerned in particular about the effects of DDT, she produced Silent Spring after years of research across the United States and Europe. The controversial book provoked attacks on Carson’s professional integrity by the pesticide industry, which made every effort to discredit her. When CBS Television scheduled an hour long news report on Carson's work, during which she explained how the chemical industry was pouring poisonous runoff into the country's water supply, two corporate sponsors withdrew. The federal government, however, ordered a review of its pesticide policy and called Carson and others to testify before a Congressional committee. As a direct result of the study, DDT was banned. With the publication of Silent Spring, Carson is credited with launching the contemporary environmental movement. Former Vice President Al Gore credits Carson's work with prompting the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as helping millions of Americans to develop an environmental consciousness.

Rachel Carson died of breast cancer in 1964. Some persons speculate that this cancer may have been caused by exposure to the environmental carcinogens which she studied. However, her influence is still felt by the chemical industry, which to this day passionately tries to convince people that she was wrong.

On the second floor, the Library has placed a number of Ms. Carson’s books as well as biographies and numerous publications about pesticides and their effects on the environment. There are also printouts from numerous web sites dedicated to her memory, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Pennsylvania is Carson’s home state), the Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, PA, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, and the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Display Cases, May – Jamestown

Most of us learned about Jamestown in school. We learned the mythological story of Captain John Smith and the teenaged Native American princess Pocahontas who supposedly threw herself over John’s body to keep her father from killing him. We also learned that the colony, despite being planted in an area abundant with plant and animal life, was a death trap for the unfortunate colonists who moved there. Forty of one hundred and forty four died on a five month sea crossing after which famine, disease and fights with the Indians (and each other) killed more than half of the rest. The colony, after many difficulties, enjoyed some success in planting tobacco before it was gradually abandoned and the capital was moved to Williamsburg. In recent years, thanks to the hard work of archaeologist Dr. William Kelso and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities the actual fort that the colonists built after their first landing has been found, partly excavated and reconstructed. Many things which were not known about the colonists were found out in the course of the excavations. The excavations of the Fort have taken place only since 1994 because before that, the site was believed to have been washed away by the James River. But Dr. Kelso reread the histories and diaries left by the original colonists and found the fort between the church and the river.

Dr. William Kelso, Archaeologist
and Jamestown’s Newest Founder.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the first landing at Jamestown (May 14th, 1607) the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the National Parks Service is holding a celebration known as “America’s 400th Anniversary” from May 11-May 13. (The site has already hosted Vice President Cheney, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on May 4th, and will host the President during the Anniversary festivities.) And Axe Library, not wanting to be left out, has put up a display case in honor of the troubled but tenacious colony.

We had the good fortune to have one of our staff members, Mr. Robert Lindsey, our Library Resource Instruction librarian, come back from a trip to Jamestown at the beginning of May. He lent us postcards, fold out brochures and a CD loaded with photos of the archaeological sites, museums and art. He made a great shot of the replicas of the expedition’s three boats, the “Susan Constant”, the “Godspeed” and the “Discovery” and in one of the photos his son Erik, with the help of some watchful re-enactors dressed in period costume, parries a pike, the standard weapon of the British colonists. Among the many publications about Jamestown which are in the case are the latest issue of National Geographic, whose cover story this month is “Jamestown: The Real Story”. Among the many fascinating facts it teaches us are how Jamestown colony with its new cash crops (tobacco) and its domestic animals such as pigs, cattle and goats, reformed the entire landscape of the east coast of Virginia. We also learn that among the diseases which the white man brought to America was malaria, endemic to the swamps of southeastern England (England!?) and which the colonists brought with them in the form of plasmodia in their blood. (If you ever read a novel by Dickens or some other 19th century English novelist, you may have run across the disease known as “ague” characterized by shaking, fever and chills. That’s malaria.)

Photo of present day excavations by
Axe Staff Member, Mr. Robert Lindsey.

We also have numerous books, such as biographies of Captain John Smith, accounts of the history of Jamestown, some written before, some after, the discovery of the fort, and articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post and American History. Websites are also available, such as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, and the Historic Jamestowne site where they have pictures of numerous artifacts being dug from old cellars, wells and trash heaps close to the fort and many, many more things of interest. Oh, and if you would like to borrow something from the display case, just ask. We will be glad to make our resources available to you.

Heavily corroded rapier hilt,
and hammer from the APVA website.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Academic OneFile added to Database Pages

The Library has just added Academic OneFile to it's ever growing list of online databases. Academic OneFile contains 8,000 journals, some reference books (in medicine, science, and biography for example), the New York Times, etc., for a total of 10,000 sources in all disciplines.

You may limit search results to peer reviewed journals or to full text items. Citations may be generated in MLA and APA styles.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chemical Information: SIS

Chemical Information : SIS (Specialized Information Services) is a division of the National Library of Medicine and contains links to many free resources on chemistry, including ChemIDplus, TOXLINE, HSDB, DART, GENETOX, IRIS, ITER, LactMed, TOXMAP, and many others.

ChemIDplus alone contains more than 379,000 chemical records with 257,000 having the chemical structures displayed in the record. ChemIDplus is searchable by name, synonym, Chemical Abstracts Registry Service Number (CASRN), molecular formula, NLM and Superlist classification codes, NLM and government identifier locator code, and structure. ChemIDplus is easily searchable with any special plug-ins for simplified searching and increased access. Search results return results pointing to databases on toxicology, cancer research, genetics, hazardous materials handling, links to journal article citations, Internet resources with biomedical data, and pointers to federal and state regulatory agency lists that contains information about the search compound.

Other databases in Chemical Information : SIS include HSDB, or Household Substances Data Bank, which contain comprehensive, peer-reviewed toxicology data for about 5,000 chemicals, and TOXLINE, which contains References from toxicology literature.

Another database within in Chemical Information: SIS is LactMed, a peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. Among the data included are maternal and infant levels of drugs, possible effects on breastfed infants and on lactation, and alternate drugs to consider.

Further information about the Chemical Information: SIS website is available at For Axe Library sources and more websites in chemistry, please visit Axe Library’s Research Guide in Chemistry. Please do not hesitate to contact the Reference Desk at Axe Library (ext. 4894) if you have any questions about this or other resources.


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Gale Virtual Reference Library

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is one of the new services provided by the Axe Library. This virtual reference set covers a wide variety of subjects: Poets, novelists, drama, small business, medicine, economics, popular culture, biology. It includes encyclopedias on cancer, genetic disorders, medicine, and alternative medicine.

More sources will be added over time. The following titles are currently reflected:

Beacham's Guide to the Endangered Species of North America , 6v, 2000
Biology , 4v, 2002
Contemporary Novelists , 7th Ed., 2001
Contemporary Poets , 7th Ed., 2001
Drama for Students , Vol. 17, 2003
Drama for Students , Vol. 18, 2003
Drama for Students , Vol. 19, 2004
Drama for Students , Vol. 20, 2005
Encyclopedia of Small Business , 2nd Ed., 2v, 2002
Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine , 2nd Ed., 4v, 2005
Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer , 2v, 2002
Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders , 2v, 2002
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine , 2nd Ed., 5v, 2002
Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America , 2nd Ed., 3v, 2000
Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History , 2v, 1999
Nonfiction Classics for Students , 5v, 2001
St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture , 5v, 2000
World of Earth Science , 2v, 2003

You may search the entire set, or an individual title. Browse through the table of contents, index, or actual contents of an individual source. Various citation formats are available.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A New Universe to Explore

The Library has recently added a new reference service called ReferenceUniverse. This new tool allows you to search back-of-the-book indexes of 10,000 reference works going back to 1985. About 85 percent of the titles are printed reference works, not available for federated (collective) searching any other way. Many of the titles are located in the Axe Library collection.

ReferenceUniverse bases it's selection of titles from sources such as the American Reference Book Annual (ARBA) and Choice Magazine. The titles span all disciplines and an extensive list is available (PDF, ~150 pp), showing titles, publishers, and amount of content available from online sources.

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