February is Black History Month

National Black History Month is an annual observance in February, celebrating the past and present achievements of African Americans. It is also a time when students and educators, who, in a mad scramble to track down elusive biographical information on the movers and shakers in Black History, need accurate and reliable information fast.

This month’s installment of Infoblog highlights some of these resources.

If you’re are looking for some more resources, look at these articles from our archives:

Slave Narratives on Greenwood Electronic Media

There is a large collection of American slave narratives in Greenwood Electronic Media database called American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography.

First go to the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Database Page. If you are outside the library, you will need to enter your library card number. On the list of databases to the left (My Library’s Databases), under Greenwood Electronic Media, choose American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography.

There are several ways to search the narratives. You can search by the name of the narrators, the narrator’s “master”, or the county or parish where the narrator lived. You can also search by subject, because the topics discussed in each narrative are indexed. Finally, the narratives are also indexed by the name of the person conducting the interview, and the original Library of Congress publication title.

Most of the interviews are taken after the turn of the century, in the 1930s and 1940s, when most of those interviewed are older and being asked to recall the times before the Civil War.

As an example, lets find some narratives from our East Baton Rouge Parish. First select one of the County links. Choose E from the alphabetical list. Then choose East Baton Rouge, LA.

Here you can find a handful of narratives, including a 1937 interview of John James, who was born a slave to John Chapman in East Baton Rouge Parish before the Civil War:

“Well, I don’t have much mind fo’ slavery days, ’cause I’s too young den. I’s can ‘membahs w’en surrendah comes, an’ some time befo’ dat….Yous see, ’twas a big plantation dat Master John Chapman have. Dere was ’bout 50 cullud fam’lies on de place, so ’twas over 100 slave dat him owned. De place am in Weziana, neah Bat’n Rouge, in East Bat’n Rouge Parish.”

There are also a handful of digital audio recordings available for download, so you can hear the narratives just as they come from the narrator’s mouth. To hear these, go to Additional Resources and then Archive of Folk Culture Sound Recordings.

Civil Rights Videos on EBSCO

Patrons can access videos of civil rights speeches through the Video Encyclopedia of the 20th Century located in EBSCO’s Student Research Center

Examples include:

  • Harry Truman addressing the NAACP convention in 1947.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. addressing a crowd in Montgomery after their march from Selma.
  • Singer James Brown urging calm after King’s assassination.
  • Bobby Seale speaking to the Black Panthers.

Here’s how to find them:

  1. If you’re outside the library enter your library card number.
  2. From the database page, choose EBSCO.
  3. From the EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page, choose Student Research Center.
  4. Under the search box in the middle of the page under the heading Include When Searching: are ten categories. Uncheck all of them except for Film and Video.
  5. Type the search term “civil rights” into the search box and click on Search.
  6. Explore the fascinating videos that appear in the search results.

The Faces of Science

The Faces of Science profiles African American men and women who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering. The profiles are organized by name and by profession, from biochemist to zoologist. This is also a great place to find biographical information about African American inventors.

The indices also highlight women scientists as well as those African Americans who were the first to receive a PhD in their respective fields.

Life Hacks

The old saw is that technology is going to make our work easier, our tasks quicker, and our lives more productive. But oftentimes it feels like we are getting caught in a relentless crunch of innovation.  Between checking our email, our voice mail and text messages on our computers, laptops, PDAs and phones it’s easy to wonder if we are indeed becoming more productive.

Enter the life hack. A life hack is a tip or trick that cuts through the techno-clutter, simplifying the tasks that seem to be complicating your life. Often, these hacks are technological in nature such as a useful web appplication, but surprisingly, some have a anti-technological flavor to them, such as the hipster PDA (a deck of index cards held together with a binder clip).

Here are three great sources for interesting life hacks. 

Lifehacker: “Tech tricks, tips and downloads for getting things done”.

43Folders: The weblog of tips and tricks from the originator of the term “lifehack”.

Lifehack.org: “Daily digest and pointers on productivity, getting things done and lifehacks.”

All three websites are now buzzing with talk of New Year’s resolutions.

Finding Test Preparation E-books on Learning Express

Test preparation books are among the most popular items in the library collection. From ACT and ACT tests, to GRE and PRAXIS exams, it seems at one point or another, everybody needs to prepare for an important standardized test. With so much demand, it’s not surprising that the one you’re looking for may be checked out. Luckily, library patrons have access to full-text test preparation E-books through the Learning Express database.

A sampling of titles include:

Acedemic: Acing the GED Exams, Acing the GRE, ACT Exam Success, Praxis I, TOEFL Essentials

Civil Service: Federal Clerical Exam, Police Officer Exam, Postal Worker Exam

Military: ASVAB Success

Titles in Spanish: Pase el Examen de Ciudadania Americana, Reading Comprehension with Spanish Instructions

Workplace and Career Skills: Cosmetology Licensing Exam, Great Resume, Job Interviews that Get You Hired

Along with many more titles!

To browse a complete list of the titles:

  1. From the East Baton Rouge Parish Library homepage (www.ebr.lib.la.us) go to Online Databases, which is in the left sidebar. If you are outside of the library, you will need to provide your library card number.
  2. From the Database page go to Learning Express.
  3. From the list of Featured Resources, find E-BOOKS and click on it.
  4. You can search the titles by keyword, or browse the list by title. You will need the free Adobe Reader in order to read or print the books.

Tax Strategy Booklist

It’s a good time to plan business tax strategies for the new year. Here is a list of recent titles in the library’s collection on the subject of small business taxation.
422 Tax Deductions For Business & Self Employed Individuals /
Bell Springs Pub., c2003.
Deduct it! : Lower Your Small Business Taxes, 2nd Edition
NOLO Press, c2005.
Tax Accounting For Small Business: How To Prepare A 1040C
Small Business Advisors, Inc., c1996.
Tax Savvy For Small Business: Year-Round Tax Advice For Small Businesses, 10th Edition
NOLO Press, c2006.
Tax Smarts For Small Business
Sphinx Pub., c2004.

Titles listed above are linked to the Library’s online catalog so you can see title locations and status. Once you’re in the catalog, click on the picture of the book cover for a synopsis and other information.


Scrennshot of AccessScience homepage  

AccessScience provides an outstanding collection of science reference materials available online from your home computer! It offers easy access to full text articles from the latest edition of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, Research Updates from the McGraw-Hill Yearbooks, and the latest Science News ® headlines. There are thousands of biographies, illustrations, videos, tutorials, and even podcasts. 

This online encyclopedia is tailored to both students and researchers looking for the most relevant, readable, and trusted sources of science information available. Use AccessScience for all your science information needs!

Some examples of what you can find on AccessScience include:

  • A biography of Albert Einstein
  • An image gallery of a young supernova, also available as a PowerPoint presentation
  • Current science news with titles such as “Vitamin D: Some people need much more” and “Sister Planet: Mission to Venus reveals watery past
  • An article in the study center that answers the question “How does flouride affect teeth?”

To get to AccessScience from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library homepage (www.ebr.lib.la.us)

  1. Choose Online Databases from the left sidebar on the homepage. If you are home or outside of the library, you will need to enter your library card number.
  2. From the Database Page, choose AccessScience near the top of the left hand column.

Searching Consumer Reports in EBSCO

To get the most out of your gift-giving dollar, you want to find products that have desirable features and are built to last. Everybody knows that Consumer Reports provides some of the best information on consumer products, often testing dozens of similar products and comparing them against each other for quality, durability and value. Although the library carries print copies of Consumer Reports, the quickest way to find information is online. Unfortunately, many features of the Consumer Reports website is only available for a fee. Luckily, the library has access to electronic versions of the print magazine through its subscription with EBSCO databases.

1. Click on Online Databases on the left sidebar of the library’s homepage (http://www.ebr.lib.la.us/).

2. Enter your library card number if you are outside of the library. Just click Enter if you are inside of the library.

3. On the right hand side of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Database Page, under Statewide Databases, click on EBSCO.

4. Choose EBSCOhost Web.

5. Choose MasterFILE Premier.

6. In the Publication box, enter “Consumer Reports”. Make sure you spell it correctly!

7. In the Find box, enter the type of product you are searching for, such as “digital cameras”.

8. Browse the articles that appear. You may print out the full text articles that are available, including those handy charts that Consumer Reports makes. Fold it up, put it in your pocket and head out to the store!

The full-text Consumer Reports articles are in pdf format, appearing as they would in the print magazine. Note that there is a restriction, in that Consumer Reports articles will not be available in full text until they are three months old. In this case, if you need an article that is newer than three months, you will have access to the citation, and thus will be able to easily find the article in the print version, which is available at the library.

43 Things

Get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions with 43 Things. 43 Things is a social networking site where you compile a list of goals that you would like to accomplish and share them with others.

Goals can range from the typical, such as lose 15 pounds or quit smoking, to more creative and esoteric goals such as teach myself to write backwards with my left hand to read all the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett.

Participants can read what others are trying to accomplish. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are trying to do. You can cheer others and get ideas from others who have been successful. Perhaps you will find a goal that hadn’t occurred to you.

Probably the best thing first of all would be to pay off my fines and re-join the library.