Blogs

Need to verify a fact? Find a statistic? Locate the source for a quote? The Web has lots of information in it, but it can be tricky to figure out which information to trust. In this blog post I provide links to websites that are great sources of reliable, authoritative information that you can use when you're doing quick research.

www.infoplease.com

Infoplease is short for “Information Please” - which traces its history back to the radio quiz show of the same name which ran on NBC from 1938 to 1952. The creators of the show later began publishing an almanac, and the website has been online since 1998. It features an almanac, an online version of the Columbia Encyclopedia (6th edition), a dictionary and thesaurus, and more.

www.bartleby.com

Bartleby is a website that provides access to books (mostly older books and classics) on the Web, free of charge. They have an excellent selection of books of quotations, which make it a great site for trying to find a classic quote. Note: most of their sources are from the late 1800s and early 1900s - so if you need a more recent quote, you’ll have to try a different resource, like quotes.dictionary.com (or, of course, you could ask a librarian for help). Notable books available on Bartleby include: Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, the King Jame’s Bible, Oxford Shakespeare, Gray’s Anatomy, and Strunk’s Elements of Style.

quotes.dictionary.com

This website from Dictionary.com provides many quotes, including 20th century ones, from the Columbia World of Quotations (1996).

www.merriam-webster.com

Merriam-Webster Online is a great, authoritative online dictionary, based on the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

quickfacts.census.gov

State & County QuickFacts by the United States Census Bureau contains all sorts of easy-to-access facts about people, business, and geography in the United States. The main census site, www.census.gov, contains even more information and - although kind of tricky to use - is also a very valuable tool for statistical research.

www.oregonencyclopedia.org

The Oregon Encyclopedia is a constantly growing encyclopedia of essays on all things related to Oregon. The entries are written by knowledgeable authors and are authorized by editors and fact-checkers before being published. You can even suggest a topic or write your own article!

www.wikipedia.org

In a previous blog post (“I can’t use Wikipedia for my research paper! Or can I...”), I talked about how Wikipedia, though it is not always 100% reliable itself, can be used  to find sources that you can cite when you’re doing research. When you find an article on a topic of interest, look at the “References” section at the end of the article and follow the links there to see where the article is getting its information.

These are just some of many fantastical information sources online. Do you have one that you like that I didn’t mention? Then add a comment! Also, if you are ever stuck in your search for a fact, quote, or any bit of information, remember that you can always ask a librarian for help.

Happy researching!

Quote from the book and description:
Book Cover: A Visit with Magritte "If I indulge myself and surrender to memory, I can still feel the knot of excitement that gripped me as I turned the corner into Rue Mimosas, looking for the house of Rene Magritte. It was August, 1965. I was thirty three years old and about to meet the man whose profound and witty surrealist paintings had contradicted my assumptions about photography."

This book records Michals' visit with the great Belgian painter of inverse worlds and bizarre hybrid forms. Michals invites the viewer to follow him on the exciting journey to the private sphere of an artist who at the time inspired and intimidated him.

The still lifes taken in Margritte's house and the portraits of the inhabitants, Margritte and his wife, are distant and intimate, private and representative, humorous and calm at the same time. They reflect the high respect the man behind the camera felt for the subjects of his pictures.

A visit with Magritte / Duane Michals.
Göttingen : Steidl, 2011.
Central      779.092 M621v 2011

 

The rain is back and it's another eight months until summer's return... (perhaps I exaggerate). All joking aside, winter is long, dark and damp so I've got some fun and light-weight fantasy to suggest.

I was pleasantly surprised by Shadow Kin: A Novel of the Half-Light City by M.J. Scott.  If one were to judge a book by its cover, this seems like a forgettable paranormal romance where the feisty, independent female lead will find love with a sensitive and likable hero - or a tameable bad boy. I picked it up anyway and found myself falling for the characters and the setting, where four species share a city and an uneasy peace.  I liked the second book, Blood Kin, even better and am hoping for a third.

Faith Hunter's Skinwalker is the first in a series about a female vampire killer/mercenary with a mysterious past. Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent who can shift into any animal of which she has a claw, tooth or some other small piece. Then she is hired as a vampire hunter, by one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans. While tougher-than-tough female leads are a staple of urban fantasy, I found Jane more believable and fleshed out than most.

I just finished Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake. Gage is a tattoo artist and fairly decent guy doing a truly terrible job of hiding out from the evil witches and warlocks of the Ivory Towers that rule his world. He owns his own shop and works with a troll and an elf. The amount of trouble he gets into in one short book is a little over the top, but it was a fun page-turner with a hero so likeable that I was glad that the ending promises a sequel or three.

How to search the new Library Catalog for music:
Top | Authors | Authors with Common NamesTitles | Keywords


Search for words in titles, subjects, or descriptions:

Example: jazz piano chord*
Type an * after any words to include variations: chord* = titles with the word chord or chords
search for keywords or subjects
Link to the search result for jazz piano chord*.

Select a title you would like from the search results.

Example: Jazz chord Hanon
Score title Jazz Chord Hanon Subject headings for Jazz Chord Hanon

 

- Link to similar books from the list of Subject Headings.
 


Ask a Question:
Looking for something specific? Contact us.

How to search the new Library Catalog for music:
Top | Authors | Authors with Common NamesTitles | Keywords


Select a title search. Type the exact title.

Example: the sound of music

Too many results?

Limit the list of results by selecting a format. Expand Music in the Format list, for example, and check the box Music CD for a list of CDs only.
Sountd of Music title search results

 


Ask a Question:
Looking for something specific? Contact us.

How to search the new Library Catalog for music:
Top | Authors | Authors with Common NamesTitles | Keywords


Author search:

Authors with common names may result in too many search results that are unrelated to what you are looking for. Add titles to your search for more focused results.

Example: Robert Johnson, American blues musician and composer

Use the advanced search for authors with commonly used names, to add keywords, specific titles, or a format, such as CD:
search the catalog for Robert Johnson, blues musician
Select "Add Another" for a search box to add words or a title.

Type keywords or a title in the search box just added.
search for Robert Johnson, blues musician by adding keywords to limit to the correct author

Sample result:
search result for Robert Johnson and blues

Choose a format:
choose a format - music CDs or printed music

Variations: author searches:

  • Common Names (Robert Johnson, for example)
  • Two Authors (A composer and a conductor)
  • Prolific Authors (Johann Sebastian Bach) for example: Search by a title of a song or musical work combined with an author (Bach plus Pastorale)

Ask a Question:
Looking for something specific? Contact us.

How to search the new Library Catalog for music:
Top | Authors | Authors with Common NamesTitles | Keywords


Authors with common names:
Authors = composers, conductors, names of music groups, songwriters, book authors or editors. Performers may be searched as authors if they are soloists. For performers in chamber music ensembles, other than soloists, search by the name of the ensemble.

Example: Find music by Johnny Cash.
Select an author search and enter the author's name: Cash, Johnny OR Johnny Cash. The result shows everything in the Library catalog: CDs, DVDs, books, music scores.
Search the catalog for Johnny Cash

Not specific enough? Add titles to the author's name in the advanced search for more focused search results.


Ask a Question:
Looking for something specific? Contact us.

Unlike print graphic design, type design for websites has long been created using images to display text plus a narrow selection of typefaces for content. But within the past several years, systems for using a much wider range of typefaces directly for web text coding have been introduced. The result is that there is more freedom for webpages to display the variety we see in the print world. New e-readers make it possible to read in the typeface of the original print version, bringing the design of the two formats of the book more closely aligned.Mastering Type The Essential Guide to Typography for Print and Web Design 2012 book

There is no doubt that the typeface has an effect on the experience of reading, whatever the form happens to be. In the library, books about letterforms and typefaces can be found in three distinct areas: in the 700's art books for calligraphy, the art of hand lettering, in the graphic design section of the 600's, for more of a production or commercial basis to typography, and within books found in the 006 section for digital media content.

>>>Read this book in e-book format with your Multnomah County Library card.

 


Every year, around this time, we compose a poem, which sometimes rhymes,
about ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties
who'll come to your door demanding a feastie 

This year is no different, and we think that you'll find,
some blood-curdling tales will focus your mind;

And keep you awake for those folks who'll come calling...
What can we say? Our poem is appalling!

Stories of vampires and unwanted guestscomic book horrorsbrain-eating pests
Of gruesome tales we have no lack, you just provide the pumpkin named Jack. 

Happy Halloween!

Book cover: Encyclopedia of Life Writing Autobiographical and Biographical Forms Title: Encyclopedia of Life Writing Autobiographical and Biographical Forms
Additional Contributors: Jolly, Margaretta
Publication: London : Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
Call Number: Central Literature & History Room Reference R- 920.003 E56Lw 2001
Contents: v. 1. A-K  v. 2. L-Z

 
Description: "The term "life writing" itself, recorded in the 18th century, and gaining wide academic acceptance since the 1980's, has been chosen for the title because of its openness and inclusiveness across genre, and because it encompasses the writing of one's own or another's life. On this basis, it is also appropriate to shelter under life writing's umbrella several entries on life story originating outside of the written form, including testimony, artifacts, reminiscence, personal narrative, visual arts, photography, film, oral history and so forth." - from the Editor's note.

Library computers are available for writing resumes, filling out job applications, networking and brushing up your computer skills. Library computers have Internet access and Microsoft Office and they are available at each of our locations, along with staff to help you get started.  To sign up for a computer, you just need a library card or you can request a guest pass with you valid picture ID.  

Have your own laptop or mobile device? Multnomah County libraries offer free wi-fi.

Already have your resume typed up and you just need to print? Access your documents from the Internet or your flash drive and print for 10 cents a page, either single or double-sided.  Only black and white printing is available.

Look to these resources to help you find work, and get assistance in the meantime.

Adjusting to Suddenly Reduced Income

This publication guides people through the processes of emotional reactions, spending patterns, rethinking goals and managing conflict for anyone experiencing financial loss.

Unemployment claims

File for Unemployment Benefits online through Oregon.gov.

Oregon Helps

This website estimates if you qualify for various types of assistance and explains where to apply for programs and has some applications to download.

Job seekers 

Listings of local and national jobs, resources for resume writing and networking, and information for those planning a career change.

Computer Labs for Job Seekers

Update your resume, file for unemployment, or apply for jobs.

Whether you're a first-time voter or an old hand, these sites can help you with the practical side of voting.

Our Time

Are you eager to learn about voting, register to vote, and get yourself ready for the election? This nonpartisan site is designed just for you! Find state by state voting and eligibility requirements, a voting FAQ as well as information about primaries, caucuses, conventions and the electoral process.

Felony Disenfranchisement

Find information about the voting rights of people with previous felony convictions, including which states bar ex-felons from voting altogether, and the steps ex-felons have to take to restore their voting rights in states that do allow them to vote.

New Voters Project

This project is dedicated to encouraging newly eligible voters to get involved in the election process and to vote. Locate research on how many young people have turned out for the caucuses and primaries, register to vote, find your polling place, and learn how to become involved.

Vote411

If you are looking for basic information about how voting works, who is eligible to vote, what kind of identification is required to vote or to register to vote, and what kind of voting machines the different states use, this nonpartisan site from the League of Women Voters can help.

Voting Rights

Learn about current controversies related to voting rights from this website sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union. You'll find information about voters' rights in the states and information about the voting rights of military personnel, prisoners and ex-convicts, and rural residents. If you're looking for local information, you can also check out the Oregon ACLU website.

What’s that you say? You’ve always wanted to try making your favorite menu items from national chain restaurants at home?

Well, Top Secret Recipes is here to help you.

“Clone recipes” for all of the best guilty pleasure foods have been created and shared by Todd Wilbur.

Most of these recipes are free, but there are some high demand ones that require purchase for $.79 each.

I don’t want to start a riot here, but this site includes recipes for Girl Scout Thin Mints and a Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll that cuts the calorie count in half and the fat content by two thirds.

What are you waiting for? Click now!

Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell

I thought it was a sarcastic title. That the guy who wrote it must have a cracked sense of dark humor. Why would anyone want to visit Chernobyl? See deforestation as it happens in the Amazon? Visit the most polluted river in India? Blackwell asked himself the same questions. Did he have a thing for industrial waste? Was he some kind of environmental rubbernecker?  What exactly was the point in going to some of the world's worst man-made, human caused devastation?

Some chapters really stick with me. The one on Port Arthur, Texas, for example, where the brown breeze has a rancid aftertaste; where the community is among the poorest and most polluted in the nation, yet is surrounded by multi-billion dollar companies. Back in the day, a huge oil gusher erupted from the ground near Port Arthur. The dirt-covered men who were witness looked at each other and asked "what is it?" Can you even imagine that? As Andrew Blackwell (irony of his last name is duly noted) traveled and researched this chapter, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank, the start of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

In other chapters he travels to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where he can't keep himself from channeling Hornblower's "Where away?"; the oil sands mining of Northern Alberta, Canada; Chernobyl of course (my favorite chapter)--did you know that, unbelievably, Chernobyl has become possibly the largest nature preserve in eastern Europe?. And there's plenty more environmental disaster where those came from, a little something for everyone.

And there is humor, and lots of it--I promise. It is wry and sweet, his use of language precise, sharp. I want to have a drink or two with Andrew Blackwell and ask about a thousand questions. He wrote the best armchair travel book I've read in a long, long time. There's no crumbling ruin, restored by wealthy retirees, true. Yet I find myself cruising the website chernobylwel.com with its jaunty black gas mask logo, just out of curiosity mostly, but you never know.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway is the story of an exceedingly careful man with the euphonious name of Joe Spork. His father was the king of criminal London. His grandfather was a genius with clockwork. Joe runs a modest clockwork shop and tries to make amends for his father’s sins.

But when he is asked to repair a particularly ornate and clever device he finds himself drawn into the flotsam of super spies, religious zealots, and vengeful despots that his family left behind. Whole worlds live inside this book, each with its own rich history, and together weaving the background for strong characters and their fantastic capers.

Readers, writers and book lovers!  Mark your October calendars for two of Portland's biggest book events:  Wordstock book fair extravaganza and Portland Arts & Lectures author series, kicked off by legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

October’s just a warm-up –- there are literary events galore throughout the year.  Attend one of the library’s author talks, book discussions and conversations featuring local writers on a wide range of topics. Search the Events calendar listings for the who, where and when details.

There’s no one place that tracks Portland’s sprawling literary scene -- there’s SO much going on -- so here’s a rundown of where to find author readings, writers workshops and more book-centered events.

Portland is home to the largest independent bookstore in the world.  The legendary Powell’s City of Books draws headline authors for its popular readings. If you’re a mystery lover, keep your eye on the Friends of Mystery calendar of author appearances at Murder by the Book. Use the Mercury’s list of Portland’s Other Bookstores to see what’s happening in the indie bookstore universe.

City of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Portland by Gabriel H. Boehmer, a third-generation Oregonian, is a bible for Stumptown bibliophiles, bringing together bookstores, libraries, landmarks, authors, events and titles in one volume. Published quarterly, the free Portland Book Review newspaper is available at bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, restaurants and retail locations around metro Portland.

If you’re an aspiring author and want to meet fellow writers, Willamette Writers meetings showcase Oregon authors from mix of professions. The Attic Institute offers readings, workshops and a Poets Studio. Write Around Portland runs free writing workshops for adults and youth; participants share their writing with the public at free community readings. DIY folks should check out the extraordinary IPRC -– Independent Publishing Resource Center -– where you can create and publish your own artwork and writing.

 

For a true DIY experience, print out the map of West Portland Writers and find the homes and workplaces of noteworthy authors such as Hazel Hall, John Reed and Stewart Holbrook.  
                                                                                                                             

Next Best Thing is a wonderful story about Ruth Saunders and her grandmother Rachel, who move from Boston to Hollywood. Ruth wants to make it as a sitcom writer. Her grandmother wants to have fun and finds work as a an extra for tv right away. Ruth is twenty-three and a bit broken. Grandma Rachel is tough as nails and elegant. She totally supports Ruth in finding herself and her career. Their loving relationship is what moves the story.

Weiner certainly knows how to write a grandmother character (take a look at In Her Shoes). There’s a reason she is a bestselling author, and much of it is due to her fully formed characters and her great story-telling. This is a lively and moving story about two women finding their way in the challenging place that is Hollywood, California. I think you will find yourself rooting for them if you decide to read The Next Best Thing.

Sheet music, as a type of music, refers to single songs, published for singing and playing on the piano, as was the custom for many years in living rooms all across the country. At Central Library, we have a collection of these, donations from Portlanders in years past. Arranged in boxes by year of publication, all are listed in the Library Online Catalog, by song title, and also by the title of the box with the publication year. The songs from 1800-1850 all fit in one container, but as the years progress, there is a box for each year, up to the early 70's with songs by the Carpenters and other singers of that time.

Here are two samples from vastly different eras: "A Life on the Ocean Wave," published in 1840 by the District Court of New York, and "Tuck Me to Sleep in My Old Tucky Home," published by the Irvin Berlin Music Company in New York in 1921.

Sheet Music of "A Life on the Ocean Wave" published in 1940Sheet music of the song "Tuck Me to Sleep in My Old Tucky Home" published in 1921How are these song sheets used at the present time? We get questions about songs popular in a particular decade for school reports, musicians who need particular old songs, and for people looking for popular songs that are in the public domain. The artwork on the cover of historic sheet music is also of interest, for the illustrations and typefaces characteristic of the era of publication.

The Historic Sheet Music is a reference collection at Central Library available through the reference staff at the Humanities South Reference Desk (art and Music) on the 3rd Floor. But if you would prefer to have music that you can check out and take home, we can look up whatever song you are looking for by title in the Online Catalog. For American songs by decade, there are collections of music scores for popular music by decade, singer, and type of music. If you have any questions about the Historic Sheet Music Collection, please give a call to Information Services at Central Library: 503.988.5234.

How do you search for song titles in the Library Catalog? Use "quotes" around the song title; if there are too many titles in the search results, use MODIFY SEARCH to select MUSIC SCORES or CD.

Throughout the Library, you will find books that in some way pertain to style and form, for such unrelated topics as cooking, watercolor painting, writing, or building a fence. For architecture, often people come in to research a particular style, such as Craftsman style, to help them decide about colors, etc. for historic rennovation. From working at the Reference Desk in the Art and Music Room, I became aware of another type of book, more general and encyclopedic, about architectural style and form.  Fascinating to look at, these books are primarily image-based, with drawings, photographs, and deAmerican Homesscriptions of the design of houses over spans of centuries, a single page for each style. The abstraction of these books, with their comparisons of architectural details, brings together variations in design that can be hard to find otherwise.

At the Reference Desk, these books come into use when someone comes in wanting a particular term for part of a building. Sometimes, when you are looking for something specific, one page is just about perfect.

Please let us know if we can help find architecture information for you: contact the Library.

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