Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Libraries of the World: The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress is located in the Jefferson Building, one of three buildings that make up the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. It is the principal point for gaining access to the library's general collections of books and bound periodicals.

David S. Mao, the Acting Librarian of Congress, tells us that "The Library of Congress is the nation’s first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with millions of items including books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections."

"The Library provides Congress, the federal government and the American people with a rich, diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage them and support their intellectual and creative endeavors," Mao continues in his letter of welcome on the About the Library page of the Library of Congress web site.

The Library of Congress occupies three buildings on Capitol Hill. An agency of the legislative branch of the U.S. government, the Library includes several internal divisions (or service units), including the Office of the Librarian, Congressional Research Service, U.S. Copyright Office, Law Library of Congress, Library Services, and National and International Outreach.

Today's Library of Congress is an unparalleled world resource. The collection of more than 162 million items includes more than 38.6 million cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages; more than 70 million manuscripts; the largest rare book collection in North America; and the world's largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings.

For more information about the Library of Congress which is located in Washington, D.C., visit the Library of Congress web site.

The information above was taken from the Library of Congress web site.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Family History Tips - Part 1

Searching Secrets: Why You Can’t Find Your Ancestors in Ancestry and Other Internet Genealogical Databases

by Brenna Corbit, Technical Services Librarian

I often see novices hit a brick wall quite early in their ancestral searches. For example, after finding a person in the1930 and 1920 U.S. Censuses, they fail to find them in any earlier records. These hurdles often exist because of name variations and database indexing issues.

The first issue concerns primary records such as census schedules, death certificates, or ship’s passenger manifests often containing mistakes or variations of a name or place. For example, recorders of the information may hear incorrectly; the person giving the information may be illiterate, resulting in phonetic transcription; sometimes it is just a simple spelling error. Moreover, names change over a period of time due to translations, Anglicization and phonetics: e.g. the German Jaeger is translated to Hunter; the Irish O’Maolchaoin is Anglicized to Mulqueen; or the Polish Czochocki becomes the phonetic Chohowski.

The next problem is the indexing of these primary sources. The task of database indexers is to record names as written. However, handwritten records are often illegible, causing indexers to interpret the records. And sometimes the indexer is at fault—names are copied incorrectly or overlooked. Other indexing is done through optical character recognition (OCR), a computerized method of reading/indexing images of words in digitized primary sources. Some OCR software is very good while others simply fail to recognize words or misinterpret the images.

There are myriad other reasons for issues in database index searching, but do not fret. In the following weeks I will be giving many tips on how to get the best results from database searching.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Unusual Sculpture Using Books

Slovak artist, Matej Krén, created this book sculpture, called Idiom, which can be found in the entrance of the Prague Municipal Library at Mariánské náměstí, near the Old Town Square. It appears that the books go on endlessly, but it's a visual illusion using mirrors.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Word of the Day


[lahy-brer-ee, -bruh-ree, -bree]

noun, plural libraries.

1. a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material
    for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set
    of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.

2. a public body organizing and maintaining such an establishment.

3. a collection of manuscripts, publications, and other materials for
    reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference.

4. a collection of any materials for study and enjoyment, as films,
    musical recordings, or maps.

5. a commercial establishment lending books for a fixed charge; a
    lending library.

6. a series of books of similar character or alike in size, binding,
    etc., issued by a single publishing house.

7. Biology. a collection of standard materials or formulations by
    which specimens are identified.
The Yocum Library provides books, DVDs, online databases, and more for RACC students, employees and the community.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Magazine Monday: Review of The Atlantic

Review of The Atlantic
by Steven Mathews, Library Assistant
The Atlantic (est. 1857) is a monthly magazine based in Washington, D.C. and is one of the oldest active news and culture magazines in the US. At the time of its inception, The Atlantic was titled The Atlantic Monthly and focused primarily on current literature and politics. Fans of the Netflix series House of Cards may find it interesting that a Francis H. Underwood founded The Atlantic Monthly and served as its first editor. Many historically significant American authors of the nineteenth century, such as Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, contributed to the periodical.

The content in the present incarnation of The Atlantic is organized into three groups. The cover of each issue typically illustrates one of the four “featured” long-form stories, which most often includes a political story and occasionally a piece of new fiction. Recent 2016 articles have focused on “The Obama Doctrine,” “How America is Putting Itself Back Together,” “The Silicon Valley Suicides,” “The Great Republican Revolt,” and “Why America is Moving Left.”  

A group of shorter articles makes up the “Dispatches” and “Cultural File” sections that appear at the beginning of each issue. “Dispatches” is subtitled as “Ideas & Provocations” and includes poetry and brief articles from the areas of business, technology, and other subjects. The “Cultural File” includes reviews of movies, television, books, and music.

Today, The Atlantic continues to offer journalists, critics, and fiction writers opportunities to share their work and influence conversations. Recently, one writer has transcended the areas of journalism and fiction. Ta-Nehisi Coates (b. 1975), winner of the 2015 Non Fiction National Book Award for Between the World and Me, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he has published significant articles on issues of race in contemporary America. In 2016, however, he made his debut as a writer for the new Marvel Comics Black Panther series, of which you can read a preview in the April 2016 issue of The Atlantic.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Some Asian-Pacific American Firsts in Politics and Business

1763: First recorded settlement of Asians in the United States:
          Filipinos in Louisiana

1790: First recorded Indian immigrant in U.S.

1820: First recorded Chinese immigrant in U.S.

1847: Yung Wing becomes first Chinese to graduate from U.S.
           college (Yale)

1946: Wing Ong is first Asian American elected to state office

1956: Dalip Singh Saund of California becomes first Indian
          American in Congress

1959: Hiram Fong of Hawaii becomes first Chinese American
in Senate and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii becomes first 
Japanese American in Congress

1964: Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaii becomes first nonwhite
          woman in Congress

1986: Gerald Tsai of American Can becomes first Asian American 
          CEO of a Fortune 500 company

1992: Jay Kim of California becomes first Korean American in

1997: Gary Locke of Washington becomes first Asian American 
          governor of mainland state

2000: Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta becomes first
          Asian American Cabinet member

2001: Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao becomes first woman Asian
          American Cabinet member

2007: Bobby Jindal of Louisiana becomes first Indian American

2009: President Barack Obama appoints three Asian Americans to 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Congratulations to RACC Student Janelle Zimmerman!

 On Friday April 29 at The Academic Awards Ceremony, Patricia Nouhra, Yocum's Distance Learning Librarian, presented student Janelle Zimmerman with the 2016 Ronald F. Borkert Prize for Library Research. She received the award for her research paper, "Old Order Mennonite Illness Narratives."

The prize is sponsored by The Yocum Library of Reading Area Community College. It celebrates excellence in library-based research and consists of a certificate and $100.