Monday, July 20, 2009

Navigating News Sites

On Monday, July 27, 2009 at noon, the Magazines and Newspapers Center will offer a workshop--"Navigating News Sites"--where you'll learn how to use the Web to access your daily news and maneuver around the information-packed sites of two major San Francisco newspapers.

News stories come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors—local, national, and international. Learn how to find news sites and browse through various subject categories, find advanced search screens, access archival information, and print and e-mail news articles from the Web sites of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner. If time permits, we may also highlight some of our news databases.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, July 27, 2009 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

ABCs of Flatbed Digital Scanning Hands-on

Join the Magazines and Newspapers Center staff for an introduction to digital flatbed scanning.

We will scan photographs, periodicals, paper documents,and transparent media - and show you how to save images in your favorite formats. Come scan with us in the Fifth Floor Magazines and Newspapers Center microfilm room. The program begins at noon and will last one hour!

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, July 2o, 2009 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Praise of the Readers' Guide

If you are of a certain age, you may remember in the distant past a peculiar method for looking up magazine articles that might seem alien to today's young people. As I recall, a teacher would lead the class down to the school library and present the students with a seemingly impossible task: finding magazine articles about a certain person, event, or subject. Those of us who were paying attention at that moment would wonder how the teacher expected us to accomplish this task. Everyone knew that, though magazines would be likely to run stories about news events around the time that the event happened, for the most part, we'd have to flip through all of the years of all of the magazines to figure out when an article was written about a specific topic.

Then came the big revelation: the school librarian would show us a a set of big, thick books (they were bound in red at my library) that would tell us the names of magazines that had published articles about a certain topic in a given year, and in which issue and on what page we could find the article. A whole year! That meant that all we had to do was select a range of years, look up a person, event, or, really, anything else from each year, and write down the title, date, and page numbers of the magazine that we needed to find.

That series of books, as many of you may recall, was the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. Though it wasn't the first periodical index, nor has it ever been the most comprehensive, it seems to be the one most stuck in the memories of people who come to the Magazines and Newspapers reference desk looking for old magazine articles. I think that the reason for this is indicated in the title -- the "Readers' Guide" serves, unlike more subject-specific periodical indexes, a broad audience of readers rather than a small group of researchers. You won't find indexing for Living Reviews in Relativity in the Readers' Guide, but you will find Time. And while you won't find any references to the Annals of the Association of American Geographers here, you will certainly see citations for National Geographic.

In short, the Reader's Guide has long provided access to the stuff that 95% of readers want 95% of the time, which has made it a mainstay in public and school libraries for the last hundred years, which is why most of us above the age of, say, twenty, have probably come across it at least once in our lives.

The library also has the Reader's Guide Retrospective in our collection of databases, which means that users can electronically access indexing to popular American magazines from 1890 up to 1982. This is quite a boon to historical researchers, particularly because this is the only indexing available for many of these titles, which provides important contemporary perspectives on the events of the 20th century.

However, if you have a chance, stop by the Magazines and Newspapers Center and see if you can remember how to use the index that introduced so many young people to the principles of periodical research.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cat Fancy -- C'mon, you know you want to read it

Though it's hard to imagine a world without Lolcats and Cute Overload, there was once a time when cat enthusiasts had to get their eye candy in monthly doses. Cat Fancy, which bills itself as the "world's most widely read cat magazine," is published for those of us who acknowledge that cats are much more than just pets.
Unlike its more tongue-in-cheek contemporary peers, Cat Fancy is full of useful information for dedicated cat owners. Look here for tips on everything from cat discipline (apparently not an oxymoron) to treating allergies to the latest in nutritional knowledge. There is also extensive coverage of current happenings in the world of animal rescue, adoption, and every issue also features an extensive profile of one cat breed.

But let's be honest with ourselves here. Most of us opening an issue of Cat Fancy are not doing so looking for serious coverage of the world of our feline friends. We want pictures of cute kitties doing funny things, glamor shots of exotic breeds, and classified ads reminding us that there's a whole world of furry friends out there.

Cat Fancy delivers the goods. (There's a centerfold, for crying out loud!)

The Magazines and Newspapers Center urges you to not be shy about your love of cats. Come on in and have a look at Cat Fancy.