Ready for the big guns? Time for eResources Discovery Search

Young-lady-sitting-on-the-floor-using-her-laptop-233x300When you have come to your senses and cast aside Wikipedia and Google in the quest for serious research solutions – then the library has what you require. The best research tool to start with is eResources Discovery Search or eDS for short. No matter how tight the deadline is this online treasure is available 24/7.

What makes it so great? Well it provides you with access to most of our eResource collection, articles, eBooks, journals, and photographs, through a single simultaneous search at a single access point. So with one search in one place you can search across huge swathes of information just like Google – but all of the information you find is authoritative and referenced without funny yet distracting cat videos.

For example what if you had to research Donald Trump? Put that name in eDS and these miraculous things happen …

eDS

Research starters – at the top of your search results there will be a “research starter” on Trump. There are starters for most topics which is useful if you want a starting point or a brief background.

To the left – tools to refine results to the most relevant. These include:

  • Publication date – maybe you only want articles from the last six months?
  • Source types – do you need a video, journal article or book on Trump?
  • Subject – are you interested in his talk shows or his political campaign?
  • Content providers – maybe you want a biography from Gale Biography in Context?

To the right – you get images, videos and newswires you can use or access the library catalogue. If you get stuck there is also Live Online to get you back on track.

Basically eDS is all you need in your answer arsenal and can be used anytime of the day but is most effective when you are really stressed and have a deadline looming. All you need to use this solution to all your research requirements is your library card number and password/PIN. Bookmark it now.

Remembering them

Taking a ride on the tram is becoming a bit of a school holiday habit for the Young Lad and me.  On our trip round the loop the other day, we passed the Field of Remembrance at Cranmer Square.

Field of Remembrance. Flickr, 2015-03-27-IMG_6779

Field of Remembrance. Flickr, 2015-03-27-IMG_6779

I have to admit that Anzac Day has never really meant much to me, except as a day off school when I was a kid.  This year, though, it seems so much more significant. You see, I’ve spent the last couple of months researching a soldier for the New Brighton Boys project, and suddenly the war became real to me.  Seeing all those white crosses — I got a little choked up trying to explain to the Young Lad what it was all about.  Each of those crosses was suddenly a person to me, not just a statistic, or a page in a history book, but a real person with a life, a family; a person with dreams for a future that ought to have been but never would.

J. F. HaynesI can’t think of John Frederick Haynes as anything but my soldier.  My blue eyed, brown haired boy, who shares my Dad’s birthday, and lived round the corner from where I grew up — and died when he was just 23. I’d never heard of him before last November, and started out with just a name and a service number, but the more I found out about him, the more I wanted to know. The bald facts that I found in military records, electoral rolls, church registers, and Births, Deaths, and Marriages records coalesced, blossomed, and became tangible to me.

I could almost have been there in the room when his little brother Lawrence, who was just 19, came home and told his family that the attesting officer had let him enlist this time. I felt his mother’s sadness that she’d lost her middle boy to the war and now her baby had enlisted too. Was it she who convinced Francis, the eldest, that he needed to enlist to keep an eye on Lawrence? Did Francis’ wife, Reubena, try to persuade him not to go? Either way, Francis enlisted the very next day.

Lawrence and Francis came home. John did not.

This Anzac Day I will remember them.

War books in Gale Virtual Reference Library

Gale Virtual Reference Library gives you access to over 200 electronic reference books covering virtually any subject, including health, business, careers, history, literature, biography, science, travel and more.

Some war-related titles have just been added to this colllection:

Cover of Auschwitz Cover of Hiroshima Cover of The Normandy beaches

Writing from the heart: An hour with Chris Cleave

What has been the best day of your life?

What has been the worst day of your life?

What do you hope for?

What do you fear?

These are the questions Chris Cleave poses hapless interviewees during the exhaustive formal research he conducts for each of his novels.

His informal research he characterises as “quite creepy” and involves stalking innocent members of the populace foolish enough to have heartfelt conversations on public transport.

Like any great hunter, Chris uses disguise and cunning, he sits behind his targets wearing unconnected ear buds, nods his head in time to the imaginary beats and captures their vocabulary, grammar and idiom. You have been warned. Stay alert for insanely grinning Englishmen, they want to pinch your charming Kiwi-isms.

Host Kate de Goldi, who described Chris’s books as “politicised, moral and completely readable”, asked Chris about his debut novel Incendiary. Written as an open letter to Osama Bin Laden from a grieving mother whose child died in an imagined London terror attack, it was due for release on 7/7/2005. Two thousand pre-publication posters depicting a smoking London city-scape and the words “What if?” were plastered all over the London Underground. Then that same day, the real London attacks kicked off, and Cleave, with his publishers, had the novel pulled from the shelves. This was for him a “fraught, frantic and complicated decision” but he still believes it was the right one.

The Geodome audience then paused for a few minutes while a bumble-bee drunk on the aroma from some onstage freesia was corralled and dealt to by festival organiser Morrin “No8 wire” Rout.

Chris next talked about the influence of parenthood on his work. Incendiary was written to mark the occasion of the birth of his first child and engaged with themes that previously had been purely abstract: grief at the loss of a child, injustice and the task of keeping loved ones safe in a potentially volatile and dangerous world.

Chris now dislikes his pre-fatherhood writing and characterised it as smug, self-reverential, full of ridiculous pyrotechnics and hubris. His youthful writing was in the pursuit of glory and was as a result terrible.

This self-analysis prompted New Zealand product design writer Michael Smythe to ask whether this was exclusively auto-critique on Chris’s part or whether another party had nudged him towards this realisation?

Cleave gleefully admitted that yes, several rejection letters for at least two full length manuscripts had eventually caused him to reconsider the direction of his writing. The fate of these rejected masterpieces, The Roadkill Cookbook and Tequilla Mockingbird, was not alluded to but the “rather charming” publishers’ rejection letters are filed in Chris’s big envelope of bitterness.

This was a delightfully wise and witty session from an author of compassion and curiosity, and from a man who isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. I’m going to ask myself some of Chris’s questions but I suspect they will, rather like his novels, make my heart hurt.

Issues of the day in the context of our times

CoverI’m a bit of a news junkie and I often see topics in the news that I would like to find out more about. It’s not always that easy. Delving into other sources takes time.

I wanted to know more about child labour in India after it came up in relation to our proposed India/New Zealand free trade agreement.

I also wanted to find out more about reactions to the wearing of burqas after two bus drivers in Auckland refused veiled women entry to their buses.

The new Global issues in context database in the Source is a gold mine of such information.

When I looked at it, the front page featured in-depth articles on the Fukushima power plant, child labour, the next presidential elections in the States, the “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Middle East and many other topical issues. Anything not on the front page was easy to access with a simple keyword search.

I can see I’ll be dipping into this on a regular basis.

Are you a bit common?

LogoWe may have lost access to some of our family history resources at Central Library but we still have many great online resources if you are interested in “breeding”. Who knows, maybe you should have been invited to Will and Kate’s wedding?

Findmypast.co.uk is a family history and genealogy website which focuses on the United Kingdom. It contains among other resources:

  • The only 1841-1911 census collection online;
  • An online index of births, deaths and marriages (1837-2006);
  • Parish records for baptisms, marriages and burials dating from 1538;
  • Passenger lists for all long-haul voyages leaving the UK between 1890 and 1960.

This fantastic resource is  available at all our open  community libraries but is not available outside libraries. Come in and have a play an explore our other electronic family history resources.

Origins: A treasure for family history hunters

CemeteryOn 4 May 1691, Alice Bayley,  “widow, crazy and sickly” of  St Saviour Southwark, left instructions in her will:

To my grandsons Thomas Bayley and Henry Bayley my four engine looms; to my granddaughter Elizabeth Bayley all my household goods; to my cousin Mary Wysam my black crepe gown and petticoat and a pair of stays.

How do I know this? I found this out  on the National Wills index which is contained in Origins – a family history website that offers access to British, Scottish and  Irish genealogy records.

Much of our family history collection is within the walls of the Central Library, which is closed, but there are family history electronic resources available from all our open community libraries. Origins is only available in libraries between 10am and 7pm due to license restrictions, but it is still a treasure for family history hunters!

Check out our other online family history resources – you never know what you might find!

People of conviction: Discover your Australian past

Image from our collectionAccording to one of the library’s newest family history resources, there were three Finnerty men that arrived in New South Wales as convicts between 1788 and 1842.  As a relative of this Irish clan I am not upset about this finding. They probably just did not doff their hat at an appropriate time to a landed gent and I am all for that!

If you are interested in your own past, Find My Past AU offers access to a collection of historical records covering Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

This fantastic resource is  available at all our libraries. Come in and have a play and explore our many family history resources!

Walking, Talking

Living Dolls is another of those must reads for Feminists. It discusses the worrying backlash against feminism and a return to sexism.  Talking primarily about society in the UK it dissects the hyper-sexualisation of women and girls. Images from popular media to internet porn have reversed social taboos so that prostitution is glamourised and women once denied the right to a sexual identity are now ostracised as prudish and old-fashioned if they don’t claim their “rights” to  flaunt their sexuality.

Natasha Walter discusses how this narrow range of acceptable behaviour for women to behave as “ladettes” is just as restrictive as in the past. Now young women are seen as outsiders if they choose to dress conservatively and not be promiscuous, the ” ideal” woman is that of a Barbie doll.  The pressure to conform is so intense, that worryingly even some of the top academic students in the country (gaining firsts at Cambridge) feel more defined by their looks than their achievements.

Walter also discusses the recent return to the ideology of biological determinism. Whilst in the 1970s and 1980s, gender “appropriate” behaviour was thought to be learnt by social conditioning, recent “research” seems to indicate that there are inherent differences between girls and boys. Boys are said to be more aggressive and naturally better at logic, mathematics and spatial awareness whilst girls are better at language, empathy, and building relationships . In a manner similar to Ben Goldacre in Bad Science , Walter reveals many of these modern “facts” to be based on poor research and that studies showing the opposite or no effect are ignored by the media.

Arguing, that these “facts” affect girls own views of their abilities and life choices and lead to women as being thought of as ideally suited to be caregivers rather than chief executives. This book is a passionate call to arms for feminists everywhere to renew their fight.

Other recent feminist reads: