Periodical Picks: Earth Day 2009

By - Systems Librarian April 20th, 2009

Patti Lynn – Library Assistant, Periodicals

In honor of the upcoming Earth Day Celebration Ohrstrom Library would like to highlight two environmental magazines in the periodicals collection.  First up is The Ecologist, a magazine that proclaims itself to be “The world’s leading environmental magazine”.   The Ecologist is published in London, but it features articles that are universally relevant.  In the April issue, “Sick as a pig” focuses on the rise in antibiotic resistance that is being transferred from farm animals to humans.  Another article, “Possum or polar bear” cautions that polar bears are not the only species facing threats from global warming.  In fact, there are many tropical species suffering from rising global temperatures.  The Ecologist is published ten times a year, and an online version is available at

Wildlife Conservation published by the Wildlife Conservation Society is another interesting environmental magazine available in the Library.  Published six times a year, it features articles detailing on-going research and conservation efforts worldwide.  Articles from the most recent issue include “The Great Barranquero City of El Condor”  which details efforts to save the nesting area of the world’s largest parrot colony along the South Atlantic shore in Argentina.  In “The secret family life of cougars” you can read about scientists who are using GPS technology and DNA analysis to track the movements of cougar “families”.

Take a moment and browse the back issues of these two journals.  Both are filled with thought provoking articles and stunning photography.

Periodical Picks: Election 2008

By - Systems Librarian October 30th, 2008

Patti Lynn – Library Assistant, Periodicals

Even with less than a week left until Election Day it’s still not too late to learn about the presidential candidates.

Are you 18 and old enough to vote?
Are you still undecided?
Do you want to learn more about the presidential campaign?

The print magazine collection at Ohrstrom Library contains a wealth of information and articles on the presidential campaign.  Ohrstrom Library maintains subscriptions to numerous weekly news magazines which closely follow the campaign.  You can spend time browsing Time, Newsweek or US News & World ReportsMaclean’s Magazine will provide a Canadian view of the US elections, while The Spectator, published in the United Kingdom, offers a British take on things.

Ohrstrom Library has print magazines to suit everyone’s political views.  Below are three titles that you can find in the periodicals room at Ohrstrom.  The short descriptions were taken from the 2008 edition of Magazines for Libraries (Ref. 016 K15 2008).

“The Nation is a decidedly liberal publication.” (p. 723)

“The New Republic is pretty much the closest you can come to objective coverage of Washington from an insider’s perspective.” (p. 724)

“National Review is most certainly a conservative voice on current issues and news.” (p. 724)

Get informed and be sure to vote on Tuesday, November 4th!

Image courtesy of Clubjuggler under this Creative Common license.

Periodical Pick: Newspaper Feeds

By - Systems Librarian October 21st, 2008

Lisa Laughy – Archives Assistant

The sidebar of Ohrstrom Blog now features feeds from all of the daily newspapers that we subscribe to with the exception of The Wall Street Journal.  If you are interested in a quick headline fix take a moment to check out today’s feeds, or add these feeds to your own feed reader using the links at the end of the post.

The Wall Street Journal doesn’t offer your average RSS feed, but instead has this overly clever flashy widget / gadget.  I can’t seem to format it to fit the width of the blog sidebar, so I have put it on this post page where it can spin and whirl in all its glory. You can change news categories by clicking on “Edit” in the upper right hand corner of the widget, which makes it whiz around like a slot machine.  You can then use the up and down arrows on the bottom to scroll through the headlines. I have included a permalink to this post in the sidebar with the rest of the RSS newspaper feeds.

Add these feeds to your reader and stay in touch with world beyond Millville:

Boston Globe Feeds

Concord Monitor Feed (local news feed – others available at by clicking the orange RSS feed buttons in the news category headings)

New York Times Feeds

Union Leader Feed

Wall Street Journal Newsreel Widget Add it to Facebook, Google, as a Vista desktop widget, and many other applications.

Periodical Picks: The Science of CAPTCHAs

By - Systems Librarian September 30th, 2008

Lisa Laughy – Archives Assistant

The September 12th issue of Science, recently out on the shelf in Ohrstrom Library’s periodical room, features a cover article about the combination of new tech and old books.  Five researchers have tested the effectiveness of the CAPTCHA web security measure to pick up the slack in OCR book digitization. If you regularly browse the web, you have encountered a CAPTCHA – asking you to decipher a difficult to read section of text and type the letters into a box.  Now researchers are finding a way to re-purpose your small efforts into something rather useful.   Science describes the project:

“Millions of books written before the computer era are being digitized for preservation. Because the ink has faded, optical character recognition software cannot decipher many words. Through a repurposing of an existing online security technology called CAPTCHA, these words are being manually transcribed by millions of Web users.”

Here is the abstract from the published paper:

“CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are widespread security measures on the World Wide Web that prevent automated programs from abusing online services. They do so by asking humans to perform a task that computers cannot yet perform, such as deciphering distorted characters. Our research explored whether such human effort can be channeled into a useful purpose: helping to digitize old printed material by asking users to decipher scanned words from books that computerized optical character recognition failed to recognize. We showed that this method can transcribe text with a word accuracy exceeding 99%, matching the guarantee of professional human transcribers. Our apparatus is deployed in more than 40,000 Web sites and has transcribed over 440 million words.”

The article estimates that over 100 million CAPTCHAs are typed a day, amounting to hundreds of thousands of human hours.  Taping into that resource to accomplish such a useful task as the digital preservation of old books is a fascinating prospect.  Come into Ohrstrom Library’s periodical room and read the full text of the article in the September 12th issue of Science, starting on page 1465.

Periodical Picks: From A(dvocate) to Z (Magazine)

By - Systems Librarian September 17th, 2008

Patti Lynn – Library Assistant, Periodicals

Did you know that Ohrstrom Library subscribes to nearly 200 periodicals?   With titles ranging from A (Advocate) to Z (Z Magazine), our periodicals cover almost every imaginable subject.  While there are many academic titles to choose from (Science and Journal of American History come to mind) we also subscribe to a number of titles selected largely for recreational reading (Car and Driver and Sail are two examples).

Two recently received magazines illustrate the range of our holdings.  First, the 798 page September issue of Vogue is now on the shelves (weighing in at an impressive 3 pounds 11.4 ounces).  Second, the current issue of the magazine with what I consider to be the most curious title in the collection, Journal of Recreational Mathematics, has arrived.  So, the next time you visit Ohrstrom Library, take a quick tour of the Pillsbury Reading Room, and I’m sure you’ll find at least one magazine to browse through.