Library Contributor

Data USA – New visualization site for government data

Developed by MIT Media Lab and Deloitte, Data USA delivers interactive visualizations of thousands of public data sets on jobs, income, education, health, and more. Data USA provides an open, easy-to-use platform that turns data into knowledge. Instead of searching through multiple data sources that are often incomplete and difficult to access, you can simply point to Data USA to answer your questions.

“The goal was organize and visualize data in a way that a lot of people think about it,” said Patricia Buckley, director of economic policy and analysis at Deloitte and a former senior economist at the Department of Commerce.

Just enter your interest in the search box, and you quickly get common statistical breakdowns. Seems pretty great if you want summaries in a pinch. From there, you can embed and download charts, download data, and make comparisons. For business analysts, policymakers, or students, this has obvious value, but the visualizations are so well executed anyone can have fun with it.

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Getting the Most Out of Google Search – Part I

I’m sure students have heard a hundred times that they should not use Google for their research papers.  Authority, reliability and credibility of the sources you find on the internet are always a concern.  The Library’s databases, where you can find full-text, scholarly articles, is the clear choice.

But, when not working on academic projects, Google may be the best source for finding information on a variety of subjects.  Here are a few tips that will help you save time and search better.

Across the top of each Google page are links.  Use these links to access Videos, News, Images and More.
(Click on the image to enlarge.)


Use the last link, Search Tools, to limit your searches for Videos, News or Images.  For example, you can search News for a time range or relevance or Videos for duration, time range, quality or source.
(Click on the image to enlarge.)


Other tips include using punctuation or other signals to narrow your search to get what you need quicker and easier.

Exact phrases or words in exact orderQuotations marks “to be or not to be”
Exclude or subtract a wordHyphen or dash mexico-city
Search popular hashtagsHashtag #springbreak
Search for a phrase with missing wordsAsterisk as a placeholder One flew *

For more tips type “tips on using Google” into Google or any search engine OR wait for my next blog.

This is the first in a short series of blogs on how to use Google Search more effectively.

Getting the Most Out of Google Search – Part I Read More »

Women Who’ve Changed Our World

In honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to share an interesting documentary film relating to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. This DVD is available for checkout, as are many more books and E-resources focusing on feminism, women’s rights, and women’s right to vote.

Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
– a film by Ken Burns and Paul Barnes.
Call Number: HQ1413.S67 N67 2004 DIGITAL VIDEO DISC

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were two women who “led the struggle to win the most basic civil rights for women.” “The dramatic, little-known story of one of the most compelling friendships in American history. Elizabeth Stanton and Susan Anthony were born into a world ruled entirely by men. By the time their lives were over, they had changed for the better the lives of a majority of American citizens. Their personal relationship was often turbulent but they never wavered in their shared belief that equality was the birthright of every woman, and for more than half a century led the fight to make that dream a reality.”

The film focuses on key events of the women’s movement and important documents and texts. In particular, the film often uses the words of Stanton and Anthony to illustrate the fight for suffrage from the perspective of these two strong, powerful suffragettes. The passion and persistence of Stanton and Anthony are examined on a political and personal basis. This source gives insight into the start, struggle, and eventual triumph of the modern women’s movement.

For further women’s rights exploration check out some of these materials from our library.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton A leader in the Women’s Rights Movement and the Women’s Suffrage Movement and devised the first organized demand for woman suffrage in the United States, the Seneca Falls Convention.

Susan B. AnthonyAn important figure in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1892-1900.


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It’s Oscar season again!


February 28th, 2016 will mark the 88th anniversary of the Academy Awards ceremony. I am not a big film buff, but I love the Oscars; all the movie stars, the drama, the clothes, the emotion and, oh yes, the movies too.

The Oscars have a history dating back to 1927 when the Academy was originally founded as an honorary organization dedicated to promoting the arts and sciences of motion pictures. According to “the 1st Academy Awards ceremony took place on Thursday, May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The winners were selected from movies released from August 1, 1927 to August 1, 1928.” The Oscars are awarded as a mark of excellence in categories of filmmaking. These categories include cinematography, sound editing, and costume design, directing and acting.

For more information about the 88th Annual Academy Awards (including a complete list of the nominees), visit their site.

We have many of the previous winners here at the library, which are available for you to checkout.

And if you ever wanted to know why the little statues are called “Oscars” and other interesting facts, check out these Oscar facts that you can then lock away in your brain for that next trivia night session. And don’t forget to tune in on February 28th!

Please Ask a librarian if you need finding additional materials.

It’s Oscar season again! Read More »

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

According to American Diabetes Association, “nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.” But the good news is that people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes.

MVCC Library has many books that address diabetes—to help you understand your condition and learn what steps you can take to live a healthier life. Check out our library collection, for advice on how to control or lower your chance of developing diabetes. There are also great cookbooks to inspire you to create nutritious, delicious and healthy meals if you suffer from this disease.

Check out these sites for more information:

American Diabetes Association American Diabetes Month

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month Read More »

Tips And Tricks – Get Good information every time!!

The MVCC library is designed to be your information center but there may be times when you can’t make it to campus. When that happens the library’s website is the perfect place to get started on your research.

If you can’t get what you need on our website you might need to use other websites. Anyone can put anything on the internet and sometimes information looks more credible at first glance than it is on closer inspection. Most web content is posted without any form of review for accuracy or reliability, so it is up to you to make sure that the online information you find is credible. Ask yourself, “Is this source credible?” every time you choose a web source. This is especially true of sources with no author or organizational affiliation. You will likely have to navigate to the homepage of the site to judge its credibility.

Some examples of bad sites that look good are: History of the Fisher-Price Airplane, and Coalition to Ban DHMO Dihydrogen Monoxide. Take a look and see if you can figure out what’s wrong with them.

Here are few tips to make sure you get good information. Ask yourself:

Authority – Are the author and sponsor identified? Is the author qualified? Is the sponsor identified and reputable?

Dates – Does the site tell when it was last updated? Is the information current? For many disciplines, the currency of information is vital.

Accuracy – Is the information given reliable & error free?

Bias – What is the site’s objective? Is it designed to sway opinion? Is it advertising something?

Citations – Does the site say where it got its information?

Remember, if you aren’t sure you can always ask a librarian.

Happy Researching!

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Citing Sources Can Save You $7.4 Million


When I heard the verdict in the “Blurred Lines” lawsuit, awarding the family of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million, my first thought was didn’t they know better?  A federal jury determined that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had improperly borrowed from Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit, “Got to Give it Up”.  Thicke or Williams must have learned somewhere along the way that you cannot borrow from the works of others without giving them credit.  Did the idea of plagiarism occur to anyone?

It’s simple.  If you summarize, paraphrase or directly quote from a source – CITE IT!  College students learn this early in their academic careers.  Faculty require students to use a citation style, usually APA or MLA, to recognize and attribute the words, thoughts and ideas of others in research papers.  The Moraine Valley Community College Library offers short classes to help students learn how to cite sources and includes a Citing Sources Guide on its website.

While academic plagiarism and music plagiarism are different, the principle is the same.  Academic plagiarism tarnishes academic reputations and results in penalties that can lead to dismissal.  Music plagiarism is a legal matter usually involving copyright infringement.  It’s about more than borrowing from the work of another, it is about following the streams of revenue and sharing the wealth.

When Thicke and Williams decided to pay homage to Gaye using his work for inspiration, they created one of the most popular songs of 2013.  About 7.4 million copies were sold, generating over $16 million.  Gaye’s estate received nothing.  The court ordered Thicke and Williams to pay copyright damages of $4 million and an additional $3.4 million based on sales.

So, instead of “Blurred Lines” being remembered as the longest running number one single of 2013, Thicke’s biggest hit and a double Grammy nominated song, it will be recalled as the source of one of the largest damage awards for copyright infringement in the music industry and, possibly, changing the way artists create new music.

Let this be a clear lesson, always cite your sources and give credit to the originator(s).  It may save you $7.4 million.  Nothing blurred about that!

To hear the comparison click here.

To hear a CNN commentary click here.

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200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized


(Insightful Interaction/Natalia Bronshtein)

The United States as a land of freedom and full of opportunities always attracts numerous immigrants. Due to wars, crises, diseases and poverty, a massive exodus of immigrants were forced to leave their countries of origins and came to U.S. to find a way out in the past 200 years. Where did these immigrants come from? And what is the percentage of immigrants from a certain country? Professor Bronshtein created a colorful interactive illustration of the number of immigrants to the U.S. since 1829 based on the data from the yearbook of immigration statistics and significant events in the world history. Here is the link.

200 years of immigration to the U.S., visualized Read More »

So, The Clash, Toby Keith, and Dr. Dre walk into a library…

Oh finals, so close yet so far way. What is even farther away it seems is summer, but since graduation is May 15 then we have just over one month until summer shenanigans commence. I don’t know about you, but my favorite part of living in the Chicago land area is all the fun summer festivals and outdoor concerts.  No weekend is left unfilled by neighborhood block parties and festivals.   To get you through finals and the summer weeks in between the big weekends we have a wide variety of music available for check out.  While we do have some Bach for the classical fans among us, you may  be surprised at other albums in our collection.  We try to have something for everyone, from The Clash, to Toby Keith to Dr. Dre.  Below are some suggested festivals in Chicago this summer and some of the artists whose works you could check out in preparation for concert going.


First big shin-dig of the summer is Chicago Blues Fest, which will be June 12-15 in Grant Park.  Not only is this fest free, but its headliner is a legend in the Blues world, Buddy Guy.  Highly recommend Hard Time Killing Floor, it is a song the embodies the voice, feel and humm that makes Blues the Blues.


Come mid summer its time to head over to Union Park for Pitchfork Festival for the weekend of July 17-19. This year the line up is full of contemporary artists you wont want to miss out on, but don’t forget Chicago’s very own Wilco who is headlining this year.  Wilco’s lead singer Jeff Tweedy recently went solo and his hit Summer Noon is just the song to get you in the mood for lemonade and porch sitting. Neko Case who has a solid solo career in recent years will be back in Chicago with The New Pornographers at this year’s Pitchfork.  Its hard to keep your head from bobbing along to their latest hit Dancehall Domine.


Lollapalooza, its the big one, the festival we hear the most about and long to be one of the lucky few to have gotten a ticket.  Come July 31st through August 2nd Grant park will be filled with music fans of all variety basking in the sun (or rolling around in the mud like music goers did in 2012). Headlining this year is a former member of the Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney.  If the Beatles member isn’t your cup of tea another big name in music, Metallica, will be performing.

Mud fun at Lollapalooza 2012.

Now, as I mentioned we have a wide variety of music and if none of these festivals tickle your fancy then I recommend utilizing our collection of music to your advantage.  Be it for your cruise across the nation soundtrack or background music at your BBQ, we may have just what you are looking for.  Below are just a few of the many artists we have in our M 1600 section of the collection.  In fact, I dare you to not find at least one artist below that you have heard of and want to hear more or are an old favorite.

Alan Jackson, N.W.A., Pearl Jam, Aretha Franklin, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Sonic Youth, Kenny Chesney, Green Day, Nat King Cole, Public Enemy, Billie Holiday, Paul Simon, The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Queen, Radiohead, The Highwaymen, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, David Bowie, The Wailin’ Jenny’s, Mudhoney, Eminem, Norah Jones, Willie Dixon, U2, Melissa Etheridge, and so so much more.  And remember, if you have any questions about how to find our music or look up a particular genre or artist you can always ask a librarian.

So, The Clash, Toby Keith, and Dr. Dre walk into a library… Read More »

Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library: Celebrate National Library Week, April 12 – 18, 2015


It’s National Library Week! Sponsored annually since 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA), this week celebrates the contributions of libraries and librarians and promotes the use and support of libraries all over the country. This year’s theme, Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library, recognizes the endless opportunities offered to library users through specially designed programs, resources and services.

Libraries, whether academic, public, school or special, connect people to technology, support teaching and learning, offer instruction on library use, provide meeting spaces and much, much more. So, during this week, take a few moments to reflect on the importance of libraries and the value they add to your life. After all, there are no limits to what you can achieve through your library.

National Library Week activities include book discussions, children’s programs, exhibits, fundraisers, displays and films. Some libraries even offer amnesty for fines. For more information on National Library Week visit ALA’s website. To learn about local events in honor of National Library Week check your local library or click here to find festivities in Chicago.


Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library: Celebrate National Library Week, April 12 – 18, 2015 Read More »

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