December 2009


ARTstor began as a database of images of artworks intended primarily for the use of artists and art historians, contributed primarily by art museums. It has since grown to a repository of more than 1,000,000 images covering a wide range of periods, countries, media, and topics. It’s still entirely made up of visual resources – you won’t find journal articles about art or art history, for example – but you will find images of interest to many fields with interesting interdisciplinary applications. Some examples include:

Whether your discipline is listed here or not, take some time to explore ARTstor, it is a fascinating storehouse of unique images and objects just waiting for you to put it to use!

For those of you who are (or become) ARTstor aficionados, you can keep up with ARTstor by reading the ARTstor Blog, signing up for email announcements, becoming an ARTstor fan on Facebook, subscribing to the ARTstor RSS feed, or watching ARTstor how-to videos on YouTube!

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Teaching faculty often tell their students not to use Wikipedia, arguing that it is non-scholarly and poorly-suited to academic research.

Placing an outright and arbitrary ban on using Wikipedia, or any other source, however, does a disservice to our students. First of all, although Wikipedia may not be the best source for students to use, it is certainly not the worst. A study published in Nature in 2005 revealed that Wikipedia was comparable in accuracy to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Although Wikipedia entries do not always provide citations, they almost always give a list of references, which is more than can be said about most other Web sites, and even most reputable newspapers.

Educators also frequently argue that because Wikipedia is a reference source, it should not be used as a source in its own right, and should never appear in Works’ Cited lists. This advice is more helpful than advocating an outright ban on using Wikipedia, and is even consistent with Wikipedia’s own advice to users, which indicates that “Wikipedia articles should be used for background information, as a reference for correct terminology and search terms, and as a starting point for further research.” Allowing students to use Wikipedia to gain a working knowledge, to identify areas of controversy, and identify more substantial and appropriate academic sources related to their subjects, fosters’ students’ ability to use information critically and independently, and helps them understand how tertiary sources fit into the research process.

Simply placing Web sites like Wikipedia off-limits, however, precludes students’ development of critical thinking skills, and tells students that they are incapable of judging the quality of Web sites on their own. Such teaching runs directly at odds with our stated goals of encouraging information literacy and lifelong learning. Education is an active, not a passive, process.

As the semester winds down and final exams are at hand, the library gets crowded, seats become scarce, and the availability of the public computers begins to diminish.

We want to help you plan ahead — here are some reminders:

Study space: group study rooms (1st floor) can be reserved up to 1 week in advance; an additional 16 tables with 4 chairs each are available for student use on the 3rd and 4th floors of the library; the D’Angelo Center is open and is an excellent addition to space available for students.
Computers/Printers: bring your laptop to campus if you know you’ll need to use a computer or printer; the Sullivan Hall Computer Lab is open 7am-2am Sunday-Thursday and 7am-11pm Fridays and Saturdays and the Marillac Computer Lab is open weekdays from 7am-9pm.
Please remember: it is unsafe to leave personal belongings unattended – at its discretion, the library will collect unattended belongings and turn them over to Public Safety.

The library is an academic space for quiet study and academic activities only. Please respect your fellow students and take noisy and/or social activities to another part of campus.

Good luck with your final exams and end-of-the-semester projects!

 

The STJ Great Books Discussion Group will meet on December 9th at 4:30 in the Honors Commons. GBDG member Jonaki Singh will lead the discussion of anger, one of the seven deadly sins, with a focus on Margaret Atwood’s short story “Hairball.”

Copies of the reading can be found in the 7 Deadly Sins Anthology, which are available at the Service Desk on the 3rd floor in the library (St. Augustine Hall).

All members of the STJ community are welcome to join us! We hope to see you there!

For more information, email Caroline Fuchs at fuchsc@stjohns.edu or call 717.990.5050