Although Christmas ads have been running for much longer that I think should be permissible, the Christmas season is finally upon us. It is not Christmastime in my world until Santa rolls down 5th Avenue after all those big balloons. A season of generosity and kindness. In these challenging economic times perhaps it is not so easy for us all to be financially generous but it costs us nothing to be kind.

This past Tuesday I was invited to give a presentation to the Wantagh Preservation Society on Long Island. My grandfather liked to use the expression “it went off without a hitch.” Well, this presentation went off but with every available hitch, if that is possible. In other words, the presentation turned out fine in the end but everything that could go wrong on along the way did.

First I lost my USB flash drive with the presentation on it. Lovely. I had to get another one, load the presentation onto it, and race to the library where my presentation was scheduled to take place.

Then my laptop wouldn’t let me login. Yes, that was a spectacular display of panic. Fortunately though, the father of a dear friend of mine works at the library where I was freaking out. He made a quick phone call and my friend was on her way with her laptop.

When my presentation was complete, I went home to find a nice email from a St. John’s student who found my USB flash drive in the school’s parking lot; my contact information was in a document on the flash drive. This very thoughtful, considerate human being brought my flash drive back to me this morning.

With all the kindness that surrounds me, I’d like to use this last blog entry opportunity to promote a little more.  St. John’s offers many opportunities for us to help those in need. One small way you can help is to donate non-perishable food item to our library from now until Sunday, December 13. In exchange for you donation, we will waive an outstanding library fine that you may have. You do not have to have a fine to participate in the Food for Fines program. Help a friend. Bail a professor out. Just give to help those in need.

Perhaps though, you looking for something bigger to do to make a positive difference in the world; a place to volunteer your time and skills or an employment opportunities at non-profit organization. I highly recommend checking out ; a project put forth by a project Action Without Borders, a nonprofit, apolitical, organization working to connect people, organizations, and resources to build a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.

I’d like to thank the LiBlog Committee for inviting me to be the first Guest Blogger in the Guest Blogger of the Month Series. I had a wonderful time sharing my interests and favorite resources on LiBlog. Thank you all for reading and I wish you all a very healthy and happy holiday season.

Genealogy is currently one of the most popular hobbies in the Unites States and one that I have dabbled in for the last 20 years. Even if you have no interest in genealogy, you are probably aware of; the world’s largest online resource for family history. With nearly 4 billion historical records, it provides a wealth of resources for those interested in research their lineage here and abroad.

However, it is not the end-all-be-all of genealogy resources. And it is most certainly not my favorite resource. Oh no no no, not by far.

Genealogy resources exist in every town, county, and hamlet in the world. Anyone interested in conducting any real, in-depth, genealogical research is going to need to contact municipal agencies, places of worship, cemeteries, historical societies, public libraries with local history collections, etc.

My favorite web sites are genealogy resources; the German Genealogy Group and the Italian Genealogical Group. The two groups have worked together to make important records available to all members of the genealogy community. One example of an important database they created is the New York City Death Records, 1891-1948 database. And this is just one of many databases of New York City Vital records they have online.

Over 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island to make this country their home. Many of them resided in New York City for at least a brief time. Whether their descendants stayed right here in the City of New York or up and moved to far off locations, they now have access to these indexes from anywhere in the world FOR FREE because of these two genealogy groups!

Granted, copies of the actual death certificates would need to be obtained online through the New York City Municipal Archives for a current fee of $17 each but access to the indexes is FREE and can be just as helpful as the actual documents.

I ❤ the GGG and IGG.

icann_meeting_sel_logoBig news out of ICANN’s recent meeting in Korea, as the ICANN  (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) board approved a process for registering new Internationalized Domain Names using the “Fast Track Process.”   Currently, international countries use Latin characters for country domain extensions  (like .jp for Japan, or .kr for the Republic of  Korea) , the new process  “allow nations and territories to apply for Internet extensions reflecting their name – and made up of characters from their national language.”   Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s President and CEO explains the historic  step this way:  

“This is only the first step, but it is an incredibly big one and an historic move toward the internationalization of the Internet …The first countries that participate will not only be providing valuable information of the operation of IDNs in the domain name system, they are also going to help to bring the first of billions more people online – people who never use Roman characters in their daily lives.”

Although this is just the start of a launch for numerous IDNs, this “first step”  comes at the end of  at least seven years of  research, development and tests conducted by volunteers and ICANN professionals, under the guidance of  ICANN’s  Senior Director of IDNs, Tina Dam.

A neat video explains the importance of this historic decision for ICT literacy and greater access to information around the world;  of course such changes will also have an impact on web-security and web-developers , among others.  Check out the ICANN blog, website, meeting proceedings and the IDN fast-track page for more information

The University Libraries is currently offering a trial of the database ISI Web of Knowledge (trial expires 12/31/09). Web of Knowledge is a multidisciplinary citation database of over 23,000 journals with more than 700 million cited references. Included in Web of Knowledge is Web of Science, covering thousands of  journals in the sciences, social sciences and arts & humanities, as well as international proceedings coverage for over 120,000 conferences.  Try Web of Knowledge, found on the University Libraries’ Trial Database page.

Please send any questions or comments regarding this database to our Database Evaluation Form.

An article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education notes that “PBS and NPR are now posting taped interviews and videos of lectures by academics, adding to the growing number of free lectures online.”


The collaborative site, Forum Network, aims to be a public media service. To find out how an organization can get the Forum Network to record an event, or for further information about the site, visit the Forum Network FAQ page.

soy-based ink allows for easier recycling

soy-based ink makes paper recycling easier

With the new semester approaching, the library inevitably thinks about research and writing…and all the extra printer pages and photocopies that get left in the printing rooms or get tossed into the recycle bins.  We know this probably happens at your house too, so — in addition to encouraging users to only print what is necessary, to use duplex printing, and use/contribute to our “scrap” piles — we share a couple of  “green printing” tips that may also save you money in the process.

A Dutch company — Spranq — has come up with a small-but-effective advance in green-printing by developing their “eco-font” which uses up to 20% less ink.  The  free, open-source version is geared toward individual home-printing or in-office printing for small companies.  The font looks like the “verdana” font and is said to display best  in “10-point” setting; but a trial run in our household with an HP photosmart inkjet looked fine at 12 points too. Directions for adding the font to your machine is included on the site.  (note:  EcoFont Professional for large companies has also been developed, and can be licensed for a fee.)

If you buy ink for your home printer, you might consider ordering your ink cartridges from LaserMonks.  They offer ink, toner, fax and copier supplies for many major brands, but sell them for much less money.  LaserMonks have also recently introduced a  soybean-oil-based toner (rather than the standard petroleum-based toner) which touts three benefits:  “It’s easier to recycle paper printed with soy. And perhaps more important in a sour economy, soy toners can cost less than the standard alternative. Soybeans are a renewable resource whose price is likely to be more stable than that of oil” (Ramde).  To all these benefits, this we might add that the soy-toners come from a company in Maine,  so the carbon footprint is smaller than shipping toners from Taiwan.  LaserMonk’s motto is “commerce with compassion,” and Fr. Bernard McCoy, O. Cist. — Steward of Temporal Affairs, Cistercian Abbey and CEO of LaserMonks —  expresses their mission best:  “By purchasing printing supplies from LaserMonks, our customers not only save money, they support the monks’ modest life of prayer and our good works.”

Thanks to Kevin Rioux for bringing Lasermonks and Ecofont to our attention.  For more “green news”  by category check out the  Sierra Club’s “green life” blog.   For a room-by-room guide to a greener home, check out National Geographics’ Green Guide to everyday living.  Please also feel free to use our “comments” section to add your own hints, and we’ll compile them on a LibGuide.


Berlin, J. “Holey Grail.” National Geographic, Environment Section.  August, 2009. p.14

McCoy, B.  “About Lasermonks,” website. Retrieved from, accessed 8/21/2009.

Ramde, D.  “Black and White Printing Goes Green with Soy Toner,” website.  Apr 22, 2009.  Retrieved from Accessed Aug 21, 2009.

The Magna Carta, the Diaries of Anne Frank, the League of Nations Archives, and the Library of the Cistercian Abbey of Clairvaux are among the 35 new items which have recently been added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

 The Memory of the World Register features documentary heritage identified by the International Advisory Committee and endorsed by the Director-General of UNESCO as corresponding to the selection criteria for world significance. 

To see detailed information on new inscriptions and the photos of collections, please click here.

We are lucky enough to have the Magna Carta “visiting” us in New York City starting September 15th at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, (where our Outreach Librarian, and fellow LIBlogger, Caroline Fuchs, is a docent).    The exhibition will last through December:

“MAGNA CARTA and the Foundations of Freedom” will also reveal how the roots of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and more all reach back to Magna Carta. It will also trace the freedom struggles of the diverse peoples making up the American social fabric.

For more on the Magna Carta and its impact on Democracy in America, check out the National Archives page dedicated to the Magna Carta.

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