Global Plants Details Plant Type Specimens

Scientific information on plants is useful for a wide range of studies in the life sciences.  Global Plants, offered by JSTOR, is a very helpful tool in this regard.  Global Plants features plant type specimens that are found in about 300 herbaria located around the world.  The role of herbaria is to preserve plant type specimens.  Now, with Global Plants, it is possible to easily and conveniently learn about plants in a wonderful way.  The database contains over two million high-resolution plant type specimens, digitized with great care by various cooperating herbaria. Entries in the database point to reference books and other primary resources. Plant type specimens are very important as “original vouchers of nomenclature,” according to JSTOR.   Source:  Description by JSTOR.  Global Plants is ready for the entire UA community.  


Google Scholar Introduces Scholar Library

Google Scholar introduced a new feature this week called Scholar Library. This new service is designed to help users of Google scholar develop a personal collection of scholarly materials.  While working in Google Scholar, “you can save articles right from the search page, organize them by topic, and use the power of Scholar’s full-text search & ranking to quickly find  just the one you want – at any time and from anywhere.”  Scholar Library incorporates all the functionality of Google Scholar, such as linking to content, citing articles, and formatting citations.   Check out Google Scholar Blog to learn more.

Books Are Very Helpful Too

With so many scholarly materials available, some students may overlook the book collection.  Rodgers Library holdings include many intermediate- and advanced-level books in all disciplines in the sciences, engineering and nursing.  Whether you are just starting to learn a new subject or need important background information, books are a great resource.  Books often provide a full treatment of a special subject as well.  Such is the case with the title Physiography of the United States, by Charles B. Hunt.   Print books are housed on the north side of the second floor and are organized by the Library of Congress Classification.   A general guide to the classification scheme is shown in a large poster near the stacks.  Both online and print books are listed in Scout our online discovery system.  Scout offers a quick way to find books on any subject.  After doing a search in Scout, use the facet for “books” in the left-hand column to limit to that format.  Go to Scout.

Faculty, Students, and Symbiosis

When dining out, celebrities often sit at a table near the front door – to see and be seen.  Visibility is a large part of success in our world.   What does this have to do with libraries?  Assume for a moment that interaction (of any kind) between faculty and students can help boost student performance.  I want to make the case that our students who spend many hours in Rodgers Library would benefit if teaching faculty would visit the library more often.  For our part, casual interaction with students as we go about doing our regular work pays dividends.  Teaching faculty mingling with students at the library would likely do the same.  Rodgers Library is a nice and neutral ground to connect with others.   Faculty welcome!

Check-Out Reference Books Too

Do you need a reference book? Our lending policy allows users to check-out reference books. The entire reference collection, located on the 2nd floor in the southeast corner, is ready for circulation. Users can check-out reference books at the Circulation Desk or at the self-checkout machine on the 1st floor. Many reference books are also available as e-books. When available in e-book format, reference books can be accessed from the Rodgers Library Web site. All reference books, both hardcopy and e-versions, are listed in Scout. A staff member of Rodgers Library is always available to assist you with finding materials in our collections. Enjoy!

About E-Book Collections

Rodgers Library is systematically adding electronic books to the collection. Like electronic journals, ebooks allow you to open the item at your computer for immediate viewing.  Also like ejournals, ebooks are produced by a variety of publishers and vendors, so the platforms vary; rules for downloading and printing may differ from one to the next. Ebooks are added to Scout and the catalog and can be searched and accessed there alongside the print books. They can also be searched on the E-Resources search page, the same location where you search for electronic journals. 

This post by Karen Chapman, modified to fit Rodgers Library, recently appeared in the Bruno Library Newsletter.

Huge Makeover Coming to Rodgers Library

It’s going to be a busy summer in Rodgers Library, even with most of the students away.  For several months, the library has been planning for a major makeover of the public areas on the 1st floor.  Actual work will begin in about mid-May and last until early August.   With this project, we will completely transform much the area at the south end of the building.  After removal of the book stacks and demolition and removal of the existing reference desk, new carpet will be installed.  Once this is done, new furnishings will be added along with lots of new technology.  Our goal is to increase technology and accommodate more users, while at the same time create spaces which are more conducive to learning and research.  We aim to make the library more suitable for collaboration, recognizing that many students work on teams to complete assignments.  The addition of two new dedicated group study rooms are part of the project.   This is a huge development and the outcome, as distinguished by enhanced appearance and functionality, signals an auspicious beginning of the 21st century in Rodgers Library.

A Tool for Finding Animal Science Research

Rodgers Library for Science and Engineering subscribes to the complete file of Zoological Record, the premier database for finding references in animal science.

According to the publisher, Thomson, “Zoological Record is the world’s oldest continuing database of animal biology. It is considered the world’s leading taxonomic reference, and has long acted as the world’s unofficial register of animal names. The broad scope of coverage ranges from biodiversity and the environment to taxonomy and veterinary sciences.”

Zoological Record covers over 5,000 periodicals and includes as well books, reports and meetings. The database dates from 1864 to present. And we will add more years as time moves along.

Zoological Record is accessed from the ISI Web of Knowledge platform along with BIOSIS Previews, Biological Abstracts, Journal Citation Reports, and the Web of Science.

On the Rodgers Library databases page, Zoological Record is listed under the letter “Z” on the lower-right side of the page. On the ISI Web of Knowledge home page, a tab on the top, “select a database,” points to Zoological Record.

This is a major resource for UA faculty and students. It will benefit many for decades to come.

Enjoy! Databases.

UA Arboretum- A Place to Learn About Trees and Shrubs

The UA Arboretum is a wonderful place to learn about and enjoy trees and shrubs.

Located on a 60-acre site near the Tuscaloosa Veterans Hospital, the UA Arboretum is “a safe haven where the University grows and protects rare, old and endangered species of both native and exotic plants,” says Mary Jo Modica, arboretum horticulturist.

The UA Arboretum is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences, operated by the Department of Biological Sciences, and the bulk of UA students who use the arboretum in their studies are from the biological sciences. Each semester a few interns work at the arboretum with Modica and caretaker Ken Robinson. But the arboretum also is popular with students focusing on writing, geology, geography and art.

 Tuscaloosa residents also enjoy the arboretum. Visitors can choose from offers greenhouses filled with exotic plants, and two miles of trails for walking among shade trees, wildflowers, a large collection of Southern azaleas and a variety of gardens, from the whimsical children’s garden to a community garden dedicated to promoting the popularity of sustainable, local food crops.

 Modica welcomes faculty and staff use of the UA Arboretum.

Submitted by Cathy Butler
Dialog Editor

24/5 at Rodgers Library

Rodgers Library will offer 24/5 service for the fall semester 2011. 
Starting on September 18, Rodgers Library will open at 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon  and remain open continously until 7:00 pm on Friday evening during 24/5.  All students must have a current UA Action Card to enter the library from 10:00 pm to 7:45 am during 24/5.  Enjoy!

New Version of Scout Arrives on August 10

A new version of Scout, the UA Libraries online catalog, will be available on August 10.  The all new Scout offers enhanced searching, more content, superior presentation, and lightning speed.   More significantly, the new edition of  Scout indexes many kinds of content, including books, journal articles, and technical reports.   

 When using Scout, patrons can: 

  • Search for and download electronic books and technical reports
  • Search for and download electronic scholarly articles
  • Easily create  links to specific content
  • Search for and locate hardcopy books in libraries’ collections
  • Locate bound journal titles in the libraries’ collections
  • Request journal articles and books housed in the UA Libraries Annex 

Scout is a robust, modern discovery system.  From a clean and simple interface, patrons can search for and acquire much of the content they need for study, instruction, and research.  Scout delivers!  Try it today.      


Physics Faculty and Students Love Books

Book circulation is a common measure of success for libraries.  Recently we did a quick study on the use of physics books in Rodgers Library.  We wanted to know if the books we acquired are meeting needs of students and faculty for learning, instruction and research.  Are books being checked-out?  Well the answer if you believe in the MO test, yes.  An experiment was run in class QC (physics) in May 2011.  Test A:  at random pulled three books from the shelves and examined date due slips.  Results showed that all three books circulated since 2002.  Repeat the experiment.  Test B:  again at random pulled three QC books from the shelves and checked the date due slips.  In the 2nd test, results showed much the same as all three books circulated since 2005.  Even while the data is a bit thin, the study demonstrates the value of the physics collection.  Results from this study are not at all that surprising, since Rodgers Library seeks to closely match new book selections with instruction and research going on in UA’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Historically, space has been a premium in libraries, as collections continued to grow and fill up the stacks.  This has been the case for Rodgers Library, too, at least until recently.   What’s changed?  First, the UA Libraries opened an off-campus storage building (the Annex) a few years ago.  This allowed for transfer of pre-1980 bound journals and some older books to the storage facility.  Electronic publishing, a more recent development, has helped the situation as well.  Journal issues arriving by the thousands each year have stopped coming.  In their place, Rodgers Library receives electronic journals.  Hence, the space crisis has disappeared, fortunately.  With “space recovery” come new opportunities.  Rodgers library is considering repurposing newly available space at this time.  This will benefit services aimed at the public, such as more reader tables and more group study areas.  Library patrons should watch for changes in space utilization in the coming months.

Exciting New Open-Access Journal

AIP Advances, a new open access journal featuring original, peer-reviewed, research in the applied physical sciences is off to a good start.  Published in online format only, the journal uses an author-pay model to help with expenses of publication.  According the journal’s Web site, “Authors publishing manuscripts in AIP Advances retain copyright and grant the publisher a license to publish under a Creative Commons agreement.”  This new publication is evidence of experimentation with new ways to disseminate scholarly information.  This is a highly innovative journal, as it permits rapid and low cost publication and quick dissemination of research findings.  It is published by the American Institute of Physics.   Take AIP Advances for a test drive.

Reference Books Galore – Many Hardcopy

E-books are a very popular for finding reference information.  Major collections, covering a wide selection of subjects, are available from the Rodgers Library Web site.   Users should remember, too, that Rodgers Library has over 11,000 reference books in hardcopy.  Many of these hardcopy volumes are recent purchases and have current information.  In addition, the Reference Collection contains much archival material.  The older books are still very useful for teaching and research and should not be overlooked.  Some archival titles do not have electronic counterparts.  The Reference Collection is located on shelving near the Reference Desk on the 1st floor.  For browsing, users can find science books in “Q” sections, engineering books in “T” sections, and nursing books in “R” sections.  Enjoy!

2010 Book Collecting Contest a Success

When the UA Libraries held its first book collecting contest in 2006, more than forty students entered the competition.  At the time, some wondered whether enthusiasm for book collecting would endure in future years.  Wouldn’t proliferation of digital media cause students to forget about or dismiss the wonder and beauty of books?

That many students entered the University Libraries 4th annual book collecting contest suggests a different outcome.  Indeed, UA students still love books and many are aspiring book collectors, ready to engage in collecting over the long run.   Our students still understand the unique and special way that books bring meaning to all aspects of culture and society.   And, as with book collectors everywhere, they appreciate books as objects of art.

On April 14, 2010, six contest winners were formally recognized in a special reception in Gorgas Library, when Mille Jackson, Associate Dean for Collections, announced with much anticipation the names of the contest winners.

Chinese, Hindi, and Japanese classes Offered at Rodgers Library

About 835 international students from the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and other regions around the world attend UA. From my experience, most of these students speak English reasonably well. But most library personnel and academic faculty in other departments are not familiar with the critical foreign languages spoken by these students. During normal operations, staff  talk to international students on a regular basis.  The conversation is fully in English.  Dialog in English is generally satisfactory for describing academic programs and services.  However, communication with international students would be better and improve if our staff had some ability to reciprocate by speaking to the students in their native languages. As a way to “build bridges” to our international students Rodgers Library is offering elementary conversational Chinese, Hindi and Japanese classes for faculty and staff in our science, engineering, and nursing  departments and also for faculty and staff in the University Libraries.  Native language speakers will teach the classes. The classes promise to be educational and enjoyable for all.

SciFinder Goes Web

Over the past few years Rodgers Library has offered two ways to access SciFinder (our popular chemistry database):  a client version loaded on local desktops and a Web version.   CAS likes the Web version and we do too.  So beginning in the fall of 2010, Rodgers Library will discontinue support for the client version.  SciFinder Web is wonderful.  Our chemistry LibGuide describes the new access.  Enjoy!

Academic Software Available in Rodgers

Rodgers Library offers a variety of specialized software on its computers. In addition to the normal suite of library and productivity software, several desktop computers are loaded with Maple, ArcGIS, AutoCAD, ChemBioOffice, MATLAB, Minitab, CHEMCAD, and Microsoft Visual Studio. The academic software is installed on several machines on the 1st floor in an area called “SciTech Software Lab.” And four Dell machines, loaded with academic software, are located on the 2nd floor. Departmental computer labs are still the best option for working on academic computing projects. But with Rodgers Library open more hours than departmental computer labs, students now have a choice of where to go when a class project requries use of specialized software.

iPad is Way Cool!

Are libraries ready for the iPad? Or put another way, will library patrons decide that the iPad is a nice alternative to laptops and desktops for finding and using information?  If capabilities and glitz of the iPad are any indication, then librarians take notice. Browsing the Web with Safari is an awesome experience with the iPad. Web pages and e-journal articles look amazing on the tablet-sized screen. And e-books are in the mix on the iPad. With superior connectivity, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G (depending on the model), the iPad gives students convenient and speedy access to content offered by the UA libraries. At only 1.5 pounds and small in size, the iPad makes a nice companion for students. When the goal is consuming information, students will likely go for this device over a laptop. The iPad is going to make using the library a snap and at the same time a pleasurable experience. This is a transformative device for libraries and their users! Now if students can just find the dough to buy one!