Volume & Issue Numbers Demystified

"What is a periodical?" video from Touro Libraries' forthcoming Savvy Researcher Video Series
What is a periodical?” video from Touro Libraries’ Savvy Researcher Video Series

If you’ve done research papers in the past, you’ve probably had at least one professor ask you to cite something called an academic journal article (or three). But what exactly is it that your instructors are looking for?

Well, to answer that question, first we have to talk about what librarians call “periodical literature.” This is just a fancy collective name for magazines, newspapers, and journals which are published on a recurring, periodic basis, perhaps daily, weekly, or monthly. Individual issues of an academic journal are usually identified by volume and issue numbers. While you might browse through the September 2015 issue of Rolling Stone at the dentist, you’re more likely to find Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 122, Issue 3, on the shelves of your college library.

All of the different numbers in journal article citations can be a little tricky to keep straight though, so let’s break it down another way. Think of your favorite TV show. Got it? Ok. So, I’m going to go with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In this case, the show had 7 yearly seasons of 22-ish episodes each. In terms of periodicals, that would be 7 yearly volumes of 22 issues each.

If my friend wanted to watch the silent episode of Buffy, I could direct him to season 4, episode 10. If I wanted to quote Patrick Shade’s scholarly analysis of the episode’s philosophical implications on communication theory in an essay, however, I would direct readers to Volume 6, Issue 1 of The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association in my citation.

On the topic of academic jargon, it’s worth mentioning that the opposite of a periodical in the library world is sometimes called a monograph — but in the rest of the world, we just call them books. To continue our analogy, books are more like movies. Sure, there might be a sequel or two – or new editions, in book terms – or it might be part of a series, but they are still essentially self-contained entities.

So now that you know that journal articles are identified by the journal they’re published in, and the particular volume and issue it appears in, hopefully, it will make them easier to identify and cite!

Visit the library homepage to choose a database to begin your search, or check out the Student Services page for more research help, like the difference between scholarly vs. popular periodicals.

Contributed by Chelsea DeGlopper, Former Instructional Design Librarian, Midtown

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Celebrating Sukkot

A sukkah from inside. (From Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)
A sukkah from inside (via Wikimedia user Muu-karhu)

After the solemnity and introspection of the High Holy Days, Sukkot, the Festival of Booths, is always a treat. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to Sukkot every year because this holiday, unlike Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is an unaltered celebration.  After the Exodus from Egypt, the ancient Jews traveled the wilderness for forty years before reaching the land of Israel. They lived in small huts called “sukkot” during this time. The holiday of Sukkot commemorates those temporary dwellings: Orthodox Jewish families build a small hut, or Sukkah, outside the house where they eat all meals for the seven days of the holiday. Many Orthodox Jews also sleep outdoors in the Sukkah. A typical Sukkah would look something like this:

(source)
(source)

Continue reading

Yom Kippur: A Day of Atonement

Jews praying in the synagogue
Maurycy Gottlieb: Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, aka The Day of Atonement: this represents the time when Jews will have their fate decided. How much money will be earned for the year, what a person’s health will be, as well whatever is supposed to happen to a person in their life during the year.  People of course pray that everything that will happen should be good for the person.

I should note that on this occasion, the prayers are only directed between people and G-d, not between people and other people.  Any “offense” that take place between people is not covered by Yom Kippur.  The individuals involved need to ask for pardon from each other.

Yom Kippur is the end of this Holy time of year, which began with Rosh Hashanah.  This is a ten day period when forgiveness is asked from G-d as well as from “man”. As it says in the Liturgy, on Rosh Hashanah G-d writes down what will be and on Yom Kippur that decree is sealed.

This year, Yom Kippur will begin the evening of Tuesday, September 18th and conclude the evening of Wednesday, the 19th.

Contributed by: Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

(Updated with 2018 dates and new picture.)

A Moving Rosh Hashanah Prayer

May Your New Year Be Sweetened with Happiness
(Image via Flickr; CC BY 2.0)

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, means Head of the Year. It is one of Judaism’s holiest days and begins this year the night of Sunday, September 9th until the night of Tuesday, September 11th. There are many moving prayers and traditions designated for the High Holy days, but I would like to highlight one prayer that goes back to approximately the 10th or 11th century called U-Netaneh Tokef (“Let us tell the mighty holiness of this day”). Continue reading