Give Thanks for Books

Thanksgiving is a special time when Americans gather with their families to reflect on what they have to be thankful for. This year especially, we have learned that each and every one of our blessings is special. 

Books play a special role in many American’s Thanksgivings experiences. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, three-fourths of Americans will read at least one book, newspaper, or magazine. And, on the busiest travel of the year, over half of Americans will be taking something to read as they travel. According to a Barnes & Noble survey, more than a quarter of Americans are taking a book as a means of getting out of those awkward conversations we often find ourselves in over the holiday.

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Whatever the reason, Americans turn to books to make their Thanksgiving extra special. Check out a book from your campus library or find an eBook to download before Thanksgiving to make your holiday a little more special. 

From our Touro Libraries family to you and yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

A Software Named ‘R’

While many researchers rely on SPSS or SAS to handle their statistical data, many users are starting to migrate to R software. Unlike SPSS and SAS, which are propriety and costly to buy, R is a free, open source software that may be used for computing statistics while conducting research. Besides the cost, there are many advantages to R. It works with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and Linux platforms. It runs wide variety of functions, from basic to advanced; functions such as data manipulation, graphics, and statistical modeling are available. Because the software is open sourced, many developers have written and distributed add-on packages at no cost to the user, in order to improve functionality.

While there are many advantages to R software, it is not without its downsides. Traditional software packages, like SPSS and SAS, have a very comprehensive user interface and are easy to use. For example, SPSS interface looks very much like an excel spreadsheet, with which most people are familiar and using. In contrast, R has a large learning curve and can be less user friendly. It relies more on programming and coding knowledge, with which many researchers do not have experience. However, there are sources online to help researchers learn the programming fundamentals that are required to use R. Another area where R lacks is in technical support. Both SPSS and SAS are commercial products and have customer/technical support available to users. Since R is open sourced software, there is no official support. However, a large community of R users can help one another troubleshoot problems and offer peer support to one another. If users are not comfortable with peer support, there are third party groups that provide support for R and respond to problems rather quickly.

R software can be downloaded and installed at https://cran.r-project.org

A session about R will be offered at the SHS Faculty Research Retreat on February 12, 1:30-2:30 PM.

Additional resources

This post was contributed by Annette Carr, Chief Librarian, Bay Shore and was originally published in ‘Significant Results: The Research Newsletter of the School of Health Sciences’ Volume 1, Issue 1. It is reprinted here with permission.

Presidential Election LibGuide

Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3rd, and polls in New York are open from 6:00am to 9:00pm. You can check to see if you are registered and find out where you can vote at the NYC Board of Elections website: https://vote.nyc/

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Another useful resource to prepare for Election Day is Touro’s Presidential Elections LibGuide: https://libguides.tourolib.org/election

This guide has links to a variety of non-partisan resources about the candidates and where they stand on critical issues, the electoral process, how to vote, and municipal Boards of Elections sites.

Learn more — then get out and vote!

Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of any political candidate, party, or policy.

Meow-y National Cat Day!

Celebrated on October 29th in the U.S., and on August 8th in Canada, National Cat Day is a holiday that was created to raise awareness about cat adoption and rescue. Established in 2005, National Cat Day is also a day for cat owners and cat lovers to laud the cats in their lives and to acknowledge all of the joy that they bring.

Cats are the most popular household pet in the U.S.: around 34% of homes having one or more cats. In addition to the cute and cuddly factors, cats and other household pets provide social, emotional, and physical health benefits to their humans. These benefits include decreased cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels, decreased blood pressure, and decreased feelings of loneliness.

According to the CDC, “Research has shown that cats can provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners. Cats are also credited with promoting socialization among older individuals and physically or mentally disabled people.”

Benjamin Franklin. Photo provided by Kelly Tenny.

Here are some “paw-some” ways (Would it really be National Cat Day if we didn’t stick at least one cat pun in here?) to celebrate this cat-centric day!

Adopt A Cat

There are millions of cats nationwide in need of a loving home. If you are in the position to take in a cat or two, why not share your home and add a new member to the family! Not only will you be changing that cat’s life forever in a positive way, you’ll be improving yours, too.

Donate To A Local Shelter

Many animal shelters are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that rely heavily on the generosity of donors. Medical care, food costs, housing, and taking in animals on a continuous basis gets expensive. If you are able to give to a shelter to help them pay the bills, you’d be playing a key part in keeping that organization open and functional.

Volunteer Your Time & Skills

For those unable to donate monetarily, a great way to help out local shelters is to volunteer! Clean up after the animals, feed them, administer medications, and help socialize them. Allergic to cats? Unable to volunteer in-person? Why not donate skills that you have! These organizations often need help with other aspects of their operation like fundraising, organization of collection drives, social media promotion, and more

Diego. Photo provided by Kelly Tenny.
Spend Some Extra Time With Your Cats

Who better to spend quality time with on National Day Cat Day than your own feline friends! Snuggle up and take a cat nap together, unleash their frisky side by playing with their favorite toys, spoil them with treats, and snap some photos of your companion.

Unwind Watching Cat Videos

We live in a stressful world, so take a break from studying and watching the news to let loose with some laughter, cry happy tears, or gush over kittens. YouTube and other video streaming websites are rife with funny, heartfelt, and adorable cat videos. No matter what your mood is, there’s a cat video for that.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, April 15). About Pets & People. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, April 1). Cats. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/cats.html

Zax, D. (2007, June 30). A Brief History of House Cats. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-house-cats-158390681/

National Cat Day (n.d.). https://www.nationalcatday.com/

This post was contributed by Kelly Tenny, Library Assistant, Bay Shore

An Exciting Opportunity to Publish Your Research!

It’s Monday morning, and, as you check your email over a cup of coffee, you notice a new message:

From: mdawson@gmail.com
Subject: An Exciting Opportunity to Publish your Research! 

Dear Dr. Smith,

I want to congratulate you on all your many accomplishments in your field of research and expertise. I am writing this e-mail with reference to your article published in the field of medicine. Specifically, I have had an opportunity to read your paper: Diabetes and Renal Malignancy in Adults, which was published in The Annals of Medical Case Reports, Volume 10 Issue 3. 

I know you are an expert in this field, so it is my honor and privilege to invite you to submit a manuscript to our new journal, The Open Annals of Medical Case Reports. This Open Access journal has a distinguished editorial board with extensive academic qualifications, is double blinded peer-reviewed, and is indexed in EBSCOhost, Ulrich, Informed Librarian Online, DOAJ, ISI, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OAK, and similar indexes. Volume 1, Issue 1 needs only two more articles to publish, so I am pleased to offer you a 30% discount on our APC! If perhaps you do not have a manuscript at this time, we request you to suggest your colleagues to submit.

Please let me know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can!

Thank you!

Mike Dawson
Editorial Coordinator
The Annals of Medical Case Reports

Have you received an email like this in the past? Perhaps your first thought was, ‘Finally a good place to get my work published!’ Or, maybe you saw a 30% discount and the bargain shopper in you got excited. Maybe, instead you were suspicious: you’ve never heard of this person or this journal. But it’s new, so that explains it. Wait, is it really their “honor and privilege” and why are they congratulating me? Something is off. 

The email above is, in fact, fake. We made it up based on samples of messages sent from predatory publishers. The term “predatory publisher” was coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall and continues to be used to describe amateurish or fraudulent organizations that intentionally deceive scholars into paying for their works to be published without the value-added services and support that reputable organizations offer, like peer-review, copy-editing, and indexing. Like most social engineering schemes, these predatory publishers use flattery and deceptive tactics to get your money, your research — or both! Similar schemes include invitations to become an editor or attend a conference, where your name and reputation might be used to lure other authors.

Don’t fall into the trap!

Photo by Skitterphoto

We recently received several inquiries from faculty regarding a few questionable publishers’ solicitations. We did some detective work to help make sure that our researchers publish with trusted and credible organizations. Here are some of the ‘red flags’ we check for each time we receive a request from your colleagues to evaluate a journal or publisher:

  • Publisher’s direct marketing, or spamming your email, asking you to share 
  • APC fee is not mentioned anywhere 
  • The promise of unusually and virtually impossible short submission-to-publication times (2 or 3 days!)
  • No clear guideline for author’s submission
  • Information on copyright and Creative Commons licenses is absent or unclear
  • Non-functional contact information, such as email and social media platforms
  • The contact address is residential or represents another business; try a search on Google to check for this
  • The names of lead authors or editors are repeated in other journals from the same publisher 
  • Editors are not known as experts in the field
  • The scope of journal is vague or too vast
  • Indexing claims use incorrect jargon

This is not a comprehensive list, so remember: when in doubt, contact your librarian! Suspicious emails should also be reported to Touro IT, especially ones with links and requests for personal information.

Additional library resources

  • Think, Check, Submit! Choose a trustworthy journal for your research. 
  • Rubric for Journal Evaluation
  • Research & Scholarship Library Guide 
  • Ulrichsweb: A global serials directory useful for researching if a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei and Timothy Valente, Midtown Library

What is Sukkot?

This is a happy time of the year, when booths that were built to house the Jews during their 40 years of wandering in the desert, from the time when they were brought out of Egypt until they entered the Land of Canaan. These days, the Festival is spent partially in prayer and partially in the Sukkah, which is primarily used for meals. The palm branch and the esrog are shaken every day except for the Sabbath.

CC-BY 3.0: Wannapik Studio

G-d Almighty wanted to keep the Jews for one more day, much as a father would when the children have visited and are going home, and with that, the Festival ends. The next day is called Simchat Torah, which is when we finish the reading of the Old Testament and then start all over again reading the weekly portions over the next year.

Moadim L’simcha!

This post was contributed by Edward Schabes, Library Assistant, Midtown

Resources for the High Holidays on the Touro College LibGuides

The Touro Libraries research guides provide High Holiday resources, not only in the library guide known as parasha ha-shavua (the weekly torah reading) and Hagim (festivals), but also through additional guides on various topics, including links to online resources for archival research and education. In 2020, Rosh Hashanah falls on evening of September 18th.

The High Holidays within the context of all the Jewish holidays in the organization of the Jewish calendar are represented throughout Touro College Library Guide resources.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

For example, one sketch raises the question of whether the symbolic foods eaten on Rosh Hashanah is merely symbolic for the rational contemplation vs. theurgic supernatural mystical act championed by the Hasidim, which the Rambam as a deontological ethicist might warn risks being a form of delusional theurgic magic.

A second link examines the metaphor of the book on the High Holidays particularly in the Unetanneh Tokef (a Hebrew prayer by Rabbi Amram of Mainz) sung in the synagogues, that states to the effect, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur sealed and implies based on a Talmudic text, on hoshanah rabbah the angels deliver the blueprint to Hashem’s heavenly Temple archive” and the importance of the reverence and cherishing of text in general in general for Judaism.

A third link explores both in Powerpoint form related to the guide on the Jewish arts as the last slides are fine art representations of this event in Genesis 22, and a written sketch of the akedat yitchak known as the “Binding of Isaac” which is chanted on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, raises the question of Providence (hashgahah pratit) vs. free will (behira) and G-d’s foreknowledge (yediah) and is the topic of midrashim found in the Cairo Geniza.

A fourth link of a Powerpoint considers the afternoon reading known as maftir yonah on the day of Yom Kippur, from the perspective of Biblical archeology excavations of ancient Ninevah, cartography, and close textual analysis, among other topics. Ethics is a theme of the book of Jonah in that the Ninevites must repent. On Yom Kippur, we repent our ethical failings in the communal Al chet prayer where one gives a din ve-heshbon (accounting) before the heavenly court in business ethics and in general Jewish ethics, ethical monotheism that Avraham revealed when he left Ur of Chaldea. Up until today in online ethics by applying the laws of forbidden gossip (Hilchot issurei loshon ha-ra) by the Chofetz Chaim and applied in case law to social media.

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash

The fifth set of resources relate to the book of Koheleth chanted on the festival of Sukkot, which raises the important question of the nature of time in all its dimensions. One link shows that striving to dwell poetically in time is the essence of being in the sukkah, whose construction requires that the roof (sakh) allow one to see the stars causing wonder, expressed in King David’s Psalm eight. Other links examine Koheleth themes in the afterlife, and further ideas of Nachmanides knowledge of shemitah ha-olamot.

This post was contributed by David Levy, Chief Librarian, Lander College for Women

Rosh Hashanah and the Book of Life

The Jewish people have been called the “People of the Book.” Books take on additional significance at this of year with the Talmud describing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as a time during which G-d inscribes the virtuous in “the Book of Life.” Indeed, across the world, during this season, Jews wish for each other to be written and signed in G-d’s Book of Life. 

Jewish tradition tells us that G-d does not put away this book once Rosh Hashanah has ended. Even those who did not merit being inscribed in this Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah may still be written in the Book of Life if they change their ways through repentance prior to Yom Kippur. Hence the solemnness of the High Holiday period as a season of personal reflection.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

The Touro College Libraries have many books related to Rosh Hashanah and the High Holiday period.

[Maḥzor zikhron Reʼuven : le-Rosh ha-Shanah] = The complete ArtScroll machzor : Rosh Hashanah : a new translation and anthologized commentary

This is a machzor, a special prayer book used on Rosh Hashanah accompanied by an English translation, which is very popular and has been printed in many editions.

The Wolfsberg labor camp machzor, 5705 (1944)

This machzor contains a facsimile of Maḥzor Rosh ha-Shanah hand-written by from memory in Wolfsberg labor camp. When reading this machzor, one can only be awed by the dedication of the Jewish people to their faith under the most trying circumstances.

Rosh hashanah : its significance, laws, and prayers: a presentation anthologized from Talmudic and traditional sources

This book provides readers with an understanding of the many aspects of Rosh Hashanah that they may wonder about.

As librarians, we have a special appreciation for books. But at this time of year, it is fitting that we pause and reflect on how we live our lives so that we may be inscribed in the book that counts most: the book G-d opens on Rosh Hashanah. 

From the Libraries to the entire Touro Community, may you be inscribed in the Book of Life!   

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

Introducing UlrichsWeb: A Periodicals Directory

An authoritative source with over 300,000 periodicals, including scholarly, peer-reviewed, open access, popular magazines, and newspapers in over 900 subject areas, UlrichsWeb has numerous features to guide faculty and graduate students as they decide where to publish, judge the quality and legitimacy of publications, and assess how widely an article might be disseminated in any particular publication.

Ulrich’s platform is searchable and browsable by title, subject, keywords, and more. If you are exploring potential journal titles in which to publish your work, you can jump-start your query with its simple search box, or, if you want to search like a pro, try out the Advanced Search options, where you can limit your search by type of publication, subject area, and key features, such as whether it is peer-reviewed, open access, abstracted, or indexed, or has one of many other attributes.

Since this directory is integrated into the Touro Libraries databases, you can easily discover what journals are available via the Libraries by clicking on the green logo for the 360 e-Journal Portal on the right side of the page. If the journal is available in full-text, you can browse through previously published articles to get a better sense of what kind of publications the journal is looking for.

Ulrich’s provides indexing and abstracting information (you can select this limiter in the advanced search) for a publication with several benefits:

  1. If you want your published work to be visible and retrievable, it is important to know if the journal of your choice is indexed in databases or resources where it can be retrieved by other researchers, practitioners, and scholars. In other words, the indexing information for a journal can be a measurement of your article’s future exposure.
  2. The more databases in which the article appears, the more potential impact any given article may have.
  3. The indexing and abstracting information can also help in identifying journals that are more established and recognized in your field. Predatory journals will automatically be forced out of the game, since they are mostly not indexed in prestigious databases — though some have sneaked their way in, so we have to be always on the alert. See more information on how to avoid predatory publishers in our Research and Scholarship LibGuide.

In addition to the advanced search, you can also narrow your search by checking the options in the left pane. On the results page, you can view the details of a journal title, save or download your list of searches or email them to yourself (note: you need to open an individual account to save your lists for a later date).

If you click on “Change Columns,” you can customize some of the information depending on what you are looking for. Personally, I would add “Frequency” to my search column, since it gives me an idea about how long it might take to get published.

Finally, a small but important space is dedicated to a review or description of a journal’s purpose and its intended audience. This summary helps to quickly determine if your research topic aligns with the scope and content of the journal. On the results page, you can also directly access the publisher’s website with more detailed information on the journal, its submission guidelines, and more.

UlrichsWeb is accessible via the Touro Libraries Databases after you log in with your TouroOne credentials. Please email Sara Tabaei with any questions about UlrichsWeb or to schedule a walk-through of the database over Zoom.

Fun fact: Ulrich’s was originally published as a book in 1932 by Carolyn Farquhar Ulrich, the Head of Periodicals at the New York Public Library. Librarians rock!

This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director

What’s new in instructional support for fall 2020?

Welcome to the fall 2020 semester! Although this semester might look different than other semesters in the past, the support that the Touro College Libraries can provide hasn’t wavered. We are excited to assist students and faculty with their learning, teaching, and research, and we invite you to contact a librarian to learn more about any of the resources listed below.

a sketch of a square figure drawing a lightbulb on an easel
Image by Manfred Steger from Pixabay

Do you have readings you’d like to make available to your students online?

Sharing in Canvas: If you are sharing a journal article or book chapter from outside of the Touro College Libraries databases with your class this semester, you may need to get copyright clearance to include the material in your Canvas course. This applies to electronic and scanned materials. The Libraries are available to assist you with determining whether you need to secure copyright clearance, and, if you do, with requesting permission to share. Please contact Marina Zilberman for more information.

eBooks and Databases: If you’re looking for easily accessible and low-cost materials for your classes, our eBook collections and electronic databases are a great resource. In Canvas, you can link directly to most books and articles.

Open Educational Resources: You can use many free resources in your class, including high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks with instructor materials. Tell us which commercial textbook you would like to replace, and we will show you what’s available for your discipline. Contact georgia.westbrook@touro.edu for more about OER.

Do you want to use documentaries and educational films to support your instruction?

Streaming videos: For increased convenience and access by students outside of class, the Libraries offer a growing collection of online streaming videos, including Education in Video, Films on Demand, Kanopy and more. Most titles are also discoverable by searching in the library catalog by “Location: TC E-Videos.”

Are you teaching an online course?

Ask a Librarian: Students have ready access to assistance with research and library resources via chat, email or phone with our Ask A Librarian service.

Embedded librarians: This program matches you with a dedicated librarian to provide customized library instruction for your students. Learn more by contacting Sara Tabaei, Library Information Literacy Director.

Remote orientations: All of our library instruction classes can be held via Zoom video conferences, accessible by students from home, or can be shared as a recorded video for students to watch outside of class time.

Do your students have trouble finding the kinds of information you want them to use in their papers and projects?

Instruction: We offer both general library orientations and specialized research classes, customized to prepare students for the particular assignments in your course. Contact your campus library for information or to schedule a session.

LibGuides: These research guides are organized by subject to bring together the best resources for each topic. Additional guides are available on research skills and library services and we are happy to create one for your course upon request.

Do your students have trouble with writing and/or citing sources correctly?

Citing Sources guide: This guide includes presentations, videos, and quizzes to help you discuss academic integrity with your students. Additionally, you’ll find tools to assist with creating citations and detailed information on a variety of citation styles.

RefWorks: Refworks is a citation and research manager available to students and faculty with their @touro.edu email address. Import, organize and cite your research with this online tool. Training is available upon request.

College Writing guide: Our College Writing guide compiles the most helpful resources for composition, revision, and editing in academic writing.


We’re here to help with all of these resources and beyond! Contact the Touro College Libraries to learn more.