Website Facelift

We’ve been working on updating our website a bit. You can preview it here:

One of the biggest changes, as you can see, is the addition of a chat widget. This is run through VCCS’s LRC Live, so it is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. During the day it’s staffed by VCCS librarians, and after-hours it is staffed by librarians across the country.

We’ve also tried to rearrange things to make them a little easier to find. Check it out, and let us know what you think!

New tool for literary analysis

Computational Knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha just announced that you can now analyze Shakespeare’s plays, as well as some other famous works of literature, including Moby Dick, Great Expectations, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

From their blog:

Entering a play into Wolfram|Alpha, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, brings up basic information, such as number of acts, scenes, and characters. It also provides more in-depth info like longest word, most frequent words, number of words and sentences, and more. It’s also easy to find more specific information about a particular act or scene with queries like “What is the longest word in King Lear?”, “What is the average sentence length of Macbeth?”, and “How many unique words are there in Twelfth Night?”.

This is pretty exciting for literature fans and those assigned English analysis papers! For more examples, see their blog at

New trial databases

We’ve received many positive reviews of our newly added database Films on Demand .  As streaming video is becoming mainstream, the library is exploring more academic videos online.  We have arranged trials for the following databases.  Both databases can be accessed from on-campus while Ambrose Video can also be accessed from off-campus with your “MyJSRCC” login.  Please check them out and cast your vote at  As always, your feedback is appreciated!

  1. Ambrose Video (

Ambrose Video has a collection of more than 1200 video clips and full programs in social studies, literature, fine arts and the sciences.

  1. Academic Video Online (

Academic Video Online provides a large and rich collection of academic videos available online through commercial and governmental newsreels, archival footage, public affairs footage, and important documentaries.

Tips on note taking

Brainstorming by flickr user Marco Arment

Have you ever been sitting in class, furiously scribbling down every word the professor is saying and thinking to yourself “there HAS to be a better way to do this!”?

Brett & Kate McKay on the blog The Art of Manliness, offer some great study and note-taking tips:

So how do you know what the professor’s main points are? Pay attention to cues your professor gives off either consciously or subconsciously. Here are a few cues your professor may give during the lecture. Whenever you see them, it probably means he’s saying something important, so write it down.

  • Anytime the professor says, “You need to know this,” or “This will be on the test.” Duh.
  • Anytime the professor repeats himself.
  • Anything the professor writes on the board or includes in a Powerpoint slide.
  • Anything the professor repeats very slowly so that it can be taken down word for word.
  • If your professor starts talking more quickly, or loudly, or with more emphasis.
  • Watch for language that shows relationships between ideas. These sorts of points are often where professors get their exam questions from:
    • first, second, third
    • especially, most significant, most important
    • however, on the other hand
    • because, so, therefore, consequently

There are some great tips on the page, as well as the comments. What are some of your best study or note-taking tips? Share them here or on our Study Skills guide!

New Workshop Registration page

We’ve launched a new way to find and register for workshops! When you click on the “Workshops” from the homepage, you’ll see a description of all of our workshops, as well as a calendar for upcoming events. As you can see from the red arrows below, you can click on either the name of the workshop for a list of all upcoming workshops of that kind, or click on the name of any individual workshop under the calendar.

Once you’ve chosen a workshop to register for, fill out the form. Be sure to use a correct email, because if you need to cancel for any reason, you’ll be able to do so from the confirmation email you receive.

If you have any questions, please contact us!

New trial database: Films on Demand

The library has arranged a trial with Films on Demand from now till November 23rd.  It is a web-based digital video delivery service that allows unlimited simultaneous access to streaming videos from Films Media Group.

Films on Demand offers the following features:

8,000 full length videos, 90,000 video clips, 4,600 hours of educational movies from Films Media Group.

  • Unlimited, simultaneous access from on- or off-campus
  • Faculty can embed clips or whole video in Blackboard
  • Faculty can create personal playlists to assemble full-length videos and/or segments into a classroom presentation or to share with students for out-of-class viewing

To access the trial, please visit  The access is only available from on-campus at this moment.  Off-campus access will be available after we officially subscribe to the service.  Your feedback on the service is highly appreciated!

Pay-for-Print system is Back

TerminatorMuch like the Terminator, our pay for print system promised to be back… and here it is. After a brief hiatus during our upgrade to Windows 7 system, Equitrac is back online.

If you had not yet purchased a print card, you will need to do so. The card itself costs $1 and is reusable; you will need to add anywhere from $1 to $10 to be able to make copies or prints. Be sure to keep your card in a safe place, away from your cell phone! The machines only take $1 and $5 bills, and cannot make change, so please come prepared!

Prices for black and white prints have been lowered to $.05 a side, and you will have the option to print in color for $.20 a side in the library.

Of course staff will be happy to help you figure out the process as you need it, but for more details and answers to frequently asked questions, please see the post on the Reynolds website: