Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Genealogy at the Library


The library reference staff are gearing up for Genealogy Day at the library! On Saturday, June 27th starting at 10:00am, staff will be available to answer all your questions about the items in the Genealogy Room. That means the books, the microfilm, the online databases… everything!
To get prepared for the day or just in case you can not make it, here are some past posts and current information from the library to help you out!
  • Genealogy Page - The library’s genealogy page on our website contains all the information needed to start the search for your family’s heritage. From forms to print out to database links, this page lists all the information below and more!
  • Genealogy at Terrebonne Parish Library - A brief introduction to genealogy and the genealogy resources at the library, including Ancestry.com (accessible for free inside the library).
  • Genealogy Research: The Next Steps - Some quick advice from a member of the reference staff about how to start researching your family tree.
  • Louisiana Roots: Some Great Local Sources for Genealogy - A guide to print materials in the library’s Genealogy Room centered around local residents. Is your family in there? (Note: some of the links in the article may not work due to a change in our catalog, but the items are in the collection)
  • New Ancestry Resources - You’ve checked all the print books, now what? Check out the database Ancestry.com and the types of materials in it as well as other online information. The best part? The Ancestry database has added even more information to hunt through since this was posted!
  • From Census Data to Family Tree - This article gives an outline of the United States and local parish census records, and how they can help with researching your family tree.
  • Fold3 History and Genealogy Archives - Looking for old newspapers, city directories, or other archived items? This article explains the basics of our Fold3 and Genealogy archives databases that cover a range of published materials. (To use the Fold3 from home, you will need a library card and PIN. Come in or contact the library at (985) 876-5861, option 2 if you need assistance.)
  • HeritageQuest Online - This database is similar to Ancestry.com, containing census and other genealogical research data from that site. The main difference is you can use this one from home! Simply go to the library’s website (mytpl.org), click on the “Genealogy” link on the right hand side, find the link and search away!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Keep Internet Searching Simple

You found your way to this entry! Take a moment to congratulate yourself, sit back, and think about how this whole Internet thing is not so bad after all. And what's the big deal? All human knowledge collected in millions of computers sharing... well, lots of knowledge per second. And you worked it out to find this page. Go you!

One question: How did you find this web page once you decided what you were looking for? Could you do it again? For any question? If I asked you to find out who created the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, could you do that? How do you know the source is reliable?

The answer is pretty easy if you just keep Internet searching simple. By using simple language and tools, you can find anything on the Internet you want and keep out most of the things you do not.

Search Simple Words and Phrases

The first step in keeping Internet searching simple is to cut out unneeded words. Computer scientists build new computers every day to understand more and more. Most computers, however, still cannot understand the language humans speak to each other, or natural language. Most computers use a form of "keyword searching," which means they search for the words you give them.
So to keep searching simple, you would search for the simple phrase "Chauvin Sculpture Garden." For most modern search engines, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization do not matter much, as in the example below.

SearchCSG.JPG

When you use simple words and phrases, you give the search engine much more to work with, and you get more results to look through.

The Internet As a Town

If you want to simplify the Internet, think of it like a large town. Areas of town are zoned for schools, government buildings, shopping, and homes. To find the best information in a town, you go to the right building. The Internet is divided in the same way, and this can be used depending on what information you need.

When you need to learn accurate information, where do you go in your community?  Schools and government departments exist to provide information and services for the community. The same thing happens on the Internet. Educational and government sites contain the best, accurate research resources. Links for education use ".edu" and government use ".gov”  

Say you were writing a paper or wanted a researched source for the “Chauvin Scultpure Garden” saying who built it, who takes care of it now, and where it is. A search for "Chauvin Sculpture Garden" contains links from Nicholls State University (shown below in green) because they have researched the history of the sculpture garden and care for it.

SearchCSG2.JPG

The most common type of website is ".com." This means a website is "commercial,” the shopping center of the Internet. Many ".com" websites are great sources of information, but their goal is to make money. The information might be good or not, and there is no way to tell without more research. These websites are best for buying materials or finding basic information on a topic. For example, say I wanted to build a model of the “Chauvin Sculpture Garden” rather than have information on it. I would search for “sculpture supplies” to find business where I could buy my materials, either locally or online, or to learn how to start sculpting. For more indepth knowledge, I would go to a school that teaches sculpting.

SearchCSG7.JPG

Some other common website extensions are ".org" and ".net." Organizations (.org) often include non-profits and charities, but anyone can buy an “.org” website. Examples of good organization websites for information are the Red Cross and the Terrebonne Parish Library websites. Both are long lasting institutions known in the community. If you are not aware of who runs the website, it is often best to be wary of their information.

One of the largest ".org" websites is Wikipedia, a popular online encyclopedia edited and created by users. Be aware that Wikipedia's information can change often, even many times an hour depending on the subject. Many classrooms of all levels of education ban the use of Wikipedia because of how unreliable its information can be.

The ".net" extension was first used by networking companies, such as AT&T and Comcast, but has become a place for personal websites. Just like anyone can start a non-profit “.org,” anyone can use the “.net” to build a home on the Internet. As sources of information, treat “.net” sites as if you were visiting a neighbor. If you know the person well and trust them, they may be a good place for you to learn, but very few teachers would accept them as trustworthy research.

More Ways to Filter Media

Often when searching, you can simplify a search by filtering out much of the internet. A current event? An image? A video?  Search engines filter information into news, images, videos and more. Google, Bing, and Yahoo each have different buttons to search the Internet for other media. Clicking the buttons for images, video, or news while searching can narrow down what type of information you need.

SearchCSG3.JPGSearchCSG6.JPGSearchCSG4.JPG

Good Searching

English journalist Miles Kington said, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” The advice above can start you on the way to finding better information and resources. The best information for you, however, depends on your desire to find it. The Internet is a big place and full of wonderful things, much like the world around you. Trial and error may be needed. With practice, anyone can learn the best places to go for the information they need. Good searching!

Other links from the blog that can help with searching:

Most popular American search engines

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Every Hero Has A Story: Summer Reading Program 2015


Not sure what kind of summer you're going to have? How about a superhero summer?! The whole family can get involved with the library’s Summer Reading Program "Every Hero Has a Story," from adults to pre-k. Sign up starting May 26th online or come into the library anytime or during an event!

Adults

Make your summer a family affair of reading by signing up for the ADULT summer reading program. Read a total of 3 library books, eBooks, or magazines and be entered into a drawing to win a free Kindle Fire HD 7. All participants that complete will receive a Library Superhero lawn sign and coupon!

7th – 12th grade Teens

Read 3 library books, eBooks, graphics novels, or magazines and receive a certificate, cool coupons, Library Superhero lawn sign, and a chance to win a free Kindle Fire HD 7!

4th – 6th grade Kids (Tweens)

Read 5 library books and receive a certificate, a chance to win a bike, coupons for FREE STUFF, a Library Superhero lawn sign, and a chance to win a bike! Turn your summer into an adventure with weekly story times, craft workshops, and special performers.

Pre-K – 3rd grade Kids

Read 10 library books (or parents, read 10 library books to younger children) and receive a certificate, coupons for FREE STUFF, a Library Superhero lawn sign, and a chance to win a bike! Turn your summer into an adventure with weekly story times, craft workshops, and special performers.
A big THANK YOU to our sponsors for making this year’s Summer Reading Programs possible. View sponsors here.

View our SPECIAL EVENTS this summer for the whole family.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Access Video on Demand: 18,000 Videos Online

Are you a fan of documentaries?  Were you the kind of kid who couldn't wait for the teacher to show a film in class?  Maybe you're still that kind of kid?  If so, we have a great database for you.  Access Video on Demand offers over 18,000 informative videos and documentaries.  You can watch videos from the BBC, the History Channel, Ken Burns, PBS, Scientific American Frontiers, and many more.

To explore the videos, go to bit.ly/mytplvideo. You will be asked for your library card number, and then you're in!  (If you are at one of our library computers, you can skip the library card login by clicking this link instead, but it only works from within the library.)

Once you login to Access Video on Demand, we recommend that you create a user account.  This allows you bookmark your favorite videos, and even make video playlists. To browse videos by subject, you can scroll down the home page to view thumbnail images of popular videos, or click Collections, as in the image below. You can use the search box to search for videos by keyword.  Each video is divided into labeled segments, and you can search for segments about a certain topic by selecting "By Segments" in the search box.  If you want to find entire videos on a topic, change this to "By Title".


If you have a particular producer you like, such as Ken Burns or the BBC, click on "Featured Producers". This shows you a selection of production companies:


Whatever your interests, you're sure to find a video you enjoy in Access Video on Demand!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

One Database to Rule Them All! EBSCO Discovery Service

Did you know most of the information on the internet is locked up behind passwords and paywalls? You can find a lot online for free, but many magazines, books, journals, and other resources aren't accessible without a subscription. Not only that, but what you can access for free, such as Wikipedia, may not be the most reliable source of information.

Luckily, your library card gives you access to dozens of electronic databases, which offer thousands of newpaper and magazine articles, plus electronic reference books written by experts in their fields. The only problem is, we have so many databases, it's hard to know which one to use.

Now we have a solution. EBSCO Discovery Service, or EDS, lets you search almost all of our databases simultaneously. To get to EDS, go to our Databases by Name or Databases by Subject page and click on the link at the top.

Once you enter your search terms and hit "Search", you'll see a page that looks like this:




This is the Guest Access page, which just shows the title and format of your results. To see summaries and read the articles, click on "Login for full access" at the top of the page, and enter your library card number.

Here's the important thing about EDS: for many searches, you'll get thousands of results. It will help if you narrow things down using the "Refine Results" column on the left side of the page.

For example, if you're looking for information on Huey P. Long, you can type "Huey Long" into the search box. This gives a huge number of results. The first thing you can do to narrow your results down is click "Magazines", "Newspapers", etc., on the left side of the page (see picture).

You may also notice that some of your results aren't relevant. For example, some may be about the Huey P. Long bridge, not the man himself. You can fix this by clicking on "Subject" and checking the box that says "long, huey pierce, 1893-1935." This will narrow your results down to just the articles about him. You can also narrow your search by date range, publisher, database, and more. EDS gives you so many results, it's almost always best to narrow them down.

There's a huge amount of information our databases, and EBSCO Discovery Service helps you find it...without making you guess which database to look in. If you have any questions about using EDS, give the Reference Department a call at 876-5861, ex. 2. Happy searching!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chilton Library: Your Source for Auto Repair Information

If you like to work on cars and trucks, you're probably familiar with the Chilton auto repair manuals. Now your library card gives you online access to the information from those manuals, through a database called Chilton Library. To get to Chilton Library, go to the library's website at mytpl.org and click "Research" in the navigation bar. Now go to "Databases by Name" and find Chilton Library under "C". Or just use this short link: bit.ly/chilton1. When prompted, enter your library card number.

As you can see, the Chilton Library homepage lets you choose the year, make, and model of the vehicle you want to work on. Let's say you have a 2006 Chevy Colorado. Enter this information in the Vehicle Selector, as shown below, and hit "Select."


You can view information on repair, maintenance, and bulletins/recalls. If you click on "Repair", you'll see a page like this:


Let's say you want to replace the water pump. On the left side of the page, click: Engine Cooling > Repair Instructions > Water Pump Replacement, as shown below. Now you will see the illustrated instructions for replacing the water pump, along with links to related tasks, such as removing the fan and drive belt. To print the instructions, go to Print Content, on left side of the page.


Chilton Library really does give you a whole library of auto repair information, and all you need is a library card and internet connection. If you have any questions, call the Reference Department at 876-5861, ex. 2. Happy auto repairs!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Your Online Reference Shelf: Gale Virtual Reference Library

Did you know you have an entire collection of reference books you can read wherever you have an internet connection and library card? For the last several years, the library has offered hundreds of electronic reference books through databases like Literati by Credo, Infobase, and Gale Virtual Reference Library. These are just like the books you'll find on the reference shelves at the library--same words, same pictures, same respected authors and publishers--they're just in electronic format. You can read them on your computer, your tablet, or your smartphone. Now we've dramatically expanded our e-book collection in Gale Virtual Reference Library to include over 3,500 e-books.

To get started, go to the library's homepage at mytpl.org, click "Research" on the navigation bar, and then "Databases by Name." Now click on Gale Virtual Reference Library (or you can get there directly by entering bit.ly/mytplgvrl in your address bar.)


As you can see, the e-books are arranged by subject headings on the left side of the page. You can browse the subjects to see which books look interesting, but one great advantage of e-books over print is that you can search hundreds of them in just a few seconds. Just go to the search box at the top of the page and start typing. 

Since the Fourth of July is coming up, let's type in "Declaration of Independence." This gives us results from a wide range of reference books. If we click on the first article, in the Gale Encyclopedia of American Law, we see a page like this:


Notice at the top right that you can choose between a text version and a PDF version. If you want to see the article exactly as it appears in the print version of the book, click the PDF button. There are also buttons above the article that let you print, email or download it, or even listen to an audio version. If you're using the article for a school paper, you can click "Citation Tools" to automatically generate citations for the end of the paper. This highlights a huge advantage over websites like Wikipedia--most teachers won't let you cite Wikipedia or other websites you find in a Google search. The reference articles in GVRL are citeable. They come from books by respected publishers, and they're written by recognized experts; not anonymous volunteers.

With Gale Virtual Reference Library and our other e-book databases, you have an entire reference shelf as close as your computer or mobile device, and it's available any time of day or night. If you use a tablet or smartphone, you may want to go to your app store and download the Access My Library app. It gives you quick access to all library's Gale databases, including all the reference books in Gale Virtual Reference Library. It's a reference shelf in your pocket.

As always, if you have any questions, call the Reference Department at 876-5861, ex. 2. Enjoy your newly expanded reference collection!