New research from the SC Botanic Garden

February 14, 2007

Read about propagation of the native Porteranthus trifoliatus ‘Pink Profusion’ by researchers at the Smith College Botanic Garden. Using a technique called “tissue culture,” the research team was successful in propagating this rare cultivar from the original seedling.


CLICK HERE to read the full news release!

To learn more about Porteranthus trifoliatus, take a look at THIS INFORMATION from the USDA Plants Database.

To find scholarly articles about the native species, search one of the libraries’ SUBJECT DATABASES for: Porteranthus trifoliatus OR Bowman’s root OR Gillenia trifoliata (note: this is the previous scientific name for P. trifoliatus).


Science Podcasts: learn and grow strong!

February 12, 2007

I go to the gym a couple times a week – and I am amazed every time by the number of people motivated to Get Fit! Every exercise machine is taken, all the classes are full, and there are pretty much people everywhere. As one might expect, most are watching the televisions on their personal machines – but others are passing the time and being motivated by what is playing on their iPods.

The next time you go to the gym, try out one of the following science-focused podcasts, and Learn While You Grow Strong!
Science Friday with Ira Flatow: The Friday edition of NPR’s Talk of the Nation which engages in balanced discussions on current science news topics. There is a listener call-in portion of the show, if you listen live.

Science Magazine: Periodic podcasts on a variety of topics such as: “Focus on genetics,” “Serengeti poaching,” “Modern human genetics,” “Plague bacterium” and more!

Naked Scientist
: A weekly radio show produced by Cambridge University scientists, aimed at making current science information accessible to the general public.

New York Times: Podcast exploring the Science Times by science editor, David Corcoran. (to download, scroll down to weekly podcasts)

Scientific American: Featuring Science Talk and 60-Second Science – learn about the latest news in science.

This Week In Science: A 1-hour science/technology radio show broadcast from KDVS in Davis, CA. __________________________________________________

Have a favorite podcast I missed? Leave a comment!

SC Links – the fast track to scholarly articles

February 8, 2007

In my last post, I described the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service provided by the Smith libraries which assists you in obtaining:

  • Articles not available at Smith
  • Books, videos and DVDs not available through the Five Colleges

We learned how to request something ‘manually’ – that is, by logging into your ILL account, and requesting the item you need. However, the question that comes up again and again is:

  • When you are in a database, is there an easy way to request items through ILL???
  • The answer is definitely YES!

Let’s say, for instance, that we are searching for articles in the biomedical database PubMed. (To learn how to access other subject specific databases, click HERE.)

After performing our search in PubMed, we are faced with a list of results.


The second choice looks interesting, so we click on the author names to access the full record. It is important to look at the full record so we can read the ABSTRACT or summary, to determine if this article is really what we need for our research.

If you decide that you want a particular article, ALWAYS look for the orange SC Links button. In this case, it is below the abstract.


When we click on the orange SC Links button, a new window will open. Read the screen entirely. The information given, in this case, includes:

  1. No fulltext (i.e. ELECTRONIC version) is available
  2. We have the ability to check the Five College Library Catalog (to check for this item in PRINT)
  3. We have the option to request an ILL


We already know that the article is not available electronically (b/c it says so on the screen – see #1 in the picture above). We now must determine if Smith has this item in PRINT – so, we click on GO to “Check for holdings in the Five College Library Catalog.” As you can see, this item was not found in the Five College Library Catalog.


After making sure Smith does not have access to either the electronic or print version of an article, you then click GO to “Request document via Smith College Interlibrary Loan.” You will be prompted to login to the ILL system – once you get in, you will see that much of the article information has been filled in for you!

All you need to do is VERIFY all the information is correct, and type in the YEAR of publication.


Then, as we did before, just click Submit Request, at the bottom of the screen.


Questions? Feel free to Ask A Librarian or stop by any Smith Library for additional assistance!

ILL: get the journal articles you need!

February 2, 2007

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a fast, easy-to-use (and almost always free!) service provided by the Smith College Libraries for all Smith students, faculty and staff. You would use ILL in two cases:

  • You need a journal article not available at Smith College (either electronically or in print)
  • You need a book, video or DVD not available within the Five Colleges
  • (To get books within the Five College system, click HERE to learn how!)


ILL requires you to create a special account – separate from your e-mail account on campus. It is easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

  1. Go to the ILL homepage:
  2. Click on Register for ILL
  3. Read the description of the service, and then click on First Time Users Click Here to agree to the terms and conditions
  4. Fill out all the required information on the webform (have your ID handy!)
  5. Click on Submit Information


There are two ways to request items through ILL. The first is manually filling out a simple webform with all the information about an article you know Smith College does not have or a book not available within the Five Colleges.

BEFORE submitting an ILL request, make sure to check the Journal Locator or the Five College Library Catalog for your needed item.

  1. Log into the ILL system (remember to register first!)
  2. Click on Article Request, if you need an article not available at Smith College
  3. OR

  4. Click on Loan Request, if you need a book, video or DVD not available within the Five Colleges
  5. Fill out all the necessary information for the item you need
  6. Click on Submit Request at the bottom of the form

You will receive an email message when your ILL request is ready. Simply follow the directions in the email to gain access to your item! Journal articles take just a matter of days; books take about a week.

In my next post, I will detail how to request an ILL directly from one of the libraries’ subscription databases. This makes getting articles and books even easier – since you don’t have to type out much of the request information.

Feed readers – it’s easy!

February 1, 2007

In my last post, I briefly described how to use an RSS feed reader (or aggregator). This article describes the pros and cons of the 10 best feed readers. For simplicity, I will walk through setting up a Bloglines account.

1. Go to Bloglines:

2. Click the ‘Sign up now, It’s Free!’ link in the middle of the page.


3. Fill out the webform with your email address, your choice of password, timezone and language.

4. After signing up, you must verify your email address. Bloglines will send a message to your email account with a link that you simply need to click.

In your account, you will notice a menu on the lefthand side of the screen. This is totally customizable – and all the folders that are currently showing can be changed and/or deleted.


You can now start adding feeds to your bloglines account! To add a new feed, click on the ‘add’ link in the menu.


To add a blog feed, just put in the URL of the blog. To add an RSS feed, input the feed URL.

For instance, if you wanted to add a feed to a particular part of the New York Times, you would start at the NYTimes website. At the very bottom of the page, you will see a link to RSS.

Select the item you want to add to your feed reader. I will choose the general NYTimes Science feed.


By clicking on the orange RSS feed button, you will get a page that has XML coding on it. All you need to do is copy the page URL from the web browser and paste it into the ‘Feed URL’ box in your bloglines account, and click subscribe.


Notice that now the NYTimes Science feed is in my menu in Bloglines.