Archive forTips for Students

Facebook security

Here’s an interesting bit of Facebook security news that is of interest to well, anyone reading this who might be on Facebook!

Presence dongle

Facebook is rolling out a new security feature in the Account Settings – Secure Browsing. Basically, it means that if you check a certain box, you can log into Facebook using the encrypted “HTTPS” protocol, which means that when you are surfing Facebook in a place with a poorly secured wireless network (say, at Starbucks or Panera, etc.) someone else at that site who might possibly have software to “sniff out” usernames and passwords will not be able to do so.

This is something you should enable right away! To do so, go into your Account Settings and click “change” nest to “Account Security” and look for the checkbox under “Secure Browsing (https)” and get on the security train! Facebook has stated that they are still rolling out the option to all their users, so check back often to see if it’s been rolled out to you!


Zotero will make your life easier!

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool that will make your life a whole lot easier.

Zotero is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that allows you to quickly collect, manage and cite your research resources. With one-click you can download citation information for books from BearCat, Amazon, or another library catalog, articles from a large number of the databases the Baylor Library subscribes to, like Jstor, Academic Search Complete, Science Direct or IEEE (for starters!). You can also collect citation information for newspapers, videos from YouTube, pictures from Flickr, or even archive web pages that you have found for your research.

After you download your citations, you can manage them with categories or tags; sort them by title, author or date added; and search for your resources using an iTunes like interface right in your web browser.

And if that’s not enough to send you into fits of joy, you can also drag and drop your resources into Microsoft Word, or any other word processing program (Google Docs, your email, etc.) to automatically format the resource into the proper citation style format – MLA, APA, Chicago (there are literally thousands to choose from with Zotero!) You can also download word processor plugins to seamlessly integrate your Zotero library with Microsoft Word or Open Office to format in-text citations and generate a bibliography when you are writing papers.

Check out this screencast which will introduce you to all the great features of Zotero:

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the Baylor Library research guide on Zotero, or come to one of the introductory workshops at the library in the next few weeks.

Workshop times:

  • Thursday, January 27, 4-5 pm
  • Wednesday, February 2, 3:30-4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, February 8, 4-5 pm

Sign up for the workshop time of your choice here.


Study like a scholar, scholar

Are you a fan of the Old Spice commercials? Did you get caught up in the recent 30-second videos that the Old Spice Marketing Team made answer fan question from Twitter and Facebook?

Well, if you studied in the library, you could be the man (or woman) with the grades like this man.

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Kudos to the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU for making this great video. Come to the Baylor Libraries if you want to be a scholar!

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Audio books for your fall break road trip

Around fall break, spring break and long weekends, the info desk often gets asked whether the library has audio books to check out. The answer is: Yes! Here is some information and tips on how to find them:

  • We have audio books on a variety of formats, including CD and cassette.
  • All of our audio books are physically located on the 3rd floor of Moody, in the Crouch Fine Arts Library, behind the information desk.
  • You can browse the audio books we have online by searching in BearCat for the LC Subject “Audiobooks”.

  • If you know the name of the book you are looking for, and want to see whether we have it in audio book format, search for it by title in BearCat. An audio book will have the notation [sound recording] after the title.

    If the audio book you are searching for is lost amidst numerous print copies, you can limit your search to the “Material Types” of “Audiocasette” or “CD (Audio)” but be warned that this could also bring up any musical selections if any parts of the book were ever set to music and recorded.


Happy Listening! And have a good fall break!


Tip a Bear: study tips for Baylor students

I recently learned about a great blog by Doris Hambrick, who works in the Paul L. Foster Success Center, called “The Academically Successful Bear”. The blog is dedicated to helping students become academically successful. One recurring feature is the “Tip a Bear” video series, where Doris interviews successful Baylor students and asks them to give their #1 study tip.

This blog is going on our permanent list of links – what a great resource!


Use Wolfram|Alpha to Make College Easier

Wolfram|Alpha made a splash on the internet when it was released this past year. In fact, some claimed it would be a “Google-killer.” But the creators of Wolfram|Alpha disagreed. They have other plans for their website than just being a search engine:

Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

Grand plans, yes, but as they work at their long-term goal, there are some immediate benefits to what Wolfram|Alpha can offer its users – specifically students. They highlighted this on their blog the other day, “highlighting examples of how Wolfram|Alpha can make subjects and concepts a bit easier to learn.”

Check out how Wolfram|Alpha can help you with in your Chemistry class:

They also list ways to help you with Engineering, Calculus, and even Spring Break plans and battling the Freshman 15. I’d encourage you to check out Wolfram|Alpha and see for yourself what kind of computational power it has. Feel free to post any cool examples in the comments.


What do you “ask a librarian”?

ask a librarian

The newly redesigned Baylor University Libraries web page has our “Ask a Librarian” widget right up front, making it easy for  you to get answers to questions you might have about doing research, what we have in the Library, and how to find the right sort of articles for your class assignments.  We get questions from students studying abroad and needing to know what they can still get to while they are in Maastricht or at St. Andrew’s and from students and faculty who are at a computer terminal in the Central Libraries but can’t find what they are looking for.

The next time you need to know the difference between scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, how to choose a good paper topic, or how to best find three full-text articles for your next assignment, or where we moved the books starting with “J” call numbers to, ask us online.  It’s anonymous and we’ll get you the answer you need.

Oh, look, the widget is even on the right of this page!


Searching Smarts: About vs. By

You’ve just read Mark Twain’s travel stories Innocents Abroad and have been inspired to write your ENG1304 paper on Twain’s observations on travel (see a review of Innocents Abroad).  Your lunch in the SUB ends early and as you pass by the computers you think to do a quick search to see if there’s any good information on Twain and travel before your next class starts in 20 minutes.  So you go to BearCat and to make sure we have something on Twain.  But, whoa! you get over 800 results!  And most of them seem to have to do with . . . Huck Finn or Southern culture!  And I don’t have time to look through that many – you think to yourself – I’ll have to wait until later tonight when I can go through them.

WRONG!  Don’t waste this time,  just modify your search to search smart.  Here’s what the original search looked like:

Keyword search “Mark Twain”

To modify it first, change the Keyword pull down to LC Subject; then reenter his name in the Last name, First name format (most research resources and databases list personal names this way).  This takes you to lists of headings about Mark Twain and excludes the works he wrote.  Here’s what that search looks like:

LC Subject search for “Twain, Mark”

I’ve shown page 6 of the list because that has information on Innocents Abroad  – 3 books – but you might scan the other subject headings if you’re still looking for ideas.

So when you want to find information about someone or some specific work, remember to search for these things a subjects rather than as keyword or author

If you remember this tip but don’t want to go through all these steps, just choose the General Subjects (LCSH) link on the BearCat front page.

BearCat main page - LC Subject link highlighted

And for more “Searching Smarts” tips, check out my next blog post on Advanced Keyword Searches.