February 15, 2010

What Can You Ask a Librarian?

A recent Library Hacks blog post at Duke's Perkins Library, Ever wonder what you can ask a reference librarian? prompted me to publicize some of the questions we've been asked at the Park Library. (I first posted this on the JoMC Park Library blog but thought it would be fun over here too)

Recent questions include (along with answers, where feasible):

Basic Questions, students asked for ...
  • Communication Yearbook by call number. (check the catalog)
  • Dissertations by former JoMC students (online! from 1997-present in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses full-text *)
  • Related: looking for a MA thesis by a former JoMC student (list is online)
  • How to request books from another library (Carolina BLU rocks!).
  • Printing, printing, printing! Lots of questions about printing. We currently don't have the "free" ITS printers anywhere in Carroll Hall, and we answer lots of questions about that.
More Complex Questions, where folks asked for ...
  • Alcohol advertisements from the late 1960s to present (Duke's Ad*Access is a great start, as are some of the other resources on this page)
  • Editorial cartoons (this research page can help)
  • An article from the Los Angeles Times from 1984 (we have the LA Times from 1881-1986 *& the most recent 6 months in LexisNexis *)
  • Tough one: readership of southern, American newspapers in the mid-1800s. We found some material in books and other old-fashioned sources.
  • Industry surveys of the motorcycle industry (I love these market research resources!)
  • Articles from North Carolina newspapers about an event that took place in southeastern NC in the mid-80s to mid-90s. The papers the patron needed weren't on microfilm ... helped her find the appropriate microfilm source and identify specific dates via the Charlotte Observer (available from 1985-present in America's Newspapers *)
Many of these links will work regardless of your institutional affiliation. The links followed by an * are available to the UNC community only.

The library staff and I are happy to answer questions about doing research in journalism & mass communication. You can reach me by email (swbrown @ unc . edu), by phone at 919.843.8300, IM to JoMCParkLib, and now you can even text Qs to us at 919-200-0713.

Ask us anything!

February 11, 2010

Caprica, Media, and Crisis Communication

I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan, and I've been intrigued by the spinoff/prequel Caprica. This week's Caprica touched many of my interests beyond the sci fi philosophy that I like (one character asked another this week "Can you be free if you’re not real?") and the soap opera that I find addictive.

The first episode of Caprica included a massive terrorist bombing, and one of the terrorists may or may not be one of the main characters (who died in the bombing, but whose avatar lives on). The character's father, Daniel Graystone, is a corporate mogul (think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs). The episode features a lot of media reaction to the bombing and the daughter's possible involvement: many stories have appeared in the daily newspaper, the Caprican (which has its own page on the syfy web site), and a Jay Leno-like commentator spoke derisively about the characters' involvement in the bombing.

The media outcry turned so hostile that the company's stock began to tumble, and Graystone's assistant suggested some public relations assistance in the form of a crisis communicator. The side elements of media and communications added to my enjoyment of the show.

If you've watched Caprica, or you're interested in the media aspects, check out the Capricology entries on the ReligionDispatches blog. Some great academic minds are writing weekly posts about various media and religion aspects of Caprica. They include
  • Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California.
  • Salman Hameed, astronomer and Assistant Professor of Integrated Science & Humanities at Hampshire College.
  • Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of religion at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
Their thoughtful Capricology discussions enhance my enjoyment of Caprica, and this week's entry, Capricology: Week 3: Apotheosis, Anyone? cover many of the media aspects I've highlighted here.