Monday, 26 March 2012

Sunday March 25, 2012 The Joys of Referencing

Any high school or university student will tell you that proper referencing is imperative to a good quality essay. Although it may seem like a nuisance, referencing has its purpose and use. Proper referencing is a set of rules used by students to effectively organize the content of their paper, as well as provide credit due to any sources that may have been used.

Professors and instructors dedicate a portion of the final grade to the use of the proper referencing format. Professors want to be able to assess whether the student is able to correctly conduct research as well as cite sources from where the information has come from. Flawless citation shows good workmanship as well as a thorough understanding of the world of academia.
A professional responsibility of any university student is academic honesty and credibility.

Penalties for plagiarism (or academic dishonestly) can vary depending on the severity of the offense. Consequences can range from a mark of zero, failure of the class, or even expulsion from the school. The reasoning behind such severe punishments is that a university does not wish to gain a tainted reputation, one where cheating is tolerated.

Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the style that is used in your field before tackling your first big essay. As a student, it is your responsibility to find out what the appropriate method is and how it is done correctly. (On a side note, profs do not take away lecture time to instruct their students how to properly cite their assignments). Some common styles of citation are the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association of American (MLA) and the Chicago Manual of Style.

To begin, the APA style is used generally in the areas of science, health science, and social sciences. One of the hallmarks of the APA style is parenthetical referencing, which is an incomplete citation enclosed with parentheses used in your text. The APA prefers the author-date-page format, one where you cite your author, the date of publication, and then the page number. For example, (Smith, 2005, p. 15).

MLA, on the other hand is often used in the arts and humanities. As an English major, by the end of your student career, you are sure to become an MLA expert. MLA follows a different guideline as opposed to APA and so is their use of parenthetical referencing. MLA is known for its use of the author-page method, where you cite the author’s name and the page the information was found on.

Lastly, Chicago style is widely seen used in business, economics and history. Chicago style differs from APA and MLA primarily in its use of the ‘Notes and Bibliography’ NB format. This methodology allows the writer to cite their sources through footnotes, among the text and in a bibliography page. In addition, NB gives the writer the opportunity to comment on the sources used in their document, much like a critique.

Of course, as for any new student this may sound a bit overwhelming and the stress of entering post-secondary education is understandable. Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL) gets your pain. If you find yourself struggling with your assignment’s referencing, come down to TBPL where you are sure to find a friendly hand. The Waverley and Brodie Resource Library have separate reference departments where referencing and citation is their business. The knowledgeable reference librarians and technicians can help you solve your citation woes, any time. Happy referencing!

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday March 11, 2012 Spring Photography

Spring is finally here. The signs are everywhere: the lakes and rivers are melting, the trees are sprouting leaves and we know the flowers are eventually going to bloom. These are all fantastic events to capture with a camera. But if you are new to photography, or are looking for a few tips and tricks to help improve your pictures, perhaps a trip to the library is in order!

If you're a beginner, the library has plenty of books to get you started. An excellent title for beginners is Basic Techniques of Photography: an Ansel Adams Guide by John P. Schaefer. This book is a little dated, focusing only on film photography. But it is extremely thorough, and much of what it describes can be applied to digital photography. Another good book for beginners is Basic Photography by Michael Langford. Like Schaefer’s book, Basic Photography is a good reference, giving an excellent grounding in the basics. Both books also have plenty of tips and tricks for more advanced photographers.

If you are looking to take close-ups of flowers, a nice introductory book is Macro Photography: Photo Workshop by Haje Jan Kamps. How to Photograph Close-Ups in Nature by Nancy Rottenberg and Michael Lustbader and Digital Nature Photography Closeup by Jon Cox are both excellent books on the subject as well. Close-Up Photography in Nature by Tim Fitzharris has some gorgeous close-up photos but little advice; if you are looking for inspiration (or just want to enjoy his photos) it is definitely worth checking out.

If you're not interested in close-ups, why not give landscapes a try? We have several books on photographing landscapes, such as John Shaw's Landscape Photography. Much like Basic Techniques of Photography by Schaefer, this book is a little dated; it talks about film photography, but much of what it says is still true of landscape photography today. John Shaw’s book is good for beginners, providing a lot of the photography basics. Another great book is How to Photograph Landscapes by Joseph K. Lange. Like John Shaw’s book, How to Photograph Landscapes was written about film cameras but is still very applicable to today’s digital cameras. How to Photograph Landscapes is available in our virtual collection.

For something a little different, you can always give Fine Art Photography: Water, Ice, and Fog by Tony Sweet a read. Many of his photos are rather traditional, depicting trees and lakes in the sunshine. But every few pages Sweet includes macros that are more abstract, looking more like paintings than photographs. Whatever your photography interests, Fine Art Photography is sure to inspire you.

You may also be interested in taking pictures of animals. The library has The Complete Guide to Nature Photography: Professional Techniques for Capturing Digital Images of Nature and Wildlife by Sean Arbabi, a beautiful book full of useful information for taking pictures of all things natural. We also have Nature and Wildlife Photography: a Practical Guide to How to Shoot and Sell by Susan McCartney. McCartney’s book goes into a lot of detail on how to photograph a variety of wildlife subjects. But it does not have many pictures, making it unsuitable to flip through for inspiration.

If you're not really interested in photography yourself but would like to look at gorgeous photos by others, we have many books you can browse through. Most of the books I’ve listed have beautiful images, but you can also leaf through others like The Best of Popular Photography edited by Harvey V. Fondiller, the National Geographic Image Collection, and magazines like National Geographic and Outdoor Photography.

So this spring, why not embark on a wonderful adventure in photography starting at your library?

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday March 4th, 2012 Festival of Trees

The Ontario Library Association’s Festival of Trees is coming to Thunder Bay this May to celebrate with young readers the best of Canadian picture books for children. They will be highlighting the Blue Spruce and Silver Birch books with author signings and entertainment.

The goals of the Forest of Reading are many: to encourage children, young people and adults of Ontario to enjoy reading; to develop recognition of Canadian books and authors; and to provide an effective tool for improving literacy in schools and libraries.

The Blue Spruce Award program brings recently published Canadian children's picture books to children ages 4 to 7 in Kindergarten through to, and including, Grade two. Ten titles are nominated that will best help develop the young readers’ skills in evaluating a picture book based on story, text and pictures.

A Flock of Shoes by Sarah Tsiang, illustrated by Qin Leng. A little girl named Abby adores her pink and brown sandals with lime green trim. She wears them constantly, until one day when she is swinging her sandals flip off and fly away. But where did they go?

Giraffe and Bird by Rebecca Bender is about a giraffe and a bird who say they cannot stand each other. When they decide to part ways, they find they really aren’t that happy after all. They soon realize they are much better off learning to get along.

Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince!) by Heather McLeod, Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. Ella thinks that a talking frog is much more interesting than living like a princess in a castle. Prince Frog on the other hand, discovers a whole new world of fun beyond the castle walls.

The Little Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Based on a South American tale, a brave little hummingbird overcomes both fear and expectation in her attempt to save the forest from a fire. An inspiring message from Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai is included.

Making the Moose Out of Life by Nicholas Oldland. A funny story about a timid moose who lives in the wild but doesn't act like it. He would rather watch timidly from the sidelines. However he occasionally wonders if he is missing out on anything.

Noni Says No by Heather Hartt-Sussman, Illustrated by Geneviève Côté. Noni can do many things, but saying no is not one of them. When she finally learns to stand up for herself and still be a good friend, the results are not at all what she thought they would be!

One Hockey Night by David Ward, Illustrated by Brian Deines. A heartwarming hockey story about Owen who has just moved to the East Coast. He has shoveled lots of snow and practiced shooting pucks on the driveway, but misses the frozen lake that he used to skate on back in Saskatchewan.

Roslyn R
utabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! by Marie-Louise Gay. An adventurous young rabbit wakes up one day with a plan to dig the biggest hole on earth. Marie-Louise writes a story about the imagination of children and their ability to create fun out of small things.

Small Saul by Ashley Spires. When pirate Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid, the other pirates soon realize he is different. A story that celebrates individuality and being true to one’s self.

Stanley's Little Sister by Linda Bailey, Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Stanley's home life goes awry when he suddenly finds himself with a new sister. A cat! Making friends with her is not easy.

Information on how to get involved and vote for your favourite book can be found on the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading website. All of these books can be found at the Thunder Bay Public Library. Come in, enjoy them and select yours!

Caron E. Naysmith