Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Break hours, 2008

Winter Break: 20 December 2008 - 4 January 2009

The SHSL will be open the following:


: 7:30am - 6:00pm
Weekends & Holidays

Detailed Breakdown-
Saturday - Sunday, 20-21 Dec.: CLOSED

Monday - Tuesday, 22-23 Dec.:
7:30am - 6:00pm

Wednesday, 24 Dec.:
7:30am - 3:00pm

Thursday- Sunday, 25-28 Dec.:

Monday- Tuesday, 29-30 Dec.:
7:30am - 6:00pm

Wednesday, 31 Dec.:
7:30am - 3:00pm

Thursday, 1 Jan. 09:

Friday, 2 Jan. 09:
7:30am - 6:00pm

Saturday - Sunday, 3-4 Jan. 09:

Monday - Friday, 5-9 Jan. 09:
7:30am - 6:00pm

Saturday - Sunday, 10-11 Jan. 09:

Monday, 12 Jan. 09:
Regular hours, Spring Semester begins

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

National Geography Week & GIS Day

17-21 November is National Geography Week and Wednesday, 19 November is GIS Day.

Make sure to visit the Geospatial Resources & Map Collection (GRMC) in Bracken Library for an open house on Wednesday from 9:00am to 3:00pm and the USC Graphics Lab in Cooper Science Building, CL469.

More information...
National Geography Week & GIS Day
GRMC blog entry
BSU Department of Geography

Monday, November 10, 2008

From the archives: Tryptophan & Turkey

Does turkey really make you sleepy?

Read my previous post about Tryptophan & Turkey and find out.

Thanksgiving Break Hours, 2008

The hours for the Science-Health Science Library 24-28 November:

Wed., 26 Nov.: 7:30a - 6:00p
Thurs., 27 Nov. - Sat., 29 Nov.: CLOSED
Sun., 30 Nov.: 1:00-9:00p

(Image from

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Methodologies

Tomorrow, November 4th, is election day in the US. A new president will be chosen.

Is the US voting system statistically the fairest? We use what’s called the “plurality” method which means that each person can vote for exactly one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins.

What about other methods like Borda, Condorcet, or IRV? How well do they work?

Find out more...

Page of links from the Open Directory Project to information on voting systems

The Impossibility Theorem of Nobel Laureate Kenneth Arrow

Critiques of Arrow's Theorem

"May the best man lose," by Dana McKenzie, Discover, 01 November 2000.

CardCat searches
  • Basic Search- keywords: voting mathematical models
  • Advanced Search- keywords: election methods

Monday, October 20, 2008

Daylight Saving Time: Fall 2008

So, when exactly do we reset our clocks? And is it forward or backward one hour?

Daylight Saving Time can be very confusing. Read below to help end your confusion! [The chart on the left plots the times of sunrise and sunset (with DST adjustment as separate lines) in Greenwich, GB for 2007. -from WikiMedia Commons]

Short answer
: On Sunday, 2 November, 2008 at 2:00am, you should set your clock back one hour to 1:00am. (Remember "spring forward, fall back...").

Easy answer: Most people who go to bed earlier than the wee hours of the morning simply set their clocks back one hour before they go to bed on Saturday, November 1st.

Detailed answer: Go HERE.

For more information...
Daylight Saving Time from WebExhibits

National Geographic on DST

US Naval Observatory on DST

Figure out what time it is in the United States at

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Autumn Colors & Tree Walks

With autumn comes color changes in the trees, harvest moons, colder weather, and shorter days. It's mostly due to those shorter days that trees begin their annual process of conserving energy by shutting down sugar production in the leaf factories. As these processes stop, the leaves "die," green chlorophyll breaks down, and the other chemicals are revealed.

>>UPDATE, 30oct07: "Sunscreen for trees" new study reveals that there is more to the color change than previously thought<<

You can experience these changes up close and learn more about them during October. The Ball State Department of Biology is hosting Fall Tree Walks at Christy Woods and invites "you to enjoy fall colors and environmental education as part of the Field Station & Environmental Education Center’s quarterly programming."

These walks take place each Saturday at 1pm throughout October. The walks begin outside the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse with FSEEC Land Manager John Taylor leading the guided tour of approximately 45 minutes. The walks are free and open to the public. Parking is available in lot G13, south of the Wheeler Orchid Collection Greenhouse (OGH) (See BROCHURE with map)."

Further Reading
-- websites
The Chemistry of Autumn Colors

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Chemistry of Autumn Leaf Color

-- books & other library materials
Find books in the University Libraries by doing a keyword/words or phrase CardCat search using keywords "chlorophyll," "dendrology," "botany," "vascular plants," or "trees."

Or you can click HERE for a list of selected titles.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

The LHC powers up tomorrow (10 September 2008) near Geneva, Switzerland. {UPDATE: the LHC successfully powered up and conducted its first test} The super-collider is the largest one ever built. It will send opposing proton beams speeding around the 27km ring at 99.999999% the speed of light only to smash into one another to recreate conditions similar to the Big Bang. Many hope that it will make possible the finding of the Higgs Boson and maybe even shed some light on dark matter and energy.

More information on the LHC
More information on the Higgs boson
The Standard Model
Just for fun...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

UPDATE! how to access electronic reserves

Accessing electronic reserves has changed a bit this semester. You must now login to CardCat to view any course reserves.

Also, searching for the title of a specific reserve item in CardCat without being logged in will result in finding the title on a list but the link provided will lead to a message saying the record is unavailable. Simply login to see the record.

For more details, read "How to access electronic reserves" and "Course reserves how to."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Total solar eclipse, 01 August 2008

The first total solar eclipse in over 2 years is happening right now. At the time of this writing- 9:56am (EST)- the shadow of the moon is just entering China. Unfortunately, it is not visible at all in the US.

The next total eclipse visible in the US will occur on 21 August 2017. The site of longest totality will be just northwest of Hopkinsville, Kentucky at 6:25pm and it will last for approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds. People are already making plans for celebrations on that day.

Find out more...
...about today's eclipse:
...about the 2017 and future eclipses:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Found pearls...

Moon transits Earth
A series of stills made into an animation that shows the moon passing in front of ("transiting") the Earth. Captured by NASA's "Deep Impact" spacecraft (now called EPOXI).

Perd Table of Videos
A series of short videos that show the various properties of the elements.

Underwater astonishments by David Gallo
Watch this video from the TED Talks and be amazed...

Dissection of giant squid
from Australia's Museum Victoria

20 July 1969, Apollo 11
- from Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy Blog at Discover Magazine
- from the SHSL Blog archive

Secret lives of magnetic fields or "Magnetic Movie"
Incredible animation and explanation of magnetic fields filmed at NASA's Space Sciences Laboratory by Semiconductor Films.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Do you have a copy machine?
Yes, our copy machine is located in the corner near the entrance. It will do color copies for an extra fee and scan to flash drives and SD cards at no cost.

How much are copies?
Black and white: $0.10 per 8.5 x 11" area copied when using cash; $0.06 per copy when using a copy card.
Color: $0.25 per 8.5 x 11" area copied when using cash or copy card.

Where can I get change?
The copy machine vend unit accepts $1 and $5 bills as well as coins. If you have a larger bill, the Bursar’s Office is located in Lucina Hall. The SHSL cannot give change- we have no means to keep money on hand. The vending machines upstairs will render change. On rare occasions, department offices will give change.

Is there a stapler/hole punch/tape dispenser I can use?
Yes. A stapler, tape dispenser, and three-hole punch are located next to the printer release station. If you need a larger stapler, ask at the counter. A large paper cutter, rulers, scissors, a calculator, and headphones are also available for in-library use.

Do you have a pencil sharpener?
Yes. It is mounted on the north wall near the end of the circulating collection of books.

Why do I have to have my ID/check this out- I’m just going to make a few copies?
We track usage (ie how many and when people use which items) and monitor access so that we can better meet the needs of our users and keep materials available for as many people as possible. In addition, most of the items on reserve are privately owned by course instructors who provide very specific instructions on how their materials are to be used.

Can I use your phone?
The SHSL phone is restricted to University business. This includes: facilities workers needing to call their co-workers or supervisors, faculty needing assistance getting in a room to teach, etc. This does not include: calling your professor upstairs to ask a question or set up an appointment, calling someone about a job interview, arranging for a ride home, etc. People with disabilities may use the phone to arrange for transportation.

Can I return/renew this here?
The SHSL is a full-service circulation point: we can return and renew any BSU Libraries materials from any location. We can return ILL books but not renew them.

Can I use my guest account pass here?
Unfortunately, no. The University limits guest account pass usage in the Libraries to Bracken Library. You may also obtain a guest account pass at Bracken Library. However, wireless access via the bsuguest network does not require a username and password but your available resources will be limited (eg bsuguest network does not allow laptop printing).

You have DVDs here. Can I book them?
Yes, we do allow booking of our videos. The request is taken and entered here but processed in Educational Technology & Resources Collection due to their expanded access to software modules that allow booking.

Do you have textbooks?
Due to the extreme rate of turnover and variability of instructors, courses offered, and textbook editions from semester to semester, the Libraries do not as a matter of course purchase current textbooks. Textbooks may be donated or placed on reserve.

How do I access electronic reserves?
See the SHSL blog entry on e-reserves.

Can you give me permission to take out this course reserve that is supposed to remain in here (ie is on “closed” reserve)?
Most of the materials on reserve are personal property of course instructors or are library-owned materials that have been placed on reserve to ensure fair and equal access to those materials by all of their students. Only the instructor may give permission to disregard their own reserve rules. Only the instructor may give express consent to remove a “closed” reserve item from the library. Library personnel have no authority to do so.

Do you have a FAX machine?
None of the University Libraries, including the SHSL, have FAX machines for public use.  The Cardinal Copy Center (see Printing Services), located in RB 160, the Hotel Desk and Post Office, located in the Student Center, offer public FAX services for a fee.

Do you have a color printer?
The nearest color printer resides in Bracken Library. Print jobs may be sent to the two color printers there for $0.25 per page. Large-format color printing can be found in the GIS Research and Map Collection located on the 2nd floor of Bracken Library.

I can do double-sided printing?
Yes. The printer in the SHSL allows double-sided printing.

How can i print from my laptop?
Information on how to print from your laptop.

Where is CN 67 and other rooms in Cooper Science Complex?
See the floorplans/maps of Cooper (PDF).

How do I print this PowerPoint lecture from BlackBoard?
When you click on a link to a file in Blackboard (especially when using Internet Explorer), that file opens within the browser. This severely limits the control you have over manipulating the document. The best thing to do is to download the PPT file to the desktop, open in PowerPoint, and then print rather than trying to print from the browser.
  1. right click on the link for the file in questions and select “save target as…”
  2. save it to the Desktop by clicking the large button on the left side of the window NOT the desktop folder that automatically opens during a download,
  3. open the PPT by double-clicking on it,
  4. go to FILE then PRINT,
  5. select print output options on the left hand side of the screen

Why do libraries not want people reshelving books?
First and foremost, we want to make sure we know when people use our collections. When books are checked out, we know about it. When they are used in the stacks away from the counter, we do not know. This can affect what we keep and what we get rid of as well as letting us know that people are using the library at all.

Second, A misshelved book is a lost book. we want to make sure that books are returned to their proper place. Library staff are trained to make sure materials are in order so that people can find the book they are looking for. If something is not in call number order, there is no way to find it except by a book to book search of all the shelves- a vastly impractical and nearly insurmountable task!

Have other questions? Contact the Science Librarian at 285-1118 or
Or see the Libraries main FAQ:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vernal equinox 2008

At 1:48am Eastern Daylight Saving Time, 20 March 2008, Spring will begin. This date and time mark the vernal equinox- equal hours of daylight and darkness that occur twice a year in spring and fall.

For more information on this in Ball State's University Libraries and online:

Do keyword searches in CardCat for "vernal," "spring," "autumnal," or "fall" "equinox," or "soltices." You can also type in terms such as "astronomy" or "seasons" for more general information.

You can also find books on this subject and astronomy in general on the shelves under call numbers beginning with Q14 (encyclopedia, dictionaries, glossaries, etc.) or QB63-65 (field guides, star charts, manuals, etc.).

External Links--

"The Egg and the Equinox" from Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy

"The Equinox" from Wolfram Research

SkyTonight Almanac from Sky & Telescope

Earth's Seasons: Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion, and Aphelion from the US Naval Observatory

Monday, March 03, 2008

From the archives: Daylight saving time, Spring 2008

It's that time of year again- we have to reset our clocks to fool ourselves into thinking we've more daylight than we have.

When exactly should we reset our clocks?
2:00am, Sunday, March 9th, 2008. Most people simply reset their clocks before they go to bed on Saturday night.

How do we reset them?
Forward 1 hour
. At 1:59am you will set your clock forward to 3:00am. Through sleight of clock, the 2:00am hour will disappear forever...

For more information: View this previous post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Charles Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin: b. 12 Feb, 1809 – d. 19 Apr, 1882

One of the great names in history on par with that of Einstein or Copernicus, his ideas changed our worldview at a fundamental level challenging us to think about ourselves and the universe we live in very differently.

On February 12th, 1809 C.E., Charles Robert Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England. In 1831, he took his famous 5-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle where he observed the dramatic variation of species in the Galapagos Islands- particularly the finches.

He did not invent the theory of evolution. The idea that species evolved (or "transmuted") from one for to another had been around for some time before Darwin. What he did was to document evidence for it better than anyone previously and work out a theory for how it functioned: the theory of natural selection.

At the same time, Alfred Russel Wallace came up with the same mechanism for evolution and nearly beat Darwin to the publishing house. Wallace graciously stepped aside to let Darwin take the lead in putting forth this theory to the world.

February 12th is Darwin Day. A day of celebration initiated by Darwin, a science education group, advocating the celebration of science- "our most reliable knowledge system."

Want to know more?
Click here (PDF) for a selection of articles, books, videos, and online resources about Darwin, natural selection, and evolution.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Laptop wireless printing: Notes in PowerPoint 2007

When printing a PowerPoint presentation, most people want to modify the printout from the slideshow format to one which they can use to take notes. Usually, this is done by reconfiguring the print options when you attempt to print the file. However, this does not work with our laptop wireless printing service.

To modify your PPT printout through this service, you must change the options of your PPT file before you print. Here's how:

In Office 2003
  1. Go to the Tools menu
  2. Scroll down to Options...
  3. Open the Print tab
  4. Under the "Default print settings for this document" heading select the radio button that says "Use the following print settings"
  5. Save file
  6. Print file via laptop wireless printing service
In Office 2007
  1. Go to the main menu (click on the "bubble" with the Microsoft logo in the upper lefthand corner - see image to right)
  2. Click on the button at the extreme bottom of this window labeled "PowerPoint Options..."
  3. Follow steps 3-6 from above
For more information read a previous SHSL blog entry on Wireless Laptop Printing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Course reserves how to

It's the beginning of the semester again and instructors are bringing down course reserves.

For students: Want to know how to check to see if your professor has stuff on reserve in the Science-Health Science Library? Click here.

For faculty: Want to know how to put items on course reserve? Try using the new online Course Reserves Request System (CRRS).

For students and faculty: Need to know how to access electronic reserves? Click here.

Remember that...
  • most course reserves are CLOSED which means they cannot leave the library.
  • Those that can leave are often on a very short loan period- from 2 hours to 7 days.
  • You need to have your BSU ID ready because they must be checked out like a regular book or video.
  • Reserves also have a no-nonsense fine policy associated with them-- fines build at a rate of $0.25 per hour overdue to a maximum of $24 (that's 4 days). So, bring them back on time!