Macmillan eBook Embargo: Tips for LibChat & LibAnswers

With Macmillan’s impending eBook embargo on the horizon, it’s likely that we will receive questions and concerns from customers on this issue. In preparation, we now have a Staff and Public FAQ where staff and customers alike can quickly and easily find information on this topic.

For LibAnswers and LibChat specifically, you may have noticed a new announcement under the Administrative Announcement area of the Dashboard. Clicking this link will direct you to the FAQ entry, where you can also find the Macmillan contact email, where customers can submit their direct feedback to Macmillan, as well as view ALA’s petition.

For quickly responding to customers on this topic in LibAnswers, be sure to use the new Macro (found where you normally find you library’s signature), which will insert a preformatted message. Just be sure to modify it accordingly for a complete and coherent response to the customer.

Rickey Barnett–Research Team

Finding Free Topographic Maps Online

Recently, I have noticed an uptick in questions from customers concerning where they can locate topographic maps showing specific areas of Snohomish County. More often than not, their question includes something along the lines of, “Does my local library have topographic maps that I can check out or view?”

Topographic maps are a very specialized resource, which unfortunately, aside from a few reference atlas items, SIL does not collect these sorts of materials. Fortunately for us though–and our customers–the United States Geological Survey has created an amazing tool that allows one to search, view, and print/download a wide collection of topographic maps–all at no cost! This tool is called TopoView.

TopoView is completely free and has the look and feel of Google Earth, but has many more features in play. To get started, navigate to the TopoView homepage here. Then, simply click Get Maps along the top menu. You can enter a zip code, city, or specific address, and voila! One of the really cool features with this tool is the option to view not just current maps, but also a treasure trove of historical maps as well. (I found maps of Edmonds dating back to the 1890’s).

To learn more about this amazing resource, see my example and instructions below for how you would do this. Happy searching!!!
Rickey Barnett, Librarian
Research Team

TopoView Tutorial:

1. Enter the location you are interested in finding in the box at the top right of the web page, where it says “Search by Location”, and hit enter, or click the magnifying glass, to start the search.

I found the red box encompassing the area you are searching to be an obstruction, but you can turn this off by clicking the cogs and gears icon just above the search box, and selecting “off” next to the option that reads “Turn map boundaries off”.

Once you have found a location, you can see available topographic maps at the right hand side, beneath the search tools. You can reorder them based on name or date, but they will default by dates automatically (from oldest to most recent). From this list, simply select the map you want, and then a small panel should open above the name.

Click show to overlay TopoView with the map you have selected. Also, by clicking the thumbnail image of the map at the right, it will open a larger preview of the map in another window. Notice the variety of downloadable file formats as well!

Finally, since the maps do have boundaries, you may have to select different points on the map (just click somewhere on the map to see the marker) to see a given place in its entirety. When you move the marker, more maps will appear at the right hand side. If you want to quickly view the main map as a topographical or satellite version, use the three circles at the top left to toggle between views. See the image below for what these look like.

Still have questions? Check out the help page from TopoView.

Quick! Does Sno-Isle have access to this journal?

How do you find out whether one of our databases offers full-text access to a specific journal or magazine? Do you have to search EBSCO, ProQuest, and Gale databases separately? No! You can use the Full Text Finder to search for publications in our databases.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Research page under Online Library
  2. Click on Magazines & Newspapers
  3. Click on Full Text Finder
  4. Search for the title of the publication

And there you go! You can click through to the publication page within the database, where you can search within the publication or browse by issue.

Updated Record Collections in Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry is the go-to resource for census records, birth records, marriage certificates, and death records. It may be less well known, though, that existing Ancestry collections are updated regularly, and entirely new record collections are being added to Ancestry every month.

New additions can be checked from the Ancestry Library Edition homepage by clicking the “New Collections” link along the top banner:001 ALE
Detailed information about new and updated record collections can be seen hovering your mouse above the title of the record collection in question:

003 ALE

If you’re interested in genealogical research, a quick check of new additions to Ancestry can be a fun and useful addition to your daily information desk routine!

Up against the paywall?

Have you run into a newspaper paywall lately? More and more national newspapers are blocking their content behind paywalls as a means to generate subscription revenue. During shifts on the information desk, I have been hearing from a lot of customers expressing frustration about their inability to access online newspaper content due to paywall restrictions.

Sno-Isle Libraries provides a great work-around to this problem. The National Newspapers Core database provides access to content from five major national papers: The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Content is updated daily, and the resource is available from home 24/7 with a Sno-Isle Libraries card.

National Newspapers Core can be accessed from the Sno-Isle homepage by

1.) clicking the button for “Online Library”
2.) selecting “Research” from the drop-down menu
3.) clicking the button for “Magazines and Newspapers” from the Research Resources page
4.) clicking the link for “National Newspapers Core” from the “Magazines and Newspapers” page

001 NNC