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June/July 2015, Volume 7, Issue 6

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

Independence Day
July 4

Paperback Book Day
July 30

National Inventor's Month

National Back to School Month

Women's History Month

Bad Poetry Day
August 18

Senior Citizen's Day
August 21

Women's Equality Day
August 26

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Foster adult literacy with State Library e-resources



Sara Wylie retires

Sara Wylie retires from the State Library

A familiar face and voice has retired from the SD State Library. Sara Wylie was a library associate in the research department for over 30 years. Known for her tenacious ability to track down answers to reference questions and her infectious laugh, Sara will be missed by staff and patrons throughout the state. Her plans are to spend a lot of time this summer with her almost 10 month old grandson, Wesley, travel to see her daughters, and accompany her husband on some trips as well. There will likely be an SDSU football game or two on the agenda also. Good luck, Sara!


Two free authoritative health sites available for patrons

Merck Manual consumer health resource now free online
Patrons looking for good health information now have one more resource. The Merck Manual, one of the world's most widely used authoritative, comprehensive medical resources for professionals and consumers, is now free online at

The manual will no longer be printed and will be continually adding content, which includes news, medical topics, symptoms, emergencies, drug information and other resources.

National Institute of Health brings Senior Health site to public
If your senior citizens want authoritative, understandable health information, the National Institute of Health has you covered. The Senior Health site allows searches and browsing in a variety of topics related to health issues senior citizens face. Content includes articles and videos. Users can adjust the font size and brightness for better readability.


Federal Government websites provide plenty of learning opportunities

Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government website recently had an upgrade. Ben's Guide, a service of the Government Publishing Office (GPO), is designed to inform students, parents, and educators about the Federal Government. The site is broken down into three levels: Apprentice (ages 4-8), Journeyperson (ages 9-13) and Master (ages 14+).

The site includes lesson plans from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) on subjects such as Ben Franklin and the election process. In 2013, GPO entered into a partnership with AASL where volunteers review the content of the site and develop lesson plans. More lesson plans will continue to be added to the site, as well as educational games.

The Library of Congress website includes many sources that can be used in school assignments. The site has a link specifically for teachers where classroom content material can be searched by standards (common core, state content). There are also digital collections with items that can be used as primary sources and a separate section that specifically discusses what primary sources are and how to get students to use them.

The SD State Library is a Federal Documents Depository Library. We provide public access to printed federal publications, as well as linked federal publications from the library catalog.


Tips for Searching for Interlibrary Loan Materials

Searching WorldCat via OCLC FirstSearch

  1. Use a unique number: ISBN or ISSN (Standard number) or OCLC number (Accession number)
    • If you don't know the ISBN or ISSN, check Amazon,
    • If you don't know the OCLC number, check another library catalog,
  2. Search a Series Title
    Hint: Place series title in quotes: "hunger games"
  3. Search for materials about a person
    Hint: Tom Brokaw as Subject/Named person (don't use quotes around the name)
  4. Search combining Genre/Form and Subject
    • Mystery as Genre/Form
    • Cats as subject
  5. Use limits
    • If you only wish to find Books, check the box next to Books
    • If you only wish to find Sound Recordings, check the box next to Sound Recordings

See also

Searching Online Resources

  1. Genealogy materials
    • Search
    • Search Ancestry Library (available for free at your local library, provided by the SD State Library)
    • Search Heritage Quest (available for free at your local library or from home with local or state library card, provided by the SD State Library)
  2. Health/Medicine materials
    • Search PubMed, especially for journals,
    • Search National Library of Medicine,
    • Search ProQuest (available for free at your local library or from home with local or state library card, provided by the SD State Library)
  3. Older materials
  4. Federal Government Publications
    Hint: Search Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or
  5. South Dakota History

Please email Bell Jacobsen,, Nina Mentzel, or Brenda Hemmelman, with any questions. Or call the State Library ILL department at 800-423-6665, Option 2.


What makes a library special?

Did you know that South Dakota has about 50 special libraries? A special library can be found in many places: a hospital, a newspaper, a museum, a business, a college campus or a public attraction, just to name a few. A special library usually focuses on one major topic and is often started to support the work of the employees. To be considered a special library, the parent institution must also offer access for scholars and/or the public to use the materials for research.

Some examples of special libraries in South Dakota include:

What will you find in a special library? Let's look at the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota for an example. If you visit this library, you will find a non-circulating collection of approximately 5,000 volumes largely pertaining to musical instrument research. These titles are cataloged in USD's online library catalog. Additionally, they have a large collection of musical instrument manufacturing archives that includes price lists, catalogs, etc., which are not available online.

These libraries are special and unique. Check them out!


What are we reading?

book cover of Virtual Unreality
Virtual Unreality by Charles Seife, Viking, 2014, 248 pp.

This book is a fascinating read about how digital information affects us as individuals and as a society. Full of anecdotes and examples, author-journalist Seife steers us through the murky waters of the digital information sea in easy-to-read chapters. The book includes a short appendix, source notes, bibliography and index.

Seife states that the viral spread of digital information is making us stupid, as it's harder to discern fact from fiction. Chapter two focuses on Wikipedia and news journalism, where speed and social credentials are more important than facts and authority. Because of the way search engines work, online media outlets follow what's trending rather than digging up actual news. Seife explains how search engines and social media reinforce our own biases, preventing us from seeing other points of view or news stories outside our narrow scope of interest.

Other chapters expose a variety of means of falsification on the internet and offer ways to identify and counteract those shams and scams. In fact, Seife claims, we now ignore information because we can't take it all in. Because the internet belongs to the masses, it's easy to create fakes. "It doesn't take much effort at all to build an amazing-looking digital edifice without any substance behind it--be it a fake journal, a fake book, or a fake company. And every time one of these digital facades is erected, it's there for one purpose: to trick you" (p. 113).

He says that copyright is outdated, and because copies are so easy to make and share, producers are trying to control their material with licenses. Aggregation, opinion and curation are more important than ever.

Successful web writers write for machines, not human readers because of the way search engines work. In Chapter 10, Seife compares the internet to parasitic mind control and offers this caution: "It is through self-awareness that we can once again take control of our own brains, despite the parasites that are trying to use us for their own purposes." He advises that we must sacrifice immediacy for reflection, seek information sources that challenge our beliefs and learn to see the world differently (p. 197).

This book would be great for discussion or teaching digital citizenship to teens and adults. It and other titles about digital citizenship are available for loan from the South Dakota State Library.





AASL, Aberdeen, Brookings, Common Core, copyright, DSU, genealogy, government documents, health, history, internet, Madison, OCLC, research, reviews, SDSBVI, senior, Sioux Falls, social media, staff, standards, USD, video, volunteer, websites, writers

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