Customer:"What's the fastest animal on Earth?"Information Agent:"The Cheetah....Next?" -- Airplane II, 1982

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sports scores, etc.

Recently, Google partnered with ESPN and Major League Baseball so that additional information will now show up in search results.  For example, current and upcoming games, including scores and TV listings.  I think we all know that we have a few customers who frequently call the Call Center looking for this particular information.

Let's say there's a call asking about either NFL scores or TV schedules.  Simply perform a search in Google for nfl espn:
In the image above, we see the results of our search.  The two most recent games that have already concluded have scores, including links to the right for a recap (news article of game) and the box score (statistics).  Future games are listed as well, and include the scheduled game time to the right.  

Clicking on the 1:00 PM (ET) link will take you to an ESPN page previewing the game:
Here we can see that the game will take place in New Orleans at the Superdome, and will be televised by FOX at 1:00 PM.

Back on our results page, we see a link at the bottom of the list to show more games:

Clicking on this will expand the list to display the full schedule for the upcoming week:
Similar searches can be performed for Major League Baseball games too.

In Google, search for mlb.com:
The results list will display in a similar fashion as our nfl espn search.  Notice that in the image above, the game between the Mets and Nationals is ongoing, as indicated by the bottom 1st link to the right of the listing.  The game is 0-0 in the bottom half of the first inning.  Games that have not yet started include a link with the scheduled start time; clicking on the link opens a game preview page on mlb.com, along with radio and TV broadcast information:

Hopefully this will make some of those sports questions from our regulars a little bit easier to answer.  To find out more information, see Google's Inside Search blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Resource Spotlight:Directory of Obsolete Securities

Directory of Obsolete Securities (332.67)  This source can be used by investors who are trying to identify old stock certificates (often inherited), with details such as former company names, mergers and final action making it obsolete (example - "each share Common $1 par exchanged for $4.20 cash). 
I blogged about some of the print resources for investing information (including the above) in the past, but I thought it might be helpful to have a concrete example of the source in use.

Today in Reference, a customer was searching for stock information in order to help a client who had recently inherited stock in a company.  Specifically, he needed to see if Atlantic National Bank had ever ordered a stock split between 1967 and 1985.  He needed to calculate his cost basis for the security, which through years of mergers and acquisitions was now Wells Fargo.  Fortunately he knew some of the dates and company name changes along the way.

My first thought was that the S&P Stock Guides might be the place to look, since our holdings roughly fit his timeline.  Also, because they were organized on a monthly basis, they might more easily show the stock split information instead of having to pouring through the daily stock tables in old Wall St. Journals on microfilm.  After he looked at the Guides, he determined that wasn't what he was looking for.  That's when the Directory of Obsolete Securities came to mind.

The Directory lists the manner in which the company's stock became obsolete, along with the new name (if applicable) and date of the action.  As I said before, the customer knew the basic timeline for the various mergers, and this helped greatly.  He knew that Atlantic National Bank had been bought by First Union in the mid-Eighties, which later became Wachovia, which is now Wells Fargo.  Our holdings of the Directory are not complete, with a gap from 1978 to 2002.  Using the 2002 edition, we were able to locate a listing for Atlantic National Bank (Jacksonville).

As you can see from the listing, there may be multiple companies with the same or similar names, so be sure to check the location.  From this entry, we learned that ANB was acquired by Atlantic Bancorporation in 1968, and "public interest eliminated."  This means that they were no longer a publicly-traded company, but a private business, which is why the customer couldn't locate them in the S&P Stock Guides.  We then looked across the page to the listing for Atlantic Bancorporation.
Eureka!  The information that he needed:  a 2 for 1 stock split on September 6, 1983.  This also confirms his rough timeline, with the name changes to First Union and later, Wachovia.

Update:  It turns out that the customer came back later and needed more detailed stock price information for certain days in the late 1960s, in which case he searched the stock tables in the Wall St. Journal microfilm.  The point is that searching for old stock information can be a bit like detective work, but with the right tools it might not be that painful.  Feel free to thumb through a few pages of the Directory the next time you're roaming in Reference, just to get a feel for the information that's included and how it's organized.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Items in Reference - 8/15/2011

Library Management Tips That Work (025.1)  "is an anthology for public, academic, special, and school librarians looking for successful examples of management when so much is changing in the profession:  how to manage staff, time, boards, emergencies, finances, stress, patrons, technology, and related topics day after day with budget and staff cuts," while providing planning guidance and tips on execution.

Working Americans, 1880-2010, vol. XI:  Inventors & Entrepreneurs (304.4097309)  A biographical series focusing on the economic and social aspects of the lives of working Americans, in this case - inventors and entrepreneurs.  The book is divided into sections by decade, with profiles examining subjects' lives at both home and work.

The American Economy:  A Historical Encyclopedia, revised ed. (330.973003)  Including over 600 short entries, 31 essays and 32 primary sources, the Encyclopedia "has been thoroughly update with information on the accounting scandals of the early 2000s and the recession of 2008, including the government stimulus and bailout programs and the recession's impact on key markets."

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Items in Reference - 6/13/2011

Breaking News - for those of you who need to be constantly connected to Refman's World - the site has now been optimized for viewing on smart phones!

A Librarian's Guide to an Uncertain Job Market (020.2373)  A timely resource just for us, Librarian's Guide deals with the issues that face those who work in libraries during this period of budget-cutting.  Includes tips on recession-proofing your present job, dealing with sudden job loss, composing a resume and a job-hunt primer.  This will be kept beneath the Reference desk - take a look at it while you're there.

Florida Business Directory, 2011-2012 (338.00294759)  A great resource.  Published by ReferenceUSA (remember them?), the Florida Business Directory contains over 900,00 businesses, arranged by city, yellow page category, major employers and SIC Code.

The Municipal Year Book, 2011 (352)  Issues, trends, resources and statistics for local governments.

Weiss Ratings' Financial Ratings Series (360s - kept in slipcase)  Consumer guides for various insurance and financial products, including variable annuities, homeowner's insurance and long-term care insurance.

American Wholesalers and Distributors Directory, 2011 (381.2029473)  As the name implies, it's a directory covering nearly 30,000 wholesalers and distributors; geographic and alphabetic index.

The American Heritage Medical Dictionary (610.3)  Over 25,000 definitions.

Handbook of United States Coins, 2012 (737.4)  Also known as the Official Blue Book; identification and pricing guide for US coins from 1793 to date.

Theatre World, v.66 (792.05)  An annual guide and record of the American theatre season.

The Penguin Atlas of World History Volume 1 (911)  The only question is will this tome of world history have future volumes or end at the first? (see Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part I)

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Items in Reference - 5/20/2011

Public Papers of the Presidents:  Barack Obama, 2009, v.1  (353.035)  The first in a series of volumes that will contain President Obama's papers and speeches that were issued by the Office of the Press Secretary from January 1 through June 30, 2009.

Garner's Modern American Usage, 3rd. ed.  (423.1)  Covers usage, pronunciation and style.

Directory of Professional Resume Writers (650.142029)  Lists Marilyn Feldstein of Jacksonville (http://careerchoicesunlimited.com/index.html) who specializes in the field of career development and offers - among other services - writing resumes for customers (fee-based of course).

Encyclopedia of Literary Romanticism  (820.9145)  Contains a section of alphabetical entries, a chronology and select bibliography of secondary sources.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Items in Reference - 5/12/2011

The following are new and/or updated books in the Reference collection:

CQ Researcher 2010 (300) A good source of information on issues recently in the news.  Each issue of CQ Researcher (this edition contains all 2010 issues into one bound item) "opens with an overview of that issue's topic, followed by a discussion of three key questions that drive debate surrounding the topic."  In addition to the Opposing Viewpoints database, the CQ Researcher might be a complimentary resource to refer to students working on "pros and cons" papers on topical issues.

Encyclopedia of Careers and Vocational Guidance, 15th ed. (331.702)  Similar to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Besides covering job and industry-specific information, the Encyclopedia contains career guidance information including applications, resumes and interviewing.  The previous edition is located in NF and is available for checkout.

Weiss Ratings' Guide to Banks and Thrifts, Summer 2011 (332.1)  Ratings and financial data for financial institutions; published quarterly.

SRDS Newspaper Advertising Source, 2011 (338.4)  Contains rate-planning information for advertisers on daily papers, newspaper groups, ethnic newspapers, religious newspapers, college newspapers, comics and newspaper-distributed magazines.

Weiss Ratings' Guide to Health Insurers, Summer 2011 (368.382)  provides "policyholders and prospective policy purchasers with a reliable source of insurance company ratings and analyses on a timely basis."

American Women of Science Since 1900, 2 vols. (509.2273)  Contains biographies on notable American women scientists.  Includes an index, listing of disciplines, a chronology, scientists by discipline index and listing of women Nobel Prize winners in the sciences.

Brands and Their Companies, 35th ed. (602.750973)  The first volume contains an alphabetical listing of brand names, along with the owning company; the second volume has an alphabetical directory of the company contact information.  Located on the Ready Reference shelf.

American Inventors, Entrepreneurs & Business Visionaires, Revised ed. (609.2273)  Containing almost 300 biographies of such business leaders as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey, American Inventors attempts to convey "the history of American invention and entrepreneurialism" in one concise volume.

Florida Cruising Directory, 2011-12 (623.892)  Includes such useful data for sailors & boaters as tide tables, boat ramp locations, marinas, cruising guides, sketch charts and bridge schedules.

Rand McNally Road Atlas, 2012 (912.7)  3 copies; one located in Call Center, and one each beneath the Ask Here desk in Reference and Non-Fiction.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Business & Career Guidance in FEL

This is just to highlight some new eBooks that are available to libraries throughout Florida via the Florida Electronic Library.

To access these (and other) eBooks, go to the Florida Electronic Library.

From the homepage, choose Available Resources and click on View All Resources:

From the alphabetical list of available resources, scroll down to "G" and select Gale Virtual Reference Library:

To access the business titles, click on "Business" in the publication subject listings:

You can choose a particular title by clicking on the hypertext link.  If you do not see a title listed, you can search for it by scrolling back to the top and choosing Advanced Search.  In this example, I've changed the search field to Publication Title and entered "american buyers":

Articles from American Buyers:  Demographics of Shopping will result.  To view more information about that title, including a Table of Contents, Index and Illustration Listing, click on the title in the record:

You can then access the other features of the eBook:

When you have free time, explore some of these titles in Florida Electronic Library:

Career Guidance
·       A-Z of Careers andJobs
·       IQ and AptitudeTests
·       Ready-made Job SearchLetters
·       Successful Interviewingand Recruitment
·       UltimateInterview
·       Ultimate JobSearch

Business Development
·       American Buyers: Demographics of Shopping
·       GreenProperty
·       The Growing BusinessHandbook
·       How to UnderstandBusiness Finance
·       Winning NewBusiness
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