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Showing posts from February, 2014

Becoming a Better Searcher: Using Boolean Operators to Find Stuff Faster

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Searching is easy, right? You just punch a bunch of words in that have to do with your topic and hope to get results. If you do not get results, then you try some different words. Eventually you will find that information. Not so fast! What you are doing is going to get you results eventually, but you are not using the most powerful tool in the searcher’s arsenal: Boolean operators. This post explains what Boolean operators are and how to exploit their potential.

AND, OR, NOT

Boolean operators exploit a type of logical arithmetic invented by George Boole in the mid nineteenth
century.  Boolean Algebra, as it came to be called, allows a person to express a complex series of statements or propositions as a mathematical function. In our case, that means that instead of asking for just one criterion to be satisfied in a search engine query, the searcher can ask for multiple things using the following logical expressions:


AND—The first expression is the simplest, “AND.” Using an “AND” opera…

Getting Red Carpet Ready

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The Academy Awards will be on March 2nd. For most people, these awards are about the films. Then there are those people who watch them not only to see who goes home with the Oscar, but rather (and to some, more importantly) what they are wearing on the red carpet! I am one of those people who watch for both.  It is exciting to see what is new, what the latest trends are, who pulled it off and, let us face it, who is a complete train wreck.

You might suddenly have this desire to know what is “in” or just what looks chic and glamorous. Or perhaps you are impressed by a certain designer.  You might be inspired to try something different, update your wardrobe, or learn something new about the fashion industry. Grab a bowl of popcorn, take a look at one of the books listed below, and have your own red carpet moment.

The thoughtful dresser: the art of adornment, the pleasures of shopping, and why clothes matter by Linda Grant
"For centuries, an interest in clothes has been dismissed as …

Heart-less YA for Valentine’s Day!

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Young adult (YA) books are fun to read – for teens and adults!  New YA authors are constantly introducing fresh material, blending genres and incorporating topical subjects; established YA authors continue delivering stellar series; and many well-known adult novelists such as James Patterson, Harlan Coben, Kathy Reichs, and Kelley Armstrong now also write for the YA market.  Plus, some of the latest blockbuster movies such as The Hunger Games series, Ender’s Game, and the Twilight series (and the projected blockbuster Divergent coming out in March) have been based on YA novels.

However, to me, the fun of YA novels diminishes when they focus more on love triangles than on the marketed genres and plots.  Romance novels and romantic subplots can be quite enjoyable, but when a supposed action novel devotes more time to agonizing over who likes whom than to the action sequences and plot, I am left feeling disappointed.

With that in mind, here is a list of YA books I have enjoyed where rom…

MedlinePlus

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Do you have a health concern, a question about a prescription medicine or need to check on a medical term you are not familiar with?  We all face these problems once in a while and there is a website that will provide reliable answers to all of the above.

MedlinePlus is a free, federally-funded  database  produced by the National Library of Medicine and written for medical professionals as well as consumers.  It is user-friendly and draws on extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other reliable sources for over 900 diseases and conditions.  It includes directories, a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, tests, treatments, health information in Spanish, information on prescription and nonprescription drugs and gives one an opportunity to view medical videos and illustrations.

For more in-depth information, try PubMed, which is a database that contains 19 million references to journal articles covering health and healthcare issues.  The citations are from about…

Love and Romance

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It's Valentine’s Day, now is the perfect time to read the latest on love, relationships, and romance! Check out these new titles available at the Mercer County Library System:

Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships
By Susan M. Johnson
The bestselling author of Hold Me Tight presents a revolutionary new understanding of why and how we love. Every day we hear of relationships failing and questions of whether humans are meant to be monogamous. Love Sense presents new scientific evidence that tells us that humans "are" meant to mate for life. Dr. Johnson explains that romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child, and shows us how to develop our "love sense"--our ability to develop long-lasting relationships. Love is not the least bit illogical or random, but actually an ordered and wise recipe for survival. Love Sense covers the three stages of a relationship and how to best weather them; the intelligence o…

Is the Cloud for You?

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The cloud was the buzzword for businesses a few years ago and now we are seeing new cloud services
showing up on devices every day.  So, what exactly is the cloud and is it something you should be interested in?

The cloud is basically a set of “server farms,” or warehouses that contain a lot of servers with high-capacity storage, that use the internet to communicate to individual devices.  The farms are run by reputable companies, such as Google and Amazon, which rent out space to other companies or individuals.  There are three main things that the cloud offers – storage space, services and programs.  The idea is to do these things over the internet so the individual does not have to worry about installing big software programs or buy devices with giant storage space to keep up with the digital stuff we accumulate, such as photos or music files.

Deciding if the cloud is for you, or which service to use, depends on many factors, such as the type of device(s) you use, how you use the…

Create a Colorful Penguin Suncatcher

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If you like penguins like I do, here is a fun craft project that will keep you busy for hours.
You will need:
Black paper Orange paper White paper Hole punch Tissue paper pieces Clear shipping tape Parchment paper Scissors Glue stick
Instructions:
1.First create the penguin body. Cut out a simple penguin shape from the black paper and then cut out a circle in the center. Set penguin body aside.
2.Now it is time to cut out the body parts. Cut out two feet and a beak from the orange paper. Cut two wings from the black paper. Cut out two circles from the white paper and use a hole punch to create two pupils for the eyes with the black paper.


3.Next you will decorate the penguin body. Use the shipping tape to cover one side of the center circle. (I placed a piece of parchment paper under the penguin so that the tape would not stick to the table.)
4.Turn over your penguin and begin to place tissue paper on the sticky side of the tape. Make any pattern you want. It is okay if the tissue paper overlaps.
5.…

Books To Get You Thinking

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The National Book Awards are among the most prestigious literary awards in the United States. Each year in November, the National Book Foundation, first established in 1950, selects the top books in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and books for the young from among thousands of books nominated for the award by publishers. A panel of five judges that includes eminent writers and literary critics then reads and evaluates each of the books nominated for the Award before coming up with the winners and finalists in each category. This month’s column highlights the winning titles and some finalists in the fiction and nonfiction genres.  National Book Award titles are available at the Mercer County Library System for the reading pleasure of our patrons.

Non Fiction

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packard

George Packard, a New Yorker staff reporter presents this well researched volume that highlights the evolving contradictions and intricacies of the American economic …