Digital Maine Library ~ formerly known as MARVEL!

By now, it may not be a surprise, as the announcement has been made – MARVEL! has changed.  It is now known as Digital Maine Library.  It is still an AMAZING database available to all Maine library card holders.  This database is provided by the Maine State Library.

When I go to the new site, there are several differences.  There is no general search bar visibly available to search the entire site, and there is no alphabet at the top so that I may jump to the database I want.  These are just a couple of the changes I see immediately.

Hmmm . . . At the top of my screen I see the website name, ABOUT, VIDEO TUTORIALS and NEED ASSISTANCE.  Below that, I again see DIGITAL MAINE LIBRARY / GETTING STARTED WITH DIGITAL MAINE LIBRARY / A-Z INDEX / ADVANCED SEARCH.  Below this there is a slide show, with a bit of what we will find here.  Scrolling down the page there are three places I can narrow my search choices – SUBJECT, RESOURCE TYPE and AUDIENCE.

Next there is the content of the site.  At a guess, I would say that there are close to 100 different databases that can be accessed here – WOW!

Okay, I click on the word ABOUT and am taken to a page that gives me some history of MARVEL! and the DIGITAL MAINE LIBRARY.  Very interesting information.

Now I’m interested to see what VIDEO TUTORIALS is all about, so I click there.  A page of a variety of lessons appears – from some of the databases, to Facebook, G mail and Instagram.  I will have to take some time to check these out.

The NEED ASSISTANCE button takes me to a place with information about who to contact with questions about this site.

In the next line of links, I click on Getting Started with Digital Maine Library.  This page gives me answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the new site.

A-Z Index is just that, an alphabetical list of all the resources available here pops up on the left side of the page.

The last link on this line is Advanced Search.  This takes me to a page that discusses a couple of the ways that the website sorts, searches and then presents the information to us.  I have discovered a Search Bar that is not on the home page.  This Search Bar is the one that will search the entire Digital Maine Library website and not only the databases that I choose to look at.  Personally, I hope that this will be moved to the home page for the convenience of all of us.

Back to the home page.

Below the slideshow there are three boxes – Subject ;  Resource Type and  Audience.  Each of these has up and down arrows in the box.  Clicking on the arrows gives me many ways to narrow my search – perhaps define or refine are a better words.  Each set of arrows has many, MANY choices and ways to pinpoint which database(s) will be most appropriate for my search.

Enough for now, I look forward to exploring more on this site, but that will have to wait for another day!

 

Literary Reference Center – A MARVEL Database

I think it’s time for me to check out a new-to-me database on the MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library page.

Hmmm . . LITERARY REFERENCE CENTER – this looks interesting.  Clicking on the link opens the Literary Reference Center page.  Here I see several options to try.  The top menu bar contains New Search ;  Publications ; Browse Authors ; Browse Most Studied Authors and More.  There’s a place to do a search by Keyword ; Author  or Title.  Down the left side I see BROWSE with several options in the box, REFERENCE SHELF also with several options and CONTENT SPOTLIGHT which appears to be a journal article.  I don’t know how often the article is changed, but this one is about author Peter Matthiessen.

Closer to the center of the page there is BOOK HIGHLIGHT, which contains a sideways scroll.  I see articles with titles such as Critical Insights: The Great Gatsby ; Critical Insights: Mark Twain and Critical Insights: John Steinbeck.  Below this there are two more boxes – FEATURED WORK and FEATURED AUTHOR.  Today the FEATURED WORK is The Left Hand Of Darkness, and the FEATURED AUTHOR is Ursula K. Le Guin.

Where to now?  I check out the options below BROWSE and click on Most Studied Authors.  I am taken to a list of many, Many, MANY authors (in alphabetical order, of course) all that are click-able links!  It looks like I can also check them out by Country ; Culture ; Genre and Movement.  More options than I know what to do with!  After clicking on Movement, I scroll down the page and click on Beat Movement.  Wow, a list of seven authors who were part of the Beat Movement, all as links to more information about each of them.  I click on Jack Kerouac and am taken to a page with information about him, including his full name, birth and death dates.  There are also links to more information about him – Principal Works , Biography, Analysis, Summary, Discussion Topics and Bibliography.  Again, WOW!

I click back to the home page and again look at the BROWSE options.  This time I click on Most Studied Works.  I have to tell you, I find it odd that the list of works is in an odd to me order – yes, all of the As are together, but they seem to be in reverse alphabetical order – Awakenings before Atonement before Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret.  This might not be an issue for many people but is a bit off to me.  Clicking on a title takes me to a beautiful citation of the work, as well as giving me more options to look at.  There is a box on the left that contains Related Information, which includes Interviews, Reviews, Poems, Biographies and several other topics.  The Contents box works well to move me through the current page.

Back on the home page I focus on the REFERENCE SHELF.  Here there are several more choices.  I click on Research Guide.  This takes me to a page that seems to have any and all information I might need to write a research paper – from Plagiarism: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls to Worst Case Scenario: My paper is nearly due and I’ve barely started! to a Research Glossary.  This looks like a great page to keep in mind for “THOSE” questions – “How do I make an outline?” ; “My teacher said I can’t use the internet because it isn’t true.  What makes a true resource on the internet?” or “How do I write a bibliography?”

This is a very interesting database!  There are many pieces that I can see using here at the library, but there are definitely pieces that are a bit  . . . clunky to use.  This is a site that I would have found helpful several centuries (or at least decades) ago when I wrote my first papers for school!

What Should I Read Next?

What do you do when you have discovered a new (or new-to-you) author, and you want another book that is just like the one you finished?

You’ve read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on by ______ (fill in the blank) and want to read something JUST like (s)he writes.

Fascination with puppy dog tales – yes, I noticed the pun as well – has you craving more animal stories.

What do you do?  Yes, your local librarian is a wonderful help, but when you finish the book at midnight, and really, ReAlLy, REALLY need a new author SOON, please don’t call us! At least, not a midnight!

A fantastic website for you to find that new author, or subject area, or whatever piece of the title you just finished that sends you searching is part of the MARVEL database.  As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, this amazing resource is provided to all libraries in Maine, and with your current library card you will discover some great new authors and books.

Once you or I access the MARVEL database, which can be accessed through the library website, we need to scroll down, and click on the NOVELIST database.  There are two choices for Novelist – NoveList K-8 Plus and NoveList Plus.  As you might assume, one is geared more to the juvenile, but they both work the same way.

Okay, I’m here.  I type James Patterson in the search bar near the top of the page.  I’m doing a “Basic Search” at this point.  My results show me several things.  On the left side of the page there are several ways to “Refine Results”.  The majority of the page seems to be taken up by several tabs.  These tabs include Books ; Audiobooks ; Series ; Authors and Lists & Articles.

Since the Books tab is the first one (and open), I’ll see what it has to say.

My results include 389 citations.  I know Patterson is prolific, but 389???  Anyway, back to NoveList I go.  As I scroll down the first page, I see books by Patterson, books about Patterson, compilations that include Patterson, and books that he co-authored.  Many choices, but since I have read ALL of his stuff and am looking for something new, I click on the next tab.

Audiobooks appears to be exactly that – James Patterson books that have been recorded for our listening pleasure.  I do notice that the narrator of each audiobook is listed, and as a listener, there are some readers that I particularly enjoy listening to, as well as some that I would rather not hear again.  As I scroll down the first page, I realize that some of the titles are listed more than once and see that perhaps there is a choice of Abridged vs. Unabridged.  All in all, an interesting “tab” to look at.

The next tab is Series.  This one shows me the 22 series that Mr. Patterson writes.

The Authors tab lists six authors who in some way have been associated with James Patterson.  A couple of these authors appear to have written about him, or have co-authored works with him, or simply have the same name.

The last tab is Lists & Articles.  This is exactly what it claims – Lists and Articles about James Patterson.  A great resource for anyone interested in who Mr. Patterson is.

As I explored each of these tabs I noticed several things they had in common.  Below each citation there is a bit of information, as well as a few links.  I see a five-star popularity scale, whether the title is written for Adults, Teens or younger and the Read-alikes.  This is the piece I’m interested in right now.

I click on the Title Read-alikes link for one of the titles on this page.  If there were a specific title I LOVED this would be the time to choose it.  I am taken to a page with several new titles.  There is a “Reason” given for each of the titles on this page.

This process works the same way when I click on Author Read-alikes.  I am taken to a page with several – nine seem to be the maximum number – new authors that might be of interest.

Back to the original “James Patterson” search page I go.  This time I click on the book title itself, and am taken to a page with a description of the book, the genre and tone.  Also on this page, the far right column shows me Read-alikes.  I see the book covers, author and a link to this new title.  I know, I know, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover”, but … .

I can also search for those “puppy tales” I’m interested in.  The search bar is near the top of each of the NoveList pages, so I type in puppy tales.

Yup, this works as well!  I’m taken to pages that include more than 600 “puppy tales”.

Now, I’ve jumped around this great resource, my clock tells me it’s 2:00a.m., I didn’t disturb my local librarian, I’ve found some new reading ideas, and requested them to be picked up at the library.  This looks like several ticks in the WIN column to me!

Book Reviews!

 

This week I would like to tell you a little about the review magazines that we librarians read here at the library.  These magazines help us pick out what are the new releases that are coming out and the best books to buy for the library.  Some of these magazines are published monthly and others are published twice a month.  The names of some of them are Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and Publishers Weekly.  For the young audience there is VOYA and School Library Journal.  A few of the magazines are available for patrons to check out in the magazine section.  The reviews of books are also available online at the publishers’ websites.  To find out how some of the books that you are reading are reviewed in the magazines, you can go to MARVEL and on to NoveList Plus as Ann Russell talked about in the blog on November 10, 2012.  Ann was using NoveList Plus at the time for series, but the reviews from the magazine are right there below the title and description of the book. 
 
I looked up on NoveList Plus In the Shadow of Blackbirdsby Cat Winters.  After finding the right book, I clicked on the title and got more information about this book.  Scrolling down the information on this book, you check what libraries have this book by clicking on Search Minerva by title and just below that is a tab that says REVIEWS.  For this book it has 3 different reviews, 2 of the magazines gave the book a STARRED REVIEW, which is the best review a book can get from one of these magazines. 
So look up the books that you are reading either on the publishers’ websites or on NoveList Plusand see what kind of reviews they are getting or check out one of the review magazines in our collection of magazines.  If you see us librarians reading off our computers or out of a magazine, we may be reading reviews to the get the latest and best books for our patrons.
Ginni Nichols, YA Librarian