Monday, September 19, 2011

Online Citation Tools

It's that time of the year again! Professors are handing out syllabi and assinging the first round of assignments, which may involve citing sources. One thing is for sure: students dread citation styles. However, there are tools out there that can help students understand the breakdown of citations.

The following are a sample of online citation builders that are geared towards helping students with the main academic citation styles: Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago Manual of Style. Even though these online citation builders have worked hard to provide consistent citations with the rules set out by the citation style guides, users are ultimately responsible for the citations and should proofread them for accuracy.

KnightCite is maintained by the Hekman Library at Calvin College, Michigan. The service was created in 2004 and is available to members within and outside of the Calvin community. It generates bibliographic citations for MLA, APA and the Chicago Manual of Style, and it cites a variety of materials ranging from sacred texts to cartoons.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries developed the Citation Builder. The Citation Builder does citations for books, chapters or essays from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles, and web sites. After filling out a form, only the bibliographic citation is provided.

The Son of Citation Machine is a great aid for writing a research papers and assignments. Established in 2000, the site lets the individual choose the citation style (MLA, APA, etc.). Next, the individual chooses the type of source: book, journal, magazine, website, and various other types. After filling out the appropriate fields based on citation standards and submitting the form, the individual conveniently gets the bibliographic citation and in-text citation.

Lastly, BibMe is a free auto-fill bibliographic generator that will format your bibliography to the main citation styles. It uses a search engine powered by World Cat to automatically produce the citation of a book and the engine also gathers basic information for other source types. 

It's important for students, teachers, and scholars to remember that although these generators create the bibliographic citation, it is important to check the accuracy of the citation before incorporating it into your research paper or assignment. Best of luck in your future academic achievements!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Medical Resources

The School of Allied Health at The College of Westchester prepares its students to be the health professionals of tomorrow. As a result, the Library has gathered up reliable medical resources available online in order to help students in the field.

Medical Dictionaries
  • MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, in partnership with Merriam-Wesbster provides users with a search engine to find medical terminology.
  • mediLexicon is a comprehensive free online medical dictionary powered by Stedman's Medical Dictionary.
  • WebMD stores medical terminology deriving from Stedman's Medical Dictionary, which also makes it a great tool.
Medical Encyclopedias
Medical Handbooks and Manuals
Health Information Sites
The College of Westchester Library also has books on health and health professions. The following are a sample of the collection:

Left: Medical Terminology: A Living Language
Center: Medical Terminology for Health Professions
Right: Medical Terminology with Human Anatomy

Google Search

Searching in Google is easy, right? For basic information Google provides immediate answers. However, for more elaborate search queries, anyone can get lost in the overwhelming number of hits and websites.

For example, let us imagine that a student is interested in searching for reliable information on the prevention of diabetes. The student can easily type "diabetes prevention" in the search engine, but get back over 7 million hits. 

Here are some basic facts you should know about searching with Google to help reduce that 7 million mark to a manageable number:
  • Typing "new york times" and "New York Times" is the same thing. The Google search engine is case insensitive.
  • By using "quotation marks" around a word, you are asking Google to search for the exact words in that exact order. 
    • Example: "Alexander Bell" will only get you results with Alexander Bell, but will ignore search results that had Alexander G. Bell. Use the quotation marks wisely.
  • Using site: can help you get results from a specific website.
    • Example: Typing iraq will give you results about Iraq from from the New York Times website only.
  • You can also use site: to look up topics in a type of site, such as .gov, .org, .edu, etc.
    • Example: Typing iraq will give you results about Iraq from .gov sites only.
  • Adding a minus sign before a word means you do not want the results to have this word.
    • Example: Typing diabetes -recipes -diet will give you results about diabetes that do not talk about recipes and dietary issues.
If you'd like to use other similar features as the ones listed above, visit Google's Basic Search Help for more information.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cover Letter Tips and Resources

cover letter is a formal letter often submitted with a resume to employers when applying for a job. The letter serves as an introduction to your resume and it allows for you to elaborate on your qualifications and experience.
Left: Sample cover letter
Right: Sample resume
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when writing your cover letter:
  • Use the standard Times New Roman font with 12 point font size.
  • Keep your cover letter brief and simple as seen with the sample cover letter above.
  • Address the letter to a specific individual. If you can not find a name, use a job title instead (Example: Dear Director of Human Resources).
  • Be confident, creative, and enthusiastic. This is where you want your personality to shine.
  • Spell check and proofread your letter for errors.
  • Review cover letter samples to get ideas on how to format and write your cover letter.
Here are some reliable resources that will help you write a proper cover letter:
  • Optimal Resume at The College of Westchester allows you to build your cover letter, resume, and portfolio online. 
  • Here are a variety of cover letter formats to adopt in during your writing process.
  • Here are some sample cover letters to review and help you with your cover letter.
  • These sample cover letters focus on a variety of fields including business services, banking & investment, financial services, healthcare, and marketing.
Lastly, The College of Westchester Library has several books on career planning as well as resume and cover letter writing. Here are sample books you might want to browse through the next time you visit the Library:

Left: Cover Letter Magic
Center: The Complete Book of Resumes
Right: Dynamic Cover Letters