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Reference Desk Archive

Check out what`s new at Leddy Library

March 15th, 2012 by Heidi

Get a sneak peek at the new books coming into Leddy Library by visiting the New Arrivals shelf behind the Reference Help Centre on the main floor. Browse by subject.  See what’s new. Find your new favourite book.

Did you get an ereader over the holidays?

January 4th, 2012 by Mita

Recently, we got a question from a reader who was interested in adding library books to her new ereader and wanted to know how to go about this. I thought I would share my answer for all those other folk out there who also received a new Kobo, Kindle, or Nook over the holidays:

The world of ebooks is in a state of considerable flux at moment. There are a variety of file formats for ebooks out there and at the moment, all competing for market share. Most ereaders are able to read files in the epub format … except the Kindle, which uses the mobi format as its default. The file format that most ebooks, tablets and computers can read is the pdf format and almost all the ebooks available from the Leddy Library are in this format. Unfortunately, while pdf files can be opened by most ebook readers, they are really hard to actually read from them.

So while you can generally read any pdf ebook offered from the Leddy Library, you may be able to only download a portion of the book at a time. To make matters even more confusing is that each publisher is deciding how much of a book can be downloaded at a time — if they even let the reader do this at all.  Some of these services will require the reader to register at their website before the ability to download a work is made possible.

It’s a very confusing reading landscape out there.

Now, before you start cursing Santa out for not bringing you a tablet computer instead, please know that there are reading options for your ereader.

For recent, popular reading, the Windsor Public Library makes ebooks available through the Overdrive service.

For public domain material (mostly works before the 1920s), both the Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg provide texts in a variety of formats, including epub and txt.  Canadian Public Domain material is also well represented in Scholars Portal Books which allows such works to be read and downloaded.


If you have any questions about ebooks and the Leddy Library, please let us know at leddyref@uwindsor.ca.

Food for fines!

November 25th, 2011 by Mita

Help support the University of Windsor Student Food Bank and reduce your library fines by donating non-perishable, unexpired food items at Leddy Library’s Circulation Desk. For each item that you donate, you’ll receive $2 off your fines, up to $50 per person!

An Occupy Reading List : Updated!

November 16th, 2011 by Mita

Everyone knows that you are what you read. So to learn more about the protesters who have been occupying Wall Street for the past three weeks, it makes sense to find out what they’re reading.

The quote is from Bill Morris, who was curious what were in the libraries of the various Occupy movements.  And in this spirit  and in time for today’s panel discussion on the Occupy Movement, here are some of the books that occupies some of the time of some of the people involved in the Occupy Movement.

People's history of the united states

The People’s History of the United States

“Steve Syrek, an English Ph.D. student at Rutgers University, responded when he heard that librarians were needed and protesters were hungry for copies of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Syrek bought nine copies and donated them to the People’s Library…”

from: The Eclectic Reading List at Occupy Wall Street

The Verso book of dissent : from Spartacus to the Shoe-Thrower of Baghdad

“This suggestion comes from one of the Occupy Wall Street Librarians. “What are you guys telling everyone to read?” I asked. He immediately picked up this book, which he said was one of his favorites. “Verso is a great publisher generally,” another guy who was stacking books added. “We like everything they publish.


“If you’re looking for one of the orienting works around contemporary politics of resistance, I’d say you should pick up Antonio Negri’s and Michael Hardt’s Empire.”

from:  Hydra’s Occupy Wall Street Reading List

Direct Action

Direct action : an ethnography

“Nevertheless, some figures are credibly cited as influential, notably David Graeber, an American anthropology don at Goldsmiths in London, who helped organise what became the Wall Street occupation in its early weeks; his books include Direct Action: An Ethnography, Debt: The First Five Thousand Years and Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology.”

Time for outrage!

“Another elderly agitator – grandfathers can sometimes be recruited against fathers – played a comparable role in the southern European sit-ins that followed the Arab spring. Published a year ago when he was 93, the former French resistance fighter Stéphane Hessel’s call for a youth uprising against the powerful, Time for Outrage!, became a pan-European bestseller and was read by the first occupiers in Madrid – the name they adopted, Los Indignados (later copied by the Greek protesters), was taken from its Spanish title, ¡Indignaos!”

from : The Guardian: Occupy: the intellectual high ground

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street

“Bartleby’s positive refusal continues to resonate with the OWS movement”

from: Occupy Wall Street Library: Marathon reading of “Bartleby, the Scrivener” @ 60 Wall St, 11/10

Civil Disobedience

“In his seminal 1849 essay Civil Disobedience, Thoreau made a compelling case for individual resistance to civil government that would inspire generations of revolutionaries and ordinary nonconformists alike to engage in moral protest against being made unwitting accomplices in the injustices perpetrated by the state. ”

The art of moral protest  : culture, biography, and creativity in social movements

“One thing this year’s unrest and its treatment in the popular media have exposed is the tendency of today’s scholars to reduce protest to “objective” factors like resources, evolutionary biology, and political structures. More than a decade ago, prominent NYU, Columbia and Princeton sociology professor James M. Jasper channeled his frustration with this conflation in The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements — a thoughtful and provocative treatise on the creative, subjective side of social and political protest.”

from:  Occupy Omnibus: From Philosophy to Art, 10 Essential Books on Protest

And for information about the Occupy Movement, I’d recommend checking out the Occupy Movement Research Guide from Patti Ryan and Lisa Sloniowski of York University. This Changes Everything Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement is currently on order.

And, as an addendum: two more lists

The first list is “Occupy Primer Reading List: The Essentials” from the Occupy Wall Street’s Practical Change Working Group.

If you are curious about why Occupy Wall Street has turned into Occupy Everywhere, if you want a basic understanding of the problems in the system that make this stand necessary, we believe these are the books to start with, in no particular order.*

shock doctrine
Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

Debt: The First 5000 Years – David Graeberend of growth
End of Growth – Richard Heinberg

in defense of food
In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan


Griftopia – Matt Taibbi

These #ows primer books have been selected because they

  1. give a basic yet rarely-discussed understanding of the structural problems that need to change
  2. are often-requested books at the Occupy Wall Street Library
  3. are relatively objective, even though trolls and false media may profess otherwise

Another list recently published is from Barbara Ehrenreich, author of such works as Nickel and dimed : on (not) getting by in America.

In addition to “A People’s History of the United States”, her 3 books on protest include:

Poor people's movements
“Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward’s classic Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail (1978) because to a large extent, Occupy is a poor people’s movement — a movement of the unemployed, of debtors, of low-wage workers and the homeless.”

Bury the chains
“Adam Hochschild’s Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves (2005) because it so perfectly illustrates Margaret Mead’s iconic statement: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

A reading list for future journalists

November 4th, 2011 by Mita

The Columbia Journalism Review asked their favorite journalists, scholars, and critics to recommend books and other works that could help the next generation of reporters become better observers, storytellers, and thinkers. You can find the following suggestions from the Leddy Library:

London labour and the London poor

London labour and the London poor

“Though not officially a journalist, he pretty much invented the reported urban sociological sketch, one of journalism’s best and most durable forms.”

Berlin diary ; the journal of a foreign correspondent, 1934-1941

Berlin diary ; the journal of a foreign correspondent, 1934-1941

“Part diary, part rewrite of Shirer’s CBS radio reports, it conveys both the daily feeling of the beginning of World War II and the relentless energy and courage of a great reporter at work.”

Song of the Dodo

The song of the dodo : island biogeography in an age of extinctions

“Takes a fairly arcane subject—island biogeography—and from it weaves a great narrative. He’s an intrepid reporter and a wonderful storyteller, and any journalist can learn from him.”

Desert solitaire : a season in the wilderness

Desert solitaire : a season in the wilderness

“Abbey is the real thing, and those don’t come along very often. His memoir-cum-elegy for the American Southwest is worth reading once a decade or so.”

Prisoner without a name, cell without a number

Prisoner without a name, cell without a number

“Reveals the courage that journalists can be called upon to summon and how it’s possible to retain one’s humanity in the face of evil.”

The things they carried : a work of fiction

The things they carried : a work of fiction

“A lesson in writing, of the importance of detail in telling a story. It teaches journalists: look, see, remember”

In cold blood; a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences.

In cold blood; a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences.

“Still the gold standard for true crime writing, even if there’s some fudging of the facts.”

Roughing it

Roughing it

“For the sheer joy of writing and giving a sense of place.”

Tides of consent : how public opinion shapes American politics / James A. Stimson.

Tides of consent : how public opinion shapes American politics

“Accessible and provocative summary of scholarship on the role of public opinion in American politics.”

Jimmy Corrigan : the smartest kid on earth

Jimmy Corrigan : the smartest kid on earth

“A masterpiece of the graphic novel genre, demonstrating how storytelling can be solemn, beautiful, and devastatingly sad using a medium usually considered inferior to the long-form written word.”

Den of thieves

Den of thieves

“The latest den, which brought the world to its knees, is but an echo of the past.”

Random family : love, drugs, trouble, and coming of age in the Bronx

Random family : love, drugs, trouble, and coming of age in the Bronx

“Leaves you unable to draw simple conclusions about the complicated, often no-win choices people and families must face daily.”

Happiness : lessons from a new science

Happiness : lessons from a new science

“Uses data to analyze, in detail, the health of societies around the world; helped show how GDP is a poor measure of how healthy a society is.”

The trust : the private and powerful family behind the New York Times

The trust : the private and powerful family behind the New York Times

“A must-read if you want to understand how The New York Times became our most important newspaper.”

Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia

“Goes beyond reporting, literally into the trenches, to give his firsthand account of the Spanish Civil War.”

The promised land : the great Black migration and how it changed America

The promised land : the great Black migration and how it changed America

“This history of the black migration is the best model I know for using narrative nonfiction to depict sweeping social change.”

Understanding comics : the invisible art

Understanding comics : the invisible art

“Analysis of the nature of graphic narrative invites journalists (and everyone else) to continually reinvent every storytelling form we’ve inherited.”

Within the context of no context /

Within the context of no context /

The age of missing information

The age of missing information

“Complementary deconstructions of TV culture serve as a valuable corrective to today’s wave of Internet-determinist diatribes.”

On writing : a memoir of the craft

On writing : a memoir of the craft

“Will cure you of adverbs, and embolden your best writer’s instincts.”

The creation of the media : political origins of modern communications

The creation of the media : political origins of modern communications

“How media-related decisions shaped the openness but also the gargantuan flaws of the American public sphere.”

What are journalists for?

What are journalists for?

“Parses brilliantly such questions as, What really is the public that journalists supposedly serve, and how well do we serve it?”

Genius : the life and science of Richard Feynman

Genius : the life and science of Richard Feynman

“A wonderful example of how to deal comfortably with the intersection of science and public policy.”

Middlemarch: a study of provincial life

Middlemarch: a study of provincial life

“Exemplifies the precise observation, psychological complexity, and generosity of spirit to which narrative nonfiction should aspire.”



“A perfect antidote to watered-down, on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand war coverage, and a testament to the power of the individual observer.”

Occupy Scholarly Communication

October 28th, 2011 by Mita

It’s Friday and the last day of Open Access Week 2011 or, in the parlance of the day, #OccupyScholComm Week.

You know things are messed up when

Why are librarians taking to the streets? Barbara Fister explains the current situation very well:

Here’s my version of an Occupy Wall Street cardboard sign. At my library, we’ve been seeing big price increases in two big journal packages that we really need. Again. This is what we’re paying for American Chemical Society journals

2010 – $29,705
2011 – $34,337
2012 – $41,741

This is what we’re paying for SAGE journals

2010 – $39,105
2011 – $41,442
2012 – $52,500

… I’m not upset that my budget isn’t growing. I’m upset that scholarly publishers think these price hikes are okay, that they can keep adding new journals to their title lists with the expectation that I will pay for them. I’m upset that big scholarly publishing is being run like a protection racket, and that both I and the faculty I serve are pawns in this game.

You can help us reclaim scholarly communication and make it available to everyone whether you are a professor, a researcher, a student or a librarian.

Open Access 101: free, unrestricted, online

October 27th, 2011 by Mita

In honour of Open Access Week,  we’ve been highlighting videos that celebrate the efforts to make scholarship free, unrestricted, and online. If you’ve missed our previous videos, don’t worry as we have a short Open Access 101 video as one of today’s selections:

The above video was produced by Right to Research – a coalition that takes the student’s point of view when it comes to Open Access Publishing.

On that note, we want students to know that the The Leddy Library is working with other partners to make scholarly work free, unrestricted and online.  Notably, we host the following Open Access journals:

We support your right to research!

Just how badly have we messed this up

October 18th, 2011 by Mita

Yesterday’s featured Open Access video was a short one clocking in at a minute. But if you have an hour between classes, we highly recommend suggest that you spend it watching Lawrence Lessig’s illuminating and entertaining presentation, The Architecture of Access to Scientific Knowledge: Just How Badly We Have Messed This Up in honour of Open Access Week:

Lessig’s lecture was delivered at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland this April 2011 and the talk about is about open access to academic or scientific information but also covers Read/Write Re-mix culture with a bit of commentary about YouTube Copyright School.

We are also on Twitter @LeddyLibrary

September 22nd, 2011 by Mita

Not only you can check out Leddy Library in Facebook (as you are check out Facebook while you are in the Leddy Library) but you can also follow us on Twitter @LeddyLibrary.

And for those of you of the old skool, we have an RSS feed of Leddy News items for the feed reader of your choice.

Apps for Teaching and Learning

August 11th, 2011 by Mita

This summer the Leddy Library and the Humanities Research Group is sharing some of the Digital Humanities Work currently being done on campus through a Summer Series.

The next brown bag talk this will be on Wednesday, August 17th, running from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the 4th floor boardroom at the Leddy Library.

Nicole Noël is the Research Coordinator at the Centre for Studies in Social Justice. Her background is in the Social Sciences rather than the Humanities, but a big part of her job involves dissemination of research via the web.  She manages the open access journal Studies in Social Justice. She will speaking to us on the topic of:

Apps for Teaching and Learning

For people working in academia there are a host of applications for use on computers and mobile phones that allow us to collaborate, teach, and collect data in new ways. We will open this discussion to allow you to discuss your favourite “apps for academics.” In addition, Nicole Noel will share how she uses one social bookmarking application: diigo. diigo combines social bookmarking with website annotation such as highlights, private and public notes, and discussion groups. It can facilitate research collaboration and be used as a tool for teaching critical reading of the internet to students. This session will include an introduction to the basic features of diigo including: bookmarking, tagging, annotation, and groups. There will also be discussion of the way faculty have used diigo in the classroom to teach net literacy and broaden the context for their courses.

Please join us!