Headlines In Context: Comparing the Watergate Scandal to Russia’s Election Meddling Investigation

| By Debra Kirby |

Keeping up with current events can be a full-time job—never mind understanding the history behind what’s in the headlines. Take the ongoing coverage of the investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections for example. This story seems to change daily—sometimes hourly. Even if you’re checking in multiple times per day and managing to keep up with the basics, references to historical events and underlying facts relayed by experts and political pundits can leave you wanting to learn more.

For instance, a number of commentators, when discussing the recent firing of FBI director James Comey by President Trump, have referenced similarities to Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Is that a valid reference?

To get the background details needed to better understand what’s behind these and other references, start your research with U.S. History In Context, where you will discover in-depth coverage of such topics as:

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Centennial of the Battle at Vimy Ridge

| By Traci Cothran |

Throughout 2017, Canada is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the WWI Battle at Vimy Ridge (France).  It was a seminal event in Canadian history—a fierce battle against the German forces, which resulted in heavy casualties, including the loss of 3,598 Canadian soldiers and some 20,000 Germans, with tens of thousands more wounded.  Remarkable as it was, this victory against the Germans wasn’t solely a battlefield feat; because the Canadians prevailed where French had failed many times (at an enormous loss of life) and paved the way to Allied victory, the event helped unify Canada, and solidify its independence in the international community.  Commemorative events are planned throughout Canada, as well as in France.

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Pellissippi State Community College Librarian Shares Why Gale Resources are Successful

|  By Jennifer Mezick, Acquisitions and Collection Development Librarian Pellissippi State Community College |

At Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC), our users have access to many Gale resources through the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL). Through our TEL setup we are able to track only statistics for PSCC users. From our statistics, we know that Gale resources are heavily used by PSCC patrons and there are a few reasons behind this success:

In Class Instruction
Our students primarily use the resources shown to them during class. PSCC librarians provided research instruction to 137 classes this past fall semester. PSCC librarians and teaching faculty find that students who receive in-class research instruction achieve higher grades on their research assignments. One of the lessons we present to students is the importance of finding background information before searching for journal articles. Opposing Viewpoints In Context is our go-to database for demonstrating background research. All the “In Context” databases contain Topic Pages for select topics, which provide histories and explain the different viewpoints of those topics or issues.

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Faculty Outreach
Because not all of our faculty can find the time in a 5 to 16 week semester to have us in their classes, educating our faculty about our resources is the next best way to reach our students. Our faculty learn about Gale databases at our New Faculty Academy, where we introduce library resources, and at Faculty In-Service, where we demonstrate new databases or changes and new features to current databases. Librarians at PSCC are faculty and serve as subject liaisons. With this designation comes the responsibility to serve on campus academic committees and attend academic department meetings (and sometimes share after-work beers). Relationships with faculty are formed through these committees. I find that these relationships make faculty more comfortable talking with librarians about research assignments and available resources, which provides us the opportunity to recommend the most appropriate resources for their upcoming assignments (or their own research).

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The Greatest Resistance Stories

| By Debra Kirby |

In honor of Holocaust Month, which is observed in the United States in April, I’m sharing a few of my current reads and older favorites related to World War II resistance groups and individuals. With a background like mine—a lifelong interest in World War II history, French and Polish grandparents, and a tendency toward activism—stories about WWII resistance in Europe have long attracted my interest. Below are a few of my current and longtime favorites, as well as recommendations on which Gale databases you can visit to learn more about WWII resistance.

 Recent Nonfiction Favorites:

The Resistance, 1940: An Anthology of Writings from the French Underground translated and annotated by Charles B. Potter (2016). This fascinating first person accounting of four French Resistance fighters, including national heroes Jean Moulin and Germaine Tillion, would make an excellent primary source student resource.

The Zoo Keeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman (2007) chronicles the experiences of Polish citizens Antonina and Jan Zabinski and their sheltering of Jews on the grounds of the Warsaw Zoo. A movie based on the book and starring Jessica Chastain premiered in Warsaw in early March.

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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

| By Traci Cothran |

How wonderful is it that following the release of the movie “Hidden Figures,” the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson are now known by millions?  Their collective story is an impressive and important one, yet it’s a part of our history that’s been concealed for decades.

What other significant contributions by women are also shielded from view?  It’s a joy to uncover these gems, and allow them to inspire other women and girls today.  To me, that’s what Women’s History Month is all about—shining a light on the often overlooked contributions made by women throughout history.

Here are just a few, randomly chosen women from today and yesterday whose work and lives are notable.  You’ll find them all in Biography In Context, among other Gale resources.  As you read about them, you’re bound to discover other interesting women, too!

Maria Tallchief – (1925-2013) Tallchief was the first American-born woman to achieve prima ballerina status at a major dance company; she was also a member of the Osage Nation.  She’s featured this month in Research In Context.

Zora Neale Hurston – (1891-1960) A writer and major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston is a favorite of mine, for both her wonderful writing and her ability to live an unconventional life for women of her era.

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One Shining Moment in Space and Time

| By Debra Kirby |

While a history major in college, one of my classes was a one-on-one tutorial on the history of science.  During one session my patient professor was able to explain Einstein’s special relativity theory so that I was truly able to understand it—for one bright shining moment. I could almost feel my brain working! It was beautiful! Sorry to say, I was never again able to recapture that moment in quite the same way, despite later taking a “Physics for Poets” class and going through quite the hero worship phase, which included reading every book on Einstein I was able to purchase or borrow. I even hung a poster of him in my bedroom. Because my history focus was on World War II, I found Einstein biographies especially fascinating, since much of his life was intertwined with and influenced by that war.  In honor of Einstein’s birthday today, March 14, I recently visited Gale’s Science In Context to reacquaint myself with the great physicist. Here are just a few of the interesting facts I found:

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Canada oh Canada – Neighbor to the North, East, South (depending)

Canada has been in the United States news more than usual recently, with the visit of Justin Trudeau in early February, the proposed resumption of construction on the Keystone Pipeline, and news that some immigrants residing in the United States are now fleeing to Canada. In many parts of the United States, Canada may not … Read more…

Library Media Specialist Points Fellow Librarians to Opposing Viewpoints In Context

Originally posted on School Library Journal, February 15, 2017 Fake news is everywhere, and many Americans in this digital age struggle to sort fact from fiction. As the concern for fake news and what to to with it grows, students and researchers are turning to the library for reliable, authoritative tools to aid proper research. … Read more…

Using Gale for College and High School Instruction

By Lori Warren Another plus for using Gale databases for library and research instruction is the integration of Google and Microsoft Tools. The STEM school on our campus uses the Google tools and our college students and faculty use the Microsoft tools.  As our high school students move into college classes, they transition naturally to … Read more…

Hidden No Longer

By Debra Kirby

Sometimes it takes a critically acclaimed movie to shine a light on extraordinary achievements. This has proved to be especially true when the subjects of those achievements are women or members of minorities. The movie Hidden Figures, based on a book of the same name, has recently generated interest in three African American women who played important roles in the U.S. Apollo Space Program. As is often the case, once you start digging into the details around historic events or people, you discover many related interesting facts and stories. When your sources include Gale databases you can spend hours exploring and learning.

Here are some of the facts I found when I began my journey to learn more about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—the fascinating women whose stories are told in Hidden Figures.

  • Katherine Johnson began her career as a “human computer” at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), NASA’s predecessor. Before the age of electronic computers, NACA employed hundreds of women mathematicians as human computers. Men with similar qualifications were classified as professionals; women were sub-professionals. Black mathematicians were segregated in their own office and loaned out to various divisions as needed. (Read more about Johnson in Biography In Context.)

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