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School and association cruising

February 23, 2015 | Ranald | Comments (0)

The e-resource Career Cruising is good for profiling careers. What might not be so obvious is that it's also good for finding out where, in pursuit of a career, you can go to school; and what related, local associations there might be.




Say you want to know where you might go to school to become a chef. Click on "Careers", enter "chef" in the keyword search window, and select "chef" from the results.

On the page for chefs, select "Education" from the menu on the left. Scroll down to the "Related college & university programs" menu and select e.g. "Culinary arts / chef training." This will take you to a list of links to colleges and programs in Ontario (the default).


Let's say you're a pharmacist and wish to know what associations for pharmacists there might be. Again, click on "Careers", enter "pharmacist" in the keyword search window, and select "pharmacist" from the results (the only result, actually).

On the page for pharmacists, select "Other resources" from the menu on the left. Among the links that are listed will be links to Canadian associations for pharmacists.


Safari Tech Books Online

January 26, 2015 | Susan | Comments (0)

Have you ever felt sheer panic when faced with an unfamiliar piece of technology?

A few years ago, when Windows 8 first came out, I was expecting a spiffier-looking version of Windows 7. Instead, the operating system looked different, the icons were in all the ‘wrong’ places, and the Start menu was nowhere to be found. When library customers needed help with basic tasks on their Windows 8 laptops—be it connecting to the Wi-Fi or opening a Microsoft Word document—I was stumped. I admit I panicked. If I didn’t own a Windows 8 PC, how was I supposed to learn to use one?

Safari Tech & Business Books Online saved my life!

ProQuest Safari Books Online

I accessed a few introductory videos and quickly learned the basics. Then, I turned to eBooks—and the ‘search this book’ feature—to find all the information I needed. My Windows 8-related anxiety just melted away.

Search This Book  Using Windows 8

Before you ask, I did also search Google and YouTube, both of which are great resources when you have tech questions. I found I prefer Safari because it provides trusted content that’s thorough, well-organized, up to date, and easy-to-understand.

Safari is now a hidden gem that I cannot live without!

While Windows 8 will soon be a thing of the past—Windows 10 is here, and rumor has it that upgrading is FREE—there’s always new technology, as well as skills that need refreshing, and questions that stump us.

 Safari Tech & Business Books Online

As of today, Safari Tech & Business Books Online contains "over 36,755 technology, digital media, and business books and videos." Access is unlimited and available anytime, anywhere, with a valid library card.

To access Safari, you need to navigate to the eBooks & Downloads section of the TPL website (where OverDrive, Zinio, Hoopla, the lesser known OneClick Digital, and eBooks for Kids are housed).

Safari is the place to go if you need a tech book ‘now’ and: the book was published yesterday and hasn’t yet made its way to the library shelves; it’s 2am and you really can’t wait until morning; the only library that has the books you need is halfway across the city; or all the copies of a particular book are checked out. 

Safari has lots of eBooks to help you with basic computer skills, from Microsoft Word and Excel, to Facebook, and using Email.

Learning Microsoft Word 2013 Excel 2013 all-in-one for dummies My Facebook for seniors Communicating Effectively with Email

You can also use Safari to become a Digital Innovation Hub pro and learn all about: the Arduino or Raspberry Pi; 3D printing; Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign or GIMP; and Adobe Dreamweaver, HTML and CSS.

Learn Raspberry Pi Programming with Python Mastering 3D Printing LiveLessons Real World Adobe InDesign CC Adobe Dreamweaver CC Learn by Video

Moreover, if you’re a visual learner and prefer videos over books, Safari could very well become your favourite tech learning resource.

It’s also great for very specialized tech book, especially ones which, in my humble opinion, sound like they’re in a foreign language. “Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101," “Apache Hadoop YARN,” and “Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS Web Development," are just a few examples. Yes, these are all real tech topics that you can learn about on Safari.

Cisco CCENT/CCNA ICND1 100-101  Apache Hadoop YARN Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS Web Development

While I’ve mostly focused on Safari's tech book and video content, I want to point out that it has other subjects as well:


Here are some examples of the type of content you can find on Safari:

No Excuses! The Power of Self-Discipline The Manga Guide to Physics Discrete Mathematics with Ducks Your Photos Stink!

I highly recommend you give Safari Tech & Business Books Online a try!

Take some time and explore all the great titles that are available. It is a wonderful resource if you're looking for non-fiction eBooks.

Naxos Jazz and all that other jazz

September 22, 2014 | Niki | Comments (1)

BillieWhy is it so difficult to find good early jazz here? In Montreal they had a great collection and here there is almost nothing that I want.” I got defensive about this question – we have a great library system – ask anyone – but was quite polite and said I would look into it.

Well I did and he was right – in a way. Montreal’s public media collection is superb and is centrally located in one building. He neglected to mention that this building was the Grande Bibliothèque,  part of Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), Quebec's national library. It is not merely for Montreal but for the whole province.

I contacted him and recommended that he tryCharlie our Naxos Music Library Jazz. He was thrilled there was a way for him to access quality jazz in his area of interest.

Naxos Music Library Jazz (NMLJ) is a reservoir of great jazz from over 200 labels (including the catalogue of Blue Note Records, Warner Jazz, EMI, and Fantasy). The recordings in NMLJ come from over 8,600 albums (92,200 tracks) and 32,000 artists. NMLJ offers a mixed selection of jazz legends and contemporary jazz. Recordings can also be accessed from anywhere the patron chooses. You can create playlists in NMLJ. Once you log in and start your playlist you can exit NMLJ and keep your tunes playing in the background as you go about the rest of your life. You can download the free Apple app or use its  HTML5 for Logo_nml_jazzmobile browser. It’s a great resource for the jazz lover and it’s very easy to search for your favorites and build multiple playlists to organize them.

Music plays an important role in life of our City and Garcia TPL has recognized and supported this. In 1915 the Music Library was established as one of the library’s first subject collections. In 1959 the collection moved to the Howard Ferguson house on Avenue Road. Ogreta McNeill, Canada’s first professional music librarian and head of the music library, described it as “a home away from home; a drawing room where people could sit in nice leather chairs with their feet up and listen to music". The collection moved to the new Metropolitan Toronto Library in 1977. (1)

Today, our reference collection for music (including scores) is in the Arts Department on the 5th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, branches hold CD collections of interest to their neigbourhood and we have virtual resources such as Naxos Music Library, Naxos Music Library (Jazz) and Music Periodicals, International. On June 23, 2014, TPL staff tabled a Report to the Board on the Toronto music collection and the Board made a series of recommendations on the direction the library could take in the 21st Century.


IPictures-r-4679n Ogreta McNeill’s eulogy it was mentioned “She had energy, authority and persuasiveness, and, when called for pursued her cause of music librarianship with directness, spirit and determination. And pursued other causes as well: I believe she cancelled her TSO subscription after the infamous episode of the “Symphony Six”.

What was this infamous episode? 

A free Tim’s coffee card to the first response!

Green building blocks

March 10, 2014 | Ranald | Comments (0)

There's an interesting article in the 10th anniversary issue of Spacing: "Going green: 10 important policies that are making Toronto a more sustainable city" by Dale Duncan and Todd Irvine (winter 2013/2014, pp. 34-36). The policies are policies (and initiatives) "that have made Toronto greener over the past ten years" (p. 34).

One of them is a policy about green building in the city, the Toronto Green Standard. Readers may or may not be surprised to learn that "about half of Toronto's greenhouse gas emissions are generated from its buildings" (Duncan and Irvine, p. 34). The City made the standard mandatory in 2010. A new version became mandatory for new development in January of this year.

Old and new versions are available online and there are handy links to the Ontario Building Code and, within the standards, to pertinent LEED Canada documents. (LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, "a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings," according to the site of the U.S. Green Building Council, the group that developed the rating system. And customers ask about LEED almost as much as they ask for the building code.)

The LEED documents are a little handier, however, on the site of the Canada Green Building Council, under the LEED tab. (There is a Toronto Region chapter of the Canada council; see Chapters tab; but it's not a good source of documents; many of the links seems to be broken.)


Help! I've been asked to recommend some Childrens' Picture Books! Argggh!

October 20, 2013 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

Books photo clip artHere you are at the Reference Desk happily ready to serve the public when you are asked to recommend a story about firefighters for a child in grade 2.

The Children's Librarian has gone for lunch.  Crazy Librarian clip artYou...are Alone!

This is when I turn to the latest edition of "A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children's Picture Books".  This reference title is one I've been using for many years and still is the best source for finding that special picture book.  It's divided up into various sections:  Subject Headings, Subject Guide, Bibiliographic Guide, Title Index and Illustrator Index.  I sailed directly to the Subject Guide and easily found that "Firefighters" has a 'see reference to "Careers- firefighters".  So I headed over there to find a long list of 60 picture books that contain something to do with firefighters.  

The 8th Edition of "A to Zoo..." contains 13,755 titles that are catalogued under 1,215 subjects. 

When I search on-line, I find a list of 34 titles on but this list includes fire safety non-fiction titles that I don't want.

At Barnes and Noble, they have a very long list of 118 titles but include items published by Lego and Little Golden Books.  The last time I saw a Golden Book title, it was in a yard sale, so I'm not convinced about the quality of the items listed and also this publisher won't usually be found in a public library collection.

There are lots of entries when I Google, " Picture Books about Firefighters", but still the listings and information in "A to Zoo..." appear to be of the best quality and you know the source - a reference title in publication for the last 30 years.  A real Book!  Wow!





Wanting to Find Product Reviews? Try Consumer Reports Database

September 16, 2013 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Consumer reportsWhether shopping for a new car or a new laptop, Consumer Reports offers trusted advice on consumer products and services.  It includes ratings, articles, buying guides and recommendations on thousands of products.   It also has videos talking about the strengths and weaknesses of products as well as free newsletter subscriptions on topics like cars, safety alert, greener choices and more. 

Find ratings for cars, appliances, electronics, home & garden, babies & kids, money, shopping and health.  Consumer Report also allows you to select specific models and compare them to others in the same category.  1354562423_consumer-reports-january-2013-1

Read the latest issue of the magazine online and once there browse through back issues dating back to 2009. 

Consumer news offers the most recent research CR has carried out from topics like food processors or high-performance tires.  There is also a list of recalls and safety. 

To access Consumer Reports start at, and type “consumer reports” in the search box.  Click on Access Online, enter your library card and PIN numbers, click on Continue and explore this useful database.



Use of the alphabet as a surprise tactic in information services

July 29, 2013 | Ranald | Comments (0)

I surprised a user once by how fast I found something in the index of an encyclopedia, then found it in the encyclopedia. I wasn't especially fast. I thought he must be surprised at how I went from the index to the volume the topic was in. But the surprise he expressed was at how fast, letting the volume's pages run past a thumb, I found the article.

It seemed to be a surprise at how well I knew the alphabet and I went away pleased with how well I still did (by dint of reciting it, at an early age, morning and night, "and not in that sing-song voice, please; nor, when you come to W, in that theatrical manner").

The alphabet organizes reference tools like indexes. Library users were expected to know such tools better in 1943.

That was the year Lulu Ruth Reed published her survey of how well "464 Freshmen, 66 Sophomores, 68 Juniors, and 52 Seniors" did know them. ("Do colleges need reference service?" The Library Quarterly 13:3 (Jul. 1943): 232-240.)

Oddly few of her expectations are our expectations though our collections are still full of the same kind of reference tool hers were.

She expected students to be familiar with the "characteristic features of the best-known unabridged dictionaries." They weren't. 15% didn't know that synonyms were included. 20% didn't "understand the significance of the two keys to pronunciation" in one of the dictionaries. 50% didn't "understand the effect of arrangement of illustrations on their utilization." This last is a sore point. "Lack of a marked progression from Freshman to Senior is also noticeable, particularly on the question dealing with illustrations."

Similarly detailed are her other expectations about the use of encyclopedias, the selection of sources specific to the question, the recognition of the fields of knowledge that topics fall into (which she sees as a prerequisite to understanding Dewey classification), bibliography, and evaluating the "authenticity and relevance" of sources. E.g. she expects students to know the names of the editors of important reference books, that a preface gives the scope of a book, what the function of a newspaper editorial is.

She's disappointed.
  • "Such universally used tools as encyclopedias are inadequately understood."
  • "The poorest showing was made on the question that tested sharply the date of information included in the several books."
  • "Only a small percentage of students were able to select the most specific source." "The tendency revealed is reliance on general reference sources."
  • "Whatever success [students] may have in locating material is due more to chance than to association of topics with broad fields of knowledge."
  • "The functions of indexes and tables of contents are not clearly differentiated."
  • "There were also many failures [...] in differentiating between articles by and about a person."
  • Students are unable to select "the most authentic and relevant source" for different types of information, statistical, historical, etc. "One point of interest is the number of students who indicated fiction as the best source."

She throws up her hands: "it is possible that the failures may be explained partially by the tendency of students to rely upon color of binding or position on shelves in locating books used for reference questions". We laugh. We don't have her expectations, at least in detail. But, without them, we lose a sense of the kind of instruction we could be giving while giving information service. We also throw up our hands.

Her disappointments, mutatis mutandis, seem less odd than her expectations. If we don't expect users to know how to use the index of an encyclopedia, we think it useful for them to know and are ready to show them. We think it useful for them to be able to evaluate resources for currency. To use the most specific source. To know the difference between a source by and a source about someone. To recognize authoritativeness.

It is impossible to read an article about information services (recent articles, anyway) without reading that everything, with the internet, has changed. Not everything has.

Naxos Music Library Jazz

July 11, 2013 | Mary-Beth | Comments (0)

Looking for jazz music downloads?  Naxos Records started as a large independent classical music label and has recently released Naxos Music Library Jazz.  This database contains over 7,500 jazz titles from Naxos Jazz and over 200 other labels such as Blue Note, EMI, Fantasy and Warner Jazz.  The genres included are contemporary jazz, jazz, blues, nostalgia, and world jazz.

0077778135753Browse by label, artist, composer (including lyricist and arranger), genre, and the time period the recording was added to the database library.   You can also browse from the play screen of an album by clicking on the names of the composers and artists.  You can also search by keyword or perform an advanced search.  Results show the artist/title of album and catalogue number. Click on either to get to the play screen.

Try creating playlists of album tracks. Click on Playlists and sign up for an account. A user guide on playlists is available after you activate your account and log in.  Don’t forget to download the free app from iTunes.

Naxos JazzFind the Naxos Music Library Jazz database through the Toronto Public Library’s A-Z list of all databases Sign in with your Toronto Public Library card and start enjoying more jazz today.


Summertime Reading - Zinio eMagazines

June 28, 2013 | Joanne | Comments (0)

Chatelaine ENG 6-24-2013 10-02-14 AM   Hello Canada -24-2013 10-03-28 AM
Newsweek 6-24-2013 10-21-58 AM  Golf Tips 6-24-2013 10-07-37 AM


Summer is a great time to get caught up on magazine reading. Zinio eMagazines, a new service, offers unlimited access to current issues of over 300 popular magazines. You can check out as many magazines as you like. Magazine issues are always available and remain on your computer or device until you delete them.

Some key features:

  • You will need a Toronto Public Library card to register for Zinio
  • You will have to create two accounts using the same email address and password - one at to check out magazines and a Reader account to read checked out magazines via streaming online with computers and/or downloaded offline via mobile apps. The same email address and password should be used to create the two accounts
  • For tablet and device customers there is a free Zinio mobile app to read and download magazines. Go to to select the appropriate app for your device.
  • You need to return to the Toronto Public Library Zinio eMagazines page every month to get the next issue

Please see a Zinio User Guide for help with Getting Started with Zinio eMagazines.

Passport to Communication – Let’s Go Mango!

June 7, 2013 | Diana S. | Comments (0)

Mango Languages database is an online language-learning system that can help you learn over 30 languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Greek, Italian and more.

Mango Languages for the World

The online language learning resource uses real-life situations and actual conversations to more effectively teach a new language. By listening to and repeating after material designed from native conversations, you will not only learn the individual words and phrases, you will know how they are used in practical situations and conversations. You will learn more than grammar and vocabulary. You will learn how to communicate.

  Mango Languages
The database is very useful when you travel as you can acquire practical verbal skills in another language for everyday polite conversation situations. Click on the video for a quick overview of how to go about learning a new language or even improving on a language you already know.

Click on "Mango Languages Database" or start the video below:



 See also related post:
Aloha! Pehea ‘oe? Learn Hawaiian with Mango Languages Database & your Library Card!

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