Research Highlights @Noon

University of Connecticut Associate Professor Christian Zimmermann, the first speaker of this year's Research Highlights @Noon series.

Mark your calendars; Research Highlights @Noon begins this fall at Babbidge! Research Highlights @Noon is a lecture series sponsored by the University of Connecticut Libraries. Faculty and graduate students from a variety of disciplines will have the opportunity to share their research with the UConn community.

The Social Sciences Liaison team has invited this year’s first speaker, Christian Zimmermann from the Department of Economics. Associate Professor of Economics, Dr. Zimmermann is also a research fellow for the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor, Associate Editor of the Review of Economic Dynamics, and was recently appointed Assistant Vice President of Research Information for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Research Division. He will present his research model on using unemployment accounts as an alternative to traditional unemployment insurance.  Dr. Zimmermann’s presentation will take place on Wednesday October 6 at 12p.m. at Babbidge Library in the Class of ’47 Meeting Room. For information on future lectures visit University Libraries Research Highlights @ Noon .

How to research Hispanic/Latino health issues

Metas Mentos

A group picture of METAS mentors for 2010-2011. METAS is a peer-to-peer mentoring program developed by the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center "to assist first-year and transfer students with their college transition by pairing them with a peer mentor who provides guidance and support throughout the mentee’s first year at UConn."

As part of the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) this blog entry briefly discusses Hispanic/Latino health issues and how to conduct research on this subject using the library resources.

The Hispanic American/Latino community has specific health concerns based on factors such as genetics, environmental factors, access to care, and cultural factors. Typical medical conditions affecting this diverse population are: Diabetes, Asthma, a variety of mental illness and HIV/AIDS, while cancer and heart diseases are the leading causes of death in this complex population.

At the UConn Libraries we strives to acquire materials that document health research on the Hispanic American population.  If you are interested in learning more about Hispanic-American Health, the UConn Libraries has the books, journal articles, and librarians (expertas) you’ll need.

If you want to find out more about the issues related to Hispanic American health before you get started, visit the following sites for reliable and current information: MedlinePlus—Hispanic American Health ,  the Connecticut Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos or The Pew Hispanic Center’s Internet Resources for Health

Check out some interesting statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For material is Spanish visit,

In addition, visit the library from September 16 – October 15 to see a display of Hispanic/Latino Health related books available in the Homer Babbidge Library (Plaza Level) as part of the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Visit also the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC) for their schedule of events to celebrate this month.

How to research Hispanic/Latino health issues

One of the challenges of studying the Hispanic American population is the fact that it is not a homogeneous population but a very heterogeneous one where race, language, and socioeconomic status vary from group to group. What affects Puerto Ricans will not necessarily affect Cuban Americans or Mexican Americans. Another element that complicates research is the fact that more than one term is used to describe this minority group. Both Hispanic American and Latino are umbrella terms developed through the years by the U.S. Census to try to document and account for this ever-changing group.

The U.S. Census definition state: “People who identify with the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the Census 2000 or ACS questionnaire – “Mexican,” “Puerto Rican,” or “Cuban” – as well as those who indicate that they are “other Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino.” Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race.”[i]

Tips and advice on researching Hispanic/Latino health issues using library resources

Need Books? Search for books in HOMER, the Libraries’ Catalog

TIPS:  When using HOMER, browse our collection of books on Hispanic American Health by entering one of these Subject searches:  1) Hispanic Americans –Medical care –United States; 2) Hispanic Americans –Health and hygiene –United States.

Need Articles: Search for quality articles in one of our databases:


When using full-text keyword search use quotation marks (“ “) to denote a phrase such as “Puerto Rican” “Cuban American” to identify materials on that ethnic group

To combine keywords using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT):

  • Do you have more than one topic? Use AND:   Hispanic Americans AND high blood pressure
  • Do your topics have synonyms?  Use OR:  Hispanic Americans OR Latin Americans OR Cuban Americans
  • Do you have multiple topics and synonyms?  Use Parentheses:  (Hispanic Americans OR Latin Americans OR Cuban Americans) AND (high blood pressure OR hypertension)
  • Do your topics have singular or plural forms?  Use Asterisks (*):   Hispanic American* OR Latin American* OR Cuban American*

For more tips and advice on researching Hispanic/Latino using the library resources visit National Hispanic Heritage Month LibGuide

Need Help?

Contact one of our subject specialists

For information about health/medicine: Jill Livingston /  486-8303

For information about Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, and Spanish: Marisol Ramos / / 486-2734.

[i] From American FactFinder glossary at retrieved September 15, 2010. For a more complete understanding of the change from Hispanic to Hispanic or Latino see, Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity at retrieved September 15, 2010.

Introducing the Husky Bookman!

The Husky Bookman is a new series of postings which will highlight new acquisitions in Babbidge Library.

Photo of Homer Babbidge Library by Peter Morenus.

Vol. 1 no. 1:   Transportation

Road work is everywhere a driver turns these days.   Waiting for the flagman’s signal on Rte. 195 has given the Husky Bookman extra time to reflect on a spate of newly ordered material on transportation themes.

The UConn Libraries pay particular attention to railroads in buying for the Babbidge collection because of their historical significance, but also because published works on railroads help contextualize aspects of the Dodd Research Center’s archival holdings on Connecticut railroads and railroading.

Christian Wolmar’s recent Blood Iron and Gold: how the railroads transformed the world [Public Affairs 2009] provides a global overview of the transformative power of railroads first in North America and Europe but later in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Readers interested in the particulars of early railroad development might enjoy the diaries of a Scots immigrant and engineer who became the first head of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Sir Sandford Fleming: his early diaires 1845-1853 {Natural Heritage Books 2009] describe Fleming’s initial exploration and surveying work in Western Ontario.

Paul Tallon’s Good Reliable White Men: railroad brotherhoods 1877-1917 traces the organizational acumen and political successes of the early craft-based unions of engineers, conductors, firemen and brakemen in the U.S.;  Stressing their shared embrace of manliness, conservatism responsibility and racial superiority, Tallon describes the outright refusal of the brotherhoods to  ally themselves with  an increasingly African American workforce of porters and service workers.

Theodore Kornweibel Jr., who’s first book, No crystal stair : Black life and the Messenger, 1917-1928 (Greenwood, 1975) was on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and their magazine, has just published Railroads in the African American experience: a photographic journey (Johns Hopkins 2010). The spread of the railroads into virtually every county in America before World War I, greatly facilitated urbanization by giving poor people–both black and white–ways to escape rural impoverishment.   Train songs continued to be a staple of American folk music and country music well into the post-war era even as actual passenger traffic began a sharp decline.  Kornweibel offers a rich cultural history of the African American part of this history, using myriads of photographs, many quotations from popular song and a number of examples of the kinds of demeaning  and disturbing depictions of minstrel show stereotypes of African Americans that circulated widely in both the popular press and railroad publications before World War II.

Cover of Railroad Noir, by Linda Grant Niemann

Railroad Noir: the American West at the end of the twentieth century (Indiana, 2010) is Linda Niemann’s third reworking of her twenty years experience in railroad work, mostly with the Southern Pacific. (This was before SP devoted its vast rights of way to fiber optic cable and was reborn as Sprint.)   Niemann describes working-class railroad life from the point of view of a bisexual woman entering an almost exclusively masculine preserve.   This book like her earlier work Railroad Voices (Stanford 1988) is further enhanced by the work of a professional photographer, in this instance, Joel Jensen, for whom railroading is also a personal passion.

Before the railroad people and goods generally moved slowly along rutted dirt tracks using horses, mules, oxen and wagons.   Luckier folk living near navigable rivers or the sea had better options.   The Way of the Ship: america’s maritime history reenvisioned 1600-2000 [Wiley 2008] describes the evolution of these options from transatlantic trade and coastal shipping in Colonial America to the steam ship, the barge canal, the rise of an American shipbuilding industry to the effects of two World Wars and the repurposing of transatlantic passenger craft into a cruise ship industry.   Written by three historians, Alex Roland, W. Jeffrey Bolster and Alexander Keyssar, The Way of the Ship aims to balance American activity on the high seas against the far more economically significant, if less romantic, story of Americans trading with their fellow countrymen over inland lakes, rivers and canals throughout our history.

One of the great transportation revolutions of the post-war era has been containerization.    Sea ports have risen or fallen in relation to their ability to handle and retransmit shipping containers designed to move seamlessly to trucks or train cars.   William J. Mello’s New York Longshoremen: class and power on the docks [Florida 2010] tells the story of the loosing struggle of working men and their union to create  a safe workplace and a sustaining livelihood against powerful political and commercial interests with quite different agendas.

More contemporary transportation issues center around environmental and quality of life issues in a society seemingly in thrall to the automobile, the exurb, and imported oil.

In the 3rd edition of his text, Transport Economics [Edward Elgar 2010]  George Mason University professor, Kenneth Button approaches his subject through the classic economic themes of: demand; direct and indirect cost; pricing,  investment and regulation;  He then adds chapters on environmental pollution, congestion, infrastructure,  logistics, planning and forecasting that draw from the toolkits of geographers planners and policy studies types.

Button’s even handed survey of his field contrasts with more idealistic and advocacy oriented work by younger writers.   Peter Cox looks around the world for models of urban life less wed to the automobile.    His Moving People: sustainable transport development [Zed Books 2010] is very positive about both the bicycle and the rickshaw.    Zack Furness is all about the bicycle and making cities safe for cyclists in One Less Car: bicycling and the politics of automobility [Temple 2010].

All the titles mentioned by the Husky Bookman currently are, or shortly will be, available in Babbidge Library.    To check on the location, status or availability of a particular title please use our library catalog, HOMER.

All about e-books

The library is spending more of its book funds on electronic books each year.    We’re doing this because we think e-books allow more users to access content on their schedule wherever they happen to be.   A single user can effectively monopolize access to a print title for a year or more—unless someone chooses to go through the recall process.    With checkout limits set for hours or days this doesn’t happen with e-books.

Our holdings of new e-book titles are strongest in business and the social sciences, but we also offer many titles in history, computer science and the health sciences.    From the time we first began to acquire e-books we’ve tried to pay special attention to titles that might serve the needs of commuter students, in subjects such as business, education and nursing, as well as titles that support similar courses taught on multiple UConn campuses.

Some users are frustrated by limitations they experience in printing and cutting and pasting from e-books.   The bad news is that these limitations are imposed by the publishers.   The good news is that the trend is toward e-books that offer functionality much closer to what you already experience from electronic journals.    Many publishers aren’t yet prepared to move away from print publication of books.   They limit some functions in the hopes that libraries will be forced to continue to support both formats.   As publishers gain more experience with e-books and gain confidence that they can make money in this medium, many existing limitations will gradually disappear.

How do I find e-books?

Once you open the full version of HOMER, the library’s online catalog, you can use a drop down menu on the right hand side to “limit” your search by campus or by format.  

When “limits” are in effect, you can only search by keyword.    These keywords, however can come from anywhere on brief or full record.   A search using the keyword Boolean strategy women OR gender retrieves over 3,000 e-book records.   A keyword search for the phrase “water resources” retrieves 29 entries.  A keyword search on the Boolean combination Peru AND history yields 59 entries.

How many e-books does the library have?

We have approximately 350,000 e-books in our collection, not including online U.S. government documents.   About 225,000 of our e-books are in digitized collections of texts from the 16th 17th and 18th centuries.   The remaining 125,000 are more recent monographs from the last twenty years.

Why doesn’t the library buy only e-books?

Many publishers still don’t offer e-books.    Others delay the appearance of the ebooks they do release so that libraries and individuals who want to keep abreast of new scholarship will buy their print books.   Often, publishers ask considerably more money for their e-books than their print books.   In order to get the most content for our users, we target titles that already circulate strongly, or for which we anticipate substantial demand.  

Have more questions about e-books?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

Welcome to our new blog!

The Social Sciences Liaison Team for the UConn Libraries is pleased to announce our new blog:

We’ll have a variety of postings, including new books and acquisitions, tips and tricks for databases, library events, and more!

Happy reading!

The Social Sciences Liaison Team at Homer Babbidge Library:
Shikha Sharma, Team Leader, and Liaison to the Schools of Business, Economics, and Legal Studies
Peter Allison, Liaison to History, Anthropology, Sociology and African Studies
Kathi Banas-Marti, Liaison to Human Development and Family Studies
Steve Batt, Liaison to Political Science and Journalism
Dawn Cadogan, Liaison to Psychology and Communication Sciences
Francine deFranco, Liaison to the School of Education
Kathy Labadorf, Liaison to Women’s Studies
Valerie Love, Liaison to Human Rights and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Studies
Marisol Ramos, Liaison to Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, and Spanish

Social Sciences Team Members at Regional UConn Campus Libraries:
Shelley Cudiner, Liaison to the School of Business, Stamford Campus
Jan Lambert, Liaison to the School for Social Work, Greater Hartford Campus
Janice Mathews, Liaison to Public Policy and Community and Urban Studies, Greater Hartford Campus

Social Sciences Team Members at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center:
Betsy Pittman, Curator for Political Collections
Laura Katz Smith, Curator for Business History, Labor, and Railroad Collections