OneSearch Search Techniques: Using Boolean Operators in Basic Search Mode

We hope by now that many of our users, both students and faculty, have used CUNY’s new search tool, OneSearch. Just as you might guess from its title, OneSearch is one location to search all CUNY resources; books, journal articles, streaming video and other digital content.

Here, I’m going to focus on highlighting a search tip that might be helpful; NOT! No, seriously, I mean using the Boolean operator NOT to exclude items from your search. For instance, let’s say you are writing a paper on media bias in politics, but you’re not necessarily focusing on the current, though seemingly everlasting, US presidential election. You want to look at media bias in politics more generally, or historically perhaps. You could start with a keyword search for: “media bias” politics.


This search will pull every record that contains the phrase media bias as well as the word politics. (By the way, the quotes keep the words together as a phrase. Otherwise, it would pull every record with the words media and bias in the record including those instances where the words are not beside each other.)

This results list will very likely have a lot of results about US presidential elections, which you are not really looking for at the moment. So, try searching for: “media bias” AND politics NOT “US presidential election.”


This search will give you all records with the phrase media bias, as well as the word politics, but eliminate all with the phrase US presidential election. It should narrow down your results list substantially. One more thing you could try, if you want to be a super searcher, is to add the wildcard character *. A search for “media bias” AND politic* NOT “US presidential election” will return results with the words politics, political, politically, politico, etc.— in other words, all possible endings for the word politic. From this point you can still do many other things. For instance, limit your search on the left hand side to peer-reviewed articles only, and alter the order from relevance to date-newest.

I hope this tip helps you develop better searches with more relevant results!

-Maureen Garvey

Films on Demand: Netflix for Education!


“Educational Video” tends to be a term that everyone reacts to. You might think of happy high school days when you could get out of “real work” to watch a video. Or you might think of old, boring videos that put you to sleep. Or maybe you have fond memories of campy videos that you might look up on YouTube (check out School House Rock’s Conjunction Junction with 2.4 million views)! But the library’s Films on Demand database provides a new experience that we hope will change how you think about videos and education.

Films on Demand is a subscription database bought for you by the CSI Library. You can use it anywhere on campus, in class, or at home, at any time, simply by logging in with your SLAS/FLAS. It has 21,387 shows, documentaries, and archival films that are broken into 245,704 segments. “Segments” are handy clips that cover one small topic in a larger film. Each segment can be searched for and browsed individually, so you don’t need to watch a whole video to get information on one topic. Want to get some ideas for audition monologues? Search “monologues” and be inspired by a one minute performance of Juliet’s “Come gentle night… speech preformed at the Globe Theater. It is a segment in one of the 400 Videos in the English > Drama and Theater collection. Confused about a science topic you have never heard of, like chemical spectroscopy? Take a look at how the BBC explained it to a general audience by showing a model of the world’s first spectroscope in a 5 minute clip (“Revealing Unique Color Signatures of Elements”). Writing about the home front in World War II? Check out a contemporary patriotic newsreel. The database covers all sorts of academic and cultural topics including business, health, social science, engineering, career counseling, education, and world languages, so a quick search can produce unexpected results!

Films on Demand is easy to use. Not only can you search from a convenient interface, you can browse 25 collections each with many topics and sub topics. Videos stream right in your browser (although they sometimes don’t work well in Chrome). All students, faculty, and staff members can use it and can create their own account if they want to create playlists to share with others. Users can email the URL for any video, segment, or playlist to anyone in the CSI community. Every video has a direct, permanent link that can be used in class websites or in Blackboard. If you need to find an exact spot in a video, you can search an interactive transcript of it! Most films have scrolling transcripts that move with the streaming film and highlight each word as it is spoken. By clicking on any word in the transcript, you can jump to that exact section of video, making close, repeated viewings easy. Just let us know if you have any questions about using Films on Demand.

Finally, remember that many of the films in the database were developed not just to educate students, but to inform and entertain the general public, to broadcast current events, to document theater and dance performances, or to improve scientific and cultural literacy. You can watch episodes of the American Experience, Frontline, Nova, and other PBS shows. Documentaries by Ken Burns, TED talks, and Bill Moyers discussions are all available for research, class assignments, or in-class viewing. From international politics (Wide Angle) to the Pythagorean Theorem, Films on Demand has something for everyone.

-Christine McEvilly

Patron Driven Acquisitions: E-Book Purchases on Demand


indexIn the Fall of 2015, the College of Staten Island Library (CSI) launched a Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) project utilizing EBSCO’s e-book collections. This project, similar to CUNY’s in 2014, allows patrons of the library to make purchasing decisions with e-books based on their need. How does this work? First, a patron discovers an e-book title when searching the library catalog, CUNY’s OneSearch, or EBSCOhost’s e-book database. You will next be directed to the e-book, where you will be able to search, browse, print or download material. If the patron views the book for a certain length of time or shows another long-term need for continued access, the e-book is triggered for purchase. The purchasing happens behind the scenes without any interruption to the viewer. In other words, the patron will not see any change when the ‘preview’ e-book essentially becomes an e-book ‘owned’ by the library. It is a seamless and inconspicuous process for the patron who is now assisting in acquiring resources for the library!

Libraries have been using patron driven acquisitions since its launch a decade ago, but it has recently become a main-stream tool libraries are using to provide e-books based on the immediate needs of patrons. It is also a cost-effective tool for libraries because if the e-book is not triggered for purchase, money will not be spent. Likewise, if it is purchased, the e-book has a higher chance of being used since the original purchase was based on demand. Libraries are using patron driven acquisitions in different ways to build their collections. Most libraries are using it to build their collections alongside other means, i.e., librarian purchases or faculty requests. CSI Library’s PDA program will be best used on collection building for new academic programs on campus where the library’s collections may be limited. Above is an example of one e-book in the PDA project, added to help build the library’s East Asian studies collections. (It is important to note that e-book titles are vetted by CSI librarians before they are added to the PDA project.)

-Kerry Falloon

Do You Feel Me: September’s Updates in the OED

OEDThe Oxford English Dictionary is undergoing its third major revision in over 100 years (the first volumes were published between 1884 and 1928) to include modern usage of older terms and new additions to reflect the English language today. Additions appear every three months. In the online edition of this classic authority on the English language (which we have access to through the CSI Library Databases) you can see the updates as they happen, and click through earlier versions of the term.

So many of these updates are refreshing; for instance, the term “gender,” which first appears in usage in 1390 and first appeared in the OED in 1889, now includes scores of sub-terms, including gender role, genderqueer, and gender-bending, among others. Taking the next logical step forward, the OED has added “cisgender” in September of 2015. Other newly added terms include: concelebrated, telly, and the modern (but timeless) phrase, “do you feel me?”

I couldn’t help but notice how many of the September updates included militaristic or battle terms. For instance: waterboard; anti-unionism; student uprising; hostage; Chinese water torture; concealed carry; dozens of union terms; and phrases like, “united we stand, together we fall.” Perhaps this is the ordinary number of struggle-oriented additions, but it seems to me a sign of the times.  (Students: you can write papers about the usage of terms as they evolve over time–but even if that doesn’t appeal, it’s a blast to while away a Saturday night digging into new iterations of traditional terms. Am I right?)

In different, but related news, Oxford Dictionaries (which catalogs new words, while the OED collects historical terms) added some extremely timely words, like “Grexit,” “manspreading,” and “hangry.” Could the Oxford Dictionaries have been influenced by the MTA subway public service announcements? ManSpreadPerhaps. How many of these new words will stand the test of time and make the OED? Only time will tell, but rest assured that “sexting” has already made the cut.

-Anne Hays

Meet Our Newest Librarians: Maureen Garvey and Christine McEvilly


Christine McEvilly

Christine McEvilly is an archivist, librarian, and historian. She received her BS in History from MIT and her History MA from Yale. She went on to study library and information science, with concentrations in archives and rare books, at the Palmer School of Long Island University. She has spent the last 4 years working as a digital archivist and librarian at the American Jewish Historical Society where she was project coordinator on a digital aggregator website. Christine plans to pursue research in metadata theory and management, identity formation in archives, and cross-organizational collaboration.


Maureen Garvey

Maureen joins CSI after three years as Reference and Instruction Librarian at Bank Street College of Education. Prior to that she worked at the Library Council of Ireland, the Royal Irish Academy, Hudson County Community College, and John Jay College where her CUNY experience began. She holds Master’s degrees in political philosophy and library science. A strong advocate for libraries, she is dedicated to working with faculty colleagues on student information literacy with an eye to student retention and success. Maureen plans to investigate the impact of increased marketization on the provision of public services such as libraries and higher education, and the influence of such changes on instruction and information literacy practices.