LibGuides Is Working Again

28 02 2017

LibGuides is mostly back online for us, which means we should be able to get to:

  • Research guides
  • A-Z list of databases
  • E-reserves


Alternative Points of Access to Databases [UPDATED]

28 02 2017

UPDATE 28 Feb. 2017, 2:59 pm: LibGuides is working again.

Springshare’s services, which includes LibGuides, are all down (check their Twitter feed for updates).  This means that we can’t get to:

  • research guides
  • database list (both the A-Z list and the subject lists)
  • e-reserves

What still works:

  • OneSearch (and its “View Now” button that links to the full text of articles and ebooks on various database platforms)
  • Access to the set of databases centrally purchased by CUNY:

As soon as service is restored, I’ll share the news here.

By way of context, Springshare is down because they rely on Amazon Web Services, which is having a major outage affecting all sorts of web and mobile services.

New Page to List Databases with Videos

29 09 2016

There’s a new database list page that details different ways to get streaming video. For a number of reasons, we’re mostly not able to make the videos in those collections discoverable in the library catalog or in OneSearch. We don’t really expect that most users will go to this video databases page so they can track down a specific video. Instead, it’s designed more as a showcase page to let our users know we have streaming video (from usability studies I did this year, I found many students assume we don’t have any videos in any format, just books).

In the coming years, it’s likely libraries and the vendors we rely on will have solved this problem of how to get all streaming video titles from large collections indexed in discovery tools like Primo. In the meanwhile, we’ve at least got a page that shows you where to go to find most of our video content. If you have any suggestions for databases we already subscribe to that feature a notable number of streaming videos, please let me, Mike, or Amanda know.

Thanks, by the way, to Linda for suggesting this new page.

New Databases Page

6 07 2016

On Thursday, July 7, we’ll be launching a moderately redesigned databases page. The most notable change is that the Databases by Name page and the Databases by Subject page will all be on one guide, which simplifies navigation for the user and makes it easier for us to manage the links. With this simplified navigation, it no longer makes sense to provide two different links in the yellow search box (Databases by Name and Databases by Subject). Instead, the search box will feature a single link labeled “Databases.”

The list of subjects on the “databases by subject” section of the new page also features a new design element. Instead of offering an alphabetical list of subjects, they are now chunked into groupings:

  • Business & Economics
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Ethnic & Gender Studies
  • Science & Technology
  • General & Reference

This new design was tested with users by our UX designer, Holly Dowell, and me in May. We found that users had few problems finding a relevant set of databases for a given subject or finding a specific database from the A-Z listings. We did add some additional elements to the design based on comments from our tests, though, such as better header labels on each tab in the A-Z listings and putting each letter’s list in it’s own clearly delineated box.

The decision to simplify the database links in the yellow search box came out of Google Analytics data that showed that the “Databases by Subject” link was clicked far less than the “Databases by Name” link, so much so that removing it was worth doing if only to make the remaining “Databases” link label even more visible on the search bar.

Please share with us any feedback you have or that you hear from our users about this new databases page.

Updates to the ReferenceUSA Historical Data

8 09 2015

Over the summer we purchased two files that include all of the businesses and many of their attributes that were in the ReferenceUSA database for 2013 and 2014. Our historical data collection now covers 1997 to 2014. The data is stored in large delimited text files, and current Baruch students, faculty and staff can request extracts from these files here:

There’s also a link to this page from our list of databases, under ReferenceUSA Historical Data.

This resource is for users who want to study historical change in individual business establishments in a given area over time. In most cases users who make these requests need to have experience with working with large datasets. All of the requests I’ve filled to date are from graduate students or faculty.

Patrons who are looking for current data or who have basic requests should use the ReferenceUSA database instead. Patrons who are looking for historical or contemporary summaries of business establishments (i.e. sums or counts of businesses by type and geography instead of lists of individual businesses) can use the Census Bureau’s County or ZIP Code Business Patterns data instead.

New Interface for the Statistical Abstract

27 08 2015

Proquest has recently revised the interface to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, making it easier to use. The abstract is a good source for federal statistics that cover a wide range of subjects at the national, regional, and state levels. It’s also useful for determining which agency or department in the government is responsible for publishing a given statistic. Citations with links back to the original sources make it possible to uncover additional data (in particular, for smaller geographic areas like counties and places).

The interface gives you the ability to browse by subject and to drill down to individual topics, which mimic the chapters and tables that appear in the print edition. Alternatively you can search by keywords or phrases across the current or previous Proquest editions of the abstract. Even though the abstract is from 2015 and the first Proquest edition is from 2013, many of the tables contain historic data that stretch back several decades. After doing an initial browse or a search you have the ability to filter the results by date, source, and subject term. Tables can be downloaded in a presentation-friendly PDF format or a data-friendly Excel format.


The Statistical Abstract was an annual publication that was previously published by the Census Bureau. After over 130 years of continuous publication, the Census Bureau terminated the program for the sake of short-sighted budget cuts. The 2012 Abstract was the last public edition. Proquest acquired the rights to publish the abstract and it has been a proprietary, subscription-based product since 2013. Our subscription includes both the electronic (available via our Databases page) and print (Reference HA 202.A4) editions from Proquest. The Census Bureau still provides access to the older editions they published on their website at

Remote Access to Databases Interruptions Today [UPDATED]

24 06 2015


This morning, BCTC is upgrading our EZproxy software, which we use to authenticate off campus users, and moving it to a new server. Remote access may be down briefly here and there during the morning. This may affect OneSearch and the catalog. If you find trouble searching the catalog or OneSearch, these links should work:



When work is finished this morning, I’ll update this post and send out an announcement post.

UPDATE: As of 10 am, work is complete and the new server is working fine. Remote access should again be available.

Alternative Access to Databases Pages on January 12

9 01 2015

Beginning at 11:30 am on Monday, January 12, all of our LibGuides will become unavailable for up to 24 hours as we switch to the new LibGuides platform. This means that the pages we provide with links to databases will also be unavailable. As an alternative, please use this Google Doc which provides an A-Z list of database links.

To notify our users, we’ll be doing the following:

  • sending out a tweet on the @baruchlibrary Twitter account
  • changing some of the links on the library website that point to the databases pages so that they go to the alternative listing of databases

It is likely that the new LibGuides will be ready in less than 24 hours. As soon as it is up, I’ll send out an email and write a new post here on the reference blog.


NYCdata Update – NYC Government Structure

27 01 2014

As a result of our meeting back in December, the NYCdata team at the Weissman Center has updated their resource based on feedback we provided. They’ve added a sub-section under the Public Safety and NYC Governmental Structure chapter that provides links to government agencies within each of the three branches of government. Over the next six months we will be working with them to update the maps on their site.

New wiki page: Databases Overview

19 12 2013

We are launching a new page in the wiki called Databases Overview. This page is intended to highlight any unusual features from our databases as well as keep track of any issues that have been reported and may not have been yet resolved. We hope this is helpful in doing some initial troubleshooting during reference interactions.

The page features a table with a row for each database and columns with the following key information:

Login from ref desk staff

Do we have to log the user in using passwords that we maintain or can the user go straight to the database via a link on the databases page.

Concurrent users

Can an unlimited number of people use this at the same time or, if there is a limit, what is that number?

Browser restrictions

Which, if any, browsers you must use.

Visitor access

Beyond the core  Baruch community (current students, faculty, and staff) can others use it (Baruch alums, other CUNY students, other CUNY faculty, other visitors)?

Current status

If a problem has been reported to me or Stephen, there will be a note here about it. If you encounter a new problem, feel free to edit the respective cell – Stephen and I are notified when this page is updated. Please make sure to write your name and date so we can follow up if there are other questions (of course, you should always feel free to email or call us as well).

As problems get fixed, we will move the note over to a page in the wiki for that particular database so we can keep a record of problems that have cropped up in case they appear again.

Related blog posts and wiki entries

If there are any blog posts about this database in the reference wiki, there will be a “Blog” link here that will find all the posts tagged with that database name. If there is a page in the wiki for this database, there will be a “Wiki” link as well.

This new wiki page should be the first place to go when you suspect there might be an issue with a particular database.

If you encounter a problem that is not under “Current Status” it may be useful to read through the blog posts or the wiki pages for that database – often the same problem repeats itself and a solution that worked in the past may still work. Still, do let us know of the current problem so we can resolve it more fully.

I welcome any feedback about this new page.