Friday, December 16, 2005

How Accurate is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute, is controversial as a source of research. Some teachers will not accept Wikipedia articles as resources. (I recommend that Wikipedia for cutting-edge topics, but only use it for references at the end of the article, not the article itself. )

This was posted to the discussion group SYSLIB-L (Systems Librarianship) by
Gerry McKiernan, Science and Technology Librarian at Iowa State University:

"Internet encyclopedias go head to head" by Jim Giles
Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries, a _Nature_ investigation finds.
[ ] [FREE]
ALSO:Wikipedia as Accurate as Britannica
[ ]
The podcast is available from the _Nature_ podcast page
[ ]
The feature includes an interview with the author of the article as well as one with
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.
In addition, a table with a list of the 50 entries reviewed in the study and the number of inaccuracies found in the Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia respectively is available and located at [ ]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Research help, WWW Resources)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Free access to MIT courses

You probably won't feel like it this week during finals, but when you're feeling adventurous, go to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has course materials available online for free--stuff like animations, lectures, videos, etc. Check it out if you're curious, or just dying to learn Chinese.]

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in WWW Resources)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Checking out Email Rumors

Don't you wonder about all those emails that get forwarded about "Video captures home Christmas light display synchronized to musical score", or "Bill Gates, Microsoft and AOL are giving away cash and merchandise to those who forward an e-mail message", or virus alerts? Before you compound the problem of forwarding email rumors that may be untrue, check them out at the Urban Legends Reference Pages, AKA ( Since I've started checking rumors, I've found that at least 3/4 of the ones I get are false. And you find out some pretty interesting stuff at, like an investigation of the old poodle in the microwave story.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in WWW Resources)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Want to Save Money on Textbooks?

How to Save Money on Your Textbooks:

1. Cuesta bookstore puts out its list of textbooks in early January usually. Order textbooks as soon as possible. Make sure you have the correct edition/ISBN. (I find out what the textbook will be for the next semester by mid-December if possible. Most classes use the same text as last year, but if the text is more than a couple of years old, there could be a new edition.)
2. Check or for the textbook. Often you will find instructor’s editions for really cheap, which usually is fine. The ISBN won’t be the same as the student’s edition, but that is OK.
3. Shipping times vary, but normally the book will arrive in 1-2 weeks. If that isn’t soon enough for the class, both the San Luis and North County libraries have copies of the most-used textbooks on reserve for two hour use in the library. You can check to see if the library has a copy at If that won’t work for you, you can also purchase texts at Aida’s in San Luis Obispo, which will normally be a little bit cheaper (not much, though) than the prices at the Cuesta bookstore.
4. This will not work if you need to purchase a bundled textbook with CD, login code for textbook website, etc. You have to pay retail price for that. The Cuesta bookstore textbook list will indicate if you must purchase a bundled textbook.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Money, WWW Resources)

Monday, December 12, 2005

It's finals week!

The ASCC Social Club will have donuts, bagels, and juice available for ASCC Student ID cardholders this week (SLO campus only). Wish I were there!

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Cuesta news)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Finals week classtimes

Remember, class times during finals week are different. Check your class times here:

Looking for a little light reading between finals? Check out the paperback fiction at the San Luis campus library, the hardback popular fiction at the North County library, or short story collections like Best American Short Stories, San Luis campus library call number PS 648 S5 B43, one volume for each year from 1985 to 2005. I'm reading the 2005 volume right now myself, and it's nice to read something that takes between 5 and 30 minutes to read all the way through.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Cuesta news)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

That Sony CD problem again

"On Tuesday December 6, Sony BMG and SunnComm made available a patch that was designed to resolve this security vulnerability. We're pleased that Sony BMG responded quickly and responsibly when we drew their attention to this serious security problem. However, the day after the patch was released, Professor Ed Felten and Alex Halderman identified a new problem. We take any security problems identified by these security researched very seriously. They "recommend for now that if you have a Windows PC, you
do not use the MediaMax patch
do not use the previously released MediaMax uninstaller, and
do not insert a MediaMax-bearing CD into your PC." "--from

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Technology)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rain in the Forecast

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so dress appropriately! For checking the weather, I use the Weather Channel ( or Accuweather ( As you can see from the website addresses, you can specify a preset location to search in order to save time. Handy! Oh, and if you’re traveling, the Calif Highway Patrol website ( keeps you informed on current accidents and slowdowns on the freeways.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in WWW Resources)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cuesta Faculty Member Gone

Just found out that Mr. Bob Hartwig, who taught broadcasting communications classes here at Cuesta (and was also the chair of the Languages and Communications Division), suddenly passed away yesterday. It’s quite a shock for his family and coworkers. I give my condolences—

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Cuesta news)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Online Shopping Tips

Online sales are forecast to grow between 18 and 25 percent over last year, according to a couple of new studies. (from Kopytoff, Verne. “Online retail growth forecast :2 studies see sales accelerating as much as 25 percent.” San Francisco Chronicle 1 Nov. 2005.) If you want to join the stampede, read on:

I do a lot of shopping online now. You can check professional reviews of products at ( or personal reviews at (, both sites recommended in an article from the November 10, 2005 issue of Newsweek.
I like using comparison shopping sites when I’m doing online shopping, like BookFinder4U ( which searches 130 bookstores, (, or CNet ( for computers and peripherals.

Make sure to purchase from a reputable online business. If you aren’t sure that they’re reliable, check them out at the Better Business Bureau ( I’ve decided against ordering from many different online companies, based on their BBB record.
In my experience, merchandise is received within a couple of days from major online companies like Lands End and L.L. Bean. Amazon is fast with new books, but if you purchase a used book, it depends upon the supplier. Some suppliers are very fast, others take their time.

Tina Lau, North County Librarian
(in Money)