It used to be you had to come into the Library if you needed to use a reference book such as an encyclopedia or specialized dictionary for your research. But not anymore. While we still carry a plethora of print reference books and house them readily on our shelves, the Oviatt has amassed an impressive collection of reference e-books which makes finding quick, factual information a snap. With more than 350 titles accessible online, our reliable, library-subscribed reference e-books (Wikipedia step aside) can be accessed from anywhere. Take a moment and visualize yourself doing academic research at the beach thank you very much. Check out our Research Strategies Reference Sources page and discover the wide range of encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, handbooks and almanacs that are available electronically. These reference e-titles can be searched by subject, title or by browsing more than a dozen of our Most Frequently Used Electronic Reference Books. Within these online books you will find encyclopedias in the disciplines of art, philosophy, literature and law just to name a few. Of course, there are also many general information based reference sources and even an entire page that links to government reference data. Who knew that finding government reference sources and statistics on a myriad of topics could be orchestrated from one Library reference webpage? So while we’d really love to see you here in person at the Library whenever possible, we’d also like to invite you to take advantage of our many reference e-books and other reliable online information the next time you have a reference research need.
- Coleen Martin
Select to watch Mummies: Perfect Study Specimens
You may not mind paying $12 at your local movie theater to see that latest flick but did you know you can log in to Oviatt Library resources and watch a film for free and learn something new at the same time? Our Films on Demand multidisciplinary streaming video service provides CSUN students, staff and faculty with access to more than 5,000 digital and educational titles. The beauty of the service is that the films within this database collection can be watched from any computer with your CSUN User ID and Password. Some faculty members have embedded Films on Demand movie links into course pages on Moodle to provide easy access for their students. But the collection can also be accessed from Databases A-Z on the Library’s homepage.
Films can be as short as 10 minutes to an hour long. One faculty member reported being “thrilled” with the selection of titles the database carries within her discipline. She found one video that was even more poignant than the film she had been showing regularly to her classes. The subjects covered are varied but are within a wide-range of disciplines that include anthropology, health & medicine and music & dance just to name a few. Overall, the collection carries films in the areas of humanities, education and the sciences. A Special Collections section within the database also provides access to films from a variety of well-known series such as the American Experience, Frontline and Tedtalks. The videos can be watched in their entirety or segment by segment which is handy if you only want to find or watch a particular part of a film.
– Coleen Martin
One the unique collections within the Oviatt Library is the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library. This image database contains many rarely seen historically significant documents, manuscripts, photographs and graphic materials from public and private collections. What makes this such a fascinating collection is the fact that it documents the socio-economic changes and cultural evolution of our valley – the San Fernando Valley – from the early 19th century through the end of the 20th century. Within its vast amount of materials and photographs, it contains this gem above which features the first building under construction on the CSUN campus in 1956 when it was formerly known as San Fernando Valley State College. Recognize the CSUN visitor who spoke at the first-year anniversary commemorating the 1994 Northridge earthquake? President Bill Clinton praised local, state and federal authorities for their recovery efforts. An image of a partially collapsed parking structure is seen in his background.
Many other regional, non-campus historical photographs and documents are also available within the digital library including an image of the service station and coffee shop at Devonshire and Balboa which was taken in the 1930s. The gas station at this corner looks very different today! Need a ride to Los Angeles? Check out the first taxi service from the San Fernando Valley to Los Angeles and Hollywood in 1915. The passengers in the photo are taking Thompson’s Auto Stage from Calabasas for a day of shopping in Los Angeles. But you get the idea by now . . . the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library is a treasure-trove of materials for research purposes and has the ability to quell the imagination of curiosity seekers as well. Additional related Oviatt Library digital collections include our Online Archive of California and L.A. as Subject. Other online collections can also be found at the Oviatt Library Digital Archives.
- Coleen Martin
Libraries and the sharing of knowledge have always coveted a special place within the value system of many of our founding fathers. Several of them held a unique reverence, in particular, for books. It can be said that the establishment of Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia Library in 1731 underscores Franklin’s belief of their importance for those living in a free society. Working with a philosophical association named Junto, Franklin and other intellectuals of the day developed the mission for the library. They chose a Latin phrase or motto which roughly translates “To support the common good is divine.”
Thomas Jefferson also played an instrumental role in the fostering and sharing of information within the development of the Library of Congress. His commitment for preserving and providing access to information at an early stage in our country’s history reveals the American values of the freedom of thought and the freedom to disseminate information, two characteristics of our society that lie within the fundamentals of our Independence. We at the Oviatt wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!
Library Hours for the week of the 4th of July are:
- Monday, July 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 3, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 4, Closed
- Thursday, July 5, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
- Friday, July 6, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Saturday, July 7, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
- Sunday, July 8, Closed
– Coleen Martin