Saturday, March 02, 2013

Open States

Sunlight Foundation, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has been a leader in providing open government resources, including OpenCongress, recently launched its latest free site, Open States.  Well-designed and easy to use, Open States provides "searchable legislative data for all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico" in one place.  Users can find state legislators and their sponsored legislation, voting records, committee assignments, campaign contribution records, and related news articles.  For each legislator, the site also provides easy links to Influence Explorer and similar resources with more detailed campaign donation analysis.

Open States lists the sources of its data at the bottom of each page, and provides a helpful video tutorial. Those wishing to follow a bill, legislator or issue can create a free Open States account and receive email alerts. Four years of work by Sunlight Labs collecting and organizing the legislative data has paid off in an extremely useful tool for students, researchers and interested citizens.   

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Friday, March 01, 2013

Effective Research

I usually do not like to repeat myself, but this is definitely worth saying a second time.

Don't miss the Library's workshop on Wednesday - Cost Effective Research for NY.  In today's world you HAVE TO be able to research cost effectively and efficiently.  You will find out about great free resources (what can be bad about free?).  And, you will get tips on using the expensive Lexis and Westlaw in more cost effective ways.

The workshop will be on presented on March 6, 12:10-1pm in Room 206.  

There is still time to sign up.  Please see the  complete schedule of the Research Life Line Workshop Series for details on how to reserve your seat.  

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Recent Appellate Decisions Regarding Concealed Weaponry

Appellate courts have been active this past week in deciding cases where the right to carry concealed weapons is at issue. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled regarding Illinois’ attempt to restrict concealed weaponry, and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found no Second Amendment right to carry such weapons.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Training Videos: GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys)

Training videos on basic and advanced searching of GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) is available on  The newer advanced searching video "focuses on utilizing the FDsys Advanced Search function, using metadata to return precise results, and ways to further improve search results."  

"Please note options for closed captioning, enlarging the video, and volume control from the menu in the bottom right-hand corner of the video screen."

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To Keep or Not to Keep: Java

There have been security issues lately with running Java on your computer, but you think you need it, right?  Should you uninstall or not?  Will you be able to access what you need?

For answers to these questions, check out "How to Safely Keep Java in Your Browser," which noted "[f]or the last year or so, Java seems to have spawned a never-ending flow of security bugs, partly because of the software environment's invisibility to end users and partly because of the system access it allows. In January alone, two different Java vulnerabilities were attacked by widespread browser exploit kits."

Need it or not? It is up to you!

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Monday, February 25, 2013

Statistics Resources and Big Data

Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A., eSolutions Architect and Executive Director of the Virtual Private Library has authored numerous articles for  One to bookmark is "Statistics Resources and Big Data on the Internet."

In his words, "These sites will help you to discover a wide range of avenues through which you may locate and leverage the latest statistics resources applicable to many different types of projects, programs and research. As this site is constantly updated it would be to your benefit to bookmark and return to the above URL frequently."

 He has compiled a list of links to statistics and big data resources available through the web.  A number of these sites also provide tutorials and explanations of "statistics" and how "statistics" should be used.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Research Resources: International Environment Reporter (BNA)

If you are interested in a reporter that provides environmental news, laws, regulations, and policies from around the world, as well as international governmental and nongovernmental organizations, take a look at BNA's International Environment Reporter. The Reporter provides a broad coverage of global legislation, EU directives and regulations, global treaties, environmental expert analysis and more. Coverage begins from 2/07/1996 to present.

To access the International Environment Reporter  (BNA):

  • Go to the Library's home page, click "Research & Instruction"
  • Click the "Online Resources Subject List" link
  • Click the "BNA" link
  • Scroll down to "International Environment Reporter (BNA)"

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat