Thursday, March 12, 2009

Q & A with the Reference Desk

Sometimes I think of the reference department as the Reference Desk, which brings to mind images of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, except our magical Reference Desk would answer reference questions instead. Here are some questions the Reference Desk answered today.

Q: What "unusual developments" happened in Egypt in 1956? Was it a war?
A: Yes, the Suez War. Lisa found this answer in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which has headers in the margins so you don't have to read the entire entry on Egypt to find what you're looking for.

Q: Do you have any books on the division between Protestants and Catholics in Elizabethan England?
A: We found a few books that had a few pages on the topic. The key is to look up Catholicism or Roman Catholics in the indexes of biographies of Elizabeth I or histories of England, and "Elizabeth I" or England in histories and encyclopedias of religion. More promising are a couple of articles found through JerseyClicks, English Catholics in the Reign of Elizabeth, and Elizabethan Catholics and Romans 13.

Q: What is this? [The patron found Presentation Zen in our catalog]. Is it only available online? Can my friend in another town read it?
A: It's an e-book. You can click on the link in the catalog to read the book on your computer screen. Or you can go to the BHPL home page, click on Remote Databases, log in and click on Safari Select, then search for Presentation Zen. Presentation Zen is also a "real" book that you can get through interlibrary loan or buy. Our license only covers Berkeley Heights residents, so your friend will have to buy it or ask his library if they have it.

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