Finals ReCharge at the Salmon Library From April 25 to May 2

As Spring 2014 finals drawn near, we at the Salmon library are once again hosting a series of events and activities collectively known as Finals ReCharge.

We will have the Graffiti Wall, a Board Game room, and Origami Stations throughout the whole week (April 28 through May 2, with the Wall going up on the 25th). We will also have Free Coffee and Donuts on Monday, April 28, from 9am – 11am and Therapy Dogs on Tuesday, April 29, from 11am-1pm.

Therapy dogs will be in the coffee shop area. The coffee and donuts will be in the lobby (that sounds like we are going for irony, said back to back like that). The board games will be in the art gallery. The graffiti wall will be along the walls lead from the south wing to the central wing on the first floor (again, irony not intended). And the origami stations will be with the board games, and possibly elsewhere, so keep an eye out.

You can see photos from last Spring’s Graffiti Wall and last Spring’s therapy dogs, both via our Imgur account.

This is on top of the other options you have to study here. We have study rooms you can check out with your Charger Card. There are study zones throughout the library floors designated from quiet to semi-Social to social. And we’ve expanded the Charger Commons with new iMacs, media:scape modules for group collaboration, and more social studying space. You can now check out iPads for up to 5 days, or check a laptop for 3 hours here in the library. And you can checkout headphones if you need to listen to a project (or soul-quieting tunes) in the Info Arcade.

Any questions? Contact us at the reference desk.

Free access to Oxford online products April 13-19

In recognition of National Library Week (which is April 13-19 in the US), Oxford University Press is providing free access this week to many of their online resources.  For more information, see the Oxford University Press page here.

Oxford University Press

Please note that these are in addition to several different Oxford online resources that you can already access through the UAH Library (some of which come to us through the Alabama Virtual Library).  Those Oxford online research tools with ongoing access include:

A Quick Statistics Snapshot for the Salmon Library, March 2014

We know that several people enjoyed seeing the information we posted for February.  Without further ado, here is the same sort of quick statistics snapshot for March 2014.

The Salmon Library had 15,938 visitors in March, averaging slightly over 590 per day.  (Note that the library was open for most of Spring Break.)

We checked out 1559 books during the month. We also checked out an additional 164 books/materials through Interlibrary Loan.

For non-book check-outs, we had 114 laptop/iPad checkouts and 304 checkouts of other materials (markers, keyboards, and so forth usually for our study rooms). Also, those study rooms were checked out 324 times.

Some notes:

  • The laptops and study rooms can be checked out at the User Services desk for a period of three hours. Books are checked out based on status, from 28 days for Undergrads to 90 days for grads to 1 year for staff and faculty. See User Services Guide for more information [or call them at (256)824-6530]
  • Also, iPads can be checked out for up to five days.  Again, see the User Services Guide for more information [or call (256)824-6530].
  • If you need a group study area but the study rooms are all in use, there’s still hope!  Check to see if the media:scape study areas or if any of the group study tables & monitors are available.  (Both can be found on the 1st floor of the library, in the North tower.  If your computer or tablet does not have an HDMI output connection, check with the User Services desk at the front of the library to see if we have the appropriate connector in stock.)

Scopus to start expanding indexing back to 1970

An eye on global research:  50 million records, 21,000 titles, 5,000 publishers

“The interconnectedness of all things,” is the mantra of not-quite-detective (debate remains on whether he is quite holistic) Dirk Gently, and rarely does it reach more of a truth than in research fields, where the understanding the state of the art is as much an understanding-the-context as an understanding-the-content.

Here at the Salmon Library, one of our key resources for seeing how articles and research are interconnected is Scopus: an Elsevier product that helps to see which articles are citing which other articles, how they are being cited, how they are being used in other ways (online mentions, social media mentions), how they relate to the author’s body of work, how the journals in which they are published match up with the field as a whole, and so forth.

Whether you are a professor looking to get published or a student wondering which articles you should prioritize with your capstone project, Scopus can help, and it is about to get bigger.

The Scopus blog has just announced today that the team will begin the Scopus Cited References Expansion project. Among other things, this will track citation data back to 1970, giving a better overall picture of how articles and researchers use other articles and research. For any field of research that needs to go back more than the past couple of decades, this will be invaluable.

To quote from their blog:

The Cited References Expansion project aims to increase the depth of Scopus’ scholarly content while enhancing the ability to use Scopus for evaluation and trend analysis. Moreover, author profiles and h-index counts of researchers who published articles prior to 1996 will be more complete.

The increased indexing will “become apparent” in the fourth quarter of 2014, and should be completed in 2016.

Curious about Scopus and how you can use it? Contact the Reference Desk (phone: 256.825.6528 or email:, see link for more options) and we can help!

Library Hours during Spring Break 2014

During this spring break, the library will have a modified schedule.  Please see the full details here.

Of note, the library will be:

  • Open Friday, March 21, until 8 pm (for the Coffeehouse Writers Series – click here for more information).
  • Closed all day Saturday & Sunday, March 22 & 23.
  • Open for reduced hours Monday-Thursday, March 24-27 (7:30 am – 6 pm).
  • Closed all day Friday & Saturday, March 28 & 29.
  • Open for reduced hours Sunday, March 30 (4-10 pm).
  • Resuming normal hours, starting on Monday March 31.

If you are looking for the ChargerBrew coffee shop in the library, please note that ChargerBrew will close for Spring Break at 3 pm on March 21, and will reopen after Spring Break on March 31.

Have a safe and happy Spring Break!

Coffeehouse Writers Series Presents The Coweeta Poets this Friday at the Salmon Library Art Gallery

The Coffeehouse Writers series returns to the library this Friday, March 21, 2014. The featured poets will be The Coweeta Poets. Everyone is welcome to attend. It is 6:00pm in the Art Gallery on the first floor of the library.

If you wish to see more about The Coweeta Poets, has a write-up about them from last year’s presentation: 10 North Alabama women make up Coweeta Poets. From that article…

The images in their poems come from memory, experience, or the natural landscape of the Benedictine Retreat Center: ducks, pond, bullfrog, trees. Luther says they’ve also written about such diverse topics as aging, cheese, chickens, and the color puce.

The Coweeta Poets are talented women. All are teachers or former teachers. All have passion for the written word, and most have published in journals and anthologies. Many of the poets have won state and national awards and some have come out with poetry chapbooks of their own. Their 2010 collaborative work, Something More Solid than Earth, features the poems of seven of the poets.

For more information about the CoffeeHouse Writers Series in general, you can contact Marylyn Coffey by phone at 256-824-6114 (email her at or you can visit

Coffeehouse Writers Series, The Coweeta Poets

Coffeehouse Writers Series, Spring 2014

SMP Database Trial through April

Security Management Practices (SMP) is an expert resource on the Web for learning about how to confront and manage organizational risk, plan for disruptions, deploy network security appliances, employ biometric technologies, safeguard intellectual property, establish security best practices, protect and train students, staff and much more. Click the link below to try it out!

SMP Trial

Sneak preview at the library!

Would you like to potentially meet your next Reference Librarian?

The UAH Library is currently interviewing candidates for a new Reference Librarian.  We have two applicants scheduled to visit the UAH library on March 20 & 21, and they will each teach a short library presentation.

We would welcome the input from any faculty, staff, or students who are available 9-10 AM on either March 20 and/or March 21.

If you are interested, please join us in the library in the FRC room in North-2 (the Faculty Resource Center, at the far end of the 2nd floor), at 9 AM this Thursday/Friday.

A Quick Statistics Snapshot for the Salmon Library, February 2014

Here is a quick statistics snapshot looking back at some numbers for February 2014.

The Salmon Library had 16, 940 visitors in February, an average of slightly over 675 per day.*

We checked out 1293 books during the month. We also checked out an additional 158 books/materials through Interlibrary Loan.

For non-book check-outs, we had 131 laptop checked out and 240 checkouts of other materials (markers, keyboards, and so forth usually for our study rooms). Speaking of our study rooms, those were checked out 267 times.

Some Notes,

  • the laptops and study rooms can be checked out at the User Services desk for a period of three hours. Books are checked out based on status, from 28 days for Undergrads to 90 days for grads to 1 year for staff and faculty. See User Services Guide for more information [or call them at (256)824-6530]
  • Interlibrary Loan allows our students, faculty, and staff to request materials to which we do not have immediate access. See the Interlibrary Loan Guide to see more.
Study in your Comfort Zone

* As a special note, keep in mind that the library was closed along with the rest of the campus on February 11-13 due to snowstorms. The “per day” average will be figured for 25 days due to this (naturally). The weather for the month in general would have had other impacts on our system, but I’ll avoid speculation.

Engaging Reference: How Now, Snow Cloud? Or, researching weather data for Alabama (and beyond!)

Well, today is kind of mucky, but the two days before that were sunny and bright and warm and it’s weird to picture that just a few weeks ago, the local weather looked this:

Snowy Field in Alabama

Snow is not unheard of around here, though it can be quite uncommon. But maybe you are researching how uncommon, or how often it rains, or what the average daily temperature around here might have been in the mid-20th century. How do you do that? Well, there are a number of ways, some of which have close ties to UAH, and I figured I’d share a few of these with you.

Let’s start with the resource most local to us. You have The Alabama Climatologist, which is a kept by State Climatologist and UAH Professor, Dr. John Christy. It has links to lots of other data and keeps up regular reports on climate data. For instance, right now in the link list you have such reference sources as Climate Normals and Extremes for 1971-2000 at 141 Alabama stations (which is a pdf). It also links to several of the standard resources that I’m about to discuss more in a bit.

Keeping local, the NSSTC has an extensive collection of local climate data. Using that, you can click on, say, the monthly data only tab, and then select Huntsville [or another city from Alabama from a drop-down box], and then look at Huntsville’s data back in 1975, which looks like this (after clicking the “more” arrow):

1975 Huntsville Climate Data

The mother of all weather data sites, at least for the US, would be the National Climatic Data Center. From there, you can view monthly climate reports, local data, and other datasets. You have to “order” the data in some cases, but is free. You just have to make your selection of the data you want and then wait for the email. Returning to the Huntsville example, here is a 1995 screen from their Huntsville Airport Substation dataset (you’ll probably have to click on it to see a larger version to actually read it):

Huntsville weather data from the NCDC

There is also the old standby of While it is my (and probably should be your) go-to source for forecasts and weather alerts, you can also often see weather station data for a region if you click on the city name after searching. For instance, after searching for Huntsville, AL, I get the current conditions, and then a link to see Huntsville’s local forecast office (here’s a quick diagram explaining, also showing the current conditions as I write this post!):

Huntsville conditions

This takes you to, which gives lots of data about the current condition, the weather stations, some information useful to the local area, and the history of the stations. Other cities have similar pages, so give that a try.

One of the most interesting sites is the CoCoRaHS – Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network. What it does is take personal observations about the current conditions, include such things as the shape of flakes or size of hail, and collects them. For instance, if you want to see some data from the mid-February storms that inspired this post, you can do a search on the Daily Comments page, and see records like this, useful if you want specific contexts to conditions going on over a wide area:

CoCoRaHS Daily Comments

So how about that original question? The snow around Huntsville. Well, looking through all the various bits, I was noticing it was not exactly easy to find a good table of data about just snow [I was finding plenty about general precipitation] so I contacted Dr. John Christy, the State Climatologist mentioned above, and he graciously shared this PDF of North Alabama Seasonal Snowfall.

And what does it show? Well, take a look for yourself. This post is about the fun of finding data, what you do with it is up to you.

Of course, don’t forget our resources like ScienceDirect, Proquest: Science and Technology, and OneSearch. If you need help with any or all of these resources, feel free to contact us at the reference desk.

Before you go, though, why not look at a couple of more awesome snow pics. They are quite pretty.

Snow in Alabama, (c) Heather Floyd

Snow Covered Tree (c) Heather Floyd

Engaging Reference aims to be a series of posts about the ways you can look up types of data, information, research, files, and so forth. If you have a type of data or information you would like us to go into more depth with, you can email me at and I’ll see what I can do. 

All the images in this post are copyright 2013, Heather Floyd.