Reference Blog Entries

Maker Projects

Laura's picture

Are you part of the makerspace culture? Do the words Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Servo make your creative juices flow? Then you already know that there are many sources for finding interesting maker projects available. However, the library has two sources that you may not have considered.Snapshot of a Maker Faire project using multicolored swirls of light; people milling about in the background

The first source is the database Access Science. It has a section on maker projects that includes such ideas as a Laser-Grid Intruder Alarm. Check out more projects in a variety of fields on the Access Science website - but be sure to log in with your card number and PIN first. 

The second source is a print magazine called Make:. You can find in on the shelves in the Reference Department at the Tremont Road library. It is published every other month by Maker Media and provides instructions on do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-It-with-Others (DIWO) projects in a range of skill levels with inexpensive materials. 

Maker Media, the publisher of this magazine, started the Maker Faire, which is held each year to share ideas and bring together participants in this popular movement. Maker Faire 2016 was held last month in New York City. Maker Faire 2017 will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area. So begin making one of the awesome projects in these sources now, and enter next year’s Maker Faire just for the fun of it!

Happy Birthday OED!

Laura's picture

A certain member of the Reference Department turned 159 years old last week. No, it’s not one of the staff. It is the Oxford English Dictionary, familiarly known as the OED.  Volumes III through IX of the Oxford English Dictionary; dark blue bindings with gold lettering

The OED is well-known to authors, crossword puzzle fans, librarians, and college English majors. The second edition (1989) has been on our reference shelves for many years and feels almost like a member of the staff. 

If you are not a wordsmith you may never come into contact with it, however, a new movie is in production starring Sean Penn as one of the OED's major contributors and Mel Gibson as the editor of the first edition, Sir James A. H. Murray.  

The OED was formally proposed to members of the Philological Society of London on November 5, 1857. Those who made the proposal estimated that it would contain 6,400 words in four volumes and take ten years to complete. They underestimated. It took a team of hundreds of people studying words from any and all English-speaking countries forty years of work to produce the massive dictionary. It has approximately 600,000 words and 3 million quotations contained in twenty volumes – on thin pages with small print.

Why did the members of the philological society feel a new dictionary was necessary? They informed the society that the existing dictionaries (Johnson, Webster, Richardson and others) needed to be consolidated and that the proposed dictionary should contain not only current words, but also every word that had ever been used in English. It became the most authoritative dictionary of the English language. A major revision is in the works. 

You may peruse it in the print version in the reference department or online via the library's databases. If, for example you are curious about how the word “hassle” came into being, you can look it up and discover that it was first used in an American jazz magazine in 1945. Or you may want to read the book The Word Detective; Searching for the Meaning of it all at the Oxford English Dictionary by John Simpson (2016) or The Professor and the Madman; a Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester (1998).  

Logo for Gale Biography in Context database; rectangle with light blue background and a photo of President Barrack Obama.Logo for the Gale Artemis database; white rectangle with black lettering and orange lettering