decnew99 Schwerdtfeger Library News
December 1999


The Schwerdtfeger Library will close on the following days:

Friday, December 24
Monday, December 27
Thursday, December 30
Friday, December 31

If you need something and no one is in the Library, please leave a message for me at 262-8164 or send e-mail.  Happy Holidays!


Wilson Alwyn Bentley (1865-1931) has been given the title of America's first cloud physicist.  With persistence, he was able to find and isolate individual ice crystals and, on January 15, 1885, obtained the first photomicrograph ever taken of an ice crystal.  Over the next 13 years he obtained hundreds of micrographs, eventually preparing sets of lantern slides.  The Library and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences have subsets of these slides.

In January, the Department of Special Collections at Memorial Library, the Geology and Geophysics Library and the Schwerdtfeger Library will launch concurrent exhibits highlighting the life and work of Wilson Bentley.  If you have or know of resources relating to Bentley's life, please contact me so that I may include relevant materials in our exhibit.


As part of a graduate course in indexing, Nicole Hardina has begun indexing space science resources on the web. This semester-long project has resulted in what I think will prove to be a valuable, ongoing resource.   But we need your help.  Because you are our primary users we're soliciting your comments on content, organization, style, etc.  I'd like them before I send this to the campus libraries for inclusion in the Electronic Library's subject guides.  Thanks for your help.


There has been a funding request submitted for the Legacy collection which would provide access to pre-1997 backfiles for all AMS journals.  The campus libraries received some money for new electronic products and this is one of the requests that's been made.  It is a priority -- these journals are heavily used here but are also used by geography, geology and others.  I'll keep you posted.


Hyperlinked Press Release [.avi]
NOAA's Top Global Weather, Water and Climate Events of the 20th Century [.pdf]
NOAA's Top U.S. Weather, Water and Climate Events of the 20th Century

Here's an interesting pair of "greatest of the century lists."  Compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), these lists detail US  and global storms and climate events most "noted for their atmospheric marvel or impact on human life." Users can browse the "winners," and view background information, historic photos, and animations from the press release page. Text-only lists (with some background information) are also available in .pdf format. [Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-1999]


What does solstice mean?  What rituals are associated with this special time of year?  Winter solstice for 1999 will occur at 11:44 p.m. PST on December 21, early morning on December 22 for every other U.S. time zone.


This collection of images with their original captions from Science Service -- a leading institution for the popularization of science through magazines, bulletins, and newswires for 50 years -- gives users insight into the presentation and status of scientific research from the rise of electrical technology through the modern nuclear age. The collection includes hundreds of images that can be searched or browsed, as well as over 130 subject headings for quick access. The site also provides links to a Master's Thesis and an essay on Science Service, exploring its role in the formulation of popular images of science. Besides being of use to the curious, this site is likely to be valuable to cultural historians and historians of science. [Copyright Internet Scout Project, 1994-1999]

"HOW GOOGLE IS THAT?"  Forbes Magazine
The Washington Post Interview with Sergey Brin, founder and CEO of Google
For those users of the recently-launched search engine Google ( who have consistently found itssearching and ranking facilities spot on, and wondered, "How do they DO that?", two recent articles offer some answers; but the algorithm remains a mystery. With the backing of the two biggest venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley, and a PC farm of 2000 computers, another boy-wonder team out of Stanford has revolutionized indexing and searching the Web. The results have been so satisfying that Google processes some 4 million queries a day. Google, whose name is based on a whimsical variant of googol; i.e., a 1 followed by 100 zeroes, claims to be one of the few search engines poised to handle the googolous volume of the Web, estimated to be increasing by 1.5 million new pages daily. It uses a patented search algorithm (PageRank technology) based not on keywords, but on hypertext and link analysis. Critics describe the ranking system as "a popularity contest"; the Google help page prefers to characterize it in terms of democratic "vote-casting" by one page for another (well, some votes "count more" than others ...).  Basically, sites are ranked according to the number and importance of  the pages that link to it. In a typical crawl, according to Brin, Google reads 200 million webpages and factors in 3 billion links.   [Current Cites, volume 10, no.11, November 1999]

Cornell University Professor of English William Struck Jr. published Elements of Style in 1918.  The complete version here is a selection from the Bartleby Library of Great Books Online.  Professor Struck's advice:

 "It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature."