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App Trippin’

I’m going to go on ahead and say that the semester is over.  It isn’t, and there is still so much to do, but for the duration of my writing this blog post my semester is officially over.  Turning now toward the wide expanse of summer that is stretched before me, I begin to think about travel.  I then become overwhelmed.  I’ve been too busy this semester to make plans, I’m not sure where to go or what to do when I get there.  I don’t know what to pack.  What if I travel to a location where I don’t speak the language?  What if I don’t have the right kind of money and don’t know the exchange rate.  In short, I have no idea what I am doing.  All that I know is that I’m going somewhere to do something.

It is likely that I will choose a location and make travel and hotel arrangements on the Internet.  But time waits for no woman and the day of the trip comes before I know it and I’ve made no plans.  I haven’t even packed.

My best friends are now an arsenal of travel apps.

First, I need to get packed.  Packing Pro ($2.99) is an app for iOS.  It will help me to create a list of items to pack using a template or a list of my own devising.  There are also helpful reminders of things I don’t want to forget to do before leaving, such as turning down the heat or air conditioning and throwing out the old takeout in my fridge.

Next, I need to get my trip information organized.  TripIt (free!) is an app that is available for Android, Blackberry, Windows or iOS.  It will organize information pertaining to my trip that it finds in my email account.  All confirmation numbers for my flight and hotel, as well as any restaurant reservations that I have made will be pulled into this app and organized by day.

Before I leave my home wifi bubble, I will use City Guides, Offline Maps from (free!), for Android and iOS, to create a basic itinerary of things I want to do and where I want to eat when I get to my destination.  The maps that I download will be accessible without needing a wifi connection, so it won’t eat up my data plan.

If I travel to a different country, I will use Converted Ideon ($2.99), available for iOS, for all of my conversion needs: currency, metric, Fahrenheit-Celsius are all included.

When deciding on specific things I want to do on my trip I will use Gogobot (free!).  It offers information on many cities and gives suggestions for different types of travelers including families, nature lovers, site-seers, shoppers and, of course, people who want to eat.  This app will also allow me to search for things that are near my current location.  It is available for Android or iOS.

Viator (free!) will allow me to find any deals and discounts that are available nearby.  Also offering discounts, the Entertainer app (free!), available for iOS, Android and Blackberry, covers a small number of cities, and provides coupons to a wide range of different types of businesses including spas and restaurants.

Once I am where I want to be, Wikitude (free!) is an augmented reality browser that uses the camera on my phone to scan my surroundings and label locations of interest as I pan in different directions.  It syncs to restaurant reviews from TripAdvisor and Yelp.  It is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry and the Windows phone.

With my phone fully loaded with apps I will be sure to have a great trip!

Now my blog entry is completed, and I am forced to return to the reality of the end of the semester with the hope that my vacation plans go more smoothly than my finals.

By Jackie Coffey Scott

Featured Good Film and Good Book: Month of April

Each month, beginning with November 2013, The Academies and the University Libraries will be promoting one book and one film per month from our two lists, 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films. Below are the featured film and book for the month of April:

Wall-E is a 2008 American computer animated science fiction film produced by Pixar Amination Studios. The story follows a robot named Wall-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future. He falls in love with another robot named Eve, who also has a programmed task, and follows her into outer space on an adventure that changes the destiny of both his kind and humanity.

Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston is a seminal utopian novel by Ernest Callenbach, published in 1975. The society described in the book is one of the first ecological utopias and was influential on the counterculture and the green movement in the 1970s and thereafter.

Ecotopia embodies in concrete, practical form the new biology-conscious philosophy that has been evolving in recent years, especially on the West Coast. The setting is the early 21st century. Ecotopia, made up of what was once Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, has been independent for several decades. At last, an official visitor from New York is admitted: Will Weston, top investigative reporter. Like a modern Gulliver, Weston is sometimes horrified sometimes impressed despite himself, and sometimes touched by the strange practices he encounters–which include ritual war games, collective ownership and operation of farms and factories, and an attention to trees and reforestation which borders on tree-worship.

All 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films are available in the UB Libraries.

PBS Streaming Video Trial Available

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Through May 17, 2014, all students, faculty, and staff may access The PBS Streaming Video Collection from Alexander St. Press. Think the Libraries should subcribe?  We’re interested in your feedback. Please send comments on this trial database to .

The PBS Video Collection assembles hundreds of the greatest documentary films and series from the history of PBS into one convenient online interface.The diverse subject matter of the included films makes this an important collection for the study of history, science, business, technology, performing arts, anthropology, psychology, politics, health, and literature.

  • For more information about the content included in this collection, click HERE.
  • For general help, including navigation instructions and search tips, click HERE.


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Crash Course

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Are you looking for ways to stay sharp while you are on spring break?  There are several educational video series on the Internet including Khan Academy and HippoCampus.  But since it is spring break, I figured you might want to watch something a little fun.

Enter Crash Course.

Many people know John Green as the author of the critically acclaimed book The Fault in Our Stars.  But did you also know that he and his brother Hank are active YouTube video bloggers and the creators of an educational video series called Crash Course?  More likely (I’m not judging) you know them from occasional appearances on Mental Floss but since this blog is about education and not debunking life hacks (as much as I think you should use unscented dental floss to slice goat cheese) we are going to focus on Crash Course and its plethora of little gems that cover content ranging from literature to science to history to psychology.  The classes last from about ten to twelve minutes and offer succinct, if humorously over-caffeinated, crash courses in their subjects.

Some example eye-openers:

Who knew, other than English lit majors, that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is actually based on an earlier Danish work?

Do you know what Homunculus is?  Now I do…

The Renaissance happened.  Or did it?

Buffers…the Acid Rain Slayer.  Need I say more?

The breakdown in numbers:

40 videos on biology

47 videos on chemistry

43 videos on world history

49 videos on US history

12 videos on ecology

11 videos on literature

7 videos on psychology


Do I think you are going to be able to watch Crash Course and pass your classes instead of doing the reading and going to class?  No.

Do I think that you are going to watch Crash Course and learn something new and/or have fresh life blown into the dusty corners of a bachelor’s degree you may already have and all the while be thoroughly entertained?  Absolutely.


–Jackie Coffey Scott

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And the Winner Is…

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Ben Shaw

UB student, Ben Shaw, a senior mechanical engineering major, is the winner of the UB Libraries’ 2014 Oscar Contest! We received 218 entries in this year’s contest, and ten students guessed all eight categories correctly.  The ten names were entered in a random drawing, with Shaw’s name selected as the first-place winner.

“I’m very happy that the UB Libraries sponsored this contest,” Shaw said when notified of his prize, a Canon PowerShot A1400 Camera, “because if there are two things I know I love in the world, it’s movies and prizes!”

Shaw, along with second-place winner, UB graduate student,Paul Zwirecki (history), and third-place winner, grad studentBrad Hamm (social work), also received a $25 gift card to AMC theatres.

Planning a movie night? The UB Libraries Multimedia Collection offers a wide selection of past Oscar-winning DVDs – check one out soon and pass the popcorn!

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Medical Images through UB Databases

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The UB Libraries website gives affiliated students and faculty access to multiple health-related point-of-care databases that feature multimedia resources.

Nursing Reference Center recently added a new Skills with Images section that has 102 topics with images available in pdf format.  Some topics include: performing phlebotomy, interpreting an EKG rhythm strip, central venous catheter care and performing hand hygiene for scrubbing into surgery.

Up-To-Date allows you to search for images by typing in your search and selecting graphics.  ClinicalKey boasts over two million images and 17,000 videos.  Both of these databases are available through the HUBNET (Hospitals and University at Buffalo Resource Network) network. Access Medicine provides a searchable image gallery, videos organized by category or system, and videos of grand rounds.

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New Viewing/Instruction Room – Capen 128

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The Libraries are pleased to make available to faculty a new Viewing and Instruction Room located in the Silverman Multimedia Center.  Seating is for 20, plus an instructor’s podium.  The projection equipment will accommodate most media formats including streaming video, DVDs from all regions, Blu-ray, and VHS.  In addition, there are open cable connections for most other types of external AV devices such as camcorders.  Although set up like a classroom for viewing, the tables and seating can easily be arranged for small group discussions.  For questions or to reserve the room, please contact your library liaison, or Michael Kankiewicz (645-1329) or Lori Widzinski (829-5744).

3 6 10 11

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Book & Film of the Month for February 2014

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The University Libraries and Undergraduate Academies are pleased to announce our “Book & Film of the Month” selections for February:


Based on the true story of a man’s one-year struggle with homelessness, The Pursuit of Happyness, tells the story of Christopher Gardner, a salesman who spends a year battling homelessness with his young son along his side. (The screenplay is based on the memoir written by Gardner and published in 2006.)

Directed by Gabriele Muccino, The Pursuit of Happyness is available in the Silverman Library Multimedia Collection:



Published in 1962, Silent Spring has been noted as playing a major role in the formation of the contemporary environmental movement. Biologist Rachel Carson wrote the book to educate the public on the environmental impact of fertilizers and pesticides. The book became wildly popular, taking a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and in present day still finds itself on lists of influential science books (see: OEDB’s 100 All-Time Greatest Popular Science Books; Discover Magazine’s 25 Greatest Science Books of All Time).

Highly recommended for those interested in environmental studies, copies of Silent Spring are available in the Lockwood Library Book Collection (SB959 .C3), Silverman Library Book Collection (SB959 .C3), and also on circulating Kindle e-readers.


Both selections are part of our 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films initiatives; titles on these lists were chosen by UB faculty and staff members of the Undergraduate Academies Council to reflect the themes of the five Academies: Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Perspectives, Research Exploration and Sustainability. Think of them as “unrequired” reading and viewing suggestions.

All 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films are available in the UB Libraries.

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One Good Book and One Good Film A Month – Book and Film Selection for January 2014

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January’s book selection is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and this month’s film is the classic Grapes of Wrath directed by John Ford . We encourage you to explore and enjoy the 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films lists to their fullest by using them as they were designed – to read and watch one film a month for your four year college career. So, grab your favorite brew, a cozy spot, perhaps some friends and some popcorn, and you’re good to go.  For the complete lists and to find out why we chose the number 48, read more about the program on our web site.


Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Lockwood Library Book Collection, 5th Floor

PR9387.9 .A3 T5 1992b

Also available from the Libraries as a Kindle e-book   


Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a “strong man” of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first of these stories traces Okonkwo’s fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, and in its classical purity of line and economical beauty it provides us with a powerful fable about the immemorial conflict between the individual and society.



The Grapes of Wrath, Director: John Ford

Silverman Multimedia Collection, 1st Floor, Capen

DVD 2701: PN1995.9 .F4 G6 2004


Based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this film tells the story of Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) and his Oklahoma family who, after losing their farm in the Great Depression, are forced to become migrant workers. As they travel west along Highway 66 towards California, the family faces many forms of discrimination and exploitation as well as life-threatening challenges in the migrant labor camps. Tom is eventually moved, by what he has witnessed and experienced in the camps, to devote his life to fighting for social reform.

Turner Classic Movies 

Internet Movie Database (IMDB)  


“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
― Ingmar Bergman

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December 48 Good Films and Good Books Pick

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The University Libraries and Undergraduate Academies are pleased to announce our “Book & Film of the Month” selections for December:


Arranged follows the story of two first-year school teachers – one an Orthodox Jew, and one a devout Muslim -  as they build a friendship and discover many commonalities, including going through the process of an arranged marriage. Directed by Diane Crespo and Stefan C. Schaefer, Arranged is available in the Silverman Library Multimedia Collection.


Described as “a classic investigation of private wealth and public poverty in postwar America” (Google Books), The Affluent Society remains as relevant today as it did when it first hit bookshelves in 1958. Written by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, copies of The Affluent Society are available in the Lockwood Memorial Library Book Collection (HB171 .G14).

Both selections are part of our 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films initiatives; titles on these lists were chosen by UB faculty and staff members of the Undergraduate Academies Council to reflect the themes of the five Academies: Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Perspectives, Research Exploration and Sustainability. Think of them as “unrequired” reading and viewing suggestions.

All 48 Good Books and 48 Good Films are available in the UB Libraries!

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