Stay on Track with an Assignment Calculator

octoberDo you frequently underestimate the time it will take to complete an assignment … especially a research paper or presentation? There are online tools available to help keep you on track: Assignment calculators. They create a timeline that can help you determine when you need to have completed specific portions of an assignment, so you are not scrambling at the last minute.

Many university libraries have assignment calculators available. To use, all you need to do is put in the date that the assignment is due, and the calculator … calculates … a timeline for you to follow. Some also have links from the calculator to other sites that may be helpful when working on an assignment: choosing a topic, writing a thesis statement, and proofreading strategies.

Try some of them out and see if one of them works for you:

Research Project Calculator – although created for secondary school students, this site will save & share your assignments and send email reminders, if you create an account

University of Minnesota Assignment Calculator

SJSU – Assignment Calculator

University of Connecticut Assignment Calculator


Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your research!

Jill Turner, Librarian




Choosing a Topic for a Research Paper

Do you need to write a research paper this semester, but you can’t think of an intriguing topic to research? Several of the library databases have lists of current topics, from affirmative action to video games, with links to relevant newspaper and/or journal articles.

Open the Newsbank database and you’ll see links to current topics in the left-hand frame.  There are also quite a few special reports, which include background articles, statistics, maps, images and websites, on selected topics. The Opposing Viewpoints in Context database also lists many current topics with links to various viewpoints from newspaper articles, journal articles, statistics, maps and primary sources.Topic

If you are a visual learner, try the topic finder visualization wheel in the Academic OneFile database.  Broad topics are located in the center of the wheel, while more specific topics are on the outer edges.  This database also shows trending articles, with more popular topics in red and orange, and less popular topics in green or yellow.

Online encyclopedias also provide a wide range of topics, including background information and references.  Find an encyclopedia by typing “encyclopedia” into the search box on the library home page,


and clicking the “View It” link under any title that has the “Online access” symbol.  You can then browse through some of the topics to see if any grab your attention.


 Scanning through your textbook may also give you more ideas for possible topics.

To focus your topic, try using the five W’s.  For example, WHO does the topic involve or affect- do you want to focus on one group?  WHEN has the topic been relevant- do you want to compare time periods or examine just one?  WHAT are the major points of debate or perspectives on your topic? WHERE is your topic important- at a local or national level?  WHY is the topic important or interesting to you?

You can also look at the articles and information you find on your topic– if you find too many, you may need to narrow your focus, but if you find too few, try broadening your perspective.

Finally, if you have trouble finding information on your topic, remember that your UDM librarians are available to help!

Jill Spreitzer, Librarian

From the Research Desk: Welcome Freshmen!

Welcome-in-various-languagesThe UDM librarians are happy to welcome you to the library website.  Here is some news you can use about the library.

Phone numbers:

Check-out Desk: 313-993-1795

Research & Information Desk 313-993-1071


Our regular hours are:

Monday-Thursday    8:00am – 10:00pm
Friday                      8:00am – 5:30pm
Saturday                 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday                   12:30pm – 7:00pm
Hours may vary during holidays, breaks and finals. Check the library website.

Fast Facts About the Library:

The Research & Information Desk is staffed with librarians every hour the library is open.


Chat with a UDM librarian online from 15 minutes after opening to 15 minutes before closing. Use the chat box after regular hours for 24/7 service.




The library has Wi-Fi Internet access: bring your laptop. No laptop? No problem. The library has over 50 computers for use.
All registered students are allocated 400 free pages of printing for the academic year. Color printing is available.

Keep this in mind. You are going to need a scantron eventually. The library has them for 50¢ per sheet. Blue books are $1.00.

Earbuds and flashdrives are available for purchase for your convenience.

Cafe A La Carte is in the lobby of the library for your food and beverage needs.

Electronic Resources and Remote Access

Databases, full text journals and electronic books are accessible through the library portal:

For off-campus access, begin your search at A login screen will appear when you try to access the electronic materials. Login as you would for your Blackboard or TitanConnect account: UDM email name and password. Or, click the Re:Search Portal link at the upper right corner of the Blackboard after you have logged in.

If you experience access problems, call the Research & Information Desk at the number listed above during library hours. At all other times, send an email to

Borrowing materials

The loan period is 28 days for books and 1 week for DVD’s. You must have your student ID to check out materials. You may renew once by phone or through your “My Account” in the online catalog (no DVD renewals). Use the Renew Books link on the home page. Sign in with your TitanConnect account login and password.

Course Reserve materials are at the Check-out Desk (in library use only).

For Your Entertainment

The library has music CD’s, Audio Books and movies and television shows on DVD for your down time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Come in, say hi and find out what else the UDM library has for you. We can’t wait to meet you and start you on the path to achieving your academic goals.

Resources For Your Metro Detroit Experience

Welcome-in-various-languagesWelcome to our new and returning students!  I know these first few weeks of classes will be busy ones for you – figuring out how to pace your study schedule vis-a-vis your other responsibilities, getting a head start on your term papers. (Seriously, don’t wait until the week they’re due to consult with us librarians!)  But once you’ve established a good groove, feel free to check out these Facebook groups for resources to help make your experience here a good one! (Some of these sites may require you to log in to Facebook.)


Free (or Almost) Things to do in Metro Detroit

Fun Things to Do in Detroit (Athletic and Non-Athletic)

Pokemon Go: Metro Detroit





Historical Detroit Area Architecture

art toursDetroit Art Tours


Dine Drink Detroit [I’m not endorsing consumption of alcohol by those under 21]

Detroit Food Snobs [Includes links to other “snob” groups]

I NEED A DAM JOB! [Yes, this is how it’s spelled on the page.]

There are many more local Facebook groups, in areas that might be of personal interest to you.  To check them out, click on the “Groups” icon in the toolbar on the left of your Facebook timeline.  When the page that shows the groups to which you already belong pops up, click on “Discover” at the top of the page.


Kris McLonis

Associate Librarian

Celebrating 100 Years of the National Parks System!

ArchesTomorrow, August 25, the National Park Service turns 100! The park service is celebrating by offering free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28.

100 years of protecting America’s natural, historical and cultural treasures from all over the United States. These more than 400 beautiful, historic and exquisite sites cover over 80 million acres consisting of approximately 18,000 miles of trails, more than 75,000 archaeological sites and at least 247 species of threatened or endangered plants and animals, and managing monuments, parkways, battlefields, cemeteries, and recreation areas.

Gold coin

The Park Service is celebrating with commemorative coins: a $5 gold coin featuring the heads of Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir who both worked to bring out the park system, a silver $1 featuring Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser, and the half dollar depicting experiences one has in the parks: a child finding a frog hiding in a fern and a hiker taking in a panoramic view of a mountain, and lake, and forest.


Stamp blogThe U.S. Postal Service is helping in the centennial celebration by issuing 16 new Forever stamps featuring national including: Yellowstone, Theodore Roosevelt, San Francisco Maritime, Mount Rainier, March-Billings-Rockefeller, Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, Haleakala, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Grand Canyon, Glacier Bay, Everglades, Carlsbad Caverns, Bandelier National Monument, Assateague Island National Seashore, Arches, and Acadia.

IMAX presents the new National Parks Adventure featuring the parks in never-seen-before breathtaking ways.


New York for blogA park exchange series designed to bring parks to life in urban areas and demonstrate the diversity of park experiences is being offered: Redwood National and State Parks visit Austin, Texas, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park visits Chicago, and Thomas Edison National Historical Park visits New York City.


Or explore the Centennial Media Quality Photo Gallery representing the unique character of the parks.  Search for parks, programs, or topics.

Visionary leaders blogRead about the visionary leaders of the park system:

Check out your invitation to the celebration!

Chapters in the History of the Book–Book Curses.

Detail from the Lindisfarne Gospels

Detail from the Lindisfarne Gospels

This book belongs to none but me
For there’s my name inside to see.
To steal this book, if you should try,
It’s by the throat that you will hang high.
And ravens then will gather ‘bout
To find your eyes and pull them out.
And when you’re screaming “oh, oh, oh!”
Remember, you deserved this woe.
–Anonymous German scribe.

Before printing was invented, every clay tablet, scroll or book (manuscript) had to be written or copied out by hand. In order to protect such valuable and laboriously created materials, scribes would often include a few lines intended to prevent theft or damage, or even to curse those who might alter the text. These book curses often invoked the wrath of the gods, included inventive punishments or, by the Medieval period, excommunication or even anathema to discourage any would-be thief.

The oldest known book curse comes down to us from the ancient Assyrians:

The palace of Ashur-bani-pal, king of hosts, king of Assyria, who putteth his trust in the gods Asher and Belit…I have transcribed upon tablets the noble products of the work of the scribe which none of the kings who had gone before me had learned, together with the wisdom of Nabu insofar as it existeth [in writing]. I have arranged them in classes, I have revised them and I have placed them in my palace, that even I, the ruler who knoweth the light of Ashur, the king of the gods, may read them.  Whosoever shall carry off this tablet, or shall inscribe his name on it, side by side with mine own, may Ashur and Belit overthrow him in wrath and anger, and may they destroy his name and posterity in the land.

More Medieval examples:
Book of [the Abbey of] Saints Mary and Nicholas of Arnstein: If anyone take away this book, let him die the death; let him be fried in a pan; let the falling sickness and fever seize him; let him be broken on the wheel, and hanged. Amen.
From: British Museum, Ms. Harley 2798, folio 235 verso.


Whoever steals this Book of Prayer
May he be ripped apart by swine,
His heart be splintered, this I swear,
And his body dragged along the Rhine.


May he who steals you then be sent

A blow upon his fundament.


Twenty-first century librarians have to be content with applying a sticker in the back cover of every book, taken from the Michigan Compiled Laws: 750.364 Larceny from Libraries.


Book Curse.
Drogin, Marc. Anathema!: medieval scribes and the history of book curses. Allanheld, Osmun & Co. Publishers, 1983
Reitz, Joan. Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Libraries Unlimited, 2004. p.788

When Work Becomes a Calling

What does it mean to have a meaningful work-life? Is it possible to find meaning in any kind of work? When does work become a calling? Or is a calling something other than work? In the book Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, pCallingsresents numerous stories compiled over the years that get at some of these questions. This is StoryCorps fifth book of compiled interviews based on a theme.

In an interview with Democracy Now Mr. Isay said, “I’ve always believed that the power of an authentic story, of people talking—StoryCorps is the opposite of reality TV. No one comes to get rich. No one comes to get famous. It’s an act of generosity and love. And a story, honestly told, has the ability, I think, to build bridges of understanding between people that’s unparalleled.” During this same interview several excerpts from StoryCorps Animation were presented and the history of how they were developed was discussed. What becomes clear through both words and images is that the diversity of our stories adds strength to our compassion. By truly listening to these stories we can deepen our commitment to recognize, cherish and honor our shared humanity.


Introducing One Stop Searching

PrimoOver the last few years we’ve gotten requests for a library catalog that not only searches for books and DVD’s, but will search the databases for journal articles at the same time. The UDM Library is proud to announce that a catalog with that capability is coming. It’s called Primo and UDM Library staff and our consortial partners at Dalnet have been working diligently for months to prepare the new catalog for implementation. Over time, you will notice changes on the library’s portal page to accommodate the new catalog.

Primo has many of the same features you are used to. You will still be able to search for a book or DVD, find its call number and determine if it’s available for check out. You will still be able to access your account and renew your checked out items.

But Primo has some new and fabulous features to make research easier than ever. One of the best things about Primo is you will be able to search for books and journal articles at the same time. Primo will make it easier to obtain more precise search results by using straightforward “facets” (limiters).

Another new feature is the Virtual Browse, which displays a virtual bookshelf and enables you to see what items are on the shelf before and after the item you searched for. An example below shows what items are on the shelf before and after The Film Sense by Sergei Eisenstein.










You will be able to export citations directly to RefWorks.refworks

Primo provides properly formatted citations in APA, Chicago/Turabian or MLA style.







personalizeYou will be able to personalize your search results by choosing your preferred discipline(s) to rank material related to that discipline higher in your results list.


linkerFor those occasions when you have a citation to a book or a journal article or you just want to know if we have a particular journal, the Citation Linker will take you right to the item if UDM has it.

These are just a few of several new features the new catalog has to make locating resources easier than ever.

As of today, Primo is up and running to search for books and DVD’s. The database portion will be set up in the very near future.

So there you have it. One stop searching to access a wealth of print, electronic and digital resources.



Political cartoons & commercials

Democratic Republican Parties Arm Wrestling ClipartNo — don’t go away!  You’re probably tired of election season already and there’s three and a half months to go.

But there are political cartoons and ads online that are interesting without being annoying.


The Living Room Candidate is a free website that has videos of presidential campaign ads from 1952 – 2012.

Curated by the  Museum of the Moving Image  [a topic for another day] the database of videos is searchable by election year, issue,

candidate and key.  In 1964 the Lyndon Johnson campaign produced a TV spot in the election against Barry Goldwater that famously became known as the Daisy ad.   While production looks dated, there’s no doubt about it’s effectiveness.  And nastiness.  Negative ads are nothing new.


Another timely site from the National Archives has an exhibit on political cartoons called Running for Office.  

A  form of editorial content whether in online news or a newspaper, political cartoons are a serious — albeit funny –  form of commentary; a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning has been awarded since 1922

This collection is from one author, Clifford Berryman who worked from 1898 to 1948.  Political cartoons require some knowledge of the contemporary issues or appreciate what’s being made fun of.  These include a brief explanation of what’s going on.

A more recent collection can be found at Political  Searchable by artist and key word this group goes back to 1999.

Remember these are for sale so have fun browsing the collection for free — payment is required to reuse them.

Moon Day

Moon day commemorates the day a human first walked on the moon: July 20th 1969.  In 1961, in an effort to beat the Soviet Union in the space race,  President John F. Kennedy made an appeal to a special joint session of Congress, stating ” “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”  Thus began NASA’s Apollo Space Program and ten Apollo missions and eight years later, Apollo 11 was launched on July 16th, 1969.  The lunar landing module, nicknamed The Eagle touched down four days later.

NASAMoonLandingNeilArmstrongAstronaut Neil Armstrong, upon setting foot on the moon uttered the now famous line “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Learn more about the Apollo 11 Mission at The History Channel.

However, some conspiracy theorists believe that the moon landing was fake. The conspiracy that the moon landing was a hoax started in the mid 1970′s.  Some go so far as to say NASA used either a sound stage or filmed in a remote desert with the astronauts using harnesses or slow-motion photography to make it look like they were on the moon.  To read more about the moon landing conspiracies (and the debunking of) visit National Geographic.

To celebrate Moon Day, why not read about the history of the Apollo program in Marketing the Moon.  Or read the book or watch a movie on space flight like Apollo 13.  Or delve into the funnier side of the conspiracy theory of the moon landing hoax by watching Moonwalkers.  Or simply gaze up into the night sky and enjoy the sight of the full moon!

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