Rolfing Unshelved

Books, news, and events from TIU's Rolfing Library


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June Book Displays

The summer is ripe with opportunities both relaxing and fun. I can think of few better things to do in the summer than sitting outside (usually at a Starbucks) on a  sunny day with a good cup of coffee and one of these great e-books on my Kindle. If only I had the day off to do it! Whether you’re taking summer courses, working, or exploring the great outdoors, check out an e-book from Rolfing to enjoy in your free moments.

porter_how we gotStanley Porter’s How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, Translation is worth a read, especially during these summer months. It is based on a series of lectures from 2008 at Acadia Divinity School. At just 241 pages, it is a reasonably readable length for students and educated laypeople and the complicated material is written in understandable language. It is introductory in scope and offers a broad yet thorough understanding of the text, transmission, and interpretation of the New Testament. However, reading this volume will require familiarity with New Testament Greek and textual criticism.

Schreiner_King in his beautyThomas Schreiner’s The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments is a hefty 735-page volume — but don’t be intimidated! It’s a book-by-book biblical theology of both the Old and New Testament, so the page count is actually low considering the subject! Schreiner’s argument is that, although no one theme adequately captures the entire message of Scripture, “Kingdom of God” is fitting as the Bible’s central theological theme. You can learn more about this book by checking out a brief interview with Dr. Schreiner or reading Josh Hayes’ review.

detwiler_iGodsIf you’re up for an interesting read on tech-giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, and want to consider your spiritual life in the omnipresent technological age, then dig in to Craig Detweiler’s iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives. He tells the creation narrative of these companies using theological labels and discusses how these “iGods” can become major distractions. It received a mixed review in Christianity Today but has also received national praise for its address of emerging cultural issues wrapped up in technology.


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Summer Reading: 2014 Caldecott Honorees

If you have or work with the youngsters around campus, or if you’re an Elementary Education major, you’ll most likely already be familiar with the three sets of bookshelves on the left wall as you enter the library. If you’re not, I encourage you to go take a look — even if you’re (supposedly) a grown-up. Our Juvenile collection contains titles that span from pulleys to Pluto, and it continues to grow.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m busy with real research. I’ve got my head stuck in a book for too many hours a day as it is. Plus, I don’t have children. It would be embarrassing for my fellow students to see me reading a kids’ book!” I respectfully beg to differ; I see juvenile books as a way to work a different part of your mind, and a great stress relief when academic jargon gets to be too much to swallow. Think about it this way — it’s the same reason that coloring books find their way into Hawkins Hall during finals week.

Over my next two blog posts, I’ll draw your attention to two special groups of books: those that have won and/or been considered for the two highest awards in juvenile literature. Today I’ll be talking about this year’s contenders for the Caldecott Medal, and next time I’ll talk about the Newbery Finalists.

The Caldecott Medal, named in honor of British illustrator Randolph Caldecott, was first awarded in 1938. Given by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association), it honors the artist of the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” You may recognize some of the previous winners and honorees: The Invention of Hugo Cabret (known to moviegoers simply as “Hugo”), The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Polar Express, Jumanji, and Where the Wild Things Are.

2014 saw three honorees and one winner, as listed below. Click on the cover image for holdings information. 

locomotive2014 Caldecott Winner: Locomotive

It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean. Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!

journey2014 Caldecott Honoree: Journey

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

flora-flamingo2014 Caldecott Honoree: Flora and the Flamingo

In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Full of humor and heart, this stunning performance (and splashy ending!) will have readers clapping for more!

 

mr-wuffles2014 Caldecott Honoree: Mr. Wuffles!

In a near wordless masterpiece that could only have been devised by David Wiesner, a cat named Mr. Wuffles doesn’t care about toy mice or toy goldfish. He’s much more interested in playing with a little spaceship full of actual aliens—but the ship wasn’t designed for this kind of rough treatment. Between motion sickness and damaged equipment, the aliens are in deep trouble. When the space visitors dodge the cat and take shelter behind the radiator to repair the damage, they make a host of insect friends. The result? A humorous exploration of cooperation between aliens and insects, and of the universal nature of communication involving symbols, “cave” paintings, and gestures of friendship.

All our juvenile award-winners and honorees are marked with a star on the spine; if these aren’t available, there are plenty more to catch your eye! Happy reading!

Author’s note: Book descriptions are from Amazon.com.


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Website Evaluation: Is It Good, or Is It…?

I know, I know. It’s summer. It’s the time for family vacations and seasonal jobs, not for research. But if you’re like me, your social media news feeds are quickly becoming clogged with links to every sort of website you can think of. Inevitably, somebody posts a story that’s bogus, and then one of two things happens: either somebody catches on to the hoax and flames them, or more people get sucked into the delusion. Neither of these options are really that attractive — don’t be that guy.

But what can you do? How can you make sure that what you’re reading and retweeting is legit? Well, the good folks over at California State University, Chico have devised a clever (if slightly off-color) plan: the CRAAP Test. In five easy steps, you can figure out if what’s on your screen is worth the pixels it’s lighting up. And, with a few minor
tweaks, it works for print-based resources, as well.

internetCurrency: How timely is this information?

  • When was the information published/posted?
  • Has the information been revised/updated? If so, when?
  • What time frame provides the best perspective on the topic?
    • Do you need the most up-to-date findings from the field?
    • Do you need reports from when the event actually happened?
  • (For Websites) Are the links and references up-to-date and functional?

Relevance: How important is this information?

  • Does the information sufficiently answer the questions you’re asking?
  • Who is the author’s intended audience?
  • Is it written at an appropriate level for that audience? (Like Goldilocks: not too hard, not too soft.)
  • Is this a better source of information than others out there?
  • Is this a source you’d be comfortable citing in a research paper?

Authority: Where’s the information coming from?

  • Who’s responsible for creating and/or publishing this information?
  • What prior experience do they have with the topic?
  • What makes them knowledgeable enough to speak about this topic?
  • Is there a way you can get in touch with the author and/or publisher if you have questions or comments?
  • (For Websites) Does the URL tell you anything about the person/group responsible for this information?
    • .com is for registered commercial websites.
    • .net is for smaller companies and individuals (typically ones without their own in-house internet service providers).
    • .org is for registered non-profit organizations.
    • .edu is for US colleges and universities.
    • .gov is for US governmental agencies.
    • .mil is for US military agencies.

Accuracy: Can you trust what you’re reading?

  • Where is this information coming from?
  • What evidence is given to support their arguments?
  • Has the information been peer-reviewed? (In other words, did other people see it and give feedback before it was published?)
  • Does this information match up with what you’ve read in other sources and/or know from personal experience?
  • Can you detect any emotionality, prejudice, or bias?
  • Are there any errors in spelling, grammar, or conventions?

Purpose: Why does this information exist?

  • What is the author’s/publisher’s intention for this information? (Inform, advertise, persuade, etc?)
  • Are those intentions clearly identifiable in the message itself?
  • Is this information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the author/publisher attempt to appear unemotional and/or objective?
    • Is impartiality important to maintain in this context?
  • Does the information rest on certain political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases/perspectives?

Now, by no means am I saying that you ask yourself every one of these questions every time you click on a hyperlink. You’d go crazy. What I am advocating, however, is that you let these ideas marinate in the back of your head, so that you’ll face Facebook with a sharp eye and tweet with a trained mind. Happy surfing!

Author’s note: I’ve paraphrased Meriam Library’s original CRAAP test, a PDF of which can be found here.