Home ~ Core Competencies ~ Courses ~ Special Project ~ Reflections ~ Resume ~ Contact Me

Nicole B. Cignoli - Capstone Portfolio

ILS 504 – 01 Reference and Information Resources and Services

Exercise 4: Access to Electronic and Internet Resources

November 10, 2008


Topic 1: What was the make-up of the first immigrants the first year Ellis Island was opened, which countries did they come from, versus today’s make-up of immigrants?

By using the Library of Congress’ (“LOC”) Subject Headings from the University of San Antonio’s Library Web site, the Classification Outline from the Library of Congress Web site and ideas for other keywords such as immigration, immigration plus a year, Ellis Island, Government Bureau of Statistics, and nationality percentages, I began my search. The most appropriate LOC Subject Headings were under H: Social Sciences: HA: 1-473 Statistics, 36-37 Statistical Bureaus, 154-473 Statistical Data, and 1745 – 473 by Country. In addition CS: Genealogy, HV: Social and Public Welfare, Criminology, HT: Class, Race, HN: Social History and Condition, and E: History: United States were other classifications that could yield the comparative results.


The initial search in Buley Library’s catalog using the LOC Subject Heading Immigration- Statistics-United States resulted in 122 returns. The first result was a reference book, Immigration Statistics Status of the Implementation of National Academy of Sciences' Recommendations: Report to Congressional Requesters, that is only available in the State Library’s Federal Documents microfiche or in Western Connecticut State University’s microfiche departments. However it provides a link to a PDF of the report that showed it is not a valid research result. The second result, Immigration and Passenger Movement at Ports of the United States during the Year ending June 30, 1893: Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, is also only found in the State Library’s Federal Documents department. This is a valid result to answer the first part of the question as Ellis Island opened January 1, 1892. The seventh result was the Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States, 1850 to 2000 published in 2006 provides a link to a PDF of the actual document on http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0081/twps0081.html. As this document gives charts and tables to illustrate the breakdown of immigrants to United States for the time period, this was a valid result to answer the research question up to the 2000 census. As Buley Library uses LOC Subject Headings, I took the Subject Headings from this entry to continue my search for more current data as follows: Aliens-United States-Statistics, Immigrants-United States-Statistics, United States-Bureau of the Census-Population Division, and United States-Immigration-Statistics.


CONSULS gave twenty-seven very good results for Aliens-United States-Statistics of which the sixth result was the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics published in 2003. It is located at Eastern Connecticut State University’s library and the State Library’s Federal Documents department and provides a link to Homeland Security’s WebPages that give the most up-to-date immigration statistics. This is a valid result to answer the second part of the research question. Immigrants-United States-Statistics provided eighty-one returns while the United States-Bureau of the Census-Population Division search resulted in 801 returns, too wide a search, and the United States-Office of Immigration-Statistics retrieved nineteen, which was too narrow. The same Subject Headings in WorldCat brought very good results. Immigration-Statistics-United States found 1,823 results and the fourth, Statistical Yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the fifth, Facts About American Immigration, were the most relevant. Aliens-United States-Statistics gave 237 results very similar to the previous Subject Heading while Immigrants-United States-Statistics gave 797, United States-Bureau of the Census-Population Division 2,154, and United States-Immigration-Statistics-Population Division 124. Many results were repeated in these searches or the search retrieved resources that were not applicable to the question.


Within Buley Library’s databases, I chose to search EBSCO Host – America: History & Life and iCONN and used the Subject Headings previously noted. Immigration Statistics-United States search in EBSCO Host provided forty-eight results with the initial results relating to certain ethnic migrations to the United States. The other Subject Headings yielded illegal immigration, census information for legal purposes, or no results at all. The iCONN database gave more varied results when Business and Law, History, E-Reference Books, and Magazines and Journals additional databases were selected for an advanced search. However the 419 results referred to current information on immigration health issues, or visa and work permit issues. The ABI/Inform Trade and Industry located more relevant results such as the Yearbook on Immigration Statistics.


Yahoo! and AltaVista search engines yielded large results for all Library of Congress Subject Headings. Yahoo! returned 17,900,000 hits for Immigration-Statistics-United States. The first result was a Wikipedia listing showing a chart of the actual breakdown of nationalities from the United Sates Census Bureau, Population division that was validated by the primary source. The second result was the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Web site and Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. The other LOC Subject Headings resulted in large returns from 3 million to 15 million. Wikipedia appeared first in many searches and then DHS’ Web site or other statistical information sources. The metasearch engine Dogpile searches Google, Yahoo!, LiveSearch, and Ask and returned a maximum of four pages per Subject Heading with many of the same results. There were some false drops under Aliens-United States-Statistics that gave information about Unidentified Flying Objects versus immigration. (Back to the top)


Topic 2: Who was Studs Terkel? What did he do to make him famous?

I used the same search strategy of Library of Congress’ Subject Headings and Classification Outline with other keywords such as his name, Pulitzer Prize, writer, biographer, and biography with his name. LOC’s Subject Headings were C: Archaeology, Heraldry, Biography, P: Classical Literature. Poetry. Fiction. Study of Language, and PN: 1 - 6790
Literature (general), PN: 842 Jewish Literature, PN: 1010-1525 Poetry. A Buley Library catalog search of Studs Terkel gave fifty-six results. After selecting a few of his works, he was classified in many more areas such as United States-Race Relations, Oral History, Anthropology, Broadcasters, and Authors-United States-20th Century. I chose to use Studs Terkel, Broadcasters-United States-Biography-Terkel, and United States-Race Relations-Terkel. Studs Terkel retrieved 786 entries in WorldCat including references to his works, biographies, reviews of his works, or his forewords in other authors’ works. Broadcasters-United States-Biography-Terkel provided three book results only in Buley Library’s catalog while WorldCat resulted in forty returns of books, audio books, DVDs, and VHS. United States-Race Relations-Terkel resulted in only two books in Buley Library’s catalog while WorldCat showed eleven results and many of the results were available in Buley Library or other libraries nearby within the consortium. In addition to iCONN, I selected Academic Search Primer database to locate information using the three Subject Headings. Studs Terkel yielded the most numerous results of 2,556. When using the “Narrow Your Search” option in the left column, the search reduced to 108 entries and then again to twelve interviews and twelve books. The other Subject Headings yielded at the most 2,636,730 and, when eliminating certain keywords from the Subject Headings, could only narrow down to 120,850. Yahoo! retrieved Mr. Terkels’ Web site, Conversations with America, at www.studsterkel.org as the first entry while AltaVista showed Amazon.com ads first. Yahoo! and AltaVista each retrieved 17.3 million hits for Studs Terkel including tributes, obituaries, and works. Dogpile reduced the search to a maximum of four pages as in the previous search however advertisements were the first three hits while the remaining hits mirrored previous results.


Researching information can be a daunting task, even for a reference librarian. The two searches reinforced the fact that the researcher will be more successful using the library’s unique Subject Headings or keywords to search within its catalog. In addition, a more narrow or precise search can be obtained by using the title or partial title of a good source. For instance when using the title of one of the immigration search results, Immigration Passenger, as keywords in Buley Library’s catalog, I retrieved results about each ethnic group’s historical migration statistics to United States. Many times my initial search retrieved additional Subject Headings to answer the question that I hadn’t considered appropriate such as Self-actualization (Psychology) in old age-United States-Case Studies for Mr. Terkel. After further research on his life and works, I understood the expanse of his work couldn’t be classified or cataloged in one or five areas. Both the historical and current topic searches were better-sourced and defined within catalogs or databases than on the Internet. The Internet returned numerous results of which the first pages were similar to the catalog searches however required further evaluation before using the source and there were some false drops. By using Subject Headings, unique key words, and titles of good sources while searching in other library catalogs, databases, or search engines will improve the quality of the search results and reduce search time. (Back to the top)

Appendix of Sample Results

Barone, M. (2006, October 2). The Growth of a Nation. U.S. News & World Report, 141(12), 45. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from History Reference Center database.


Brauer, D. A description of the immigrant population [Washington, D.C.]: Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office, [2004] Retrieved November 1, 2008 from http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/60xx/doc6019/11-23-Immigrant.pdf


Brownstone, D. M., & Franck, I. M. (2001). Facts about American immigration. New York: H.W. Wilson.


Etkin, C. and Brian E Coutts. (2006, April). Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. Library Journal, 131(7), 50.  Retrieved November 1, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1032212421).


Gibson, C. and Kay Jung. The foreign-born population of the United States, 1850 to 2000 / New York: Novinka Books, c2007


Immigration and passenger movement at ports of the United States during the year ending June 30, 1893: report of the Chief of the Bureau of Statistics United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Bureau of Statistics Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1894 Retrieved November 1, 2008 from http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0081/twps0081.pdf


Immigration statistics Status of the Implementation of National Academy of Sciences’ Recommendations United States General Accounting Office Report to Congressional Requesters June 1998 GAO/GGD-98-119 United States General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 General Government Division B-277650 June 9, 1998 Retrieved November 1, 2008 from http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=gao&docid=f:gg98119.pdf


Library of Congress Classification Outline 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2008 from http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcco/


The University of San Antonio Library. Find Information Subject Guides Library of Congress Headings Retrieved November 1, 2008 from http://www.lib.utsa.edu/Research/Subject/lcclas.html


United States. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C.: The Office, [1998] web site http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=gao&docid=f:gg98119.pdf


United States. (1978). Statistical yearbook of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Washington, D.C.: The Service.


2007 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics Yearbook of Immigration statistics [electronic resource] / Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, [2003] (Back to the top)

ILS 504 ~ Core Competencies ~ Courses ~ Reflections ~ Resume ~ Contact Me