March Madness?

What would you say if someone asked you, “Who do you think is going to win March Madness?” Would you stare blankly at the person, or would you immediately answer, “I’ve got Butler winning it all!” Like so many other sporting events, the NCAA Basketball Tournament draws big audiences every year. This year is no different with many dramatic wins by underdog teams. Whether you love the game or love to hate it, there is no denying the influence of sports on cultures around the world.

If you want to learn more about sports history in America and throughout the world, here are several resources you may find helpful!

Reference Sources

GV567 .H518 2002 – Wells Reference Reading Room

GV885.7 .D68 1995 – Wells Reference Reading Room

GV721 .B45 2003 – Wells Reference Reading Room

Copies on order: COMING SOON!

Electronic Databases

  • Leisure Tourism: The Leisure Tourism database is an index to the literature of more than 400 international publications in the area of travel, leisure, and hospitality. It includes references to books, journals, conference proceedings, bulletins, reports, and news items. Coverage begins in 1976 and continues to the present.
  • eHRAF World Cultures: This is a cross-cultural database that contains information on all aspects of cultural and social life. Use it to find information on a particular culture or cultural trait, or for making cross-cultural comparisons. This database includes thousands of pages of text from books, articles, and unpublished manuscripts as well as English translations of foreign texts available exclusively in HRAF.
  • Kinesiology Abstracts: This includes an index and full texts of dissertations and master’s theses in health, physical education, recreation, exercise and sports sciences, sport history, and related issues.
  • SPORTDiscus with Full Text: This database covers everything from sports, physical fitness, sports medicine, sports science, physical education, coaching, training, sport administration, sport law and legislation, and disabled athletes, just to name a few!


PS374.S76 N65 2010 – Wells Research Collection

PS3511.I9 Z6855 2007 – Wells Research Collection

PR428.S75 S46 2003 – Wells Research Collection

Last, but certainly not least, check out the library resources webpage or contact the reference desk via phone, instant message, or in person for more information!



Give a Little…

With the recent disaster in Japan, charitable giving is at the forefront of many people’s minds. As summer rapidly approaches, it’s a good time to consider opportunities to spend your summer giving back to those in need.

The Herman B Wells Library has a number of books that can give you some ideas on volunteering.

Worldwide Volunteering by Roger Potter provides a number of volunteer opportunities that can be completed within a predetermined period of time.

World Volunteers by Fabio Ausenda focuses on humanitarian volunteering opportunities around the world, offering insight on how to pick a program suited to your interests, age, and time availability.

How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas is an authoritative guidebook written by three founders of volunteer organizations and provides guidance on achieving the goal of volunteering abroad.

The Peace Corps is a well-known and respected volunteer organization. As most people know, the application process is rigorous and many more people apply than are chosen. Paul Backhurst here provides you with some alternatives to the Peace Corps, tips on choosing a program, and budgeting, as well as an extensive resource section.

International Voluntary Work is a comprehensive listing of thousands of volunteer programs worldwide that vary in time commitment as well as type of work.

If your interests are more specific, check out Archaeo-volunteers, which will give you information on archaeological volunteer opportunities.

Not able to travel abroad but still want to help out? Check out the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, which provides links to opportunities in a variety of categories in and around Bloomington.

Additionally, IU has its own page of community volunteer opportunities available for browsing.

So take some time and give a little this summer!


Current Events Information: Beyond Free Online News

If the current unrest in various countries around the world has caught your attention, you should know that the library can meet many requests for information about current news and detailed information about foreign countries. Using news sources such as those you find freely available online is only one way of getting information about current events or foreign news; if you’re doing research for a paper about such a topic, you’ll need to consult more varied and in-depth sources.

Fortunately, for online databases with content about current events, Herman B Wells Library has prepared a special page that you can access here.

Wells Library Current Events Resources Web Page
Wells Library Current Events Resources Web Page

If you’re interested in news from foreign sources, be sure to consult these two databases: World News Digest and World News Connection. World News Digest covers material from 1940 to the present and provides summaries of world news stories. Many articles include maps, charts, graphs, or historic photographs that may be useful in any assignments you may be completing. (Be sure to cite your sources; World News Digest provides pre-written MLA and APA citations for all content.)

The navigation of World News Digest is simple and can lead to finding unexpected trails of research. Once a search has been performed using the search box at the left side of the screen, the returned results are divided into four tabs. These will help you focus in on what you’re looking for.

WND Search
WND Search
WND Results
WND Results

World News Connection provides full-text English translations of foreign news supplied by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (a former division of the Central Intelligence Agency). The search feature uses buttons that allow you to construct searches using the operators AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR with your keywords. Another helpful feature of World News Connection is the title list. You can browse all the titles indexed in the database from the “browse titles” tab at the top of the screen. They have a large selection of newspapers from North Africa and the Middle East going back at least to 1995 and, in many cases, back to 1974.

WNC Browse
WNC Browse
Search 1
Search 1
Search 2
Search 2

Another fine database for use when researching general current events or basic information about other countries is Current Issues: Reference Shelf Plus. This database is not the easiest to use, but there is quality content for those willing to navigate around. After taking the link from the library’s page, users must check the appropriate box in order to search Current Issues: Reference Shelf Plus. After that, you can use a collapsible sidebar to navigate around topics or use a graphical guide to sort through articles about various topics.

CIRSP Sidebar
CIRSP Sidebar
CIRSP Graphic Interface
CIRSP Graphic Interface

If you use Current Issues: Reference Shelf Plus, be sure to notice the ‘Print Email Save’ link at the bottom of every page. This allows you to do just what it says. You’ll be able to keep track of what you found and organize your research with this feature.

Print Email Save
Print Email Save

If you’re doing research or just reading for recreation, challenge yourself to go beyond those basic online news sources. The time put into utilizing the library’s current events databases is well worth it. If you want more information, don’t forget that you can contact librarians by chat; or, come and speak with us about your research in both the East and West Towers of Wells Library.


Relatively Unknown Resources

I have received questions at the reference desk from people asking about resources for specific types of resources.. The ones that come in mind the most are those for pictures, new broadcasts, and plays online. The library has databases for all three of these.

For pictures, go to the AP Photo Archive. The AP Photo Archive has millions of high-quality photos from history and today. The archive also includes many free photos that can be used for assignments.

News broadcasts, from today and in history, can be found at the Television News Archive Indexes. The coverage includes ABC, CNN, NBC, PBS, and CBS from 1968 to the present. You can request the video for anything found in the index. You can also look at online video from 1999 to the present for CNN.

Plays can be found online in the Theatre and Drama Resources Page . You will need to go to the Theatre and Drama tab. The databases cover everything from American Drama to North American Indian Drama. You can find plays from about the 1800s to the present (depending on the database).

If you are working on an assignment for a class that calls for some resources that are not among the norm (articles and books) and do not include these three, then one page to go to is the Class Web Pages. The page has resources for most classes at IU. The pages have resources that librarians have put together and possibly told you about if you had a class session at the library.

Good luck with your searching, and don’t forget: There are other resources besides article databases.


Sweet Ole Grandpa: The Folklorist? Part One

Memories of sitting on grandpa’s lap and listening to some broadly comic tale of the unbelievable deeds of outrageous characters, or giggling at the silliness of jokes and riddles you’ve heard over and over

Perhaps you have memories like those and feel the better for them.  And grandpa might say his shenanigans have then served their purpose well.  Or perhaps you’ve always been the “inquisitive one” in the family.  Maybe the interest for you is where grandpa got all those stale jokes and mendacious stories in the first place. And why, oh why, does he insist on telling them the same. way. every. time?  Might grandpa be promoting the oral tradition across the generations?  Is he an inadvertent folklorist?

Trickster Characters of Folklore

So, let us now set our scholarly minds to the task at hand.  Let us consider the cultural impact of those tall tales told by the “old folks,” those nonsense rhymes of childhood, those mythic tales and legends that call up a sense of deja-vu and, for some reason, sweet ole grandpa

Anansi (or Ananse) the Spider (legendary character, trickster)

Thanks to our extensive Folklore Collection here at Herman B Wells Library–the “largest and most comprehensive working collection of its kind in the world,” according to it’s library webpage–there are 29 titles related to Anansi in IUCAT.   Results from a keyword search of anansi and folklore reveals the cross-cultural influence of the conniving little arachnid.  My first exposure to Anansi was through a collection of West African folk tales from the Ashanti tribe. However, IUCAT lists Anansi tales from Jamaica, translations into Spanish, West Indian Anansi tales, as well those from Netherlands-Antilles.

The Folklore Collection also includes juvenile collections of Anansi stories.  Here’s a 2:23 minute video from Speakaboos, a children’s literacy website, to give you a taste of the trickster spider’s eternal allure.

High John the Conqueroo

High John the Conqueroo, (also known as High John the Conqueror, or simply “the Conqueroo”) is a character from African-American folk tradition. A trickster/hero character, stories of High John were presented to a wider audience in folklorist/anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston’s classic work Their Eyes Were Watching God and the lesser-known The Sanctified Church.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore in three volumes might be a good place to start for research into the pervasive impact of the High John stories.  

Whether grandpa is just a lovable old dude who can turn a phrase or is part of some loosely connected underground group of guerrilla folklorists pledged to indoctrinate supple minds with the wisdom of the forefathers, we may never know.  But the next time you hear the sound of children giggling and the creak of front porch slats under the old gentleman’s rocker, listen closely for the phrase, “I used to laugh too, when my daddy told that story.”  And then pass it on...

For more on the African-American folklore tradition as well as others, visit our blog again for part two of “Sweet Ole Grandpa: The Folklorist?”