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Library News

By: Andrea Lhotka, Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian
For: Red Rock News
Date: June 18, 2010

New Additions to the Library:  Genealogy and Language Learning Resources

Sedona Public Library has added several new resources for your genealogical and language learning pleasure.  Sink your teeth into:  Heritage Quest, World Vital Records and Mango.  

You may have heard of the new television program "Who do you think you are?" As you take a glimpse into the family histories of America’s iconic celebrities, you will discover the compelling personal insight genealogy can offer to the present.  You need not be famous to have an extraordinary family history or to experience life-changing realizations about your past.  If you find yourself inspired by the stories of Brooke Shields and Matthew Broderick to seek out your own slice of heritage, the library can help.  We offer two fantastic genealogical tools:  Heritage Quest and World Vital Records, not to mention many reference materials and books to guide your way.  These resources vary in scope, specializing by region, type of resource, and are intended for beginners and advanced users.

If your focus is historical census records, I recommend making your first stop HeritageQuest Online: 18th Century or 20th Century; European or Native American; Farm or Factory; East Coast or West Coast. Where does your American past begin?  Census record coverage dates back to the late 1700s containing over 140 million names.  Plus, with a robust search interface, easy-to-use document management tools, and convenient remote access—it’s easy to see why HeritageQuest continues to be one of the most recommended resources by family history publications and genealogists.  Full-screen, black and white images are enhanced for crisp readability and quick downloads.  You can keep track of your searches, save your images, and take notes online with the handy notebook feature.   Beginning and professional genealogists can use this powerful online resource to trace family histories and American culture from the convenience of their own home or at the library.  Rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids, HeritageQuest is a comprehensive database of American genealogical sources.  

WorldVitalRecords, the brainchild of several key members, offers more than a billion records spanning more than 11,000 different databases, greatly enhancing your chances of success.  WorldVitalRecords provides access to some of the best online genealogy records including immigration lists, census records, vital records, and parish and land records. What’s that…did you ask about rare collections?  Discover your great-grandfather on the passenger list of an immigrant vessel, in a US high school or university yearbook, in a manuscript or in other primary source documents. With such a focus on high quality materials and constant updating, this site is ideal for the serious genealogist as well as the beginner. The excellent search facility allows users to search by country, region or US state.  

Members receive a free monthly genealogy newsletter and have unlimited access to online tutorials to help with the occasionally difficult task of searching record entries for particular individuals.  Another excellent aspect of WorldVitalRecords is the ‘community feel’ that is generated through the myriad of 'community' related features on the site. Users can contact other users using forums and message boards and even use "chat" to get in contact with other members.  The registration process is easy and, if you run into problems, the technical support is enormously helpful.

For those of you still longing for the language learning tool Rosetta Stone, I have something that may serve you better, especially if developing conversational skills is a major concern.   Check out our newest resource: Mango!  This language learning tool immediately prepares you to engage in conversation with native speakers.  Using real-life situations and actual conversations, you will learn more than grammar, vocabulary and verb conjugation: you will learn how to communicate.  It offers 22 foreign language learning modules as well as 14 ESL language courses.  By listening to and repeating after language material derived from native conversations, you will not only learn the individual words and phrases, you will also know how they are used in practical situations and conversations.  

Traditional teaching models build a syntactical base of vocabulary and grammatical rules over the course of months (or even years) before teaching you how to have real and meaningful conversations.  Mango isn't about teaching words without purpose; it's about turning you into a functional communicator for the real world.  Mango uses a four-part methodology to facilitate intuitive language construction:  vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture.  The latter is a defining feature of Mango.  The cultural notes are incredibly practical in helping you to engage native speakers in conversation and thus augment comprehension and retention.  

Some of you may be asking: how can you learn pronunciation from a computer program?  My answer to you is a new Mango feature called Voice Comparison.  All you need is a microphone, speakers or headphones, and a passion for perfectly proper pronunciation!  Monitor and improve your pronunciation with the assistance of technological innovation.

It is a thrilling time for Sedona Public Library as we replace our current outdated system with a more contemporary integrated library system.  It will vastly improve our services to the community and we hope to minimize inconvenience during the transition as much as possible.  All databases provided by the Arizona State Library will be accessible.  Just go to the Library’s and find the AZ Statewide Databases link on our Database page.  Please note, however, that electronic resources provided by the Yavapai Library Network, including Overdrive downloadable audio books, will not be available June 25-29.

Andrea Lhotka
Andrea Lhotka, author of this week's article,
is Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.