Meet Denise Buhr

This is the fifth part in a series that will help you get to know your Helmke librarians. View previous posts in this series here. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Ask-A-Librarian page and be in touch!

DeniseWhich departments do you work with on campus?

Communication and Journalism, Fine Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Communication and Design

What are your other major duties?

ARCHIVES!; Military Science, and Military Student Services; Children’s Literature

What parts of being a librarian do you enjoy the most?

I learn new things all the time, from the questions students ask, from book reviews, from higher ed blogs and newsletters. There’s always something I didn’t know about before and now I do. Sometimes it makes me want to know more and I work at a place where I can find out what I don’t know.

What are some of your research interests?

I don’t have “research” interests in the usual sense but I do have creative research areas for new plays, currently the Civil War and how people in Indiana responded; and one set in the Vietnam era. (Not that I’m a war-minded person usually but I am a veteran so maybe that isn’t so weird.)

What are some of your favorite books? Is there one you particularly recommend for students?

Almost anything by Agatha Christie. Yes, I have read EVERYTHING (more than once) but she’s my go-to for relaxation.

Is there any resource that you particularly love? Why?

Academic Search Premier is my favorite starting point because it covers almost anything and I’m often looking for almost anything. I also love the Historical New York Times. I do a lot of historical research for my plays and it’s the best for point-in-time information.

Do you have any hobbies?

Baking and baking and baking! And I love sharing what I bake with others.  That’s really why I do it.

Any fun travel stories you’d like to share?

I went to Oberammergau, Germany for the Passion Play in 1990. And to England in 2002.  I felt like I was in a Christie novel.  Besides seeing all the sights in London, we went to Oxford and Cambridge, saw “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Stratford, another play on the West End, ate at the Cheshire Cheese (which is mentioned in a Christie book), and drank sherry at a village pub.

Learn more about Denise and her favorite resources on our Facebook  page this week!


Meet Shannon Johnson

This is the fourth part in a series that will help you get to know your Helmke librarians. View previous posts in this series here. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Ask-A-Librarian page and be in touch!

ShannonWhich departments do you work with on campus?

Nursing, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Dental, Hospitality, and Human Services

What are your other major duties?

  • Working with campus partners and the community to advocate for inclusive education for people with disabilities.
  • Partnering with CELT on plagiarism prevention workshops to help faculty design assignments that reduce the likelihood of plagiarism.
  • Training faculty and graduate students on citation management software and helping to identify quality publication outlets.  One of the original members of the IPFW faculty writing circle.

What parts of being a librarian do you enjoy the most?

Helping people  – it’s as simple as that. I enjoy that moment when people ‘get’ something, figure it out.  We get to see that daily.  Being a librarian means you get the best of both worlds – I get to help students grow and learn, and I get to practice all the OCD organizational skills a person could want.

What are some of your research interests?

Folksonomies in fandom – specifically how fanfiction sites have grown and organized information, utilizing conventions taken from print zine days and adapting as technology grows. The way the language of the fandom has developed is fascinating.  I am also the volunteer archivist for the local Girl Scout council, and I work on preserving the 100 years of women’s history contained in our collection.

Is there any resource that you particularly love? Why?

Cinahl rarely fails me. It’s well organized and has wide coverage.

Do you have any hobbies?

  • I have two cats, Slyther and Gryfin – yes I did that on purpose.
  • I enjoy gardening in the summer and baking in the winter.  I volunteer with the Girl Scouts as an Adult Learning Facilitator and volunteer archivist, but I specialize in outdoor training.  I love sharing my passion for nature with leaders who can take what they learn back to their girls.
  • I am also a Board Member for League for the Blind and Disabled which helps to keep me up to date on disability advocacy and keeps me connected to the community.
  • In my spare time I am Fan fiction author. I have stories in Star Trek, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and a few other fandoms.  I started writing in 2001 and while I don’t have nearly as much time these days I still post regularly.


Learn more about Shannon and her favorite resources on our Facebook page this week!



Fall Break Hours and More

Happy Fall Break!

Here’s a friendly reminder about Fall Break hours:

  • The library will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8.
  • We’ll be open Monday and Tuesday, October 9-10, from 8 AM until 5 PM.
  • Normal hours will resume on Wednesday, October 11!

Additionally, library and campus IT personnel will be completing updates to our catalog this weekend. We expect that IUCAT will experience some downtime. Here are some alternative places to search:

Need some help? Stop in next Monday or Tuesday, or email!

From all of us at Helmke Library, have a wonderful break!

Banned Book Week: By the Numbers

It’s Banned Book Week, and Helmke Library is still celebrating our freedom to read all kinds of books – even those that have been challenged or banned.

bbwUpdated infographic_Top 10 for 2016_0

Click to enlarge image. Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

What’s the difference between a challenged book and a banned book?

According to the American Library Association:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

Helmke Library provides access to books and information regardless of an item’s status as “challenged” or “banned.” Of course, our librarians are always happy to discuss how to evaluate books and to recommend the best sources for your needs. However, we will staunchly support your intellectual freedom and your right to read without censorship.

Join us this week on the library’s first floor to have your own “Blind Date with a Banned Book.”

Go on a Blind Date with a Banned Book!

BBW17 Web Banners (2)

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Libraries nationwide are celebrating our freedom to read during this year’s Banned Books Week, September 24-30. The American Library Association explains Banned Books Week this way:

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Helmke Library is celebrating Banned Books Week by offering IPFW community members a Blind Date with a Banned Book.  At a table inside the library’s first floor entrance, choose from a selection of books labeled not by title or author, but with the reason the book was challenged or banned. Check out the book to discover what inspired each attempt at censorship.

Mostly light reading fiction, these books are a great way to relax while at the same time affirming the exchange of ideas that make democracy and our society prosper.  Some examples of challenged books included in our Blind Date selections are Harry Potter, The Kite Runner, Brave New World, and James and the Giant Peach – and many others you will know and likely love.  Stop by the library and check one out!

Meet Beth Boatright

This is the third part in a series that will help you get to know your Helmke librarians. View previous posts in this series here. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Ask-A-Librarian page and be in touch!

Beth BoatrightWhich departments do you work with on campus?

I specialize in business research: Management, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, and Economics.

What are your other major duties?

I do behind-the-scenes work on library technology and marketing.

What parts of being a librarian do you enjoy the most?

I love working with our students and teaching classes! My favorite moments are when everything clicks and people’s lives are made better or easier because of the library.

What are some of your research interests?

I’m interested in how libraries and librarians can get better at what they do by leveraging principles from the business world like leadership, marketing, and behavioral economics.

What are some of your favorite books? Is there one you particularly recommend for students?

Right now I’m somewhat obsessed with both Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly and Walter Wangerin’s Ragman and Other Cries of Faith.

For students, I’d recommend diving into books that will help you understand different points of view. Ideally, you can apply other people’s wisdom to your own decision-making so you have fewer regrets later on. That could mean learning about a different culture or learning how to think about information and relationships.

Is there any resource that you particularly love? Why?

For business research, I adore Passport, which has tons of data about people, countries, and lifestyles all over the world. But a fun resource for anyone to play with is PolicyMap. PolicyMap is just a map of the US that can be populated with all kinds of demographic data. It draws on Census and other government and public data sources and can be used in all sorts of ways. You can figure out the best place for a new business, find out about crime rates or restaurant access in a city before you visit, or learn about your own neighborhood.

Do you have any hobbies?

I spend a lot of time working with a local organization that helps people struggling with addiction. I also love reading, trying out new technology, re-watching old episodes of The West Wing, and playing canasta with my family.

Bethnascar1Any fun travel stories you’d like to share?

I really like to travel! This year my big trip was an item from my husband’s bucket list – we went to see the Daytona 500 last February. I am more of a Jane Austen fan than a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, but I’ve learned all about racing and it’s starting to grow on me. Daytona was especially fun because I watched drivers race just inches apart at 200 mph, entirely dependent on their crew to tell them when and where there was room to move around on the track. As someone who tries to fact-check everything, that was an impressive display of trust. (And watching more than 100 cars crash during that weekend reminded me that double-checking even my most trusted sources might help me avoid wrecks!)

Learn more about Beth and her favorite resources on our Facebook  page this week!

Oxford English Dictionary

Last week we learned that the OED is a favorite resource of Helmke Librarian Ann Marshall. Here’s a little more about this fascinating resource!



Why use a dictionary when you can just ask Google, Siri, or Alexa to define something for you? Dictionaries can codify current language use or bring fun and enlightenment to current events (see Merriam-Webster’s Twitter feed). The Oxford English Dictionary – the OED – goes even farther. Here are some reasons to check it out:

The OED includes definitions, etymology, and frequency statistics for each word, so you can trace the word’s use over time and geography.


For every definition, the OED includes excerpts from historical texts that used the word in question. This shows you the earliest known use of each word. The Professor and the Madman : a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary recounts the amazing story of how the first edition was developed in the 1800s. (It was done by hand, via snail mail, and involved some colorful characters!)


3. Not only can you trace the history of a word over time, but the online OED includes interactive tools so you can create timelines, charts, and link to other words with similar meaning, etymology, or geographical use. Analyzing word usage over time is a newer way of analyzing historical texts, and it was one of the first types of analysis in the new research field called “digital humanities.”


Check out the Oxford English Dictonary at Helmke Library or online with your IPFW credentials!


Meet Ann Marshall

This is the second part in a series that will help you get to know your Helmke librarians. View previous posts in this series here. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Ask-A-Librarian page and be in touch!

annWhat departments do you work with on campus?

History, Political Science, Anthropology, and International Language and Culture Studies

What are your other major duties?

Coordinator of Government Documents

What parts of being a librarian do you enjoy the most?

My favorite part of my job is working with students — when a student has an “aha” moment or overcomes a roadblock (and we ALL encounter roadblocks when doing research!) and feels that, yes, I too can do this. I love seeing a student get very “into” whatever question it is that they are pursuing.

What are some of your research interests?

I’m currently working on a project which explores how today’s students experience the research process. I’m also interested in how we might make Helmke Library’s web presence more student-friendly, as well as possible research projects related to government documents.

What are some of your favorite books? Is there one you particularly recommend for students?

My personal favorite genre is memoir and I also have an interest in Eastern healing arts and practices. I’d recommend that students check out our book displays on the first floor and, as part of their college experience, to take the time to get lost in the Stacks — to, at least once (or a zillion times), browse the old fashioned way and see what they might (by accident!) discover.

Is there any resource that you particularly love? Why?

I think the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) is probably one of my top favorites — just take a random word and see how the OED has traced its meaning over decades and perhaps centuries. We live in a very dynamic and information-rich digital world and I’m discovering new resources all of the time. For example, check out Ad Access from Duke University Libraries or Oyez, jointly hosted by Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, Chicago-Kent College of Law and

ImageDo you have any hobbies?

I enjoy walking my dog Soji and still spend a lot of time these days working on all the projects that go along with being a home-owner. I enjoy time with friends, eating (of course!) and doing tai chi.

Any fun travel stories you’d like to share?

I’ve been to Europe twice, but feel I’ve barely touched the surface of all that there is to see internationally. I also really enjoy taking in U.S. destinations — one of the things I’m enjoying most about Fort Wayne is that there is soooooo much to explore within a 3 hour drive of IPFW.

Learn more about Ann and her favorite resources on our Facebook  page this week!


This week we learned that Compendex is a favorite resource of Helmke Librarian Sarah Wagner. We asked her to tell us more about it. Here’s what she had to say!


A glimpse of the search options in Compendex

I’m going to try not to get too nerdy in describing Compendex, which is basically a database which indexes science and engineering publications. It recently received a refresh of its interface, so it’s well-worth checking out even if you’ve used it before. Here are four reasons you might want to take a closer look at Compendex:

    1. IEEE & ACM Content: IEEE and ACM are two of the largest publishers in the engineering and technology fields. Compendex includes content from both, allowing you to do one search in Compendex, rather than going to each publisher’s individual platform.
    2. Citation Counts: Compendex integrates citation count data from Scopus, so you can view how many times an article has been cited, a feature not available in many other platforms. You can also link directly into Scopus to view more information about the citations.
    3. Searching Facets: Compendex provides several facets for refining a search, which can allow for very precise searches. For example, if you need journal articles on the topic of self-driving cars published in Czech since 1980, Compendex is the database for you.
    4. Alerts: If you go through the steps of creating an account in Compendex (you’ll want it linked to your email address so it knows who you’re affiliated with), you can also set up email alerts. An alert allows you to do a search once, and then will notify you when new material related to that search is published. If you are working on a long-term project, this feature can save you a lot of time.


Meet Sarah Wagner

This is the first part in a new series that will help you get to know your Helmke librarians. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Ask-A-Librarian page and be in touch! 

Sarah Wagner is Helmke Library’s Engineering librarian.

What departments do you work with on campus?

Civil & Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Computer, Electrical, & Information Technology, Manufacturing & Construction Engineering Technology, and Computer Science

What are your other major duties?

Scholarly Communications & Library Social Media Manager

What are your favorite things about Fort Wayne?

DeBrand’s Chocolates! And the River Greenway (to balance out the chocolates).

What do you love about being a librarian?

I love working one-on-one with students.  In my senior year of college, I realized I was having the most fun helping a friend who was struggling with a research project.  Over many late nights and lots of caffeinated beverages, I grew to love research and helping others better define and find what’s they’re looking for – which is one of many things a librarian does. It’s still my favorite part of my job!

What are some of your research interests?

I’m really interested in understanding how students do research for their assignments and how they experience using library resources such as databases and the website. I’m very interested in finding ways to make the library’s instruction program and resources better suited to student needs and more user friendly. I’m also fascinated by a number of scholarly communications issues, such as open access publishing and predatory journals.

What are some of your favorite books?

So many! Two of my all-time favorites are The Shadow of the Wind and The Night Circus. And, of course, Harry Potter.

Is there any resource that you particularly love? Why?

My all-time favorite database is definitely Opposing Viewpoints – I love how it highlights the different perspectives on controversial issues.  I wish I had had access to this database when I was in high school and college, it would have saved me a lot of time!  Any time a student comes to me and explains that they need sources arguing from different sides of an issue, this is my go-to database.  In addition, when I’m working with engineering and technology students, I like to use Compendex, which offers one of the broadest searches on science and engineering literature available.

Do you have any hobbies or fun travel stories you’d like to share?

In addition to reading too much, I enjoy cooking, drinking tea, and hiking.

Almost eight years ago now, I traveled with my family to Shanghai, China for my oldest brother’s wedding.  My brother and sister-in-law had a traditional Chinese wedding, which included my brother riding a pony!  (I’ve got pictures to prove this!)  Overall, the trip was really fascinating on many levels and I’d love to go back.

Learn more about Sarah and her favorite resources on our Facebook  page this week!