core curriculum – St. Thomas Libraries Blog
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core curriculum

Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Science

How many of you are struggling with chemistry or botany?  We got you strugglers covered. If you’d like a little extra instruction in the sciences, try watching the  CORE series from Ambrose Video. Ambrose is a streaming video resource, and covers

In addition to the videos to help you better understand the topic, there are educators’ guides, timelines, and quizzes.

Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Social Analysis

You only need to take one class to fulfill the Social Analysis requirement. And as it turns out, the classes below with the asterisk also fulfill the Human Diversity requirement. That’s a pretty good deal.  Two birds and all that.  The goal of this requirement “is to ensure that all students develop basic abilities to perform social scientific analyses of patterns of social interactions.”  The goal of this post is to ensure that all students have quick and easy access to the resources that will help them in class.

ECON 211, 251, 252

GEOG 111*, 113*

POLS 104

PSYC 111

SOCI 100*, 110*



Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Language & Culture

Think globally, folks. Think globally.  And when you think globally, it might help if you could think in a language other than English.    So if you’re taking a foreign language, we have a great source to help you.

Oxford Language Dictionaries Online – Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French, German and Italian.  These translate to and from English, so if you’re stuck on a word, give this a try. But it’s more than just words, it’s got grammar, verb tables, and pronunciation.

We also have whole databases in Spanish (you actually search in Spanish and get results in Spanish, so you better be fluent) and ebooks in French.  We got even more resources, so check ’em all out on the Languages databases page.   Or see if there’s a course guide.

Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Fine Arts

Art history! Music! Theater!  Now we’re talking my language, people!  This is where I shine </jazz hands>.  As a former art librarian, I am happy to tell you we have wonderful art resources here in the library, the greatest of which has to be ARTstor.  Simply the greatest collection of digital art images for museums and universities.  You can rotate the works, zoom in, crop, save, and/or download images  Admittedly, I’m a bit biased towards this project cuz I was involved in AMICO – the forerunner to ARTstor.  It has since merged with ARTstor.  Hence the love.  Also, it’s wicked awesome! Oxford Art  provides all of the text to accompany the images in ARTstor. It’s a HUGE encyclopedia (think of Wikipedia just for art) on all things art – from artists, works, movements, periods, techniques, and more.  More art resources. Art guides.

We have terrific music resources, my favorites being the streaming audio databases.  Literally hundreds of thousands of songs played directly to your computer.  So much fun. Look up genres, instruments, song titles, composers, etc.  My particular favorite is the Smithsonian Global Sound because I’m more interested in traditional and world music than classical.  But hey, that’s not to say the classical and jazz resources are shabby.  These are cool, too –  just not my bag.  But if it’s information about music you need, and not the actual music, then Oxford Music has got it covered. From world to jazz and classical to folk, this is a one-stop shop for background information on all things music.  Also, it’s fun to flip through.   More music resources. Music guides.

Theater.  Ahhh… all the world SHOULD be a stage.  In my previous humanities-based core curriculum entries I’ve given Blackwell Reference a big shoutout.  Gonna do it again here people!  It’s huge for theater.  If you’re the type who likes to watch their theater instead of read it (first, bless you.  There’s little that compares to the experience of live theater.  Secondly, I hope you support local theater), be sure to check out VAST and Films on Demand for wonderful adaptations of your favorite (or required) plays.  Maybe you’re a Dr. Who or Harry Potter fan.  Well I’m happy to report that we’ve got David Tennant’s turn as Hamlet from the Royal Shakespeare Theater’s production.  This is quality stuff!  If you need theater criticism or background, Literature Criticism Online and Literature Resource Center have got you covered.  More theater resources.



Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Faith and the Catholic Tradition

You are required to take 3 classes in faith and the Catholic tradition. We got loads of dictionaries and encyclopedias on every religious faith.  Using these dictionaries and encyclopedias is a good way to get a basic understanding of concepts that might not be familiar to you.

  • World Religions Online
    World Religions Online is an easy to use, inclusive guide to the world’s major religions and spiritual traditions. Includes core essays and information on the beliefs, practices, and history of major religions, topic centers, and videos.
  • Encyclopedia of Religion
    Recently updated version of the classic resource for in-depth background on all topics in religion and religions, strong in East, West, and World religions. Authoritative articles by outstanding scholars.
  • New Catholic Encyclopedia
    Partially revised second edition of one of the best of all encyclopedias
  • Routledge Religion Online
    Religion subject collection of thirty background reference books published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. A wide range of topics is represented, including world religions, ethics, early Christianity, the papacy, the Reformation, etc.
  • Oxford Biblical Studies Online
    Oxford Biblical Studies Online provides a comprehensive resource for the study of the Bible and biblical history. It contains six essential OUP Bible texts, including the latest edition of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, as well as deuterocanonical collections, Concordances, and the Oxford Bible Commentary. Search across multiple versions of the Bible, and compare different texts and commentaries in an innovative side-by-side view
  • Encyclopedia Judaica
    Updated edition of a classic, the best source for background information on Judaism and Jewish topics
  • Oxford Islamic Studies Online
    Oxford Islamic Studies Online offers a multi-layered reference experience designed to provide a first stop for anyone needing information on Islam. Limited to 3 simultaneous users.

If you don’t find it here, be sure to check out all the theology databases we have.  Or see if there’s a course guide for your class.




Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Historical Studies

Everyone who graduates from UST is required to take a history class.  At least one.  And it’s a very good thing because, as the saying goes,  those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. There are many history classes that fulfill the history requirement and in that same vein, the library has many history resources.  I’ll try to restrain myself, but it’s a field of study that interests me.

History dictionaries and encyclopedias are a great way to get a sense of the who, what, why, where.

  • Blackwell Reference Online – History  an online library of background works. The collection is especially rich on topics related to the history of the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Oxford Reference Online – History  an online collection of background resources on a wide variety of historical topics.  Some entries are brief, others are extensive.
  • African American Studies Center contains articles on all aspects of the African-American experience along with images, primary sources, time lines, maps, tables, and reference resources.

If you prefer watching history,  these video packages cover world and American history, primary sources (news reels, news clips, etc.) and secondary sources (documentaries).  You can find Ken Burns’ Civil War here, or WWII newsreels or the Complete History of US Wars.

We have many specialized resources, encyclopedias only of China or Africa or an entire encyclopedia devoted to American immigration.   A great way to find dictionary or encyclopedia articles on a history topic is to do a Summon search and limit it to CONTENT TYPE/REFERENCE.  This searches the contents of the online dictionaries and encyclopedias we have.  You can be as broad or as general as you would be in a Google search.   Remember to click MORE under CONTENT TYPE to get to REFERENCE.  To see a list of recommended resources, check out the History databases.  Or find a guide created just for your class under Research Guides.


Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Natural Science and Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning

Let’s say you barely made it through high school biology and now you’re faced with college biology.  Well, have no fear!  We got sources that’ll explain science things for non-science majors.

These sources cover ALL sciences and will most likely be useful for any of he natural science or mathematical or quantitative reasoning classes you may have:

But for specific classes I offer…

BIOL 101 General Biology

BIOL 102 Conservation Biology (also good for GEOL 1xx classes)

BIOL 106 Women, Medicine & Biology

CHEM 100, 101, 111, 112, 115

  • Lange’s Handbook of Chemistry Lange’s Handbook of Chemistry includes data for each compound including name, structural formula, formula weight, density, refractive index, melting point, boiling point, flash point, dielectric constant, dipole moment, solubility in water and relevant organic solvents, thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity.
  • SciFinder SciFinder provides easy access to information in Chemical Abstracts Services resources: journal citations and abstracts, substance data, chemical reactions, regulatory data, chemical suppliers, and biomedical literature. Sign up for an individual account.

Now I realize there are probably many, many other classes that fulfill the natural science, math and quantitative reasoning requirement. I’ve missed more than a couple of them I am sure. If you are in a class that meets the core requirement and don’t see anything here that would help you, see if you can find related resources on our SCIENCE pages.  If those don’t work, check out the research guides in the various disciplines.



Database Highlights & Trials

Core Curriculum – Moral and Philosophical Reasoning

The next core curriculum on the list is moral and philosophical reasoning.  You do not need to be a  Socrates or Nietzsche  to fulfill this requirement.  You only need to be taking PHIL 115 Philosophy of the Human Person and check out some of the resources below.  The course is described as:

An examination of fundamental conceptions of the human person in ancient, medieval and modern philosophy. Possible topics include: the existence and immortality of the human soul, free will and determinism, the immateriality of the intellect, the relationship between mind and body, and the relevance of different conceptions of the human person for ethics and religion. Attention is given to relevant issues of human diversity. The development of logical and critical thinking receives special attention.

The Gale Virtual Reference Library has a really good, basic Encyclopedia of Philosophy that gives just enough information without making your head swim.  As always, if you’re looking for more info, go to a complete list of philosophy resources. Or check out a research guide.

Database Highlights & Trials, Uncategorized

Core Curriculum – Literature & Writing

Everyone here who gets a bachelor’s degree has to first get through the core curriculum.  Think of it as spinach.  Remember how as a child you hated spinach but your mom said you had to eat it cuz it’s good for you?  And now as an adult you willingly eat spinach.  Well, when you’re sitting through that class that you had to take cuz it fulfills your core curriculum requirement, just remember that it’s good for you.  And that down the road you’ll appreciate it.  UST is just like your mom.  It wants what’s best for you – and in this case, it’s taking a few courses that will make you a well-rounded, educated individual.  Trust me, it’s good for you.

That said, I’m going to offer up a few blog posts devoted to helping you through those core classes.  I know not everyone forced to take biology is interested in it (trust me, I remember linguistics.  No. Interest. Whatsoever).   So for the next few posts I’ll give some short-cuts to resources in each of the core curriculum requirement starting with Literature & Writing.

For most of your literature needs, you can use Literature Resource Center.  It offers

  • overviews of works (in case you’re not sure what you just read or prefer spoilers before you start)
  • topic overviews (which are themes across several works – i.e. racism in literature, motherhood in 19th century literature)
  • literary criticism (which are articles written by other people about a work that will lend ideas or weight to your paper)
  • author biographies

Blackwell Literature is a collection of hundreds of encyclopedias, both broad and specific, about all things literature: fiction, poetry, literary criticism, theater, theory,short stories, novels, it goes on and on.  This is for background info – gives you idea of what to expect on a topic.

If it’s just articles you want – and you didn’t find them in Literature Resource Center, use MLA.

We have many, many more resources used for all English and writing classes.  Or check out the research guides.