Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How To Spot an Email Scam

I saw this in the newest edition of American Libraries Direct on-line & felt it could be of use to many of you.

The following link provides examples of visual clues on potential scams directed to your email:,138310-page,1-c,cybercrime/article.html.

I'm sure many of you can already identify many scams before ever opening a suspect email message. Maybe you have even been sent some of these exact same examples & deleted them.

Many of these carry a "too good to be true" vibe. However, some of these eleven examples, especially #10, the IRS refund example & the #6 Citizens Bank example, can appear to be very authentic.

My best advice would be never to trust any email message that lacks reliable contact information such as a valid address or phone number. In other words, if it does not look legitimate, then it's probably not legitimate.

Secondly, I would always be suspicious of somebody trying to contact you when you have no idea who or what they are. Almost all on-the-level email will be from a company or person you've already done business with. An email stating "Please click now ... you may have already won" (or thereabouts) would probably be more accurately described as "We are looking for another sucker ... could that sucker be you."

What these unsolicited emailers are doing is called "phishing." Phishing is, according to this website --, a technique used by unsavory individuals and companies to try and fool you into giving out important personal and financial information. Armed with publicly available information plus what you supply, they can forge documents, set up accounts, and steal your identity. The ultimate purpose is to separate you from your money.

The site listed above,, provides excellent tips for avoiding being scammed. Here are the core guidelines this site suggests:

General guidelines for protecting yourself against phishing scams

Do not give out personal or financial information through an email request.

Always log on to your sensitive accounts by opening a new browser and typing the actual URL directly into the address bar. For example, if you receive a suspected phishing email from e-trade, open a new browser and type in the address bar.

Do not click on any link in a suspected phishing email.

Only use a secure website to submit sensitive data. A secure sites’ address will begin with “https://” instead of “http://” and will show a lock or key icon at the bottom of the browser.

Another excellent source for identifying email & phishing scams is the Federal Trade Commission. Here is a link to its website:

Yet another authoritative source of common email scams is available on-line, courtesy of the State of Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions, at Click the link for Fraud on this page for specifics.


Living in Information Age makes many of our day-to-day communications easier & more convenient. However, in our haste to get things done, we may sometimes take the ease of doing business for granted. Many individuals are preying on our habit of quick-click solutions. The simplest advice we can take to heart in our on-line activities is this: Beware!

If you have any questions, or more importantly, email scams you'd like others to become aware of, please feel welcome in posting your experience on this blog or emailing me with your thoughts.

Patrick Layne:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time To Vote

Yes we are rapidly approaching the first Tuesday of the first full week of November - Election Day. One of the keys of a representative democracy is an informed electorate. Libraries have been part of that process since the founding of the republic. With that in mind I wanted to show you some of the resources and websites available to the person who wishes to go to polls on November 6 well informed.

First we have the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election. This forty page booklet put out by the Office of the Secretary of State contains 1) Each of the five referendum questions 2) the legislation each question represents 3) a summary of the intent and content of the legislation 4) an explanation of the significance of a "yes" or "no" vote 5) an analysis of the debt service on each bond issue 6) an estimate of the fiscal impact of each referendum question on state revenues, appropriations, and allocations 7) public comments filed in support or in opposition to each ballot measure.

Copies of this booklet are available at the reference desk and are available online at or as a pdf at

The state of Maine's Elections Division also has a lot of material for voters this election season. Their website is

Once there, if you look under Upcoming Elections you will find copies of the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election, Lists of the Ballot Questions, Absentee Ballot Applications both to mail and to file online, a complete list of candidates, and instructions for write in candidates. Under Voter Information are instructions for registering to vote and locating polling places. And finally when the polls close check out Election Results to see how it went.

As always if you need help finding information on a specific candidate or issue, no matter what, drop by or call the Reference Desk at the Bangor Public Library we will do our best to find the information you need. See you at the polls.

Jim Riordan

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Wonderful World of Gov Docs

As you are all probably well aware the government produces a lot of paper. And because the Bangor Public Library is part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) we get some of that paper. They send us reports, studies, brochures, CDs, DVDs, microfiche, and a lot more.

The FDLP was created in 1813 to keep the public informed by distributing documents from all three branches of government to libraries throughout the country. Today there are over 1,250 FDLP Libraries spread across all 50 states, the District of Colombia, and Territories. It is administered by the Government Printing Office.

So What Can You Get from Government Documents?

There is the stuff you would expect to find like the Federal Register which is the daily publication that contains notices and announcements from government agencies. There is the Congressional Record which lists the proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate. We also get the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications which lists all the government publications available for purchase.

Something to keep in mind when you are planning your next vacation the government also produces materials to promote its parks and recreation areas. To the left is an example of brochure put out by the National Park Service to promote its New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. We also have the brochures for The Lewis and Clark National and state Historical parks, The Pony Express National Historic Trail, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuges, and many others.

The government also sends us quite a bit of historical material as well. To the right is a study produced by the Naval Historical Center on naval air operations during the Korean War. It also includes a lot of great maps and photographs.

Government Documents are also a good source for paper topics. Lets say you have to write a paper on Hurricane Katrina. All the committees created to investigate the aftermath of the hurricane produced reports. Below are the covers of the reports produced by the Office of the President (left) and the report produced by the Senate (right). Comparing and contrasting these two reports or others like them would make a great paper.

So Where Are These Gov Docs?
They are located on the second floor in the room to the right of the Stairwell Gallery near the periodical back issues and the bathrooms.

And what, you may ask, do I do if I want something produced by the government the Bangor Public Library does not have? Easy! Fogler Library at the University of Maine Orono is the Regional Federal Depository which means they get almost all the materials produced by the government. These can be interlibrary loaned. If you don't know how to do this just ask a reference librarian.

As always we love to hear from you. Any questions or comments post them to the blog or email me at

See you around the library

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back from NELA

Hello All

I am back from four days at the annual New England Library Association (NELA) conference in Sturbridge MA. Ever wonder what librarians do for professional development? Well probably not but here's a chance to find out. The NELA conference brings together librarians from all over the region to attend educational programs, hear speakers, talk together, and general improve ourselves to serve you better.

I had a great time and here are some of the sessions I attended. Do-It-Yourself Technology, about incorporating blogs, wikis, and social networking software into the library. Benchmarking ILL/DD Services, which was about as exciting as it sounds. The Joy of Cookbooks, a lecture by a cookbook author on how a cookbook is made. From Johnny Tremain to the Book Thief: Trends in Historical Fiction. And many more.

Below is the link to the conferences website. There you will find the complete conference schedule, the conference blog which has the notes from a lot of the sessions, and conference photos (librarians in there natural habitat: attending educational programs, perusing book sellers, playing mini golf, and fortunately not a single one of me)

If you have any questions send me an email or give me a call.
Jim Riordan

See ya around

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cures for the Common Bad Printout

Because I see folks getting frustrated with bad photocopies of Internet pages, email messages, and photos on a daily basis, I decided to put together a brief illustrated tutorial on how to avoid certain types of printing errors.

E-mail Printouts

One of the more common printing annoyances are printouts from e-mail providers such as Yahoo! which cut off the end of sentences. Here is an illustrated example:
Though the print is small in this example, you can see that on the left hand side are all the graphics from your Yahoo! screen & on the right, the text of the message has been cut off. The reason for this is that, while I had wanted to print the email message, what I have actually done is printed the screen image. This is most likely because I used the drop down File - Print option or printer icon or word "print" on the window toolbar to print.

Fortunately, most e-mail providers offer a simple solution to this problem. Yahoo! mail remedies this through a feature called printable view. Printable view is located on the far right within each e-mail message. Clicking on printable view in Yahoo! will reopen the message in another window. Reopening the message in a new window will eliminate the Yahoo! screen graphics on the left side. Example: A comparison of these type examples will show that about half of the message was printed using the File -- Print or icon print image on the windows page.

Article Printouts
Another potential source of bad printouts is articles from databases. Most of these databases too provide means for opening articles in separate windows, allowing a person to avoid printing the screen image rather than the article content.

Here is an example of a poor printout of an on-line Sports Illustrated article I found using Marvel! & searching under Academic Search Premier:What this printout is providing is the screen image for the record I found, not the content of the article I'm hoping to print. Again, drop down File - Print option or printer icon or word "print" on the window toolbar to print.

Most databases have solved this problem in a much similar way that e-mail providers have. On the screen of the record of which I'm looking, there is a printer image & printer (i.e. )written next to it. Clicking on this print will lead you to a print of the same record that would look like this:This print has eliminated the peripherial & irrelevant images from the previous print, focusing instead on the written content I wanted printed.

Website Printing

A quick look at a few sites I visit revealed that many approach printing of content in a similar way to databases. That is to say, the Bangor Daily News, for example, also provides a "print this article" link on the page of each major story which will either open the article in another window or will reformat the article into a printer-friendly version.,, Entertainment ... all of these & more provide links on the screen to printer-friendly versions of on-line content.

What do you do, then, when this printer-friendly link is not available or content on a page is not well-organized or as specific as individual articles or e-mail messages? This is a little trickier.

Most webpage designers demonstrate the good sense & design to keep most of the content of a page within a reasonable left to right margin. In other words, most well-designed webpages will not have a horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the page. This means the only scrolling a person would have to do to read content on a screen would be up & down scrolling.

Still, even with reasonable side to side margins, selecting print from the drop-down file menu or the onscreen printer icon sometimes will not be successful in making a good print. For example, this is an example of print that gets cut off on the side from a typical website:
As you can see, the image & text has been sliced on the right hand side, omitting the ends of sentences, essentially making worthless the entire print job.

To remedy this type of printing error, you will need to go into the drop-down file menu in the upper left hand corner in the screen. On this menu, select Page Setup. The default setting for most printers is to print in Portrait mode, which means the print will be on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch page with the 8 1/2 inches being the page horizon & the 11 inches being the vertical.

Too try to uncomplicate this, here's a picture of a typical Page Setup menu, with Portrait printing as the default:And here is the Page Setup menu in Landscape mode: Landscape mode turns the page on its side. This often nullifies printouts that have chopped off the end of horizontal lines.
Here is the same webpage as above, printed in landscaped mode:

Recapping & Summing Up

Opting to print an e-mail message or database or website article using the Print option within the message or article is always a more reliable means of getting a good printout.

The drop-down File - Print menu & the printer icon on the tool bar essentially only print the image on the screen, often using margins that will not match the desired area you wish to print.

Often, changing the default printer setting from Portrait to Landscape may be necessary to ensure all relevant data gets printed.

One last tip: Double-checking your print job by using Print Preview is always a good idea. Print Preview is located on the drop-down File menu in the top left corner of the screen.

If you have any questions about this information, please feel welcome to e-mail me at or you may simply respond to this post.

Monday, October 1, 2007

New York Times Archive Goes Public

Last month the New York Times gave the public free access to part of its newspaper archive. The Times maintains two online archives of their articles, which for several years was available for purchase. The first is for articles from 1851 to 1980 and the second archive are articles from 1980 to the present. Today Times articles in the public domain, 1851 to 1922 are available for free in pdf format. Articles from 1987 to the present are available for free in transcription form. Articles from 1923 to 1980 and 1981 to 1986 are still available online for a fee. This represents a great resource for teachers and students who want to incorporate news reports of major historical events into their classes and assignments. For those who prefer a low tech approach The Bangor Public Library still keeps the New York Times from 1851 to the present on microfilm in the Bangor Room.

Here is an example of what can be found in the New York Times Article Archive

Sinking of the Battleship Maine February 12, 1898

To access the New York Times Article Archive go to:

Search the Article Archive: 1981-Present.

Search the Article Archive: 1851-1980.

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
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Bangor ME 04401