Next: 10. Final project proposal
Up: CMPE 185 Workbook
Previous: 8. Naive-user documentation
This assignment is an exercise to get you more familiar with the
resources in the library, particularly with the computer indexes
available on MELVYL (now called the California Digital Library)
and with the hardcopy indices of most value to computer people.
The puzzle was devised by Kevin Karplus, in imitation of puzzles
created by Alan Ritch, a librarian at UCSC, who wrote and edited the
Mind of Melvyl newsletter (affectionately known as MOM), which sometimes contained such puzzles.
The puzzle will stretch your library and web search skills
beyond the level of competence attained by most students or faculty.
We hope that the assignment will make it easier for you to do any
necessary library research for your final paper, and the library
search skills exercised should also be applicable to other courses and
Some of the questions below are simple, straightforward exercises of
the obvious MELVYL commands, others are puzzle questions
requiring ingenuity and perseverance to find the requested
information. These library puzzles often appeal to crossword puzzle
Remember this is a writing class!
For each question below, give one or two sentences as an answer--not
just the one word or number the question asked for. Show the search
command that found the answer you got, and, perhaps, some commands
that you thought should work and didn't. When you get a negative
result, show partial solutions (e.g., UCSC doesn't have it, but
someone else does, and we have something else by the same author).
Also, give full call numbers for books, so that someone could
take your solution set and go straight to the place on the shelves
where the book ought to be. Cut-and-paste answers that include large
chunks of the results from the searches are a good thing for this
assignment (though not for other assignments in this class).
Here is an example question and answer:
Does UCSC have the latest edition of The Joy of TEX?
No, UCSC does not have the latest edition, based on the
exact-title search f xt joy of tex.
UCB, UCD, UCI, UCLA, and UCSD have the
most recent edition:
UCLA Engr/Math Z 253.4 T47 S673 1990
but the UCSC library has only the 1986 edition:
UCSC McHenry Z253.4.T47 S673 1986
Most of the questions can be answered without visiting the library, since
MELVYL is accessible from any terminal on campus.
You can also access the library databases from off-campus computers if
you set up the http proxy of your web
Although the puzzle is mostly doable from any web-connected computer,
you might want to visit McHenry library or the science
library to see some of the books and journals that you find, and you
will probably need help from a reference librarian in doing some of
- Where can you find a list of all the journals for which UCSC
provides free electronic access? (Give the URL.)
- What are the hours for the Science Library? Where can you find
changes to the hours during quarter breaks and holidays?
9.2 Catalog database
- LATEX is a popular tool for computer scientists to use to
create documents. How many books on the tool does the UCSC library have?
Note: I'm not interested here in books on rubber plantations
or safer sex. Which of the books would you try to find if you wanted
to create HTML documents with LATEX? Which would you try to find
for help creating a slide presentation?
- Find a recent (twenty-first century) conference on computer
game playing for which UCSC has the Proceedings. Give full
information about the name, location, and date of the conference, as
well as the call number for the hard copy. How many talks were there
at the conference?
- Bioinformatics is a relatively new field, and ``bioinformatics''
has only recently been added as a subject term in the catalog. Find
four other subject search terms that help find bioinformatics
materials, and say how many books are found at UCSC with each term.
Explain how you found and chose the terms.
- How many computer files does UCSC have cataloged?
How many entries (all forms) does UCSC have in the CAT database?
What fraction of UCSC's holdings are computer files?
I was not able to answer the second part of this with the Web
interface to the catalog--it
provides much poorer access to such information than the
older text-based interface. They've dumbed things down for the novice
user, making it harder for people who know what they are doing to find
information. You may have to telnet to melvyl.ucop.edu and try ``help
stats'' to find the relevant information.
- Most of you have taken, or are about to take, CMPE 16. Find the
textbook for the class. Does the UCSC library have the edition
currently being used? How many other books can you find that appear
to cover approximately the same subject matter (perhaps at a different level)?
What search did you use to find the books?
The following questions are intended to improve your web-searching
skills. I used to find the Alta Vista Advanced Query page
(http://www.altavista.digital.com) the most useful of the web
search engines, but I have since switched to Google
(http://google.com), which gives more precise hits without the
advertising junk that overwhelmed Alta Vista.
Actually I have set up my browsers to use
as my home page (or as
a button on the tool bar), as I find the Advanced Search page of
Google a little easier to use than the standard Google page.
- Find official statistics on the enrollment growth at UCSC from
Fall 1996 to Fall 2001.
There has been talk about how the growth of the graduate schools at
UCSC has come at the expense of undergraduate education--is there any
evidence for this? Do the grad students make up a larger or smaller
fraction of UCSC than they used to?
- I now use the Prosper package with LATEX to produce my
overhead transparencies and PDF files for computer display. Find
documentation for installing and using this package.
- Find a report from the National Academy of Sciences on
responsible conduct in research.
- List at least 16 web sites with meaty information about computer
ethics or engineering ethics (that is, I don't want web sites that are
just pointers to organizations or other web sites).
- Find explanations and analyses of the Challenger shuttle
disaster in 1986. Find out how to get the videotape filmed at MIT of
the talk given at MIT about the aftermath of the Challenger disaster
for the engineers involved in warning about the danger of launching.
Note: one of the engineers got a prize from the American Association
for the Advancement of Science for his honesty and integrity in the
wake of the disaster--who and when?
- You have a PC board with a part on it that you suspect is a
digital signal processor. The part number on the chip is 21160M.
Find a data sheet for the part.
- You need a large, fast FIFO chip to act as an input buffer for
your latest interface project. Find a directory listing at least 50
different FIFOs. Who are the main manufacturers? Give the
manufacturer and part number for a 32k 9-bit FIFO.
The Inspec database is probably the most useful index for computer
science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering majors.
Bioinformatics majors will find it useful, as well as PubMed and BIOSIS.
Actually, anyone can find PubMed useful, as it is the best index to
medical literature, which any one may need to access after being
diagnosed with something they don't know much about.
The INSPEC and BIOSIS databases are ones which UC has a license to
use. You must come from a UC network or use the HTTP proxy server at
libproxy.ucsc.edu port 3128 (see instructions at
- Using BIOSIS, find an article about the synthesis of indigo in plants,
particularly speculation about making blue flowers in plants that
don't usually have that color (such as roses).
- Using INSPEC, find a survey paper about using computers to play
the oriental game ``go''.
- Using INSPEC, find articles about light-emitting polymers.
Find at least 10 from the past year.
- Using PubMed, find at least three different substances used to
cement broken bones or use as bone-graft substitutes. Provide a recent
paper on each of the substances.
For the following questions it may be useful to use paper sources
in addition to the computer indices.
Please outline your search strategy, and tell us what false leads you
followed, as well as how you finally found the solution.
- Find papers on algorithms for aligning the sequences of RNA molecules.
- What are Kevin Karplus's first and second published papers? How
many times has each been cited? What is his most cited paper?
- What is the largest independent used bookstore in the US?
How many copies do they have in stock of Norton Juster's The Dot and the
Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics? Don't forget to count both
hardback and paperback, and explain how you got your answer!
- Find an interview with Jim Kent that mentions learning French
the hard way. Give a pointer and explain the question.
Next: 10. Final project proposal
Up: CMPE 185 Workbook
Previous: 8. Naive-user documentation
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
HTML version created 2003-02-13