Obama, Cameron: Shift in Afghan war role in 2013

November 27, 2011

One of the more recent additions to the arsenal of tools the Delaware County District Library has to help us fulfill our mission of being our community’s information provider is the Gale Virtual Reference Library. You can access this current, accurate and authoritative collection of online reference books by clicking on the icon located on the front page of the library’s website,

Once you land on the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) page, you will see a shelf of “books” on a wide variety of subjects, from the environment to technology. By clicking on the cover of the “book” that interests you, you can search its content.

GVRL has some unique features that I think you will like. I clicked on The Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice and searched “Ponzi Scheme.” My search yielded several articles, from criminals involved with Ponzi schemes to the detailed description of how it works. Once I clicked on the link I was interested in, I found a highly readable article with further readings and cross references hyperlinked for my convenience. I could also print, email or download the article, and there is even a reader that allowed me to listen to it. Translation tools are also available. You can also access GVRL and dozens of other online databases from any computer with Internet access

You made the addition of this wonderful tool by the library possible by passing our levy in 2009. Research databases such as these are expensive, and we could not have provided it without your help. Thank you, again, Delaware for helping us to deliver a complete and productive library experience!

Where does the expression “neck of the woods” come from?

My favorite type of question! I find these answers fun and intriguing. According to Facts on File Word and Phrase Origins, “neck of the woods” means a certain region or neighborhood. The term “neck” was invented by the colonists in Early America to describe the geographical features of their new home. There was a conscious attempt made to depart from the style of place names used in England for thousands of years in favor of new American names; in place of “moor,” “heath,” “dell,” “fen” and other Old World terms, the colonists came up with “branch,” “fork,” “hollow,” “gap,” “flat” and other descriptive terms used both as simple nouns. Americans were the first to apply “neck” to a narrow stand of woods or, more importantly, to a settlement located in a particular part of the woods. In a country then largely covered by forests, your “neck of the woods” was your home, the first American neighborhood.

How did the Canary Islands get their name?

Lonely Planet gives this explanation: Sailors in ancient times named the Canary Islands Canaria from the Latin word canis (dog) because they found large, fierce dogs there. Canary birds are so called because they were first found on the Canary Islands. The islands once belonged to Queen Catherine of Castile, and later to the Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator. In 1479, they were returned to Spain. This group of 13 islands lies in the Atlantic Ocean, about 60 miles off the northwest coast of Africa. The islands cover 2,796 square miles and have 626 miles of coastline. Seven are inhabited, with a population of about 1.2 million.

Which U.S. Presidents had no vice presidents?

A total of 17 US Presidents did not have Vice Presidents for at least part of their term of office, and four had no Vice President for their entire term, having become President on the death of the elected President. The Constitution originally had no provision for electing a replacement Vice President. The Presidents with did not have a Vice President ever were John Tyler (succeeded William Henry Harrison), Millard Fillmore (succeeded Zachary Taylor), Andrew Johnson (succeeded Abraham Lincoln), and Chester Arthur (succeeded James Garfield). The complete list of the 17 Presidents who did not have Vice Presidents for at least part of their term in office can be found in the Almanac of American Presidents.

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Mary Jane Santos, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s website, or directly to Mary Jane at . No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!