At the beginning of the semester, you all asked questions about the Library sessions, doing research, and what's available to you. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q: How can I find books and articles?
A: You can find books and articles available from the U Libraries by using the catalog. The Library catalog is a huge list of all of the items that we have paid for access to. Search the catalog using your keywords, and remember to use the filters on the right side of the page to narrow down your results!
Q: How are categories broken up in the library? How are the books organized?
A: There are actually several different classification systems used by libraries to organize materials. The one used in the Marriott Library - and commonly used by general academic libraries - is the Library of Congress Classification System. This categorizes materials by subject, beginning with a very broad topic and narrowing down within that topic. Each topic is assigned a letter, and subtopics receive a second letter. Then those subtopics are broken down even further and assigned numbers. Each of these pieces builds a call number, which is what you use to find a book in the stacks!
Q: Where are the archives? Can I use them?
A: The special collections reading room is on level 4 of the Marriott Library. The actual archives are housed on level 4, as well as in the Automated Retrieval Center. Anything in the archives is searchable in the catalog, meaning you can find special collections and archival items when you search the catalog. And yes, you can absolutely use them - in fact, you are encouraged to! These materials are not available for checkout, but you can use them in the special collections reading room.
Q: Where can you go for help?
A: You have a lot of options for seeking help from the library. Feel free to email me (email@example.com) with questions. Or, you can contact the Marriott Library via chat,
Q: When is the best time to research in the library?
A: Good question! It probably depends on what kind of study atmosphere you prefer. The Marriott Library tends to be very busy much of the time. If you prefer a quiet study space, look for the quiet study areas in the library. If you like more noise when you study, look for the areas that allow group study.
Q: Are all of the books checked out for the same amount of time? How long?
A: Yes and no. Most books and journals check out for 60 days. Note: if you have an item checked out and someone else wants it, they can submit a recall. Should this happen, you will be required to return the item within 14 days, regardless of when you checked it out. Items on Reserve can usually be checked out for a few hours and are often only available for use in the library.
Q: Is printing free?
A: Sadly, no. You can print from the computers in the Knowledge Commons area. Black & White printing is 8 cents per one-sided sheet; 14 cents per double-sided sheet. Color printing is 25 cents per one-sided sheet and 40 cents per double-sided sheet. Make sure to have money on your UCard to pay for your print jobs.
Q: Are all of the library resources free?
A:The information resources provided by the library are free to you. The U libraries do pay (a lot of money) to get access to these resources, but we do not charge you for using them.
Q: Can I contact you whenever I need help?
A:Yup! Please do. I'm happy to make an appointment to meet you in person or online. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How can I write an effective research question?
A: Writing an effective research question is very important, as it provides a road map for your research process. The question you create will help you know both what you're looking for, and when you've found the information you need to answer your question. Check out this really helpful guide from the Duke writing program.
Q: What are the best kinds of sources to use?
A: Depends on your question (and the requirements for your assignment)! In higher education, we tend to prefer peer reviewed articles, published in reputable journals. Having said that, your question may require searching popular sources (newspapers, magazines, blogs), data sets, archives, or other resources.
Q: How can you tell if a source is reliable?
A: There are a lot of different factors you may take into consideration when determining whether a source is reliable. Some of the most commonly used criteria for evaluating reliability of a source include: accuracy, authority, bias, currency, relevance.
Q: How can I become an efficient searcher?
A: One of the best ways to become an efficient searcher is to practice. Using the tips and techniques we've discussed in class, use the databases and other information resources often to really hone your craft.
Q: Does the U use a specific database for research?
A: The U subscribes to hundreds of different databases that can be used for different kinds of research. Databases focus on different topic areas and, while there can be some overlap in content among databases, each is likely to have some unique content as well!
Q: Are there any population-specific resources I can use?
A: You bet! Check out the Find Literature tab on this guide for a list of them.
Q: Are there any good resources for figuring out MLA format?
A: One of my favorite resources for MLA formatting is OWL Purdue. It's free, easy to use, and details essentially any of the kinds of information resources you're likely to cite.
Q: How do you annotate a source?
A: When you write an annotated bibliography, you're essentially creating a bibliography or works cited, and providing a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources you've included. Check out OWL Purdue for more information.