Find it overview
Libraries are a complex system, with a rich combination of print and electronic information sources. For a first time user, trying to navigate that system can be confusing. We believe it is time well-invested, as an experienced library user has faster, easier access to higher quality, more reliable information sources.
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Reference Books (Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.)
Use for basic background information. Search the online catalog for sources. Example: "Sociology Encyclopedias" as a Subject Keyword search. These need to be used in the library.
Search the online catalog for other material. Try keyword, title, and subject searches. These can be checked out and taken home.
Articles on a specific subject
Use for in-depth coverage on a specialized area, for contemporaneous accounts of historical events, etc. You can:
- Use the general search box on the library's home page.
- Use one of the subject specific databases.
- Browse the Periodicals Shelves on the second floor for the journal of your choice.
Excellent material in agriculture, criminal justice and law, education, political science, and statistics.
- Government information on the Web
- From 1995 forward: Search the online catalog.
- From 1976 forward: Search the GPO Monthly Catalog.
- Pre-1976: Go to the second floor and ask the Government Documents staff for assistance.
K-12 textbooks, teacher's editions, and youth readers
Go to the Instructional Resource Center on the first floor. Material is arranged by grade and by subject.
College research is very different from that done in high school. It is helpful to remember that finding good source materials, understanding that information, and synthesizing the results takes time. Expect a 2-steps forward, 1-step back, experience.