A printable handout of the information below.
Library Reference Quickstart
A brief overview for using the library’s resources for research.
I. Finding Books
Search for books in the Online Catalog. Search by Title or by Keyword. Click on a title to check for location and availability. Books in the Main Collection are on the 2nd floor or on the New Book Shelf. Reference books are on the first floor. The Curriculum Room is on the 2nd floor (ask for the key at the Circulation Desk).
The Macdonald-Kelce Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System which organizes books on the shelf by subject. It is alphanumeric and arranged in sequential order. Make sure to browse nearby books for more titles in your topic.
II. Finding Scholarly Journal Articles
Log on to Esearch (Spartan Domain username and password) to have full access to library databases and ebooks.
Academic Search Complete and ProQuest are comprehensive databases. Search by keywords and synonymous terms. Keep your search as clear and concise as possible.
Consider using the Scholarly/Peer Review limiter to restrict your search to academic sources.
Use the library’s Subject Guides and Research Guides for help in finding databases and web resources specific to your topic.
III. Citing Sources
Style Manuals (APA, MLA, Chicago) are available on reserve at the Circulation Desk.
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) from Purdue offers excellent guides complete with sample papers and sample Works Cited pages.
Use RefWorks to export your citations. Many Databases have a citation feature. Be sure to double-check these for accuracy!
IV. Scholarly (Journals) vs. Popular (Magazines)
Scholarly publications are written by and for scholars, subject to peer review prior to publication, use discipline specific jargon, advertisement free, and provide extensive citations. For these reasons they are considered to be authoritative and reliable.
There is sometimes confusion about using resources from the databases because, technically, they are “on the Internet.” Most of the scholarly articles in databases originally appeared in print, but have been digitized for convenience. If you are expected to avoid getting materials from “the Internet” double check to make sure using articles from databases is acceptable.
V. Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
If there is a book or article not available in the library’s collection submit an interlibrary loan request and we will almost always be able to borrow it for you from another library. Forms are available at the Reference desk and online at our website (located under Services). It may take approximately one to two weeks to receive items.