Friday, April 29, 2011

Helpful Resources for Citations

If you have been working on papers, essays or other assignments, you have likely been asked to cite your sources. Depending on the subject area that you are working in and your instructor’s preference, there are a few citation styles that you could be asked to use for this. Luckily, the Empire State College Library is here to help.

Once you know what style your instructor requires for your assignment, you should visit the library homepage at If you look in the center column on the website, you will see the heading “Cite Your Sources.” Choose your citation style from the list, APA, MLA or More Citation Styles & Info (includes Chicago/Turabian as well as Citation Basics and Citation Tools).

Under APA and MLA, you will see citatation style guides listed as Hacker and OWL. These are 2 very helpful sources that will help get you through citing your sources. If you have any questions, you can always contact the library. We are here to help. We can’t check your work but we can help you figure out how to format your citation for a particular source or help you find the citation information if you forgot to write it all down when you first found your resource.


With Hacker’s APA Citation Style Guide you will see a purple menu on the left side of the screen. To view how to do your in-text citations, click on APA in-text citations. If you need to know how to do your list of references, click on APA list of references and there will be a list of many possible types of references and how you need to cite them. If you would like to see a sample research paper using APA style, click on the link for Sample research paper: APA style.

The OWL’s APA citation style guide also has a menu on the left side of the screen. Their menu is much more detailed. The menu includes general format information which has a sample title page. It also includes In-Text citation information. Below that, you will see a link for Footnotes and Endnotes. Then there are 7 links to help you with your Reference List. They start with Basic Rules and then are broken down by resource type. If you are using items from the online library, you probably want to start with Reference List: Electronic Sources. If you would like to see a sample paper, scroll down a bit on the meny until you see Sample APA Paper. That link will show you a sample paper.


With Hacker’s Citation Style Guide for MLA, you will see a blue menu on the left side of the page. For help with your in-text citations, click on that in the menu. For MLA works cited information, click on the MLA list of works cited link on the menu and there will be a list of many possible types of references and how you need to cite them. If you would like to see a sample paper, click on Sample research paper: MLA style.

The OWL’s MLA citation style guide has general information on how to format your paper on the first page. Next on the menu which is on the left side of the page, you will see MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics. This will help you with how to format your in-text citations. After that, the meny includes how to format Quotations as well as Endnotes and Footnotes. For your works cited page, you will see 5 different items listed in the menu based on the type of resource you are using. If you are using an item from the online library, you most likely want to start with MLA Words Cited: Electronic Resources. If you would like to view a sample paper or works cited page, scroll down until you see MLA Sample Paper or MLA Sample Works Cited on the menu.

We have many other resources to help you with your citations on our Cite Your Sources page which you can find here:

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Database Access Problems - Resolved!

The server issue from Thursday April 28 has been resolved. All access to library databases should be back.

If you continue to experience problems accessing library databases, please contact a librarian.

1-800-847-3000 ext. 2222
-Sun: 1pm-9pm
-Mon-Thu: 9am - 9pm
-Fri: 9am-5pm
E-mail: e-mail question form or

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Friday, April 22, 2011

@Home Library Workshops

Have you signed up for our latest library @Home Workshops? Learn how to better use the library or a particular resource while sitting at your computer. Our workshops are 90-minute, live, hands-on, online classes given by the college’s librarians. They take place entirely on the web using the Elluminate Live! virtual classroom.

Our upcoming workshops:

* Tue, Apr. 26, 6:30 – 8 pm: Using RefWorks [Instructors: Sarah Morehouse & Ian Hertz]
* Wed, May. 4, 6:30 – 8 pm: Working with Books & E-Books [Instructor: Dana Longley]
* Wed, May. 11, 6:30 – 8 pm: Choosing the Best Research Materials [Instructor: Sarah Morehouse]

For more information, technical requirements or to register, please visit @Home Library Workshops.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Introducing our two new librarians!

We would like to introduce our two newest librarians, Ian Hertz and Heather Shalhoub. Both Ian and Heather have become full-time librarians as of March 2011.

photo of Ian Hertz

Ian Hertz has a B.A. in Computer and Information Science from Iona College and a M.L.S. from Long Island University. He began his work as a librarian at Empire State College in October 2006. Ian is interested in the technical aspects of librarianship. His subject specialties for the library are Business, Management & Economics; Labor Studies; and Science, Mathematics & Technology.

photo of Heather Shalhoub

Heather Shalhoub has a B.A. in Art (Psychology minor) and a M.S.I.S. from the University at Albany. She has also completed graduate work at Hofstra University in Creative Arts Therapy. Heather began working in public libraries in 1999 and moved on to academic libraries after completing her graduate studies in 2004. She has been a librarian at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Schenectady County Community College and the University at Albany Dewey Graduate Library before coming to Empire State College in 2008. Her subject specialties for the library are The Arts and Human Development.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

E-book catalog access issues

All fixed!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thursday March 24 - Ask A Librarian closed

Ask A Librarian will be closed this Thursday for a college-wide event. Please feel free to leave your question via voice mail or web form, and we will answer it on Friday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Resources for Fact-checking

We are constantly being bombarded with information - on the web, on TV, in books, and in conversation. Unfortunately, a lot of it is misinformation. It's not that most people intend to deceive us, but once they've picked up an error, they pass it along.

Fortunately the web makes it possible to fact-check on the fly. Here are some resources.

  • Consumer Reports - objective product information and reviews (requires college login)
  • DeviceWatch - debunks phony products and gadgets
  • - fact-checking for the news from the Annenberg Public Policy Center
  • - from the Discovery Channel TV show that debunks urban legends, old wives' tales, and movie physics, among other things
  • - crowd-sourced fact-checking of the news media
  • - the least partisan fact-checking source for politics and what politicians say
  • QuackWatch - maintained by an actual medical doctor with current, valid credentials - debunks spurious and dangerous alternative medicine claims
  • Skeptic's Dictionary - debunks pseudoscience and the paranormal
  • - debunks virus warnings, chain letters, hoaxes, scams, urban legends
  • SourceWatch - crowd-sourced tracing of information to its original intellectual and financial sources, from the Center for Media and Democracy

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Monday, March 14, 2011

The issue of "Content Farms"

Recently Google took steps to remove articles from content farms like Associated Content from people's search results lists. This caused an uproar in the content farm and search engine optimization business, and a sigh of relief among many searchers.

Search results lists were increasingly clogged up with "articles" from content farms. These articles look like information sources, but they exist solely to get people to view an ad. They are written in a hurry by underpaid freelancers who often have no knowledge of the subjects they write about. Because the objective is to cram keywords in there, accuracy is optional.

But with the change in Google's search algorithm, those articles will no longer show up in your results lists, mixed in with the legitimate sites. Even so, there is still plenty of work left for the researcher to do to evaluate the reliability and quality of a web information source.

Here's a tutorial on how to evaluate information sources, from the library's Information Skills Tutorial -
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Monday, March 7, 2011

More Uses For Google

"GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND! - Learn how to use Google to its full potential"

"Use Google to Prepare For A Meeting"
Talks about how to use the Advanced Search feature to find subject matter that directly pertains to a region of the world.

"Use Google to Find the Names of Departments"
Talks about how to use Google's "synonym finder" resource. Useful for practical things (like finding the real name of a department in a business) and also for coming up with keywords for research.

"Use Google to Find E-mail Addresses"

"How to Use Google to Find a Job: The Searchologist"

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Understanding Database Subject Headings

From the University of Calgary

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