Monday, November 20, 2006

Ask-a-Librarian Available Evenings and Saturdays

Beginning Tuesday, November 28, the "Ask a Librarian" reference service will be available evenings and Saturdays, in addition to the regular 9am - 5pm hours during the week. Students, faculty and staff will be able to speak with an Empire State College librarian or send an e-mail to get answers to their questions and help using the library's online resources.

Ask-a-Librarian Hours of Operation:
  • Monday: 9 am - 5 pm
  • Tuesday - Friday: 9 am - 9 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm

To reach the "Ask A Librarian" service:
  • Phone: 1-800 847-3000 x2222
  • Complete a request form
  • E-mail your question to

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Identify Keywords that Describe Your Topic

Finding information on a topic for a research assignment can sometimes be frustrating and time consuming. A crucial step in successfully and efficiently locating relevant information to help answer your research question or thesis, is to extract key words from that question/thesis. A simple way to find keywords is to use a "concept chart." This is a visual tool to analyze the concepts of your research question so that keywords can be identified. Try using a thesaurus, dictionary and or specialized encyclopedia for locating alternate terminology. Then insert them into a chart as below and use the AND search operator between each set of concepts to create a search. OR is used to combine synonyms, and parentheses are used to group them.

Example research paper topic:

Compare "Contingency Management" and "Theory Z" styles in the United States.

Break this question down into it's main topics and find alternate terminology:
Compare "Contingency Management" / and "Theory Z" / styles / in the United States.

Concept 1: "contingency management"
AND Concept 2: "theory Z"
AND Concept 3: "United States" OR America

Possible search query: "contingency management" and "theory z" and ("United States" or America)

Tips for creating a search query:

  • Use double quotes around two or more words to search for an exact phrase.
  • Try mixing and matching your keywords to create the right search for the resource you are using.
  • Look for options to limit the search to scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.
  • Look at a relevant article or book list of references to find related resources.
For More Information: Selecting Keywords and Using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) (print version) and Additional Search Techniques]

Search News and Newspaper Articles

If you need newspaper articles on a topic or issue, the library's News and Current Events Subject Guide is a good place to begin. We subscribe to several database collections that exclusively index newspapers and there are links to current major newspaper content such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal:
  • ProQuest Newspapers: access to 30+ titles covering the 1980's to the present
  • New York Times Historical Collection: 1851 to three years ago.
  • Gale Group includes three collections: Custom Newspapers (150+ national and international titles), New York Newspapers (10 state papers, including the New York Times) and National Newspaper Index (1977 - present coverage of five major newspapers).
  • Regional Business News (EBSCO): includes access for 75 business-oriented news publications.
Looking for a specific newspaper article, for example from the New York Times or Wall Street Journal? Simply "Ask FReD!" FReD is a tool to help determine if a newspaper or other periodical is available in full-text through the Empire State College library. FReD will tell you if we have the newspaper or journal, the dates available, and provide a link directly to that newspaper.

Finally, we have also gathered together a select list of Internet Resources in Current Events and News. This page contains links to the public web sites of many state, national and international newspapers and news magazines, as well as to broadcast and wire news sites


If you plan to take any studies dealing with history, the arts or art history, culture, religion, anthropology, area studies, architecture, or even just have an interest in examining some classic works of art and can't get to a museum, ArtSTOR is for you. ArtSTOR is a searchable, digital collection of 300,000 visual images covering all the periods of history and areas of the world. Example collections include objects from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, archives of Asian and Native American art and other subjects, and old master European prints from the 15th to 19th centuries.

You may search the entire ArtSTOR library or within these specific collections. Each image can be examined in magnified detail and is displayed with details about the creator, title, location, style/period, and other available catalog information. Search results can also be saved into personal folders for future study and reference.

This resource is available via the "All Research Databases" link on the left side of the Empire State College Library home page (under the Images section). To learn more about this resource, see the ArtSTOR Quick Start Tutorial