Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Video Tutorials for the Beginner Researcher

Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of doing academic-level research? Not sure where to start? Not sure how to choose a research paper topic or how to use the library databases?

If so, here are two resources that may help:
  1. Find Information Quick Start Tutorial - a brief cheat sheet for doing research using the library
  2. Academic Skills Video Tutorials - a series of informative and fun videos explaining steps in the research process such as choosing a topic, using databases, essay building, and creating a paper outline - each video is designed for the beginner. Scroll down the list of videos on the right side of the tutorial page to view all options.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Limit your Search by Publication Type

A good search strategy will help you find the materials that are most relevant to your research topic. One way to refine your search is to use filters to limit the kinds of publications that the database searches. This way you can exclude materials that you know will not meet your needs. By limiting your search to a particular publication type (such as only scholarly journals, transcripts, or government documents) you can save yourself time when reviewing search results. You can exclude specific materials like newspapers or make sure that you only see a certain type of publication (like a book review, for example) in your search results.


The ability to limit or filter your search by publication type is different for each database. You may have to look beyond the basic search screen to find this filtering option. For example, in the ProQuest research database you will need to click on the grey More Search Options tabbed link at the bottom of the basic search screen to access additional searching choices. You'll see that Publication Type is a dropdown menu included with other search options:

ProQuest publication type limit option
Often it is worth your time to locate extra filtering options within a library database so that you have less extraneous material to look through when reviewing search results.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Find Charts, Graphs and Diagrams via EBSCOHost

Want to find a quality chart, diagram or chart for your research paper or presentation? Now you can use some EBSCOHost databases such as Academic Search Premier and Business Source Premier, to make that search easier. Here's how:
  1. Login to an EBSCOHost database.
  2. On the search page, type in your search terms as usual.
  3. Scroll down to the lower right of the search page and look for a limit option titled "Image Quick View" and click the check box next to it.
  4. If you want, limit your search to those with specific kinds of images using the "Image Quick View Types" field.
  5. Click the Search button. Each result will show thumbnails of each image associated with that result.
Image limit option:










Results page using Image Quick View:













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Friday, November 21, 2008

New ARTstor content

The ARTstor database has added nearly 50,000 new images of art, architecture and photography to its online collections::
  • 2,100 works by Josef and Anni Albers, and photographs taken by Josef Albers. The collection comprises paintings, drawings, prints, and textiles, as well as 550 personal photographs and photo collages.
  • 5,553 images from the Museum of Modern Art Archives' collection of exhibition installation photographs.
  • The entire Wayne Andrews Archive of 4,211 black-and-white photographs of American and European architecture.
  • 26,000 images of modern architecture from the archive of Ezra Stoller, who is widely recognized as the leading American architectural photographer of the 20th century.
  • 7,000 images from the Gernsheim Photographic Corpus of Drawings from the 15th to the early 20th century.
  • Added 1,500 more images to the Carnegie Institution of Washington Photographs of Mayan Excavations collection.
  • 420 images of Chinese and Japanese art from the Connecticut College collection.
  • More details and ARTstor news can be found at: www.artstor.org/news
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

New E-Book Catalog feature: reference search

We have added a new search feature to the E-Book Catalog: Reference Search. With this new search option you can limit your search in the catalog to only those titles that are considered reference resources, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, yearbooks, and more. This reference subset contains more than a thousand titles!

To search reference titles:
  1. Go to the E-Book Catalog.
  2. Click on the "Search" link in the shaded box on that page.
  3. Type in your search term(s) in the box provided.
  4. In the "Change Collection" box, just above the search box, click on the down arrow and select "Reference Titles Only" from the drop down menu.
  5. Click the "Go" button.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Find pre-1990 Journal Articles

If you've searched online research databases before, you know that it can sometimes be difficult to locate the full-text of journal articles that were published before the mid- to early 1990s. About 1995 technology finally made it efficient and affordable for publishers to make available and archive journal content electronically. As a result, full-text availability of material from before this date is limited in most online research databases. However, the library does provide some resources and mechanisms for gaining access to older articles:
  • JSTOR is our premier resource for older journal items. It contains the complete archives of 320+ scholarly journals, many going back to the 19th century.
  • ProQuest has full-text coverage of a limited number of journals going back to the 1950s.
  • Women and Social Movements in the U.S. and In the First Person are primary source and source analysis digital repositories containing historical documents going back to the discovery of America.
  • HarpWeek is an electronic version of Harpers Weekly from the 19th century (Civil War period only).
Some of our other research databases contain some full-text going back to the mid-1980's, such as EBSCOhost and Gale's Infotrac OneFile. In addition, many of the databases index citations (sometimes also with abstracts) of articles going back much further in time, which can then be used in conjunction with the WorldCat database to locate the article at a nearby library or via a commercial document delivery service.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Information Literacy Study

Are you beginning a research project and don't know quite where to begin? A great place to start is the Online Study in Information Literacy at http://www.esc.edu/infolit, a self-paced study to help you learn about the research process. This online study is tailored to Empire State College students and covers:
  • How to identify a search research topic and narrow it to a researchable question;
  • How to find books, articles, and internet sites that address your research question;
  • Understanding Empire State College's online library resources and how to use them for your research;
  • Creating a search strategy;
  • Evaluating, quoting and citing your resources appropriately.
Each module includes online readings, self-tests and assignments that you can use to practice what you've learned. Note: The Center for Distance Learning also offers a two-credit Information Literacy course (# 232012) for students who wish to enroll in a librarian-directed online study which covers the same material.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Criminal Justice Resources

If you've ever had to look up crime statistics or locate articles in the fields of criminology, criminal law and justice, law enforcement, rehabilitation, etc. and have felt lost, you're not alone.
These interdisciplinary topics are complex and the resources useful for finding this kind of information are varied and often spread out. However, there are some important jumping off points you can use to search and obtain just such information:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Presidential Elections Subject Guide

Interested in our current presidential election and where the candidates actually stand on the issues? Want to see fact checks of the candidates speeches, ads and debates? Want to look into the history and statistics of past elections?

If so, the library has gathered relevant library and web resources on this topic into a U.S. Presidential Elections Subject Guide. Please do check it out, leave your comments, rate resources, and share with your friends and family.
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Writing Resource Center

Will you be writing your first essay assignment soon? Are you familiar with the initial steps to begin a research paper? Need to find out what an annotated bibliography is? Do you want to improve your knowledge of grammar and sentence structure or present your ideas in a logical and convincing way?
The Writing Resource Center features many useful "how to" guides and reference materials on doing research and composing imaginative, detailed and well-constructed papers. You can search or browse by topic or keyword. Writing Resource Center home page:

Writing Resource CenterThe Writing Resource Center is accessible from the library home page, in the middle column of links, under "Help."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finding Pro and Con Articles

Quality research often involves looking at an issue from many perspectives and using logic and evidence or data to formulate a conclusion, support a thesis statement, or present an analysis. How can you find materials that address a topic from differing viewpoints? The Empire State College online library offers some research databases that can make your search easier:
  • CQ Researcher is a database of reports that offers in-depth, non-biased coverage of political and social issues, with regular reports on topics in health, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the U.S. economy. Each report includes an overview of the topic, assessment of the current situation, tables and maps, pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of additional key sources.
  • Gale Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is a one-stop source for information on social issues. This database includes viewpoint essays, full-text newspaper and magazine articles, statistics, primary documents, and web links on dozens of controversial issues. Topics cover a wide range of issues, including medical ethics, pollution, prisons, censorship, animal rights, welfare reform, and others.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Library Workshops Information

Information about the new pilot program of Research @ the Library Workshops, including upcoming workshop dates, descriptions, and how to sign up, are now linked from the library home page, under the Get Help section.

The "Research @ the Library" Workshops are two hour, hands-on classes delivered by the college's librarians. Workshops are offered at many Empire State College regional office locations and delivered virtually to the computer labs at participating regional locations using the Elluminate Live! virtual classroom.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

New & Improved Subject Guides

The Library is proud to announce the launch of it's newly updated and expanded Subject Guides, which organize the library's research resources and select web resources according to topic. These Guides are hosted on an interactive, Web 2.0 platform with many new features:
  • rate resources
  • post your comments and feedback
  • search all Guide content from a single search box
  • search for articles and books directly from the Guides
  • keep up with the latest news and research via RSS feeds
  • share useful resources with classmates and friends on social sites like Facebook and Delicious
  • access multimedia resources such as podcasts and videos
  • browse content by keyword using the visual tag cloud
  • subscribe to receive an e-mail whenever a Guide of interest to you is updated
  • print an entire Guide in print-friendly format with a single click
The Subject Guides are a work in progress, so please check them out and use the rating and comments options there to let us know how we can improve.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Issues with accessing WorldCat are resolved

If you were experiencing difficulties accessing WorldCat.org through the Library and Learning Resources website, you should be fine now. We have corrected the link.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Visit the College's Constitution Day 2008 Web Site

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The United States Constitution established our country as a federal republic in which citizens choose who among them will lead the country. Together with the Bill of Rights, the Constitution secures for Americans a variety of rights and liberties. As citizens and patriots, we are responsible for exercising those rights and liberties for the good of all, and in order to prevent tyranny from taking hold, as it has in so many times and places throughout history.

For that reason, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17. On this day, we honor the document that founded our nation, and affirm our duty to know it and preserve the rights and freedoms that it guarantees. We invite you to use the resources at www.esc.edu/constitutionday to learn more about the Constitution.

Constitution Day was established in 2005 by an act of Congress, which mandates that educational institutions receiving Federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year. Read the original Federal Register announcement authored by the Office of Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Using an Asterisk as a Wildcard when Searching

Have you ever had problems when preparing a search trying to think up all the possible variations and endings of a keyword? For example, how do you insert the various endings of "invest," such as invested, investing, investor, investment and investments into your search? By using a wildcard operator (sometimes called truncation), you can do this and more.

A "wildcard" is a search operator that can be appended to the root of a word (e.g., invest*) and substitute for all the possible endings used in conjunction with it. In most search interfaces, including Google and most, but not all, of our research databases, the asterisk (*) serves as the wildcard.

Examples:
  • "Ab* Lincoln" - will retrieve: Abe Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln.
  • digital and comput* - will retrieve anything containing both digital and anything with the "comput" root, such as: computer, computers, computing, computation, etc.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Use Westlaw for Legal Information

For legal information, start with Westlaw. This service is the college and university edition of the Westlaw research database service which is used in law schools and the law profession. In addition to cases and federal and state laws and regulations, the database also features a legal encyclopedia, summary articles on legal topics and law review and journal articles.

You can search Westlaw Campus in a variety of ways, including by document citation, document title and keyword. The database includes Westlaw's proprietary "Keycite" law verification software that is used to alert you if a case or statute is still "good law" (i.e. whether it has a negative history or if it has been overruled, repealed or superceded) and to see citing references.

To access any research database, including Westlaw Campus, click on the "by title" link on the library home page, under the "Journals & Articles" section. For help searching the Westlaw Campus database, view the Westlaw Quick Start Tutorial.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

E-Book Catalog Improvements

The Empire State College E-Book Catalog has just been upgraded and streamlined. The look and feel of the search pages have also changed, although the functionality remains pretty much the same.

Here is a short list of changes:
  • More search options, such as searching by ISBN or publisher name
  • Added "Words Adjacent" option to search for exact phrases
  • The initial "browse" search box has been removed (instead, you can browse titles from within the results pages)
  • "Marked Items" feature has been renamed "Basket"
As before, you can easily search and access thousands of full-text online books from ten different collections, via a single search page. We hope you find these changes useful. Please let us know your impressions on this blog.
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Friday, August 1, 2008

New library research resources added

The library has added three new research resources to it's collections as follows:
All these resources and much more can be accessed by clicking on the "Resources by Subject (or by title)" links in the left column of the library home page.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

What is RSS?

Wondering what RSS is and how it might help you keep up with the latest news, updates on blogs and news sites and information in your field of study? If so, the people at Common Craft have put together this brief video that explains the basics really well - check it out:

RSS in Plain English (length: 3:44 min):

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting sun this summer? See what sunscreens work

The Environmental Working Group has put together an extensive study of sunscreens and posted the information on a very useful site (below).

See which brands are best for protecting your and your family's skin, and avoiding skin cancer. Get tips on what to look for in a good sunscreen and how to use it effectively:
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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New marketing article: Changing Face of the U.S. Consumer

Advertising Age has a new article on their website that should be of interest to many business, marketing, social science and perhaps even sociology students and faculty:

The Changing Face of the U.S. Consumer: What We Can Learn from Census Data, and Why It Matters for Brands, By Peter Francese, July 07, 2008

This article is chock full of useful statistics, charts and demographic data.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

When writing a research paper, you may be asked to use primary sources. Another assignment may require use of both primary and secondary sources. What are these types of sources? How do you distinguish between the two?

Primary sources are original materials such as diaries, interviews, letters, original documents, photographs, and patents. They are original items on which other research materials (such as articles and reports) are based. Primary sources are especially valuable in that they originated during the time period being studied and have not been filtered by interpretation or evaluation. Secondary sources are materials such as journal articles, encyclopedias, biographies, and essays that describe, interpret, analyze and evaluate primary sources.

Sometimes it may be difficult to identify a source as primary or secondary. For example, newspaper articles can be either a primary or secondary source: a newspaper article from 1871 reporting on the Great Chicago Fire would be a primary source; but an article from 2004 that describes popular myths about that fire would be a secondary source. If you are struggling to define a resource, a helpful rule of thumb is to think of primary sources as "first-hand" materials and secondary sources as "second-hand" accounts.

For more information on primary and secondary sources, see the Online Study in Information Literacy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Using the Biography Resource Center

While working on a research project have you ever come across the name of a person you needed to know more about? One solution is to use Gale's Biography Resource Center. You can find information on more than 300,000 individuals and their contributions to areas of knowledge such as science, business, politics, government, history, entertainment, sports, the arts and literature.

The easiest way to look up a person is to use the name search. You can also identify names of prominent figures by occupation, nationality, gender, and other characteristics by using the biographical search. This is particularly useful, for example, when you start a research project and seek examples of prominent figures from a particular country, culture or realm of expertise.





For each biographical profile, there is a wealth of information organized under four main tabs: biographies drawn from authoritative reference books; brief biographies; magazine and news articles from popular sources; and links to web sites. While not a source of in-depth scholarly information suitable for inclusion in most college-level research papers, the Biography Resource Center is an easy way to look up basic biographical facts.


To use this resource, go to the library's home page at www.esc.edu/library and click on the link for Resources by Subject (or by title) in the left column.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mine Local Library Resources

As you already know, despite all the hype about the vastness of the web, not everything is available online. This includes a majority of the academic level books and journals, especially those from before the 1990's, that you'll need to complete your research projects. Your next step? Here are some options to consider:
  1. The SUNY Open Access Policy allows Empire State College students, faculty and staff to access State University of New York two and four-year college libraries. By showing your Empire State College photo ID card, you may use some of the resources at other SUNY campus libraries. Keep in mind that library privileges vary from campus to campus. While most SUNY libraries do allow Empire State College students to borrow books, call the library ahead of time to find out if you can use their ILL service to borrow a book from another library, if needed. (Note, a similar agreement is in place with the CUNY libraries in New York City.)
  2. Another option is to visit the county community college where you live. Sometimes county residents are entitled to full library privileges. Again, check with the reference librarian to see if you can request items via ILL.
  3. If you are not close to a SUNY library, locate an academic library nearby and determine what services are available to residents of the local community. Consider a membership subscription. Most institutions offer an annual membership for a reasonable fee. In addition to borrowing privileges, membership may include ILL services.
Tips when using other libraries:
  • To determine if a local library has a specific item you want, use WorldCat and its "libraries worldwide" feature (on the search results page) to see if a library near you has the book or journal you need on its shelves.
  • Call ahead to make sure your local library will allow you to use their resources. Access levels can differ by library.
  • Make sure you copy/print the full citation for the item(s) you need. This will help you find the item on the shelves faster.
  • Please be courteous and return any borrowed materials promptly after use.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Format References Using Citation Machine

We want to highlight a web site that can save you time learning how to format references for a wide variety of print and electronic resources.

Use the Citation Machine (http://www.citationmachine.net/) if you need to create MLA or APA bibliographies and parenthetical references. The site is especially helpful if you are unsure how to write citations for traditional sources, such as books, articles, web pages and full-text articles obtained from our library research databases.

To make the best use of this site, make sure you have the full citations for all your source materials with you before you begin. Then select a template for a particular type of resource and complete the web form. Once the reference is displayed, you will have to cut and paste it into your word processor. Keep in mind that special formatting, such as italics and underlining, may not transfer properly, and that citations to be used for bibliographies will not have the proper indentation.

Despite these shortcomings, the Citation Machine when used with a print copy of Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference, 5th edition or Diane Hacker's Research and Documentation Online web site to check these details, you will be on your way to mastering the art of citing your sources.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Using Encyclopedia and Reference Sources

Need fast access to a map of France? Searching for a short overview of the Cold War? Looking for the definition of antidisestablishmentarianism? Try Oxford Reference Online, a cross-searchable collection of over 100 subject dictionaries, thesauri, maps, encyclopedias, and almanacs. This database can be accessed via the "dictionary & Encyclopedia Search" link on the left column of the library home page. Oxford Reference Online provides access to reference materials on a wide range of subjects such as art, science, computing, history, law, literature, religion, and many others. You may search by key word or browse by subject. You may even search within a particular e-book or browse an e-book's index.

Ready reference sources like Oxford Reference Online, Gale Virtual Reference, and Credo Reference can be a valuable first stop when beginning your library research. They provide basic, reliable information to help you understand your topic better. They can also help you identify key terms and phrases to use when searching for scholarly articles and books in the library research databases. Entries in these resources often provide links to more information and can get you on your way to find the materials you need.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Find Government Information

When you're in need of a piece of information or data, form or report that you know the U.S. federal government produces, but have no idea how to locate it, follow these tips and resources for help:

1. Search tips:
  • Most federal government sites contain the .gov or .mil (military sites) suffix in the URL - you can often locate a specific department by using the appropriate domain combined with the department abbreviation or name. For example, the Dept. of Justice is: http://www.justice.gov/ and the Army home page is: http://www.army.mil/
  • You can limit a Google search to .gov or .mil pages by placing site:.gov (or site:.mil) at the end of your search string (e.g.: "mercury emissions" site:.gov)
  • If you need a government document that you cannot find online, you can Locate a Federal Depository Library near you and tap the free collections, tools and expert knowledge of the librarians there.
2. Search tools:
There are a number of portal sites that can be used to quickly search or browse through government web pages:
  • usa.gov - official gateway for all government information. Includes sections for data, laws, forms, maps, etc.
  • GPO Access - publishes most official documents produced by all three branches of the government, such as congressional bills, Supreme Court documents and public papers of the President.
  • FedWorld.gov - especially useful for locating scientific and technical documents.
  • Thomas - find bills, laws, congressional reports, anything related to the legislative branch.
  • U.S. Census: American Factfinder - source for current population, economic, and geographic census information.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Using ScienceDirect

Don't be mislead by ScienceDirect's name. While best known as "the world's largest electronic collection of science, technology and medicine...information," ScienceDirect also has strong holdings in the social sciences including psychology, human behavior, sociology, and instructional technology.

Thanks to the cooperative buying power of SUNYConnect library consortia, all of ScienceDirect's 1,800+ full-text journal titles are available for searching. Also consider using ScienceDirect if you need the very latest information on a topic. Many publishers post articles "in press" as corrected proofs.

ScienceDirect offers a "Quick Search" feature at the top of the page to search across the entire collection, or click on the green "Search" button in the horizontal navigation at the top to limit your search to a specific subject area. Click the "Journals" tab to display journals by subject discipline or to search by journal title. In the results, use the "Cited by" option to connect to the fulltext of other articles that are cited in the article's bibliography. This is a great way to explore related readings on your topic.



ScienceDirect home page and search options:




To access ScienceDirect go to the library's home page (http://www.esc.edu/library) and click on the "Resources by Subject (or by title)" links in the left column.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mergent Online

Are you researching a particular company? Not sure where to locate the most recent annual report, or 10-K ? Need an SEC filing from 1999? This information and more is now available to you through Mergent Online. Mergent Online is a treasure trove of corporate and financial information on over 35,000 U.S and global public companies. It's also a terrific source for information on defunct companies. Mergent Online includes profiles, financial statements, stock and bond performance data, institutional investor holdings, and company news.

You can find information by company name, stock ticker symbol or by industry groupings using North American Industry Classification (NAIC) codes. You can also search and retrieve company data to generate customized reports, such as company profiles and comparisons, by downloading financial and text data into Word, Excel and PDF formats. Reluctant to jump right in? You can view a tutorial on how to use this resource if you go to the library home page and look for "Research How-To's under Help in the middle column. Just click on the Database Tutorials tab to find the video or print tutorial of Mergent Online.

If you're ready to explore Mergent Online right now, go to the library's home page at www.esc.edu/library and click on the "Resources by Subject (or by title)" links in the left column (Mergent is listed in the Business Subject Guide).
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Management Resource: Harvard Business Blogs

Harvard Business Online (portal for the online version of the Harvard Business Review) now provides one-stop access to 18 management-focused blogs from top thinkers in the business world through it's Harvard Business Blogs.

Here you'll find valuable discussions of current business issues ranging from management and leadership to marketing, innovation, and more.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Women and Social Movements in America

If you have an assignment that explores social movements or women's history in America, for example in areas related to feminism (or even the anti-feminist movement), women's suffrage and the ERA, women's labor movements, women's role in the anti-slavery or anti-lynching movements, or just about any other historical American event or reform movement involving women, you will want to check out the Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000 online collection.

This is a searchable resource providing easy access to key primary source documents (documents created at the time of the event) and in accompanying secondary, scholarly materials - full-text books, essays, commentaries and biographies. The collection also includes a dictionary of social movements and organizations, a chronology of women's social history, and more than 600 historical images. This tool is maintained by the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York, Binghamton.

You can access this service by going to the library home page and clicking on the "Resources by Subject (or by title)" links in the left column or connect directly: Women and Social Movements in the United States.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Google Search Tips (part 2)

In the first part of our Google discussion we showed you how to use the Google search engine. Now that you've mastered the basics we'll talk about advanced searching: how to really make Google work for you!

Google offers several powerful search options. To access, click on the "advanced search" link to the right of the basic search box. On this page you'll see several features to help you refine your search and get more focused, relevant results. In the advanced search you can use any of the following limits to target your search:
  • by language (e.g., English, Spanish, etc.)
  • by file format (e.g., Microsoft Word (.doc) or .PDF)
  • by date (e.g., "last 3 months")
  • by domain, such as from academic sites (.edu) or nonprofits (.org)
  • search only for pages within a large site that itself contains many pages (such as: www.cnn.com or www.whitehouse.gov).
Google advanced search options:

Google advanced search optionsLooking for pictures or graphics? Use Google's "image search" (click on the "image" link above the basic search box) and your search will retrieve pictures whose titles match your search terms. Be sure to use images according to applicable copyright laws. Google also has a specialized search screen for finding news. Click on the "news" link above the basic search box to access this feature.

For more information on these and other advanced search options in Google, ask a librarian or see Google's page on "Advanced Search Made Easy."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Google Search Tips

What is Google and why use it? Google is a search engine: a tool to find information on the Internet. Searchers can go to http://www.google.com/ and use this free resource to locate all kinds of information, including web pages, images, news, and even maps. Google is a useful resource when you need to find basic information on a topic, especially if you don't know anything about it yet. For instance, if you were asked to research an unfamiliar topic, such as "clepsydra," would you know what keywords to use when searching library resources? Google can help you obtain basic facts and information on a topic so you can plan your formal library research more effectively.

How do I search using Google? Type your search words into the box provided, using one of the strategies below:
  • keywords or a person's name: tsunami or Pope John Paul
  • phrase enclosed in quotation marks: "torture memo"
  • words connected with AND, OR or NOT: Iran OR "North Korea"
You can learn more with Google's guide to searching at http://www.google.com/intl/en/help/basics.html. Important: when searching Google or any other search engine, remember that Internet resources are not normally peer-reviewed or selected by experts. In fact, anyone can publish a web site. This means you must carefully evaluate any information you find on the web and consider its validity before applying it to your research.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Research Tutorials

Not sure where to start searching? What database to use? What keywords to search on? To help, we have gathered together an extensive and growing collection of multimedia and interactive tutorials covering every step of the research process from coming up with a topic or thesis, through locating information, and evaluating and citing those sources.

Examples include: A Six Step Approach to Research, Distinguishing Scholarly Journals from Popular Ones, Scholarly Guide to Google, How to Search using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, etc.), a flash-based interactive tutorial on searching Gale's Expanded Academic and InfoTrac databases, as well as Quick Start tutorials for ProQuest, Westlaw and many other databases from our collection.

All these and more can be accessed from the Help/Tutorials link on the right side of the library homepage, under the "Get Help" section.

Friday, February 15, 2008

President's Day Resources

Curious to know what President's Day is all about or learn a little about the history of our nation's Presidents? Here are some links to select resources in the library or out on the web about the U.S. Presidency:

Web Resources:
Library Resources:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Citations and Bibliographies

A vital component of any research paper or project is proper identification of the sources you've used to support your work. To do this you'll need to prepare a bibliography (a list of the works cited in your research document) within the guidelines of a particular format or style. The citations in your bibliography will contain information describing each resource (author, title, publisher, date, etc.) so that the reader can locate the original information you used. Citations should be included for any material you've referenced in your work: newspaper and journal articles, books, and even resources like web sites, interviews, and television shows.

There are several major citation styles for formatting citations and you may be asked by your mentor or instructor to use a specific one in your work. Common styles include the American Psychological Association (APA) style, Modern Languages Association (MLA) style, or Chicago Manual of Style and Turabian's Manual for Writers (Chicago/Turabian). You can see the basics of documenting sources as well as links for viewing the specific styles by going to the library home page and using the link on the right side under the "Get Help" section.

Proper documentation of sources is important not only to give credit to the original author of an idea, but to let your readers see that you have effectively covered the scope of your research topic. Not to mention that doing so is also an important part of your responsibilities at the college in maintaining academic integrity. To learn more about documentation and citation styles, visit the Empire State College Writing Resource Center.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Add the Library to your ANGEL Home Page

With these simple steps you can have 24/7, one-click access to journal articles, e-books, citation style guides and a wide range of additional library resources available via your ANGEL home page.
  1. Click the "Edit Page" link in the top-left corner of the ANGEL home page:ANGEL Edit Page link on home page
  2. In the "Available Components" box in the upper left, click: Empire State College Library Resources.
  3. Choose the Location where you want it to appear on your home page, from the drop-down box and click the "Add Component>>" button.
  4. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the page.
You can also see a news feed providing search tips and notices of new resources by adding the Library RSS Feed to your home page. Taking a few minutes a week to read this information could save you hours of research time when those paper's deadlines are looming.


ANGEL

To do so, follow the steps above but choose "RSS Headlines" from the Component list in step 2. Then from your ANGEL home page, click the "Edit" button within the RSS Headlines box and choose "Reference - ESC Library General" from the list of RSS Feed Sources. Click "OK" to return to the ANGEL home page and save those changes.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

EBSCOHost access back up

UPDATE 3:50pm: access has been restored and EBSCOHost databases can now be used again.


Original announcement:
Due to a power outage at the EBSCO server location, all EBSCOHost databases (Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, etc.) are temporarily unavailable. We will post a new announcement when access has been restored. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Looking to Purchase a Textbook? Try the Bookstore.

If you are looking to purchase a textbook or other course materials, you can purchase the required items for your courses through the college's online bookstore:
http://www.esc.edu/bookstore

If you have questions about this process, use the "Key Contacts" link on the page mentioned above.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Video: Subject Searching in ProQuest

This is a brief video showing how to do a subject search using ProQuest (the same can also be done in EBSCOhost and Gale). Subject searching is generally a more accurate way to search a database than using keywords.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Locating Libraries Near You

Even though it sometimes feels like it, most information, especially if published before the 1990's, is simply not available electronically. If you locate a book or article citation in a journal, newspaper or magazine that is not available in full-text within the Empire State College library collection (we do not have a physical collection) or on the web, you can still check your local academic or public library to see if they have the item on their shelves (note: faculty and graduate students also have our pilot ILL service available as an option). Below are the steps in determining what libraries are near you and which ones will allow you to use their print resources.
  1. All Empire State College students and faculty have borrowing privileges at all SUNY and CUNY campus libraries (you will need your student photo ID). Click on "Locate a Library Near You" link in the lower left of the library home page to view details about borrowing books.
  2. Policies and resources can vary widely, so once identified, please contact the library nearest you beforehand to verify that you can use their collection and that the item you want is not checked-out.
  3. If there isn't a SUNY or CUNY campus library near you or what you want isn't available there, you may need to find a public or other academic library. To do so, refer to the information on the aforementioned "Locate a Library Near You" link and look for regional libraries.
  4. On the next page, click the link for "New York Libraries by Region" and you will see a colored map of New York. Click on the region you live in to see a list of academic, public and special libraries. Most entries will include contact information and a link to that library's web site.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Major resource added: Sage Journals Online

The Empire State College library is pleased to announce the availability of a newly purchased, major research resource: Sage Journals Online.

This is a collection of more than 450 full-text, scholarly journals in business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine. It contains archives dating from 1999 to the present, all accessible from a single search page.

To explore this new resource, go to the library home page and click on the "All Research Databases" link. It is also listed on the Health and Biology and other relevant Subject Guides.