Monday, November 22, 2010

Finding the resources you need using Subject Guides

Doing library research can be intimidating just because there are so many places to search for different kinds of information resources (e-books, articles, videos, data) on different topics.

Some day we'll have achieved a level of technology where you can say, "Computer, give me three articles about PTSD among fire fighters!" and it will know exactly what you want and customize your results based on your known interests and preferences... that day is still far in the future. Not so much because of the technology, which is practically there already, but because of the laws and business considerations that restrict the sharing of content.

In the mean time, we have Subject Guides. These are mini-websites that the librarians put together to make it easier to do research. Subject Guides bring together all the different search tools and sources that are useful for a particular subject area or family of topics, and they organize those tools and sources by type. In every Subject Guide you will find tabs for Reference, Journal Articles, Books, Multimedia and Web Sites. Under each tab will be various search tools and resources, each with a brief but useful description.

You'll also find a chat box so you can ask a librarian any question that occurs to you while you work.

It's important to note that the Subject Guide is not the place for you to do the actual keyword searching. With a few exceptions, it doesn't contain any useful content in itself. What it does is link you to the places that you can go to search.

To get to the Subject Guides, either go to, or go to the library web site and click the link for Resources By Subject.

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