Library Research Guides — new and improved!

Take a look at the new arrangement of the Library’s Research Guides.  Many are new, others have been completely revised, and the rest have been rearranged to make them much easier to find and access.

A special section called Get Help highlights selected How-to Guides, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions and other helpful information on many of the tasks you may encounter as you do your research.

We welcome suggestions for other Guides to add, so feel free to let us know what else you’d like to see on the list.

 

 

 

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Writing and Math Tutoring in the Library

Are you looking for some help with Writing or Math.  Good news, the Library has a partnership with the Learning Commons Writing Center and Math Labs to provide tutors during evenings and weekends.

Hours in the Library:

Writing Tutors available in Rm 110:  Mon – Thurs,  6-9pm and Sat – Sun 12-5pm

Math Tutors available on the 3rd Floor of the Library between Rm 309 and 307:  Sat – Sun,  2-8pm

Additional tutoring services are available in the Learning Commons and online via Live Homework Help

Have a great semester!

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Need a textbook?

Fall semester is almost upon us and if you are looking to acquire textbooks for your classes, remember that the library does not purchase textbooks. Luckily, there are some alternatives for you to consider:

1) Stop by the circulation desk to see if the book has been put on reserve by your professor for your class. Make sure you provide the people at the desk the instructor last name and the title of the book. Or you can check yourself by going to Course Reserves and looking for the course by instructor name, course ID or title.

2) Rent the textbook through the UAA Campus Bookstore or purchase a used copy.

For additional options: check out our Textbook guide .

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July is Lakes Appreciation Month

Did you know there are over 3 million lakes in Alaska? Only 3,000 or so have official names. Celebrate one this July, when the North American Lake Management Society celebrates Lakes Appreciation Month.

The Consortium Library and ARLIS have a plethora of material on Alaska lakes, including information on water quality, fish populations, potential waterpower, maps, and much more. See a sample of the list here.

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Learn about Memorial Day

The website from the Library of Congress called America’s Story states that the first Memorial Day took place in 1868.  If you are curious about the origins of Memorial Day, then there are many great government resources that you can consult. The Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs has an extensive collection of resource links listed on their Memorial Day website for helpful information.  Also, the Consortium Library has numerous reference and government sources having to do with Memorial Day. Some examples include The Encyclopedia of War and American Society, and American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. To search for sources from the main Consortium Library homepage, type “Memorial Day” History into the QuickSearch box. You can then, for example, select Reference listed under Content Type on the left side of the screen. Feel free to ask a librarian for assistance in locating additional resources.

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North by North Festival, May 12-14

Anchorage will host a number of activities for the North by North (NxN) Festival on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial gathering in Fairbanks. Events include an arts, crafts, & culture expo, a circumpolar film festival, and a local food and beer tasting. Many of these unique happenings are free, others have a fee, or you can buy a pass for $20.

You can also register for Innovate Arctic at the Anchorage Museum, a full day of TED-style talks, interactive exhibits, and topic-driven breakout sessions on Arctic topics including cold climate housing, northern agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, telecommunications, and education.

To see the full schedule and for much more information, go to the NxN website.

 

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Anchorage Arctic Research Day, March 24

On March 24, UAA and the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will hold the first ever Anchorage Arctic Research Day in Rasmuson Hall.

This all day event will bring together Arctic researchers within the Anchorage municipality to share information about the diversity of research and creative activity being conducted by a broad array of organizations.  Come meet with participants from government, industry, academic, nonprofit and indigenous groups, and hear about Arctic research from leading researchers across the natural and social sciences, health, engineering, and arts and humanities.

Highlights include keynote speaker Fran Ulmer, Chair of the Arctic Research Commission of the U.S. (and former UAA Chancellor).  There will also be a poster reception featuring activities from the wide range of participants from the Anchorage Arctic research community.

Click here to see the day’s schedule, to register, or for more information.

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Rules of Thumb

I have a few simple rules of thumb and arcane tricks that can make use of the library and its resources both more pleasant and more effective. I’ll cover three of them today.

The first truly is a rule of thumb. When you look at the small white label on a book that shows the call number (the spine label), it will often have a prefix to indicate a physical location in the library. For instance, if it says REF, then the physical home for the book will be in the Reference Collection near the Reference Desk, while ALASKA means the book will be in the Alaskana Collection on the second floor. If you only see the call number itself without a prefix, then that book belongs in the General Collection. That’s all fine, but what if you find a book you really like in the Reference Collection, for example, and you’d like to find similar books that you could check out?  Place your thumb over the part of the spine label that says REF and make note of the call number underneath it. Go find that call number in the General Collection, and while you probably won’t find the exact same book (it’s too expensive for us to purchase multiple copies), you will find other books on the same and similar subjects. It’s an easy way to find an interesting area to browse without having to stop at a computer and use the catalog.

Another rule to keep in mind is 15 minutes tops. If you come to the library and are having trouble finding what you need or where it’s located, or a database just isn’t working for you, then come see us at the Reference Desk after spending 15 minutes tops. As simple as we try to make the library, it’s still a very complex place. We understand the organization of the library and of information, we know how the databases work, and we have a lot of experience in answering research questions and addressing other concerns. In fact, the real reason for having a reference librarian at the Reference Desk is not to clear printer jams, but to interpret the library to you and to help you find the information you need. I once had a student come to the Reference Desk who was vibrating half a foot off the floor from sheer stress. She had been searching for something for three hours without success, and she finally came to me. She never deserved to have that much frustration, but at the same time, her accumulated frustration made it all the more difficult for me to help her. So honestly, 15 minutes tops — after that, please come and talk to us, and we’ll do our best to connect you with what you need and get things straightened out.

Last is what I call the passive-aggressive nature of publishers, because they did something really wonderful and then never told anyone how to use it. Many books have gilt lettering on the spines, which quite often makes the titles and authors of the books as illegible as if they had been printed with invisible ink. This happens most frequently on the bottom shelves, which can be especially frustrating since it’s so much harder to get near the floor to get a good look at them; add bifocals for Those Of A Certain Age and it’s a recipe for disaster. Well. I happened to discover one day that if you take a scrap of white paper and hold it against the book spine just below the gilt lettering, the light reflected from the white paper will make the gilt lettering glow; it’s literally revelatory! Not only can you actually see what the darned book is, you no longer need a three-year-old to help you with the bottom shelves. You can use the palm of your hand for this, too, but it won’t reflect light quite as well as paper does. A great set to try it out on is the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography at REF E176 .N27, a set of green books that occupies two bottom shelves near the Reference reshelving cart. Give it a try; this one trick alone, simple as it is, can make your library life so much easier!

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