Tag Archives: Reference

Why Would I Use a Database?

Situation: your professor has asked you to find articles on a specific topic. Let’s say you need articles on medication errors in hospitals. You know you need to start on the library home page, and you find some decent results using Quicksearch. So why do you see other databases listed on the website?

Here’s the skinny on databases.

1. Databases are often specialized for specific disciplines and audiences

As we discussed earlier, Quicksearch will give you a lot of results very quickly. However, those results are rarely as targetted as you really need for an intensive search. It’s like when you eat a bowl of Fruity Pebbles; when you pour straight from the box, you’ll get a mix of all the different colors. BUT, if you only want blue and red Fruity Pebbles, it’d be better if someone (hopefully with clean hands) pre-sorted the cereal so you could select your colors as you poured. Databases provide a similar service.

For instance, let’s go back to medication error example. I could go to the Databases page and use the drop-down list on the left to view the Health/Nursing/Medicine databases. That removes my green Fruity Pebbles, or all the results of drug overdoses in pop culture. Next, I could select the Health Source database because it is specifically made for students in the medical field. That removes the yellow Fruity Pebbles, or the articles that are a little too in-depth for my purposes. I don’t need to know the mechanism by which a certain drug works for my particular project. By using a database tailored to my discipline and demographic, I can get to relevant results very quickly.

2. Different databases provide different access

While Quicksearch will provide access to most things it shows you, it’s not the most adept at searching some databases. For example, Westlaw and Medline results are often not as well-represented in the results there. By going right to the database (and logging in for off-campus access!), I can save a lot of time trying to gain access to an article.

TL;DR — More results do NOT equal better results!

Sometimes Quicksearch just gives too many results. There are ways to filter the Quicksearch to be more specific (more on that another time), but sometimes your best bet to break your research down into attainable chunks is just going through a couple databases. The databases have already been programmed to understand your search a little better, and many even suggest helpful keywords when they guess what you’re searching. Save yourself a little work and try using a database for your next project!

How Do I Login at the Library?!

Ah, the sweet smells of dying leaves and pumpkin spice are filling the air and we’re entering the season of increased library use!

Pooh celebrates autumn

As you begin needing to access databases from home or place holds of books, it can be tricky to know what login to use where. This blog post will walk you through the various services you can access with which logins.

To Access Your Library Account

If you need to place a book on hold or renew a book, you’ll want to access your library account. You can do this by going to the library home page and clicking “My Library Account” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You will use your student ID # as the card number. Your PIN is a 4-digit number. If you’ve never changed your PIN, it sets to the last 4 digits of your student ID # by default. Once you log in, you can change your PIN to whatever 4 digit code you prefer.

To Access Databases and Ebooks Off-Campus

We’re all spending more time off-campus, so you may find yourself needing library resources from home. Once again, you’ll start at the library home page. You’ll then click “Off-Campus Access” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen (right next to My Library Account.) Your login here is the same as your Blackboard credentials.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to get into all the databases on the library website and open ebooks just like you can when you’re on campus WiFi.

To order materials through Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery

If you need an article, Interlibrary Loan is a service that borrows materials from libraries around the world. It allows you to order items not found in the library catalog or in any of the library’s online subscriptions.

Document Delivery is a service that allows you to order items held in the library’s print collection including book chapters and journal and newspaper articles. When you place an order for an article, we will find it in the print collection, scan it, and deliver it to you electronically. It is not used for materials available through an online database.

To use either of these services, you’ll start (you guessed it) from the library home page. From there, click “Interlibrary Loan” under “Services.” You then use your Blackboard credentials to log in. If you’ve never used these services before, you’ll need to register. Once you do that, you’ll only need to log in with those same credentials in the future.

If you have any questions about how to access any of these resources, let us know on the Ask Us page!

What does Virtual Reference MEAN?

Welcome back, Seawolves!

You may have seen the signs, blog posts, and emails that the Consortium Library is still providing reference services virtually. Curious about what that means? Read on!

First of all, you can still reach the reference librarians for research help and project assistance by email and phone. Email us using this form, text us at 907-312-1024, or call us at 907-786-1848.

You can also use the Chat available on the website. If you’ve never found this before, there are a couple of places to go on the library website. You can go to the Ask Us page and click the green “Chat is Online” button. The button will be grey if the Virtual Reference Desk is closed.

You can also access the chat when you’ve already started your catalog search. Just look to the right-hand side of your screen for the blue “Chat” button.

Once you start a chat, one of our friendly reference librarians receives it and begins assisting you as soon as possible. Exhibit A: me, checking the chat for new messages.

The reference librarians can assist in live time and even start up a screen sharing session if you have a really gnarly research query. We generally have other projects to work on while we wait for research questions, but we are available primarily to assist YOU, however you decide to contact us!

The virtual reference hours for the fall semester are Monday-Thursday 9am-10pm, Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 12pm-10pm.https://tenor.com/ZPKw.gif

If you’re ever uncertain about whether or not to use the chat or send the library an email, know that our staff is eager to help you. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Textbooks on Reserve at the Library

Looking for a textbook? Your professors may have placed their course books on reserve at the Consortium Library! These books are available free of charge for either check out or in-library use (meaning you may only use them in the library). 

To see if your books are available on reserve, go to the UAA/APU Consortium Library’s home page and click on “Course Reserves” under “Services.”

You can search by Course ID, Course Name, or Instructor Name. Once you find your class or professor, click on the name to pull up the list of materials on reserve. Visit the Circulation Desk to pick up your books.

If you’d like more information about finding textbooks, check out this guide: https://libguides.consortiumlibrary.org/textbooks

Happy studying!

eBooks in the Reference Collection

We have been purchasing ebooks for the Reference Collection for some time now, but this past year we have been selecting ebooks over books when possible. Here are a few interesting ebook titles we’ve added in recent months; search on their titles in the Library Catalog to find the links:

Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability (in 10 vols.)
Handbook of Psychology (in 12 vols.; from Wiley)
Encyclopedia of Sports Management and Marketing (4 vols.; from Sage)
Historical Dictionary of Tibet
Historical Dictionary of Afghanistan, 4th ed.
Bloggers Boot Camp
Encyclopedia of Arthritis
Almanac of American Politics 2012
Cities, Cultural Policies, and Governance
Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought
A Green Vitruvius: Principles and Practice of Sustainable Architectural Design
Civil War Naval Encyclopedia
American Indians and Popular Culture
Substance Abuse in America: A Documentary and Reference Guide
Brazil Today: an Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic
History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008
Mexican Political Biographies, 1935-2009
Open Access