Archive for September, 2009

What do Scary Stories, the Gossip Girl series, Kite Runner, The Golden Compass, The Color Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird and the boy wizard Harry Potter all have in common? Yep, they’re all on the list of banned books compiled by the American Library Association. This week, September 26 – October 3, 2009 is Banned Books Week. Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week in September every year.  This ALA event reminds us to not take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Do you need reviews, summaries, criticism, or articles on literary works like To Kill a Mockingbird?  Try our database The Literature Resource Center. It provides full-text information on thousands of literary works, authors and poets from all genres, time periods and regions of the world. You can read plot summaries, literary criticism, author biographies, listen to podcasts and much more – all from authoritative sources you can use in your research!


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How can you get started researching your topic when you don’t know where to begin? Try Credo Reference!

With one search Credo will search 403 reference E-books. Each source is clearly identified so you can properly cite the reference. There is also a terrific feature called a “concept map” that literally maps out your topic and related sub-topics so that you can focus your research more precisely. This is an interactive search which means it is mapping your topic, not returning some canned results.

Try it out by clicking on our Reference Shelf  page on the Library Website.

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The Internet is a great place to get started researching your topic – but do you continue by using library resources? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider using library resources for academic research.

  1. Find quality information – libraries purchase resources based on reliability, relevance to the curriculum, and value to academic research.
  2. Save time – avoid all the repetitive links retrieved by search engines.
  3. Find the resources your professors want you to use.
  4. Personal assistance – yes, real live people to help you use our library
  5. Lots of expensive stuff – free to you!
  6. Keep your sanity – the Internet is not very organized; information in libraries is organized 
  7. Library resources are available off campus 24/7
  8. The Internet is a mile wide and an inch deep – the results from search engines provide the same stuff over and over, without much beneath the surface of the topic.
  9. Sources on the Internet can be harder to verify. Who can you trust?
  10. You’re already paying for the library – why not get your money’s worth?

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TXT 4 Answers

This service is free of charge, but standard text messaging rates do apply. Staffed by librarians from Worcester Public Library and across the country, librarians send the answer to your cell phone in 320 characters or less, the equivalent of two 160-character text messages. Interested? Text 309-222-7740 and then enter WPL – and TXT your question.

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As reported on the ACRL Blog, there is a 2009 report that gives first-hand accounts from students about how they move through the research process. One significant finding is that no matter what resources students have at their disposal or how much time they have…research seems to be more difficult to conduct in the digital age than previously. The study was conducted by Project Information Literacy based in the University of Washington’s Information School.

 Other interesting findings:

  1. The majority of students did not start on an assignment (thinking about it, researching or writing) until 2-3 days before it was due.
  2. The ability to choose a topic can be daunting. Many students said “I just don’t know where to begin.”
  3. Students at smaller, teaching focused institutions see their professors as more helpful with research assignments than at large research universities.
  4. Students are overwhelmed by all the choices and have trouble finding what they are looking for – both online and in the library.
  5. Wikipedia is the source students consult first. It helps them grasp the topic and provides context for their research. Library databases? Too much too soon is the general consensus.

 You can read the 18 page full report online. It is in PDF so you can also choose to save a copy to your computer.

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Have you wondered what the role of a library is now that information is available in so many different formats?  What about the physical book – what about e-books – what about new tools like this blog, for instance? See what this brief article from CNN says:


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Welcome Back!

We’re here to help you with your information needs.  Take advantage of the many ways that you can get help with your research projects.

You can e-mail us a question at library@worcester.edu . Or you can visit our Website www.worcester.edu/library and find many helpful guides or links to tutorials to help you with various aspects of library research. And if you’re in the Learning Resources Center (LRC) you can get personalized help at the Reference Desk. A professional librarian staffs the Desk from early morning to 4:30PM (5PM on T/R) Mon – Fri.

We look forward to helping you in any way that we can.

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