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Archive for March, 2010

 Most WSC Library users are familiar with Gale’s Academic One File [InfoTrac], a large multi-disciplinary database. But, students and faculty might not be as familiar with another Gale/Cengage Learning database called Literature Resource Center. This database includes:

  • More than 70,000 signed critical essays from acclaimed Gale literature series like Contemporary Literary Criticism, Shakespearean Criticism, Short Story Criticism and other titles
  • More than 750,000 articles from more than 325 full-text academic journals and literary reviews
  • More than 140,000 author biographies from award-winning titles like Contemporary Authors, Dictionary of Literary Biography and Contemporary Literary Criticism — providing biographical and bibliographic coverage of more than 130,000 writers worldwide and across all time periods
  • Sources like the Dictionary of Literary Biography and Literature and Its Times illuminate the historical and social contexts of literary works and movements
  • Plus half a million book, theater and film reviews, more than 3,000 links to National Public Radio interviews and reviews, nearly 5,000 editorially selected links to authoritative literary Websites, and nearly 25,000 full-text contemporary poems, short stories, and plays.

See the Library’s Literature Subject Guide to find additional useful databases and other research resources in all aspects of Literature.

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From a March 22 article in Forbes magazine, written by Mark Moran, CEO of Dulcinea Media – his article specifically addresses young learners, but academics can still find value in his conclusions:

“To use the Internet as a library you need new research skills: the ability to pick out reliable sources from an overwhelming heap of misinformation, to find relevant material amid an infinite array of options, to navigate the shifting ethics of  creative commons and intellectual property rights, and to present conclusions in a manner that engages modern audiences..”

Access the Complete Forbes Column

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We’re right in the middle of mid-terms and writing projects, so you might find this article of interest.  Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman, writing for U.S. News and World Report, have compiled an excellent list of 7 Tips for writing a great research paper.

Two highlights of the article are using the Library’s interlibrary loan service and becoming familiar with Boolean searching to target your research efforts. Don’t forget to start with your professor to make sure that you are on the right track. Then stop by and chat with a librarian to find the quality resources you need.

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One of the great things about the digital age is that we have instant access to a huge range of information. But, one of the frustrating things about the digital age is that we have instant access to a huge range of information – how can you find what you really need when you get over a million hits on a Google or Yahoo search? Finding an authoritative source can be like finding a needle in a haystack – and there are so many haystacks!

This is why the library website has 18 Subject Guides organized by subject majors to help with just this problem. There is also a guide to help searchers find free collections of eBooks, and another for newspapers and other news outlets. Simply follow the link for your subject, and you’ll find research guides with links to books, articles, websites, professional organizations, reference materials, and other resources that deal specifically with that particular subject. In addition to subjects for which you’d expect to find a research guide such as criminal justice, history, psychology, nursing, etc. there is also a guide for biographical sources and another for locating statistics in all subject areas.

Still having trouble finding what you need? You can email us by using the link in the right sidebar of this blog or from any library Website page; or simply send an e-mail to library@worcester.edu.

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One frequent question we get is “Where can I find statistics on crime, employment, education…?”  One common resource for statistics on almost any subject is the  United States Census.

April 1st (no foolin’) 2010 is Census Day, and forms will be mailed out beginning March 15. The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be taken every 10 years. It’s important for everyone to complete the forms so that accurate information can be gathered: the data collected will affect everything from Congressional representation, to federal aid to transportation and schools. The government has designed a special website to answer all your questions about this year’s census at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/ .

Need statistics? Try our Subject Guides on either Statistics or Government where you can find federal, state and international statistics of all kinds, as well as statistics in many specialized fields such as criminal justice, education, health and medicine.

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Imagine walking into a library and asking for help finding background information for a research assignment, and the librarian just pointed you to a collection of books and said “there’s bound to be something about your topic in one of those; just take a look for yourself.” While we certainly hope that wouldn’t really happen, it’s pretty much what we’re asking students to do when they search on their own for background information online.

Solution? Start with Credo Reference. This database searches over 450 eBooks using one simple search box. The sources are from a wide variety of well-known scholarly publishers of multi-volume, subject specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, quotation books, statistics, and biographies – it also provides images, maps and graphs.  All results clearly display the publication information for  each source used so it’s easy to cite properly. 

Click a drop-down menu and users can continue their search in one of our other reference databases such as Oxford Reference Online or the Gale Virtual Reference Library.  Or, users can move to the next level and continue their search in the Library’s Online Catalog, EBSCO’s Academic Search or Gale’s Academic One File – without having to re-enter their search terms! Credo automatically runs your search and displays the results so you spend more time researching and less time finding.

As an added feature for students who are having trouble focusing their topic, there is an interactive feature called a concept map. For some searchers this feature helps narrow or expand the topic when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. And interactive means it finds keywords and related concepts for your topic, not a canned search example. 

Check it out!

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No matter which library website you use, library research can seem like an overwhelming and complex task. Sometimes just finding where to start is confusion enough to send most site users into a panic.

On the WSC Library Website, there is a link in the right sidebar menu that can help get you pointed in the right direction.  Appropriately entitled Getting Started, this page organizes links to help researchers find information about books and articles, as well as find general research help. For example, there are many steps to finding out if the WSC Library owns or has access to a particular journal: is it on our shelves? in another database full text? available as an e-Journal? How can I get this from another library? This page can sort out all your options in a systematic, organized manner.

Check it out!

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