While in college you will need to research information for your papers and other assignments. Once you graduate, you will most likely continue to do research to make informed decisions in your job and your community. The skills you have and continue to develop will make the process of finding information for your assignments, your work, and your life much easier.
The combined resources of your library and the Internet create an almost endless amount of information available to you. With all of these choices, where do you find the answers?
In addition to an overview of the sources and services at our campus library, this section will focus on the different sources of information, where to find these sources, and how to choose the best ones for your research. After completing this section you should be able to:
Mission and Goals
The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library supports the LIU Post Campus of Long Island University in its goal to educate students to be productive, socially responsible, and broadly educated citizens. It does so by developing comprehensive library collections that support the curricula and by offering bibliographic instruction to help the students become information literate. Moreover, the library strives to employ the latest technologies to provide fast and easy access to information and to assemble an outstanding staff to serve the academic community.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has defined information literacy as the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information in order to become independent learners. An information literate student demonstrates the ability to:
The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library, with over 1,000,000 volumes and more than 5,000 periodicals and newspaper subscriptions in its various public service departments, has a capacity of 2.1 million volumes and accommodates more than 800 students.
The library has grown from a basic collection started in the 1950s to a large and diverse number of collections. The Reference Department consists of an extensive reference and research collection of over 30,000 sources in a wide variety of areas, with particularly strong collections in law, art, and literature. The department provides access to electronic reference texts and fee-based computerized information retrieval from a broad array of databases.
The Government Information Department includes a Federal Depository (housing over a half million documents), a New York State Depository, and extensive microfiche collections in criminal justice and education, with print and computerized access to government information.
Current subscriptions to over 2,500 journals, and a large retrospective collection are maintained in the Periodicals Department, with print and computerized indexes to provide access to the material.
The Instructional Media Center contains a model children's library, curriculum and audiovisual resources and equipment, and production and preview facilities.
The Library and Information Science Library primarily serves students in the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. There are more than 19,000 volumes in this specialized collection and 260 current journals. You can find information here on such topics as computers, archives, knowledge management, literacy, and school media centers.
The Center for Business Research was developed through the integration of the former Nassau County Research Library with LIU Post's existing resources. A broad range of materials including trade magazines, company directories, international resources, Long Island files, and financial services make this one of the finest research libraries for business students and professionals in the Northeast.
The Special Collections Department houses such notable and rare holdings as the Winthrop Palmer French and Irish Rare Books, linked by the writings of Samuel Beckett; the William Randolph Hearst Art Archives, which records his vast collecting in text and photographs; the Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill library; the Theodore Roosevelt Collection of his life, times, and writings; and approximately 5000 original movie posters dating from 1940 to 1962. The Department also has LIU Post's archives, which includes all of the issues of the student newspaper, Pioneer, and the students yearbook, Opticon.
The LIU Post Campus Library Web Site contains links to information about the library, how to get started on doing research, the online library catalog, online databases, internet resources, and other library services. The web site can be accessed at: http://www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/libhome.htm
One of the most important resources the library has to offer is the special help that is available from its knowledgeable staff. Librarians are available to assist you with any questions that you may have. If you can't find what you need or don't know where to begin your research, ASK A LIBRARIAN. They are here to help you.
The library is open 86 hours a week, including nights and weekends, with special extended hours during final examination periods. The Library is generally open Monday-Thursday from 8am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday from 8am to 5pm and Sunday from 12 noon to 8pm, but always check for extended and holiday hours. Hours for the specialized departments such as the Center for Business Research, Government Information, Library and Information Science Library, the Instructional Media Center, and Special Collections differ so it is wise to check these hours. Visit the library's web site for any changes in library hours.
Currently enrolled L.I.U. students with updated, validated I.D. cards (and alumni with alumni cards) have full borrowing privileges. The main Circulation Desk for checking out books is located in the lobby near the exit door. The Library and Information Science Library and the Instructional Media Center circulate their own materials. The normal borrowing period for books is 28 days and you may renew for one more borrowing period. Instructional Media Center materials, other than films and videos, may be borrowed for two weeks.
Materials on reserve consist primarily of books and photocopied articles, which have been set aside at the request of faculty for your use. Unless otherwise indicated, the reserve status of an item automatically terminates at the end of the semester. Books that are currently on reserve appear in LIUCat with a due date of 08/08/08. Most reserve material can be found at the main Circulation Desk. The Library and Information Science Library and the Center for Business Research have their own reserve collections. Check in those departments for specific policies.
Equipment is available throughout the Library to photocopy microfilm, microfiche, books, and print materials. Each copy costs 10 cents. Machines to purchase copy cards are available on the main floor.
Interlibrary loan expands the range of publications available to the LIU Post community. Students may request that publications not owned by LIU Post be borrowed from other libraries on a local and national level. Inquire at the Reference Desk or Circulation Desk for appropriate forms. This service is more appropriate for long-term research, and it is possible that it may take from four to six weeks to receive the requested items. For further information, see the Reference web site at: http://www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/ref/refhome.htm
Information can come from virtually anywhere -- personal experiences, books, articles, expert opinions, encyclopedias, the Web -- and the type of information you need will change depending on the question you are trying to answer. Look at the following sources of information. Notice the similarities between them.
Keep in mind the following three questions:
A magazine is a collection of articles and images about diverse topics of popular interest and current events. Usually these articles are written by journalists or scholars and are geared toward the average adult. Magazines may cover very "serious" material, but to find consistent scholarly information you should use journals.
Magazines, like journals and newspapers, are called "periodicals" because they are published at regular intervals throughout the year. Print magazines can be found in newsstands and libraries. Electronic magazines, called e-zines, can be found on the Web and sometimes in "digital library" collections.
Use a Magazine:
Examples of Magazines:
A journal is a collection of articles usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field. An editorial board reviews articles to decide whether they should be accepted. Articles in journals can cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research. Since journals are published on a regular or periodic basis they are grouped in the category called "periodicals." Electronic journals, called e-journals, are published on the Web by some scholarly organizations and are made available to you from your library.
Use a Journal:
Examples of Journals:
A periodical index points to citations of articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers. Some periodical indexes contain abstracts or brief summaries of the articles. A few contain the full-text or entire content of whole articles as they originally appeared in the periodical. You may use many of the online periodical indexes, also known as databases, purchased by your library, from any Internet-connected computer.
Use a Periodical Index:
Examples of Periodical Indexes:
A newspaper is a collection of articles about current events, usually published daily. Since there is at least one in every city, it is a great source for local information. Newspapers, like journals and magazines, are called "periodicals" because they are published on a regular or periodic basis.
Many newspapers publish Web sites with today's news. The online copy of a newspaper can contain fewer articles than the print copy. Newspapers usually charge for access to online copies of older articles, but you can often find those articles at your library.
Use a Newspaper:
A library catalog is an organized and searchable collection of records of every item in a library. The catalog will point you to the location of a particular source, or group of sources, that the library owns on your topic. Since every library collection is unique, every catalog is also unique. At LIU Post, if you are using any networked computer in the library you can search LIUCat. Some libraries put their catalog on the Web so you can access it from any Internet-connected computer. Our library catalog, LIUCat, is available on the web at: http://liucat.lib.liu.edu
Use the Catalog:
Examples of Library Catalogs:
Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all the information on one topic to support a particular argument or thesis. Libraries organize and store their book collections on shelves called "stacks." At our library, circulating books are shelved on four open stack levels. The entrance to the stacks (which also happens to be stack level 4) is off the lobby on the main floor of the library. Electronic books, called e-books, may be purchased online.
Use a Book:
Encyclopedias are collections of short, factual entries often written by different contributors who are knowledgeable about the topic. There are two types of encyclopedias -- general and subject. General encyclopedias provide concise overviews on a wide variety of topics. Subject encyclopedias contain in-depth entries focusing on one field of study. The best place to find an encyclopedia is in a library. However, a few encyclopedias can be found on the Web, usually accessible only to subscribers.
Use an Encyclopedia:
The Web allows you to access most types of information on the Internet through a browser. One of the main features of the Web is the ability to quickly link to other related information. The Web contains information beyond plain text, including sounds, images, and video.
Use the Web:
Examples of Web Addresses:
Email is a method of online communication with one or more people using special software on an Internet-connected computer. It is not a private form of communication since messages can be easily copied and sent to others. It is difficult to convey emotion or intent in an email message, so you must clearly state what you mean to say. You should be aware that there are rules of etiquette or "netiquette" to follow when using email. For example, USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS is frowned upon because it is considered to be "shouting" in an online environment. As a student at LIU you are automatically given an email account. For information consult the My LIU student information system available at: https://my.liu.edu/
Examples of Email Addresses:
Now that you know the wide range of sources available to you, how do you select the best one for your research?
The best sources will depend on the type of information you are trying to find. The following chart illustrates how the information you need will affect your choice of the best sources for you to use.
Considering all types of information is important when selecting sources for your research. You can develop more robust and convincing arguments by gathering information from a variety of sources. Consulting several sources from different authorities can be an excellent way to find support for your thesis, as well as provide different points of view on your topic.
It is important to think about what you really need to find and then use a source that best meets those needs.
The next thing to think about is how and where to start your research.
Sometimes the hardest part about research is just getting started. Two places to begin looking for information are in library sources and on the Web.
When you think about libraries the first things that come to mind are probably printed materials such as books and magazines. Libraries also provide access to resources like full-text magazine articles and online databases.
Libraries collect quality information in a wide variety of formats. Many electronic resources are accessible through a Web browser. Academic libraries purchase these sources for their community of students, faculty, and staff to use. These resources are different than most of the information that is freely available to you over the Web because they have been reviewed and recommended by the library.
For your research, you will probably save yourself time and find more quality information if you begin with library resources and then move to the Web if you need more information or other points of view. Remember, when using remote access to get to the library's databases, you are accessing the library's collection via the Web, but are still using library resources which tend to be more reliable.
The main purpose of a university library is to collect a large quantity of scholarly material from different decades and on diverse topics to make your research easier. Those materials might be printed on microfilm, video, CDs, or even full-text databases offered on the Web.
Library resources go through a review process.
Library resources are free or discounted for your use.
Library resources are organized.
Library resources are meant to be kept permanently.
Library resources come with personal assistance.
Quality over Quantity
Libraries have large collections of information on a variety of topics which have been carefully selected and organized. The key idea when using the library is that you are getting QUALITY over QUANTITY. Print or electronic library resources are the best sources to use when starting your research. You can efficiently find quality information from a variety of credible resources in the library.
Although many people first go to the Web for information, it is not always the best place for what you need. It's pretty difficult to make definitive statements about something as diverse as the Web. But here we go...
Most information on the Web does not go through a review
Some information on the Web is not free.
Information on the Web is not organized.
Most information on the Web is not comprehensive.
Most information on the Web is not permanent.
Quantity over Quality
The Web can be a good research source for:
The key idea when using the Web is that you get QUANTITY over QUALITY. The Web is a good tool for finding information, but it is usually not the best place to begin academic research.
Although we've been making some distinctions between the Web and the library, the two aren't distinctly different things. It's important to understand that there is a middle-ground -- the idea of the "library on the Web." That is to say, many libraries have Web sites which organize information and provide access to collections of quality resources. The library web page for LIU Post is: http://www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/libhome.htm
One great thing about using the library on the Web is that the information has been evaluated and organized. Much of this information is from the government, companies, universities, and foreign countries. Sometimes the library has digitized material from its own collections or exhibits for people around the world to use. For example, African-Americans and the Old West: http://www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/african/west/west.htm
Keep in mind that although there is an increasing amount of information in this "digital library" on the Internet, you will still not find electronic full-text versions of all the resources you would find in the physical library.
Another aspect of this library is how easy it is for you to access. Library Web sites often have information about library hours, policies and contact information if you need assistance. If you are a student at a university, you can use the library online 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any Internet-connected computer. In some cases you can even find the full text of articles from magazines and journals through the library's Web site. A complete list of databases for LIU Post, including full-text databases, is available at: http://www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/database.htm
Some of the best resources available from the library over the Web are the periodical databases.
Researching is like playing detective and following clues toward the resolution of a case. Research will help you make links and connections between information and ideas, as well as broaden your perspectives on the world. You want to end your research with enough quality information to make writing your paper easier.
Many times you will not find the information you need in the first place you look. Now that you know the wide variety of sources available, try another place to find the information. Usually looking at a topic from a different perspective will lead you to more information.
Remember that it takes time to locate good information. If you are struggling to start your research, get help. The librarians who work at the Reference or Information Desk in your library are experienced in selecting and evaluating reliable resources. Take advantage of their expertise, and ask them for help.
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||This material has been adapted from TILT, a site developed by the University of Texas System. Additional content created by : Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes, Laura Manzari, Linda McCormack, Dona McDermott, and Andrea Rylander.||
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