Library Research

The library is a system. It contains tools. And with any set of tools, the results you get depend on the skills of the user! Here is where you can learn how to make the system work quickly and easily for you.

    You will learn:
  • how to focus in on your research topic
  • how to decide where to look
  • how to get the item
  • when to ask for help

Are you like this?

A quick poll at the University of Texas reveals some clues about many students' research habits:

To start a research paper:

  • 51% look for web sites
  • 25% look for articles
  • 22% look for books

Time spent selecting a source

  • 42% spend less than 5 minutes

To decide if information is factual:

  • 54% verify facts in another source
  • 37% assume it's probably true
  • 7% respect author's expertise

[Source: TILT: Texas Information Literacy Tutorial,]

Three things about every library you should know

  • The Library is people and services. Ask a librarian for help!
  • The library is more than just books in a building
  • Part of a library is within the building, and part of it is online--usable from just about anywhere.

The world of online sources is constantly expanding. It includes:

What is not online?

  • The vast majority of books, videos, CDs
  • Many, many magazines & research journals,
  • Especially pre-1990 items
  • Extensive, specialized reference sources
  • Paper indexes to articles
  • Information in a library is organized systematically.
  • What if you've come to the Library to find a book. Instead of finding books neatly on the shelves, they're sitting in boxes piled everywhere. Even worse, the boxes don't have labels to say what is inside. It would be impossible to find anything.
  • Organization helps make things easier to find.
  • Librarians catalog and classify books to make them easier to find.
  • Article databases allow you to search for particular newspaper, journal and popular magazine articles.
  • The Library web site gathers for you - in a logical way - many of these resources.

Don't be shy. Check with a librarian or your instructor if you are new to the research process! See you at the reference desk in the Library or call us at 682-1611, x7251.


Many, many websites were reviewed in the developing of this project. For use of their source material, thanks goes to:

University of Texas System, TILT: Texas Information Literacy Tutorial

University of Minnesota Libraries, Quickstudy

University of California, Berkeley Teaching Library

Duke University Libraries, Guide to Library Research