Dragon Writers

A Weblog for Drexel University Freshman Writers Written by the Drexel University Libraries Librarians

Friday, December 02, 2005

Right tool for the right job

Location, Location, Location

In some ways, browsing resources on the Library website is similiar to a shopping trip to the mall. Where you go depends on the sort of thing you are looking for. The nature of what you can find at any point in your trip depends on where you are.

At the mall you go to Tower Records to get music cd's and then to a restaurant to get lunch. On the Library website you go to the book catalog to find individual book or journal titles. Then you go choose one of the Databases to find individual journal articles and other full-text content.

If you go looking for a hamburger and fries in the record store, you are likely to be disappointed! In the same way, you would be disappointed looking for journal articles in the Library book catalog. (Looking for information on the open Internet - off the Library's website- is more like shopping at a supersized flea market. But that's a whole other story I won't get into right now.)

Packaging, Packaging, Packaging

Let's just say that remembering where you are and what kind of information "package" you will find there is one way to guide your search. Often times it pays to look in both the catalog for books on your topic as well as a database for articles. But if you're just wrtiting a three page paper, do you really need a whole book? You will answer that question for yourself. But would you go to Sam's Club when all you wanted was one candybar?

With so many choices, the savvy researcher is a critical consumer of information. As you get more familiar with the Library's collections, you will also learn how this strict analogy sometimes breaks down. (For example, we have electronic books that appear both in our Library catalog and inside the database of an e-book vendor.)

But some parts of the analogy will always hold true. The same way there are "super-shoppers" who always seem to find the best deals, some people pride themselves as "super-searchers." These high-achievers memorize the help pages of a database the same way super-soccer mom'sorganize their shopping lists in the order that items are found in the supermarket aisles. For the rest of us, we can generally avoid starvation by browsing until our basket is full or our patience is spent.

Smiles, Smiles, :)

Whatever your case is, please don't be shy about asking for directions along the way! Your Librarians won't ask if you "want fries with that" but you'll always get service with a smile!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reference/Information Desk at the Hagerty Library

The Reference/Information Desk is located at the Entrance Level of the library. The Reference Librarians at this desk will assist you in finding the information you need for your class projects. After entering the library on showing your Drexel ID at the security desk, go straight to the reference/information desk to seek information assistance. For help using the Library's online Catalog and its Electronic Resources, how to find books, or how to start a paper ... ask here!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Freshman Writer's Toolbox

Feeling empty-handed in attacking your research project? Reach for the toolbox! Missed class the week your section visited the Library? You're in luck. Does the Library website give you instant info-overload? Never fear! The Freshman Writer's Toolbox outlines everything that was covered in the one hour ENGL101 library session in just under two pages. Check it out HERE for quick guidance on just the bare essentials needed to complete your research.

  • Still trying to define your basic concepts? See the encyclopedias mentioned for context.
  • Have your basic idea already? Sample just the two or three literature databases mentioned.
  • Still stuck on hardcopy? See the quick toolbox tipsheet for searching that book catalog.

Grab and go! The world of library research in bite-sized chunks. The Freshman Writer's Toolbox. You can visit the rest of the website next year!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Need Help Creating a Bibliography?

The Library has lots of tools to help!

A bibliography, also called a "Reference List" or "Citation List," is an organized list of the outside materials you've used in writing your paper. These materials can be books, articles, reference tools, web sites, or other print, visual, or electronic media. Most people working in the humanities use the MLA citation style, but a number of other citation styles exist. APA style is used in the social science, Chicago for history, CBE for biology, etc.

The Libraries' Citation Styles Resources page http://www.library.drexel.edu/resources/tutorials/citations.html provides links to two Resource Guides that provide examples of citing materials in each of the most popular citation styles. There's also a "citation machine" to help you build your own citation, and information about a special tool called RefWorks (see more on this tool below). You can also reach the Citation Styles Resources page by going to the Libraries homepage at http://www.library.drexel.edu/ and clicking the link for Tutorials/Online Instruction. Scroll down till you find the heading called "Citing your Sources: Giving Credit where Credit is Due." There is also a special guide here for citing electronic resources.

If you need more in-depth help on citations, the Hagerty Reference Desk keeps print copies of the complete style manuals for both MLA and APA styles. Ask at the Reference Desk to use these books; library staff members are also available to help answer your questions.

And, don't forget that Drexel's subscription to RefWorks means that everyone on campus is entitled to a free account! It's quick and easy to sign up for RefWorks -- see the information and tutorials on the Tutorial/Online Instruction page. RefWorks helps you manage your citations, create bibliographies in a number of styles, and even allows you to download citations from databases or other electronic sources. If you'd like further guidance on using RefWorks, come to one of the two introductory sessions offered at Hagerty Library, on Monday Nov. 14 or Thursday, Nov. 17. Both sessions will be held from 5-6pm in room L-19 on Hagerty Library's lower level.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Students Guide to the Libraries

Question: Where can I find basic information about Drexel's libraries?

Answer: Try browsing through our brand-new New Students Guide to the Libraries. This helpful Webpage answers many of your important questions:

Who can help me find resources?
What does the library have to offer?
When is the library open?
Where can I start my research?
How can I check out a book or DVD?

Find the answers to all these questions and more!!!

Welcome Freshman Writers

Hello and welcome to classmembers of ENGL101,

The DragonWriters Weblog is the place to come to throughout the year to learn more about library research. You're going to be using library resources for your classes throughout your time here at Drexel, and the Drexel University Library librarians want to make it as easy as we can for you to learn the skills you need to know.

So, rather than throwing all this information at you in the 50 minutes we see you face-to-face, instead we've decided to start this blog, so that you can visit here periodically, or when you have questions.