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!

1 Comments:

Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley said...

Tim - a few faces are not smiling. Mabye you shouldn't guarantee that as part of the service :)

5:52 AM  

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