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Written by Sierra Dahl 

The UNT Libraries holds over three million items, however, there is always a chance the book you need is not available. Although the interlibrary loan service or purchase request can be used to obtain a copy of the book you need, there is also another program that can be used to get you access to a copy. The TexShare Program is a statewide library initiative that allows card-holding library patrons the ability to check out materials from more than a thousand other libraries in Texas. All that is needed to be granted access to other libraries’ collections is to be issued a TexShare card from a participating library such as the University of North Texas. 

Using the TexShare Program can be beneficial for many college students and researchers. For instance, if an academic library close to you, such as Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, has a collection of books or a specific material you need, it is possible to be issued a library card from that library after showing your TexShare card. By doing this, you typically gain access to most of the library’s materials. This program is also beneficial for distance learners since checking out books from a nearby academic library may be preferable to receiving the books through UNT’s distance learning delivery service.  

TexShare cards can also be especially helpful for finding books to read for recreation or fun programs offered by public libraries. It is worth noting that it is rare for libraries in this program to offer online services and resources such as e-books and streaming videos to TexShare cardholders. 

My Experience Using TexShare: 

I was issued a TexShare card from the UNT Libraries and have used the card twice to get library cards from public libraries. I was able to get an account with the Austin Public Library and gained access to the millions of items available at over a dozen of their locations. By having a TexShare card, I was able to check out a variety of items and enjoy their many programs. I avoided having to pay Austin Public Library’s $120 annual fee for getting a non-resident library card by presenting my TexShare card. Additionally, I received a Georgetown Public Library card and have enjoyed having access to their collections. 

Image of library cards from various libraries
Image by Sierra Dahl 

To apply for a TexShare card from the UNT Libraries, you can visit any of the UNT Libraries’ service desks excluding the Media Library, and bring your student ID. After filling out a brief form and showing your UNT ID card, you will be issued a TexShare card that will expire at the end of the current semester it was issued in. For instance, a TexShare card issued in January 2022 will expire in May 2022. Additionally, distance learners can apply for a card online by emailing Access Services and receiving the card through the mail. To learn more about the TexShare program and search for a list of the participating libraries, please visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texshare/card. If you have questions about TexShare, contact Access Services at circ@unt.edu or (940) 565-2413. 
 

Did this blog help you learn about using TexShare? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services. 

References:  

UNT Library. (n.d.). University Libraries. Distance learning services. https://library.unt.edu/services/distance-learning/  

UNT Library. (n.d.). University Libraries. TexShare cards. https://library.unt.edu/services/texshare-cards/ 

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Posted March 28th, 2022 by Justin & filed under Research Help.

Written by Omika Mishra

Searching for relevant databases for your field of research can be difficult but once you reach those databases, your research can be a breeze. A library database is a searchable electronic index of credible resources that have been published. Access to a multitude of relevant research resources from academic publications, newspapers, and periodicals is available through databases. E-books, pertinent Web resources, and diverse multimedia are all included in certain databases. The UNT library alone has access to close to 600 databases. 

Why use library database? 

Information in a database has been tagged with various types of data, allowing for far more effective and efficient searching. You can search by author, title, keyword, topic, publication date, source type (magazine, newspaper, etc.), and many other criteria. Database information has been examined in some way, ranging from a rigorous peer-review publishing procedure to a popular magazine editor deciding whether or not to publish an item. Databases must be purchased, and the majority of the material is not freely available on the internet. As new information becomes available, the databases are updated on a regular basis. Database provides Information about citations. It includes the data you’ll need to correctly cite your sources and compile your bibliography. This information may or may not be included in the information you obtain via Google. 

Here are a few steps on how to find databases using the UNT Library homepage: 

  1. Visit the website https://library.unt.edu/​.  
  1. Once on UNT library home page,  locate the blue box with options including “Search it all”, “Online articles”, “Books & more” and many more. 
  1. Proceed to type in database name in “search it all” or go to “Database” to find more options. 
  1. There are two search box “Find a Database” provides a list of databases present in the library and in the second box “Browse subject” will present a list of subjects to choose from like Accounting, Advertising and many more.  
  1. Here at the top, you can type in the name of the database you are looking for and in the second blank space you search for databases based on subject such as “Public Administration” 
  1. Once a selection is made, the website will populate information like the number of databases, name of databases, subject librarian related to this subject. Subject Librarian supports student in research on a specific subject. 

You will find fields like: 

 “All subject” this is where you search for all the databases based on the subjects you choose like “Public Administration”.  

“All Database Type” Here you will find what kind of databases are available like Bibliography, data set, E-books, E-journals, newspaper, Online video and many more. 

“All Vendors/Provider” Here you will find list of providers like EBSCO, Thomas Reuters – Financial, Cornell Library and many more. 

References (APA format): 

UNT Library. University Libraries. https://library.unt.edu/ 

CQ Press. (n.d.). http://library.cqpress.com/index.php  

Berkeley College. (n.d.). https://chat.library.berkeleycollege.edu/faq/89790  

Introduction to Library Research. https://libguides.regiscollege.edu/researchintro/whydatabase. (n.d.).

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Written by Manvitha Doma 

Graduate and undergraduate students can take advantage of free tutoring services at the Willis Library. Both the UNT Writing Center and Learning Center have teamed up with Willis Library to provide as much assistance to students as possible with the purpose of assisting students in achieving their academic and professional goals. 

UNT Writing Center
Photograph of tutors working with students in the UNT Writing Center on campus from UNT Digital Library 

Writing Center: 

During my time as a Graduate Services Assistant, I often send students to the writing center for assistance with references and citations after I have assisted them. Common issues like grammar, punctuation, citation styles, personal statements and more can all be addressed by our Writing Center’s qualified tutors. Appointments can be made in person or online, depending on your preference. We also have graduate tutors that specifically assist students pursuing master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s with their academic writing. With their help, you will learn skills to improve your writing ability. In order to get the most out of your tutoring session, it is important to let them know what you hope to accomplish during your time together. 

Is there anything you need help with, but you cannot make it to the Writing Lab? You should not be concerned, as they provide both in-person and online appointment options. Zoom video conference software is used for online tutoring sessions. If both parties have Internet access, students and tutors can mark up and share papers while conversing in real time. Students can discuss research papers and ask questions from the comfort of their own homes or any other location with a reliable internet connection thanks to these online offerings. Tutoring sessions for undergraduate and graduate students are one hour long. In many cases, it is best for students to go as early as possible in the writing process. Tutors can assist writers better comprehend the project, clarify their thoughts more clearly, and establish an outline before they begin writing. However, it is important to realize that it is impossible to become a great writer in one session. While it is nice to see a draft improve right away, the actual growth for a writer comes with practice.  

If you are unsure about your writing skills, the Writing Center is a valuable resource that you should take advantage of, though writers of all skill levels can benefit from early and frequent feedback from a skilled peer tutor. However, there are several ways a tutor can assist you in drafting a paper, from getting someone started to helping them revise an existing essay. When you meet with a tutor, you will be able to work on your ideas, get them in order, and improve your writing. 

Learning Center: 

Do you have a tough time determining whether your approach to a subject is correct? The Learning Center can assist you with understanding assignments correctly, providing alternative approaches, and can also help in clarifying concepts. To increase accessibility, tutoring is not strictly in-person, with the option of using Zoom for one-on-one tutoring. Drop-in tutoring is available, but students must make an appointment with a lead tutor for each course they need help with. Utilizing their services for either a quick question or using the full two hours are both welcome. If a student only has a quick question and does not require a full session, they can use the Ask-A-Tutor service. 

Learning centers have a tutortube where students can find instructional videos on a wide range of topics, including math and science as well as arts and the humanities. Only the lead tutor for a specific course is needed to schedule an appointment with a graduate student. More services can be found on their website, so be sure to look if you are interested. 

My Experience with the Learning Center: 

Last semester, I had a tough time completing a class assignment that involved statistics for a rigorous 8-week course. I had to spend a lot of time on assignments that were difficult to understand, and I was under a lot of stress. While doing these assignments, I reached an answer, but I was unsure if it was correct. To my relief, my friend informed me of the services available at the Learning Center. After a few sessions with tutors, I was able to complete my assignments without further assistance. 

For more information on tutoring services, you can visit https://library.unt.edu/services/tutoring/.  Did this blog help you learn about the tutoring services available at Willis library? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services.  

References (APA format):  

Tutoring Services | Learning Center. (n.d.). Learningcenter.unt.edu. https://learningcenter.unt.edu/tutoring 

UNT Writing Center. (n.d.). Writingcenter.unt.edu.  

Tags: Willis Library Services, Tutoring Services, Learning Center, Writing Center 

https://writingcenter.unt.edu/

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Written by Justin Hall

Woman in Pink Sweater Holding Gray Laptop
Woman in Pink Sweater Holding Gray Laptop by Antoni Shkraba licensed under Pexels

Valuing Community Patrons  

As an academic institution, UNT Libraries provide information resources and services to UNT students, staff, and faculty on a daily basis. However, UNT Libraries are not just open to UNT affiliates, but also community patrons not directly affiliated with UNT. Although community members make up a smaller portion of the patrons that frequent the library, they are just as valuable as UNT affiliated patrons and have access to many of the same resources that UNT affiliates enjoy. With that in mind, UNT Libraries strive to best serve community patrons by understanding their varied information needs. It is critical that library staff adhere to the same high standards of service when assisting the greater community rather than focusing on a smaller group. Community patrons are just as essential to the continued function and success of the library and should be treated as such.  
 
Why UNT Libraries Serve Community Patrons  
While community patrons rarely support libraries directly, they are still fundamental in terms of academic library mission success. The goal of all libraries, academic or not, is to provide the community with information resources they would otherwise not be able to easily access. In most cases, public libraries are the institutions for providing this service to the community. This is because, unlike academic libraries, public libraries receive their funding directly from community taxes. “Educational institutions, and specifically libraries, understand the necessity of positive relations with their various publics as insurance for the continued financial and emotional support that will lead to their ongoing growth and success” (Marshall, 2001, p.116). 
 
However, since academic libraries often have specialized resources that are unavailable in public libraries, they can satisfy community needs that would otherwise go unfulfilled. This is one of the main reasons why it is important for institutions like the UNT library to be open and accessible to the general public. Additionally, by supporting the community in unique ways academic libraries are able to build stronger ties to the community thereby making the services they provide all the more valuable and essential. “Librarians at private institutions, however, often see service to unaffiliated users not as a requirement but as a means to maintain good public relations in their communities.” (Courtney, 2003, p.3) 

Understanding the Needs and Privileges of Community Patrons 

Most people who come to the library do so with a purpose in mind. Whether that purpose is internet access, recreational reading, or research, anyone who walks into the library should be considered a patron. UNT Libraries are aware that unaffiliated community patrons have different needs when compared to UNT affiliated patrons which has led to tailored services that are both beneficial and responsive to those needs. 

 For example, all community members have access to the library’s guest computers. By utilizing the guest computers located in the Willis, Sycamore, and Discovery Park branches, any patron can access the full catalog offered by UNT Libraries and all of the digital information resources stored within it. In addition, community members can use the library catalog to search for physical books located in the library. Any community patron can browse the books available in the general collection as long as the books stay within the library. UNT Libraries also offer community members off-site services such as checking out books or placing online holds. These services are available to any patrons with a courtesy card. In order to be eligible for a courtesy card, a community patron must fall under certain criteria such as being a be a Denton resident, UNT alumni member, or enrolled in the TexShare program.  

For more information about the services and resources available to community members checkout the link here.  

Did this blog help you to understand the importance of serving community patrons? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services. 

References:  
 
Courtney, N. (2003). Unaffiliated users’ access to academic libraries: A survey. The Journal of 
 
Academic Librarianship, 29(1), 3-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0099-1333(02)00387-7 

Marshall, N. J. (2001). Public relations in academic libraries: A descriptive analysis. The   Journal of Academic Librarianship, 27(2), 116-121. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0099-1333(00)00183-X 

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By Alexander Ames 

A stack of books taken bt Alexander Ames
Photo taken by Alexander Ames 

When a patron of any library uses its services, there is an expectation of privacy on the part of the user. Otherwise, it would be extremely uncomfortable for them to get information on subjects that might even just be seen as touchy, and with a shifting social landscape, that might cover most topics. For example, the book Steal This Book , held at the Willis Library, has been set as a reserve and can be found behind the service desk. This has reduced the circulation of the book as patrons may be wary of telling a government-funded library that they are interested in reading a book that has themes of anarchy, while the real reason that it can be found behind the service desk is because the library was afraid that the book would be stolen if left on the general collection shelves.  

To ensure the patron’s right to information, most libraries in the U.S. follow the Code of Ethics (Professional Ethics, 2021) and Library Bill of Rights (Library Bill of Rights, 2019) created by the American Library Association (ALA), either officially or unofficially. This Code of Ethics is taught to future librarians working towards their master’s degree in Library Science in ALA accredited programs. This is done to ensure equitable access to information via the librarian’s experience in an attempt to standardize library ethics rather than leaving ethical issues up to the individual library that might not have an ethical framework to work from. This code of ethics is meant to “…ensure the free flow of information and ideas to present and future generations” (Professional Ethics, 2021) while keeping each librarian as unbiased as possible. In the example with Steal This Book, this would mean that it is the library’s duty to see to the free flow of information held in the book, which is currently hampered by misconceptions that the book is held behind the desk to collect data on those who would ask for it. 

As a few examples of a library with an ethics statement, the Cooke County Library uses a PDF of the ALA Code of Ethics and Library Bill of Rights along with detailed interpretations of the latter (Cooke county library, 2011), and the Red Oak Library specifically cites the same Code of Ethics in their own patron privacy statement (Privacy and confidentiality, n.d.). A plainly stated code of ethics isn’t limited to public libraries, however. On the academic library front, Georgia Tech has a privacy policy which states exactly who has access to circulation records (Privacy Policy, n.d.), and Cornell specifically states that they protect patron privacy which “…includes library patron’s right to read anonymously.” (Privacy and confidentiality in the Cornell, n.d.) 

However, libraries do not always clearly give their policies on patron privacy, which leads to patrons not knowing what rights they have or what information will be given away by the library they visit. Rather than this lack of availability being due to the libraries having no Code of Ethics, it may be due to institutions being wary of adopting a Code of Ethics created outside of their specific needs. As the ALA Code of Ethics is meant to be broad guidelines rather than specific rules to follow and is meant to be more like a set of ethical guidelines than specific rules, it should be applicable to most, if not all, situations.  

UNT Libraries, as an example of a library without a patron privacy statement, is both part of an ALA Accredited University, meaning that the University’s Library Science program has been approved to ALA standards, and is an institutional member of the ALA and, by extension, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), upholding their ethical standards by association. However connected an institution might be to ethical bodies, if this is not made clear to patrons, the library starts seeing issues like the one mentioned before with Steal This Book , where a lack of clarity on ethical standards and policies on patron privacy cause distrust between patron and institution.  

The core purpose of a service in the field of information services, especially an academic library, is the proliferation of information, and the lack of a patron privacy statement runs counter to that purpose. The issue here is one of transparency to the patron, as the only way that the library can guarantee equitable access to information is if the patron knows that, barring a subpoena, the books that they check out will only be known to them and the library. No matter how embarrassing or socially charged a book checked out from the library might seem to be, libraries are a place free of judgement, and a place patron privacy is protected: they simply need to make that fact clearer to their patrons.  

References:  

Cooke county library policy appendices. (2011).  Cooke County Library. https://cookecountylibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2014/08/POLICY_APPENCIES.pdf 

Library bill of rights. (2019). American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill 

Privacy and confidentiality in the Cornell university library. (n.d.) Cornell University Library. https://www.library.cornell.edu/privacy 

Privacy and confidentiality of patron records.  (n.d.) redoaktx.org. https://www.redoaktx.org/427/Privacy-and-Confidentiality-of-Records 

Privacy policy. (n.d.). Georgia Tech Library. https://library.gatech.edu/privacy-policy 

Professional ethics. (2021). American Library Association. https://www.ala.org/tools/ethics 

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Written by Sierra Dahl 

A man reading a book beside a woman reading a book
A man reading a book beside a woman reading a book photo by Burst from Pexels 

The University of North Texas Libraries is no stranger to the academic, research, and scholarly interests of both students and employees that guide the majority of interactions they have with patrons. Most UNT students utilize the online articles and databases available through the library or check out textbook reserves or books needed for assignments. However, many students are unaware of the various methods of obtaining books purely for entertainment from the UNT Libraries. Reading for fun has a multitude of benefits for readers. 

Recreational reading can result in improvements in academic achievement. The book The Power of Reading collected over twenty years of research on reading and found that recreational reading improved the ability to comprehend academic-style books and the ability to write in a style that is professional (Brookbank, Davis, & Harlan, 2018, p. 29). Additionally, several studies have found that leisure reading can make college students “more articulate, develops higher order reasoning, and promotes critical thinking.” (Dewan, 2010, p. 48) 

Whether it be the latest volume of your favorite manga series, a bestselling murder mystery fiction book, a famous play, or the funniest picture book you read as a child, the UNT Library is always able to help you get a copy of a book you are interested in. 

Searching Online for UNT Library Materials 

You can browse the UNT Libraries’ collections by searching in the online catalog. First, you can utilize the UNT Library Catalog and hit search without typing in the box. You can then select “Books” under resource type and use the Genre limiter located on the left side of the webpage. Diverse genres such as “fantasy fiction,” “mystery and detective fiction,” and “wit and humor” can be selected to view books in that genre. E-books can be found via the catalog and read using the green button that says “FIND IT Online”. Additionally, you can use the “Subjects” section of catalog entries to find more books that focus on a particular topic. This is especially helpful for finding books similar to ones you enjoy. For instance, if you loved Garlic & the Vampire and wanted to read more graphic novels that focus on vampires, near the end of the entry, you can select the subject “Vampires > Comic books, strips, etc.” to view more items that fit those criteria.  

Searching the Stacks for UNT Library Materials 

The Stacks located on the 3rd Floor of Willis Library can be intimidating to most individuals. However, they contain a bounty of interdisciplinary knowledge and entertainment. Classic literature, poems, plays, and anthologies are just a few of the enjoyable books that are located on the third floor. Graphic novels, comics, and manga can also be found on the 3rd floor of Willis Library. You can use the catalog to locate a specific book or just browse the shelves. If you are new to browsing our collection, a resource you might find helpful is the Scholar Speak post “Understanding the Library of Congress Call Number System”

If you enjoy popular adult nonfiction and fiction novels, you can check our Bestsellers collection located on the 2nd floor. This fun collection includes novels by the notable authors James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Stephen King. If young adult novels interest you more, you can find thousands located at the Sycamore Library in the Juvenile Collection. Sycamore Library also houses picture books, middle-grade novels, both fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults, and young adult graphic novels. 

Gaining Access to Books the UNT Libraries Doesn’t Own 

Occasionally, the UNT Libraries will not have the item you are searching for. However, there is no need to buy the book yourself or search a public library’s shelves for a copy. Instead, you can request the book using the UNT Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. The Interlibrary Loan service is able to search other libraries to locate a copy of a requested book and have it delivered to the Willis Library Service Desk free of charge. First-time users will need to create an ILLiad account by going to the Accounts Login page on the library website and clicking “create ILLiad account. For more information about ILL, such as who can use it and the checkout period, go to the ILL page on the library website. Requests can also be made for books in the UNT collection that are currently checked out. The UNT ILL department will put in their best effort to find an available copy for you. 

Did this blog help you learn about finding books at the UNT Libraries to read for fun? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services. 

References (APA format):  

Brookbank, E., Davis, A., & Harlan, L. (2018). Don’t call it a comeback: Popular reading collections in academic libraries. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 58(1), 28-39. https://doi.org/10.5860/rusq.58.1.6838  

Dewan, P. (2010). Why your academic library needs a popular reading collection now more than ever. College & Undergraduate Libraries17(1), 44-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/10691310903584775 

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Written by Arslan Ahmed 

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

When it comes to presentation, the first two questions which come to mind are “What content to present” and “how to present.” Students are learning to become experts in their own domain of knowledge, but the big questions are “how” to convey that knowledge to others. Students certainly do not want their well-crafted and well-rehearsed script to be presented poorly. The slides should speak for themselves. 

It is not how much a presenter gives, but how they give it that matters the most. The presenter can either make the audience go to sleep with boring slides or keep them engaged throughout the presentation.  

Here are 8 key points to keep in mind when designing your slides which can also be used as a checklist: 

  1. Template: Choosing the right template is the first key to success of your presentation. A template contains layouts, theme colors, fonts, effects, background styles and many more stylistic options. A template should be consistent throughout the presentation. A company might have a dedicated template to be used. Another source for templates is the UNT PowerPoint templates webpage, which can be used for your class presentations. Using these templates, 50% of the presenter’s work is done which allows the presenter to focus on the content for their slides. It is important to know the location of the presentation, taking into consideration a few factors such as lighting, equipment available, and if the presentation is physical or virtual, with each having a potential impact on necessary preparation. 
  1. Style guide: The style guide outlines the most significant specifications for making PowerPoint presentations. If one is available, employees given the same template need to follow the same set of rules. As a result, the corporate design is consistent. This allows employees to save time while also improving the quality of your presentations. Let the style of the slides speak to the audience it is aimed at. If creating a PowerPoint independent rather than based on a template, keep consistency in the styling of the theme, font, font size, font color (which may differ for headings and subheadings), picture size, and size of any logos throughout the PowerPoint or simply follow the predefined recommended style guide for that template if available. 
  1. Layout: The presentation will look much better and even more professional if the creator uses the proper layout for each slide. Ensure that the design components and content are arranged in a uniform fashion throughout the presentation. The layout of the material and visuals should be balanced and coherent. 
  1. Consistency: Consistency is key to a good presentation. The movement from one slide to the next should feel seamless. For a beautiful presentation, the typeface, colors, layout, and style should all be consistent.  
  1. Visuals: Images speak more than words coming from the mouth of a presenter. Use relevant and meaningful images where required. Visuals are an excellent method to communicate effectively but do not find just any image from a Google search, as it may be distracting; instead, look for the right one and do not violate the copyrights of the image. Another way to understand if the image is suitable for the topic is to try justifying how this image connects with the content of the slide, and if it conveys the message to the audience without any audio associated with it. 
  1. Colors: Have you noticed that anything related to UNT, like the UNT website, is always printed in green? This is because most organizations use a dedicated color palette as part of their identity. Always be consistent in choosing the colors for your presentations. Colors not only enhance your slides but also help to communicate the message between the presenter and the audience more effectively. As such, if you are making an independent presentation for a classroom, add some color to the slides or use a predefined template with colors that match your purpose. Consider a dark background for the slide with a light color for the text if you are giving a presentation in a dark room. Avoid using light text on light background or clashing colors, which will distract the audience. 
  1. Alignment: Practice proper alignment of all content in the slides. Some examples of what to look for include the margins, spacing from all sides, and images on the left, right, or middle. If the slide contains a lot of information, proper alignment will make it presentable and will keep the audience from becoming distracted. Proper alignment makes a slide look clean, well-formatted and professional. 
  1. Typeface: Choose a good typeface or font family which are easy to read and are also suitable for printing. Keep the font consistent from the first slide to the last. There are several fonts you can use for your presentation. However, you are better off choosing standard fonts, such as Calibri, Tahoma, Gill Sans, and Garamond, or even Times New Roman and Constantia. Stay away from all-caps fonts and Avoid Scripts, Italics and Decorative Fonts. 

Those are the 8 essential characteristics of well-designed PowerPoint slides, along with all the best tips for a great presentation. Please feel free to leave a comment letting us know if this helped you, and as always, contact Ask Us with your research and library questions. 

References (APA format):  

 
Mount, K. (2017). Presentation skills: Designing effective visual aids

Reynolds, G. (2010). Presentation zen design: Simple design principles and techniques to enhance your presentations. Berkeley, Calif: New Riders 

Mount, K. (2017). Presentation skills: Design, structure and content

Tags:  

PowerPoint slides, Public speaking, Class Presentations, Business presentations, Presentation skills 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by Omika Mishra 

Unrecognizable man examining map while planning travel at home
Unrecognizable man examining map by Brady Knoll licensed under Pexels

WorldCat is a global cooperative catalog that lists the collections of 15,637 libraries in 107 countries that is managed by OCLC, Inc. The WorldCat database, which claims the distinction of being the world’s largest bibliographic database, is maintained collaboratively by subscribing member libraries. The catalog, found at worldcat.org, is linked to hundreds of library systems which results in a large number of available records. This tool can be an excellent way to find resources that your library’s catalog may not be able to display. This website is a cataloging and research tool utilized by librarians as well as the general public. Every day, librarians and other information professionals contribute to the growth of WorldCat. 

Anyone can look for books, music CDs, and videos using the Worldcat catalog, which holds almost everything that a patron is used to acquiring from a library. There are also numerous types of digital content available, such as downloadable audiobooks. Other resources available include citations to articles with links to the entire text; authoritative research materials, such as papers and images of local or historic value; and digital representations of rare things that aren’t available to the general public. Resources are available in a variety of languages since WorldCat libraries serve a varied range of communities in dozens of countries. 

There are multiple ways to access WorldCat from the UNT library homepage: 

  1. In the “Search It All” section of the “Start Your Research” box, users can type “WorldCat” and click on the first link, which will route them to “WorldCat FirstSearch” 
  1. In the “Database” section, users can search for “WorldCat” which will also lead them to “WorldCat FirstSearch”. 

Another way to access this tool is by going to the website directly by using the link https://www.worldcat.org/. On searching an item, the results shown can be refined by format, author, year, language, content, audience and topic. 

Screenshot from https://www.worldcat.org/ 

On selecting each result, patron can view information about the item including: 

  • Citation information: title, author, publisher, publication location and date, etc. 
  • Picture of the cover 
  • Preview of the contents, if available 
  • Table of contents, if available 
  • Ratings and reviews of the item, if available 
  • Information about other editions and formats, if available 
  • Links to similar items 

In addition, further down the page, a list of libraries where the item is present can be found where you can limit the search by entering the ZIP code of an area as shown in the image below. 

Screenshot from https://www.worldcat.org/ 

The reason that this system has thrived since its conception is the simple fact that WorldCat always depends upon Individual catalogers’ competence in making appropriate decisions concerning bibliographic resources. Human catalogers can make better decisions than any automated system. Hence, WorldCat is a great website for information professionals and patrons alike to look up items in the libraries around them. 

References (APA format):    

What is WorldCat? worldcat.org. https://www.worldcat.org/whatis/default.jsp 

Library guide for graduate research in english literary studies: How to use WorldCat. (2021). University of Alabama Libraries. https://guides.lib.ua.edu/c.php?g=699687&p=4963408 

Tags: WorldCat, Metadata, Information on books, Library items, Research and Bibliography 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by Manvitha Doma

UNT Willis Library 1972
Willis Library, North Texas State University in 1972 from The Portal to Texas History

Willis Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary on November 11th. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Willis Library, it is the perfect time to review the history of library services at Willis.  Over the years, Willis has been home to thousands of late-night study sessions, expert guidance from library faculty and countless hours of collaborative work spent in study spaces. The library service desk was originally called the Circulation desk. Through this desk, library patrons had access to services such as checking items in and out, paying fines, and picking up holds. Workshops were conducted with library staff, students, and University of North Texas stakeholders who were invited to share their perceptions of Willis Library in 2014. The results of these surveys revealed the most important service was 24-hour library access, with study spaces coming in second. (Forrest 2014)

Willis Library housed seven service desks total before 2011. As Mary Ann Venner, the current Associate Dean for Public Services, stated in her report in 2013, desks were classified as the Checkout Desk, Circulation Desk, Reserves Desk, Fines Desk, Interlibrary Loan Desk, Tech Desk, and Reference Desk. (Venner 2013) In 2011, the reserves desk and fines desk were consolidated with the circulation desk, and then the Circulation and ILL departments were merged to form the Access Services department. In Summer 2012, the reference desk was merged with the circulation desk as Access Services took on more responsibilities.

Card cataloging system in the Library
Photograph of four students looking through the card cataloging system in the Library from UNT Digital Library

Historically, checking out materials required patrons to search for the book from a card catalog where they could find the bibliographic information such as author and title for the book. The patron would then locate and bring the book to the service desk and check it out using a library card. To complete the checkout process, the due date was placed on the card using a library stamp. Many books and journals in the library collection did not have barcodes before 2000. In 2000, a massive project was undertaken, and all the items had barcodes and records created for them. As a further step towards digitizing the catalog, the library chose to purchase more electronic resources such as e-journals instead of print journals. Now, the library has a collection of over 1.9 million books and journals, 64,270 electronic subscriptions, 4 million microfilm pieces and 900,000 music recordings. The library has also developed an online catalog and the efforts to adopt digitization allowed patrons to easily check out books through the use of a self-checkout machine. Today, Willis Library has a collection of over 7 million printed volumes, periodicals, maps, documents, microforms, audiovisual materials, music scores, and software, which are overseen by expert staff who serve the information needs of the institution. 

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery services were available for books, book chapters, and journal articles that are not owned by the library. Patrons made requests for ILL using paper forms until 2000 where they used to drop the forms locked at the box at ILL service desk. ILL staff had to manually enter the records in OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) ILL system which were stored on file for 5 years. Starting in 2002, all requests were made electronically, and by 2003 ILL started electronic delivery. In 2009, the library system began utilizing ILL for distance learning. Initially, there was a separate online form where students requested materials for distance learning (Johnston 2016). Currently, patrons can request materials through ILLiad to get a copy of the resource. Document Delivery service for faculty and staff started in 2012. Eventually, these information scanning services were expanded to everyone. 

Willis Library has offered Course Reserves since its inception, allowing patrons to check out books put on hold by a professor for a small period of time. When it comes to holding books for patrons, the library used to have a hold/recall shelf that required many employees. However, thanks to advancements in technology, this process has become more efficient. Now, patrons can put their required materials on hold through the website. 

Have you ever heard of Liaison Librarians? That is an old name for our Subject Librarians, who assist patrons with all types of research problems, from helping choose a book for a patron’s research to helping create citations for an article. Subject Librarians create guides on the library homepage to assist patrons in navigating the library. These guides act as a one-stop-shop for academic resources, including tips on database searching, citation assistance, and bibliographic management tools. 

Though the library has had chat operations since the year 2000, it really came into the spotlight in March 2020. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, patrons have started using chat services frequently, and the Access Services department has been able to answer many questions, help people find electronic access to their textbooks, and assist in digitizing materials for courses. In addition to all these services, the library also provides calculators, markers, and laptops. The most recent additions to the library inventory for patrons include the translator, listening device, desk light, book stand, magnifier, lap pad, project Kit, math kit, sensory kit, and flash cards for 10 different languages many more tools for patrons to come. Keep an eye on our website for more information about Willis Library’s services.  

Did this blog help you learn about the services Willis library provides for the patrons? Let us know your comments! Please contact Ask Us if you have any questions about library services.

References

Forrest, C. (2014). University of North Texas libraries: Willis Library second floor renovation. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc499087/ 

Johnston, P. (2016). Working together to get it for them: ILL and document delivery at the UNT libraries [PowerPoint slides]. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc826640/m1/44/ 

Venner, M. A. (2013). Combined services desk report. https://digital.library.unt.edu: UNT Digital Library. https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461740/m1/2/?q=%22Willis%20Library%22%20services 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by Justin Hall

In this modern digital age, where it has become incredibly easy for anyone to post their opinions online, it can sometimes be hard for academics, specifically students, to tell which information resources are credible and fact-based. “The ubiquitous nature of the Internet enables anybody to spread false and biased information easily.” (Hansraj et al., 2021, p. 2) However, there are several clues a reader can use to tell if an article is on the up-and-up.

A person typing her article photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

A person typing her article photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

One of the easiest methods a user can rely on to tell if an article is trustworthy is whether or not it is peer-reviewed. Peer-review means that the article has been looked over by other experts in the field before it was submitted to the greater academic community for viewing. When an article is peer-reviewed it automatically makes the article more trustworthy because the professionals who have reviewed it have checked the contents for accuracy and relevance to the field of study. We can usually trust that peer reviewed articles are legitimate because authorities in a field of study want to maintain the integrity of their chosen discipline. This means that they will go the extra mile to weed out any inaccuracies or articles of general poor- quality. Still, even the experts of a discipline are susceptible to error, which means peer-reviewed articles can sometimes be inaccurate or misleading. This means students need to go the extra mile when searching for and choosing trustworthy articles.

Once you have a good list of peer-reviewed articles to choose from, you can start to looking at the content of the articles themselves. Most articles will have clues hidden within their content that give an idea of whether or not the article can be considered trustworthy. One thing we should be on the lookout for when reading an article is the tone. Many unreliable articles may seem trustworthy at first because they have a persuasive tone that attempts to bring the reader over to their way of thinking. However, a reader must be vigilant in these situations and determine how and why they are being persuaded by an article.  
For example, an article that is full of factual statements that can easily be cross checked through other reliable sources will likely be persuasive to a reader. On the other hand, a dogmatic article that uses emotions to sway a reader may also be very persuasive, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the article is factual. When choosing articles to use for their research, users must consider what the author is attempting to achieve in their article and how they go about reaching this goal. There is nothing wrong with a persuasive article. However, students must ensure that articles they choose for their research use facts and logic, rather than opinions and emotion. 

Another way to gauge the reliability of an article is by ascertaining the authority of the author and publisher.  For instance, a reader can investigate to see whether or not the author has any other credits to their name. If an author is well-known or has been published by reputable distributors in the past, this is a good indicator that they are more likely to be trustworthy. Likewise, if the reader has never heard of an author before or finds it hard to find any background information on the publisher then they should be wary of an article’s credibility. “Authority implies a neat positive or negative evaluation of a source’s author but tends to encourage a reductive focus on the absence or presence of specific academic or professional credentials and work experience”. (Elmwood, 2020, p. 278) Authors who have been through the research publishing process before are more likely to be credible. This is because they are less likely to put out disinformation that could tarnish the good reputation they have built over time. In the same vein, if the article cites other well-known authors or is backed by a well-known publisher it can strongly indicate that the author has done their research and can be viewed as more reliable source. 
 
Unfortunately, there is no one way to tell if an article is trustworthy. However, by using all of these methods in tandem when checking the reliability of an article, users have a much stronger chance of choosing reliable and trustworthy articles.  

References

Elmwood, V. (2020). The journalistic approach: Evaluating web sources in an age of mass disinformation. Communications in Information Literacy14(2). https://doi.org/10.15760/comminfolit.2020.14.2.6  

Hansrajh, A., Adeliyi, T. T., & Wing, J. (2021). Detection of online fake news using blending ensemble learning. Scientific Programming, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/3434458 

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