Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by Alexander Ames

Books in Black Wooden Book Shelf
Book stack with sunlight falling on them by Pixabay licensed under Pexels

For students, searching for a book in an academic library might seem daunting or confusing. According to one survey conducted by Illinois State University, “Many students were unable to find books that the library’s catalog indicated were available and on the shelf” (Murphy et al., 2013). Going to the third floor of the Willis library and seeing stacks and stacks of books with only letters and numbers on endcaps as a guide might seem intimidating at first. However, once anyone adopts the strategies in this guide, they will have an easier time finding books according to their call number and more thoroughly understand the sorting system used by many academic libraries.

HOW A CALL NUMBER IS CREATED

The idea behind the Library of Congress Classification system is that all written knowledge can be divided into 21 broad categories, represented by the first letter at the top left. These 21 categories are then split into narrower subcategories using a 2 or 3 letter design structure, with the design becoming increasingly specific the further down the call number you get.

Availability and call number
Image Courtesy of library.unt.edu

In this example, the B stands for the category of Philosophy, Psychology, and Religion, while the L is a subcategory of B which means that, within the first category, the book has the subject of Religions, Mythology, and Rationalism. Further narrowing down the call number, BL860 specifically refers to the subcategory Germanic and Norse. This is then broken up within that category by the decimal that follows which represents the author. The last section is the year of publication, and, in this case, the book was published in 2017. If you’re interested in seeing what topics fall under other call numbers, you can go to the Library of Congress Classification page, click on “twenty-one basic classes”, and browse through them yourself!

FINDING THE BOOK IN THE LIBRARY

UNT libraries, like most academic libraries, use this classification system to sort their books. If you go to the library catalog and look up a book you would be interested in reading, you will find the call number for the book and in which library the book is housed. While Willis is the place that you’ll find most books, there are some exceptions. The Music library, for example, on the fourth floor of Willis, holds all of UNT’s physical media that falls under the Music category. You will also find books that fall under the Juvenile and Law category at the Sycamore library and video- and board-games at the Media library, while popular bestsellers are housed in the back left of the second floor of the Willis library as shown in the above example.
Once you go to the physical location, like the third floor of the Willis library, where the book is located, you read the call number like a book, left to right, and, if there are multiple rows, top to bottom. The third floor is organized in such a way that the A category starts at the front left corner of the floor and the letters progress front to back and then start again in the next row. To help you navigate, there are letters on the endcap of each shelf that allow you to find your overall subject more easily (in the example, we would be looking for the B endcap). Once you find that general subject, you will want to look for the subtopics within, following the same design. On the endcaps where you find the general topic, you can also find posters showing the extremes of the call numbers housed on the shelf. This is how you figure out what shelf to look through for your specific book!

Call Number
Image by Alexander Ames from library.unt.edu

Did this guide help you better understand call numbers and figure out how to find books in the library? Let us know in the comments! If you need help with your research or have questions about the library, feel free to reach out to Ask Us for assistance.

References:

Library of Congress. (2014). Library of Congress classification. https://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcc.html

Murphy, J., Long, D., & MacDonald, J. B. (2013). Students’ understanding of the Library of Congress call number system. The Reference Librarian, 54(2), 103-117. https:// 10.1080/02763877.2013.755418

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Diverse team hands joining by Pavel Danilyuk licensed under Pexels

Scholar Speak is a student-created scholarly blog with scholarly topics that, if explained properly, could help fellow students on their academic journey. The main goal of writing these blog posts is to close a gap between students and the library, whether that be connecting people to helpful resources they might not understand or even know exist or explaining a certain topic to be more easily understandable. These are the people that will help make that happen!

Alexander Ames  

Hello! I am Alex, the Editor of this blog. After getting my bachelor’s degree in English from UNT, I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in library science, and eventually plan to work in a public library!  

Over this semester, my goal is to hone my research skills to a fine point, which will make me better at helping others throughout my career in the library. Another goal of mine is to get more experience with outreach, as a big part of public libraries is how the library interacts with the public.  

Justin Hall  

Hello, my name is Justin. I am a library science major in my second to last semester in the master’s program. I eventually want to work in either an academic or public library so my professional goal for this semester is to learn as much as I can from my team.

Arslan Ahmed  

Hello, my name is Arslan and I am currently doing my master’s in information science. I want to work in the field of data analytics in future and am planning to learn as much as possible about time management, information organization and working in depth with team members sharing the same interest.  

Sierra Dahl  

Hello everyone, my name is Sierra. I finished my bachelor’s degree in social work from UNT in May of 2021 and immediately began my master’s in library science. After graduation, I plan to work in public libraries, hopefully with youth, to aid library users in becoming life-long learners. 

Omika Mishra  

Hello, my name is Omika. I am the admin of this blog. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics from India and my current major is information systems. My career goal is to work in the data analytics field.  

While working with the library, I am getting exposed to various services, methods, resources, projects, and tools. And I can see the endless opportunity and resources that this Library provides to its patron, though I am a little cog in the wheel in this huge academic library, I really wish to learn and improve my skills to interact and help patrons better with their needs.  

Manvitha Doma  

Hello everyone, I am Manvitha Doma. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in computer   science in India, and I am currently pursuing my master’s in data science. My career goal is to be a data engineer and then eventually move into a data scientist role. I would like to increase my critical thinking and research skills while working in the library.   

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Sarah Diaz

If you have ever been curious about the research your professors are doing, you might be interested in UNT Scholarly Works, the University of North Texas institutional repository. 

Institutional repositories are collections of scholarly work from a specific institution, like a college or university. According to Rebecca Marsh (2015), they have been around since the early 2000s and are typically used as “a mechanism for capturing, archiving and managing the collective digital research outputs of the institution” (p. 165). Although they vary greatly from one institution to another, institutional repositories typically collect published work as well as “grey literature,” which includes things like preprints, theses and dissertations, or conference proceedings. Grey literature has not been published, so it has historically been difficult for librarians to provide access (New York Academy of Medicine, n.d.). Institutional repositories help to preserve and share these materials. 

Additionally, institutional repositories are an important part of Open Access. Have you ever experienced the frustration of hitting paywalls and being unable to access the information you need? A benefit of Open Access is that it can help eliminate this problem by making resources available to everyone. One popular way of making information freely available is to publish it in an Open Access journal. However, what about articles published in traditional journals or other types of scholarly work aside from articles? Another option is to archive the materials in an intuitional repository. 

UNT Scholarly Works is part of our Digital Library. Like most institutional repositories, it archives a variety of both published and unpublished works. It currently includes over 6,000 items such as articles, presentations, data, and even creative work such as art and music (UNT Digital Library, n.d.). To access UNT Scholarly Works, visit https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/UNTSW/ and use the search bar or the filters to start exploring the collection. 

If you’re a student pursuing scholarly research and publication, you might be wondering who can submit their work. In addition to archiving work by the university’s faculty and staff, the Digital Library has several related repositories dedicated specifically to theses and dissertations, graduate student work, undergraduate work, and data. According to the website, “UNT students are welcome to deposit their work that has been accepted by a professional organization or approved by a faculty mentor” (University Libraries, n.d.). If you meet those criteria, your work may be eligible to be added to a UNT repository. For example, learning more about the repositories while writing this post inspired a few of my fellow GSAs and me to submit the slides from a lightning talk and a poster we presented this spring. 

For more information about UNT Scholarly Works, contact untrepository@unt.edu. Several other Scholar Speak contributors have also written about Open Access and scholarly publishing, so if you have an interest in these topics, be sure to check out: 

Have you used UNT Scholarly Works to find work by your professors or other faculty? Let us know in the comments! If you need help with your research or have questions about the library, feel free to reach out to Ask Us for assistance. 

References

Marsh, R. M. (2015). The role of institutional repositories in developing the communication of scholarly research. OCLC Systems & Services, 31(4), 163–195. https://doi.org/10.1108/OCLC-04-2014-0022 

New York Academy of Medicine. (n.d.). What is grey literature? Grey Literature Report. https://www.greylit.org/about  

University Libraries. (n.d.). UNT Scholarly Works. University of North Texas. https://library.unt.edu/scholarly-works/  

UNT Digital Library. (n.d.). UNT Scholarly Works. University of North Texas. https://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/UNTSW/

Posted by & filed under Databases and Journals, Library Resources, Research Help.

Journal articles are a popular resource type for academic research. If you have the citation of the article you need, there are several ways to find it. The Library Hacks videos below explain how to search for a specific article by title and find a journal in the UNT Libraries’ Discover catalog. 

Searching by Article Title

Searching by Journal Title

Do you have a favorite search strategy? Feel free to leave a comment letting us know, and if you need help searching for articles or other library resources, Ask Us is here to help! 

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Gabrielle Milburn 

Two women chatting
Two woman chatting by Mentatdgt, licensed under Pexels 

Librarians have been an authoritative presence among the rows of literature for as long as the role has been established. There can be various beliefs arguing over the role of a librarian, from the idea that they only stock books and read all day, to looming the stacks and keeping the building quiet. From my experience as a student assistant working directly with UNT’s subject librarians, while librarians do much more than stock the collection and read all day, the reading part is only somewhat correct. It should be explicitly noted that these perceptions are not entirely true– I can safely say that none of the librarians that I have worked with have ever cracked open a YA novel and spent three hours indulging in just that. Still, there is a ton of research that subject librarians do find themselves reading for a certain objective in accordance to their projects or patrons.  

Many students are not aware that there are people to ask when they need help researching for their paper other than their professor. As the desk receptionist, I receive many phone calls asking for further information on research projects and how to find materials. The process will usually start with the inquiry and finish with my directing them to their subject librarian, who could help them with their research. The subject librarians not only are able to sit with the patron and provide a professional research consultation, but they might already be familiar with the assignment itself. Part of the subject librarian’s duty when they are assigned their department of research is to engage with the professors and faculty. With this outreach they can cement their familiarity with the subject and the potential assignments to come. 

Many might assume that the subject librarian would need to have a background in the subject to help their patrons. While that can put them in a great position to provide good service, subject librarians are not necessarily required to have a degree in the department they are representing. Melissa Fortson (2011) illustrates her experience as a new subject librarian very well in her article I’m No Expert: A New Librarian Becomes a Subject Specialist. She implies that the real secret is that although the librarian might not have professional experience with their subject prior to their position, they are trained and well-versed with the subject enough to help their patrons. They spend extra hours and effort to find the most helpful resources to help researchers through scheduling meetings or even provide helpful links in their Subject Guides.  

Now that you know what subject librarians can do for their patrons, you know who to reach out to for extra help on research, right? For UNT’s subject librarians, getting in contact with them is easy! If there is a specific subject or course that a patron needs help with, they can simply look through the Subject Librarians list and find which librarian covers which subject. This page even allows visitors to filter the list by searching for the subject and finding their librarian through there! Some librarians also lead their own classes on how to research using the university’s resources and library website. This is a service that can be offered for students and other patrons within the libraries as part of their outreach. It is important to reach out to the students, faculty, and other university patrons and promote the library’s support and services. After all, there is always a student struggling with research, from narrowing down their topics to navigating the website and finding the resources they need. Subject librarians are responsible for promoting their services and the backbones that support accessibility in research and instruction for all of our patrons. 

Our subject librarians are always open to discuss research opportunities! Need help getting in contact with them, or have any further questions regarding librarian and library services? Feel free to leave a comment and contact our Ask Us services for more information! 

References: 

Fortson, M. (2011). I’m no expert: A new librarian becomes a subject specialist. ALA New Members Round Table, 40(3). http://www.ala.org/rt/nmrt/news/footnotes/february2011/im_no_expert_fortson 

University Libraries. (n.d.). Subject Librarians. https://library.unt.edu/subject-librarinas/ 

Posted by & filed under Careers in Librarianship.

Written by: Madan Mohan

Two gray steel chair
Two Gray Steel Chair photo by Steve Halama licensed under Unsplash 

Here are few tips that might help you understand the interview process a little better. 

While everyone is excited about graduating, our job is not done quite yet, but instead takes us to the next important aspect of finding a job that matches our skill sets. This can be a daunting task given the various job titles and detailed job descriptions in academic libraries. There are many steps one needs to go through before being offered a position. The hiring process for an academic job can be time-consuming and can vary from one institution to another. Librarian positions can either be tenure-track or non-tenure-track faculty, academic appointees, administrative staff, or professional staff positions, stated by ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians (2017).  

Finding an academic librarian job generally involves searching for a suitable posting online, applying, and going through two rounds of interviews with a search committee and others who work at the library. ACRL Standards, Guidelines, and Framework can be a helpful resource that can help you become familiar with the search committee’s specific processes and roles. They explain how various institutions follow these guidelines during the interview process and several other interview procedures, from telephone to on-site campus interviews. These guidelines can help you understand how candidates are evaluated. How is a recommendation made for hiring a candidate by the search committees, hiring authority, and senior administrators? This varies from one institution to another.  

After finding job postings you are interested in, apply only to the positions for which you meet the required qualifications (Davis, 2015, p. 138). Applying for a position requires three essential components: a resume or curriculum vitae, a cover letter, and a minimum of three references. A few excellent places to start looking for job postings online are ALA JobListHigherEdJobsLibGig Jobs, etc. Being an active LinkedIn user can also help you network and connect with librarians and professionals in the academic field. 

Some common steps involved when applying:  

  1. Use a professional email address that includes your full name when applying for positions online.   
  1. Proofread your resume and cover letter and make sure all attached documents have a standard naming convention. Asking a friend to proofread your resume and cover letter can be helpful.   
  1. Practice interviewing with some of the common questions like a.) Tell me something about yourself, strengths, weaknesses, b.) Explain how you have the required qualifications and meet all skills and experience mentioned in the job description. In addition to your required qualifications explain how you meet any preferred or desired qualifications listed in the posting.    
  1. Always prepare a few questions specific to the job posting to ask the search committee at the end of the interview.   
  1. Send a thank you letter expressing your gratitude by email after the interview. 

The interview process typically consists of two phases, a phone or Zoom interview and an on-site interview. These days, video interviews are becoming more common than phone interviews, though practice varies by institution. Professional dress code applies for both virtual and on-site interviews. These are some of the expected norms when applying for an academic position. In general, up to ten qualified candidates are interviewed by phone or Zoom, and the committee will then select one to five candidates for an on-site interview (Davis, 2015, p. 139). Also, have a backup plan if you have any technical difficulties connecting over the phone or virtually. Emailing the search committee or the hiring administrator about the technical difficulties can help them understand your preparedness and professionalism.   

As stated by Davis, on-site interviews for academic libraries can typically last for a full day or longer. Prior to the on-site interview, the search committee will send an information packet about the position and the library. This packet will have the contact person with whom you will coordinate during your interview. Presentations are another important aspect and a requirement for most academic library on-site interviews (Davis, 2015 p.140 – 141).   

It is a standard process to provide references when applying for a job posting. Most importantly, check with your references in advance that they are willing to be your reference and give them a heads-up if you are called for an interview by sharing the job posting, resume, and cover letter that you submitted. This way, when contacted, your references can highlight the skills that best fit the job you are applying for.   

During our GSA meeting with Kevin Hawkins, the UNT Libraries’ Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communication, he shared many valuable tips from resumes to the hiring process, and I want to share few things I found particularly helpful:  

  1. Highlighting the required qualifications in your resume/CV is essential, and telling a story about meeting those required and desired qualifications in a cover letter can help the search committee select candidates for the next stage.  
  1. Some libraries, such as UNT, evaluate candidates against the job qualification based on a point-based rubric system.      
  1. Addressing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and describing your personal experience working with diverse groups can be very helpful when applying for an academic or a teaching position.  
  1. Applications are reviewed manually by members of the search committee, though in some cases an HR employee will do a first pass to remove any obviously unqualified candidates. 

Having attended many workshops, I have often heard that resumes need to have specific keywords mentioned in the job posting to pass the automated system that reviews resumes and cover letters. However, reviewing applications through an automated system is common in private sector companies but not in academic settings (Hawkins, 2021). This is especially comforting to know that our effort and time invested in applying for academic positions hasn’t gone unnoticed because of an automated system.  

Our subject librarian Greg Hardin has valuable Career Development resources, including guides that help prepare resumes and cover letters. Also, several links to job sites, professional organizations, and more can be found on UNT’s Information Science: Career Resources guides page.   

We hope these tips helped you understand the process of applying for academic librarian jobs a little better. Feel free to share comments about your experience with these resources or contact Ask Us for any research assistance! 

Laptop on a table next to a coffee, phone and notepad
Occupational stress measures of tenure-track librarians photo by Andrew Neel licensed under Unsplash 

References  

Davis, A. R. (2015). Searching for an Academic Librarian Job: Techniques to Maximize Success. Pennsylvania Libraries, 3(2), 136-143. http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/palrap.2015.107  

Guidelines for recruiting academic librarians. (2017, June 29). American Library Association. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/recruitingguide 

Hawkins, K. (2021, March 19). GSA meeting. University of North Texas. 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written By: Utsav Ranjit

 
Dashboard showing page usage statistics by Luke Chesser, licensed under Unsplash

The nature of research has transformed in the past decade or so. Research nowadays tends to be data-intensive. Koltay (2019) describes this data-driven nature of research as Research 2.0, where research is increasingly based on large datasets and digital artifacts, involving open, networked systems. A major step towards data-driven research is finding relevant and credible datasets for analysis. If you are trying to look for datasets for your class assignments, research, or just to brush up on your data analysis skills, the UNT Libraries have some useful sources that might help fulfill your dataset needs. 

So, where to find datasets? The UNT Libraries’ Finding Datasets guide lists many credible sources where you can find datasets. You can find datasets from open sources that do not require any subscription, like U.S. Census data, a platform to access data and digital content from the U.S. Census Bureau; Texas Open Data Portal, a source to access administrative data reported by various departments in the state of Texas; U.S. Government open data, a federal open government data site and other sources listed on the public data sources page or you can look for datasets on subscription-based data sources like IBIS World, a collection of U.S. and global industry market research and U.S. risk ratings; Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive, a longitudinal national data series that provides annual data on categories like demographic data, social, political and economic topics for all countries; Social Explorer, an online research tool designed to provide quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information and so forth. Accessing subscription-based sources off-campus will require you to authenticate using your EUID and password. The guide does a great job of providing a brief description of almost all the sources it lists so you get an overview of the type of datasets you can expect when you go into the sources. 

You can also find datasets using search engines for datasets. Dataset search engines host varieties of datasets, so it is recommended to check the quality and credibility of data before using them. Two popular search engines for datasets are: 

  • Kaggle dataset: It is an open data-sharing platform. It is popular among data analysts because of the data analysis notebook feature, where users can upload their analysis on the dataset. 
  • Google dataset: It is like an aggregator website that enables users to find datasets stored across the Web through a simple keyword search. 

Hopefully, these resources make your quest of finding datasets more of a guided adventure than an endless exploration on Google. If you have any questions about searching for datasets or need help with your research, feel free to Ask US

References

Koltay, T. (2019). Accepted and emerging roles of academic libraries in supporting research 2.0. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 45(2), 75-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2019.01.001 

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Google Scholar can be a helpful tool for discovering scholarly resources, but what happens when they’re behind a paywall? No need to worry; you can link your library account to Google Scholar and gain access to anything available through the UNT Libraries. Check out our Library Hacks video below to learn how: 

Do you have an idea for a video you would like to see? Feel free to share it in the comments! As always, if you have any questions or need help with your research, contact Ask Us.  

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Madan Mohan

Photo by Amanda Bartel licensed under Unsplash

Did you know that government documents are a great resource that can be used for your research? The Government Publishing Office (GPO), generally known as GovPubs, has a plethora of information that produces, distributes, and provides free access to documents from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government. UNT is one of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) institutions that hold documents published by GPO, which are free for public access. FDLP is a national library consortium that archives, catalogs, and stores information for public use. GPO uses a separate system to organize these documents called the Superintendent of Documents Classification system, generally referred to as the SuDoc. Like the Library of Congress, GovPubs covers a wide range of topics such as legal research, health, government and politics, financial assistance, agriculture, science & technology, education, and much more. These documents can be accessed in various formats including print, electronic, monographs, serials, maps, CDs, DVDs, microfilm & and microfiche. In the present-day, government documents are mostly published digitally and are archived through several resources like FDLP.    

Where can we find government documents? There are a few ways that we can access or request Government Documents for free. Metalib is a search engine that looks for articles, reports, and citations in various federal government databases. This website has an A-to-Z list of 72 resources available that cover a wide range of subjects. Another useful resource that is important for finding government documents is the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP); this website could help the user find government information, including the various formats available for public use. Furthermore, UNT holds access to electronic resources and information that are archived through multiple databases and can be searched by subject under “Government Information.” Access to these documents and databases are readily available for UNT students. Moreover, the public can gain free access to different monographs, serials, articles, etc., through Interlibrary Loan.

Small judge gavel placed on table

Our UNT LibGuides have a list of comprehensive directories and guides that link to government resources that patrons can access to research at https://guides.library.unt.edu/government-information. UNT library Government Agencies: U.S. Federal guide has a list of the legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch, and independent agencies links. Another useful resource that’s free for public use is The United States Government Manual. This website holds the Federal Government’s official handbook by National Archives, which stores all electronic editions digitally, and is readily available for viewing and downloading as pdf at Govinfo.gov (United States Government Manual). 

Small judge gavel photo by Sora Shimazaki licensed under Pexels

UNT also has a Citations & Style Guide for legal and government documents that give specific information on citing legal documents.

Please leave a comment letting us know about your experience with these resources.

Feel free to contact Ask Us if you need help with your research, or contact our Government Information experts Bobby Griffith and Robbie Sittel.

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

The Scholar Speak team has created several brief “Library Hacks” videos. You can learn a helpful skill in just two minutes, like searching for articles by title, using Boolean operators, or linking Google Scholar to your library account. 

Check out our video on Boolean operators here: 

All our Library Hacks videos can be found on Microsoft Stream. You will need to log in with your UNT email and password. 

What topics would you like to see videos on? 
Please feel free to leave a comment letting us know, and as always, contact Ask Us with your research and library questions. 

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