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 LibraryProgram (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.
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.
While everything feels different this semester, one thing has stayed the same: the beginning of the semester search for cheap textbooks. While the library does not purchase textbooks, we have ways of helping students find textbooks online while respecting copyright. Although not always guaranteed, we have managed to help some students find books for their classes in these six places.
Course Reserves In case you don’t already know, the library does have some textbooks. While we don’t purchase them, some professors loan a copy of their books for students to use. While the library’s physical collection of textbooks is limited, there are also e-reserves. Check out Listen out Loud! Electronic Reserves that Read Themselves by Emily Akers if you want to learn more.
Hathi Trust In collaboration with many research libraries, including UNT, Hathi Trust provides access to millions of free resources. You can search for books by titles, or even browse their interesting collections like their Women Composers Collection or Library Science Journals.
Google Books I have been able to find a few textbooks in Google Books, which claims to be the most comprehensive index of full-text books. While many times only a short preview is available, the option to find the same book in a library near you makes it worth a try.
Open Library Part of the Internet Archive, Open Library offers more than 3 million books, 18,000 of which are just textbooks. You will need to create an account to borrow many of the books, but the website features videos, free music and images as well.
Project Gutenberg I never had to buy a book in undergraduate thanks to Project Gutenberg, which focuses on older works with expired copyrights. If you are studying English, or just like to read the classics, then Project Gutenberg most likely has you covered.
Interlibrary Loan Just need a chapter while you wait for your textbook to arrive? While Interlibrary Loan cannot get you a textbook for a class, they might be able to get you a chapter while you wait. ILL is a free service that can get UNT students access to books that the library doesn’t already own. This service is especially useful if you just need one article, or a chapter from a book, and the electronic delivery makes it convenient for virtual learners.
This semester will be busy enough, don’t do it alone. Questions about how to do academic research, library hours, or services? Want to know how to get a laptop? Ask Us! We are happy to help by chat, text, email, phone, and in-person.
Whether you are writing a thesis, dissertation, or research paper, it is crucial to access prior literature and research findings. Academic research databases make it easy to locate the literature you are looking for, and UNT Libraries is an excellent start for your research. UNT Libraries have great subscription-based databases and other online resources that are fully accessible to all currentUNT students, faculty and staff members from virtually anywhere in the world. Subscription-based databases consist of published journals, reports, newspapers, magazines, documents, books, image collections, and many more. Libraries subscribe to and provide these resources for their patrons.
Due to the pandemic sticking around, many students, faculty, and staff members are trying to access electronic resources from off-campus for their research assignments. When working on your research off-campus you might encounter an article or other resources that are of your research interest, but when you try to access it, the resource is behind a paywall. If you are faculty, staff or a currently enrolled student, then you will be asked to log in using your EUID and EUID password to access most of the subscription-based electronic databases. But if you need many electronic resources from the UNT libraries databases for your research assignments, then UNT has various proxy access tools that may help access those materials from off-campus.
When I need to access electronic resources, one method that I find convenient is connecting through UNT’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). UNT’s VPN is very beneficial and reliable if you need to access electronic resources that are only available on the UNT Network. You can simply download and install the AnyConnect VPN client on your personal device and log in using your EUID and EUID password. You can find information on the installation of AnyConnect VPN: https://it.unt.edu/installing-vpn-client. It is easy to use, and once you are connected to VPN, you can access the library’s electronic resources just like you would using UNT library computers. Some other options for Proxy access tools that UNT provides are Bookmarklet, EZProxy redirect extension (Chrome), and link builder. You may find more information on these library proxy tools: https://library.unt.edu/proxy-tools/.
As most of us are well-aware, fake news and unsupported claims are common throughout the internet and our social media feeds. Many fake news websites have been identified and consistently debunked, as listed on Wikipedia, but still, attract regular readers. At the same time, social media platforms are experimenting with methods for creating “friction,” so users take more time to consider a story before sharing (Bond, 2020). For example, Twitter labels misleading or disputed claims and in extreme cases, hides them behind warnings and requires users to add their own comments before sharing or replying.
So what does media and information literacy (MIL) have to do with fake news? According to UNESCO (2017), MIL “empowers citizens to understand the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions.” Therefore, an information literate person can better assess how credible a piece of information is and recognize its emotional appeals. As access to information increases, more schools and libraries are offering MIL education. Through the UNT Libraries, students have access to this Information Literacy Tutorial, which also covers how to get started with a research project.
When you come across a questionable piece of news, there are simple ways to determine if it is fake, from researching the source and author to looking further into the article and its sources. Satire is commonly published alongside real news or based on actual events, so if something seems unreal, it could be a joke. If you are unsure, ask experts such as librarians to help you find background information or suggest research strategies. Additionally, many websites specialize in fact-checking by cross-referencing sources and then rating statements on how true they are. Some popular ones are:
Snopes – “The oldest and largest fact-checking site online”
PolitiFact – A Pulitzer Prize-winning site run by journalists and editors.
Reporters’ Lab from Duke University keeps a database of over 300 global fact-checking sites.
Don’t forget about Wikipedia, which has up-to-date information on publishers and authors.
The UNT Libraries are here to help you find credible resources and analyze information. Resources on library.unt.edu have been evaluated by librarians, so your search results will not include fake news or satire. Furthermore, databases such as Nexis Uni allow you to search and compare multiple news sources at once. For more tips on evaluating sources, check out the libraries’ Media Literacy guide or contact Ask Us for research help!
Join the GSAs of Access Services on November 18th at 2pm US Central for our Virtual Workshop, “Know Your News: Evaluating Fake, Bias, and Fair Media Sources”.
In an era of Fake News, it can be difficult as an academic researcher to know which resources to trust. Join us for a workshop on how the library can not only connect you with reliable articles, newspapers, and magazines but also learn life-long strategies on how to determine trustworthy resources from the bad. Special guest is Journalism Subject Librarian Doug Campbell, who will be there to answer questions and discuss the role libraries play in teaching media literacy.
The first step to writing a research paper is deciding what topic to focus on. If your professor has assigned a topic, you already know what you are going to research, but if the choice is up to you, you may be wondering where to begin. This can be a challenging process, but don’t panic! Here are some tips that can help you pick a great research topic:
A good way to get started is by brainstorming ideas. The Purdue OWL (n.d.) guide to choosing a topic describes the brainstorming process: start thinking about the research project, set a timer, and write down all ideas that occur to you. Then, examine the list to look for patterns or trends among the topic ideas. Not all ideas that come up in brainstorming will be viable, but it is a good first step to start generating possibilities.
When brainstorming ideas for a class project such as a research paper, I often start by thinking about why I chose to take the class and what I was hoping to learn. Is there something I still have questions about or would like to explore further? It’s also helpful to think about what issues you are aware of in the subjects you are studying. Research is described by the ACRL (2016) as a process of “inquiry” driven by “problems or questions” in the researcher’s field; current problems, trends, issues, or unresolved questions often make excellent topics. Finally, it can help to think about what topics you find most interesting. A topic you are genuinely curious to learn more about will be easier to stay engaged with throughout the research process.
Once you have done some brainstorming, the next step is to evaluate each potential topic. The Purdue OWL (n.d.) recommends looking for trends or repeated ideas that suggest a strong interest in a particular area. It is also important to pay close attention to any guidelines given by your instructor, and to think about the scope of the paper. A long paper assigned as a final project will likely need a broader topic than a short paper to be completed in a few weeks.
The library has resources that can help! Be sure to check out the subject and course guides. If there is a guide for your course, it may include more guidance about choosing a topic, locating sources, or other helpful information. Once you have a couple of ideas for research topics, a good next step is to start searching for potential sources on the library website. Find out what books or articles are available, and reach out to Ask Us or your Subject Librarian if you have questions or need help with this process.
Finally, be prepared to keep developing your topic as you do your research. As the Purdue OWL (n.d.) explains, “an initial topic that you come up with may not be the exact topic about which you end up writing”. The ACRL (2016) likewise encourages students to “value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility” in the research process. As you learn more about your topic, you may discover new ideas or questions you were not previously aware of, which will take your paper in a new direction. You may also discover that your topic needs to be narrowed down or broadened because there is too much or too little information available. This is not a bad thing! However, it is a good reason to start your research early. That way, if you need to modify your topic, you can do so well before the due date.
What are your favorite strategies for choosing a research topic? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to contact Ask Us if you need help with your research.
Do virtual classes have you feeling disconnected from the university? As someone who has always taken primarily virtual classes, even before the pandemic, I understand how easy it is to be out-of-touch with academic life when you are not actually there. Fortunately, UNT Libraries has developed many resources just for virtual learners. Here is my list of ways I get the most out of the library… from home!
First, the library has recently unveiled the new and improved Discover Catalog. This new search system makes it easier to find the materials you need, and the faceted search allows you to sort results to those just available online (meaning you can use them anywhere). And it’s not just books! Here you can find research articles, stream movies or music (check out the Reese Witherspoon in Wild or listen to music by Elton John), and of course, you will find e-books (I’ve been reading American Gods).
Struggling to find resources using the online catalog? Just want some research tips? The Subject Librarians are here to help! Each discipline has a librarian who is an expert on research in that field. Many are offering virtual research consultations, where they can help you find articles for your upcoming midterm or even just teach you tricks to make you a better overall researcher. Interested in this service? Find your Subject Librarian here and send them an e-mail with your research questions or to set up a virtual research consultation.
Studying after library hours? The library has LibGuides to get you through a variety of topics. Need help with citations, creating an e-portfolio, or finding articles? There’s a LibGuide for that! There are even LibGuides for specific classes. If you are interested in learning more about LibGuides, check out our previous posts: https://blogs.library.unt.edu/scholar-speak/2019/05/03/unt-subject-course-guides
4. Free Textbooks
Can’t find a textbook (or trying to save money)? We have resources for you! In undergrad I rarely had to buy textbooks thanks to Project Gutenberg (https://www.gutenberg.org/). Now, HathiTrust is a personal favorite with its millions of free e-books (https://www.hathitrust.org/).
While library resources are great, there are times Google Scholar comes in handy. If you are new to the academic research process, or struggling to find a particular article, this can be a great starting point. The best part is the library can help you get past those pesky paywalls by linking the two accounts together. Find instructions here: https://guides.library.unt.edu/c.php?g=69875&p=451912
Looking for an article, but the Library doesn’t own it? No worries! Through Interlibrary Loan we will electronically send you articles, or even a chapter from a book. To get started using this free service, create an account here- https://unt.illiad.oclc.org/illiad/logon.html
This semester will be busy enough, don’t do it alone. Questions about how to find peer-reviewed articles? Just want to know library hours or how to get a laptop? Just curious about LibGuides? Ask Us! We are happy to help by chat, text, e-mail, and phone.
What have you found most challenging about virtual learning? Any tips to share? Please let us know in the comments!
For More Scholar Speak posts on the above topics, check out:
Banned Books Week, which will take place September 27 – October 3 of this year, is described by the American Library Association (2020) as “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read”. Banned Books Week originated in the 1980s as a response to an increase in censorship and challenges to books. It is promoted by the ALA as well as several other organizations, and it has continued to the present day.
Banned Books Week recognizes both banned and challenged books. A book that has been challenged has been targeted for removal from a school or library, often due to its content; however, in most cases, the challenge will not be successful, and the book remains available. If a book is banned, this means that the challenge was successful, and the book was removed. The ALA’s website states that, although most challenges do not result in a book being banned, “part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available” (ALA, 2020).
To celebrate Banned Books Week, test your knowledge about banned and challenged books with our trivia quiz! When you finish the quiz, you can choose a favorite banned book for a mad libs-style activity. The quiz can be found at https://unt.libwizard.com/f/bannedbooktrivia and will remain available for the rest of the Fall 2020 semester.
What is your favorite banned book? Let us know in the comments!
As aspiring researchers, there is a lot we want to learn about Scholarly Communication. So, we brainstormed our most pressing questions regarding Scholarly Communication and sent them to the Library’s Scholarly Communication Librarian, John Martin. John was more than happy to answer our questions and encouraged anyone who had questions or needed help with a publication project to reach out to him at John.Martin@unt.edu.
Below is what he had to say:
For those new to the process, do you have any tips on how we start researching? How do we know what to research?
If you mean doing research in your areas of study or work, then I recommend always starting with your strongest interests or significant questions in your field. These may come out of your coursework, your job duties, projects you’ve worked on, or things you’ve been reading about. Pay attention to what other researchers or practitioners in your field are writing and talking about. See what questions they’re asking, what research has already been done, and what gaps remain to be filled. Read journal articles, attend conference panels or talks in your field, join a professional organization (or at least browse their websites). These can provide lots of ideas for new research, but ultimately, you have to pursue questions that interest you.
The key components of any research you hope to publish are these:
1. What are your research questions? What are you trying to understand, analyze, explain, argue, or demonstrate through empirical evidence or persuasive argument? Your questions should be relevant to your field of study and address the needs of other researchers, practitioners, or students. This is the Why of your research.
2. What is your methodology/approach? Are you gathering and analyzing new data, working with existing data from previous studies, using case studies, interviews, reviewing the literature on a topic, offering an original (qualitative) argument, explaining a project or process in your workplace, etc? This is the How of your research.
3. Who is your audience? Other researchers in your field, librarians, other professionals, students, the general public? This will help determine what kind of journal you want to aim for and what kind of methods and analysis you’ll need to explain your topic. This is the Who of your research.
If your original question was about researching publication venues, you might start by checking out our Increase Your Scholarly Impact guide, specifically the section called “Consider Your Publication Options” for a list of questions to ask yourself as you begin looking at options, and some links to resources for investigating particular journals or publishers. You’re also welcome to talk to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a subject librarian in your areas of interest for more ideas on finding publication venues. Your faculty advisors or library supervisors and mentors are also a good source for finding leads.
Where should we look for calls for proposals?
The best place to find calls for submissions to journals is on the journal sites themselves. Some journals have calls for specific topics or special issues; others just have a general “Submissions” tab that explains how to submit articles to the journal. Generally, these are open submissions, meaning that they can be on any topic that falls within the journal’s scope (see their “About” page). It’s usually not necessary to submit a proposal, but rather, you submit complete articles, which the editor will review for fit or scope. The article should follow the submission and author guidelines that are available on the site. If you’re unsure about whether your article idea fits with the journal before you start writing, you can always send the editor an email to inquire. Let them know that you’re an early career researcher, that you’re starting on a new article project, and that you want more information on the types of work that the journal is interested in (if that isn’t already clear from their About page or their Submissions guidelines).
Calls for book chapters or articles that will be part of a published collection are often disseminated via listservs, newsgroups, or social media pages hosted by professional organizations, publishers, or the editors of the volume. Following or subscribing to a few of these in your areas of interest is a good idea.
If you’re looking for Calls for Proposals for conference papers, posters, roundtables, or other events, there are a number of options: You can check the websites of the hosting organizations (look for an “Events” or “Conferences” tab), follow their social media pages, or subscribe to a listserv of organizations that you belong to. Besides the major library organizations like ALA, the ACRL, the TLA, etc., you can also follow or join more discipline-specific organizations or those that represent particular segments of the library profession. See this page for a list of library professional organizations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_library_associations
Do you recommend any resources on how to write more… scholarly?
In fact, we have a Scholarly Writing Guide specifically for that! There are a number of resources there for developing your writing both generally and for academic and professional writing. You might start with a couple of the shorter articles on this page, and then decide what aspects of your writing need further development with some of the books or other resources listed on that guide. There’s also a page on that guide about getting published.
How do we design a poster, and represent the info well in a small space?
I’m not a real expert on poster-design, since I don’t come from a discipline (English) that frequently uses posters at academic conferences. But library conferences do often feature posters, so I’ve now been inspired by this question to add a tab to our Scholarly Writing Guide specifically on posters and conference papers! It may take me a couple of weeks to get that up and accessible, but here are a few beginning resources you might consult:
How to Create a Research Poster: Poster Basics (NYU Libraries)
Design Guide: Academic Posters (UNC Libraries)
Creating Scholarly Posters in PowerPoint (UCSD Libraries)
Are there any academic journals that publish just graduate students? (the big journals seem so intimidating!)
There are, in fact, a lot of academic journals specifically for graduate students and early career professionals, though almost all scholarly journals will accept graduate student work if it’s of the quality that they’re looking for. Many journals will indicate this in their Author or Submission guidelines, and that’s a good sign that they’re open to work that’s still in development or at an early stage. A lot of newer journals, “niche” journals (those on specialized topics), and Open Access journals are very open to early-career work. Journals that utilize “open” peer review or “formative/developmental” review are also likely to work with new scholars who may need more feedback or revision suggestions.
By “big journals”, you probably mean the more prestigious or highly-ranked journals in some fields that can be very competitive. This is true whether or not you’re a graduate student or early-career researcher! So it’s probably best not to start with those kinds of journals your first time out. Get a couple of publications under your belt, learn how to go through the writing, peer review, and revision process, and develop a project that you feel is strong enough to submit to a major journal. Don’t get discouraged if it’s rejected or sent back for revision, as this is common even for experienced researchers.
Do you have any books you recommend for graduate students new to the whole process?
There are a number of books listed on the Scholarly Writing Guide that might be useful. Wayne Booth’s The Craft of Research is a classic on doing serious academic research & writing, though some of the information may be a bit dated. Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks might be useful for some more practical tips specifically on writing for journals. There’s also a short video on that guide that might be worth watching for an overview of the journal submission process.
Has the digital age brought on any new trends with Scholarly Communication that are worth pursuing? Like with social media and blogs?
Absolutely. There’s been no greater change or challenge to the whole system of scholarly communication than that brought about by digital technologies. It’s worth reading the ACRL’s short white paper, “Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication” (2003) for a statement of how that technology, and many of the legal and technical questions it raises (especially about access, dissemination, and control), have impacted the way with think about scholarly communication, especially in libraries. Social media and blogs are two of the ways that scholarly work now gets disseminated, as are online scholarly profiles, web-pages, listservs, repositories, and databases, but we’re just beginning to discover what effects they have on things like “impact”, citations, and bibliometrics (all the ways that we measure how scholarly work is read, cited, and used). Scholars have, to some extent, become principal promoters of their own work in ways that were once relegated to publishers, professional societies, or institutions. That means we have more direct control over how our work gets shared and used, but also more responsibility for making it accessible, relevant, and useful to our audiences.
What was your first experiences like with Scholarly Communication?
Like many of you, I never really thought about engaging in scholarly publications until graduate school, and even then, we weren’t under the kind of pressure to start publishing at such an early stage that many students are now. There were no publication requirements when I earned either my Ph.D. or my MLS, and the first time I had any expectation of publishing was when I entered my first full-time, tenure-track job. While still in grad school, I did participate in conferences, so my first experiences were delivering papers at scholarly conferences. For me, these were literary conferences where we typically deliver a 15-20 minute paper, often just read directly from a written copy, on a panel of 2-3 other people. Then there would be a Q&A session afterward. The first time I did so was at an International Poe Conference with two other people, both big-name scholars in the field. Needless to say, I was terrified and intimidated! But both of them, and the audience, were very kind, supportive, and generous in offering me suggestions and ideas for developing my research, so it ended up being a good experience.
Only when I became a librarian did I attend conferences where reading a paper aloud on a panel wasn’t the main mode of delivery. Slide presentations, videos, posters, roundtables, free-form discussions, workshops, and technological demonstrations were all new to me! I’m still learning how to do some of these things effectively or comfortably.
In terms of publishing, I began like many people do with short pieces: book reviews, encyclopedia entries, short articles in niche journals related to topics I had previously researched. I mined my dissertation for my first couple of articles and published a book chapter on pedagogy (“teaching horror”). Since becoming a librarian, I’ve published a couple of chapters or short articles on scholarly communication topics—careers, creating a journal—but also continued working in my subject areas with a recent chapter on Poe and another article on comics studies in progress. One of the advantages of working in libraries, I think, is that we aren’t bound by particular disciplinary practices or subject matter. We can publish on library-related topics or anything related to the many disciplines and curricula that we support in the library. Creative work like exhibits, performances, curatorial work, editing, and pedagogical work can also count as “scholarly activity”, depending on your institution’s guidelines.