Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written By: Janelle Foster

When faced with an imminent research project, knowing how and where to start your research can be daunting.  Subject librarians at UNT Libraries understand this impediment and have provided a helpful launching point for your studies through subject or course-specific research guides.  These guides are a culmination of targeted and constructive scholarly resources tailored specifically for support within a specific subject or course. They include recommendations for books, journals, newspapers, databases, streaming media, and websites, as well as citation help, search strategies, library services, and subject librarian contact information.

Subject guides are not a new concept.  They have been employed within academic libraries in either print or electronic format, albeit under different languages, since at least 1973 (Tchangalova & Feigley, 2008).  The historic term for this type of research guide is pathfinder; as such a name implies, its purpose was not to serve as a comprehensive, exhaustive resource list but rather a finite, focused set of resources carefully selected as the “best” suggestions for information discovery (Tchangalova & Feigley, 2008).  Since then, subject guides have evolved to address issues with scope, layout and format, readability, ease of use, accessibility, resource quality, maintenance and updating, and assessment – and of course, all of this within the sweeping context of the advent of the internet and electronic resources (Morris & Del Bosque, 2010).

Within UNT Libraries, subject and course guides can be accessed from the library homepage by clicking on Subject & Course Guides in the big blue research box.  You can type in a subject name or course name/number or browse through the directory.  Read more

Posted by & filed under Careers in Librarianship, Research Help.

Written By: Anima Bajracharya

I believe there are certain misconceptions about the roles of a librarian. I think it is also safe to say that a lot of people do not have a full idea about exactly what a librarian does. This is true for me, albeit working as a Graduate Service Assistant in the Library.

Librarians at the University of North Texas (UNT) are awesome, and I enjoy working here.  Given my direct access to the librarians here at UNT, I gave out survey questions in a bid to know more about them. Below, we see a summary of the answers I got. I aspire to become a full-time librarian someday, and hearing from the librarians helped me get a better idea what my role would be and how I can attain that level. As you read, I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. Do not hesitate to drop your comments and thoughts in the comment box below.

1. Why did you choose to become a Librarian? Before asking this question, I assumed, they had planned on becoming librarians. Reading their responses however, I realized they did not choose being a librarian as a career!! Librarianship chose them. See excerpts of their responses below;
  • “I think librarianship picked me. It is my calling.”
  • “You could say a career in librarianship sort of found me. I was in the retail book trade for several years while working part time in college and later managing two bookstores but was looking for change. The move to libraries as a natural one that allowed me to utilize my customer service and management skills while also leveraging the search skills needed in reference.”
2. What are the most essential skills to be a librarian? My presumption would be teaching, customer service, shelving books, organizing and so on.  Well, the librarians surveyed said it is communication, organization, curiosity, creativity, innovation, flexibility; and depending on the librarian, skills differ.
  • “Communication and organization, every librarian uses these skills in some capacity.”
  • “I believe that curiosity, creativity, and innovation are great skills to help manage the changes happening today in libraries.”
  • “It depends on what kind of librarian, what kind of work you want to do in the field, and what type of library you want to work in. There are very technical aspects to the field that require programming knowledge and extreme attention detail to write metadata correctly but there are also public/customer service aspects that require communication/soft skills and the ability to analyze questions in order to conduct reference transactions. In academia right now, regardless of the librarians’ interest, about 75% of librarians will be assigned a subject area as a secondary component to their job. Unfortunately, library school rarely (if ever) cover the concepts of teaching information literacy. For me the ability to teach effectively–not just showing student how to access materials–is the more essential skill of my job. But not all librarians feel that way, though I would think that they would agree that the ability to convey information clearly and correctly to some type of audience is essential. I think most librarians would also agree that being flexible is essential as well as the ability to be cross-trained in several areas.”
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Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written By: Whitfield Angela

Writing a research paper for class can be difficult, especially when you need to cite the sources you have referenced throughout your paper. Citations are used to identify and give credit to the sources you have used in your research paper or literature review. Using the ideas from a work without citing it is considered plagiarism, so it is important to cite when you reference ideas that are not your own. Citing is also a useful way for other people who are reading your work to find research related to your paper.

There are several different citation styles, each with a multitude of ways to cite various resources like books, articles, websites, and even tweets! Generally, the social and political sciences will be written in APA; language, literature, and the humanities are written in MLA; and Chicago Style is used in history and the arts (Stayton, 2019). However, some subjects, like the humanities, can be used in both MLA and Chicago Style.

It is always important to confirm with your instructor which style you will be using. Generally, they will let you know ahead of time which style they expect the paper to be written in.

screenshot of an AskUs logo in center with double-quotes on the top-right and bottom-left

Quotation marks and Ask Us logo

OWL at Purdue

For basic citation assistance, OWL at Purdue can be a great place to start. The Online Writing Lab is a product of Purdue University. It was created to help writers all around the world with their writing projects and is especially popular for their easy-to-use citation guides (“Welcome,” 2019). They offer help with the most common citation styles, including APA Style, MLA Style, and the Chicago Manual of Style. Read more

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Written By Raul Gonzalez 

The Digital Projects Unit at UNT is responsible for the digitization of materials into UNT digital collections. This includes The Portal to Texas History, Texas Digital Newspaper Program, and UNT Scholarly Works, to name a few. Recently, I have been volunteering in the lab to digitize items from The Page Boy Maternity Collection for inclusion into The Portal to Texas History. In doing so, I have learned?how?digitization preserves?history in context?which leads to a deeper understanding of the past, in this case from a fashion perspective.

Digitization in Libraries

Digitization of fashion-related material in the library

Photo by Raul Gonzalez

Digitization has become a powerful factor in accessibility, and libraries take advantage of this. Instead of one resource for one person, a library can digitize the item and provide access to the resource for multiple people. Not only will more people be able to access the resource, they can also have the convenience of viewing the resource anywhere, at any moment, given a proper internet connection. Representing material in a digital format also prolongs the life of the original resource. Since the resource can be accessed digitally, there is no need to risk the integrity or lifespan of the product by constantly moving or handling?it (Mallan & Park, 2006). Read more

Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written By: Janelle Foster

UNT Libraries offer abundant resources and services to further the educational careers of UNT students. But did you know that, as a student of UNT, you can also utilize the collections of hundreds of other libraries? When you can’t access what you need through UNT Libraries, use Interlibrary Loan.

Interlibrary Loan is a service provided free of charge for enrolled students, faculty, and staff. It allows you to check out materials that are not owned or currently available through UNT from other participating libraries. This means that millions of print and electronic items are accessible to you!

A Brief History of Interlibrary Loan

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a non-profit library cooperative that was founded in 1967. Its primary mission is to “make information more accessible and more useful” (OCLC, 2019). One of the instruments of this mission is the resource-sharing initiative WorldCat, an immense, searchable database comprised of library collections from around the world. Another is the OCLC Interlibrary Loan System, which revolutionized interlibrary loan when it was rolled out in 1979 (Nevins, 1998). While the exchange of materials between libraries was practiced before this date, it was done with far more effort and required extensive searching of other libraries (without a computer) and cumbersome paperwork (with a typewriter) (Nevins, 1998). With the introduction of the OCLC Interlibrary Loan System, the process became automated and has evolved currently into an integrated software that connects libraries on a global scale. Request submittal, item verification, locating potential lenders, and item retrieval all now function within a streamlined, electronic system that library patrons themselves can initiate with ease (Nevins, 1998) Read more

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written By: Oluwaseyitan Awojobi

Hey there! We trust you have been enjoying the semester so far. With tons of homework and projects you might have, we are here to guide you through easy ways to get awesome resources from the Library database and for your projects or assignments.

Searching through the Library catalog and deciding on a database to be used for your research work could be daunting considering we have a ton of databases. Today, I would be sharing with you the top 5 databases frequently used and elaborate on one of those.

To get started, you want to make sure you are logged into the UNT Library website. For patrons not at the UNT campus, we have made it easy for you to access resources easily without the VPN installation process. All you need to do now is select Databases from the home page and click Proxy Bookmarklet as seen below.

There are 5 commonly used databases available on the UNT library catalog which provide resources for all fields of life. They are; Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, JSTOR, Nexis Uni and Web of Science. While I would love to tell you about each of them, today, we would be focusing on the use of the Academic Search Complete database published by EBSCOhost. This database also gives you access to other databases available through EBSCOhost.
Academic Search Complete provides a scholarly collection providing full text coverage for over 10,500 journals for nearly all academic areas of study – including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies, etc. Dates of Coverage: 1975 – Current
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Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written By: Raul Gonzalez

There is a common theme among academic libraries, which is to adapt, develop, and maintain. Whether it is a new policy or technology, libraries aim to mold new tools into services for their patrons. Original items are becoming digitized, libraries are reaching farther than their walls, and cutting-edge technologies compose the growing makerspaces in many libraries. But let’s dial back to a web tool most of us know, which are blogs.

Although blogs are not new within UNT Libraries, Scholar Speak is a fresh initiative as a student-to-student scholarly blog.
We hope to use Scholar Speak as a medium to bridge the gap between students, patrons, and their library. This means we will discuss topics and events related to UNT Libraries, as well as inform readers of scholarly tools and insights as they pursue their academic career. To further close this gap, we hope to create a collaborative space, where we hear back from our readers and bring conversation to these topics.

But who are “we”? Scholar Speak is primarily run by the Graduate Services Assistants (GSAs) at UNT Willis Library. We are an extension of Access Services but also an extension of students, like yourself. As of Spring 2019, we are Raul, Janelle, Angela, Anima, Hui-Yu, and Oluwaseyitan. In the near future, we hope to extend our cast of authors by including various voices from UNT Libraries staff and librarians.

As Scholar Speak gains traction, we hope to bring you content that is consistent, interesting, informational, and above all, helpful. One of our missions with Scholar Speak is to highlight resources within UNT Libraries and provide insight on how to access and utilize these items. We look forward to the conversations and ideas our discussions may prompt, and we hope you will be a part of it too.

Feel free to leave suggestions or comments in the comments form or email us at Askus@unt.edu. 

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