Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written by: Scholar Speak Team

2020 Balloons

2020 Balloons by cottonbro licensed under Pexels

Back in January 2019, Graduate Service Assistants (GSA) at UNT Willis Library started a blog, Scholar Speak, as a medium to bridge the gap between students, patrons, and their library where we are continuing to discuss topics and events related to UNT Libraries. As of Spring 2020, Scholar Speak team includes Anima, Frances, Hui-Yu, Madison, Sarah and Utsav.

This month, Scholar Speak is celebrating its first year and we would like to thank all our contributors and readers of 2019! We have a total of 15 posts and we are looking forward to have new posts, contributors and readers.

If you are a graduate student working for UNT Libraries and/or have an idea for a scholarly blog post that could benefit our readers, the GSAs in Access Services would like to formally invite you to submit your ideas and write a post for our Scholar Speak blog.

For more information, please email or directly contact GSA Madison at

Have a wonderful year of 2020 and feel free to leave suggestions or comments in the comments form or simply AskUs. We would love to hear from you.

Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written By: Emily Cornell

At the beginning of your research, you may simply have a subject. You’re writing a paper on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley or sustainable tourism—but you’re not sure what’s exactly out there in terms of information resources. Besides utilizing keyword searching, executing a subject term search can help you locate all the resources UNT has cataloged under a specific subject, since the associated subjects are assigned as access points (“Access Point,” n.d.).

screenshot of subject term search from our catalog with orange rectangle highlighting the "Subject" dropdown

Screenshot of subject term search from our library catalog

Subject searches, in the case of the first example, are different from an author search because the subject search will bring up all resources within the catalog that are “about” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and not “by” Shelley. A subject search for the author also brings up criticism and biographies that are directly related to the author as a subject.

Another way to utilize subjects in your search on the catalog is by starting your research journey from one specific catalog record. If you find an item that you’re interested in, there’s a simple way to see what else is within the catalog that is “like” it in terms of subject.

screenshot of item record from our library catalog with orange rectangle highlighting the Subjects located under more item details

Screenshot of item record from our library catalog

For instance, if you found a book on the topic of sustainable tourism in the UNT catalog and you wanted to see what else UNT has that is “like” that book in terms of subject, look under ”Subjects” in the “More Item Details” section of the page. Looking at the subjects of an item allows you to find even more specific subjects, such as is the case with sustainable tourism and the more specific topic of sustainability in heritage tourism, or more broader terms.

Conducting research in college is difficult enough—sometimes you’re learning how databases work, how a new essay structure operates, or how to research an unfamiliar topic and don’t know where to begin. Understanding the different ways to utilize the catalog and its features to your advantage can be liberating and stress relieving.

I hope that in your next research endeavor you’re able to test out the Subject search feature and find more valuable resources!


Access Point. (n.d.). In J. M. Reitz (Ed.), Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Retrieved from

Posted by & filed under Careers in Librarianship, Library Resources.

Written By: Madison Brents

Are you fascinated by all things old and rare? As an aspiring librarian, I certainly am. However, despite this fascination, I have never visited UNT’s Special Collections Library because I found it intimidating and felt like I could not go if I did not have a reason. Thankfully, I recently had the opportunity to interview Special Collections Public Services Librarian Meagan May to learn more about this department of the UNT library. If you only have a vague idea of what a Special Collections Library does, and how to use it, then this interview should be as beneficial to you as it was for me!

  • What is a special collections library?
    A special collections library is one that houses and preserves rare and archival materials and collections. One of the main things that set apart special collections from general collections is that the materials generally do not circulate. This isn’t too keep people from accessing them, but rather to ensure that materials are kept in safe conditions. At UNT, our Special Collections include rare books, oral histories, university archives, historical manuscripts, maps, microfilm, photographs, art, and artifacts.
  • I was surprised to see there are items in the collection one would not normally expect, such as items that are not old, or items that are not even books. Could you talk more about that?
    There are a ton of items in our collection that fall outside of those categories! We have toys, games, comics, art, posters, maps, clothing, posters, buttons, quilts, and even the odd hamster skull and preserved gecko. One of our more popular collections, particularly when it comes to class visits, is our Photography Study Collection. We have a growing collection of prints, portfolios, and books by notable modern and contemporary photographers. Several of the artists in the collection have works also owned by major museums and institutions – so it really is a unique opportunity to view them together and isn’t something many would expect us to own.
  • Is there an item in the collection that is very popular among patrons?
    I don’t know if I would say there is a particular item, but everyone seems to really enjoy looking at our Miniature Book collection. We have over 3,000 items in that collection, all of which are books under 4” in height. A large number of these miniatures are on display in the Hughes Reading Room and include antique miniatures, fine press miniatures, artists’ books, propaganda miniatures, mass-market miniatures, Texana miniatures, and several miniatures that were at one point considered “the smallest book in the world.” It’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t had the opportunity, and it’s actually the collection that brought me to UNT Special Collections for the first time as an MLS graduate student.
  • Who can use UNT’s special collections library? Do those who wish to visit need to make an appointment?
    Anyone can visit and use UNT’s Special Collections library! You don’t have to be a researcher or even a member of the UNT community to come visit. We have an exhibition space in our Reading Room that holds semester long exhibits as well as our Miniature Books display that is available to be viewed by anyone and everyone during our open hours. However, if you’re interested in requesting materials, the timeline is a little different. We have a small space onsite where we keep some of our more popular items and collections, but most of our materials are stored offsite. Because of this, there’s generally a 24-48 hour wait time between when a request is submitted and when it is available to be viewed. Once the material is onsite and available though, no appointment is needed to come in and view it.
  • Do you have advice for students who are interested in utilizing special collections for their research but don’t know where to begin?
    My best advice is to reach out to us. Conducting research with primary sources and other special collections materials is a learned skill that takes practice, and we understand that. Our staff is always happy to meet with researchers and assist them with everything from how to locate materials in the catalog and our finding aids to showing them best practices when it comes to viewing, handling, and understanding materials.
  • When I was doing research for this interview, I noticed a lot of articles talking about the importance of primary sources. Could you maybe expand on what those are and how it applies to special collections?
    Primary sources provide raw information on people, places, and events, which is why archival materials such as correspondence, scrapbooks, records, journals, and other similar items are considered so important to scholars and their research. Special collections and archives everywhere work to make sure these items are preserved and cared for because, without them, we would lose those first-hand accounts and insights into the past.
  • Is there anything else you think students should know about special collections?
    Please come check us out! Next time you’re in the library or have a few minutes to spare between classes we’d love to see you. We have an amazing student-staffed service desk that’s always excited to tell you more about our collections, help you request or access materials, and show you around the reading room.
I did not realize the extent of special collections, and after talking with Meagan I find it much less intimidating. Thank you to Meagan for agreeing to an interview, and for providing so much useful information. I know I will be traveling to the 4th floor of Willis to visit the Special Collections library, and I hope you will join me.

If you have any additional questions contact, or contact Special Collections directly at

Will you start using this library service? Comment down below!

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

Written By: Frances Chung

You may have come across the term “open access” while searching for journal articles online. Open access (OA) refers to publications that are “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions” (Suber, 2015). On the other hand, closed access journals charge readers or their institution a fee to view articles. Many journals and databases offered through your institution are closed access and may be paid for by student fees and grants.

OA was initially created in response to high journal costs that made research and information inaccessible to those without large budgets. Nowadays, there are many ongoing discussions about the economics behind OA and its sustainability. Furthermore, because OA is a relatively new publishing model, some fields doubt its reliability and resist its use.

One of the biggest misunderstandings about open access is that it is low-quality and not peer-reviewed. In truth, many OA journals follow peer-review processes similar to that of closed access journals and uphold high publishing standards as well. In every academic field, there is at least one OA journal ranked at or near the top in terms of impact. As Suber (2015) states, “OA is compatible with every kind of peer review and doesn’t presuppose any particular model.”

An open access repository stores and provides access to journal articles. A well-known OA repository is PubMedCentral (PMC), which is funded by the National Institute of Health and provides full-text articles in biomedical and life sciences. A directory of over 4,000 OA repositories can be viewed on the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR).

Some databases or library catalogs allow you to narrow down results to open access items only, while others like the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) consist exclusively of open access journals. DOAJ contains about 12,000 open access peer-reviewed journals in the science and humanities. It is independent and funded by sponsors, members, and publishers. You can search for articles using the basic or advanced search options, or by using the Browse Subjects feature.

Screenshot of DOAJ homepage

Screenshot of DOAJ homepage

Interested in learning more about Open Access? Check out the UNT Libraries’ Open Access Guide or Open Access @ UNT. As always, feel free to reach out to Ask Us if you have any questions or comments.


Suber, P. (2015). Open Access Overview. Retrieved from

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

Written by: Anima Bajracharya

Whether you are a college freshman or a recent graduate, you may be in search of a job. You may be ready for the interview, but you are looking for something to set you apart from other candidates. At that point, ePortfolio can be a great opportunity to showcase yourself in more than just a one-page resume.

So, what is an ePortfolio?

“An e-portfolio is an online display of your skills and talents. It’s specifically targeted to employers or others you’d like to impress for educational or professional reasons. So, it’s more serious and comprehensive than information you share with friends” (Rowh, 2008, p.26) or put on your resume.

UNT students have free access to an ePortfolio platform which stays with all students even after graduation. You can access ePortfolio through myUNT website, under resources. Just use your EUID and password to login.

Screenshot of UNT resources from myUNT website with orange box indicating ePortfolio

Screenshot of UNT resources from myUNT

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Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by: Hui-Yu Hsiung

A DOI is like a UPC barcode on a scholarly journal article, appearing as a character string or a website URL. You may have seen one before without knowing what it is used for in academic publishing. According to the DOI Handbook, DOI is an acronym for Digital Object Identifier. It is a form of persistent identification for digital objects and other resources on the Internet, such as electronic journal articles, books, or datasets. The DOI system was developed by the International DOI Foundation (IDF), with the goal to provide a framework for managing intellectual content.

A DOI consists of a unique, alphanumeric string of characters that is divided into two parts: a prefix and a suffix, separated by a forward slash.

Here is an example of what a DOI looks like:

However, the more recent practice is to present a DOI in URL format:

The prefix begins with a directory indicator “10” followed by a period and a registrant code “5860.” The registrant code is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to an organization or an individual that desires to register the DOI for a publication. “crl-322” is the suffix provided by the registrant as a resource ID to identify a specific digital object. In the case of journals, a suffix is assigned and arranged by the publisher, which can be any alphanumeric string generated in arbitrary or structured order.

There are many features in the DOI. One of the key features is uniqueness. Because the DOI is registered with a central database, each digital object has its own unique combination of letters and numbers as an identifier to ensure the digital content is easily extracted and accessible in the network environment. Another feature is persistence. The DOI serves as a stable permanent link to access the digital object. Unlike an ordinary URL that can be removed or is no longer valid, the DOI always remains the same, despite changes in its location over time. In addition, as the DOI is associated with metadata describing the digital object and its content, in the event of any change, the DOI is updated accordingly. Lastly, a unique DOI allows interoperability between identifiers and metadata. The DOI can be used in conjunction with other identifiers, such as the ISSN of a journal or the ISBN of a book, to support efficient cross-referencing.

So where to find the DOI? The DOI is located on top of the first page of a journal article, or near the copyright notice.

Two screenshots that show DOI locations within database article records

Screenshots of articles by Shema et al. in DOAJ CC BY-SA and Amelia Anderson in C&RL CC-BY-NC

However, not all articles have DOIs. Articles published before 2000 are less likely to have DOIs assigned, but many publishers now add DOIs to their old journal articles. If you do not see the DOI, use CrossRef to look up the DOI by title or author. You can also use DOI Resolver to find the article and its full citation information if you have the DOI of a journal article.

A DOI makes the access to digital objects, like online journal articles, easy and efficient. Therefore, many citation styles (e.g. APA and Turabian) now require the inclusion of DOIs in citation references, if available. For detailed information on how to properly cite various sources according to different style manuals, the library has style manuals in print and online, as well as a citation style guide. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ask Us.


International DOI Foundation. (2015, October 17). DOI handbook. Retrieved from

Posted by & filed under Library Resources.

Written by: Angela Whitfield

One of the most popular materials checked out at the Library Services Desk is our course reserve collection. Mystery often swirls around the phrase “course reserve,” because it is a library term that is not used anywhere outside of academic libraries, not to mention the different rules that determine how an item is placed on reserve.

So what exactly is a course reserve? A course reserve is an item that has been selected as required or recommended reading for a class and is being held behind a library services desk. These items can be checked out by students taking the class and often have shorter check out periods than items in the general collection. Shorter check out periods ensure other students in the class an opportunity to check the item out.

The most common items placed on course reserve are textbooks. Textbooks placed on course reserve are personal copies provided by the faculty member teaching the course and are not purchased by the library. Due to this condition, the library does not have textbooks on reserve for every single class. It may be worth mentioning to the instructor if there is ever a need for a textbook course reserve for your class.

Other items that may be placed on reserve are books from the library general collection and e-reserves. If an instructor selects a book for reading in a class and the library already owns a copy, then the instructor can request it for course reserve to ensure it is available for the class to read. These can be physical items placed behind the library services desk for reduced check out periods or they may be a link in the catalog that connects to an e-book or journal article.

Read more

Posted by & filed under Library Resources, Research Help.

Written by: Janelle Foster

Mastering the art of proper citation is a fundamental skill in scholarly writing. Ensuring your citations are correct can be a time-consuming, tedious, and laborious task.

RefWorks can make your [research paper writing] life easier!
RefWorks is an online research management tool that allows you to export all your reference citations and documents into one place for storage and management. Within RefWorks, you can view, organize, annotate, and even share your files, as well as quickly and easily create bibliographies and insert citations into your work. RefWorks saves you valuable time and effort!

Access to RefWorks is available to all UNT students at no cost. You can access RefWorks through the UNT Libraries website, under the Electronic Resources tab of Most Requested information. Just use your student university email address to create a free account.

Screenshot of Most Requested tab from our library homepage with a red box indicating Electronic Resources and red circle under Electronic Resources indicating RefWorks

Screenshot of RefWorks link on UNT Library website

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Posted by & filed under Research Help.

Written by: Hui-Yu Hsiung

For most academic research papers, professors will require you to use scholarly, peer-reviewed articles as resources. What is a scholarly, peer-reviewed article?

A scholarly, peer-reviewed article is a type of article that is published in a scholarly journal. It is written in academic language by scholars or experts in a specific field. Before being approved for publication, the article must go through a rigorous peer review process by the editorial board of the journal and a minimum of two expert readers in the field to ensure accuracy, validity and rigor (DeVries, Marschall & Stein, 2009).
Characteristics of a scholarly peer-reviewed article 

Different from popular magazine articles, a scholarly, peer-reviewed article has unique characteristics in terms of its purpose, authorship, audience, accountability, content, and citation (Eldredge, 1999). The purpose of a scholarly, peer-reviewed article is to inform and disseminate original research findings to scholars in a specific field for knowledge advancement. The author is usually one or more scholars conducting primary research or experts with subject expertise. The author’s credentials and contact information are also provided. For the audience, a scholarly peer-reviewed article is intended not only for scholars, but also for researchers, professionals and students. Each article in a scholarly journal is anonymously peer evaluated by experts in the given field to ensure it meets a standard of accuracy, originality and scholarly integrity. The content, written in disciplinary-specific language, is in-depth and organized into distinct sections: abstract, introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion. Generally, it tends to be lengthy, text-heavy and may contain tables, charts and graphs that illustrate key findings of the research. At the end of the scholarly, peer-reviewed article, a complete bibliography is required to list all sources used for citations.

How to find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles
There are several ways to find scholarly, peer-reviewed articles in the UNT Libraries. Read more

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