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Basic Library Instruction

Resources to support your ideas, papers and projects: if you are viewing this guide, your professor has probably given you a research assignment specifying that you use scholarly, academic or peer reviewed journals. This guide explains all this and more.

Why Use the Library's Resources?

Source: University of Maine Library, Library Research 101: How to Get Started  - adaptation of Mark Y. Herring’s essay 'Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library,' which appeared in American Libraries April 2001 issue. 

What about Google? 

There are times when Google is a completely acceptable tool for finding information. Librarians use Google, - and know when it will be the most effective. 

When to use Google/ the Open Web:

  • To explore an unfamiliar topic and find background information;
  • To go to a specific website;
  • To find current government forms and data;
  • To find information about a unique or new topic;
  • To find multimedia materials;
  • To answer a quick question; and
  • To find information for personal use.

When to use Library Databases:

  • To find Journal Articles;
  • To find News Articles, both historical and current;
  • To find scientific data, methods, and protocols; 
  • To find in-depth, factual information on complex topics; and
  • To find historic documents and archives for research.

Source: University of Maine Library, Library Research 101: How to Get Started

Using Credible Resources

You can find valid, accurate, and credible sources for a variety of topics in the resources we've listed here.

Remember that your research and presentations will be viewed by instructors and peers who are expecting to see academic resources, and not just information you found using Google which are questionable and often times may lack credibility or factual correctness.

Follow the instructions below*:

1) Find Books

Use this page to find print and eBooks resources on your topic. 

2) Find Articles

The A-Z Databases is where you'll find articles of information for your topic. There are multiple databases you can use, and you should them as they cover varied aspects of your topic. You'll also be able to find information about your profession, art, culture, and gender.

3) Find Reference/Background Information 

Use these resources to find general information through pre-coordinated topic searches in databases like Credo Reference or Gale Virtual Reference. Credo also offers Research Tips on  video such as: How to Avoid Bias in Your Searches: "Coffee is bad for you lies" vs. "Coffee health effects."

4) Find Images

If you need to have images for your presentation, there are very good resources to help you find ones that visually represent your topic.

5) Schedule a Chat or an Appointment

Students: Here's where you can Chat with a Librarian, or investigate further LibGuides.

Faculty: Here's where you can schedule your group to Meet with a Research Consultant at the Library.


*Tip: Don't leave your research until the last minute. Use this Assignment Planner to organize and plan your research assignment. (Source: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology  - RMIT University Library, Melbourne, Australia)


Update: Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet