Hi, and welcome to the Utah State University Libraries or in short USU Library. I’m Tegan Eastman, the online instruction librarian. As a regional campus, or distance education student, you have access to all the same library resources that students have in Logan. This article will introduce you to some of these great resources. As USU students, you will likely be assigned research assignments where you must find articles.
As you might have found by searching for articles on Google, many journal and magazine articles are not freely available online. However, the USU library has a large collection of journals and articles that you can access online through our library databases. All you need to do to access these sources is to log into the library website with your A-number and banner password. Once you’ve logged in you can view articles from anywhere you have an internet connection.
If you need an article that is not available in full-text online, you can request it through interlibrary loan and we can email you a PDF copy of the article. Using library databases is a great place to do research for your papers because they not only include peer-reviewed articles or articles written and reviewed by experts in the field day professors are often required, but you can also find current magazine and newspaper articles and even encyclopedia entries for background information. Another resource you will probably need throughout your time at USU books.
USU library has a large collection of ebooks which you can access by logging in with your A-number and password. You can find ebooks by searching our library catalog located at the top of the library website. The Merrill-Cazier Library, on the Logan campus, will also send you books from our physical collection to your home, free of charge, along with a prepaid return label.
All you need to do to request a book is to log in to our interlibrary loan system and make sure you select distance ed as your campus location. We know that research assignments can be stressful and it can be overwhelming to try to locate relevant information, but as USU students, you have access to many resources that will help make this process less intimidating.
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On the lower left-hand side of each of your canvas courses is a research help tab. This links to a guide filled with helpful research tips specific to that class. It also provides the contact information for your classes’ personal librarian who you can set up an appointment with to get help. If you need quick live assistance from a librarian you can always use our chat box which you can find on the library homepage. Here, you can get help finding and evaluating information sources, integrating library resources into your paper, and more.
Finally, if you need additional help, you can always reach out to myself or the distance-ed library, Erin. We are always happy to help you. Remember, the USU Library is your library, no matter where you are located.
Subject Terms vs. Keywords: How to search in USU Library
When searching in USU library databases the terminology you use is important. Databases are not like Google which will pullup millions of results –some of which are relevant –no matter what you search.
To search effectively in USU library databases, you need to have a small group of specific terms or phrases to plug into the database. There are two main strategies for searching in databases –using either keywords or subject terms. Keywords are any significant words or phrases you can use to describe your topic.
This is usually the default option when searching in USU library databases. Subject terms are the specific language or terminology determined by the database to describe a topic. These are the terms databases use to sort and locate articles–and using them is kind of like using the index at the back of a book.
So, when should you use keywords vs. subject terms? Keywords are a great place to start if you are beginning searching and want to get familiar with your topic because they are more flexible searches. However, you will often get many irrelevant results. Subject terms are better if you want only relevant articles specific to your topic. You will typically get more relevant results when using subject terms in the USU library database.
That’s because it’s controlled vocabulary for the entire topic including any synonyms in a single search. For example, if you are researching mental illness in the USU library, the designated subject term in the database PsycINFO is actually “mental disorders.” While this term might seem less intuitive is useful because it will pull up articles that may be tagged with “mental illness” or even specific instances of mental illness such as bipolar disorder or PTSD. By using the designated subject terminology, you are getting. ALL the results in a database related to your topic even when the language authors use vary in one search.
Despite their usefulness, subject terms are not something you’ll automatically know. They are formal and differ from database to database. So, before you begin searching by a subject term you need to find the correct term. Let’s say you found an article you like and want to find the subject terms for that topic.
If you are searching in an Ebsco database like Academic Search Premier or PsycINFO, you can find subject terms on an article record page under “subjects.” Or you can click “thesaurus” at the top of the page and search in the saurus to find the correct subject terms for your topic.
Once you know your subject terms you can enter them into the search bar at the top of the page, then select SU –Subjects from the drop-down menu to the right of the search. If you have any questions about using subject terms or keywords remember you can always Ask a Librarian!
How to find Ebooks in the USU library website
Here will tell you how to search for e-books in the USU library catalog. From the library homepage atlibrary.usu.edu click “FIND” in the upper left-hand corner, then select “Books and media.” On this next page, you’ll want to click on “Search only electronic books” at the bottom of the page. This will bring you to the search page where you can enter your search terms.
If you know of an exact title you’re looking for, you can type that in here and select a title. You can also search by keywords for a general topic. So let’s say I’m looking for books about current theories on leadership in business, so I’ll type in the keywords “leadership theory” and”business” and click “search” and you’ll see that we have 48 results for this topic. Most of these will be ebooks, but you might also come across electronic government documents, electronic journals, or encyclopedias that contain the words leadership, theory, and business.
You can now scroll through the list of results and find a book that might look useful to you. So let’s say we decide the sixth result looks interesting, so let’s click the title to learn more. This will take us to the record page which will give us a summary of the contents. Or if we know that we want to dive right into reading this book, we can click the”online access” button.
Now we want to click the “read online”button to pull up the full text. On the left, we can select a chapter to go directly to, or at the very top of our page, we can use the arrows to navigate to the next page or go directly to a specific page. If you have any questions, you can always ask the USU librarian!