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Research FAQ: Home


Research FAQs

Q. How do I look up books in the Library?

A. For a search for articles (in journals, trade magazines, etc.) use Research Port.  For a search for books use Catalog USMAI.  You can also use the catalog to find items such as DVD's, maps, and microfilm.

Q. Can I use OneSearch to look up articles, too?


Q. I found a listing for an article in a library database.  How do I actually get it?

A. If the article is available in PDF form or HTML form you will see a link included in the article listing:

If not, the article may be available full-text in another database, in print in the library, or available from another library through interlibrary loan.  To find out which option is available, click the "find it" button on the page.

Then read the information in the pop-up window and follow the "go" buttons.  You may wish to ask a librarian for help.

Q. After clicking "find it," I get this message:

What do I do?

A. This message means the article is not owned by this library, but that we can get it for you.  When you click "Go" you will be asked to log into our ILL system, ILLiad, using your ID barcode number and last name (firt time users will need to fill out a new user profile in ILLiad).  Either the relevant information will be filled in for you or you will be asked to supply it.  After that step, click "submit request." You will notified by email when we receive your article.  Allow 3-5 days.

In most cases, you will receive notification to log into ILLiad where your article is available electronically.  There is usually no charge for Interlibrary loan--in rare situations the lending institution may require a fee--you will be asked if you want to proceed.

Q. I'm searching in a database and not very many of the articles I find are available in PDF or HTML format.  What should I do?

A. Many of the databases have a box labeled "linked full-text" or something similar on the "advanced search screen." You can check this to limit your results.

However, if you do this, you may miss out on articles available through one of the "find it" options other than ILL.

Q. I found a listing in the catalog for a book.  How do I know where it is shelved?

A. The signs leading to the stairwells and various posters around the building list which call numbers are on which floor.  A-N, 4th floor, P-z, 5th floor.  Be sure to click on the "availability" link in the citation to see if the book is on the shelf. Note, if the call number says "Gov" or "Ref," the items in in one of our second-floor collections.

Q. I found a listing for a book and under "location" it says NetLibrary Ebooks. What does this mean?

A. The item is an e-book.  It is available in electronic format, to be read on the screen.  You cannot save it, and the only way to print it is to send a print job for each page.  You usually navigate e-books by clicking on a page or chapter on the left.  They can be cited in papers and are as legitimate as analogous print books.

Q. Where are your peer-reviewed journals? My professor says I have to use them for my paper.

A. Peer-review is a process by which articles are checked for accuracy and completeness by a panel prior to publication. Because of this, peer-reviewed journals have great credibility in academia.

Our journal collection is physically located on the second floor, from one end to another.  However, locating a journal itself is usually not the best approach.  If you are researching for a project, you will need to use search terms in a database.  Many articles you find will be available electronically, and you can use a variety of methods to determine whether or not these are peer-reviewed.

 Q. Do you have DVD's? Can I check them out?

A. We do and you can.  DVD's are locked in a room on the end of the 2nd floor, and reference or media librarians can access them for you.  If you are interested in browsing for DVD's, you can use Catalog USMAI.

Q. How do I find items my instructor has placed on reserve?

A. Go to the circulation desk on the 3rd floor and tell the staff member the title of the item and the name of the instructor and explain that the item is on reserve.  Reserve items are check out for two hours for use in the building only.

Q. How can I get more help?

A. Librarians are available at the reference desk on the 2nd floor Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-9:30 p.m.  You are also welcome to submit questions via e-mail using the "Ask a Librarian" link from our homepage.  A librarian checks this account at least once a work day, and most questions are answered within 24 hours.