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Lamson Library


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Library User Guide

This guide will introduce you to the very basics of using the Library.

Using Databases

Library databases are part of the Internet that you have to pay to use.  Your high school librarian may have called it "the Invisible Web" and while it isn't totally invisible, you still can't read the full text unless you have a subscription.  Your professor may have told you to use a specific database like JSTOR or PsycARTICLES.  To find these and the whole alphabetical list of the library resources, click on Library Databases on the main page of the library website.

But why use them?  Have you ever asked your smartphone a question and received a confusing (and often amusing!) answer? While technology advances rapidly each year, we still aren't quite at the point where you can ask a computer a complicated question and get a perfect response..  As hard as it is to believe, there ARE faster ways (and don't you want it to be faster?)

Information databases still work best if you break your question into words or phrases.  And that's true for any database, from the full-text Library databases we purchased for your use, to Google or other web browsers.  

Let's say you really want to get a tattoo, and your friends think it is a great idea, but some of your family members have shared stories about them being dangerous. You want to find out the truth.  Sure, you could type in "What are the dangers of tattoos?" but you would get a thousands of records in your result list.  Better to break your full question down to the most important parts....for example, the word tattoos AND health.  

What about that word AND?  It has a fancy name called "boolean operator" and can help you limit your search so that you don't have to wade through a list of sources that may not be what your are looking for.  You will learn more search techniques when you visit the library, but for now, watch this video to learn more about how AND (OR, NOT) can help you become an expert searcher!