My colleague, Prof. Monica Berger, is the City Tech librarian who will help us this semester with any of our library needs, especially as we work on our research projects. She has prepared the following post to share with you all the information you should need to get started with library research.

For our work this week, follow her instructions and information to guide you through an introduction to the library, watch the video, follow the links, etc. Then reply here with a comment describing your experience using our college’s library online. What worked and what didn’t? What search terms (the words you searched for) and databases helped you find materials relevant to your focus in Project #2? Share in your comment one source that you found and briefly explain what it is and how it’s useful for your Project #2. If you haven’t found anything useful yet, share that in the comments, too, so I and your classmates can help guide you.

If you have questions, you can ask them here in reply to this post so we can all try to answer.

Here’s what Prof. Berger shared with us:

Welcome to the library! We miss seeing you in person but here’s an overview to help you with English 1101. Find quick information about the library in our student-focused Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs. On this same page, you’ll notice there is information about getting access to materials in the library. It’s easy. Just log in with your CUNY email address (the same address you use to register for classes, log into Blackboard, etc.).  

Consider the library as a resource for certain types of genres. Although you will use the Internet to find videos, songs, websites, etc., you can find additional types of genres in the library. The most common genres you can find in the library include:

  1. Books and book chapters
  2. Newspaper articles
  3. Magazine articles
  4. Scholarly journal articles aka peer reviewed journal articles

The library has tutorials and guides to help you find sources in different genres and support your assignments for this course. Our guide for English 1101 has everything you need to teach yourself how to find sources in the library, evaluate any source, and learn MLA citation.

Getting Started: Start by watching our orientation video. It can be found in the GETTING STARTED tab of the guide for English 1101. We have a four minute video about a research question in the GETTING STARTED tab as well. This video will help you begin to narrow down your research question so it isn’t too broad.

Find Books: This section of the guide helps you find ebooks. You may find a book chapter which is much shorter and may be more specific. Don’t forget that if you find an ebook through the library, you can generate a citation from the record.

Other useful tabs: EVALUATING SOURCES helps evaluate any source whether it is on the Internet or the library. BACKGROUND RESEARCH guides you through the process of learning more about your research topic through encyclopedia articles geared to college students. We think that knowing the basic facts about your topic is essential to further research. The encyclopedia articles you find through the library are usually 3-5 pages. They also may list sources on your topic you can use for your annotated bibliography. We particularly recommend Gale Virtual Reference Library. Scholarly vs. Popular Research will explain how they are different. If you are interested in a current event, take a look at the section on how to research current events which provides links to key newspapers.

Step-by-Step Research Activity:  This is an interactive form that helps you easily find sources in the library walking you through the entire research process including getting background information and evaluation of your sources. The Step-by-Step Research Activity guides you to use Academic Search Complete which is a great all-purpose library database (collection of articles). You can also search the library’s search bar on the homepage but it is like Google. That means it is easy to use and that you get too many results.

Citation: Get help on MLA style in the final tab of the English 1101 guide. Did you know if you find a source that is based in the library, you can easily get a citation from the library search engine or the specific ebook, newspaper, magazine, or journal when you click through to the full text?

You can also email or download ebook chapters and articles from the library and get the citation with your email. Don’t forget to select MLA citation style! You can also try Zoterobib as an alternative to Easybib for generating citations to websites like YouTube.

Support for place-based research
Please check out our excellent guide supporting research about places. You may need to skim this guide since it is geared to more advanced students but it can help you learn how to find information about specific types of places, for example, buildings.