Access research materials online through library Web site

Tim White

In a perfect world, all traffic lights would be green, money would grow on trees, and copious amounts of research materials would appear in an orderly fashion during term paper season. While the former two points are relatively far-fetched, the library has been making strides to bring the latter to reality.

A trip to www.saddleback.edu/library will bring up a field to search the library’s catalog. Retrieval of anything listed in the stacks will still require a trip to campus. However, search results listed as an e-book can now be accessed simply from the Internet.

NetLibrary, a division of Online Computer Library Center, is a web-based interface that electronically displays the full text of a myriad of books. The service requires a free subscription that can be activated at any of the library’s computers.

In addition to accessing e-books, students can also search a variety of databases containing articles from magazines, newspapers and those pesky scholarly journals by clicking on the “Journals/Magazines-OFF CAMPUS” link on the left of the library’s homepage.

Also on the left of the library homepage is a link titled “Ask a librarian” that directs the user to a page offering several options for contacting library staff. E-mails sent to staff are typically answered within 24 hours. Students requiring immediate assistance may opt for the 24/7 live chat.

“We try to teach [students] how to be more effective researchers,” said Wendy Gordon, library reference coordinator, “as opposed to just giving out answers.”

Although the live chat option is not guaranteed to contact a Saddleback librarian, when one is up against a deadline at 3 a.m., any help is good help. Additional instruction on accessing the library databases remotely is available through the library’s “Finding Books” and “Finding Articles” workshops, as well as through the reference desk.

Despite not having the convenience of a hard copy to flip through, these features make it feasible to complete a research paper without setting foot in the library.

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