The Library’s Resources From Home

The Charger Bulletin

As midterms have come to an end, are you one of the many scrambling to get the research for your final papers and/or projects?  Like many of your fellow class mates, statistics show that the majority of you will start and complete your research on Google; however that’s not always the best idea.   Maybe you don’t know where to begin and believe me, there are many students such as yourself that are in the same position. One of the most frequently heard statements I receive at the reference desk is, “I need a book on …,” and I give the same response every time, “do you need a book or information or resources on this topic?”  The overwhelming majority of the time the student will respond, “I need information to write a paper.”  In case you are not aware or no one has told you; the library is much more than books and has been for quite a while. Everything is available online these days, so why would the library be any different?  We invite you to visit the library website to find appropriate academic level resources/research for your paper.

Since this school has one of the best criminal justice programs in the country, let’s say you have to write a paper on Jack the Ripper.  Where do you begin?  No, the answer is not Wikipedia.  I know, it’s the quickest place to find background information, but as everyone probably knows and has heard in every class; anyone can write and edit articles in Wikipedia. It is not a reliable or trustworthy source and it is also the most frequently plagiarized resource among college students.  Basically, don’t even think about using it because your professors will know.  The place where you will find the best and most reliable information will be through our library’s database collection.  A database is an online searchable collection of materials, containing newspapers, journal articles, books, dissertations, podcasts, and videos.  Different databases cover different subject areas; however, there isn’t a way to search all of them at once.  Some databases cover a specific subject area such as criminal justice, and others cover a variety of different subjects.   Almost all of our databases are available directly from the library homepage and can be accessed from your home computer.  To access our database collection, from the library homepage, select the link, “databases,” from the left side of the screen.  On the next page, select the link from the left side titled, “subject listing.”  This will break down our entire database collection by the subject matter of the material.

For background information, I would begin at the database “Credo Reference,” or “Gale Virtual Library.”  Both databases are a collection of reference materials (encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, etc.) that are searchable, trustworthy, and easy to use.  These databases should be used as an alternative toWikipedia because the information was written and verified by the leading publishers around the world.   Besides, most professors will allow you to use it in your work.  You can find these databases under the “General/Multidisciplinary” subject area.  Now that you have some background information and are more familiar with the topic, to get more detail you would need to use a database specific to the subject area.  Go the subject heading “Criminal Justice.”  Several useful databases in this subject area that will help you with this assignment include, Academic OneFile, ForensicNetBase, and Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text.  In some cases, it is useful to find newspaper articles that describe the situation (person, event, etc.) while it is taking place.  Under the subject heading, “News Sources,” select Newspapers – Historical.   Not only will these articles be considered primary resources, they will provide the reader with a first person perspective for that time period.  Newspaper sources are frequently under-utilized in academic papers and would be beneficial for this assignment.

Searching for academic level research from the library homepage is easy if you know where to look, and most importantly, it can be done from your home computer.  For more information on how to use the library’s resources, visit our libguide “Introduction to the Library for Undergraduates,” at  To learn how to search the library databases, visit our libguide, “Databases Demystified,” at   If you have any questions, please stop by the Library’s Information Desk, call the Information Desk at (203) 932-7189, or email us at [email protected]  and a Librarian will be more than happy to assist you.