Local Students Find Resources at the Oviatt

NAHS students

Northridge Academy High School students

Many local students visit the Oviatt Library for tours and to find out about the resources and services available to them each year. Some classes visit the Library for instruction sessions as well. In fact, last year, 68 Library tours were provided to 1,143 local students and 37 Library lectures were provided to 1,190 local students to support them to be successful in their coursework.

Most recently, Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) history classes visited the Library to find sources for a senior research project. Many of these students were not aware of the 200 databases available to them at the Oviatt Library prior to their visit. They spent time searching in the databases; evaluating information; and eventually downloading and emailing articles to themselves. Many students explored ebooks during the session. They also were able to find books in the stacks and check them out prior to completing their visit. Last year alone, 431 local high school students within the San Fernando Valley checked out Oviatt Library books for their research needs and assignments.

During their visits to the Library, these students find out about the research help they can receive from a librarian at the reference desk in the Learning Commons or virtually through our Ask A Librarian service. These visits to the Library support them to be successful in their coursework; help to prepare them for the academic rigors of university level research; and support them to acclimate to campus, as many of these students will become CSUN students after high school.

Additional local high school students will be visiting the Library next semester. We look forward to working with these students and their teachers in the coming year.

- Coleen Martin

How to Read Citations

Have you ever stared at a citation and had no idea if it was a book, chapter in a book, article or website? This infographic in our Research Therapy series breaks down citations for you, highlighting the various elements that make up a citation.

How to read a citation

Book Citations 

Elements of a book citation: author, title of book, publisher information, year. and format.

Elements of a chapter in a book citation: author of chapter, title of chapter, title of book, editor of book, publisher information, and page range of chapters.

Book Clues:

  • If the citation has publisher name and location, it’s a book!
  • In MLA citation style the format means the medium of publication.
  • E-books may have a URL, database name, or date of access at the end of the citation.

Article Citations

Elements of magazine and journal article citations: author, title of article, title of publication, volume number, issue number, year of publication, and page numbers.

Elements of a newspaper article: author, title of article, title of publication, date of publication, page number or section.

For articles found in an online library database the only difference in the citation is the addition at the end of the citation of the following; name of the database, format, access date, and sometimes the URL or DOI.

Article Clue:

  • All published articles will have two titles; the title of the article and the title of the journal/magazine/newspaper.
  • In MLA the format for an article in a library database will say “web”, but it’s not a website.
  • Magazines may just have a month of publication instead of a volume and issue number.
  • Depending on the citations style, you may see a URL or DOI for an article in an online database.

Website Citations

The elements of a website citation usually include: author/editor, title of work or page, name of the website, publisher or sponsor of website, title URL, date of publication, format, and access date.

Website Clues:

  • Websites may not provide publication dates.
  • Websites don’t always have authors, they may just list the organization that created the website.
  • Depending on the citation style, you may see the term “retrieved from” followed by a URL.

Things to Remember

  • Every citation style is different, but the elements of what makes up a citation are the same.
  • If you’re unsure of what type of article it is, just Google the name of the publication
  • You can always ask a librarian for help!

- Laurie Borchard

Refill Your Water Bottles at the Oviatt!

Water Bottle Refilling StationIt’s common to see a line of students waiting for their coffee or other drinks at the Freudian Sip coffeehouse in the Library Learning Common’s lobby. Now there is another line you will often see on the other side of the lobby, a spot where students are eager to fill their empty bottles with cool, filtered water.

The Oviatt Library recently installed a water bottle filling station in the Learning Commons lobby through funding from the Campus Quality Fee. The installation and use of the station increases campus sustainability efforts, and provides students with the opportunity to save money, as they can refill their water bottles instead of buying a new one each time. Having a new water bottle filling station for students to use in the Library also means there will be fewer plastic bottles to be thrown away.

According to those at the Library who initiated and carried out the project, “Students will be made aware of campus sustainability goals in terms of water consumption . . . Students and visitors to the Oviatt will be able to see that our University and student body are continuing to take steps to become more environmentally conscious.” Team members who coordinated with campus facilities to bring the water bottle filling station to the Library Learning Commons lobby include Sarah Sayeed, Lynn Lampert, Marianne Afifi and Jason Billick.

These Oviatt Library efforts join others on campus who also have taken steps to make our campus more eco-friendly. A partnership between the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Committee and CSUN Physical Plant Management is responsible for installing other water bottle refill stations in eight colleges throughout the CSUN campus. These other stations can be found in Juniper Hall, the Education building, Chaparral Hall, Sierra Hall, Jerome Richfield Hall, Manzanita Hall, Redwood Hall, and Sequoia Hall. So if you are thirsty, and need a refill, please feel free to visit the Oviatt Library Learning Commons water bottle filling station or any of the other many refilling spots on the CSUN campus!

- Coleen Martin

Reference Resources

Have you seen or heard the word reference in the library or online and wondered what that meant exactly? Check out our newest edition of Research Therapy and learn about all the different types of reference.

What is Reference?

What is Reference?

Reference Books

  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Bibliographies
  • Almanacs
  • Handbooks & Manuals

Where can you find reference resources?

  • Print: Learning Commons, 1st Floor
  • Online: From the library’s homepage, click on “Databases by Subject” then click on “Reference Sources” or look for e-books in the Library Catalog

Why use a reference source?

  • Brief & introductory information on a topic
  • Good for background information and overview of topics
  • Use for facts and figures


  • More reliable than Wikipedia
  • If the book spine says REF or Learning Commons, it can’t be checked out!

Reference Desk

What is it?

  • Have a question? Librarians are waiting to talk to you. No appointment necessary!

Where is it located?

  • Learning Commons, 1st Floor, look for the wall that says: “Reference – Ask A Librarian”

Why use this service?

  • Research help
  • Develop research strategies
  • Ask questions
  • Find books and articles

Online help at library.csun.edu/AskUs via Email, Chat & Text

Reference Page

What is it?

  • Citations of the resources referred to in a paper, article, report, or book

Where is it located?

  • Found at the end of an article, chapter, or book.
  • Include References (APA) or a Works Cited (MLA) page at the end of your own papers!

Why should you create it?

  • Give credit where credit is due!

Pro-Tip: If you find an interesting article or book and want to research the topic further, look up one of the citations!

-Isabelle Ramos and Nina Mamikunian




Celebrate Banned Books Week at the Oviatt

Banned Books Display Hello Matadors! September 27 through October 3 is Banned Books week. Banned Books Week celebrates our freedom to choose what we read. It also brings attention to the harms of censorship. The Oviatt Library is acknowledging the importance of Banned Books Week with several activities.

There is a Banned Books display in the Learning Commons, first floor of the Library. All of the books within the display have been banned in some manner. Each book has been wrapped, (for suspense!) and at least one description has been given as to why the book was banned. Come take a look at the various reasons these books have been censored in different places around the country. Some books were tossed in the trash, while others were hidden behind the circulation desks of their libraries. All of these banned books can be checked out at the Guest Services Desk in our Library lobby. But no peeking before they are checked out and taken home to read!

The Library is also collaborating with the CSUN Journalism Department to bring you a Banned Books Readout on Wednesday, September 30 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the Oviatt Library Ferman Presentation Room. Cecil Castellucci, author of Boy Proof, and many other young adult novels, will be speaking, in addition to CSUN Professor Elizabeth Blakey Martinez, who is a First Amendment scholar. There will also be many journalism students reading passages from banned books. Pizza will be served and everyone is welcome. Please RSVP at http://library.csun.edu/banned-books-readout-2015. Happy Banned Books Week to all and enjoy your reading!

- Coleen Martin

Find Out About Magazines and Journals!

Magazine vs Journal

Magazines vs. Journals

 Popular Sources = magazines and newspaper articles

  • Purpose: Inform and entertain the general reader
  • Authors: journalist or professional writers (usually employees of the publication)
  • Audience: general public
  • Coverage: Broad variety of public interest topics, cross disciplinary.
  • Publisher: Commercial
  • Characteristics:
    • Few or no cited references
    • General summaries of background information
    • Contain advertisements
    • Length of articles are usually brief, 1-5 pages
  • Frequency: Published on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Examples: Time, Newsweek, Vogue, National Geographic, The New Yorker

 Scholarly Sources = journal articles

  • Purpose: To communicate research and scholarly ideas
  • Authors: researchers, scholars, or faculty (usually listed with their institution affiliation)
  • Audience: other scholars, students
  • Coverage: Very narrow and specific topics
  • Publisher: Professional associations, academic institutions, and many commercial publishers.
  • Characteristics:
    • Includes full citations for sources
    • Uses scholarly or technical language
    • Peer reviewed
    • Length of articles are longer, over 5 pages
  • Frequency: Published on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis
  • Examples: Journal of Politics, Sociological Review, Journal of Marriage and Family

 Things to keep in mind:

  • You can find both types of sources using the Oviatt Library’s Databases.
  • Book reviews and editorials found in journals are not considered scholarly articles.
  • Both magazines and journal articles can be good sources for your work.
  • Often a combination of the two will be the most appropriate for undergraduate research.

- Jamie Johnson

The Creative Media Studio Celebrates One Year!

Creative Media StudioThis Wednesday, September 2, the Creative Media Studio (CMS) celebrates its one-year anniversary from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. on the main floor, west wing of the Library. Everyone is welcome to attend the event which will showcase student work developed at the studio during the last year. Companies such as Apple, Canon and Hexlab Makerspace will be at the celebration to demonstrate cutting edge technology including a 3D printer. Refreshments will be served as well.

Since opening in fall 2014, the CMS, which was funded through the Campus Quality Fee, has become a popular spot for students to create videos, apps, art and to prepare a variety of classroom presentations. Students also are able to record music in the recording studio. CMS equipment and technology can be reserved in advance for up to several hours a day. Due to popular demand, the studio recently expanded its hours and is open Saturdays and Sundays.

CMS Coordinator Isis Leininger anticipates a fun-filled gathering. “I am excited for people to see what students have already created at the CMS in such a short period of time. We want to celebrate our first year and have a fun time, while sharing some of the vast creativity that is part of our campus community, and allowing guests to interact with new technologies.”

Please join us for the event. You may RSVP here. We look forward to seeing you there!

- Coleen Martin

Looking for your textbooks?

Hey Matadors, welcome to CSUN!

It’s the first week of classes and although all of your professors are expecting you to show up to the first day of classes with ALL of your textbooks, we know that’s not always the case. We also know how insanely expensive textbooks are. Don’t worry, stay calm, it will be OK, the Oviatt library can help!

This blog posts offers a list of resources that can help you find your textbooks. First, there is the library, all of our resources are free to you and there are several ways you can look for books. Second, there is the Matador bookstore, they will have all your required texts, including used books, electronic versions and even a rental program. There are also several online resources for comparing textbooks prices and renting your books. Check out the list below to learn more about how you can save money.

Library Resources

  • Course Reserves are course materials that have been set aside for your course to be checked out 2 or 4 hours at a time. Search course reserves from the library’s homepage. Check out the video below to learn more.
  • Search for current or older versions of your textbook for 2 week checkouts from the library catalog.

Purchase your textbooks

  • You can always check out the Matador Bookstore for all your textbooks.
  • DealOz compares prices against various booksellers, including Amazon, half.com, abe books, and more! This is not just for textbooks, you can search for any book.
  • ValoreBooks  is specifically for textbooks, including new, used, rentals, and alternative editions.
  • Did you know that you can buy international versions of textbooks at a discounted prices? As you search online you’ll noticed them labeled as “international” or “alternative” most of the time they are identical, sometimes paperback instead of hardcover and the ISBN might be different.

Rent your textbooks

  • Our own bookstore has a rental program, create an account & see what’s available at Follet Rentals.
  • CSU has partnered with various publishers to offer CSU students in digitial format at 60% or more off the hard copy version. Check out their Rent Digital resources.
  • College Book Renter

Good luck with your first day of classes and welcome to CSUN!

-Laurie Borchard

Campus Orientation Welcomes New Faculty at the Library

New Faculty Orientation attendeesCSUN New Student Orientations have been welcoming new students to campus over the past several weeks and the campus is gearing up to welcome many new faculty members as well. In fact, the New Faculty Orientation will be held August 19 and 20 in the Library’s Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room. Coordinated by Faculty Development, a program of the CIELO Center, the two-day orientation will provide faculty with campus information to help orient them in their new setting. There will also be a variety of diverse sessions to help support a smooth transition into the 2015-16 academic year. Those attending the event will have an opportunity to meet other new faculty members and CSUN campus leaders. Current technologies utilized on campus and within the classroom will be discussed and opportunities to connect with students and faculty will be explored. Student performances will entertain and engage attendees. Finally, those new faculty members attending the orientation will also participate in President Harrison’s Fall Welcome Address at the Valley Performing Arts Center.

We at the Library are especially excited about the orientation. Library Subject Specialists will be present on August 20 and take new faculty members on a tour of the Library. Of course, these are just highlights of the event since so much more will be shared. The campus orientation promises to provide two days filled with ideas and support for creating an amazing first year on campus and within the Library. We welcome all new CSUN faculty!

- Coleen Martin

CSUN Students Welcomed at Booths

Matty the Matador in front of LibraryHello Matadors! During the coming weeks the Oviatt Library will be participating in many campus events welcoming new freshmen to CSUN. You will find us at the New Student Orientation booths held at the Matador Bookstore Complex throughout the month of August. On most days, you will be able to speak with a librarian, from noon to 1:30 p.m., to find out about all of the resources and services available to you as CSUN students. We will be handing out information that can assist you in utilizing our resources during the upcoming academic year, and we will be distributing lots of giveaway items such as pens, notepads, highlighters and canvas bags to support your success. Please stop by our booth, say hello, and ask any questions you may have about the Library. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

– Coleen Martin