Category: research

Did You Hear the News? OneSearch Is Getting a Facelift!

OneSearch Infographic

You may be asking yourself why you should care. In fact, the new OneSearch will bring several advantages to you including: an improved interface; the ability to request books easily and quickly from other CSU campuses; and longer borrowing periods.

We switch to the new OneSearch interface on June 13, 2017, and that’s when most of the changes will take effect. We will provide more information once we go live.

Before you go, take note of the following:

  • If you have “saved” records in your current OneSearch account, you will have a year to transfer them to the new system. We will help and provide instructions for you.
  • If you have any questions, you can talk to us in person or contact us online, via text, or by phone: http://library.csun.edu/ResearchAssistance/AskUs.

Susanna Eng-Ziskin

Jumpstart the new Semester with Helpful Library Resources and Services

Two students working at a computerHello Matadors! Welcome to the 2017 spring semester! We at the Library are here to help you get off to a good start and to be successful with your studies. Here’s a reminder about some of the Library resources and services you can take advantage of in the weeks and months ahead.

Ask a Librarian – Please visit the reference desk in the Learning Commons on the 1st floor for help with your research questions. You also can access our 24/7 Online Virtual Reference Chat Room Service, Text or Email your questions. Appointments may be made with a librarian for lengthier consultations on a topic for a research assignment or paper.

Textbooks on Reserve and Course Reserves – Some textbooks are available through the Campus Quality Fee program. You can search for a textbook by your professor’s last name or course number by visiting http://library.csun.edu/CourseReserves. These and other Course Reserve books are located in the Reserves, Periodicals, and Microform Room on the 4th floor, east wing of the Library.

Library Computing – The Learning Commons Technology Office provides checkout for laptop computers as well as tablets. Desktop computing, black and white and color printing, and a technology help desk are some of the resources available in the 1st floor Learning Commons.

How-to Guides & Tutorials – Numerous online guides and tutorials can help introduce you to finding articles in our databases and books in our collection. Additional online guides and tutorials can support you from the beginning to the end of your research process.

Creative Media Studio – The Creative Media Studio provides Matadors with the equipment needed to create first-rate, multimedia projects. iMac workstations; cutting-edge software; a soundproof recording studio; video cameras; audio recorders; scanner and 3D printer are available. Workshops for using certain technologies are available during different times in the semester.

Group Study Rooms – Group and individual study areas and rooms are available on all floors of the Library. You can reserve a study room online at http://csun.libcal.com.

Freudian Sip Coffeehouse – Local and certified organic brewed coffee, organic teas, baked goods, sandwiches, and other snacks are available in the coffeehouse located on the 1st floor lobby of the Library.

We look forward to seeing you and helping you navigate a successful new semester!

How Scholarly Articles are Published

How Scholarly Articles are Published: Or, what binge watching can tell you about academic research

How Scholarly Articles are Published

Or, What binge watching can tell you about academic research.

An article (like an episode) contains a complete argument (like a plot) but is also part of a larger scholarly conversation (like a narrative arc).

A year’s worth of articles (like episodes) adds up to a volume (like a season).

These regularly released collections are part of an overall journal (like a series). Some have completed their run, and some are ongoing.

Journals (like series) are made available by databases (like networks). Some are focused on a particular topic. Some have a wide variety of content.

OneSearch searches nearly all of Oviatt Library’s databases at the same time. OneSearch also finds books, videos, music, and more. If you need help finding a specific article, choosing a database, or doing any kind of research, call 818-677-2285 or text 818-900-2965. Librarians are here to help.

EOP Students Visit the Oviatt

Matty in front of LibraryIncoming CSUN EOP Bridge freshmen have been visiting the Library during the last couple of weeks finding out about all of the resources and services available to them as new CSUN Matadors. The Oviatt Library and CSUN’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) work together each year to help prepare Bridge students for university-level academic expectations and experiences.

Many new Bridge students already have attended Library tours this summer and seen, firsthand, where they can receive help with their research, and where to locate a group study room that will be useful to them in the fall when the Library fills with students preparing for exams and midterms.

Services such as the Creative Media Studio were one of the many highlights of the Library tours. Specialized computers and software are made available to students in order to support them in developing multi-media projects. Students were also introduced to the Library’s Teacher Curriculum Center that offers them the opportunity to check-out instructional materials and young adult novels; and the Music & Media Department which provides students with materials associated with music, cinema and theater curricula.

Other services covered within the tours include information about borrowing iPads and laptops; Course Reserves; Interlibrary Loan; and the CSUN Learning Resource Center that is located on the third floor. Of course, one of the highlights of the Library tour includes a visit to the Library’s Automated Storage & Retrieval System. Students are impressed with the technology and how it is able to house and retrieve approximately 700,000 items within the Oviatt collection upon demand.

We are very pleased to have Bridge students in our Library this summer, and we look forward to working with them during the upcoming academic year!

Coleen Martin

Matadors Can Scan Materials at the Library

Two students scanning documents in the LibraryCSUN students can now scan documents at the Oviatt Library. Three user friendly, self-serve scanning stations allow students to scan items to: USB, email, Box and phone or tablet. The stations are conveniently located in the:

  • Learning Commons Technology (Main floor);
  • Music & Media (2nd floor East); and
  • Reserves, Periodicals & Microform (RPM – 4th floor East).

The ability to scan documents is a service students had been requesting at the Library. Since self-service scanners with multiple capabilities can be costly, members of the Library Technology Committee performed a needs assessment, and surveyed the products of multiple vendors. Last semester, three scanners were purchased with funding from the Campus Quality Fee (CQF).

The scanners support convenience and enhance student experience at the Library as they decrease paper waste, and assist the accessibility of materials by students with visual impairments. There is no charge for students to scan materials. The Oviatt Library appreciates the funding made possible through the CQF and is excited to offer scanning to CSUN students.

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

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

Research Therapy: Controversial Topics

Welcome back to another session of Research Therapy. This session is all about researching controversial topics.

Are vaccines safe enough? Should there be more gun control? Does government surveillance conflict with privacy?

As a student, you might be assigned a writing prompt in which you are asked to write about a controversial issue, or a “hot” topic. Once you have chosen a topic, this type of assignment requires you to include outside knowledge in addition to your own interpretation and opinion. Knowledge about your chosen topic can be found almost everywhere, but remember the different types of sources: books, newspapers or magazines, and public information on the Internet. In this tutorial, we introduce three academic databases that can help you find reliable sources for a writing assignment on a controversial issue.

Why does this matter?

As a consumer of information, it serves you to be well aware from where you’re obtaining your news—that is, what sources are you accessing to feed you information. A “hot” topic is controversial because the issue must be socially complicated, must have more than one point of view, and probably stirs debates among people with opposing opinions. Due to the controversy, the media and sources that report on the current events of a social issue have difficulty reporting information that is completely objective—that is, without a subtle bias, political beliefs, or commercial interests. Since it’s almost unrealistic for journalism and the media to report information without some degree of media bias, you should think and reflect about how accurate and fair the sources are presenting you with news. If we measure the objectivity of the source by how accurate and fair that source presents information, then we can learn about the many sides of an issue and its opposing points of view.

How do we distinguish between objective and unreliable sources?

Just because a news source is opinionated or espouses a possible agenda—like a political leaning or corporate backing—that does not mean it is unreliable. But sources that show multiple views and allow rebuttals to their own stated opinions are more likely to provide a well-rounded examination of current events and social issues. As a researcher, you should try to find those type of sources—so that even if you’re writing about your interpretation of an issue, your viewpoint will present opinions that are well supported and aware of all the other points of view.

Links to databases featured in videos:

Opposing Viewpoints in Context
Gale Virtual Reference Library
CQ Researcher

 -Mario Macias

Check Out These Tips for Improving Your Google Search

You probably have been using Google your entire academic life.  But there is more to this search engine than typing in keywords.  Improve your Google search by utilizing some of these recommended tips useful for all types of research.

Google Searching Image

Improving your Google Search: Tips and Tricks to help you master the simple search

  1. Site: To find pages within a specific site type “site:” followed by a website or domain. Example: site:latimes.com
  2. Exclude words: To exclude a term from your search use the minus (-) sign in from of the term. Example: Taylor Swift –sucks
  3. Similar words: Use the tilde (~) sign in front of a word to search synonyms. Example ~college will also retrieve university.
  4. “Quotation Marks”: Searches the exact phrase instead of individual words. Example “Global Warming”
  5. Number Ranges: Include two periods when you want to search within two number ranges. Suitable for years, prices or series of numbers. Example: Oscar winners 2000..2014
  6. Document Type: To search for a particular document type such as a pdf, PowerPoint, doc, jpeg. Example: filetype:pdf
  7. Definitions: Put define: in front of a word for a quick definition. Example: define:impetuous
  8. Calculator: For simply math problems consider using Google (+,-,*,/). Example: 365/5*12
  9. Unit Converter: Easy unit converter, just type what you would like to convert such as temperature, volume. Mass, area, speed, length, or time. Example: 3 quarts to cups.

Have questions? You can always Ask a Librarian for help!

– Jamie Johnson

Finding a Thesis or Dissertation

Are you looking to access theses or dissertations to aid in your research? The Oviatt Library is here to help.

Finding a Thesis or Dissertation

Finding a Thesis or Dissertation

Thesis

Capstone research for a Master’s Degree.  Length: 1-2 journal articles.

Dissertation

Capstone research for a Doctoral Degree.  Length: 3-5 journal articles.

CSUN Graduate Students

If you’re a current CSUN graduate student, you might want examples of recent successful theses from your department.  Find them in ScholarWorks (http://scholarworks.csun.edu/)

CSUN Alumni

If you wrote a thesis while at CSUN, search for yourself as an author in the Oviatt Library catalog (http://suncat.csun.edu/).

Other Universities

Graduate research from other universities is available through the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.

Embargoed?

Authors can choose to restrict access to their research for a few years, usually until they publish or patent their findings. Embargoed theses and dissertations are not available.

Librarians are here to help.  Text (818) 900-2965.  Call (818) 677-2285.

Have further questions about accessing dissertations and theses? Contact Ask A Librarian.

– Laura Wimberley

Check Out the Oviatt’s Free Textbooks on Display

Textbook displayThe Oviatt Library is excited to be a part of OpenStax College’s efforts to save students money when buying textbooks. Please come by and check out our free textbooks display on the fourth floor of the Oviatt Library in the Reserves, Periodicals and Microform (RPM) Room. You may be able to use some of these free textbooks in your courses.

There are currently nine textbooks on display and 11 titles online:  Anatomy and Physiology; Biology; College Physics; Concepts of Biology; Introduction to Sociology; Introductory Statistics; Pre-Calculus; Principles of Economics; Principles of Macroeconomics; Principles of Microeconomics; and Psychology. Two are coming soon: Chemistry and U.S. History.

CSUN Faculty can re-tool these open textbooks to meet course design needs. Faculty members are able to use or adapt these materials to their liking thanks to a Creative Commons Attribution license. The Oviatt Library invites CSUN faculty to review OpenStax College textbooks. These textbooks are free to download from http://openstaxcollege.org/ or check out a print copy on the fourth floor of the Oviatt Library. There is a sign in sheet at the RPM desk for this purpose. In addition, faculty members who would like to explore further the possibility of utilizing these free peer reviewed texts within their courses may visit https://openstaxcollege.org/faculty.

OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization that offers students free textbooks that meet the scope and requirements for most college courses. These textbooks are peer-reviewed and have been written by professional content developers. There is truly no fee for many textbooks and other texts are offered at a very low cost. OpenStax College is supported by foundations that would like to help alleviate the high cost of student textbooks.

Students who would like more information about free textbooks through OpenStax may visit https://openstaxcollege.org/students.

For more information please contact Oviatt Library Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian, Laurie Borchard at laurie.borchard@csun.edu.

– Coleen Martin

Research Therapy: Finding Images Online

finding images infographicUsing images can greatly enhance your research paper, poster, or presentation.  However it can be confusing to know exactly where to find images and if you need permission to legally use it.

Please note that the use of images found in print or online may be protected by copyright. Some require permission under certain circumstances, and some may even cost a fee. To be safe always attribute the source of the image.

A great starting point to learn more about this topic is the Finding and Using Images guide. It has been created for the purpose of helping you find and use images for educational purposes. Here you will find information to understand resources available to help find images using websites and library databases, copyright information, and how to cite images in MLA and APA format:

Watch this video to learn more about Creative Commons licenses and where/how to search for these types of images within search engines such as Google Image, Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons.  – Jamie Johnson

Research Therapy: How To Find Statistical Data

Do you need to back your research up with statistics? The Oviatt Library provides access to several statistical databases, as well as online guides to help you find exactly what you need. There are also a lot of resources freely available on the web.

This short video shows you how to find our collection of statistical resources, as well as how to search some of them. 

Research Therapy on Statistics

For more information, check out our Finding Statistics and Finding Statistics by Zip Code guides.

-Isabelle Ramos

Daily, Weekly, Gazette: Where to Find Hot-Off-The-Press News or Cooled Off Stories

Newspapers, newspapers everywhere and not an article for me!

Have to find a newspaper article for an assignment? Want to use a newspaper as a primary source to understand how an event was reported on when it happened? Have you used up your free New York Times articles, but still want to read the news? The Oviatt Library can help you.

This video explains three ways to access the Library’s newspaper subscriptions online: through OneSearch, the News & Current Issues databases, and through a Journal title search.

OneSearch

On a related note: you might take a look at the Research
Therapy session The Info-Cycle for more information on how news contributes to human knowledge.

– Anna Fidgeon