Create Your Own Interactive Study Space in the Learning Commons

The Learning Commons features amazing study spaces equipped with whiteboards to facilitate collaboration and create interactive learning spaces. Each of the study rooms located in the Learning Commons is equipped with whiteboards in addition to glass walls that can be used as a dry erase board.

Learning Commons Study Space

The Learning Commons is also equipped with four moveable whiteboards. These can be moved anywhere within the first floor of the library. So if you were not able to reserve one of our study rooms feel free to create your own study space utilizing the furniture and whiteboards.

Located next to the research consultation desk, the whiteboard wall is an ideal space for collaborative study sessions. Students often use this wall for brainstorming, working through math formulas, graphs, or drawing out scenes. Assorted chairs and tables in this area can be rearranged to fit your study needs.

Dry erase marker kits are available for a two hour checkout at Guest Services located in the lobby across from the Freudian Sip.  The kit comes with fours dry erase markers, an eraser and whiteboard spray.

So come explore different library areas of the Learning Commons and create your own study space.

-      Jamie Johnson

Web of Science now available at the Oviatt Library

Web of ScienceThe Web of Science database is now accessible through the Oviatt Library’s current database collection. Often referred to as the most interdisciplinary and comprehensive subscription-based citation resource, the Web of Science extracts citation information from articles in more than 10,000 journals from a wide variety of disciplines. Quite commonly, Web of Science users are able to forgo searching for citation information in numerous different databases only to find, analyze and share scientific and citation information easily with this very unique research tool. Here are just some of the Web of Science’s features:

  • Find a citation count for an article;
  • Determine which journal articles have cited a particular work;
  • Find current articles on a topic;
  • Create a citation map for an article which illustrates the connections between citing authors, institutions and fields of study;
  • Provide a citation analysis report for an author;
  • Determine the most highly cited works for an author;
  • Determine the most highly cited articles for a journal;
  • Identify top researchers in a field;
  • Eliminate self-citations from a citation count.

Disciplines that publish heavily in journal literature such as the sciences are better covered in the Web of Science than other subject areas such as business and education. In these instances we recommend referring to the Oviatt’s Searching Cited References Guide. Or for more information contact us at Ask A Librarian.

–         Coleen Martin

Meet the Librarians of the Oviatt

Meet Charissa Jefferson, Oviatt Library’s Business & Data  Librarian. Charissa is enthusiastic about working with students and passionate about her work, learn more about her personal interests below.

Charissa Jefferson

Charissa Jefferson, Business & Data Librarian

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Los Angeles and was raised in Santa Monica, where I still live. I am second generation Angelino. I love LA for its art  culture, music, food and ocean breeze on the Westside.

What do you admire most about CSUN students?

I admire that so many students just want to give themselves a better opportunity in their lives by getting a quality education.

What’s your favorite book or your top 5?

In no particular order:

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou

Feminism is for everybody by Bell Hooks

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

What songs would you include on the soundtrack of your life?

There are many songs that move my life, but here are 5:

Jump by Van Halen

Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

Run the World by Beyonce

A Love Bizarre by Sheila E (Feat. Prince)

Everything in its Right Place by Radiohead

Why did you become a librarian?

I became a librarian because I like working with people and wanted to facilitate lifelong learning.

What’s your favorite quote?

It’s a Latin phrase: amrr fati, which means love of one’s fate. I like this because life brings us all kinds of events and circumstances that we cannot control. Instead of being upset or victimized, we have to look at what we have gone through to get us where we are today. By loving our fate, we embrace all that happens in our lives, because without those situations, we would not be who we are.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

I’d like to learn how to sew better. I have sewn from a pattern before and that was difficult for me. I made a coat using a pattern from the style of the Matrix movies with the help of a friend. I admire that skill and would like to be able to make entire outfits for my children.

If you could witness any event in history what would it be?

I am very curious about my ancestors and the events that brought them to the United States. I would like to witness my maternal great grandparent’s arrival to Elis Island and their experience assimilating into American culture.

If you could be any fictional character who would it be?

I would choose to be Mary Poppins because she’s practically perfect in every way. Also, she goes where the wind blows, she’s full of imagination and doesn’t have any worries. She also has a light weight carpet bag that fits everything she could possibly need in it.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in assessment of students’ needs and accomplishments regarding subject specific library instruction.

- Laurie Borchard


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.


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

Meet the Librarians of the Oviatt

Susanna Eng-Ziskin

First-Year Experience Librarian, Susanna Eng-Ziskin

Meet Susanna Eng-Ziskin the First-Year Experience Librarian here at the
Oviatt. She is the library liaison for U100, so some of you may have already
met this upbeat, funny librarian.  Read below to learn more about where she’s from, her favorites, and why she became a librarian.

Where are you originally from?

My family is Swedish, and so I was born in a small town in Sweden, and spent my life moving around with my family. Growing up, we lived in Sweden, England, NY, Ohio, the Netherlands, and Brazil. Moving around a lot, and not always speaking the language where I lived, was simultaneously a difficult and rewarding experience. At a young age I was exposed to lots of different people, cultures, and languages, and for that I am extremely grateful.

What do you like/admire most about CSUN students?

I find most of our students to be remarkably down to earth, genuine people. I
love working with them, either in a classroom setting, or one on one at the
reference desk.

What’s your favorite book or your top 5?

My list is constantly in flux. If I had to pick a favorite it would be Jane
Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I find myself re-reading it every few years
and always finding something new in it. Other favorites (in no particular
order) include, but are not limited to:

Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

Sandman Slim, by Richard Kadrey

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, by Christopher Moore

What songs would you include on the soundtrack of your life?

I feel the Earth Move, by Carole King

Celebrate, by Mika

Ain’t That A Kick in the Head, by Dean Martin

Ice, Ice, Baby (It’s terrible, but it’s my go to karaoke song)

Why did you become a librarian?

I worked in my college library, first as a student employee in the circulation
department, and then as a full time evening supervisor. I loved working in a
library and helping connect students and faculty with the information they
needed. I had a great boss who encouraged me to apply for graduate school to
become a librarian, which I didn’t even realize was necessary at the time.

What do you wish every student knew about the library or librarians?

Students are never interrupting us when they come to get help at the Reference
Desk. If it looks like we’re involved in a deep discussion with our colleagues,
please interrupt us. We’re out there specifically to help you!

What’s your favorite quote?

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Is there a specific class that you really enjoy doing library instruction for?

University 100. I love working with Freshmen and I get to see the U100 students
twice in the same semester, so I feel like I can have a greater impact that
way, and get to know the students better.

If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be?

I’d really like to go back and meet my great grandmother in her prime. She died
when I was really young, and by the time I knew her, dementia had taken over.
From all accounts, though, she was a thoroughly modern woman, far ahead of her time. I would have loved to have known her. Or maybe Paul Newman – he was rad.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

I’d love to be able to whistle properly.

If you could be any fictional character who would it be?

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice).

- Laurie Borchard

Research Therapy: Using

Research Therapy is back this semester with a special video
on the video tutorial website
This incredibly valuable resource was made available to all CSUN
students, faculty, and staff through CSUN’s Campus Quality Fee. image








This website offers high quality video tutorials on the following topics:
• Web design
• Programming languages
• Business & marketing
• Education
• Photography
• Audio, video & animation production
• Adobe Creative Suite software
• Microsoft Office
• iPad tips
• and more!!

You can browse by topic or software, and even narrow your results by skill level, sub-topics, and author. To access go to you will have to login using your CSUN ID and password, (the same as your portal login). This login allows you to access everything Lynda has to offer, as well create your own personal playlists and bookmark your favorites. For more information check out

Don’t forget you can also visit the IT Help Center or the Ask a Librarian desk on the first floor of the library in our Learning Commons for help.

-Laurie Borchard

Create Three Avatars for a Chance To Win a $100 Gift Card!


Note: Submissions are no longer being accepted.

Help researchers out by taking 20-30 minutes out of your day to create three avatars using the website Pick-a-Face.*  All participants who complete the ­­­avatars will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Visa gift card.  You must be 18 years or older to participate.

To get started:

  1.  Go to
  2. Login into Moodle using your CSUN id and password
  3. Enter enrollment key “csunSTUDY”
  4. Click on the link “Avatar Study Consent Form”
  5. Here you will find links to the following documents: Informed Consent and Experimental Bill of Rights. You will also find directions on how to submit your consent and begin creating avatars.

* The Pick-A-Face website requires flash, so it does not work on an iPad. If you start on an iPad, you can always log back into your moodle later on a different device to complete it.

For more information please contact Laura Wimberley at

Research Therapy: Keeping Those References in Line

You’re almost there! You dominated that test, you perfected your presentation, you’ve written a gazillion pages. But, one thing looms:

works cited page

You have options! Let me introduce 5 free tools that will help you keep your citations organized as well as generate your citations for you. But remember: each of these citation tools are only meant to HELP you. If the computer makes a mistake, you’re the one getting marked down for it. Use the Oviatt Library’s Cite Your Sources page thoughtfully—for proofreading and more.

Save this record



Endnote Basic


Research Therapy video screenshot

If you would like to get more acquainted with any of these tools, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube as well as courtesy of The University of Texas Libraries.

If you’d like some human interaction to go along with your citations, just ask a librarian.

- Anna Fidgeon


Meet the Librarians of the Oviatt

Meet Anna Fidgeon, a Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian and interim Theatre Librarian. Read more about where she’s from, why she loves working with CSUN students so much, and some of her favorites.

Anna Fidgeon

Anna Fidgeon, Digital Learning Initiatives Librarian

Where are you originally from?

The Great Pacific Northwest, I grew up in a town called Poulsbo, WA and quickly got out of there at 18. I lived in Seattle for 6 years & my family is still there.

What do you like/admire most about CSUN students?

How quickly they catch on. In many of my classes, from 100-level to graduate classes, students are able to grasp the concepts I’m instructing. It’s so important to me that students leave college understanding how information is created and how to evaluate it so they begin their career as a critical consumer of information. The students here catch on so quickly, which is amazing considering what a complicated concept it is.

What’s your favorite book or your top 5?

In no particular order…..

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Me Talk Pretty One Day by
David Sedaris

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Blind Assassin by
Margaret Atwood

What songs would you include on the soundtrack of your life?

Icona Pop’s I Don’t Care is my theme song

Why did you become a  librarian?

Basically, I just really like helping people. I worked at one of
the libraries at the University of Washington while I was a student and enjoyed
helping people navigate the library system because I knew all the great things
that were there. After college, I volunteered for a literacy organization
tutoring an adult student preparing for the US Citizenship exam. I noticed the similarities
in my volunteer work and what I imagined working as a librarian would be
like—helping people navigate seemingly endless information in order to achieve
their goals and realized how much I loved that work (I still do!).

What do you wish every student knew about the library or librarians?

That my colleagues and I work really hard to keep the library
running & useful. A lot of people have the misconception that we read books
(I wish!) or put books away all day. In reality, we teach, purchase materials,
negotiate with vendors, write budgets, advise faculty on research &
assignments, publish research, organize outreach events, put together exhibits,
create webpages & online tutorials, volunteer on campus & professional
committees, answer questions from e-mail, text, the desk, and chat and all
kinds of other things. I’m not pointing this out in order to get sympathy, but
I think that people would be more likely to look to librarians for any kind of
research help if they better understand what our expertise is.

Is there a specific class that you really enjoy doing library instruction for?

Any class that laughs at my dumb jokes.

If you could learn any skill what would it be?

Woodworking. It’s difficult to learn when you live in an
apartment, though.

If you could witness any event in history what would it be?

Any event involving early humans, as long as time travel comes with an invisibility cloak.

What are some of your current projects/tutorials that you are working on?

I’m working on a research project where I’m having CSUN students
make avatars (shameless plug: if you’re a CSUN student, please participate by
e-mailing me!). I also share responsibility for the Research Therapy series, and am a juror for the American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow Book

- Laurie Borchard

Two New Tutorials Are Here To Help with Finding Books

Hi matadors! We hope your semester is moving along wonderfully. Today we have two brand new video tutorials to debut. As your research may be well underway we present some basics of how to navigate through the library catalog. The ability to find books is a necessary skill for many of your research papers. First is How to find a Book, using the Library Catalog and OneSearch. The second is how to find books on Course Reserve. Hope they help you and good luck with your research!

Using the Library Catalog to find books

Searching Course Reserves to find books

~Jamie Johnson