If you're in the library, chatting with a reference librarian face to face might be easiest, but if you're not in the library this chat form gives you a way to ask a quick question. It works during the hours that a librarian is working at the reference desk - generally between 10 am and 10 pm but with breaks. If you don't get an answer right away, the librarian is probably busy helping someone else but he or she will eventually get back to you.
Reference Books In the reference section you'll find specialized encyclopedias and handbooks that can give you scholarly overviews of topics in the form of a brief article. Here are a few examples of useful reference books.
Encyclopedia of Modern Asia New York: Scribner's
Intended to be the most comprehensive standard reference work on the region, this set covers East, Southeast, South, Central, and West-Southwest Central Asia, from Japan to Turkey, Khazakstan to Indonesia. The focus in on the twentieth century, with articles covering places, peoples, geography, the arts, economics, religion, and more. Location(s): Ref DS 4 .L48 2002
Encyclopedia of Religion Detroit: Macmillan Reference
2nd ed. edition
Covers religions from around the world and through history as well as people and ideas related to religion. The articles are written by experts in their fields and include excellent bibliographies. This new edition includes hundreds of new articles, thoroughly revised coverage of all topics in religion, and a handful of "visual essays" that illustrate visual culture as a significant aspect of religion. Location(s): Ref BL 31 .E46 2005
Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War ABC-Clio
3 vols. edition
Offers over 900 entries on topics related to the war as well as 70 important primary source documents. Location(s): Ref DS557.7 .E53 1998
Encyclopedia of Violence: Origins, Attitudes, Consequences New York: Facts on File
Antisemitism, discrimination, and genocide are covered, as well as other topics. Location(s): Ref HM 291 .D4857 1993
Encyclopedia of World Cultures Boston: G.K. Hall
Covers over 1500 culture groups, alphabetically arranged within regions. The information summarizes information on the distribution, belief systems, kinship structures, and history of the groups and provides selective bibliographies for further research. Consult the index to determine the appropriate name for a particular culture group. Location(s): Ref GN 550 .E53 1991
Shamanism: An Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices, and Cultures ABC-Clio
Covers general themes as well as shamanism as it is practiced in different cultures. Location(s): Ref BH 475.8 .S445 2004
Finding Books Our books are shelved by Library of Congress call numbers on the upper level and the main floor. Locations that start with A through PQ are upstairs; those that start PR - Z are on the main floor.
MnPALS Plus The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. The easiest way to search is from the library's front page. You can narrow a search to a particular author or title. For a more advanced search use this link which lets you limit by format (such as video) or part of the collection (such as the reference collection).
WorldCat This catalog searches thousands of libraries, including the University of Minnesota and public libraries in the state. Use the yellow "find it" button to request a book that we don't have in our library through interlibrary loan. Use the barcode number on your ID card (not your student number, but the one that starts 20110...) and your last name to log in and place a request. In a few days to a week you'll get an e-mail letting you know it's available at the front desk. Your tax dollars at work.
1000 CE-present; updated daily
Finding Articles We have a lot of databases that can point out what articles have been published on a topic and sometimes give you the entire article. In situations where there's no text available, use the yellow Find It button to see if we have it electronically, in print (using the MnPALS search) or (if it's not available at Gustavus) to request a copy through interlibrary loan. Pretty slick.
Academic Search Premier The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial. 1975-present; updated daily
JSTOR Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries. One issue to be aware of with this database - pay attention to the date of publication. In many cases, you won't want to use out-of-date articles, even if they are scholarly.
New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago) The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 2005 - covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. This is good for historical research.
1851-4 years ago
Points of View Reference Center This full-text database is designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. The database profiles over 250 topics, each with an overview, point, counterpoint, and Critical Thinking Guide. Topics are supported by the main essays, articles from leading political magazines, newspapers, radio and TV news transcripts, primary source documents (including videos) and reference sources. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
ProQuest Newsstand Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Coverage is from the 1980s to today. Images - photos and charts - are not included.
1986-present (most from 1995 on)
SAGE Premier Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. These tend to be heavy-duty research articles and can be hard to understand because they are written for specialists.
Finding Good Web Sites These sites can be good places to find high-quality web sites.
Google Scholar This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked. To view these links when searching off campus, use our Google Scholar Off Campus Link. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through interlibrary loan.
Intute: Social Science
A selective, annotated catalog of thousands of Web sites in the social sciences, hosted in the United Kingdom. Users can browse by topic and region or search by keyword. Each entry has been reviewed and is annotated. The focus is on quality sites that provide information directly, rather than link to other sites. An excellent resource for international social science data.
ipl2: Information You Can Trust Formed by a merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarians' Internet Index, this site seeks out quality websites in all subject areas and provides annotations. It's a good place to browse or search for hand-picked, high-quality websites on a topic of your choice.
Flickr: Creative Commons User-uploaded images in Flickr that are available under a Creative Commons license for general use.
Morguefile.com Free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use. Use this site to find free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits.
WorldImages California State University IMAGE Project
WorldImages contains over 50,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. Its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes. Use a variety of search techniques, or browse some 500 portfolios organized into subject groupings. (Description from home page.)
YouTube Popular source for freely-available online video.
Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism If you have questions about how to cite a source or whether something is plagiarism or not, you can check at the writing center or at the library's reference desk. See also The Everyday Writer, chapter 17.
Citing your Sources We have our own guides to citing sources online if you can't find a copy of Everyday Writer.
Annotated Bibliographies This guide from the OWL at Purdue University explains what annotated bibliographies should look like. For this class you'll need to include ten carefully-chosen sources, each with a two-three sentence annotation. Your bibliography should include at least one reference book article, one book, one popular article, one scholarly article, and one Web source (a site, video, podcast, blog or other item found on the Internet).
Avoiding Plagiarism This guide from the OWL at Purdue University offers a clear explanation of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
Is This Plagiarism? Trying to determine if something is plagiarism or not can be tricky. Test your knowledge by taking this little quiz from the University of Texas at Austin.