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Information Resources and Services for: Railroads and the American Adventure
FTS 100: Railroads and the American Adventure

Fall 2011

Jeff Jenson
Garrett Paul

Table of Contents:

Reference Desk

Need additional assistance? Stop by the reference desk. Librarians can point you to the best resources for your research project.

During the academic year, the reference desk is staffed six days a week except during holidays and breaks. When classes are in session, reference librarians are available at the following times:
Monday - Thursday 10:00 - 5:00 & 6:00 - 10:00, Friday 10:00 - 5:00, and Sunday 2:00 - 10:00.

You can also e-mail a librarian ( or IM/Chat with a librarian.

Finding Books

  • MnPALS Plus

    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • WorldCat

    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
  • Interlibrary Loan

    Materials not available at Gustavus may be borrowed from other libraries and sent here for you to use.
    • Location(s): Library - Main Floor
Library of Congress (the Call Numbers) and Finding Books in the Library
The library uses a system for organizing books called the Library of Congress Classification system. This is very different than the Dewey Decimal Classification system most of you learned in grade school or use at public libraries.
  • Browsing for Railroad Related Items
    Books pertaining to railroads are found in a few sections of our library.
    • HE 1001-5600 (top floor and 1 book in Reference) - Railroads. Rapid transit systems
    • TF 1 - 1620 (top floor and 1 book in Reference) - Railroad engineering and operation
      TF200-320 -- Railway construction
      TF340-499 -- Railway equipment and supplies
      TF501-668 -- Railway operation and management
      TF670-851 -- Local and light railways
      TF840-851 -- Elevated railways and subways
      TF855-1127 -- Electric railways
      TF1300-1620 -- High speed ground transportation
Finding Articles
Databases for articles and other materials offer references to publications that may or may not be in this library; some databases offer full text of articles and others simply citations. You can access databases from a drop-down list on the library's main page under the Articles tab.
  • Academic Search Premier,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=aph

    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.

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
  • Business Source Premier,uid&profile=bsi

    Full-text coverage to more than 2,800 scholarly journals and trade publications in business, economics, political science and public administration. Selected Datamonitor company reports and EIU country documents are also available. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
  • SPORTDiscus with Full Text,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=sph

    The world's most comprehensive bibliographic resource for all aspects of sport and fitness. Contains bibliographic references to international practical and research literature in sport, physical fitness, active living, and physical education. This database contains over 650,000 records with journal and monograph coverage going back to 1800. It provides full text for more than 440 journals indexed in SPORTDiscus.
Finding Specific Journals
  • Example: I found the following citation in an article I just read. Now, I want to get the cited article. How's that done?
    • "Simple realistic trees." Model Railroader 71, no. 8 (August 2004): 40.
  • Journal Locator (Journal List)

    Find out if we subscribe to a particular journal, either online or in print. If the journal is not available in print or full text at Gustavus, you may request copies of articles through Interlibrary Loan. This is fantastic!
Understanding the Meaning of Peer-Reviewed
  • Publishing Articles
    How articles are published

    There are very different processes involved in publishing different kinds of articles. Newspapers rely on a team of staff reporters as well as free-lance writers to create what is famously called "the first draft of history." They also draw on a shared pool of "wire services" so that you often will find in a local newspaper an article written for the Associated Press or for a different newspaper published elsewhere.

    Magazines are similar, though they are typically less immediate than newspapers and cover local news in less depth. There are hosts of general magazines such as The New Yorker and Harper's. Some magazines consciously reflect a political perspective. The National Review represents a conservative perspective, while The Nation is left-wing. Others, such as New Scientist, focus on a particular subject but are written for a general audience. And then there are "trade publications," magazines written to cover a particular business or industry. Articles in those magazines are written by journalists who specialize in those fields.

    Scholarly journals contain articles that are more analytical and are written by scholars, for scholars. They raise questions and apply research methods that are specific to a discipline such as history or chemistry. These generally go through a process of "peer review" in which other scholars weigh in on the value and validity of each article before it is published. Scholarly journals also publish other kinds of articles, such as reviews of scholarly books. Because scholarly articles take time to research and to be reviewed by peers, scholarly journals will not be as current as newspapers or magazines; however they can provide perspectives that make sense of current events. They also can become news. A scholarly article that reports on how charter schools are doing or on a new medical study may become the subject of a story in The New York Times.
Evaluating Web Sites (and other resources)

Tips on how to recognize reliable sources by evaluating them based on authority, scope, currency, accuracy, and commercialism.

Using Primary Sources on the Web

A guide to finding, evaluating, and citing primary sources on the Web, from the Reference and User Services section of the American Library Association.

Citing Your Sources

Learn how to cite your resources in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style. In addition to these online style guides, print style guides (and The Everyday Writer) are available both at the library reference desk and at the Writing Center (Confer 232). This page also includes links to RefWorks and EndNote Web.

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