I blogged last week about government sites that are down because of the partial government shutdown.
If your assignment can’t wait any longer, and you’re scratching your head about where to get government data and stats when so many websites are shut down, we do have some ideas for you! (We’ll keep this list updated as we hear more, too – so check back!)
- The Wayback Machine (waybackmachine.org) has done a great job archiving in-depth versions of government sites – as opposed to just screenshots of homepages – so a lot of data can still be found via their site. It will not be the most up-to-date, nor will it be complete, but it is better than nothing!
These and some other great hints are published by the Pew Research Center – and more are continually being added by researchers across the country.
As always, if you have specific research questions, please don’t hesitate to ask an UST librarian – we are happy to help out!
It’s happened: the Federal government has shut down.
For those of you doing research today, you may start to encounter a screen that looks a lot like this one:
Because of the shutdown, many websites funded by the federal government are currently also down, including statistical organization websites, public sites, blogs, online surveys, and more. Many of them are used by UST researchers on a regular basis.
Below is a list of websites linked to on our subject guides that we currently know of that have been affected; we will try to keep it up-to-date with anything new we discover.
If you would like assistance finding alternative resources for your research, please feel free to contact any UST Librarian.
Archived versions of these websites can all be viewed on the WayBack Machine (waybackmachine.org). Other options for alternative sources of information can be seen on this list compiled by the Pew Research Center.
More information about the shutdown and available government services can be found at USA.gov.
Okay, everyone, it’s time to admit it: we ALL (librarians included!) use the internet to find information on a regular basis. Google, Wikipedia, and even Twitter have become seemingly indispensible sources for anything and everything. I mean, where else are you going to quickly find out that answer to a crossword puzzle, why there is a protest going on across the street, the hours for your favorite coffee shop, or even why Olympic long jumpers are allowed so many attempts?
But the question remains: with so much information out there, how do we know what to trust? Where can we go to get valid information? A recent article (and I’ll be the first to admit that there are getting to be so many of these published that I’m starting to question even their validity) published this chart about the perceptions of trust-worthiness that most of us have about various kinds of websites out there.
But, as we all know, perception is not always reality (as the new Bourne Legacy movie forces us to consider). And this whole dilemma makes the prospect of gearing up for research paper season again all the more daunting, doesn’t it?
But, ladies and gents, guess what?! It doesn’t have to be! This is where your friendly UST librarian comes into play. We are all more than happy to help you figure out if that “perfect” source you found online happens to be as good as you really think it is. Heck, we even have a whole section of our website geared towards helping you figure it out yourselves if you’d like (in librarian-ese, this whole topic is called “information literacy”).
Check it out, and feel more comfortable in your search. You can even brag to your friends that you are positively “search-savvy!” (and if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is!)
I’d like to welcome all new and returning students to the library. We’re really happy to have you back on campus. It’s always a much livelier place when you’re around. I just want to welcome you to campus in general and to the library specifically. Here are a few things to help speed and ease your library experience this year:
- Research Guides Let’s say you’re looking for library resources on a topic and you don’t know where to start. Has that ever happened to you? Well now you know where to start cuz I’m telling you a good place to start… Research Guides. We’ve got guides for subject areas, guides for specific classes and database guides.
- Summon Summon is like Google for scholarly articles. Wait, you say, isn’t Google Scholar basically Google for scholarly articles? Yes it is and I encourage you to use Google Scholar (using this link will get you to the full-text of journals the library owns if the full-text isn’t freely available in GS). But I also encourage you to use Summon if you’re looking for a few articles from scholarly or peer-reviewed journals, magazines, newspapers or if you’re looking for books or ebooks on a topic.
- Ask a Librarian. I implore you (cuz when’s the last time you were implored? Or impaled, for that matter? I know that vampires are all the rage these days, so I thought I’d ask about the impaling. Also, imploring made me think of impaling, so there you go. And now, my new little kittens, you’re getting a glimpse into how I think and what to expect from this blog for the next year). Where was I? Oh yes, I implore you to not waste time. If there’s one thing there’s just too little of -other than love, according to Jackie DeShannon it’s time. [Did you check out that choreography? Yikes! How in the world did all those back-up singers learn it? So complicated! ] So if you spend more than 5 minutes looking for something in the library and you don’t see it, please, please, please ask us. You can ask in person, via email, via texting through IM or SMS or just call us. I implore you!
Not sure how you can find those “peer-reviewed” articles your prof wants you to use in that research paper? Don’t know where to find the definition of “heteroscedasticity” for that econometrics assignment? Trying to trace the first usage of ‘Google’ as a verb? Wondering how the heck you’re supposed to find books on ‘Cosmopolitanism and the geopolitics of feminist rhetoric’?
Try the Libraries’ Research Guides!!
The Research Guides, accessible from the library home page or via this direct link are authored by our liaison librarians and will give you specific suggestions of appropriate sources (e.g. scholarly library subscription databases, book catalogs, vetted free web sites, etc.) by format, subtopic, etc. This summer, we completely rebuilt this portion of our website, using a new software product called Libguides. The new system offers a number of advantages over the old web pages, including:
- Tabbed layout for understandable organization and easy navigation (see screen shot below)
- More engaging visual layout, easier integration of images, audio and video content
- More dynamic content with automatically updated lists of new books, feeds of relevant news and article content, etc.
- Easy access to your librarian’s contact info for follow-up, plus integrated chat reference service
- Ability for users to comment on and rate the resources
- Ability to be notified if changes are made to a guide
Note to faculty members:
Many professors have linked to our old web pages on their Blackboard or other course web sites: if you have done so, please update them by finding the appropriate links from the subject listings. You may also want to review our web page that demonstrates how to link a Research Guide to a Blackboard course.
Instructors wishing to have a new guide created to address research assignments in their specific courses, or who would like resources added to an existing guide should contact their Liaison Librarian for assistance.
Just in time for the fall, a whole new approach to doing library research. UST Libraries is now offering Summon – a new discovery tool that allows you to search many (but not all) library resources the same way you search the free web. Think of it as a Google-like approach to the libraries’ resources.
Summon is a rich, bibliographic searching tool that retrieves content from most, but not all, of the library resources. Your results will return such varied media as:
If the item isn’t available in full-text in Summon, it links you to the full-text (or tells you where the paper copy is on the shelves) through the Get it button.
It works by indexing content from thousands of publishers. Then it retrieves results from publishers with whom we have agreements. Summon doesn’t index content from all publishers, nor do we have agreements with all publishers. So in many cases you’ll still want to use subject-specific databases to find more info. But when you don’t know where to start, Summon is a good place.
Here’s an example of beginning my research on water as a human right.
Your results are retrieved in ranked order. If your keyword shows up in the title of the article, it ranks highest. The ranking order continues with abstract, metadata, and finally full-text. The full-text is available by clicking on the title and you can save records to export to email or Refworks. Like Google, you’ll get many, many results because Summon indexes articles, books, and book chapters, as well as library catalog records. However, don’t get overwhelmed, there are several excellent limiting options.
Give it a try – go on, you know you want to. I’m curious to know what you think about Summon so please feel free to comment.