Photo Tour and Introduction to Research
in the Richland College Library

Richland College Library - Lavaca

Part One - General Information

Hours and Location
Service Desks
Important Links on the Library Home Page
Free Library Classes
Study Areas
Printing Accounts
Library of Congress Classification System

Library Hours and Location

Hours for Fall and Spring Semesters
Mon.-Thurs. 8:00 am - 9:30 pm
Fri. 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Sat. 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm
Sun. Closed
Holiday closings and hours for May Term, Summer Terms, and Winter Term will be posted from the link on the Library homepage.

Location – The Lavaca Building (East Side of Campus)


Before you enter, remember:

  1. Mute your cell phone.
  2. Put all food, drinks, and water bottles inside a bag or backpack.
  3. Library computers are intended to be used for research, and students doing research will have priority.
  4. Other computers for general use are available in Del Rio 257 and in Bonham 218.

The library has 3 Service Desks. Staff members at each one will help you with different needs.

When you enter, you will see
The Circulation Desk.

This is where you check books out and return books. Also, at this desk, you and another person can get a key for one of the group study rooms upstairs.

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Just around the corner, you’ll see
The Reference Desk.

Here is where you will find a reference librarian who can help you find information that you need for your research paper, speech, or class assignment.

Always stop and ask for help from the reference librarian. The reference librarian can recommend the best sources for your topic and will save you lots of time.

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Around the next corner, you’ll see
The Periodicals/Reserves Desk.

This is where you can find magazines and journals for the current year, and recent issues of the Dallas Morning News and the Wall Street Journal.

Also, this is where you will come to ask for books and items that have been put on “library reserve” by an instructor.

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Check out the Library’s Home Page

You can learn a lot about the library and its resources just by clicking on links on the home page.

The Books & Videos tab on the search box will take you to the library catalog to find books, videos, Web sites, and more.

The Databases tab will take you to the online subscription databases to search for articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers.

ASAP stands for A Student Assignment Planner. When you click on this link you, can enter the date your assignment is due, and the planner will tell you when each part of your assignment should be completed. It will help you stay on track and get your assignment finished on time.

link will take you to a page where you can set up a free account, and this tool will help you create your works cited list in MLA format for your research paper.

On the Library Home Page near the top right, you'll also see:

Library Hours & Location - Here you can see location, the hours of operation, and the holiday closing information.

Library classes information and a class schedule.

Renew Books - Before your books are overdue, renew them online with just a couple of clicks.

More features on the Library Home Page include:

Links to help you with your research process:

Sample Research Paper

Sample Student Essays

Sources to research current/controversial issues

Research Topic Ideas

Free Library Classes

During the fall and the spring, the librarians teach free library classes in the library classroom, L126. The class schedule is available from the library home page.

Research 1 classes cover Introduction to College Research.
Research 2 classes cover Electronic Research
Research 3 classes cover MLA format

Students who attend all 3 library classes will receive an Information Literacy Certificate from the library. Plan to attend classes early in the semester. Later classes sometimes must turn students away, due to limited seating in the classroom
Help Sheets for all library classes are available on the web.
Can you find the link?
When no classes are scheduled in L126, the room may be used as a computer lab by students doing library research.

When you want to find a place to study...

Looking for a quiet study area?

You will find a quiet study area upstairs.

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If you want to study with a group, 2 persons should go to the Circulation Desk and request a key
for one of the group study rooms, also located upstairs.

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Library Computers for Research Are Available:

In the Library Alcove

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In the Classroom, L126.


Beside the Periodicals/Reserves Desk.

You will have access to:
The library catalog where you can find books, videos and other items.
The Databases where you can find authoritative articles about your research topics.
Web sites on the Internet. Note: Carefully evaluate Internet sources before using them for your research.

Note: Students doing research have priority use of the library computers.

Setting Up An Account For Computer Printing and Photocopying

Set up your account in L122.

All prints are black and white and cost 5 cents per page.

You must begin your account with a $1.00 bill. The machine will NOT accept coins. The machine will NOT give change for a $5.00 bill.

Use your 7 digit student ID# for your account name, and choose a 4 digit PIN#.

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Pick up computer prints in L123 at the 2 stations on the right side of the room.

The large black file cabinets on the left contain microfilm and microfiche articles, some dating back to the early 1900s. Students can read these articles on a special microform machine.

Library of Congress Classification System

All College and University Libraries arrange books using the Library of Congress Classification System.

Here is a brief guide showing how subject areas are arranged.

You will find books arranged A-Z in both the Reference collection and the Main collection.

Notice that general encyclopedias are in section AE.

Can you find the sections for U.S. History and for Medicine?

Part Two - The Research Process

Research is not a 1 day event.
It is a process that takes place over several weeks and involves multiple library visits.

If you attend the library classes, you will learn tricks and shortcuts, and you will be better prepared to do your research.

Begin your research early. Don’t wait till the last minute.
Use ASAP (a student assignment planner) to help you keep your research on schedule and so you will complete your paper on time. (Remember the link is on the library home page.)
Use a variety of sources.
Ask the reference librarian for help finding the best sources for your topic.

First, You Must Choose a Topic

Narrow your topic and make it more focused and specific. Think of synonyms and other words and phrases that describe your topic. Keep a list of all these words to see which ones will work best for you.

Get topic ideas from:
The Richland College Library Topics Page.
Articles in the CQ Researcher. To see a topics list, click on "Browse by Topic" in the blue column on the left hand side of the page. Or, get topic ideas when you click on the "Consider topic ideas" link on the library home page. You will even find links to articles in online subscription databases when you get to this page.

Next, You Need to Follow These 6 Steps to Find a Variety of Sources

1. Find an article in a general encyclopedia, like the World Book.
2. Find articles in several “ subject encyclopedias” (reference books). A reference librarian can help you select subject encyclopedias that will be good for your topic.
3. Find articles and information from sources located on the Current Issues table in the Reference Collection.
4. Use the library catalog on the computer to locate books on your topic that you can check out from the Main Collection on the lower level.
5. Find articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers on your topic. You’ll use the DCCCD Databases on the computer.
6. Find information from trustworthy Internet web sites.

The Research Process
A Step-By-Step Visual Presentation of the Process

Source 1 – General Encyclopedia

Once you have a topic, begin in the Reference Collection, on the main level. Go to section AE, and find an article on your topic in a general encyclopedia, like the World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica. This article will give you basic information and additional vocabulary about your topic. You can photocopy the article.

Or, you can get your encyclopedia information from Encyclopedia Britannica in the online databases.
To find it, just click on the E in the alphabetical list.

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Source 2 – Subject Encyclopedias

In the Reference Collection on the main level, you can find articles about your topic in specialized “subject encyclopedias” (reference books). These articles contain in-depth information, written by experts. The reference librarian can recommend the best reference sources for your topic. (Remember to photocopy the title page, along with the article.)

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Decide on what perspective you want for your research paper.
If you research a topic, like marijuana, you can get articles about marijuana from all of these perspectives:

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BF - Psychology

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E - U.S. History

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HV - Social Sciences

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HV - Drugs

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KF - U.S. Law

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R - Medicine

Do you remember these seeing these sections in the Library of Congress Classification System?


Each time you photocopy pages from a book, you’ll also need information
that you'll find
on the title page and on the reverse side of the title page.
Book Title -Editor's Name - Edition - Volume Number - City of Publication - Name of Publisher - Year of Publication


You must make a note of this information. You will need it for your works cited list.

Attend the library's MLA class to learn how to use MLA format.

See the sample works cited list beginning on page 4 of our sample research paper.

Make your photocopies in L122.
Remember to photocopy the title page to get information for your works cited list. Also, get the copyright date from the reverse side of the title page. Staple the title page to your copy of the article.

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Source 3 - Current Issue Sources

Also, in the Reference Collection, browse titles on the “Current Issues” table to see if your topic is covered by the print sources you see there. If so, photocopy sections, or articles, that will be useful to you. A Reference Librarian can help you get your MLA citation written correctly for this type of source. Many of the issues found here in these print sources have been digitized and appear in the Opposing Viewpoints online database accessible from the online databases page. Just click on the O in the alphabetical list.

Source 4 - Books you can check-out from the main collection

Use the Library Catalog on the library's home page to search by keyword for a book on your topic.

When the result list appears, look at the titles. You will want to find a book that says:

AVAILABLE RL-Main Collection

This indicates that the book is at Richland in the Main Collection located on the lower level of the library in the stacks. And, it should be on the shelf, available for you to check out and take home.

Other campus locations you may see will be BH=Brookhaven, EF=Eastfield, EC=El Centro, CV=Cedar Valley, MV=Mountain View, NL=Northlake

If you want to get a book that Richland does not own, but another compus has it, just click on the "Request It" link and fill in your name and ID number. Select the Richland Circulation Desk for the location where the book should be delivered. In about 3 days, the book will be here waiting for you to pick it up at the Circulation Desk.

This is called an Inter-Campus Loan - ICL.

In order to learn more about an item in the catalog, you can click on the title to see the Record Screen which will give you additional information.

For example, the record screen that you see here has a description of this book that tells the number of pages it has in it and its size.

It also tells the contents of this book.

And, you can see the subject headings for this book.

To find your book downstairs on the lower level, you'll need to write down the call number and the title of the book. For example:

RA 649 .G56 2007

Global Epidemics

Use a "Find Your Book" slip to fill in this information.

Attend the library's Electronic Research class to learn how to use the library catalog more effectively.

Remember, the books are arranged using the Library of Congress Call Number System.
You can click on the link above to see a brief guide showing how subject areas are arranged.
Notice that general encyclopedias are in section AE.
Remember how we used subject areas BF, E, HV, KF, and R to locate subject encyclopedia articles about marijuana?

On the shelf, the books will be arranged as you see in the picture above.

L is the section for education.
Call numbers contain combinations of letters and numbers. Notice that decimal numbers are used, also.

Now, you are ready to go downstairs, to the lower level, “the stacks,” to find your books.
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You can take the elevator (in the left corner) or the stairs (on the right) down. Both are to the right of the Circulation Desk.

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On your way, you’ll pass through the Lago Vista Reading room and

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the Lago Vista Art Gallery where you’ll see the Mind/Body/Health books and the restrooms.

Now, you are in “the stacks” on the lower level. This is called the “Main Collection” or the “Circulating Collection.”

Books down here are arranged with Library of Congress Call Numbers, just like they are upstairs in the Reference Collection. Section A begins on the shelf in the far top left corner. Section B comes next and continues across the aisle to the shelves on the right side of the isle. You’ll find “z” in the back row of “the stacks.”

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Return to the main floor of the library where you can check your books out at the Circulation Desk.

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You will need your Student ID.
You can check out 10 books and keep them for 3 weeks.

Before your books are due, you can renew them online. You can find the link for this function on the library home page near the bottom of the first column where it says, "Renew Books." Once you submit your name and student ID number, you can renew your books online.

What if you want a book that is not at the Richland College Library?

ICL – Inter-Campus Loan – free (most common method used by students)
If the book can be found at another DCCCD library, you can click on the "request it" link in the catalog to request that it be sent to you here. It will take 2-3 days to arrive. Be sure to select the Richland Circulation Desk for the place where the book should be delivered.

ILL – Inter-Library Loan – free (used mostly by instructors)
If the book cannot be found at another DCCCD library, you can submit a request for us to find it for you from another library. This may take several weeks.

TexShare – free (a good deal, if another library is closer to your home)
Request a TexShare card from the Circulation Desk. This card will allow you certain privileges at other participating TexShare Libraries, like CCCC, UTA, UTD, UNT, SMU, UD, etc.

Source 5 - Articles from Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers





Do you know the difference between a popular magazine and a scholarly journal? See the student help sheet titled
Scholarly Journal Articles v. Popular Magazine Articles.

Find articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers that cover your topic. The library has articles in a variety of formats.
Print Articles (format #1)

Find a current article on display in the Lago Vista Reading Room.

Find an article from the recent past and ask for it at the Periodicals Desk.

Find an older article from several years past in a bound volume located on the lower level.

Make a photocopy of your article.

Be sure to look for an author's name, get the article title, the source title, the date, and the page numbers of your article. You'll need this information for your works cited list.

Electronic Articles (format #2) (most popular and most likely)

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Most students online subscription databases for finding reliable academic articles about their topics.
Today, millions of articles from print sources have been digitized and put into the library’s searchable databases.
The DCCCD libraries subscribe to more than 170 databases.
The online subscription databases contain thousands more sources and articles than the library could possibly have available in print format.

Online databases contain articles on every topic – current events, history, medicine, literature, science, education, sociology, psychology, art, music, law, business, technology, etc. All currently enrolled students and staff have remote access to the databases by submitting their name and student ID number.

Select the databases that are suitable for your topic.

Use keyword searches to locate your articles in the subscription databases.
Send your articles to the printer – or – email them to yourself.

Be sure to look for an author's name, the article title, the source title, the article's date, the page numbers of your article, the name of the database, and note the date you found the article. You'll need this information for your works cited list.

Attend the library's Electronic Research class to learn how to use the subscription databases more effectively.

Attend the library's MLA class to learn how to use MLA format.

Microform Articles (format #3) (least likely)

Although, it is not often requested, mircoform (microfilm or microfiche) is a method of keeping film copies of very old articles. For example, if a student needs an article from Time magazine from 1940, we have a copy of it on microfilm that students may read & photocopy on the microform reader.

Note: Several of our subscription databases would have the same article, or other original historic articles about the same event, in electronic format.

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Source 6 - Websites

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Important: Save the WWW for last.

Once you have found a variety of reliable sources of information about your topic, you can use the Internet to locate information from Web sites.

The Reference Librarian can recommend trustworthy Web sites where you can begin your research. You can print your articles.

Reliable Web sites are found in the library catalog. Just do a keyword search and refine your results format to Internet links.

You can see by the world symbol with the E that these are web sites.

Just click under the title where it says "available online" and you will link to the web site.


You should also use links provided by the student handout titled Finding Web Pages For Your Research.
Other recommended Web sites can be found in The Opposing Viewpoints Database. First click on a topic from the list. When the page appears, click on the tab for "Websites."
A good rule for evaluating Web pages is to use the CARB method. Learn more about this in a Research 2 class.

To cite your web page, you will need to look for an author's name, the title of the Web page, the name of the entire Web site, the name of the sponsor or publisher of the web site, the date on the page, and note the date you found the page.

Attend the library's Electronic Research class to learn how to locate and evaluate reliable web sites for your research.

Attend the library's MLA class to learn how cite Web pages using MLA format.

Research Sources Review

First, Select & Focus Your Topic - Next, Use the Following Types of Sources to Locate Information
1. General Encyclopedias
2. Subject Encyclopedias
3. Current Issues Sources
4. Books
5. Magazines, Journals, Newspapers
6. Internet

This concludes our photo tour and introduction to research in the Richland College Library.

Remember, if you attend the library classes, you will learn more tips and tricks for doing your electronic research, and you will learn how to use the MLA format that is required for research papers.
Ask a librarian for a class schedule.

Always ask a Reference Librarian, at the Reference Desk, when you need help with your research.

Monday, October 26, 2009