Richland College Library

Photo Tour and Introduction to Research in the Richland College Library

Richland College Library - Lavaca
Location – The Lavaca Building (East Side of Campus)

Library Hours

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.

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.

When you enter, you will see the Circulation Desk. This is where you check books out and return books. Also, at this desk, you can check out a laptop computer, and you and another person can get a key for one of the group study rooms upstairs.
Richland College Library

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. The librarian can 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.

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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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. Classes cover “Introduction to Library Research,” “Electronic Research,” and “MLA Format.” Students who attend all 3 library classes will receive an Information Literacy Certificate from the library.

Student helpsheets for all library classes are available on the web.

When no classes are scheduled in L126, the room may be used as a computer lab by students doing library research.

Library Computers for Research

Are Available:
In the Library Alcove.
In the classroom, L126.
Beside the Periodicals/Reserves Desk.
From the Circulation Desk – laptops.

Give you access to:
The library catalog where you can locate books & materials.
The subscription databases where you can locate articles about your research topics.
The Internet where you can research topics with search tools, like Librarian’s Index to the Internet.

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The computers in the library alcove stay busy with students using them to locate books and articles for their research projects.

Setting Up An Account For Computer Printing and Photocopying

Set up your account in L122.

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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#.

Get Your Computer Print Outs in L123

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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.

The Research Process

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 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.

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.
Clusty – type in a search, and look at the more focused topics that appear in the left column. Click on “more” to see more sub-topics.

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 probably use the DCCCD subscription databases on the computer.
6. Find information from trustworthy web sites on the Internet.

Source 1 - a General Encyclopedia Article

Once you have a topic, begin in the Reference Collection, on the main level. The books are arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification System.

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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 vocabulary about your topic. You can photocopy the article.

Scouce 2 - Articles from Subject Encyclopedias (reference books)

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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 books for your topic. (Remember to photocopy the cover page, along with the article.)

Collect Subject Encyclopedia Articles From a Variety of Perspectives
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

Each time you photocopy pages from a book, you’ll also need this information that you'll find on the title page and on the reverse side of the title page.

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Title Page

From this page, find:

Title of the book
Volume number
City of publication (but not the state)
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Reverse Side of the Title Page (Verso)

From this page, find:

Copyright date

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

Important: if you are getting articles from a multi-volume set, be sure to write down the number of volumes in the entire set. You may need to go back to the shelf and count them.

You will need all of this information for your works cited page. 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.

See the the link for MLA examples for all types of sources available from the library home page.

Make your photocopies in L122.

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VERY IMPORTANT: When you photocopy articles, be sure to photocopy the title page from the book. Find the copyright date from the reverse side of the cover page, and write it on your copy. Staple the title page to the article. Now, you will be able to use this information for your bibliography or works cited page.

Source 3 - Current Events Sources

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Also in the Reference Collection, browse titles on the “Current Issues” table to see if your topic is covered by the sources you see there. If so, photocopy sections, or articles, that will be useful to you. Look for the MLA examples for each series on the purple dividers. Attend the library's MLA class to learn how to use MLA format.

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

Use the Library Catalog on the computer to locate books about your topic. You will want to find books located in the Main Collection that is available for you to check out and take home. Write down the call number for each book you want to find. A call number will look like this: E 184 .A1 W5135 2005. 

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These student computers are located beside the Periodicals Desk.

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

Books are arranged using the Library of Congress Call Number System.

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?

Books will be arranged in the shelf like this:

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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.”

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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 begins in the top corner of the shelves on the right side of the isle. You’ll find “z” in the back row of “the stacks.”

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, "Books Overdue?"

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 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



Find articles from magazines, journals, or 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)

Today, millions of articles from print sources have been digitized and put into the library’s searchable databases.
Most students use this method for finding reliable academic articles about their topics.

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Library databases contain articles on every topic – current events, history, medicine, literature, science, art, music, law, business, technology, etc.

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 date, and the page numbers of your article, the name of the database, the name of the database publisher, and note the date you found the article. You'll need this information (and the database URL) for your works cited list. A librarian can help you find the database URL.

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)

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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.

Source 6 - Websites

(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.

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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 an advanced keyword search and limit your results to Internet links.

Specially selected Web pages may be located with Librarian's Index to the Internet by clicking through their directory to find your exact topic. You should also use links provided by the Current Events and Controversial Issues page.

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."

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 date on the page, the name of a sponsoring organization or group, and note the *date you found the page and the *URL. Some of this information may not be applicable or available, but you must always have the information noted with the asterisk* - title of the Web page, date you found the page, and the URL.

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 to use MLA format.

Research Sources Review

Select & Focus Your Topic

1. General Encyclopedia
2. Subject Encyclopedias
3. Current Issues Sources
4. Books
5. Magazines, Journals, Newspapers
6. Internet

See the sample research paper available from the library home page. You can find the link to this in the third column under a heading that says, "Help For Library Users."

See MLA examples available from the library home page. You can find the link to this in the third column under a heading that says, "Help For Library Users."

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 how you can register for the classes.
Always ask a Reference Librarian, at the Reference Desk, when you need help with your research.

Copyright © 2015 Richland College | DCCCD Thursday, July 30, 2009