Monday, May 18, 2009

Mary Martin: Tales from the Stacks

Mary Martin, Librarian Extraordinaire

At our recent meeting, Mary Martin, Reference and Instruction Librarian for Business and Law, came to talk about ways dissertating students can make the most of the resources available at Honnold/Mudd and beyond.

What do you specialize in at the library?

My real speciality/love is government documents. I'm the Business / Law / Government librarian.

I also spend a lot of time at the reference desk and have handled students at the dissertation level a lot.

Recently, there's been a whole bunch of new librarians at the library.

You know, I'm afraid that I'll be bugging a librarian if I ask for help...

As doctoral students, you're after complete depth in a topic. You need to know everything that exists about your topic that you can find.

The most important thing for you to know is that we are here to help you (hooray!).

If I had a hundred bucks for every student who says, "I'm sorry to bother you..." You're not bothering us. That's why we're here.

Honnold never seems to have the books I need. How does the library decide what books to get? Can we make suggestions?

Faculty, classes, students--that's how we know what to get. We will get everything you want, no questions asked. We try to be open to purchasing books that a student is working on. Faculty show up the third week in August and tell us what books will be needed for their classes....it would be nice to know earlier.

So yes, tell us what you're working on, and we might be able to buy some of the books. Send an e-mail to the librarian, not the web mailer.

KGI, sometimes they want reports that cost $5,000 each. We can't quite do that. But we'll try.

It makes us sad in the library to hear students can't get what they need.


How can I make the most of Honnold?

Your first stop - visit the librarian in your subject area. Particularly when you're writing the proposal. How unique is your topic? You can look up full text dissertations in your topic, at least back to 1996.

For people who graduated from CGU, you'll have access to paper copies of their dissertations.

If you're doing Literature Searches - you'll use WorldCat. You can do a comprehensive lit search and see beyond what we have.

Visit the librarian specialist for your field and tell them about your topic.

What's happening over at Honnold? I heard they're moving the books and closing Denison?

The library is in a real state of change right now. The library is under new directorship - John McDonald. He's really committed to opening up the library.You may have noticed that there are no entry gates any more. The building itself will undergo a big transformation, I don't know when. This will include a cafe, a copy center downstairs, and hopefully, a 24 hour study space. That depends on whether or not they can secure the bottom floor for it. If they can secure a floor, they can staff it.

It's been mandated that the first floor must be cleared. To make room for the cafe and other services, they will me moving the journals off site. So there's an embargo period on journals right now - all bound ones are moving to storage. But they'll be retrievable.

The college that uses the library the most is CGU and we know you use the journals. Don't worry, the librarians are on this. I think there will be a 24 hour turnaround time for getting journals.

In June, they will possibly be closing all of the other library branches, including Denison. Nobody really knows for sure yet what is going to happen.

I had to look at medical journals for my dissertation, and I actually found it easier to go to UCLA, UCSD, or Loma Linda, where they have a medical school, to find them.

You can check ILL, Science Direct, Med. If you press a button on the article page it will immediately load into an ILL form. You'll get it in 7-10 days.

You can't request a whole issue because of copyright but you can get an article at a time.

I get confused trying to use the databases...there are so many. Wilson OmniFile, Lexus Nexus...they say there's no article for my search when I know there is. You can't search all the databases at once, can you?

Not yet. That's called a federated search engine - they're working on buying one right now. Vendors of the big interfaces are all competing with each other to sign contracts with these journals. It's a very competitive environment. That's why you need to check in more than one database to make sure you've covered all the possible material.

For example, JSTOR - there's nothing more recent that 4 years ago on JSTOR. Many students do not know this.

Google Scholar - it's imperfect. First of all, it's all over the place. It's not as exact as the databases with controlled indexing.

On the library home page, we list Databases by Subject. Some lists aren't completely up to date.

At the library, we've had a lot of changes with IT too. We lost the people who updated the webpage when IT moved out of the library to CUC. So this can affect the data on the website.

For an ILL request, if you think they've made a mistake, go in to the library and tell someone.

Remember Link+ and our system are all linked, but ILL is not. So if you get books through ILL, they won't appear on your list of books that you've taken out. You need to log into ILL separately to get to that list. This means when you hit "renew all" to renew your library books, it will not automatically renew anything you took out through ILL.

Where do I go for more help?

E-mail the librarian for your field. Not all of our reference librarians work at the front desk. Sometimes services desk answers librarian chat. They're not all trained in all specialties. So there can be spotty service at the desk, but it is something they are working on.

I always get lost in Honnold. What's the deal with the "new" library, the Mudd side, the Honnold side?

Over the years we've expanded into so many nooks and crannies. No one can find anything over there. The Honnold building was build in 1950. Then the Mudd building was build in 1970, and it had open space in the center of it. That's where the movable stacks are today. In 1987, they connected the two buildings. That's what lead to the bizarre entrance and lobby.

What's the secret to getting a study carrel?

Study carrels are very popular. On the first day of the semester, they open, and they're all taken in a couple of hours.

There used to be study rooms that could be used by graduate students, but faculty need them now.

I use Zotero. There's a Refworks export on BLAIS, but they didn't have the PDF button anymmore. When I use BLAIS, I have to enter my student ID number. Once I graduate, will I lose the PDFs?

The company in this case is ProQuest. E-mail me about this issue. Sometimes we can go back to the vendors and they might change it.

Once you graduate, you can purchase a card for $35 to check out books at the library.

Remote access to the database is out of our control - its the vendors.

I'm leaving for a research trip soon. Any advice for talking to librarians from institutions where I'm not a student?

Emphasize that you're there to use their great expertise but not take up too much of their time. Most librarians will be happy to work with you and glad to have outside scholars interested in their collections.

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