Spotlight On…CQ Researcher

You’ve got a paper coming up, and you don’t have a topic yet. The paper has to be about a current issue that’s controversial, or maybe you have to debate the pros and cons of something – but there are so many issues in the world! How do you know what to choose and where to start? If you come to the UGL’s website, we have a resource that can help you solve all these problems. It’s called CQ Researcher.

What and where is CQ Researcher?

CQ Researcher is one of the many databases that the library provides for you to use. It’s a little different from other databases you may have used, because it’s designed to make it easy for you to browse articles by topic. The topics that articles in CQ Researcher cover range from education issues (like homeschooling) to disputes over international law (like the ethics of war), but all have been topics of intense discussion and debate in the recent past or present.

To get to CQ Researcher, start at the UGL homepage and click the Find Articles button that you see under the Easy Search box. That will take you to the Find Articles guide, where we list some of our databases by type. CQ Researcher is a general database, so you can find a link to it in the first section that’s labelled “Starting Points (Multi-Subject Databases).”

CQ Researcher should be the third database listed under Starting Points.

What can I find in CQ Researcher?

Every topic covered in CQ Researcher will be explained in a report – a long article that provides an overview of the topic,  including background information, current controversies or problems, and potential outcomes. An editorial piece from each side of the argument – a “pro” and a “con” position – are also provided by an expert on the topic. Other helpful features include timelines of major events, and lists of suggested sources for further research. This information could be used to help you figure out what specific aspects of a general topic you’re most interested in, where you should look for more information, or how a specific issue fits into a larger issue or trend.

You can navigate through the different kinds of information provided using the menu on the left side, or explore related issues using the Issue Tracker menu on the right.

How can I use CQ Researcher?

If you already have an idea of what you’re interested in, the main page of CQ Researcher has a search feature in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t worry – it also has options to browse through information by what’s been added most recently, or by general area of interest (like the ‘education’ and ‘international law’ areas we mentioned above). As you browse or search, CQ Researcher will offer suggestions for related topic in a menu on the right-hand side of the screen.

The search box is in the top-right corner, and the Browse options are in the main navigation menu under the heading.

So, if you’re trying to find an interesting, contemporary debate to explore for an assignment, or you’ve already got one and need ideas for how to approach it, find your way to the UGL homepage and try CQ Researcher. There’s also that helpful Ask-A-Librarian chat box on the UGL page, so if you should get stuck, a librarian is only a click away! We’ll be happy to help you use this or any other library resource.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Warm up for Spring Break at the UGL

Hey UGL-ers! Here in Chambana, it’s finally starting to warm up. Which means there’s only one thing on our minds—spring break! Whether you’re staying in town to catch up on sleep or packing for an exotic adventure, the UGL has all the resources you need to make this spring break the best yet.

Cover of Foder's Los Cabos guidebook

Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? Find out here!

If you’re heading out of town for spring break this year, check out the UGL’s collection of travel guides to read up on your favorite destination. Where is the best place to hike in Wisconsin? Which towns in Spain are must-sees? Where can you snorkel in Los Cabos? All your travel questions can be answered in these handy guidebooks.

Traveling out of the country? Learn a few phrases or brush up on your conversation skills in hundreds of languages for FREE using our Tell Me More language software. Take a look at our previous blog post to learn how to use this great resource.

Cover of The Globetrotter Diaries

Get inspired for an adventure of your own.

If your spring break plans look a lot like your pillow, the UGL can bring out your inner hitchhiker while you catch some Z’s right here at home. Check out our Pinterest board that highlights a few of our favorite books about travel writing and photography, as well as the guidebooks we mentioned above.

The Hobbit DVD cover

“Not all who wander are lost.”

As always, the UGL’s collection of movies, TV shows, and audio books are ready to cure your travel bug from the comfort of your couch. Need a European adventure? Live vicariously through every James Bond film. Feeling wanderlust? Trek through Middle-earth with a Lord of the Rings marathon. Or, get pumped for the release of the next Captain America film with your Avenger pals. Stock up on all your favorites before break!

If you’re looking for a thrilling page-turner to pass some time over break, be on the lookout for our up-coming display “Road Trip with a Book.” We’ll surprise you with a great new read!

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Celebrating Women’s History Month!

March is here and midterms are almost over, but March is also Women’s History month! Be prepared to learn about some amazing and inspirational women and some resources available from the library.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride. The First American woman in space

First, we have Sally Ride. Sally was a former astronaut and a physicist. She became the first American woman in space. Her accomplishments have paved the way for women in NASA and have inspired people around the world. Sally died in 2012 at the age of 61, but her legacy will forever live on. To find out more about her life and accomplishments, check out some books about her life available in our catalog.

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun is former representative of the Illinois senate. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Ms. Braun was also nominated by former President Bill Clinton to be U.S. ambassador to New Zealand. She currently resides in Chicago. For more information on Ms. Braun, be sure to check out her page on the congress website.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is a Mexican artist from the surrealist movement in the 1930’s. She had a difficult but  exciting life, and most importantly, she was a creative person and painter who celebrated her Mexican culture and heritage. If you would like to know more about Frida and her life, Credo reference has more information.

Alice Paul

Alice Paul. American Suffragist

Alice Paul was an American suffragist who fought for a woman’s right to vote. Along with the help of other suffragists, Alice Paul’s activism led to the passage of the 19th amendment. Because of the 19th amendment, women were finally able to have the right to vote in this country.  To learn more about Alice Paul, be sure to check out the  Women and Social Movements in the United States database available through the UIUC catalog!

These are just a few of the many incredible women out there. For more information be sure to check out some subject guides on the topic such as women in politics or the official government website for Women’s History Month.

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Spotlight On…Film Resources

The 2014 Oscars have now been awarded, and whether you agree with the winners or not, the library has resources you can use to learn more about film history and theory, as well as find more movies to watch.

Researching Film History and Theory

  • Film Study Reference Guide – This research guide, put together by the Literature and Languages Library, is a one-stop shop for all film theory research needs. It has resources for finding film reviews, if you want to find out what critics said about those Oscar winners before they were winners, as well as lists of books that can serve as your introduction to the history and study of film.
  • Finding Article about Film in Databases – The Communications Library has put together a list of databases that contain articles pertaining to film history and criticism. Once you gotten a good introduction using the reference guide above, you can use these databases to find more specific articles about whatever film topic interests you.

Findings Movies to Watch

  • Finding Movies in the Library – Reading about movies is great, but reading reviews and articles won’t be helpful if you haven’t seen the movies themselves! The Undergraduate Library has a guide to help you find the movies you need in the library catalog.
  • Ideas for What to Watch – If you don’t know where to start, the UGL has Pinterest boards that collect our favorite horror movies, science fiction features, summer films, and movies based on books. Browsing the entire media collection by genre is tough, because it’s just not arranged that way, but here’s a tip: on the catalog search screen, change the first dropdown menu from “Keyword” to “Subject,” then try typing in what you’re looking for. You could try a genre, like “Horror films,” or a topic followed by the kind of  movie you want, like “High school students – Comedy.” It takes some practice, but soon you’ll be a master at finding great new movies.

What do you think about when you decide whether a movie is good or not? Let us know in the comments!

Need ideas for other great library resources? Find more in our Spotlight on… series here.

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Reader’s Advisory: Spring Reads!

Happy Spring UGL’ers! (let’s ignore the fact that it is still freezing). Spring time is not only time for blooming flowers, but also a time for a new reader’s advisory post. We have gathered the favorite books from the UGL graduate assistants just for you.

 

The Secret Garden

Christina recommends…
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tiny British orphans living in a dreary manor discover a secret garden on the premises and bring its plants and animals (and themselves) back to life. Perfect for reading as the world theoretically thaws and things start growing again. There’s also a movie ver??

 

 

 

How to live safely in a science fictional universe

Zoe recommends...

How to Safely live in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Want to escape into a new world but never leave your couch? Meet a fellow lazy man in Charles Yu’s fantastic novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe. Bringing the love of machines before Her became famous, this novel follows the story of a young man who loves his operating system, fixes time machines, and lives in a very small universe indeed. Travel the universe, begin to understand paradoxes, and never leave your bed.

 

 

 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Lily recommends…Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of food and life by Barbara Kingsolver.

A newer work by a beloved writer, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle details the author’s journey with her family into a lifestyle of gardening, local produce, and organic ingredients. Far more than a how-to book, this work combines journalism, food culture insight, narrative, humor, and recipes into an extremely readable exploration, written collaboratively by several members of the Kingsolver clan. It’s liable to make you want to spend some time outside, assuming things warm up around here (or inside cooking if they don’t). Check out “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” for an instant taste!

 

The Art of Fielding Book

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Ira recommends…The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Spring means the return of baseball. Get ready for the season with this fantastic debut novel about a slick-fielding college shortstop named Henry Skrimshander, as he strives for perfection on the field. Littered with allusions to Melville, this novel is doubly recommended for those who like both Moby Dick and the national pastime.

 

 

 

Claude Monet; Springs in the Field

Claude Monet: Springs in the Field

Quetzalli recommends…Claude Monet: Springs in the Field by, Claude Monet

Spring is almost nearing (well, at least, it’s supposed to). Although there might be snow and ice on the ground, that doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for the spring. Let this book take you into the world of impressionist painter, Clause Monet. With paintings of beautiful spring scenery, this book is sure to leave you wanting for Spring!

 

Watership down Book

Watership Down

Linsy recommmends….Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a tale of an epic adventure undertaken by rabbits.  After surviving a mass genocide of their warren, rabbits Fiver, Hazel and Bigwig must set out on their own to establish a new home.  Their adventure contains many near-death experiences as this band of survivors tries to “make it” in this unknown world (South-central England).  Richard Adams has anthropomorphized these animals, giving them their own language, proverbs, poetry and mythology.  Reading about these rabbits adventures will transport you to warmer weather until Illinois is able to catch up.

Chasign Spring book

Chasing Spring

Other recommendations:Chasing Spring: An American Journey Through a Changing Season by Bruce Stutz

Join author Bruce Stutz as he journeys through the United States in the changing season of Spring. A good read for those wanting to have a good book and some black coffee. The author will journey through the dry desert, Alaskan Arctic, and other places throughout the country. In this book, you will find a wonderful story that will eagerly leave you waiting for Spring.

 

 

Well, there you have it folks! All of these books are available through the library catalog. Happy book hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black History Month Resources

February, as you may know, is Black History Month. It’s a month-long celebration of African-American history in the United States. The UIUC libraries have lots of resources to help you learn about African-American history during this national observance, as well as the other 11 months of the year.

John Sharper, African-American soldier in the Union Army. Image courtesy of National Archives.

A good place to start for all things Black History Month is the official government site for the holiday. There you can find online exhibits and collections from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and other national institutions. If you’d like to keep things closer to home, the University Archives also have research guides about African-American history on campus. The archives blog also has a post about Black Power movements at UIUC in the 1960s, and the Student Life and Culture Program has guides to integration and civil rights.

Research on African-American history in the library at large can be accomplished with help from the African American Research Center, an extensive collection of books and other sources about “ the Black experience in the Americas and worldwide outside of Africa.” There are also lots of research guides about Black history topics, including African-American literature and political activism.

The UGL has a Pinterest board featuring biographies of African-Americans from A-Z, if you’re looking for books about inspiring individuals. The National Archives also have a Pinterest board for Black History Month, so if you’re on Pinterest all day anyway, you can stay there and still learn about African-American History.

How have you celebrated Black history? Are there great book, movies, or online resources you recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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A Day in the Life: Jake

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like?  Or what exactly the faculty and staff members at the Undergraduate Library do during the day? We’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the UGL in our new blog series “A Day in the Life.”

A day in the life at the UGL
Due to high student use of the Media Commons and the recent media attention of the sound booth, we thought we would introduce you to Jake, our Media Commons Technology Support Specialist.

Jake is responsible for connecting students, staff, and faculty at UIUC to all the technology the Media Commons has to offer. When he isn’t working at his desk, you can find him all over the UGL, teaching students how to effectively use technology to create, edit, and produce quality digital media. Whether you want to use high end media editing software, need help shooting a video project in front of the green screen in the video production studio, or want to record a podcast in the sound booth, Jake is your guy.

Image of Media Commons computer with editing software

Need help? Ask Jake.

The best part about working in the Media Commons, Jake says, is that it offers everyone–undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff– the opportunity to create their own digital media on professional-quality technology.

Recently, Jake has been working hard to move, test, and set up the equipment in the sound booth to get it up and running for you. When asked about his favorite technology in the Media Commons, Jake replied that he is pretty pumped about the sound booth set- up and is excited to collaborate with students to take their audio projects to a higher level.

Jake’s passion for audio recording carries over into his work outside of the Undergraduate Library. Check out what Jake does on the weekends by visiting UrbanaBasement.com, a web series highlighting the live music scene in the Champaign-Urbana area.

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Office Hours are here!

And the award for best student goes to……you! Yes, you! For going to office hours and getting the help offered to you by the librarians and writing center. Hopefully, you have seem the awesome new flyers promoting office hours. We’re all aware that midterms are coming up and we’re scrambling to get projects done and papers turned in. Why not let the librarians and the writing center give you a hand with all that coursework?

Flyer for Office Hours

Check out our awesome new flyers!

In case you haven’t see the flyers promoting office hours, here is the run-down. Office hours for the 2014 spring semester will be Tuesdays 7:00-9:00 P.M. and Wednesdays2:00-4:00 P.M. These will take place in the Undergraduate Library in room 291. You will be able to get in-depth research help from librarians, but wait, that’s not all! A representative from the Writer’s Workshop will also be there to help students with any help they might need.

So there you have it folks, if you need any help with research or finding a certain article, or help with revising an essay, come find us at the UGL! We are more than happy to help! After all, it’s why we’re there.

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Arch-I’ve Got Some Sources for You

Hey, do you know about the University Archives? Well, you should, because they can help you meet all your campus-related primary source needs, as well as give you a fascinating glimpse into what life as a student at UIUC has been like over the years.

black and white vintage image of students walking down main quad

The quad in ye olden days. (Photo courtesy of University Archives)

An archive is a collection of historical documents that documents the life or developments of a person or organization. The University Archives, as the name suggests, collects documents that contain information about the history and functions of UIUC, and people who have been associated with it in some way. A lot of them are primary sources – interviews, letters, and things like that. If you’re working on an assignment that requires primary sources, why not visit the archives website or contact an archivist to see what they can help you with? The archives also have a guide to primary sources in general, if you need to start with the basics.

A lot of the things kept in the archives relate to the running of the University and its general history, but a lot of it is also about students just like you! The Student Life and Culture Program is one part of the University Archives that highlights the student experience at UIUC (and the United States in general), and how it has changed over time (and how it’s stayed the same). Some of your assignments might require you to investigate an issue on campus; the SLC has research guides that can help you find information about the history of hot-button topics on campus. Maybe you’re interested in Greek life on campus, or the experiences of African-American students. Those are just a few things you can learn about using archival materials!

If this brief introduction has you curious about archives, feel free to search their website for things that you’re interested in. You can get a sampling of their collection on the UGL’s Facebook and Twitter pages – we’re highlighting fun and interesting things we find in the archives in weekly Throwback Thursday posts.

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UGL 101: New Sound Booth

Hey UGL-ers, it’s time we addressed the elephant in the room. And by elephant, we mean the huge metal structure that has taken over a corner of the lower level this past year. We would like to officially introduce you to the newest member of the Media Commons collection–the sound booth!

Sound booth on the lower level of the UGL

Large metal structure = professional quality sound booth.

Like the video production room on the upper level, the sound booth is a space for students, faculty, and staff to create high-quality digital media projects. Need an interview to complete a class project? Want to record your latest podcast? As a UIUC student, the sound booth is available to you! (QB looks forward to using the sound booth to record the answers to all your questions.)

In order to use the sound booth, you will need to contact the Media Commons at mediacommons@illinois.edu in advance to book a reservation. Whether you want to reserve time in the sound booth, ask advice on recording equipment, or just find out more information, the Media Commons staff is here to help! Don’t forget to check out our loanable technology page for any additional equipment you might need, from cameras to microphones or voice recorders.

Now, to answer one final question. We know all too well how difficult the doors at the UGL can be to open, not to mention fitting large pieces of unbending metal through. So, just how did the UGL manage to construct the sound booth in the lower lever?

Crane lowering a section of the sound booth into the UGL courtyard

The things we do for you!

That’s how.

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