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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Start your research right with Subject Guides

Now that we’re back, relaxed and refreshed, from Fall Break, it’s time to buckle down and get to work on final papers and projects. If you’ve got some serious researching to do, the UGL has the perfect place to start: our collection of Subject Research Guides.

Image of the home tab of a research guide on the topic adoption

Sample Subject Research Guide on Adoption

Getting started with research can be a tricky task. With hundreds of databases and millions of books at your fingertips, it can be hard to know where to begin. To make it easier for you, the UGL has a collection of subject research guides you can use to know where and how to look for information you need.

A subject research guide contains resources for finding information related to a specific topic. Each guide contains links for background information and databases, as well as suggestions for keywords to help you search. We also throw in helpful websites and links to professional organizations. They’re a one-stop shop for getting started with research. Writing a paper about social media? We have you covered. Doing a presentation on artificial intelligence? We’ve got that too.

And just how can you find these amazing, librarian-approved sources of information? It’s so simple, you’ll wonder how you haven’t stumbled across them before. Starting from the UGL homepage, just look for the link to “Subject Guides” in the light gray bar that goes across the center of the screen. Click and boom! Research resources are just waiting for you. We have guides for over 100 topics, with new ones being made all the time.

If you don’t see your topic on our list, you can also search the complete collection of guides made by all University libraries. If you still can’t find your topic, give us a shout in the comments or on our Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you want to see. And of course, you can always stop by Office Hours @ the UGL or hit us up on chat for any research or library questions you have. Let’s show this semester who’s boss.

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UGL 101: Learning about the new course reserves

If you’re a new student on campus or even a returning student, you’ve probably been a bit confused by the e-reserves. You might find yourself saying “What the heck?!,” but have no fear, the UGL is here to help. If you find yourself overwhelmed, here are a few steps to ease your anxiety.

UGL 101: an introduction
To access the reserves, you can go to the Undergrad library webpage .

Course Reserves Link is underneath the search box on the UGL page.

Course Reserves link

Click on the “Course Reserves” button under the easy search box.

This will take you to the reserves page. The course reserves are print or media reserves that are located throughout the libraries on campus. The e-reserves are scanned articles or books. The change this year is regarding the e-reserves.  However, a lot of you are new and might be a bit confused as to how things work around here, so here’s how you do it!

Course Reserves Page has two section: all reserves, and electronic reserves only.

Course Reserves Page

One way to get to your e-reserves is by clicking on the “Search All Course Reserves” link on the page. This will take you to another page where you are able to select the instructor or course. Either one is fine. Click “search” and it should take you to the one required for the class or instructor. You will see both physical and electronic reserves for your class on this page. Look for links that include words like “electronic access” and follow those to get to your course reserves. Make sure you know your NetID and password, because you will have to log in to access any e-reserves.

If you know you only need e-reserves, click on the “Search Electronic Reserves Only” on the “Course Reserves” page and it will ask you to login. Use your NetID and password. After logging in, it will take you to the main menu, where it will tell you your classes and how many reserve items there are.

Course Reserves Login screen

Course Reserves Login

You are able to click a class and it takes you to a list of all the e-reserves you may need to use.

One important thing to remember is that your e-reserves might not immediately be there. Why? There is a new system this year, and it has to update after you log in for the first time.  One you log in, if the e-reserves for your class are not there, then you must wait for next cycle of the system update. It updates at the following times: 2:30 AM, 6:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM, and 10:30 PM. So, if you log in and don’t see anything, check again after one of these update times, and it should be there!

If you have any more questions or aren’t getting the hang of it just quite yet, there is a link on the left under the “Student Help” tab. If you want a quick tutorial on it, see our subject guides that explains more. See? It’s not that hard, you just have to have a little patience. Don’t be surprised if you become an expert and have your friends asking you for help. Remember, it’s a new school year and the Undergrad Library will be here to help with any questions or concerns you might have.

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Soak up the summer

Summer and vacation go together like librarians and books. After all, in the summer, the weather’s nicer (sometimes) and people have more free time (maybe). Vacations don’t necessarily require you to travel far away, either. Sometimes it’s nice to take a “staycation” and find fun, new things to do close to home.

A suitcase covered in stickers implies much fulfilling travel.

The library has a lot of resources you can peruse if you’re planning a trip. There are library guides for popular destinations, like Italy and Costa Rica. You can also search for travel guides in the library’s catalog. They’re pretty easy to find once you know how to search for them.

First you want to start in the library catalog. When you search by keyword, don’t just put in your destination, which will net you too many results to sift through. Instead, tacking things like “guidebook” or “travel guide” on to the end of your search will help ensure you’re getting the types of books you want. For example, if you were traveling to New Mexico, a search for “new mexico – travel guide” will yield some great results. (You don’t have to use the quotation marks, either.)

Can you search for things closer to home this way, too? Of course! Like above, you just substitute “illinois” (so you’re searching for “Illinois – travel guide”) and you’ll see over 300 books waiting to tell you all the cool places to visit in the Prairie State. If you’re looking for something even closer to home, check out the calendar for the Champaign County Arts Council for fun events happening all summer, or the suggestions from the Champaign County Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

Safe and happy travels, #ClubUGL.

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Presidential Picks

Presidents carved in stone.

Mount Rushmore photo courtesy of fotopedia

Because we’re all about celebrating holidays here in the UGL, we’d like to draw your attention to Presidents’ Day! Celebrated this year on Monday, Feb. 18, the holiday was originally established to honor George Washington’s birthday, but it’s since morphed into a standard federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. Either way, we think it’s a great excuse to showcase some of our resources for researching the U.S. presidency.

Finding Background Info

  • The American Presidents
    Provides an overview and additional reading for each administration from George Washington through Bill Clinton
  • Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns and Elections
    This online encyclopedia has entries on contemporary American politics, including explanations of many of the most commonly used political terms and jargon
  • The Presidency A to Z
    Contains more than 300 entries related to the U.S. Presidency
  • American National Biography
    Contains 17,435 biographical articles on deceased Americans and includes men and women that were significant in politics, scholarship, science, sports, business, theater, film, and activism

Subject Guides

  •  History of the U.S. Presidency
    This subject research guide contains information on find background info, stats, journal articles and more for any research related to the U.S. President and the Executive Branch
  • Presidential Campaigns and Elections
    This subject research guide has loads of information for researching presidential campaigns, campaign history, election reform and more

Doing research on the presidents not your thing? Don’t worry—Hollywood is more than adept at glamming up the Executive Office for film and TV. Why don’t you kick back and celebrate the holiday with one of the famous leading men (and one woman!) who played Commander-in-Chief instead? Just a partial list to get you going…

All the President's Men DVD cover: Dustin Hoffman is shorter than Robert Redford, but they are both serious.All The President’s Men
What’s better than a couple of enterprising reporters breaking open one of the biggest scandals in Presidential history? Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman playing said reporters, of course.

Battlestar Galactica
In this sci-fi space odyssey, the last remaining members of humanity must protect themselves from the evil Cylons—all under the fearless leadership of Madame President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell).

Deep Impact
While the other meteor-will-destroy-Earth movie from 1998 was much more entertaining (Armageddon, for those of you keeping score at home), Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of President Beck in Deep Impact was harder-hitting. (Pun intended.)

Frank Langella does his best “I am not a crook!” impersonation of President Nixon in this Oscar-nominated version of the famous post-Watergate interview between Nixon and British TV host David Frost.

Independence Day
Bill Pullman kicks some serious butt as President of the U.S.A. (and, really, all of the remaining world) after aliens decide to destroy Earth. Between President Thomas J. Whitmore and Will Smith, we’re pretty sure we can take whatever E.T. can dish out.

Who killed JFK? In Oliver Stone’s classic conspiracy theory flick, District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) tries to find out.

The West Wing
Martin Sheen plays President Jed Bartlett in Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced, sharp-tongued take on the American White House in the late ’90s/early ’00s.

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Easy E-Reading

In the flurry of wrapping paper and obstinate sellotape that often represents Christmas, did you, dear reader, perhaps suddenly find yourself to be the proud new owner of an e-reader? Or have you long been the possessor of a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, acquired by some other means?

In any case, congratulations. In order to help you get the most out of your device and your library experience, we’re excited to enlighten (or remind) you of the wonders of using library e-books. The library has over 280,000 electronic books available for your use; putting them on your e-reader instead of reading them on a computer could save you a lot of frustration. Think about it: you could read that important article or book chapter on the bus. Or in the bathtub. The options are infinite.

The idea of our patrons using their e-readers to access library content happens to make us so excited that we went and made you a LibGuide for it. The LibGuide is the place to go for in-depth information about how to plunder the e-book treasure troves, including how to make sure they’ll work with your device, but we’ll go ahead and brief you on it here, because that’s what we do for fun.

Finding E-Books

You can find e-books at the library through Easy Search (that friendly-looking search bar at the top of the UGL page), or through the Catalog. In Easy Search, just type in your keywords and press the ‘Search’ button. When you get to the results screen, look for these links to appear in the list of results:

Catalog results are listed under theading "Books, Ebooks, Media in UIUC and Illinois Libraries"

It’s the mother lode!

If you’re going through the catalog, click on the ‘advanced search’ button below the search bar, and on the advanced search screen make sure that the ‘electronic resource’ and ‘book’ limiters are selected, like so:

Choose 'electronic' as your version, and 'book' as your format.

E-books can neither run nor hide from you, because you are a master searcher, and they are inanimate.

Then press the ‘find’ button, and tada! You should have plenty of results to choose from. (Note: Due to licensing issues, e-books are currently not available over I-Share. This means if an e-book is in our catalog but listed as belonging to another library, you won’t be able to access it online. It’s a bummer, but if you’re having trouble finding a copy of a book that you can access, you can always Ask a Librarian about it!)

Getting E-Books onto Your Device

Once you’ve found the e-book that you want, the first step is to download the file to your computer. When you’re actually viewing the e-book online, look around for a button or link that says ‘download’ or ‘PDF.’ The location on the screen will vary depending on who provides the e-book, but it should be around there somewhere. You can always use CTRL+F to do a “find” search for it. Once you click it, the file should be downloaded to your computer.

Most of the electronic resources available from UIUC are available as DRM-free PDFs. Most e-readers should let you open these PDFs with no problems; if you’re using a tablet or smartphone, you may have to download an app for reading PDFs, but there are free ones available!

To figure out how to get the files onto your e-reader from your computer, check out that LibGuide we told you about earlier—there should be tabs at the top for different kinds of devices. Hover over the tab that matches your device, and from the drop-down menu that appears, select the type of e-reader you have. You should then be given step-by-step instructions for how to move the files onto your gadget. Most of them use a simple drag-and-drop procedure, so you should be ready to go in no time.

That should cover the basics! If you find yourself getting really into e-books, here is a list of other sources you can peruse. And as always, if you find yourself confused or stuck or just eager to know more at any point in your searching, just ask us for help!

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Summer Research Cheat Sheet

Picture of Illini pool

Rays and research, the perfect combination! (Photo courtesy of ARC website)

So, Summer I classes are almost half way over. Uh, whoa! That was super-fast! Condensed coursework is great because you get to rack up some credits a whole lot quicker. But they can also be a bummer because they tend to be much more intensive with tighter deadlines than a normal semester class. But if you’re taking a class right now, we don’t need to tell you that, huh?

If the half-way point of your Summer I class means it’s time to get your research on, never fear! The UGL has some quick-n-easy resources that will help you maximize your research capabilities (and theoretically maximize your grade), all while minimizing the time you actually need to spend in the library. In fact, the time you need to physically be inside the library could add up to a whopping zero hours. Is your mind blown? Well, it should be. Here are some trade secrets for helping you through a research paper – from conceptualizing an idea to polishing the works cited page – that are all one or two clicks away on the UGL homepage.

Meet your new best friend, the “Find” Button

screenshot of UGL homepage with easy search bar highlighted

Located in the upper left corner of the UGL homepage, hovering over the “Find” button gives you the keys to a whole bundle of helpful stuff, such as:

  • Need facts and contextual info on a topic? Click on “Background Info” to search our online encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, etc. You can search by subject area, resource type, or just a plain old-fashioned keyword search—user’s choice!
  • Need to narrow down a broad topic? Click on “Subject Guides” and be privy to a whole list of custom-made research guides. These guides break down common topics such as climate change, the Iraq War, teen pregnancy or media bias with a topic overview, background info, tips on finding relevant articles and books, and helpful websites.
  • Need a couple peer-reviewed articles? Click on “Articles” and you’ll automatically land on our handy “Find Articles Guide” page. Divided by multi-topic or subject-specific, this page provides links into the most commonly used databases, where you can search for articles on everything from the effects of UV rays on college students’ appetites to the sociological impacts of taking a summer road trip with a handful of your closest buds. (Extra pro tip: try looking for the department your class is in if you’re stuck—for example, if you’re taking a psych class, PscyINFO could be a good place to start.)

A Cite For Sore Eyes

Style guides are linked to on UGL page under heading 'Learn'

Citations, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Ever feel this way while working on the reference list for your paper? Well, there’s an app for that. Err, um, a link, anyway. Near the center of the UGL homepage, under the orange “Learn” heading is a link to the APA, MLA Guides. One click here takes you to a list of resources for perfecting your citations—both in the text and in the works cited list. Oh, your instructor is requesting Chicago Style? That’s covered, too!

Ask Us! (Online)

Ask a Librarian chat box located on main library page, UGL page, and many other places.

There’s a live help chat box embedded in the UGL homepage, and it’s staffed M-F from 9am-5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday from 1pm-4:30pm. Just one more way you can get a little extra push from a librarian without leaving the air conditioned comfort of your bedroom (or the sweltering pool deck at the ARC, if your wireless so allows).

One last tip…

Our online library resources are available to you wherever you are—you just need an internet connection and your Net ID/password to access from off campus. Your crazy-busy Summer I sched might be cramping your grill out/lay out/work out seshes, but time spent in the library (while we’d be happy to have you!) doesn’t have to get in the way of your fabulous summer.

Questions about anything you read here? Ask-A-Librarian!

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Get to know UGL Subject Guides – Research Made Easier!

Have you ever been asked to write a paper on an issue of your choosing and had no idea what to choose? Or maybe you’ve been assigned topic for a paper, but you didn’t know where to begin your research?

You’re not alone!  Finding credible information (for your academic AND personal research pursuits) is not always easy.  That’s why our libraries here at the University of Illinois create subject guides – online research guides on a range of different topics that direct you to relevant, credible resources both online and in the library.

The Undergraduate Library continues to build its list of subject guides on an ongoing basis.  Based on our interactions with undergraduate students, we identify popular research areas and create guides on those topics so students can find information more easily.  Topics our guides cover range from identity theft to same sex marriage to the hpv vaccine and cervical cancer.  Students who use them seem to love them, and we want to be sure YOU know how to use them and where to find them!  So here’s the 411 on subject guides.

What are subject guides?

Subject guides (sometimes referred to as “research guides” or “LibGuides”) are  online research guides on specific topics or subject areas that help direct you to credible resources you can access online and in the library.

How do I find subject guides?

Here’s a list of all the Undergraduate Library’s subject guides.  Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check out the entire collection of research guides prepared by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign libraries.  Still not finding what you need? Send us an email or comment on this blog post to let us know about a subject area or topic you’d like for us to create a guide on.

How do I use subject guides?

Good question.  Subject guides are not designed to do the research for you, they’re designed to help you find credible research articles, books, websites and other resources more easily.  Let’s walk through the different tabs of an Undergraduate Library subject guide:

screenshot of subject guide

Navigational tabs help you find specific kinds of relevant resources quickly.


By clicking on this tab, you’ll find brief summary in the center of the page under “topic overview” explaining what the topic entails.


Did your professor ask you to steer clear of Wikipedia?  The “suggested reference sources” listed under the “background” tab of the subject guides provides a list of credible reference sources –many of which are accessible online — to help give you a better understanding of your topic.

Statistical Info

Finding statistics can be tricky.  In this section, we’ve compiled a list of resources you can turn to to find statistics on your topic.  Still, you might have trouble finding the exact statistic you want, and you may need help thinking about what kinds of statistics related to your topic exist.  If you’re having trouble, as always…feel free to ask a Librarian!

Finding Articles

The library subscribes to hundreds of databases that provide you with access to articles from academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and more. How do you decide which database to choose?  The “Finding Articles” tab on our subject guides helps direct you to databases that are relevant to your topic.  What’s more, when you click the “finding articles” tab in a subject guide, you’ll also see a list of suggested keywords (along the left-hand side of the screen) that you can use when searching the databases on that topic.

Finding Books

Sometimes you need more in depth information on a topic, and books can be a good place to turn.  Under the “finding books” tab, you’ll find links to the library catalog, along with recommended keywords for searching the catalog on your topic.

Internet Sites

The “internet sites” tab provides a list of recommended websites you can turn to to learn more about your topic.

Organization Websites

Under this tab, you’ll find links to different organizational websites that provide further information related to your topic.  Often, the resources listed in the  “organization websitesare government or other non-profit organizations that are directly involved in responding to or coordinating efforts related to the specific subject guide topic.

That’s a basic overview of subject guides at the UGL.  Let us know if you have any questions, or would like to see subject guides on different topics!

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