UGL 101: Welcome Back!

Welcome back to campus! Whether it’s your first time visiting the Undergraduate Library or you consider the UGL your second home, we’re glad to have you here. We know this is a busy time for students, so to help ease the stress of a new school year, we’re putting together some helpful UGL information to get you started on the right foot.

Photo courtesy of UGL Flickr

Photo courtesy of UGL Flickr

The UGL will have some abbreviated hours during the first two weeks of school before returning to the normal hours. Here is a breakdown of the following two weeks:

Monday 8/23 through Thursday 8/27: 8:00am to 12:00am
Friday 8/28: 8:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday 8/29: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday 8/30: 10:00am to 12:00am
Monday 8/31 through Thursday 9/3: 8:00am to 12:00am
Friday 9/1: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Saturday 9/2: 10:00am to 9:00pm
Sunday 9/3: 10:00am to 12:00am
Monday 9/4 (Labor Day): Closed

The library will open back up at 8:00am on Tuesday, September 5, and the UGL’s regular 24 hour (Monday through Friday) schedule will resume.

For more information on library hours, check out the library homepage: http://www.library.illinois.edu/

Upper Level of the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Upper Level of the UGL. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The UGL has a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for a place to meet for a group project, need some help getting started with research, a space to play video games, or want to check out a GoPro to document your bike ride through campus, our Upper Level is the place to go. The Lower Level of the UGL is perfect for studying quietly, discovering a new graphic novel, or finding a video game or television series to check out.

Media Commons. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

Media Commons. Photo courtesy of the UGL Media Commons

The Media Commons, located on the north and east side of the upper level of the Undergraduate Library, provides students with the opportunity to experiment with emerging technologies. The Media Commons offers students a chance to create and use digital media. With an audio booth, green screen room, editing software, and loanable technology at your fingertips, you’ll be able to create nearly anything.

Learn more about the Media Commons here: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/mc/index.html

What’s your favorite part of the UGL? Tweet at us at @askundergrad and let us know!

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Research and Writing Cram Night

The countdown until finals is T-minus 19 days until the first day of finals. We can do this and you can do it. As we are working hard to get our projects going and our papers finished, there are 2 places on campus that can help. The Undergraduate Library and the Writers Workshop. On Tuesday, April 21st from 7-10 PM (Room 291), the Writer’s Workshop and the UGL will have a research/writing cram night. Do you have a paper that you need someone to look over? Are you having trouble with finding scholarly articles? Then this cram night is the place for you!

Come to our research/writing cram session! Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Come to our research/writing cram session! Photo courtesy of the Media Commons

Our friends, Michael and McCall at the Writers Workshop, were kind enough to grant us a small interview to talk more about this event.

How long will the appointments be?

Michael: 15 minutes, which is the same as our drop-in hours

Location?

Michael: Room 291 (which is a computer lab)

What can students bring?

McCall: Any type of writing that they want to have looked at (yes, that includes cover letters and resumes)

Michael: Typically what we’re looking for when we do our cram sessions or midnight madness, are people who are coming in with papers. Undergraduate course papers are what we see the most. These hours are more for last minute citation issues and last minute questions about content or organization.

What’s your favorite library resource?

Michael: I usually use the Purdue OWL, because it’s such an incredible compendium of resources and also teaching people how to do a nuance search of a database is really helpful.

McCall: I have to agree, freshman year, I had no idea how to use the library and I really wasn’t that familiar. From my high school experience on how to do research on this scale and using a university library, being able to help people with that is really useful.

What can students do to get the most out of this appointment?

Michael: Come prepared with specific questions. It’s 15 minutes and those 15 minutes will go fast. They know their writing, so when they’re coming to this, have an idea of what their major concerns are and what other specific anxieties about this specific question for this particular assignment.

McCall: If it’s a longer paper just come in for getting help on one or two things.15 minutes goes fast! Maybe help on working on a thesis statement, introduction, or specific paragraph.

What are you waiting for? Come join us on Tuesday night (April 21st) from 7-10 PM in room 291 on the upper level of the UGL! Remember, librarians will also be there to help with your research needs. We hope to see you there.

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UGL 101: Subject Guides

As the year comes to an end, we have projects, papers, and all sorts of things going on. It can be a bit overwhelming, but if you know the resources available and where to find them, it doesn’t have to be that bad. Our UGL 101 for this week is the library’s subject guides.

For those who have taken a rhetoric or communications class, you have class guides available. These guides were made specifically for your class and have great resources for your speech or research needs. Class pages include CMN 101, CMN 111, ESL 112/115, LAS 100, Rhetoric, and Rhetoric 233-Ricketts.

CMN 101 Subject Guide

CMN 101 Subject Guide

We have more subject guides available that cover a wide variety of topics. If you go to the UGL website and click on “subject guides”, below the search bar, you can browse or search the subject guides.

Now, there are hundreds of subject guides, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be overwhelming. If you’d like to browse to see what we have, no problem! Click on a subject, which are organized alphabetically. You can also browse by keyword.

Once you have selected your guide, there are a couple of resources available in them. For example, let’s say we’re looking at the “Natural Disasters” subject guide. In this guide, we will find an infographic on the first page of links to starting research points. These resources include government websites, statistics, and subject databases. The tabs for this subject guide are background information, ways of finding articles and books, and credible websites related to this topic.

Natural Disasters Subject Guide.

Natural Disasters Subject Guide.

The UIUC Library has subject guides for tons of topics. Chances are, we have a subject guide for your research paper! If not, we’re always here to help. Come get help at Office Hours from Sunday to Friday 1-5, at a desk in front of the Writer’s Workshop.

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Your UGL guide to Surviving Finals

To quote the popular “Poltergeist” movie, “They’re here….” Yes, finals have arrived. This is the time of year where stress levels are at an all time high and it’s a struggle to get a hold of your emotions. Have no fear, grab your laptop and textbooks and sit down, because the UGL is here to help.

Before we get to the study tips, here are a couple of things to keep in mind. Starting on December 11th (this Thursday), the UGL will be open 24 hours, until December 19th (we’ll close at 7 PM on this day). Take advantage of this time to come on over and get all your studying done in a quiet environment.

Finals Week. We've all been there. Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Fairchild via Flickr Commons

Finals Week. We’ve all been there. Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Fairchild via Flickr Commons

Be on the lookout for Midnight Madness. What is Midnight Madness you might ask? The Writer’s Workshop (located on the upper level of the UGL) will have people to help you with all your citations needs, essay revisions, graduate school statements, and tidying up that resume. This will take place on December 11th, from 8 PM to midnight. All consultations will take place in room 251 of the UGL.

Now, here are your tips for surviving finals 2014:

1. Create a study guide. This study guide should have an outline of all the projects that need to get done, all the papers that you need to finish, and all the classes you need to study for. Outline all the important points that you need to focus on and anything that might be helpful.

2. Ask for help! Remember, if you need help understanding a concept or have questions, ask your professor or TA. It’s better to ask than to wonder if something is correct. Be sure to go to office hours and any review sessions.

3. Create a schedule. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so be sure to manage your time. Write down a schedule and what classes you’ll study for those dates.

4. Practice by quizzing yourself. Are you learning the material? Is there anything you need work on? Doing your own mini quizzes will help you find out.

5. Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. What good is all this studying if you’re not taking care of yourself? If you’re tired, take a study break, drink some water, or go do an activity you enjoy. This will help you keep focused on your goals and the exams.

Are there any tips you use during finals? Let us know in the comments below. Finally, the folks here at the UGL wish you the best of luck. Remember, we’re here to help, so if you have any questions, be sure to ask.

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A Day in the Life: Angeline

Have you ever wondered what a librarian’s job looks like? Or what exactly the staff members, faculty, and graduate assistants do at the Undergraduate Library during the day? Here’s your chance to find out! Meet Angeline, a graduate assistant at the UGL.

"A Day in the Life."

Q: So, Angeline, what do you do here?
A: Well, I’m a graduate assistant, so I get to do a lot of different things! Most often, I work at the research desk on the upper level of the UGL, and I also answer your questions through the Ask A Librarian chat. I teach library instruction classes for CMN 101/111, Rhet 105, and ESL 115 classes, so you may have had me as your instructor in one of those sessions. I’m here early to open the UGL on Saturday mornings, so if you really want to make my day, feel free to bring me tea! One of the projects I get to work on that I’m really excited about is digitizing video games.

Q: That sounds awesome. What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: Definitely the people I work with. Between having a lot of classes together and working together, all the graduate assistants here are pretty close. I really like how we all support each other, both in this job and as we have started looking for full-time employment after graduation.

Q: What’s your favorite part of the UGL?
A: Hmmm…the staff area! If you haven’t been back there–and, of course you haven’t, you’re probably not staff–it’s like Narnia. I mean, literally, I have to wear a jacket because it’s so cold.

Q: Besides working at the UGL, what do you do for fun?
A: I enjoy reading comics, mostly from the UGL because we have a really great collection. I’m a big Captain America fan, so I requested the comics we don’t have here from other libraries through I-Share so I could read them ALL.

Q: Nice! Now, let’s talk about something really important. Where is your favorite place to eat in town?
A: Black Dog! I love me some BBQ.

Q: Yum. What’s your favorite part of working with students?
A: Helping students find the information they need. There’s nothing better than having a student ask you for help, then being able to work with them to find what they’re looking for. It makes me feel like a superhero…but with less explosions. Although I did have to call an ambulance once.

Q: What do you wish students knew about the UGL?
A: That so many people who work at the UGL are here to answer your questions and help you with whatever you might need. So, come visit me on the research desk, I’d love to help!

Photo of Angeline

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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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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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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?

The award for SMARTEST HELP ON CITATIONS goes to...Writer's Workshop Consultants!

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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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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