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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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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Spotlight on…Gale Virtual Reference Library

Long gone are the days when you have to sift through a heavy encyclopedia to find background information (not to mention figuring out which one is best for your topic). Using the Gale Virtual Reference Library, you can find information about almost any topic, searching multiple resources at once, all from the comfort of your own computer.

Home page of Gale Virtual reference library with a search box at the top, subjects listed down the left column, and images of resources in the center

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is like librarian-approved Wikipedia. It has encyclopedias and other online reference books that cover a wide variety of subject areas, all in one place, so you can do one-stop-searching. You can also select to search in a specific subject area, choosing from subjects like art, biography, history, law, science, and many more.

To get there, start from the UGL’s homepage. In the dark blue bar that goes across the top of your screen, there will be a link for “Find.” Clicking on that link will take you to a page with tips and resources for finding all types of information. To get to GVRL, you’ll need to select “Background Information,” which will take you to the Library’s Online Reference Collection. You should see GVRL listed under the heading for “Starting Points” on this page.

Once you’re in GVRL, you’ll be able to see how many resources are available in this one place. (Hint: lots). To do a simple search, all you have to do is type your keyword(s) into the search box at the top of the screen. This will search all the resources available to you in GVRL.

image of easy search box on the top of the home page

Find this box at the top of your screen. It’s your gateway to thousands of resources!

You also have the option to search in a specific subject area. All you have to do is select the subject you want from the menu on the left on the homepage. You’ll be taken to a screen that lists the resources available in that subject area. There will be a box near the right-hand corner where you can search across all the sources for your chosen subject area.

image of the history subject page, highlighting the box to search within history in the right-hand corner

Once you’ve searched for your topic, whether you did a simple search or chose a specific subject area, you’ll see a screen listing the different resources you can access. If your search found too many resources, you can narrow what you’re seeing by using the options on the left on your results screen. You can choose a subject area, a type of resource (like a biography or topic overview), or a specific encyclopedia.

image of a search results screen, highlighting the options to limit results available in the left column

Don’t need 1800 results about yoga? Narrow it down using the options on your left.

GVRL is a great place to get started if your topic is related to multiple subject areas. With hundreds of encyclopedias at your fingertips, we’ll be surprised if you can’t find what you’re looking for. If that happens, though, you can always try another resource in the Online Reference Collection, or Ask a Librarian for help. That’s why we’re here.

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

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Spotlight on…Pop Culture Universe

Can you believe we’re already six weeks into the semester? It’s almost time for midterms, and with those come papers and projects that require research. You know the UGL is here for all your research needs. And if you need research pop culture, we’ve got just the thing for you: Pop Culture Universe.

Many different aspects and eras of pop culture are covered.

More than you ever wanted to know about Madonna (and other pop culture icons!)

Pop Culture Universe is a database containing articles about fads and trends in pop culture throughout history. Starting largely with the 1900s, it allows you to find articles and resources in a variety of ways. To get to Pop Culture Universe, start at the UGL homepage, and click on that handy “Find Articles” link under the Easy Search box. Once you’re on our Find Articles guide, you’ll find Pop Culture Universe under “Starting Points,” with other general subject databases recommended for your research.

You can get started searching using the Quick Search function, located in the top right corner of the database’s homepage. Just type in your keyword or phrase, click the search icon, and you’re well on your way delving into the depths of popular culture.

The database also has ways you can browse for information. One of those is to see major trends by decade. You can see a basic introduction of each decade from the 1900s to the 2000s, as well as articles that highlight popular movements, like baseball in the 1920s or MTV in the 1980s.

Each decade has a dedicated section.

Find quick, easy resources to learn about the Roaring 20s or the dotcom era.

Another way to find information in Pop Culture Universe is to use the “Idea Exchange” where the database poses a question, and offers articles featuring divergent opinions and responses. This is great for understanding how pop culture fits into the larger context of history.

Articles are presented as possible resources for answering common questions.

See multiple perspectives on a topic, all in one convenient place.

One final way Pop Culture Universe makes it way too easy to expand your knowledge is to use their Advanced Search option, which allows you input multiple pieces of information in one search. Selecting the Advance Search option lets you input keywords, select a decade, and narrow to a particular topic area, all at the same time. For example, a search for “grunge” in the decade of the 1990s, and the topic area of “fashion” nets article relating to how grunge music influenced fashions in the 90s.

See? We want to make it easy for you to find everything you need. If you have problems using Pop Culture Universe (or any library resource!) come visit us during Office Hours @ the UGL or chat us up online. We’re waiting.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight on…American Fact Finder

In these final frantic weeks of the school year, you may find yourself needing some stats for final projects and papers. If you’re not sure where to get started, we have a lot of resources to help, but if you know you need stats about American people, businesses, industries, or markets, then try American Fact Finder’s Guided Search tool to get exactly what you need.

Screen shot of American Fact Finder homepage shows many options for finding informaiton.
American Fact Finder is hosted by the U.S. Census and is a good source for data about agriculture, education, employment, health, law, etc. Their website features valuable links to other official statistical resources, both domestic and international. Using the Guided Search tool enables you to tell the database exactly what you’re looking for, in an easy, step-by-step format.

To get to American Fact Finder, you simply start at the UGL homepage, and click on “How do I?” in the top right corner:

screenshot: How Do I link is in top-most navigational menu on UGL homepage

From there, you’ll look for the heading for “Find Sources” and then click on “Statistics”:

screenshot: Statistics are listed under 'find other types of sources'

Finally, you’ll see a selection of databases designed for statistics, and you’ll click on “American Fact Finder”:

screenshot: on statistics page, American FactFinder is listed under 'starting points'

Once you’re in the database, you’ll see an option on the left side of your screen for “Guided Search.” Just select that option, and follow the link to get started.

screenshot: Guided Search is a good search option to start with if you're unfamiliar with the resource.

The guided search tool will now walk you through several steps to help you narrow  the information you can access. You start with selecting what kind of information you want (like people, industries, housing, or a specific table or dataset). Next you’ll choose topic areas (like age, education, race, etc.), then location (or geography), and on until you can see results that match your criteria. You can add as many topics, geographies, etc., as you like.

screenshot: the guided search gives you many options to refine your search.

Then the database will give you tables and stats based on your criteria, and you can also easily see what census the information has pulled from, so you know how recent it is. Pretty nifty, huh? This is only one librarian-approved source for statistics. If you find yourself needing other types of stats, check out the UGL’s statistics guide for more great sources of information.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight On…Lynda.com

You learn a lot of stuff in your classes, but sometimes there’s still more stuff you just gotta know. Maybe your professor gives an assignment that involves making a video, but you’ve never worked with video before–and the editing software wasn’t discussed in class. Or maybe you really need to know how to use a certain program for the jobs you’ll hopefully be getting, but you don’t have room in your schedule to take the class that would teach it to you. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re an insatiable learner with a hungry brain constantly on the lookout for new things to explore and master.

Learn. Grow. Do. - photography, audio, 3D, design, business and more. Lynda.com

If any of these is the case for you, you’re in luck. As a student at the University of Illinois, you have access to the complete online training library at Lynda.com. Lynda provides helpful video tutorials for just about any program or application you could ever need–there are 1,642 topics and growing! Popular technology suites like the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office are well covered, as well as several programming languages, video and audio editing tools, and even a subsection for useful business skills. If you need to learn how to use a program as part of one of your courses, chances are you can find a tutorial for it on Lynda.

Accessing it is easy–just navigate to go.illinois.edu/lynda and put in your NetID and password as prompted. You should be directed to the Lynda.com main page, all signed in a ready to start learning! You can browse by subject area or the name of the products, or you can use the search bar in the upper right-hand corner to find topics related to your interests; whichever works best for your situation.

Navigation options include browsing by subject, software, or author, or searching.

Finding your way to what you need.

Once you’ve found something you want to learn about, click on the title of the tutorial, and you’ll be taken to a listing of all the videos within that tutorial. Large topics are broken up into shorter videos, meaning you can start and stop more easily without losing track of where you are in the tutorial overall. It’ll keep track of which ones you’ve already watched by displaying a little eye icon next to them:

Video tutorials are organized by chapter, and each chapter is either watched or unwatched, with a duration listed as well.

Keeping track of what you’ve watched

While you’re watching each video, there are some controls other than the basic start, stop and volume that can make your viewing experience more useful. To the right of the play button is the ‘autoplay’ feature–click on this to automatically load the next section as each section ends, saving yourself the trouble of clicking on a new link every time. To the left of the play button is a speech bubble with ‘CC’ in it–click this to turn on captioning, and read what is being said in the tutorial in addition to having sound. If you use certain programs to display the videos (which you can choose by adjusting the ‘player prefs’ in the right-hand corner), you’ll be given the option to speed up the video to twice its normal speed. This will cut down on the amount of time you have to spend watching videos, with the added benefit of making the narrators sound ever so slightly like chipmunks. I think we can all agree that this is the most valuable feature of Lynda overall.

Video Player controls let you adjust playback speed, captions, autoplay, and media player preference.

Getting the most out of playback.

If you need more details on how to navigate the site, Lynda actually provides a tutorial for using their tutorials! You can find it in the upper right-hand ‘support’ menu above the search bar; it’s listed as ‘how to use lynda.com’. If you’re having trouble signing in, CITES has a FAQto help you figure out what’s going on (you can also contact them with any questions or feedback). Good luck, and happy learning!

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight On… Tell Me More

Planning to study abroad? Going to spend Spring Break somewhere south of the border? Just want to impress your pals with your stellar language skills? Then you need the Tell Me More language software.

Getting started learning a new language is muy fácil with Tell Me More. Follow these simple steps:

Image of tiny man standing on top of the world.

1. Start on the Library’s homepage. In the center column, look for the link to the Online Journals & Databases tool.

2. Search for “Tell Me More”.

3. When you see your results, you’ll want to select the second result on the page, labeled “Databases DATABASES”. Click on the “Databases” link.

4. You may then be prompted for your NetID and password. Enter that, and you’ll be taken to the Tell Me More homepage.

5. On the homepage, click on the message near the center: “New user, click here.” You will enter your name, email address and set up a username and password.

6. A screen may pop up asking you to to allow the system to access your camera and microphone.  Once you check the appropriate boxes, you should be able to start learning your language of choice!

Select 'allow,' select 'remember,' close the Adobe window, then click continue.

Click to enter the world of the multi-lingual! Wunderbar!

Some great features about Tell Me More:

  • You can do reading, writing, speaking, and listening workshops. Learn how to sprechen sie Deutsch the best way for you!
  • It’s got 37 different types of learning activities/interactions. Impressionante!
  • It utilizes Spoken Error Tracking System (SETS®) technology, which automatically detects and corrects your pronunciation errors. Work on your acento!
  • Anytime, anywhere accessibility. Voila! You can learn a language on the go.

Whether you want to learn a new language for business or pleasure, Tell Me More is convenient, easy, and free to you. (And really, who doesn’t love free?)

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight On… Scholarly Commons

Here at the UGL, we’d like to think we’ve got you covered when it comes to helping out with just about any research need. But, we’re always happy to direct you to other libraries on campus that may be even better equipped to answer your questions. That’s why we’re shining a little light on the Scholarly Commons and all of the super-cool services they offer for students.

The Scholarly Commons is well-equipped.

Dual Monitors!

If you’re taking a course this semester that deals with data, data services, data collection, GIS (graphical information system) data  and mapping, conducting surveys, etc., then you should definitely have the Scholarly Commons on your radar. (This covers a lot of fields, but students taking courses in the social sciences, political sciences, economics and applied health sciences—we’re particularly looking at you!) The Scholarly Commons has access to a wide variety of data sets that you can download and use, along with friendly experts who can help you access the data and the accompanying software.

Aside from access to data sets, the computers (a mix of dual-monitor PCs and Macs) all come equipped with data manipulation programs such as SAS, SPSS, Stata, Atlas.ti, NVivo, R and much more. If you’re familiar with these programs, then you’re already probably geeking out about the fact that there’s a place in the library to not only use them, but get help doing so. If you’re not as familiar, than you should definitely drop in and see what they’re all about.

The Scholarly Commons has plentiful seating.

Comfy furniture!

If you’re planning to collect your own data through surveys, samplings or other research methods, you can stop by the Survey Research Lab. This is a service that the Scholarly Commons pays for (so you don’t have to!) that provides help with constructing and conducting surveys, taking data samples and analyzing the data. The Survey Research Lab is open from 1pm-4pm every Tuesday.

So all of this sounds pretty rad, right? Well, there’s even more! Some other services at the Scholarly Commons include:

  • Copyright Consultation
    While the folks at the Scholarly Commons can’t give official copyright advice, they can talk through any questions you may have and help you explore all of your options.
  • Savvy Researcher Workshops
    A series of free workshops that teach a variety of topics from citation management tools like RefWorks and Zotero to how to use images without copyright restrictions.
  • Special Equipment
    Do you have a lot of pages to scan? You can use their sheet-feed scanner!
  • Usability Lab
    If you’re testing out websites for ADA-usability standards or ease of navigation, the usability lab is equipped with software (Silverback for Mac and Morae for Windows) that tracks what users are doing on a site and how they are navigating through it. (Note: the lab must be reserved to use, but is available for drop-in use as long as there is no other reservation for that time.)
  • Digital Humanities
    If you’re working on a project in the digital humanities, the Scholarly Commons has resources and tools that can help you make connections and create multi-media projects and presentations.
The Scholarly Commons has lots of surfaces.

Ample workspace!

So, what are you waiting for? Get over to the Scholarly Commons asap! They’re located in Room 306 of the Main Library, and are open Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 1pm-5pm and Tuesday-Thursday from 10am-5pm. You can also contact them directly to set up an appointment outside of these hours. You won’t be sorry you stopped by—we promise!

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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Spotlight on: Academic OneFile

screenshot: Academic OneFile page with search box and limiters

If you’re not already knee-deep in papers and projects, you probably will be soon. Library databases are one of the best resources to find credible, reliable information. But we know sometimes getting started can be tough, especially if you’ve never used a database before. So we’re here to help.

One database you might consider to get started is Academic OneFile. This is a general-subject database, meaning it has information from a lot of fields. You can access it easily through the UGL’s Find Articles Guide. (If you’re off campus, don’t worry! You can still use the databases. All you need is your NetID and password.)

When you first get in to the database, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

screenshot: searchbox above limiters, with search tips on right-hand side

The homepage for Academic OneFile

You’ll have a search box and a few ways to limit the results you’ll see. Sometimes it’s best not to select any of the things below the search box until you’ve seen results first. To optimize your database search, use keywords. Most of the time you’ll have more than one keyword you need to use, too. To get more search boxes, all you have to do is click on “Advanced Search” in the yellow bar above the search box.

screenshot: Advanced search is last option on main menu

 

screenshot: Advanced search has multiple fields for multiple keywords, and Boolean operators as well.

 

 

 

The advanced search page will give you some more options. Once you’ve entered your keywords, click search.

 

 

 

On your results screen, you’ll see ways to help you narrow down the results you have. On the left side of the screen, you have options to select the type of source, subjects, and/or publication dates.

screenshot: limiters are in a sidebar on the left-hand side of the results page

Once you find an article you like, you can click on the title to see more information. On this page, you’ll also have options to help you save the results you want to use. On the right side, there are tools you can use to save, email, print, or cite that article.

screenshot: when viewing an article record, options for saving, printing, and citing are on the right-hand side

This is just a brief look at what you might see using Academic OneFile. If you have questions or problems, come talk to a librarian! You can use our Ask-a-Librarian chat, visit us in person at the Research Desk, or come to Office Hours @ the UGL.

Find other posts in the Spotlight On… series here.

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