your friendly reference/instructional librarian, and I'm here
to help you!
Here's how to get in touch
with me when I'm not at the Research Services desk:
My hours at the Research
by and say hi! And, if those hours aren't convenient for you
(admittedly, they are EARLY!), then drop me an email so we can
set up an appointment in my office!
can also get help 24 hours a day/7 days a week through the
Maryland AskUsNow chat reference service:
Reference sources are a good place
to start your research. What is a reference source? A
reference source is something you consult for a specific piece
of information, not something you read from cover to cover.
Reference sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries,
handbooks, thesauri, atlases, almanacs, directories, etc.
Blackwell Library's reference collection is located on the main
floor. Consult the
Congress Classification outline to see the call number area
for your topic.
can't I just use Wikipedia, you ask? Well, anybody and their
brother can get on Wikipedia and write whatever they want, for
starters! Plus, there are tons of more reliable, authoritative
sources out there for you to use. And, I just can't resist
sharing my favorite Colbert Report clip about the downfalls of
Wikipedia. View it here (and please ignore the brief commercial
at the beginning!):
Find books in Blackwell Library
online library catalog.
Books in our library are arranged using
Library of Congress Classification.
The books you can check out are located on the second floor of
the library. If you ever have trouble finding a book you want,
PLEASE ask for help at the Research Desk!
Books from other USMAI
You can also borrow books from any
of the USMAI affiliations by selecting the "choose campus" link
at the top of the catalog page and then selecting "USMAI All
Campuses." When you find a book you want that is not in
Blackwell, click the "request" button and use your ID number to
login. You can have the book delivered to Blackwell within 3 or
This tutorial shows you how it's done!
Books from Interlibrary
Interlibrary Loan is a great tool that
allows you to borrow a book from libraries outside the USMAI
system. Before you submit a request, make sure that we don't
own the book here at SU or at one of the other USMAI
institutions. If not, you can submit a request through
You can also search
Worldcat, which is a huge catalog of materials from
libraries all over the world. If the book you want is in a
library, chances are pretty good you will find it in Worldcat!
If you find the book you want and you know it is not available
at SU or any USMAI campus, then you can click the Find It button
and then request the book through Interlibrary Loan. The
advantage of doing it this way is that you don't have to fill in
all the information about the book!
Click here to go to the
Interlibrary Loan webpage. Learn about how to use
Interlibrary Loan by watching this
short video tutorial.
Finding Articles & the Find It Button
Ask yourself if you need
scholarly sources or popular sources for your assignment.
Many times, your professor will insist on scholarly sources.
What does that mean? Find out using this handy-dandy
chart from Duke Libraries.
Here are some databases
that may be useful for this
links will only work from on campus. From off campus, go
through Research Port.
This tutorial shows you how!)
Academic Search Premier - a
multidisciplinary database containing both scholarly and
popular sources, many of which have full-text available.
ASP is a good place to start your research. Use the
FindIt button to locate articles that are not available
Lexis-Nexis Academic - a great source
for full-text world news and legal information.
National Newspapers - a source of
U.S. news from major papers including The New York Times
and The Washington Post
JSTOR - a huge, wonderful database
of scholarly communication from a wide variety of
disciplines, including Political Science. All of these
sources are full-text, but the newest documents are 3-5
- Congressional Quarterly's magazine on
government, commerce and politics.
Business Source Premier - EBSCO
database that focuses on business topics.
literature on geography, geology, and ecology.
Social Sciences Abstracts - covers
all the social sciences. It's an EBSCO database, same
as Academic Search Premier, so the interface will look
familiar. There are some full-text articles; for
others, use the FindIt button.
WHAT DOES THAT CUTE LITTLE FIND IT BUTTON DO, ANYWAY?
It's a bit like magic,
really. The Find It Button does three things:
Looks in all of our
databases to see if the document you want is available
full-text in another of our databases. If so, it links you
Links you to the library
catalog when we have the item you want in print or
Links you to ILLiad
(interlibrary loan) so you can borrow the item from another
library if we don't have access electronically or in print.
The Find It button is YOUR
FRIEND!!! Here is a
short tutorial showing the Find It Button in action!
You can also use the Citation
Linker, another fabulously cool tool. It is useful when you
are reading an article and it cites another article that looks
like it would be super useful for your research. You plug in
the citation information for that article and can find out how
to access it, whether it be electronically, physically in the
library, or through Interlibrary Loan. It works the same way as
Find It, but you don't have to be in a database.
Learn more about the
Statistics / Government Info
Always make sure that internet resources are
appropriate for your project.
Look at the criteria listed
on this website:
If you have questions about the appropriateness of a website,
please check with your professor or a librarian.
Here are some websites
that may be of interest:
Citing your work
is not cool. Of course you want to make
sure you give proper credit to any source that you use to write
your papers, whether you directly quote or paraphrase.
guide helps students understand what plagiarism is and how to
SU's Citation Style
The Political Science Department Citation Guide