your friendly research/instructional librarian, and I'm
here to help you!
How to get in touch with me:
In my office, BL128 (best to
make an appointment)
By phone: 410 677
At the Research Services
chat with us from 8 am - 10 pm most days.
You can also get help 24/7
from the Maryland AskUsNow chat service.
Click here for more details.
Why can't you just use Wikipedia?
Wikipedia can be useful for some
research, especially popular culture topics, and particularly
when the entries are well-documented with citations.
However, it should NEVER be cited in an academic paper. We
have so many authoritative, high-quality resources available
in the library and accessible online, that you have no
excuse not to use them.
If you need background information
on Sociology topics, try a
And to further drive home my point about Wikipedia not being a
valid source, please enjoy this clip from the
Colbert Report. Trust me, it's really amusing!
Finding books and reserves:
Find books in Blackwell Library using our
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 4 days. Here's a
short tutorial that shows you how it's done!
Scholarly V. Popular Sources: A Showdown!
Here are the basics: (Check
handy dandy chart for more information!)
glossy, pretty pages
with lots of advertisements and pictures
written by hired
reporters for a general audience
short, easily read
looking - very few pictures or advertisements
written by experts
in the field and reviewed by other scholars before
long articles with
citations and bibliographies at the end
Why should you
use the library and not Google?
Most of the time,
scholarly publications are not
available to the general public, nor are they
available for free on the internet. Individuals or
organizations (such as a library) subscribe to these
publications. Because subscriptions are expensive, many
choose to access this content through libraries.
Often, content from
scholarly journals is indexed in databases that
the library subscribes
to. The content is on the web, but it is not accessible unless
you are affiliated with the institution that is subscribing. It
isn’t the same thing as just finding a website
through a regular Google search.
Sometimes the full text of the article is available through the
database; other times it is only a citation to the article and
you will need to find the print version of the article in the
library or order the article through interlibrary loan if we
don’t subscribe to it.
So, basically what
I'm saying is that the only way you can access this scholarly
information for free is by using the library databases!
We have several databases
you can use to search for journal, magazine, or
newspaper articles. Some of them only give a citation
to the article, and some have the full-text. Here is a
list of databases you might want to try.
Note: if you are off
campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Gull Card
Academic Search Complete
- a multidisciplinary database from EBSCO with a mix
of scholarly and popular resources, a lot of
full-text and Find It links when there is no
full-text available. This is a great place to start your research. AND,
the EBSCO databases can be searched simultaneously.
Click here to see how!
scholarly full-text resources; the newest documents
are 3-5 years old. Lots
of Sociology journals in here!
Social Sciences Abstracts -
articles and citations for interdisciplinary
fields such as addiction studies, anthropology,
corrections, economics, gender studies, gerontology,
minority studies, political sciences, psychology,
sociology, and more. An
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 to it!
Links you to the
library catalog when we have the item you want in
print or microform.
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's a
tutorial that lets you see the Find It Button in
Citing your work:
Plagiarism 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.
This guide helps
students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid
Style Guide from the American Sociological Association
Guide from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue