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Guide to Using the OSU Library For High School Visitors Prof. Dan Chaney Humanities & Social Sciences Division Welcome to the OSU Libraries! We’re glad to have you visit the Library today. We hope all of you will choose to attend OSU when it comes time to make that decision.

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Guide to Using the OSU Library For High School Visitors

Prof. Dan Chaney

Humanities & Social Sciences Division


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Welcome to the OSU Libraries!

  • We’re glad to have you visit the Library today. We hope all of you will choose to attend OSU when it comes time to make that decision.

  • This is the Edmon Low Library, the main library here on the OSU campus.

  • We’re going to talk a little bit about doing research and using the OSU Library


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Library Data and Background

  • The OSU Library is a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries and is ranked as one of the top 108 research libraries in the US (out of over 3,000 research libraries nationally)

  • The Library collection numbers some 2.2 million volumes and over 10,000 periodical titles.

  • The Library has six floors of materials.

  • 40 full-time librarians, 60 support staff, and over 100 students work in the library.


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OSU Branch Libraries

You need to be aware of the three branch libraries at OSU because, depending on your research topic, materials you need may be in a branch library:

  • Veterinary Medicine Library (College of Veterinary Medicine) – materials dealing with animal medicine, health, etc.

  • Architecture Library (Architecture Building) – materials dealing with architecture, architectural engineering, building design, etc.

  • Curriculum Materials Library (Willard Hall) – a teacher education library, with an extensive collection of children’s books, textbooks, etc.



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Reference Desks

  • There are two reference desks in the Edmon Low Library:

    • Reference Desk (second floor): The main reference desk for the Library can help you access library resources, databases and collections. If you need assistance, start here.

    • Documents Reference Desk (fifth floor): A reference desk to assist people is accessing the expansive world of government documents.

  • Note: You should not expect reference desk staff to do your research for you, but if you have questions, by all means, please ask for assistance.


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Circulation Desk

  • The Circulation Desk is on the first floor, in the center of the floor.

  • You can check out books, if you have a courtesy card (more on that in a minute)


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Photocopiers

  • The Library has photocopiers on every floor.

  • Some copiers accept coins and cost .10 cents per page

  • Some copiers use copy cards and cost .07 cents per page.

  • Copy cards are like debit cards. You pay for the copies in advance, in amounts that range from $1 to $20. There is a .50 start up charge for copy cards and cards are reusable. Don’t throw away used up copy cards!

  • To buy a copy card, there are VendaCard dispensers on the first floor, outside Room 105 (Microforms) and near the North Doors.

  • If you need change to make copies, you can get change at the Stillwater CopyCenter, located next to the North Doors.


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How Can You Check Out Library Books?

  • If you are over 18 years of age and have a valid drivers license, you are eligible for a Courtesy Card, which allows you to check out books at the Library.

  • If you are not over 18, you cannot get a Courtesy Card.

  • Books can be checked out for 4 weeks at a time, and are renewable, as long as no one else needs them.

  • Overdue fines are .25 cents per day, per book.

  • If you have a courtesy card and check out books for your friends, be aware that the Library will hold you responsible for any overdue fines accrued in case your friends do not return the books they checked out.

  • Books can be renewed via email ([email protected]) or phone (405) 744-9741)

  • To get a Courtesy Card, go to the Circulation Desk on the first floor. Go early, don’t wait until 5 minutes before you leave – it takes time.



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Do Your Homework Before You Do Your Research

  • Do you know what your topic is?

  • Is it focused and specific?

    • Does it matter? YES!

    • Example: asking for information about William Shakespeare isn’t specific – the Library has thousands of books and periodicals about Shakespeare and his works. Asking for information about the use the plot device called star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – now that’s specific!

  • Remember: librarians are here to help you access information, not to help you narrow your research topic. (That’s what your teacher is here for )


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How Do We Begin?

  • After you’ve decided on a topic, you may want to spend a little time coming up with a list of words to describe your topic. (I call this process brainstorming)

  • When we start searching databases, different search terms will give you different results, so you’ll want to have a list of terms to search in case your first search gives you nothing.


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Brainstorming in Action

  • Suppose you’re interested in researching Native American Spirituality.

  • What are some other words we might use to describe Native Americans?

    • American Indians, native people, native cultures?

    • Remember the plural and singular versions of these words. Different spellings give different results.

  • What are some other words we might use to describe Spirituality?

    • Spiritual, spirit, spirits, spirited, religion, religions, faith, faiths, myth, myths, mythology, mythologies (get the idea?)

  • When you start searching databases, these are your keywords. Change them into and out of your search statements, but be logical about it.


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Finding Information

  • Where do you get your information?

    • Books

    • Periodicals

      • Newspapers

      • Magazines

      • Journals

  • We have databases to help you locate each different kind of information


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Accessing Information

  • Information is accessed via public access terminals throughout the library.

  • Computers are located primarily on the first, second and fifth floors, with library catalog workstations on the third and fourth floors and the basement.

  • There is no paper card catalog, it’s all electronic, and if you want to find anything, you’ll need a computer (which are in short supply at times)


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Finding Books

  • To find books, use the OSU Library Catalog.

  • The Library Catalog will also tell you if we own a periodical, such as Sports Illustrated or Time. (Note: if you need articles from periodicals, you will need to use a database such as ProQuest Direct or EBSCO – more on that later).

  • You can search for books by keyword, if you just have a topic in mind.

  • If you have a specific author or title, you can do a basic search.

  • If you want to see if the Library owns a periodical, do a basic search by journal title.

  • You can access the Library Catalog at http://osucatalog.library.okstate.edu/ (It’s free to the public.)


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“Cool! I Found 10,000 Books!”

  • Cool? That’s not cool. I don’t want to look through a list of 10,000 book titles, do you?

  • If you find more than 100 books from a keyword search, go back and enter another term(s) to your search.

  • Example: if you do a keyword search of the library catalog for Shakespeare, you’re going to get almost 3,000 books.

    • If you really want books that deal with Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet, add the word Romeo to the search. You’ll still have over 60 books.

    • If you really want books about criticizing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, go back and add the word criticism to the search. Now you have 14 books. Note: also consider using the keywords criticizing, critical, etc. (try critic?)

    • Don’t freak out if you can’t find anything in the Library Catalog. You should be able to find tons of things in our other databases, such as Literature Online. (More on that in a few.)


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Interpreting the Book Record

  • Click on the title of one of your results to see more information, such as the author, title, subtitle, publisher name, publisher place, date of publication, subject headings, etc.

  • Subjects tell you what the book is really about.

  • Below the Subjects, you’ll see the real heart of the record, the location, call number and the status.


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Book Location

  • Location tells you what library or branch the book is located in.

  • Remember, the OSU Library has three branch libraries.

    • Veterinary Medicine Library

    • Architecture Library

    • Curriculum Material Library

    • All are “road trips” across the OSU campus.


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Library Call Numbers

  • The Library assigns each book a unique call number.

  • A call number is like the street address to your home. It tells people where you live. A call number is pretty much the same thing. It tells people where a specific book lives.

  • The OSU Library uses the Dewey Decimal Number system for books, which is the same numbering system used by your school and public libraries.

  • Make sure to find a call slip before you go looking for a book. Call slips will tell you what floor your call number is located on.


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Book Status

  • The status part of the record tells you if the book is checked out or not.

  • If it says Not Checked Out that means the book should be on the shelf.

  • If it says Checked Out, Due with a date, that means someone has the book checked out and you won’t find it on the shelf.

  • If it says On Order or In Process that means the book isn’t really in the library at all – we are in the process of ordering it and it may not arrive for weeks or even months.


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Finding Periodicals

  • To find articles from newspapers, magazines and journals, use ProQuest Direct or EBSCO (Academic Search Elite).

  • Note: EBSCO is available through your local public library (state funded database) and you can get to it whenever it’s convenient. (You may need to call your local public library to get instructions.)


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ProQuest & EBSCO

  • Provide access to full-text periodicals, beginning roughly in 1986 and current through today.

  • Not every article is full-text, however.

  • If you find an article which isn’t full-text, search the Library Catalog by journal title to see if it’s available in the OSU Library.


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Searching ProQuest/EBSCO

  • Basically, you search these databases the same way you searched the Library Catalog.

  • If you get too many results, add another keyword. Keep adding keywords until you get less than 50 results.

  • Choose your search terms carefully!

  • Remember, different keywords might give you different results.

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 

  • PQD and EBSCO may not offer much assistance in literature research, but there in another place to look.


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For Literature Topics

  • Search Literature Online, a database of literature resources: books, journal and magazine articles, summaries, annotations, KnowledgeNotes,etc.

  • Search by author name and keyword for titles.

  • Full-text, similar to ProQuest.


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A Caution About Printing

If you find full-text articles on Literature Online, ProQuest or EBSCO, try to exercise some discretion with regard to printing. OSU students pay a technology fee, which supports their access to databases like ProQuest as well as the printers, toner and paper. Visitor groups haven’t paid the technology fee, and are essentially getting the benefits of the databases without paying the costs associated. Please exercise some good judgment regarding printing use – print 5 articles full-text, and send the rest via email to yourself. Emailing articles doesn’t cost the Library anything.


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A Gentle Reminder About Library Computers

  • The public computers in the Library are available on a first come first serve basis. Computer access can be scarce at peak usage times, 9:30am – 3:00pm

  • The computers have open access to the Internet, as many Library resources are available online.

  • We offer priority access to the Library computers for OSU students, faculty and staff.

  • We reserve the right to “bump” non-University personnel who are at Library workstations.

  • If we observe visitors using Library computers to waste time or OSU computing resources (i.e., chatrooms or reading email) we sometimes bump them first.

  • Don’t monopolize Library computer workstations, because the college students will complain!

  • I’ll keep this room (206) open for an hour or two, and I’ll be here if you need some help.


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Visitor Guidelines

  • As visitors to the OSU Libraries, please avoid making disruptive noises such as yelling, talking loudly, etc.

  • Please set cellular telephones to “vibrate” mode.

  • Food and drink are not encouraged in the Library.

  • Remember that you are a representative of your school while in the Library and on campus.

  • If complaints about high school students in the Library are registered, future library visits for that school can be denied.


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