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last updated: 4/21/2010

Chapter 3- Graduate Student Guide

What to do to get one-on-one reference support

We know, sometimes it’s hard asking for help. But as a graduate student you’re not expected to know all of the answers—after all, you’re here to learn. And with the number of ways to ask a librarian for help, it’s so easy that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it more as an undergrad.


1)      Face-to-face reference assistance is often the most rewarding. It allows for a back and forth exchange to identify what information you’re looking for and allows the librarian to guide you through the search process. Every branch library has a specialist to help you, and in Wells, there are many.


2)      Not at a library? Call the Reference Desk at (812) 855-8028.


3)      E-mail a librarian. Click on the Ask a Librarian link on any IU Libraries Web page and complete the short e-mail form. Reference questions are answered seven days a week. You’ll receive a response to your e-mail within 24 hours, and usually within 2 hours.


4)      For immediate online assistance, chat with a librarian via the Ask a Librarian link. Librarians are online during Wells Library East Tower hours, generally 8 a.m. til midnight.



100 Years of Reliable Answers IU hired its first reference librarian in 1908. Her name was Mary, but she doesn’t work here anymore.



How to get help from a librarian in your academic discipline

The IUB Libraries employ a number of specialist librarians, many of whom have advanced degrees in academic disciplines in addition to library and information science. Subject and area librarians can provide reference consultations for your research and teaching.


1)      Use the Ask a Librarian link on the IUB Libraries home page to set up a research consultation with a librarian.


2)      Subject and area collections librarians comprise over 35 specialists who serve as liaisons to academic departments, programs, and schools. To contact a librarian within a particular academic discipline search for Subject Specialist Librarian on the IUB Libraries home page and click on the Collection Managers Contact List link.


Some subject area librarians have offices in the stacks of the Wells Library or branch libraries, so don’t forget to stop by and say hi the next time you’re putting in some quality library time. After all, getting to know your subject area librarian can help you with current needs, like researching papers and projects, and future needs, like writing your thesis or dissertation.



How to improve your research skills

The secret to being a good researcher is knowing not only how to find information, but also how to find it quickly. Learn about the process. Be dogged and keep up to date.  


1)      For a current schedule of research seminars (workshops, really), visit the Reference Services Department’s home page under the Graduate Students tab at Register online. For additional information call the Reference Desk at (812) 855-8028 or e-mail


2)      Research while you sleep. Many subject-specific online indexes offer alert services. You can set up an account and receive journal content updates via e-mail. You can often submit journal title requests and keyword search requests.


3)      Sure you’ve joined the GPSO’s Facebook group, but you’ll also want to check out the Reference Department’s online events calendar. It contains information on upcoming reference and research-related workshops, seminars, and lectures.


4)      Search for resources specific to your subject area. Go online to the IUB libraries home page and click on the Resources Gateway tab, followed by the Resources by Subject link.



Reference Department research seminars include: Advanced IUCAT; WorldCat and Library Catalogs Worldwide; RSS and Current Awareness Services; Library Research on the Web; and others.




How to use primary sources


IU has outstanding collections of primary sources, which provide direct or firsthand evidence—unlike interpretations in textbooks or encyclopedias. By viewing primary sources for yourself, you become your own filter and take research to a new level. It’s primary, my dear Watson.


1)      Lilly Library. IU’s major repository for rare books and manuscripts. It’s worth a trip to view the changing exhibitions, but if you really want a thrill, go to the reading room and ask to see what interests you. You can pore through the papers of Orson Welles or Syliva Plath.


2)      IU Archives. The go-to source for information about the university, whether relating to students, faculty, or administration. The IU Archives (Wells, 4th Floor, East) collects papers, photos, films, memorabilia—you name it. Plus an outstanding collection of political papers.


3)      Government publications. Although an increasing amount of government information is available online, much remains in paper or microform. IU has been a federal depository since 1881. (Wells, 2nd Floor, East)


4)      Wylie House Museum. Built in 1835 by IU’s first president Andrew Wylie, this home is now a museum filled with period furnishings and artifacts.



Look online for collections of photos, newspapers, speeches, historical diaries and letters, and sheet music. 



Ingenta Connect indexes more than 26,000 English language periodicals, with full-text links to selected e-journals. Set up a free current awareness alerting account and receive journal content delivered to you via e-mail. You can submit up to 50 journal title requests and up to 25 keyword search requests.

How to live forever (Or make sure your dissertation does)  

By the time you leave IU, chances are you’ll have shed blood and tears over your dissertation. You want your hard work to be seen, cited, and preserved, right? IUScholarWorks can help.


1)      IUScholarWorks, a set of services from the Indiana University Libraries and Indiana University Digital Library Program, is a permanent digital home for IU’s research and scholarly materials.


2)      The IUScholarworks Repository showcases faculty and student scholarship by making it discoverable by search engines such as Google and assigns a stable, permanent Internet address so readers will always be able to find your work.


3)      Know your rights. Explore your options to see if potential publishers allow you to post you work in a local open-access repository. 


4)      Consult with your librarian to post your work in IUSW. 


last updated: 4/21/2010