- Don't re-invent the wheel: use others' work to fuel your own research
- Let your feet (and fingers) do the walking: physical browsing can be as good or better than electronic searching
- Schedule for serendipity: browsing the library stacks is one of the best ways to discover new resources
- Get to know bibliographic records. They are your friends
- Don't do it alone: Use library services.
- Reference Help: The U of A Main Library is open virtually 24/7. That means there is always a reference specialist that you can call, contact virtually, or talk to in person that can help you with your information or technology problem. Don't get frustrated! Ask for help!
- Free Document Delivery: We'll scan any article or book chapter in our collection and send it to your email within 24 hours!
- Free Interlibrary Loan [ILL]: Articles requested through ILL take an average of 3 days (many much faster); Books average 11 days (but many take less than a week)
- Google is good (but only to a point)
- Start broadly then limit thoughtfully
- Use Union lists: learn what is "out there"
- Don't avoid library catalogs
- Don't forget about print resources
- Learning about the history of research in the subject and the relevant scholars is as important as (and is part of) researching the subject
- If you find what looks to be a promising source, don't give up on it
- Keep a good record of everything you look at (or at least everything you take notes from)
- Join academic listservs They are an invaluable resource (for now and later)
Testimonial: I never used a librarian the whole time I was in graduate school. I now realize how much time I wasted (we're talking whole months!) doing unfocused research. I wish I had all that time back!
Michael Brewer, Slavic Librarian (and former Ph.D. Candidate in Russian Literature)