Many of the library's web-based resources, such as article databases and electronic books, can be used off-campus anywhere you have access to the internet.
To access these items you must use the links provided on the library website or links located in research guides, such as this one.
Many people begin researching a new topic using the Wikipedia. Because anyone can edit a Wikipedia page it makes it very hard to know if the information contained in them is accurate. Because of this, Wikipedia is NEVER an appropriate source to cite in your assignments.
Instead, try beginning your search with this source, which performs similarly but contains information from reliable sources. It also links you to other library resources that you can use.
Knowing what to do first when starting a research project can be confusing. The first rule of starting a research project is to understand the assignment - what do you have to turn in? What kind of materials are you required to use? If you have questions about this, always ask your professor.
Once you understand what you need to turn in, the second step is to gather some background information on the topic you're researching. There are various things you can do or use to gather this introductory information:
An Important Note on Using Reference Materials: Reference materials are ONLY USED FOR GATHERING BACKGROUND INFORMATION. They are not used as a cited source.*
* Sometimes reference materials are cited, but only when they have been utilized as a primary source. See the Primary vs. Secondary Sources tab (above).
When starting a research paper or project you may not have a lot of knowledge of or information on the subject. That's where reference materials come in. Things like:
can be very useful in getting started.
Reference materials are used to gain academically sound background information on a topic. This background information will allow you to begin your research with basic knowledge of and information on your topic.
The UDC Library provides access to multiple types of reference materials in a variety of subject areas. Many of the library's reference materials are available online. (See below for links.) The library also has many other reference resources available on level B of Building 39 in the reference section.
Library fact: Many reference materials held by a library are not available for check out - they are available for in-library use only. This is done to ensure that all students have equal access to these helpful materials.
Reference resources are authoritative works that help you find summaries of information about people, things, and events. Reference resources often contain definitions, facts, timelines, and other helpful information. They are not comprehensive but provide great introductions to a topic. They're a great place to start your initial research and will help you find out more about your topic or idea. Many reference resources also link or refer you to additional information.
The library has many very useful subject-specific reference resources available in the Reference section.
For help finding and using these reference materials, please contact a reference librarian. You'll see contact information on HELP! page of this guide.