Library Hacks

Oct 09
What’s a Journal Article?

So you’ve been asked to find a journal article, but no one told you what that means. You’ve come to the right place, my friend. Let’s talk. What are journals? Journals are publications that come out periodically, like once a month or twice a year, and are filled with all the new content that was submitted to them. There are journals for research, journals for book reviews, journals for creative writing—whatever you’re in to! Each time the journal publishes a new...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

Sep 11
What’s in a Bib Record?

Do you ever see something so different or complicated that you just have to pause and think, “What am I looking at here?” I think library records can look like that sometimes, so I’m going to use this post to clear up what we’re seeing when we do a search in the library’s Quick Search tool. You can access the library’s Quick Search from the Bell Library homepage. Type whatever you’re interested in (monkeys, lime beans, emo kid hair culture, etc.) into...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

Sep 08
You’ve watched all of Netflix……Now What?

This pandemic has been hard on us parents. I’m not going to lie, between working from home and trying to take care of three little boys, I’ve DEFINITELY leaned hard into Netflix and Disney+; and the combined $20 a month is WAY cheaper than a babysitter. The boys are entertained (for a few mins at least) and I can get a few emails answered. Everyone’s a winner. However, recently the unthinkable happened. My kids watched all of Netflix. No more episodes of StoryBots or...

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By: Rachel Bennett

Category: Things to Do Services for You Library Hacks

Sep 01
You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: Bell Library’s COVID Guide

You’ve made it to the 3rd week of Fall 2020, bravo!! I really mean it. Congratulations to you, whether you’re a student, faculty, or staff!! Since March we’ve been living in a world that can simply be described as: 2020. That’s right! This year has been so crazy that if Godzilla popped up somewhere the phrase, “that’s 2020 for you” is an accurate remark. With our 2020 bingo cards to our monthly reaction memes, it has been a rollercoaster to say the...

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By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Library Hacks Services for You News @ Your Library

Aug 07
How to Study Better at Home

For most of us, the library was a place to “get it done.” It created an environment for the sole purpose to improve studying and it had resources in one convenient place to do so. For me, these past few weeks transitioning to online learning have been difficult. So, I listed a few tips that have helped me adjust and may help you all as well. CLEAN YOUR ROOM I cannot stress this step enough. Studying at home means you’re going to be home… a lot. This means siblings...

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By: Victoria Quinones, Access Services Student Assistant

Category: Library Hacks Library Randomness

Jul 31
The Truth is Out There: #FactCheckFriday Taking Down Misinformation One “Fact” at a Time

“A cabal of doctors is hiding the cure for cancer, berries are more effective than vaccines, and eating instant noodles can kill you: These are some of the claims from the internet's most viral fake health news in 2019.” This is how an article by Brandy Zadrozny for NBC News began. The article, released in December 2019, discusses the prevalence of misinformation. Through the library blog, I’ve previously discussed society’s misinformation woes and shared the Media...

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By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Library Hacks

Jun 09
A Wonderland of Music: Naxos Music Library

Hey, classical music lovers… Did you know that the Mary and Jeff Bell Library provides access to a database of over 150,000 albums? That’s right, Naxos Music Library (NML) has a huge catalog of (primarily) classical streaming music, and it’s freely available to all TAMU-CC students, faculty, and staff. There are several ways you can select something to listen to. You can search for a specific work, of course. Or you can click the “People” link from the menu on...

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By: Derrik Hiatt

Category: Services for You Things to Do Library Hacks

May 29
Bias-Free Since 2016: Using the Media Bias Chart to Share Unbiased News

“Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president” – 2016 Headline During the 2016 Presidential campaigns, this headline gathered approximately 960,000 Facebook engagements1. Of course, it wasn’t the only “fake news” headline or story making rounds through social media, private messages, and even legit news sources during this time. While the idea of fake news – or misinformation/disinformation – isn’t anything new (for...

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By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Library Hacks

May 05
Yoo Hoo! Check us out on YouTube!

We’re all adjusting to some changes right now, and just like you (probably), the library is working from home now! This means we’ve had to adapt our services a bit. We’re buying more ebooks, we’re responding to chats, phone calls, and email reference questions from our homes, and finally, we’ve taken our instruction online! We’re really missing our students these days, and not getting to see you all in the library is honestly a bummer. But just because we...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks Things to Do Services for You We Made This

Mar 27
Something to Watch While You're Self-Isolating

Spring 2020 and the threat of COVID19 have us all holed up in our homes self isolating and social distancing. I thought this would be a great time to tell you all about one of our library databases called Kanopy. Kanopy is a streaming video database similar to Netflix. While there are academic videos in Kanopy, there is also a wealth of feature length movies and documentaries. You can even load the Kanopy app on your smart TV, log into your account, and watch movies until it is safe to go...

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By: Ed Warga

Category: Things to Do Services for You Library Hacks

Mar 20
Things I Looked Up Last Week

Research means a lot of things to a lot of people. If we’re talking primary research, we’re referring to someone who’s conducted a study, observed the results, and drawn a conclusion. If we’re talking about secondary research then we’re usually referring to when a researcher searched for a bunch of research and information sources and created something new with all of that information, like a literature review, systematic review, or a book. We do research all the...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Things to Do Library Randomness Library Hacks

Feb 21
Texas Archival Resources Online

When I moved from New York to Texas last year, I discovered that Texans are truly devoted to their state’s history. Perhaps then it’s no surprise that Texas repositories have banded together to offer a really cool way to research their state’s history: Texas Archival Resources Online. As we discussed in my last blog post, TARO is a website that gathers finding aids from institutions across Texas in one place. But why does it exist? How can you use it? And why should you...

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By: Kim Gianfrancesco

Category: Library Hacks Services for You

Feb 07
Live in Texas? Read E-Books for Free

Gifted a Kindle for Christmas? Don’t want to send Amazon all your money? You should join the Houston Public Library! Houston Public Library supplies library cards to all Texas residents free of charge. So, if you call Texas home you have access to all of Houston Public’s e-book collections. Moreover, by using the Libby app, you can send checked-out e-books directly to your Kindle. There’s an easy online application. And if that doesn’t work (sometimes the webpage has...

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By: Brenton Day

Category: Library Hacks Services for You

Jan 21
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: Selecting Your Next Leisure Read

Raise your hands, how many of you turn into a kid in a candy store when you walk into a bookstore? Now, how many of you believe the following statement to be true: “Despite the fact that I have a table, shelf, floor, etc., full of books I’ve purchased and have yet to read, I still need more?” My own hand is way up because I love books (so typical of a librarian, I know). As a matter of fact, I’ve reached the point where if I’m purchasing a book as a gift, I have...

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By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Behind the Scenes Books & More Library Hacks

Jan 17
Lateral Reading: It's What the Cool Kids are Doing

Right now we (society) are in a little bit of trouble over the proliferation of information. Specifically, how easy it is to produce and share information. Widely shared information can be deeply influential, which is why some people choose to spread misinformation, which is information that’s either misleading or just incorrect. Sometimes we share misinformation on social media because it confirms our biases (yes, we all have biases even if we think we’re perfect, fact-based...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

Dec 13
Another (Very Important) Library

Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you’re a fan of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. Our library here at TAMU-CC is an important resource for your academic work. It’s also a great place to study, look at terrific art exhibits, hop on a computer and get those assignments done, or grab a print job on your way to class. But there’s another library that is also very important: our local public library. What’s public about a public library? It’s a library...

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By: Lisa Louis

Category: Books & More Library Hacks Things to Do

Dec 06
What's in a Name: Getting to Know Library Jargon

We here in the library, like many other occupations, have specific jargon we use in our day-to-day work. We do realize this can be confusing and do our best to make things easy to understand. For example, we renamed the reference desk and now call it the Ask-Us Desk. However, some other areas or words are not so easily interchangeable. Below I’ll go over a few of those to try and help you out. Archives Archives at TAMU-CC refers to the collecting, sorting, and cataloging of all papers...

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By: Amie Cuvelier

Category: Library Hacks Behind the Scenes Services for You

Dec 03
What Database Should I Use?

One of the most frequent questions we get at the Ask Us Desk is “what database should I use?” This post is here to explain the basic makeup of databases, the options available to you, and how to go about picking one for your research needs. What’s a database? A database is essentially a container. Think of it like a box. Inside the box are a bunch of journals and in the pages of those journals are the articles people look for when they’re trying to compile research on...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks Services for You

Nov 08
Getting Help from a Librarian

Whether it’s finding an article, knowing where to start your research project, or finding new paths to search when you’re stuck, your librarians are here to help! How can a librarian help? Librarians can help with anything from simple questions about accessing research materials, to developing better search strategies, to helping you evaluate the sources you find. Here are some examples of how librarians can assist: Guiding you on choosing a topic and identifying keywords to...

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By: Anjanette Jones

Category: Library Hacks Services for You

Oct 08
Opening the Classroom: Using Open Educational Practices to Reimagine Teaching and Learning

Have you heard of "open educational resources" or "OER"? These are educational materials that are available for free via the Internet which can be used, reused, remixed, and redistributed by anyone who wants to learn or teach.1 We often hear about OER in the context of textbook affordability. Students these days pay a lot of money for the textbooks which are produced by for-profit publishers. Studies have shown that many students are forced to choose between paying for textbooks and paying...

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By: Lisa Louis

Category: Services for You Books & More Library Hacks

Oct 04
What is with all those library locations?

You have your research topic all picked out (Good for you! I think that might be the hardest part). Your instructor says you have to use 3 physical resources in the library, so you’ve gone to the Library’s Quick Search, searched your topic, limited your search to just the “Library Catalog” (found under the “Refine Your Search” menu on the left side of the page) and now you’ve found the perfect source, but the location says… microfilm????? What...

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By: Amie Cuvelier

Category: Library Hacks Behind the Scenes

Aug 13
What do you do with those extra books?

Have you ever started doing a spring or summer or fall or winter or some other time cleaning and come across books you haven’t seen or used in years? Have you ever wondered what to do with books you no longer want or need?   Believe it or not, there are several wonderful options available for these books if they are in good condition, i.e. all the pages are there and readable, no mold or mildew, and the binding is in good shape. One option involves gifting them to your friends or...

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By: Michele Hall

Category: Books & More Library Hacks

Jul 30
Frame of the Day: Searching as Strategic Exploration

We’ve done it, friends. We’ve reached the final frame in the ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education: Searching as Strategic Exploration. Thanks for sticking with me!   “Searching as Strategic Exploration” addresses the part of information literacy that we think of as “Research.” It deals with the actual task of searching for information, and the word “Exploration” is a really good word to use because it’s...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

Jul 26
Wherefore “Arch” Thou?: Finding the Archival Collections You Need

Have you ever been interested in doing archival research, but you’re not sure where to start? Unlike most other library resources, archival collections are generally unique materials which only exist in one place. This is why they can be so valuable to research, since the information and perspective they contain often can’t be found anywhere else. But it also presents a problem: How to locate the collections which might be useful to you. Here are some tips and tricks on tracking...

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By: Kimberly Gianfrancesco

Category: Behind the Scenes Library Hacks

Jul 09
Frame of the Day: Scholarship as Conversation

We’ve made it, everyone. We’ve arrived at my favorite frame: Scholarship as Conversation. Is it weird to have a favorite frame of information literacy? Probably. Am I going to talk about it anyway? You betcha. What does Scholarship as Conversation mean? Scholarship as conversation refers to the way scholars reference each other and build off of one another’s work, just like in a conversation. Have you ever had a conversation that started when you asked someone what they did...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

Jun 25
Podcasting for Everyone…At Your Library!

Have you ever listened to a podcast and thought: "Hey, I could do that!" Well, I'm taking a class on podcasting this summer, and I can tell you that yes, you probably can do that, but there is a lot to know about the equipment, audio editing, software, storytelling, and interview preparation. To create a podcast episode you will need a recording setup and audio software to edit the recording. And guess what? The library's got you covered in the I-Create Lab! Visit the I-Create Lab on the...

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By: Lisa Louis

Category: We Made This Services for You Library Hacks

Jun 14
Frame of the Day: Research as Inquiry

Onward! This week we’re talking about the Information Literacy Frame Research as Inquiry. Inquiry is another word for curiosity or questioning. I like to think of this frame as Research as Curiosity, because I think it more accurately captures the way our adorable human brains work. Inquiring Minds Want to Know When you think to yourself, “How old is Madonna?” and you Google it to find out she’s 60 (as of the creation of this post), that’s research! You had a...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

May 28
Frame of the Day: Information Has Value

Today we're talking about the third Frame of Information Literacy, which is Information Has Value. By the way, these frames aren't organized by importance —it's just alphabetical. There are a lot of different ways we value things. Some things, like money, are valuable to us because we can exchange them for goods and services. On the other hand, some things, like a skill, are valuable to use because we can exchange them for money (which we exchange for more goods and services). Some...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks

May 17
Mediasite, what is it and who can use it?

As part of a joint venture between the Library and the University Technology Council (UTC) to bring a video streaming service to the campus community, Mediasite was selected for a one-year pilot program in the fall of 2017. After a successful test phase Mediasite has been in full production since the fall of 2018. So, what is Mediasite and who can use it? Well in the library we use it for our video course reserve materials. Pretty much gone are the days when students had to come to the...

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By: Abel Cantu

Category: Library Hacks Tech in the Library Services for You

May 07
Frame of the Day: Information Creation as a Process

In our April 2nd post, we discussed the Information Literacy Frame, Authority is Constructed and Contextual. Today, we'll focus on the second frame: Information Creation as a Process.  So first of all, let's get this out of the way: Everyone is a creator of information. When you write an essay, you're creating information. When you log the temperature of the lizard tank, you're creating information. Every Word doc, Google Doc, survey, spreadsheet, Tweet, and PowerPoint that you've ever...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Hacks Behind the Scenes

Apr 23
Do You Suffer from Library Anxiety?

Yep, it’s a real thing, and you may suffer from it without even knowing it. Library anxiety is a common problem that can prevent people from using the library and its resources effectively, which can hurt your ability to complete coursework or possibly lower your potential grade. So, what exactly is library anxiety? Very basically, library anxiety is a fear of either using the library space, which is often seen as overwhelming and confusing, or the fear of not knowing how to find...

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By: Anjanette Jones

Category: Library Hacks

Apr 05
Ways to Relax in the Library

We here at the Mary and Jeff Bell Library understand that life can be stressful. This is why we offer a variety of ways to help take the edge off of your tense day. We currently offer 38 games of different varieties that you and your friends can use inside the library. These games range from time honored board games like Monopoly and Candyland to games like trivia based on the TV show the Walking Dead. Below you will find a full list of everything we currently offer as far as board games are...

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By: Rob Rios

Category: Library Hacks Things to Do Services for You

Apr 02
Frame of the Day: Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Last Friday, the Dean of the Library, Cate Rudowsky, wrote a blog post discussing the upcoming Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), information literacy, and why it’s all important. I’m going to dig a little bit deeper and talk about the actual concepts as they have been outlined in The Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, the go-to resource on everything you need to know about information literacy, which for the sake of my typin’ fingers, I’m just going...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Today’s Special Library Hacks

Feb 12
Down the Rabbit Hole

Have you ever Googled David Bowie's age and wound up learning about Wild Bill Hickok's famous shootout? Well, I'll let you in on a secret. That counts as research! At Bell Library, we encourage that kind of research and, more to the point, we encourage the use of Wikipedia. Now, I'm not saying you should cite Wikipedia in your lab report, but I am saying that Wikipedia is an amazing resource and just because it's crowd-sourced doesn't mean it's worthless. I use it all the time because it's...

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By: Emily Metcalf

Category: Library Randomness Library Hacks