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Library Services

Need help with research? You've come to the right place! Several professional librarians are willing and able to assist you with your research needs. We'll gladly guide you to the right resources, provide a fast track to often used links, and assist with minor document/technical issues. All you need to do is ask.

You have several ways of contacting us - walk-in, email, chat, text-a-librarian and phone. Please visit Ask-A-Librarian on the library page for further information.

Interlibrary Loan is a service provided for West Virginia State University faculty, staff, andcurrently enrolled students.

Online forms are attached below. After completion an email with your submitted information will automatically be sent to you. After the forms are submitted the process takes 5 days to 2 weeks. Books and other physical materials may be picked up at the library. You will be notified of their arrival. Materials that arrive in digital format at the Drain-Jordan Library for your use will be forwarded to you at the WVSU email address that you submitted on the request form.

If you decide you no longer need the material, PLEASE notify the library; although the borrower is not usually charged for loans, the libraryhas to pay fees for borrowed material.

The library uses two different forms for ILL: one for periodicals (magazine, journal and newspaper articles) and one for books, pamphlets, and other documents. Please fill out the forms with complete information the forms are new and you may need to adapt the information for clarity.

Forms for Periodicals
Forms for Books, pamphlets, documents

Welcome to the Library portal for User Education. This site provides access to information, Library instruction, helpful resource guides, online tutorials, and more.

  • Find/Getting Started - Provides instructional information on finding books, articles, and reference materials.
  • Find More/Doing Research - Provides access to instructional guides on finding more specialized library materials, such as book reviews, presidential papers, speeches, etc.
  • Research/Quick Starts - Discover the research process. Contains instructional guides on lhow to select a topic, create an annotated bibliography, and more.
  • Cite/How to & Why Should I Cite - Citation is an important step in documenting and crediting your paper's references. Learn how to properly cite using formats such as APA and MLA.
  • Evaluate/Review and Evaluate - Evaluating academic materials is an important part of the research process. Learn how to determine if a source is appropriate for your scholarly needs.
  • iGuides/Internet Evaluation - A basic introduction to the Internet and the WWW. Provides instruction on search strategies and Internet search tools.
  • Stuck?/Tips and Strategies - A suite of interactive web sources designed to guide users through a variety of library resources. Includes modules on evaluating resources, plagiarism, and research.

Research Assignment: Getting Started
A: Getting Started 

An excellent starting point for your research is the Drain-Jordan Library. Whether you come into the library to use print resources such as general or specialized encyclopedias or you begin your search online through the library's databases, you can rest assured that the library resources are credible and valid. Now let's get started.

A-1: Topic Selection and Basic Information 

The majority of your research will be dictated by class assignments.
  • Do you need to present a pro and con paper on a controversial subject such as gun control?
  • Do you need to elaborate on a subject and then draw your educated conclusions on a subject like global warming?
  • Sometimes you'll need to explain a technical idea clearly such as explaining how to develop a simple computer program.
Whatever type of paper (assignment) is required, you will need a topic.

By selecting a topic that appeals to you, the assignment becomes more meaningful and engaging. If it is a stimulating topic for you it becomes less dull and retains your interest.

After topic selection you will probably need to develop a thesis statement.  A thesis statement is an idea or concept your're trying to prove.

For example, the topic is gun control.

But a thesis statement related to gun control could be "Lack of gun control results in increased murder rates in the United States."

At this point you should be ready to begin some basic research. For an overview of your chosen topic you may want to check for library books and/or ebooks. Visit the main library page ( and select Library Catalog. Searching the Library Catalog will retrieve both print and electronic (e)books. The Reference Department (1st floor of the library) has general and specialized encyclopedias which can also help you get started.

Research Assignment: Doing Research

B: Doing Research

Since you now have a topic/thesis statement, let's begin by finding relevant resources. You can be assured the library's resources are credible and authoritative. Reserve your Wikipedia and Google searches to find out very, very general, PRELIMINARY information and don't depend solely on those two sources. Many professors will automatically discount those two sources.


B-1: More Resources

You already know where to find books and ebooks on the library's web site Topic Selection and Basic Information/Getting Started. Now let's talk about where most of your research happens - databases. Databases refer to journal articles in electronic format provided by the library. Databases are accessed through the library's webpages: from the main library page, under the picture select the link for Journal Articles. You can also select (under Research Tools in the picture list) Database Journal Articles. Both links take you to the main database page, where you will see an alphabetical listing of available databases (names of databases are larger and linked). Clicking on the name of the database will open the first search page on campus.


IF YOU WANT TO SEARCH THE DATABASES OFF CAMPUS-CLICK on the boxed link at the end of the database you want to search.

Most of the library databases are available off campus BUT A FEW ARE NOT.



  • Each database is different but listed below are some general guidelines when constructing your search:

  • Search Construction:
    Don't input an entire sentence or your thesis statement into a search box. This seems to confuse the database. Pick out the major words or general topic of your research. If your search doesn't yield any results, use related words or synonyms. For example, instead of gun control you might try firearm legislation.
  • Spelling:
    WATCH YOUR SPELLING!! Databases are unforgiving when it comes to misspelled words.
  • Full-text what is it and how can it help me?:
    Most databases allow you to search for full text articles. Full text means the complete article. In other words, if you mark full text when constructing your search, you'll be able to read the complete article online. If you don't mark full text, you will get a combination of full text and abstract only articles. The abstract only articles provide just a summary or abstract of the article - not the complete or entire article.
  • Scholarly (peer-reviewed) or popular articles and why does it matter?:
    Oftentimes your teachers will require your resources to be scholarly or peer reviewed. These resources have been reviewed by peers who are experts in that particular field in order to check for valid, excellent research. See Looking for Articles in Journals and Magazines:Scholarly or Popular? for more in-depth information regarding scholarly (peer-reviewed) and popular articles.
  • More help:
    If you're having trouble, contact the library for additional help. Please click on the link for various ways to contact the library Ask a Librarian. Librarians are trained and more than happy to help with your research.

Research Assignment: Library Terms

Library Terms Translated

A brief summary of a book or article.
A yearly publication often containing statistics and data of all kinds and information on the events of the previous year.
An organized collection of papers or records preserved for research and reference.
A book of maps.
Bibliographic Citation:
A list of citations at the end of a paper, chapter or book. There are also books entirely made up of bibliographies. These are usually about a particular subject or by a particular author.
Boolean Logic/Boolean Operators:
A system of linking terms using the Boolean Operators AND, OR and NOT. Can be used in paper research but is most beneficial in computer searching whether on a search engine or a specific database.
Bound Periodical/Bound Volume:
Several issues of a journal placed together between a hard cover.
(In computer searching) To look through various items to make a selection, such as a list of titles, authors, subjects, hypertext links, etc.
Call Number:
A code of letters and numbers that describes the subject of a book and assigns it to a location on the shelves.
Check out/Check in:
To borrow materials, such as books, DVDs or media, from the library/To return materials to the library.
Materials that can be borrowed from the library circulate. Books/periodicals identified as "reference" or "building only" are noncirculating and usually do not leave the building.
A complete reference to a book or article that has all the information necessary to identify it and find it. Book citations usually include the author, title, journal name, date, volume, issues and pages.
To give a citation, or reference, to something. (Do not confuse with: Site.)
Controlled Vocabulary:
A list of standardized words or phrases used in a particular database for computer searching. Descriptors and Library of Congress Subject Headings are controlled vocabularies.
To gather together. Printed indexes to journals are often published each month; at the end of the year they may be cumulated - combined in one volume.
Current Periodicals:
Recent issues (the current year) of magazines or journals. These can be found, in paper format, in the Periodicals.
A collection of information in electronic form, organized for rapid computer searching. In the library, frequently used research databases can be found in different forms from the library's homepage.
In certain databases, a standardized term used to describe the subject of a journal article.
An original or official paper or publication.
Due Date:
The date by which borrowed library materials must be returned.
Any computer search service which can be accessed by the user independently.
A specific area in a database record that a computer can be made to search. Author, title, descriptor, and document type are examples of fields.
Full Text:
Entire, or nearly entire, articles in journals, newspapers, etc., that you can access directly on the computer. Graphics may not be included in HTML full-text, but will be in PDF versions.
Government Publications:
Documents published by the U.S. Government.
The books or years of a journal title a library owns. Although a journal may have begun in 1896, the library?s HOLDINGS begin with the year it first purchased a subscription.
The first page, which is usually a welcoming or organizing page, on an Internet site.
Hyperlink or Link:
Words or images that a computer user can click on or select to be linked to more information.
The organizing principle of the World Wide Web that joins related concepts together through links within and between documents.
Instructional Materials Center. Located on the Ground Floor of the library, the IMC supports the needs of Education majors. Located here are tools to use for the creation of multimedia projects and teaching preparation/practice.
  1. An alphabetical list of topics and their page numbers found in the back of a book.
  2. An alphabetical list in electronic form of the authors, titles or topics that appear in a particular database.
  3. A reference book, Web database or online service that refers you to books, articles or other works.
A worldwide network of computer networks that is rich in information. The Internet includes electronic mail (e-mail), file transfer (FTP), remote login (telnet) and World Wide Web (WWW).
More scholarly than magazines, journals print articles on academic subjects and are often published by professional groups or institutions.
Keyword Searching:
A method of computer searching based on natural language rather than a controlled vocabulary list. Important "key" words that might appear in titles, abstracts, or in full-text articles are chosen for search terms.
Library of Congress Classification system:
This is the official classification system used by most larger English language libraries to assign a specific location for each tool (book, CD, atlas, encyclopedia ?). This is the system used by the Drain-Jordan Library at West Virginia State University.
Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Official list of words and phrases used to describe what books and other items are about. These expressions are be used for subject heading searches in the library's catalog that uses the Library of Congress classification system.
A publication with articles often intended for recreational reading. Magazines are usually aimed at a more general audience than journals.
Microform / Microfilm /Microfiche:
Microform is a general term for microfiche and microfilm. These are photographic media used to access journals, newspapers, etc., in miniature form. Microfiche (or fiche) comes on sheets of film; microfilm comes on rolls. You must use special machines to read, enlarge and photocopy microforms.
A group of computers that share information.
Connected to a computer network.
Online Catalog:
Database on which you can check by author, title, and subject to see what the library owns and where it is located.
Online Public Access Catalog, the same as online catalog.
Materials that have not been returned by their due date are considered overdue.
Any publication which appears at regular intervals and contains separate articles. A general term applied to newspapers, magazines and journals.
Periodical Index:
An index that refers you to articles in periodicals, including newspapers. On the library's homepage they are listed as DATABASES.
Periodicals Room:
Section of the main floor of the library where periodicals are shelved alphabetically by title.
Primary Source:
Original document, such as a manuscript or a typed or handwritten text. Contains firsthand information about a topic.
Ready Reference Area:
The set of shelves near the Reference Desk where the most frequently used reference books are kept.
The basic unit of information in a database. Most of the library's databases have bibliographic records. Records often include the title, author, journal name, year, other public information and a summary or content note to help the patron know more about the item before they go to the shelf.
Reference Department:
Section on the main floor with books in which you look up information. Some examples are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Since many people need to use them often, they do not circulate.
Remote Access:
The ability to connect to a computer from a distant place. Students and faculty have remote access to the library's catalog and other research databases.
To extend the due date on a book or other library material.
A book or an article set aside, at the request of a faculty member so that many students in a class can use it. Sometimes these items are the library's and sometimes they belong to the faculty member. Reserve materials are available at the Circulation Desk.
(In computer searching) To get or access data.
Search Statement / Search Query:
The terms and operators you type into the computer when conducting a search
A place on the Internet, such as a company?s World Wide Web page. (Do not confuse with: Cite.)
Library shelves. In the Drain-Jordan Library usually refers to the circulating stacks.
Subject Heading:
See: Library of Congress Subject Headings
A computer workstation.
  1. A book of synonyms and antonyms.
  2. A book or electronic resource that accompanies a particular database or field of study and lists the standardized, controlled vocabulary, such as descriptors, that can be used for search terms.
(In computer searching) The technique of using a symbol with a word stem to make the computer retrieve various forms of the word. Example: In the library's catalog using the keyword search violin* will retrieve violin, violins, and violinist.
Uniform Resource Locator. A World Wide Web address. Example:
World Wide Web / WWW:
The part of the Internet based on hypertext. When you use the browsers Firefox or Internet Explorer, you are viewing the WWW.

Library Terms Translated list used with full permission of University of Albany and Carol Anne Germain. The University of Albany page is maintained by Carol Anne Germain at
Copyright 2011 University at Albany. All rights reserved. Last updated October 2011. Terms updated with local data July 2012. (jmf)  

Citing Sources

What is a citation?

  1. A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
  2. information about the author,
  3. the title of the work
  4. the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  5. the date your copy was published
  6. the page numbers of the material you are borrowing

Why should I cite sources?

  1. Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people's work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:
  2. citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from.
  3. not all sources are good or right -- your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else's bad ideas.
  4. citing sources shows the amount of research you've done.
  5. citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

Doesn't citing sources make my work seem less original?

Not at all. On the contrary, citing sources actually helps your reader distinguish your ideas from those of your sources. This will actually emphasize the originality of your own work.

When do I need to cite?

  1. Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:
  2. whenever you use quotes
  3. whenever you paraphrase
  4. whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
  5. whenever you make specific reference to the work of another
  6. whenever someone else's work has been critical in developing your own ideas.

How do I cite sources?

This depends on what type of work you are writing, how you are using the borrowed material, and the expectations of your instructor.

First, you have to think about how you want to identify your sources. If your sources are very important to your ideas, you should mention the author and work in a sentence that introduces your citation. If, however, you are only citing the source to make a minor point, you may consider using parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes.

There are also different forms of citation for different disciplines. For example, when you cite sources in a psychology paper you would probably use a different form of citation than you might in a paper for an English class.

Finally, you should always consult your instructor to determine the form of citation appropriate for your paper. You can save a lot of time and energy simply by asking "How should I cite my sources," or "What style of citation should I use?" before you begin writing.


To properly cite a source, most styles have two necessary components: the in-text citation which corresponds to a specific source in the bibliography or works cited page.

Follow the guidelines in the citation manuals carefully to understand how to cite sources in the text of your paper as well as how to cite them at the end of your paper in a listed bibliography (also called a "works cited" list or "references").

Additional citation information:

  • The Purdue Owl Writing Center website has excellent, in depth instructions regarding formatting citation.
  • The WVSU Library keeps the most up to date APA (American Psychological Association) and the MLA (Modern Language Association) style manuals at the reference desk which is located in the 1st floor lobby area near the computers. Just ask a librarian for these.
  • MLA 8th ed. info: pdf version; docx version
  • Free 7th ed. MLA tutorial provided by the Hunter College Reading/Writing Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) system.
  • Free APA tutorial provided by the Hunter College Reading/Writing Center of the City University of New York (CUNY).
  • The WVSU Writing Center is located on the second floor of the library. Tutors are available to assist with writing/research assignments.

Identifying Sources in the Body of Your Paper

The first time you cite a source, it is almost always a good idea to mention its author(s), title, and genre (book, article, or web page, etc.). If the source is central to your work, you may want to introduce it in a separate sentence or two, summarizing its importance and main ideas. But often you can just tag this information onto the beginning or end of a sentence. For example, the following sentence puts information about the author and work before the quotation:

Milan Kundera, in his book The Art of the Novel, suggests that "if the novel should really disappear, it will do so not because it has exhausted its powers but because it exists in a world grown alien to it."

You may also want to describe the author(s) if they are not famous, or if you have reason to believe your reader does not know them. You should say whether they are economic analysts, artists, physicists, etc. If you do not know anything about the author, and cannot find any information, it is best to say where you found the source and why you believe it is credible and worth citing. For example,

In an essay presented at an Asian Studies conference held at Duke University, Sheldon Geron analyzes the relation of state, labor-unions, and small businesses in Japan between 1950s and 1980s.

If you have already introduced the author and work from which you are citing, and you are obviously referring to the same work, you probably don't need to mention them again. However, if you have cited other sources and then go back to one you had cited earlier, it is a good idea to mention at least the author's name again (and the work if you have referred to more than one by this author) to avoid confusion.

Listing References

What's a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of all of the sources you have used in the process of researching your work. In general, a bibliography should include:
  1. the authors' names
  2. the titles of the works
  3. the names and locations of the companies that published your copies of the sources
  4. the dates your copies were published
  5. the page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)

Ok, so what's an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is the same as a bibliography with one important difference: in an annotated bibliography, the bibliographic information is followed by a brief description of the content, quality, and usefulness of the source.

What are Footnotes?

Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of a page. They cite references or comment on a designated part of the text above it. For example, say you want to add an interesting comment to a sentence you have written, but the comment is not directly related to the argument of your paragraph. In this case, you could add the symbol for a footnote. Then, at the bottom of the page you could reprint the symbol and insert your comment. Here is an example: This is an illustration of a footnote.,1 The number "1" at the end of the previous sentence corresponds with the note below. See how it fits in the body of the text?

1 At the bottom of the page you can insert your comments about the sentence preceding the footnote.

When your reader comes across the footnote in the main text of your paper, he or she could look down at your comments right away, or else continue reading the paragraph and read your comments at the end. Because this makes it convenient for your reader, most citation styles require that you use either footnotes or endnotes in your paper. Some, however, allow you to make parenthetical references (author, date) in the body of your work. See our section on citation styles for more information.

Footnotes are not just for interesting comments, however. Sometimes they simply refer to relevant sources -- they let your reader know where certain material came from, or where they can look for other sources on the subject. To decide whether you should cite your sources in footnotes or in the body of your paper, you should ask your instructor or see our section on citation styles.

Where does the little footnote mark go?

Whenever possible, put the footnote at the end of a sentence, immediately following the period or whatever punctuation mark completes that sentence. Skip two spaces after the footnote before you begin the next sentence. If you must include the footnote in the middle of a sentence for the sake of clarity, or because the sentence has more than one footnote (try to avoid this!), try to put it at the end of the most relevant phrase, after a comma or other punctuation mark. Otherwise, put it right at the end of the most relevant word. If the footnote is not at the end of a sentence, skip only one space after it.

What's the difference between Footnotes and Endnotes?

The only real difference is placement -- footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page, while endnotes all appear at the end of your document. If you want your reader to read your notes right away, footnotes are more likely to get your reader's attention. Endnotes, on the other hand, are less intrusive and will not interrupt the flow of your paper.

If I cite sources in the Footnotes (or Endnotes), how's that different from a Bibliography?

Sometimes you may be asked to include these -- especially if you have used a parenthetical style of citation. A "works cited" page is a list of all the works from which you have borrowed material. Your reader may find this more convenient than footnotes or endnotes because he or she will not have to wade through all of the comments and other information in order to see the sources from which you drew your material. A "works consulted" page is a complement to a "works cited" page, listing all of the works you used, whether they were useful or not.

Isn't a "works consulted" page the same as a "bibliography," then?

Well, yes. The title is different because "works consulted" pages are meant to complement "works cited" pages, and bibliographies may list other relevant sources in addition to those mentioned in footnotes or endnotes. Choosing to title your bibliography "Works Consulted" or "Selected Bibliography" may help specify the relevance of the sources listed.

Research Assignment: Website Evaluation

F: Website Evaluation for Research

No doubt throughout the course of your research you will probably use some websites. How can you determine the best websites for your research?

F-1: Website Evaluation

The following lists an objective way to determine the validity of freely available web sites:
  • Authority: Who Wrote It?
    The author's name and contact information should be clearly stated on the site, whether it is a personal, corporate or agency website.

    • What type of domain is the site on? Extensions such as .gov, .edu and .aero are sponsored domains, meaning that domain access is restricted to maintain integrity of the resources. This doesn't mean that there isn't valuable information to be found on .com, .org, .us (or other national) domains, but it is worth considering when accessing a site that isn't on a sponsored domain.
    • Does the author list his or her academic credentials? A list of citations this person has written in scholarly publications is a sign that this may be a credible source of information.

  • Integrity/Objectivity/Bias: Why Was This Written?
    The resource should include all relevant information on the topic and present it in an objective manner. An article written with bias towards a particular viewpoint cannot usually be trusted.

    • What is the purpose of the site? Is there any information that has been left out? This may be an indication of bias towards only one point of view. Example: articles about the death penalty that only mention the "for" side, and not the "against."
    • Is there a conflict of interest? Example: a person recommends a product without mentioning that they own a large portion of that product's stock and will benefit from its sale.
    • Is the information accurate? A bibliography that lists citations for reputable publications is a sign that this is a credible source for information.

  • Currency: Is This Site Up-to-Date?
    Some subject areas, such as technology or environmental engineering, require up-to-date information.
    For example: a website containing the most recent information regarding 3D printing is more relevant than a similar web site dated several months earlier.

    • How frequently is this site updated? Is there a publication date listed for each article? Sites offering data or statistics should indicate when and how data was collected.
    • Is the information current enough for your needs? Data sources like statistics may need to be very current to be useful -- such as those dealing with an upcoming election.

It's all the rage in academia --

"Information literacy is conceivably the foundation for learning in our contemporary environment of continuous technological change."1

But what is it -- define information literate?

"To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information."2

How does one acquire this information literacy?

According to Scott Bennett and William Dittoe (consultants for the 2010 library evaluation and recommendation):

"any effective program of information literacy:
  • It must be institutional based. That is, the program must not depend solely on the initiative of individual faculty but must be rooted in institution-wide curricular planning. Information literacy must be a feature of the learning outcomes set by the university and assessed as part of any measure of instructional success.
  • It requires deeply rooted collaboration among classroom faculty, reference and instructional librarians, instructional and information technologists, and tutoring staff. Absent such collaboration, students will confront fragmented, confused, and ineffective instruction."3


Please, consult the sources below for additional information. These sites contain useful Information Literacy facts and knowledge:

ALA, ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education --

University of Idaho Library's Information Literacy page gives great guidance and direction --

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Information literacy


The Drain-Jordan Library's Information Literacy Mission Statement

The West Virginia State University Drain-Jordan Library's Information Literacy and Instruction Program serves students, faculty, and staff by supporting the instructional mission of the Library and the University. The Drain-Jordan Library's mission is to teach students to think critically and use information for their academic, professional, and personal lives -- helping them define information needs, then locate, evaluate, and use all available information resources effectively and responsibly. We are committed to anticipating and embracing changes in the information and instructional environment, and collaborating with the academic community to foster a shared sense of enjoyment and empowerment in the pursuit of lifelong, self-directed learning.

1Christine Susan Bruce, "Information Literacy as a Catalyst of Educational Change: A Background Paper,"
2Association of College and Research Libraries. (1989). Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report. Retrieved from
3West Virginia State University, Drain-Jordan Library: A VISION FOR THE FUTURE. Scott Bennett, Library Space Planning Consultant, William Dittoe, Educational Facilites Consultants, LLC. May 14, 2010.
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