Starting with the Library.

The main purpose of a college or university library is to collect a large quantity of scholarly material from different time periods and on diverse topics to make your research easier.

Library resources go through a review process. Librarians select books, magazines, journals, databases and even web sites. This selection process allows the library to collect sources considered reliable, historically relevant, and valuable.

Library resources are free or discounted for your use. Though the items libraries purchase are not cheap, one copy may be shared by many people.

Library resources are organized. Items in libraries are organized so you can easily find all the sources on a topic. For example, when you search for a book in the library catalog you will get a call number. The call number will direct you to a specific shelf in the library. The other books near the same call number should cover a similar topic.

Library resources are meant to be kept permanently. One of the primary functions of a library is to be an organized storehouse of in-depth information published throughout time. As well as finding very current information, you can also find books that are no longer published and older issues of magazines. Occasionally you can access these items through digital library collections on the Web.

Library resources come with personal assistance. Unlike the Web, which is primarily do-it-yourself, libraries have staff who are trained to assist you in sorting through all these information sources. They can help you learn to use new tools and can answer any questions you have. Some libraries even provide help through their Web sites.

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