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Library Research Assignment

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Library Activity:: Ethics Activity :: Reading Assignment

Forward Watch the video lecture introducing the library research assignment

The object of this exercise is for you to take an online tour of a vast library accessible to you over the Internet. Completing this exercise will give you the tools and experience necessary to do the library research that will be useful in your professional practice and will enrich any research study you undertake. Spend the time you feel is necessary to get "up-to-speed" in using the available resources. Good Luck!

Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library

The Merrill-Cazier Library’s web site ( links to the range of services and resources available from the USU Library in Logan.

Notice the Off Campus Library Services from the library’s homepage.

  • You will see a link for Distance Education Library Services ( ), and the DELS web site explains library services designed especially for distance education students who live outside of Cache Valley, Utah.
  • Online request forms are available to borrow books, obtain photocopies of articles, and borrow other materials owned by the Merrill-Cazier Library.

Other Libraries

If you do not live near Logan, you may choose to explore another library that is closer to you, visiting it virtually on the web or in person. The link to “ Other Libraries " from the Merrill-Cazier Library web site ( ) offers links to "Utah Academic Libraries" and USA Academic Libraries. Students currently enrolled in Utah State University may take advantage of a reciprocal borrowing privilege that enables them to check out materials from any academic library in Utah or Nevada. You must present either a USU id card or driver’s license and receipt for current registration.


Visit the link on the Library’s homepage called “ Find Resources ” ( ) to discover important pathways to hundreds of online information sources, for example:

  • The Library Catalog , which is the online catalog that lists materials held in Merrill-Cazier Library and other libraries on the Logan campus.
  • Electronic Resources & Databases points to online research databases providing citations to journal articles, magazine and newspaper sources, and full text articles in a variety of subject areas. Each database is different with some covering broad topics and others containing highly specialized research publications in fields like psychology, biology, education, law, and literature.
  • Electronic Journals List makes accessible thousands of research journals, magazines, and newspapers to which the library subscribes. See instructions later in this assignment to set up access to the USU Proxy Server for off campus access to e-journals. You may browse a list of journal titles, or search for specific publications by title or ISSN number.
  • Course Reserves is an online system that professors may use to provide readings for their classes. You may search this collection by department, course, or instructor’s name. Some reserve materials are textbooks or other printed material that is housed in Merrill-Cazier Library. Many readings are available as PDF files that you can print or read online.
  • Interlibrary Loan provides access to articles from journals that USU Library does not own either in print or online format. Currently registered students, staff, and faculty may sign up for an account and may request items for use in USU-related research or classes.
  • Other Libraries , as described above, provides links to libraries other than USU.

Most of the Electronic Resources & Databases, Electronic Journals, and Electronic Books are not freely available on the web but are licensed products or restricted to higher education students.


USU is affiliated with a company called EBSCO, which produces research databases that may lead you to useful publications on your topic. EBSCO provides USU with 20-30 research databases and they are also part of the statewide contract for Pioneer, Utah’s Online Library available to the public.

Two databases you should know about that are produced by EBSCO are ERIC and Academic Search Premier . These will contain relevant research materials and many links to full text resources.

Please be aware that one drawback of using EBSCO from the link below is that links to the Library’s online, full-text journals that are purchased from publishers other than EBSCO, and online ERIC documents (ED) will not work-- students must use the USU proxy Server to get to these materials online.

However, the login to EBSCO is simple:

  • Go to:
  • You must be "authenticated" or verified as a current USU in order to get access.
  • Then select "EBSCOHost Web" which will bring up databases such as ERIC and Academic Search Premier for you to search.

A list of all the EBSCO databases will display for searching. Students may be able to use this login at public schools and it will get them started on their research.

Pioneer - Utah's Online Library

Pioneer is Utah’s Online Library of electronic resources. It provides statewide access to newspaper articles, magazines, professional journals, encyclopedias, video, photographs, maps, charts, and graphics.

If you live in Utah, visit a local public or academic library to search the Pioneer Premium Databases. As a Utah Educator, you can register with UEN at this website: . This will allow you to access licensed Pioneer databases from home. Some licensed databases on the USU Library website are not available through Pioneer because they are purchased only for USU students. You may link to the EbscoHost and ERIC Databases, and many others from the Pioneer site.


ERIC stands for the Educational Resources Information Center which is a national information system funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to provide access to education literature and resources. It is a powerful research database, which, for the time being, is open to the general public.

Completing the Library Assignment

This exercise asks you to search out 4 articles, books or other resources related to a topic of your choosing. Please follow the steps below to complete the exercise.

Effective Research Strategies

  • Have a clearly defined topic. Example: "The effect of global warming on the environment."
  • List all keywords or terms that you can think of that are related to your topic. Example: global warming; greenhouse effect; ozone; environment; climate; animals; humans; atmosphere.
    Are there other terms you can think of?
  • Select the appropriate database(s) for information on your topic. Electronic resources are listed in groups by broad subject on the Library web site. By now you may have noticed on the library’s home page that you can use the Electronic Resources & Article Databases listings to navigate to databases by subject.
  • Conduct keyword searches for your topic. Narrow your search with the "and" connector. Example: you can search for the phrase 'Greenhouse Effect' or 'Global Warming'. If you find too many citations in the database, narrow it by combining different search terms: 'global warming' and 'environment' or try 'greenhouse effect' and 'climate'. Try different keyword combinations and look for additional type of searches. Note: don't use quotations around the keyword searches. They are useful for Internet search engines, but are completely unnecessary in library research databases.


  • You need to use your own word processor to complete this assignment. Include in your document the topic you have chosen, followed by at least 4 information sources related to your topic. For each item you list, include the title of the article, and complete citation, to include author, date, and source of publication. Also include a URL if applicable, and date visited. Lastly include a one or two paragraph summary of the contents of the article. Do this at least four times, and you're done.

As you proceed with this assignment you will most likely find that there are virtually endless resources on the Internet. It may even get exciting for you to discover them! Enjoy this assignment, and Good Luck!

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, July 23). Library Research Assignment. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License