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Turning to the Libraries

By November 20, 2020September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Wanda Marsolek, left, and Shannon Farrell

Two UMN Librarians: Wanda Marsolek, left, and Shannon Farrell.

Guiding graduate students toward research calls for an introduction to the Libraries. “As a faculty member,” says Matthew Russell, Associate Professor of Forest Resources and Director of Graduate Studies for Natural Resources Science and Management, “I think it’s critical for grad students in their early stage to learn about the services that the Libraries offer.”

This fall, he oriented 13 master’s and Ph.D. students to their new level of scholarship. Before their class session with Natural Resources Librarian Shannon Farrell, he asked them to submit questions about the Libraries’ resources.

Forestry student Amy Shaunette asked: “What are the most underutilized library resources that grad students can benefit from?”

Spotlight on less-used resources

“You don’t have to know everything. You can just email your subject librarian.”

—Amy Shaunette, Forestry student

Shaunette found during her undergraduate years that the University is so big, it has more to offer than one might expect and thought the Libraries must be similar.

“I had gone to the Libraries website recently to look at some of the services,” she says. “It seems like the Library does a lot and I haven’t used the services that much.”

To prepare, Farrell polled her colleagues in Agricultural, Biological & Environmental Sciences about these lesser-used Libraries resources. In Russell’s class, at the end of her comprehensive, 30-plus slide introduction to the Libraries, she offered the class with this list.

  • Assistance with literature searches and search strategies: “Many students are not aware of how many databases the Libraries have,” Farrell says.
  • Help with finding grants and grant databases
  • Physical collections and rare books
  • Citation managers & data consults
  • Using saved searches and analyzing search results in Web of Science; and
  • Your subject specialist librarian, AKA your personal librarian.

‘I am your librarian’

“I am your librarian,” Farrell told the class. “I am here for you.”

The entire presentation, Shaunette says, would help her categorize her questions into those she would ask her advisor, those she would ask her friends, and those she would ask the Libraries.

“It takes some of the pressure off,” she says. “You don’t have to know everything. You can just email your subject librarian.”

And Shaunette has already viewed a very helpful video on citation management.

Find your librarian

Author markenge

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