A Look Inside the CalSouthern Library: 20 Key Features

Oct 20, 2011 by Tom Dellner

It's a topic that many prospective students overlook, but the quality of an online university's library is an absolutely critical factor in assessing the institution's commitment to scholarship and student support. The CalSouthern Library—led by American Library Association-certified librarian Jennifer Hill, MSI—clearly reflects a dedication to both.

The CalSouthern Library is distinguished by the wealth of resources and services it provides. For example, its subscription databases—providing access to the most current and robust collections of research and academic publications available in their fields—are on par with those you'll find at any public or private brick-and-mortar institution.

However, even the most comprehensive collection of resources is of little use if you can't find what you're looking for. That's why the library services department has carefully designed and refined the library so that researching your particular topic is a user-friendly and intuitive process. Also, the library is replete with multimedia tutorials, easy-to-follow guides, and categorized tips to make your research more effective and efficient.

Finally—and perhaps most important—CalSouthern Librarian Hill understands that, despite all the helpful guides and tools, students often need the help of an expert researcher who is intimately familiar with all of the resources and search tools. She's created a culture of support that makes it easy and stress-free to get all the personalized, one-on-one help you need.

To help you get become more familiar with the CalSouthern Library, we've highlighted 20 key features of the library below. (The following features are of primary interest to current and prospective learners in the Schools of Behavioral Sciences and Business. If you're interested in the study of law, a tour of the CalSouthern Law Library is also available.)

Videos The CalSouthern Library provides complimentary access to hundreds of business and psychology videos via the Counseling and Therapy in Video databases. The psychology videos are particularly noteworthy and are a component of many psychology course syllabi, especially in the university's PsyD program.

The Counseling and Therapy in Video database is the leading collection of video available for the study of psychotherapy, social work, and psychiatric counseling, and allows learners to study therapy in ways never before possible, from a vast array of perspectives. A transcript accompanies each of the 353 videos, which total more than 404 hours of therapy.

eBooks Complimentary access to ebook databases is available to CalSouthern learners in both the Schools of Business and Psychology. PsycBOOKS is a full-text database containing more than 2,800 scholarly books, including 1,600 published by the American Psychological Association (APA). You'll also find classic books from other publishers. The database is easy to search and updated monthly.

Business students have access to the Books24x7 BusinessPro database, a robust collection of more than 6,000 business ebooks from leading publishers such as Harvard Business School Press, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, and Oxford University. New titles are added weekly.

Scholarly Articles This is an extremely important and oft-used research resource in the CalSouthern Library. These journal articles, in a very real sense, comprise the current body of scholarly research done in the fields of psychology and business. Psychology students can choose from more than 10 databases of scholarly publications, including PsycARTICLES, the American Psychiatric Publishing database, the ProQuest Psychology Journals Database, and collections of international articles, among many others.

Business learners have an equally robust collection of databases at their fingertips, allowing them to search by specific trades and industries, or to access hard-to-find local and regional business publications, in addition to international articles and specialty databases.

Interlibrary Loan This is a service that helps you obtain articles to which the library does not have access. (For example, publishers may embargo certain articles, often temporarily, so that they are available only in printed journal editions.) On your behalf, CalSouthern can borrow electronic copies of these articles from partner libraries that subscribe to these print editions.

Newspaper Databases With the ProQuest Newsstand and Canadian Newsstand databases, CalSouthern learners can search more than 900 newspapers from the U.S., Canada, and around the world, including some of the most important and influential titles from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. This service is particularly useful to business students looking to research localized trends and marketplaces in virtually any location, domestically or across the globe.

Hoover's Databases Of particular interest to learners in the CalSouthern School of Business is the Hoover's database. The Hoover's database contains updated, proprietary editorial content covering more than 40,000 companies (both public and privately held) and 225,000 key business executives. It's ideal for in-depth industry analysis.

Dissertations ProQuest's Dissertations and Theses database is the world's most comprehensive collection of PhD research and is the official dissertation archive of the Library of Congress. More than one million full-text dissertations—as well as 2.4 million dissertation and thesis citations—are available for download in PDF format. CalSouthern also links to the Theses Canada collection of Canadian theses. This vast collection of original research—and the literature reviews which they contain—are an extraordinarily useful resource for psychology or business learners conducting their own research or literature surveys.

DSM-IV The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (better known in the psychology community as DSM-IV) is a manual published by the APA which essentially provides standard criteria for the classification of all recognized mental health disorders. Available in the CalSouthern Library, the DSM-IV is utilized both for clinical diagnosis and research.

Database Tutorials In order to help you most effectively utilize their vast resources, most of the databases of interest to psychology and business learners provide helpful tutorials, available in HTML, video, PDF, PowerPoint, or webinar formats. They not only introduce you to the particular database and describe what each contains, they'll teach you how to conduct basic and more advanced searches. The library also provides categorized “how to's” and FAQs, all to help you get the most out of these valuable research tools.

Doctoral Projects CalSouthern's School of Behavioral Sciences has published—and made available for download—a collection of outstanding doctoral projects researched and written by PsyD graduates. Not only do they represent excellent research and scholarship, they serve as extremely useful tools for current students embarking upon their own doctoral projects who want to see examples of proper formatting, appropriate tone and style, scope of research, etc.

Doctoral Project Research Help CalSouthern Librarian Hill has designed this page specifically for CalSouthern doctoral-level learners. It contains a wide variety of established and vetted literature review search techniques and other helpful information about evidence-based research. It even has easy-to-follow instructions on how best to use the library's databases and other research tools for the very specific purpose of conducting a doctoral-level scholarly literature review. It's a must-see resource for any learner before starting his or her doctoral project.

Writing Center CalSouthern's Writing Center is a one-stop shop for all your academic writing needs. It contains tips for conducting research—and evaluating its quality and reliability—as well as valuable strategies for identifying your audience, developing an appropriate voice, crafting sound theses and paragraph structure, writing in various tenses, and many other essential academic writing skills. The Writing Center also contains citation and grammar tools, as well as a vitally important section on plagiarism and academic integrity. Learners from the School of Business will benefit from special sections on business writing style and strategies for drafting business plans, proposals and reports, marketing and social media copy, and other business communications.

APA Style Resources The CalSouthern Schools of Business and Behavioral Sciences require learners to use APA style as outlined in the APA Publication Manual, Sixth Edition. You'll find everything you need to know about APA style in the CalSouthern Library. Included are a wide variety of citation and in-text usage examples (covering source material ranging from books to journal articles, newspaper articles, recorded interviews, government reports, videos and many other sources), video tutorials providing overviews of APA style as well as reviewing the changes introduced with the Sixth Edition. CalSouthern Librarian Hill is also available to answer any questions you might have, and will even review your APA-style citations for accuracy.

Mendeley is a free bibliographic citation manager that, in many respects, operates like a social networking site, allowing members to share research as well as completed written works. It also features an automated, Microsoft Word compatible citation maker.

Career Resources In the career resources section, you'll find a comprehensive collection of job search websites and tools, organized by field (business and psychology) and location. There's also a helpful listing of metasearch engines, a federal job search engine and a link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Textbook Resources CalSouthern understands how expensive textbooks can be. In this useful section of the library, you'll find a variety of resources to help you save on textbook costs, whether by comparison shopping, purchasing your books used, or renting textbooks. You can also borrow books—the Textbook Resources page contains a links to worldcat.org—which allows you to search an online catalog of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide (you can even search locally by using a zip-code function)—in addition to a comprehensive U.S. library directory.

Academic Websites CalSouthern Librarian Hill has researched, collected, and carefully analyzed dozens of websites that are valuable and authoritative enough to be considered “academic” websites of use to learners in the Schools of Business and Behavioral Sciences. Business students will find everything from collections of case studies to sites devoted to company profiles, patent and product research, business and financial sites from the federal government, and business-related glossaries and calculators (inflation, cost of occupational injury and illness, energy costs, etc.), among many other helpful sites.

Psychology students will benefit from this aggregation of websites which includes collections of global association websites, governmental websites, and resources relating to military mental health issues or other specific topics including neuroscience, ethics, and addictive behaviors. There are also research-oriented sites maintained by leading scholars, psychology-oriented dictionaries or reference tools, as well as open-access journals, among many other valuable resources.

Google Scholar Google Scholar is a fantastic and user-friendly tool for conducting a broad search of the academic literature for a specific topic. Using the same, familiar interface as on google.com, this engine searches articles, theses, books, and abstracts from sources such as professional societies, online repositories, universities and other websites. Google Scholar aims to rank results as a researcher would, weighing the full text of each document, the author and publisher, how frequently it is cited in the academic literature, etc.

CalSouthern Librarian Hill has worked with Google and CalSouthern database providers to create a customized version of Google Scholar, a link to which appears on the CalSouthern Library homepage. When you search via CalSouthern's version of Google Scholar, you access not only the academic web, but also the CalSouthern Library databases, making it an ideal starting point for your research projects.

Library Blog Library BlogThe CalSouthern Library Blog is a terrific—and underutilized—resource. On it, you'll find free books, complimentary trials of various tools and services, as well as other great offers. CalSouthern Librarian Hill regularly provides useful tips for better utilizing the library's many resources or for honing your research skills, as well as the occasional humorous or inspirational post. In addition, you can read about new library features or updates to existing databases or other services.

Library FAQs Click on the Library FAQs link on the library homepage for answers to common library-oriented questions. You can access a helpful glossary which contains definitions of dozens of library terms. New learners will definitely want to visit the Research 101 section. Here, you'll find easy-to-follow techniques for developing a reference list, a checklist for evaluating journal articles and websites, an explanation of the academic publishing peer-review system, as well as a discussion of primary versus secondary research, among other useful tips.

Ask a Librarian Library ServicesWe've described a litany of resources and tools offered by the CalSouthern Library—and these are just the highlights—but the most valuable one unquestionably is the service-oriented staff. CalSouthern Librarian Hill stands ready to help you with all your research needs and library-related questions. Conscientious and responsive, she'll give you thorough answers to your questions, personalized search tips, or whatever else you need to succeed in your studies—and she'll do so quickly. In fact, fill out the “Ask-a-Librarian” form Monday through Friday during business hours and you'll receive a detailed, personalized response within a couple of hours. (Of course, you can also contact her via email or by phone.) Look for the Ask-a-Librarian link on the services tab of the CalSouthern Library homepage.



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