Mellon Mays fellows, welcome to your guide to library research and resources.
It's our hope that this guide answers some of the basic questions you might have about using library resources, and is useful throughout your research.
You'll also find a list of subject librarians, specialists in assigned disciplines available to help you with your work at every stage. Please feel free to chat with us online, call, or email.
Best of luck in your research!
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If Brown doesn't have everything you need, Interlibrary Loan is always an option.
Books: using WorldCat/ Borrow Direct
If the book you need is checked out or not in our catalogue, try looking for it in Worldcat, a catalogue of libraries worldwide. You can also use WorldCat to conduct additional subject searches just to see what’s out there. Be sure you're on the Brown network, then click on the Request This Item in the green box. If it’s available, the book will be sent to you. This service for books is called Borrow Direct.
Journal articles: using ILLiad
If you found the article in a database, click on the Find It button-- if we don't have it, you'll be directed to an Interlibrary Loan link. If you're not in a database, or don't see the Find It button, open your own ILLiad account and request the article there. Generally, you'll be emailed a PDF of the article, and it can be found in your ILLiad account.
There's a lot of information out there. How do you decide whether it's good information? Use the following criteria and see if your information passes muster.
Currency - Is it the most up-to-date information on the topic?
Relevancy - Is the information fully relevant to your topic? Does it cover all aspects, or is it just tangentially related?
Authority - Is the author qualified to be speaking or writing about the topic? Does he/she have degrees related to the topic? If there isn't an author, how do you know that the information is reliable?
Purpose - If the website is selling something, then it has an inherent bias and you should be very skeptical. Even if you agree with their point of view, it's better to find a source that is unbiased and as objective as possible.