UCSD libraries hold various untapped resources

    “The heart and soul of the university is research,” according to Marlo Young, the Undergraduate Outreach Coordinator at Geisel Library.

    Although university libraries are often seen as the place for serious academic research, they are available for less rigorous pursuits as well. With events, exhibits, movies, magazines, microfilm, and yes, even books, the libraries at UCSD have numerous untapped resources that you should take advantage of.

    UCSD Libraries subscribe to over 70 different newspapers from across the nation and around the world, so you can read such papers as the Moscow News and the Japan Times in English.

    In addition to newspapers, there are over 2,700 journals and magazines at the various libraries on campus. Among these are The Economist, National Geographic, and Wired. Magazines are publicly available and are a great way to relax and stay in touch with current happenings. Less educational magazines are also available. CLICS, located in Revelle College, has a modest collection of magazines that includes Surfing, Car and Driver, and even Sports Illustrated. A complete listing can be found at http://clics.ucsd.edu/clicsmag.htm.

    If you would rather sit back and enjoy yourself than read, the Film and Video Library in Geisel is the place to go. Thousands of videos are available for viewing, from Hollywood feature films such as “Fantasia” and “Terminator 2” to countless independent and foreign productions. You can watch episodes of “Rocky and Bullwinkle” on laserdisc and “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!” on VHS. Graduate students and undergraduate scholars can check videos and DVDs out of the library to view at their own leisure. For the musically inclined, sheet music is available for checkout from the Music Library.

    “The equipment could be better, but overall it is efficient,” John Muir College senior Nancy Hossain said. “I think the film and video library is good enough and gets the job done. I have used it for a number of classes.”

    Library exhibits and events offer a chance to feast your eyes and expand your mind. Currently on exhibit is “The Art of Guitar Making,” which runs until June 11, detailing the steps of acoustic guitar construction and the choices that make guitar building an art. It will be in the Fine Arts Library’s display cases, on the lower level of the west wing of Geisel Library. The exhibit will include photos of the process, tools and guitar parts from various guitar makers — both from guitar factories and single-person shops. The library is even sponsoring live musical performances to accompany the exhibit. On May 12 at 12:30 p.m., jazz guitarist Peter Sprague will give a short informal recital. On May 28 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., local guitarists will perform in front of the exhibit.

    From the main library Web page, numerous web-based resources are available, such as ROGER, Melvyl, Sage, online databases and more. All these options can be a bit overwhelming.

    ROGER is UCSD’s online catalog. It is the best way to find out what books, journals, slides, movies, musical scores and other materials are available on campus. You can search ROGER by author, title, keyword, subject or ISBN. ROGER is named after Roger Revelle, one of the founders of UCSD.

    “ROGER is really helpful, actually,” Marissa Molina, an Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore, said. “I don’t really use Sage, but ROGER has definitely been a great help in helping me do research. It is pretty easy to find resources quickly for papers or for whatever else you might need.”

    Perhaps the most convenient aspect of ROGER is the ability to access your library account online. From ROGER’s main page click on “View Your Library Account/ Renew Items,” then click on “Creating a PIN” for brief instructions on how to create your Personal Identification Number. This number will allow you to request books from the library and log in to your library account to see what books you have checked out, or are on hold, and you can even renew books with the click of a mouse.

    An additional benefit of having a P.I.N. is the ability to request books from one UCSD library be delivered and placed on hold for you at any other UCSD library. This means if you live in Revelle College you can request books from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography library and pick them up at CLICS. To do this, simply click the “Request” button in ROGER when you find the book you would like to request and select the most convenient library as your pick-up location.

    If the material you are looking for is not available at UCSD, the “Search in Circuit” button at the top of the ROGER search page is a handy tool. It allows you to broaden your search to the Circuit, the combined library catalogs of UCSD, San Diego State, USD and Cal State San Marcos.

    When searching in the Circuit, you can request materials not available at UCSD from another library in the Circuit. Simply click on the “Request this Item” link and fill in the required information. In order to make a request, you will need a P.I.N. as described above. Requests from the Circuit usually arrive the next working day.

    Melvyl is the catalog of all the libraries in the UC system. Taken together, the UC libraries have more books than any other library in America, save the Library of Congress, so there is a good likelihood that you will be able to find what you are looking for on Melvyl. Books requested through Melvyl typically arrive within a week or two.

    “I use the Melvyl catalogue a lot,” Eleanor Roosevelt sophomore Purwa Bansod said. “It is definitely a good tool, since you can see resources available at other schools that might not be available here at UCSD. It really helps when you’re doing research for a class.”

    Another powerful online resource is Sage, a collection of electronic resources. The resources have been collected by the library staff for their usefulness in research. Sage is searchable by subject, keyword and even by the type of resource. A fun way to learn about the world is by browsing though the resources of “fun things.” This includes such jewels as “Britney Spears’ Guide to Semiconductor Physics” and “Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names.”

    A final resource available from the main page for locating information is the list of databases. Many of these databases are accessible to UCSD students and faculty, but not to the general public. Those accessing the databases from off campus will need to configure their browser to use UCSD’s proxy server. It is a simple procedure and instructions can be found at http://libraries.ucsd.edu/proxy.

    The databases are quite varied in their scope and rather numerous, but definitely worth a once-over. One database that deserves more than just a glance for the news savvy is LexisNexis, which is a vast searchable storehouse of articles on news, law and medicine. It contains texts of thousands of publications stretching back a number of years.

    While the library’s Web site is a good place to poke around and discover new things that you didn’t know about, you can really only scratch the surface of what the libraries have to offer. To reap the true benefits, you actually have to go in to one and talk to a librarian.

    “The staff is very helpful and friendly,” Molina said. “They do a great job in answering questions and directing you to the right places.”

    The library employees are friendly and always willing to help. Paul Harris, the manager of the Current Periodicals, Newspapers and Microforms Information Desk, always encourages students.

    “Come to the information desks, don’t be shy,” he said.

    The quality of the resources available at the library is unmatched, especially when compared to public search engines.

    “Google and Yahoo should be the last places you look,” Young said.

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