Q: What type of libraries do we have access to at UT? Are there any virtual library sources? What is the most effective way to navigate the library resources?
A: You have access to 12 libraries on campus (2 are closed for construction rn, but will be open in spring) and 4 special collections/archives. We try to buy ebooks and most of our subscriptions are electronic to make research easier for you. The most effective way to navigate is really dependent on your goals, but our aggregator search on www.lib.utexas.edu is a solid start.
Q: How do you think we can best utilize the resources given to us by UT when writing our papers?
A: Plan ahead and be organized. Sounds trite. Use a citation manager (like NoodleTools) to organize your research and plan out your paper. Whenever you get even mildly frustrated, remember that there are experts on campus waiting to help. Your librarian will make the research experience less painful and more fun and the folks in the Writing Center will help you to be a clear and effective writer.
Q: What is a resource UT offers that you see students not taking advantage of enough?
A: Maybe the Public Speaking Center? Public speaking is so hard and such a vulnerable moment. I think more than research and writing, we let it bruise our egos when we slip up in oral presentations. That's partly, in my view, because public speaking is a performance. The Public Speaking Center is in Jester: https://ugs.utexas.edu/slc/support/speaking-center
Q: Are we able to access all the physical books at the PCL online?
A: No. Ebooks are more expensive than print books (which may be counterintuitive to you). I encourage people to use print when available and not just because I'm a librarian. Books are shelved by subject - so if you locate a book you like, chances are the books next to it will be similar in coverage. If you are looking for popular books/bestsellers (that is not a focus of our collecting), be aware that the Austin Public Library gives you access to the Libby app - it's a phenomenal online library you have free access to when you sign up: https://library.austintexas.gov/mylibrarycard
Q: Are we given access to academic/research papers that are often inaccessible to our personal laptops?
A: No. Everything is available to you anywhere, anytime and on any machine. You can study abroad in Nepal and still access everything. You must always start your research from the library homepage and use the links we provide - those are called proxy links and they allow you to authenticate yourself as a user with your EID and password (you will not be prompted to so so on the web).
Q: What are the pros and cons of each library at UT?
A: I could talk about this for longer than you think. The breakfast tacos in the cafe in EER (where the Engineering Library is) are the best on campus. Life Science Library in the Tower is very pretty and you can feel very scholarly when you are there. Same with Architecture when it reopens this spring. The Geology Library has a very clean aesthetic and a view of the Tower, as well as a very good (but pricey) coffee place downstairs (Lucky Lab). If you need to be alone and want to hide, go to Classics. PCL gets rowdy after 5pm (it's open 24 hours, which is later than any club in Austin), you should see it sometime (I do not condone or encourage this dangerous behavior: https://youtu.be/7Sb0lD45iig). Always bring a sweater to the library. I wish we checked them out. Or blankies. If I wanted to study somewhere quiet, I'd go with Engineering, Geology or Classics.
Q: Do the UT libraries contain any modern literature?
A: It's hit or miss. Sign up for an Austin Public Library card which gives you access to the Libby app: https://library.austintexas.gov/mylibrarycard
Q: Are there any resources that can help me understand how to use my own laptop (ex. to turn in a paper)?
A: We have a campus IT desk: https://it.utexas.edu/students
Q: What are some underrated features of UT libraries?
A: It's nice to be somewhere where you can think and be curious and watch other people do the same. It's a gift.
Q: What do you normally see that qualifies as good college-level research versus bad college-level research?
A: The difference between good research and bad is good research is born out of curiosity and persistence.
Q: Does the UT library have a place where things are already cited for us?
A: Yeah, most databases have citation generators built in.
Q: What is your favorite feature of the UT library system?
A: That you can get one on one help with a research expert. Research can be exhausting and discouraging and frustrating and isolating. Talking to someone helps.
The screens in the Learning Labs can be connected to through your laptop. Use it for group presentations or movies. Bring a blue tooth speaker and have a dance party. Seriously, why not.
Q: If there are specific papers that aren't easily available should we apply them to our research or opt for more reputable or common sources/papers?
A: If a paper is often cited that means it's more influential in the conversation, so you should consider it. However, scholarship is troubled with the same problems as society at large: voices are marginalized. Perspectives that take a risk or come from outside the privileged point of view are often difficult to find and fit into broader conversations.
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