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Frequently Asked Questions
Key Resources in Education
These resources contain basic overview information that can be useful for terms and definitions when you're just beginning your research.
Oxford Reference Online
Oxford Reference Premium contains over 125 language and subject dictionaries and reference works, all published by Oxford University Press. Areas of coverage include science and medicine, the humanities and social sciences, and business and law. Content includes world maps, illustrations, timelines, weblines, and key titles from the Oxford Companions series. English dictionaries and thesauri, guides to grammar and usage, and dictionaries of etymology, foreign languages, quotations, and names are provided.
You can also search URSUS for subject specific encyclopedias and handbooks, many of which are accessible online! A few examples are below, but there are many more.
Important Databases to use:
Academic OneFile with InfoTrac Collections Connect students and library patrons to the information they're looking for with tools that make discovery fast and easy. Gale’s premier periodical resource, Academic OneFile, provides millions of articles from more than 18,000 of the world's leading scholarly journals and reference sources, with more than 8,800 in full text. Academic OneFile also offers engaging multimedia, with over 59,000 images and 3,500+ audio files. Also included is a full collection of National Public Radio programs from 1990 to the present, including searchable transcripts; and links to over 1.2 million video files, from shows like Frontline and NOVA. With extensive coverage in key subject areas including the physical and social sciences, medicine, engineering, the arts, technology, literature, and many other subjects, students and patrons are able to find, share, or use accurate, current information with ease
Educator's Reference Complete With 800+ full-text periodicals and 200 reports, Educator's Reference Complete is a great resource for any educator--from the school teacher and administrator to those studying in the field at the collegiate and graduate level. Educator's Reference Complete seeks to provide full text for titles in the ERIC database and covers multiple levels of education from preschool to college, and every educational specialty--such as technology, bilingual education, health education and testing. It also provides insights on issues in administration, funding, and education policy.
ERIC - Education (ProQuest) Provides international coverage of citation and full-text access to journals, books, conference papers, curriculum guides, policy papers, dissertations, and more in the field of education. Department of Education. Includes robust thesaurus. Coverage from 1966.
Leadership and Management Gale OneFile: Leadership and Management provides access to authoritative periodical content covering such topics as 21st-century skills, organizational dynamics and leadership, adult learning and continuing education, and more. Updated daily, this library resource is useful for researchers or any professional interested in career development.
Psychology Collection Students, psychologists, counselors, and behavioral scientists will discover relevant information from the thoughts, views, discoveries, and reports found in this comprehensive collection. The full-text of authoritative periodical content supports research in all fields of psychology — abnormal, biological, cognitive, comparative, developmental, personality, quantitative, social, and all areas of applied psychology.
The following websites are great places to find current events in higher education. You may find other sites. Be willing to share when you find them!
An online magazine covering technology and innovation in higher education.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education
An online magazine exploring the issues of diversity in higher education.
Inside Higher Ed
An online source for daily news, opinions and jobs in higher education. Don’t hesitate to review the various blogs.
An online source for educators on issues of social justice, diversity and equity. The audience is mainly K-12 educators but a great resource for all.
Chronicle of Higher Ed
An online daily news and opinion site dedicated to issues in higher education
Searching Tips and Tricks
- Most databases allow for searching with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).
- Use AND to focus your search and combine different aspects of your topic
- Use OR to broaden your search and find sources that use different words for the same concept.
- Use NOT to omit certain terms from your results.
- Use an asterisk (*) to truncate words if you want to search for all words with that root. For example, “environment*” would search for environment, environmental, environmentalism, etc.
- Put quotes around a phrase that you want the database to search as a phrase, rather than as individual words.
- Group synonyms inside parentheses using OR between each one
URSUS is the combined library catalog for the entire University of Maine system. You can search the entire system, or select University of Southern Maine Libraries in the drop-down.
Other helpful tips:
- If you find a book that is relevant to your needs, look at the "Subject" area of the book's record. Click on a few of the subjects to find other similar books.
- In many of the book records, you can look at the table of contents - click the link under the "Inside This Book" heading. This can help you determine if a book is right for your research.
- If USM doesn't have a book you want, click the "Request" button at the top of the page and we can get it for you through interlibrary loan.
Most databases, as well as library catalogs, assign subjects to books and articles. A subject is a designated word or phrase that describes an idea or concept and groups all articles or books about that concept together.
- Subjects are also variously called descriptors, controlled vocabulary, headings, or index terms.
- To search by subject you have to know the exact subject term. Most databases that use subjects have a Thesaurus that you can use to look up subject terms. You can also do a keyword search, find a book or article that is relevant to your research, and look at the subject terms assigned to it.
- The library catalog uses Library of Congress Subject Headings and each database has their own list of subject headings, so you have to look up subjects in each database independently.
There are many ways you can get research materials from other libraries:
- From URSUS, use the "Request" button with the red check mark next to it at the top of an item's page.
- From MaineCat, use the "Request This Item" button with the red check mark next to it in the middle of an item's page.
- From WorldCat, you can widen your search to libraries worldwide using WorldCat. If you find a book you need, request it using the "Order through Illiad" link
- From a database:
- Select the item you want and find and click the "Link to Full Text" or "Article Linker" button (the placement on the page will vary by database).
- If the library does not have access to the item, find and click the "Submit an Interlibrary Loan Request" link under Step 3 in the right-hand panel.