Click on any of the below titles to get questions and answers on the topic from an FSU librarian.
Where do you go to check out a laptop or to borrow a laptop charger?
You can check out laptops and chargers at Strozier, Dirac, or the FAMU/FSU Engineering Library front desks. Find out more information here.
What hours are subject specialists around?
It really depends on the particular subject specialist. Usually, normal work day hours 9 am - 6 pm Monday - Friday but often they will be in later and occasionally. We are pretty flexible so just write your specialist an email to set up a meeting.
Will subject librarians be able to help me with my paper? Like a tutor?
Subject librarians can help you with your paper by finding resources, assisting with topic development and strategies, and suggesting tools but we are not like tutors or the reading/writing center so we will not proofread your paper and help with grammer or spelling errors, for example. On the other hand, a subject librarian is a great resource for properly formatting your paper and your bibliography based on your citation style.
Does the "Ask A Librarian" chat service actually answer questions quickly? Or should I just schedule a consultation?
Yes, the chat service answers questions very quickly as there is always an FSU Librarian on to help you. They can help you with various topics. We can help with research, locating items, inquiring into library policy and answering basic questions about the library itself, including the web page. We pick up most questions within one minute. We suggest you schedule a consultation if you need a longer appointment or subject-specific information so you can meet with your subject librarian who will be an expert in that area. Ask A Librarian is great for any quick question.
Where can I find a certain subject librarian's office hours?
There is no central place to find subject librarian's office hours, though some of the librarians staff hours within academic departments. Contact your librarian directly to find out when you can stop by for some help or set up a consultation.
Can I put myself on a waiting list if the book I want is checked out?
Yes, you can! Make sure you are logged in to FSU libraries by clicking on the ‘My Account’ button in the top right. If you are logged in when you look at your book’s record in the catalog, there should be a ‘place a hold’ button next to the ‘Checked Out’ status.
If any, what materials can I not access through the internet?
While we make the website as extensive as possible, there are a myriad of things you can only find in the library. Special Collections has many original manuscripts and truly unique items. There are books, journals, and videos that you can only find in our physical collection, along with extensive arrays of maps and atlases. Along with all of this are computers for use, laptops for loan, and study rooms you can check out!
Is the subject specialists' job to help me with my paper or to educate me more on the subject?
They are there to facilitate your understanding of the subject matter and to help you perform any research necessary. If you need assistance with writing of your paper, you can go to the FSU Reading and Writing Center. Click on the reading and writing center tab on this URL to see their hours.
Can I schedule a remote consultation in my dorm?
Yes, you can! In order to schedule a remote consultation, you need to fill out this consultation form and select the Remote Consultation so the your subject librarian can connect with you from a distance.
What types of research guides are there?
There are many different subjects covered by our research guides, from individual topics to courses to overviews of a broad subject.. You can find all of the guides here.
How far in advance do you have to reserve a study room?
Different study rooms have different parameters. If you are trying to reserve a room during midterms or finals, you should sign up as soon as possible! You can find that information about the study rooms here.
What are the options for off-campus students who need to access materials that are not online?
We have many tools for distance students to utilize for acquiring online and virtual material. FSU Faculty and Students who live beyond 50 miles of the Tallahassee Campus may have research materials mailed to their home address but you will be responsible for return shipping. Articles are delivered electronically to your FSU email address. Find out more information about our Distance Library Services here and more about our interlibrary loan service here.
How up to date is the information put out by the book locating service? How does one find a book that isn't in the correct place?
We try to be as up to date as possible with book locations. If for some reason there is any problem with locating a book, you can inquire at the circulation desk. The circulation desk will work with the Collections Access department to try and find the location of any book that may have been misplaced.
How does a database differ from other types of resources on the website?
A library database is a subscription-based, organized collection of electronic information that allows a user to search for a particular topic, article, or book in a variety of ways (e.g., keyword, subject, author, title). Some databases contain the full-text of articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as books. Databases contain peer-reviewed and scholarly material which is not available on the open web. You can access library databases off-campus by logging in with your FSU account 24/7. You can find a library a database here.
Why can articles not be accessed as easily when a student is off campus?
Unless you are logged in through FSU libraries, the website doesn’t necessarily recognize that you are an FSU student trying to use FSU online resources when on campus. When you try to access an online resource from FSU Libraries, you will be prompted to log-in using your FSU ID and password. You can also try this proxy link and click the “Off Campus Login” button in red and logging yourself in through that process. If you are still encountering problems, we recommend that you fill out this form and tech support will get back to you as soon as possible.
What databases are the best for scholarly research?
Do we have access to any article?
Unfortunately, no. If we can’t find an article in our system, we can try to find it via Interlibrary Loan. These articles can be scanned and sent directly to your FSU email. Click here to find out more about that service.
Do we have to be logged into our FSU online account to access tools like OneSearch?
No, you can search our website without logging in, however to access the resources you may need to log in using your FSU ID and password.
Are databases easier to find material in instead of a book?
Databases provide access to many articles on many different subjects, so finding specific material can be difficult. However, the amount of information on a database is far more than can be in any single book, and they have convenient search fields to help you look. Both have their advantages in certain situations.
Is searching by keywords more effective than searching for a topic name?
This depends on what you are looking for. While keyword searching using Boolean operators can provide great results, topic searches often provide broader information. If you would like more information about search strategies, contact your subject librarian or use our Ask A Librarian chat.
Are the "most used databases" the best ones to use?
Not always! It depends on your topic. For example, if you are writing a biology paper on the various color patterns of dart frogs, the database Business Source Complete or Access World News Research Collection found under ‘Most Used Databases’ most likely wouldn’t help you find very many pertinent articles. Academic Search Complete might. Browse through FSU Libraries’ Research Guides and take a look at the guide related to your subject for suggested databases.
Is the "advanced search" option the best way to find an article?
In general, the advanced search options provide more control over your search and options for narrowing your scope and focus. A basic search is good for finding general results and when you are getting started on your research.
Throughout my high school career I became very familiar with the EBSCO database, is the EBSCO database in the Florida State library website?
EBSCO is a host for many databases and it is used by several that we have subscriptions to, such as Academic Search Complete.
How far back can I find a peer reviewed article from?
It highly depends on the journal! The first peer reviewed journals were published in the 1600s though many digitized editions begin in the 1800s.
Could someone help me choose between which databases are best for my paper?
Absolutely! The Research Help Now desk located at the front of Strozier library, Ask a Librarian chat, and our subject librarians are just a few of the options available for consulting about appropriate databases.
If I don't know a lot about the article I'm looking for, is there a way for me to complete a more broad search?
There are many different ways to search and narrow down your options. Probably the most broad search option is OneSearch found on in the top right corner of the library home page. Always use the Boolean operator "OR" with synonyms to broaden your search and include more search terms. You can find more about Boolean here.
Are there ways of searching for databases by title exclusively?
Absolutely. If you want to look for a database by it’s title, just search the title of the database here.
Are there visuals or only scholarly articles/journals on the databases?
There are many different databases and some of them certainly incorporate visual aids and images. Some resources focus specifically on graphics, such as ARTstor, which is a database for art and art history.
How could a student seek other help if their topic is not in one of the research guides?
If the topic is not found in the research guides, and the student is struggling with searching, they can consult the Research Help Now Desk on campus or via Ask A Librarian on the campus website. They also have the option of scheduling a consultation with a subject librarian. If the student doesn’t know which subject librarian to choose, they can fill out the Consultation Request form, and the library can help determine the correct librarian for their needs. Research support options can be found here.
Can you receive the same kind of help at another library on campus such as Dirac library?
Yes, librarians and library staff are available to help you whenever the library is open. If a student needs reference help at libraries other than Strozier, the can seek help from the Ask A Librarian service or approach the library’s circulation desk and ask if there is a librarian available to help them.
Who can we email for support?
Are there research guides for a wide variety of fields?
Yes, there are currently over 380+ research guides for 68 subjects.
Would I be able to ask for help from the guides at any time?
The guides are available online 24/7 and you do not need to be logged into the campus network to access, however, faculty and students do need to log into off-campus access to view the articles. Ask A Librarian is operated during the hours Strozier Library is open, and the subject librarians’ schedules vary.
Are the subject librarians available during school breaks?
Strozier Library is open from 8-5 during breaks, however, subject librarians have their own schedules and students should contact them directly to learn their availability.
If I am unsure if a source is credible or not could I get help from someone?
Certainly. You can go to the Research Help Now desk in Strozier Library, use the Ask a Librarian feature on our website, or get in touch with one of our many subject librarians for assistance with this.
Who are the research guides written by?
Research guides are written by various FSU librarians and staff members.
What can we do if a book is unavailable to check out?
There are a few options when this occurs. 1. You can place a hold on the copy of the book that our library has. When the book is returned, we will place it aside for you, and send you an email letting you know it has arrived. 2. You can request the book through Uborrow or Interlibrary Loan. This will place a request for the book from another library and you will be notified, generally by email, when it arrives. 3. You can try to find an electronic copy of the book available through our catalog, or one of the many databases we subscribe to. I usually suggest pursuing all of these options to find the book as quickly as possible.
What is a call number?
A call number represents an item's subject matter and indicates the location on the shelf where the item can be found. We use Library of Congress classification to organize our collection.
Where do we go after we know what book we would like to check out?
You can check out any books at the circulation desk located at the front of the library just inside of the entrance.
Does the library's database only offer credible sources?
Our collection of material ranges across many things, including works of fiction and numerous opinion pieces. If you want to limit your results to only credible sources, your our databases to limit your search to peer-reviewed or scholarly material. You can find more about that here.
Where can I find proof that an article is peer-reviewed?
The best way to do this is to make sure that the journal or publication that published the article is one that only publishes peer reviewed material. Spend some time researching the journal if you have questions about the specific peer review process. You can also check for a DOI (designation of information) number which shows that it has been peer reviewed.
Are non-partisan websites like NPR or BBC popular or scholarly?
While both of these sources are reputable, they are still popular sources as they are not peer reviewed.
Does it matter if an article is old? Can it still be used?
It depends on your field and your assignment. In some fields such as nursing or medicine, information is only considered relevant if it was published in the last five years while a field like history does not have such restrictions.
Aside from using peer reviewed material, how can we best identify bias?
Here is a wonderful resource for addressing how to recognize bias in your research.
What is the difference between scholarly and popular articles?
Scholarly articles are generally in-depth accounts of research, written by and for academics and professionals in their field of academic interest. Articles in scholarly journals often have been reviewed by an editorial board or have gone through some type of peer-review process. Popular articles are typically written for the general public and therefore uses less formal language and citations for the sources. You can find more information here.
Are the articles easy to cite?
Most articles found in our databases will have an option to export a citation, or will just give you the citation to copy, though these always need to be checked since they are computer generated and often contain errors. If you are using a citation website such as Zotero, Endnote or Refworks, this makes the process much easier. We also have a citation guides and videos available through the library website. You can find all of this at our citation management tools.
How do I do MLA formatting?
There are several resources offered by FSU Libraries to assist you with MLA citations. Here is a video detailing MLA citations, here is our MLA Research Guide, and here is our citation management page for more resources.