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Effective Writing Center (EWC)

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Online Guide to Writing and Research

Chapter 6 Table of Contents

Chapter 6: Using Library Resources

Accessing Library Resources

Doing research is frequently an integral part of the writing process. To be a good researcher, you must be able to locate, organize, evaluate, and communicate information. Libraries are a primary resource for conducting academic research. Learning how to use them and their resources effectively is important to understanding the research process.

Finding books and journal articles to compile a list of relevant materials used to be a matter of going to the library and using the card catalog in conjunction with print journal indexes. Today, libraries, and their methods for providing access to research information, have changed remarkably. Libraries provide access to information through online research databases and library catalogs, e-books and e-journals, and Internet resources, as well as traditional print resources. Understanding how to select and use the appropriate resources for specific information needs is the key to successful research. To become adept at locating and using information for research, you must know about the many different resources available to you.

The following links provide information about the resources available to you as a UMUC student through UMUC's Information and Library Services.


Information and Library Services (ILS) provides access to a vast array of library resources and services to UMUC students, faculty, and staff worldwide to meet their research needs.

Ask a Librarian

ILS uses a variety of methods to provide reference services to students, faculty, and staff worldwide, including e-mail, Web-based forms, online chats, telephone, walk-in, and instant messaging via Ask a Librarian.  Chat and e-mail reference are available 24 x 7. Walk-in service is available in the Student and Faculty Services Center in Adelphi during the week and in the McKeldin Library on the week-ends.

Search by Subject

The library provides an excellent beginning place for research via the subject guides  located under Search by Subject from the library home page. Arranged by academic discipline, each subject guide contains a listing of relevant databases, Web sites, e-books and print books, and where appropriate, RSS feeds and other media.

Research Databases

The online resources available to UMUC students provides full-text access to a wealth of research resources through its subscriptions to more than 110 research databases. These databases include tens of thousands of full text articles, reports, statistics, etc. that cover a vast array of topic areas. The "find it," option allows users who have found a citation for an article that is not available in full text within the database being searched to link to the full text of the article if it is available in other databases to which ILS subscribes. In addition, ResearchPort allows users to search multiple databases simultaneously.

Book Resources

UMUC students, faculty, and staff have access to more than nine million volumes from the 16 University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institution libraries USMAI), via catalog USMAI, which include Bowie State University, Center for Environmental Science (University of Maryland), Coppin State University, Frostburg State University, Morgan State University, Salisbury University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Towson University, University of Baltimore, University of Baltimore Law Library, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland Law Library, and University of Maryland University College.

Students and faculty in the continental United States may order books electronically from the USMAI online catalog for delivery to their home (outside of Maryland, but within the continental United States) or for pick-up at any USMAI library that is most convenient to their home or workplace (inside of Maryland).  In addition to its electronic book delivery service, ILS has a collection of more than 15,000 electronic books (e-books) that allow users to retrieve and read entire texts online and download or print selected sections of the text. 


The library strives to make as much full text available as possible. DocumentExpress provides a mechanism to obtain the full text of materials that are not available in the research databases or through the library catalog.

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