Survey comments & library actions


I'm not in St. Louis. What can the Library do for me?

No matter where you are in the world of Webster, we are your library. The Webster campuses in Europe, Asia, and Africa have small, on-site libraries, but most of the collection is centralized in St. Louis. If that sounds far away to you, remember that the majority of Webster students are outside of St. Louis so we choose online resources whenever possible--eBooks, electronic journals, online databases, and streaming video. Check out our website to access these materials. If you need a book or DVD that is physically in the Library and you are in the U.S., we can ship it to your home via UPS with a return mailer at no charge. If you need a journal article or book chapter that is physically in the library, we can scan and send it to you no matter where you are in the world. If you need something that we don't have, let us know! There is a "Request Books or Articles" link on our homepage. Submit your request and we will try to get the item for you from our collection or from another library.

There were a lot of services mentioned in the survey that I didn't know you offered. How can I find out about all of the library's services?

We are increasing our efforts to make students aware of our services. We're now offering a series of library webinars throughout the term. Recorded versions of each webinar will be available as well. We also post regular updates on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to browse the library's web site; valuable information about our services is available there.

The Library website and databases are not intuitive, and are difficult to use.

Finding sound, academic information is not as simple as a Google search, but it is worth the effort. We recognize that library systems are often intimidating, so we offer many ways to get help. We'd love to help you in person, but the Ask a Librarian link the Library's website gives you many ways to access us. Whether via email, phone, or chat, we are happy to walk you through our resources to find the information you need.

If you like to try exploring on your own, you might want to check out our Research Guides. If you are an online student, watch your mailbox for our Library Orientation webinars each term. Based on these comments, we'll be opening these webinars up to all students!

Why do the professors require us to use the library databases when these tools can be so difficult?

Databases are the gateway to the literature of the academic disciplines. By using databases you are researching within the journal articles of your field. While these resources are a bit more challenging to search initially, they offer better control over the research process.

Whenever you are searching for information, keep in mind the 20-Minute Rule--if you search for 20 minutes and are not finding anything helpful, stop and contact a librarian. We can save you time and frustration.

I find that each link on the web site takes me to a new page with more links. Can you simplify this process?

We hear you! The library web committee is in the process of redesigning our website to be more user-friendly. Our website may be rich in content but we also want to it be friendly. If you do have any trouble navigating our site at all, our librarians are quite friendly, too, and eager to guide you. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for help!

How do I know which database to start with? What if my topic overlaps into several subject areas? What if I am having difficulty finding items specific to my subject area?

We do have quite a few databases to provide you with a variety of resources. One of the best ways to determine what database to use is to go to your subject area research guide designed by your subject librarian. These guides will provide you not only with the most common subject databases, but help with other aspects in your field. If you have a complex, multidisciplinary topic that you find you need more help with, you can always contact the reference desk for further suggestions.

Why do I have so many different logons and passwords? Can't the library create a single sign-on for everything?

We agree that having to create all of these accounts/logins/passwords is burdensome. We are working with University IT to investigate single-sign-on options, but this ability is probably still several years away. We appreciate your patience while we try to overcome this obstacle!

I finally got on a database, but many of the articles are quite old. How do I find current materials?

Most of the databases offer a date range feature that allows you to only search within a specific time frame. A few of the databases such as JSTOR and New York Times focus more on archival coverage, so the articles there will tend to be older than in other databases. If you feel like you are only seeing older materials, try searching in another related database. If that doesn't seem any better, contact us and we can help you track down results from more recent dates.

I appreciate having eBooks, but find that they are sometimes hard to read and download. How can using these items be easier?

Academic eBooks are definitely not as straightforward as popular eBooks and can be subject to a lot of publisher restrictions. We'll share your comments with our eBook vendors and work with them to try to improve access.

Does the library offer anything to help us with documentation and citations?

Many of the databases now have citation features which will give you guidance on citing in specific styles. We also have research guides specific to various documentation styles including APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Harvard, and many of the subject research guides offer details specific to your area of study. Finally, the library subscribes to Mendeley, a citation management system that will allow you to save citations and PDFs, add notes, create folders, and generate a bibliography. For more on using this resource see the Mendeley research guide. If you need assistance, please contact our Ask a Librarian service.

Why doesn't the library have multiple copies of the latest required textbooks to assist students?

Libraries rarely purchase textbooks for the library collection. Purchasing a textbook only benefits one or two students throughout the term of the semester since as soon as it is checked out, it is unavailable to the rest of the class. We instead use our funds to buy materials that amplify the learning that happens in the classroom and beyond.

Some books that I can check out in other libraries are in the reference collection at Webster. Could we have more of these resources circulating?

In response to this suggestion, and in order to be in line with best practices, the library has done a major evaluation of its reference collection. In the process, many outdated materials were removed from the collection, and other items were moved into our circulating collection. If there are other items that you feel would be more useful if they could be borrowed, please let a librarian know.

My professor wants me to use peer-reviewed articles, but it seems like only a couple of the databases have peer-review.

Most of the databases that the library offers have peer-reviewed journals. In some cases, the terms refereed, scholarly, and academic journal are used as synonyms. The librarians can help you choose the best database for finding peer-reviewed items if you are unsure.

I am studying in a specialized/technical field. How do I find adequate material in these fields for my assignments? Do I need to subscribe to my own resources to meet my classroom requirements?

You should not need to subscribe to any outside resources. Some areas of study may require using more than one database or using specialized search strategies as well as time to process interlibrary loan requests. You may want to start with your subject area research guide designed by your subject librarian to identify the best resources for your field. You can also contact the reference desk; we are happy to help you find additional resources and connect you with a relevant subject specialist who may be able to work with your instructor to ensure that you have adequate resources for assignments.

Why do databases list items that we have to request? Can we just remove the items that aren't in full-text?

The databases offer indexing even on items that aren't in full-text to provide a broader understanding of articles covering the topic. In many cases the Article Linker button will help you find the item in another database that we own. If not, having the citation information will allow you to request those items via interlibrary loan when needed. Finally, many of the databases will allow you to select full-text only; however, you may miss some good items readily available in other databases.

I use the library resources extensively, but wonder what can I do to use them when I graduate?

When you graduate, you can obtain an alumni card to check out our print books and scores. Our Research Fellows Program is available for a fee for alumni who want to continue access to the databases. You can find additional resource access on our Services for Alumni page.

I appreciate having DVDs and games at the library, but sometimes, I can't finishing watching a TV series in three days. Could we have longer checkout times?

Thanks for the suggestion--we are acting on it! The library has changed the checkout time for videos to 7 days.

Does the library offer any video resources for my class work?

The library has a variety of video resources including DVDs and streaming video. You can search our collection by via the Video/DVDs link from our homepage. If you know of a video relevant to your area of study that would be helpful, you can contact your subject area librarian to see if the library could obtain a copy.

The streaming video often doesn't work effectively at extended campuses.

This is a known problem that we are working on with University IT. They are implementing a global wide area network which should alleviate this problem. In the meantime, please continue to let us know when you experience problems. It helps us look for short-term solutions to make video streaming better.

How do we request items for purchase?

Contact your subject area librarian to submit a request.

I'm at an overseas campus, and the library seems very small. How do I do my research?

Our overseas libraries have librarians who are trained to help you use on-site materials as well as our vast array of online resources for your research. In addition, library staff at the overseas campuses and in St. Louis have begun working together much more closely to share information about needs and how we can work together to meet them.

Turnaround times for requested books and articles are not always fast enough.

Library staff work hard to get you the materials you need as quickly as possible. We've recently started using ILLIAD for interlibrary loan and delivery of materials to extended campus and online users. ILLIAD will fill some requests automatically, which will shorten the time it takes for you to receive your materials. ILLIAD also allows you to check the status of your requests online.

There is a need for more computers in the library and for computers in group studies for group projects.

If all of the computers in our popular Ecommons and Cafe spaces are in use, try the Lower Level where there are usually computers available. The Eclassroom on the first floor is also available for drop-in use when it is not scheduled for a class. We have recently added two new collaborative spaces in Room 215 and at the south end of the second floor Ecommons. There you may plug in your own devices or a laptop from the front desk and share a computer screen with your small group.

Could the library offer color printing and/or copying?

We would like to offer access to color printing and copying, but unfortunately this continues to be cost-prohibitive. You may wish to use one of our scanners (in the Listening/Viewing Area, Ecommons, Lower Level, and on the 2nd floor of the Cafe) to scan materials for printing elsewhere. Mail and Copy provides color printing. They can be contacted by phone at 314-246-7421 or via e-mail at copyctr@webster.edu.

eReserves can be difficult to use, doesn't work well, and has compatibility issues with browsers.

We have transitioned the eReserves service to WorldClassRoom to offer you a one-stop-shopping experience. This will allow you to access all of your course materials in one place.

It would be great if the library had more group study spaces available.

A new collaborative space has been added on the south end of the second floor Ecommons; consider trying this for a group project. Also, be aware that the library has several group studies on the Lower Level that are often available when others in the building are full.

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